We have our lives now, such as they are.
The one we want for ourselves is over there.
We want to make it happen right now.
Not going to happen. We know better.
Let’s not lie to ourselves, where are we right now? Do we like how we’re living, feeling and what we’re doing? Are we proud and pleased, or flat out tired and defeated?
Where/who do we want to be?
Overnight successes don’t happen overnight. That’s a fact. We just don’t see or hear of the sweat and struggle and effort that goes into the glorious life we suddenly become aware of publicly. It’s an illusion, and a dangerous one to entertain when we let the distance between who we are and who we want to be stop us from taking the first step.
Progress, not perfection is where the magic becomes evident.
Perfection is an excuse to not try, it’s a myth covered in bullshit to keep us where we are. Every imperfection we have makes us perfect for the purpose we have in this world. Our gradual and determined progress makes us living billboards for those who may have given up on themselves. Our imperfections make us human, reachable and real. Others are able to reach out to us, connect to us through our individual flaws.
Imperfections are our gifts, our tools, our inspiration to others if we accept them.
Being vulnerable makes us strong, honest and worth heeding as we share our journey. The only acceptable way to lead is from the front, taking on what’s necessary to move forward in our lives with grace and integrity.
There is no such thing as overnight success.
There is, however, the choice to state your intentions for yourself and take a damn step in that direction. Don’t hesitate. Don’t check out of participating in your own life because you’re afraid or somebody you don’t even admire told you that you weren’t good enough.
Life happens for us, not to us. We didn’t get where we are overnight, neither will we become who we will be in that manner.
Our struggles build us, our challenges prepare us, our devastations awaken us to the distance between our current reality and the one that awaits us if we want it, and if we do we have only to take our first intentional step towards our own victory.
That is success. That is reality. That is living…
An excellent life story re-written as a lasting legacy.
Take the first step.
A little over a year ago, when my Daddy’s heart beat its last time, my anger went away along with my desire to write.
I felt that I couldn’t be anything but grateful that he was MY father, mine, for the time I had him.
I realize my mom was right a few months ago when she said to me that she was sorry for how worried I was about her on a regular basis, like I was waiting for the other shoe to drop.
I would pull into the driveway after work, and sit there for a moment or ten, wondering what I would find when I went in…
Would she have fallen again?
Would she have done something foolish again to prove her independence like climb a ladder to change light bulbs, or lift pots of flowers to re-pot them, or just do too much at one time like trimming shrubs or cleaning the whole house instead of waiting for me and breaking things up…
Would she be in the chair she always sat in, breathing still?
I have never seen grief in another like I witnessed from my own mother. It was a huge and living thing that consumed her, and at times, anyone in the room with her.
She did not like this world without my daddy in it.
Neither did I.
But she did try. I am proud of her for that. She did better than any of us thought she would…
or maybe she just put on a good show for us.
I know this is awkward sounding, my voice is rusty from lack of use, as is my heart.
I know these words aren’t beautiful or poetically written and I don’t care.
I have to begin somewhere.
I have always worked so hard to not have regrets when someone is gone. I am always aware due to my own life experiences that the phrase “life is short” is not just a bullshit go to, but a hard, cold fact.
I am going to tell you something right now I have never said aloud in the last 30 days…
Yes, I told my mother I loved her, but I regret her not feeling it from me…
I took care of her when things got tough and emotional, but I regret protecting my own grief and not softening enough to give her the heart she needed…
I made sure she ate, but I regret not sharing more dinners and conversations with her…
I was so proud of her, in awe of her, and I told her in many ways, but I regret not making her feel the reality of it…
I find myself randomly just saying out loud, “Momma…” and crying until I’m sick of myself…
I regret, strangely most of all, the loss of feeling the silky softness of her hair as I brushed it back that last time, the softness of her hand as I held it, the loss of seeing her face when she would see me in the morning and smile.
She just wanted love. She wanted my daddy. She wanted to matter to her children…
She did. She mattered more that any of us knew.
It comforts me in some way that she knows all of this now, but I regret she had to die not knowing that she was the foundation for all of us, the immoveable force, the rock of the family.
She taught me how to get back up no matter what, and my daddy taught us to find the joy in it. That was where they became more than the sum of their parts.
It finally answered for me how two very different people loved each other so well for so long…two wings, one bird, and the flight of a life-time.
I wish I had looked her in the eyes and told her to her face…
I wish I’d shown her as much love as I did care.
There is a difference, and you feel it.
I am so sorry Momma.
I love you.
We say so much, don’t we? While we say nothing at all that matters. We try for a while to communicate and then at some point we realize that one of us really doesn’t want to do so. That the individual desire supersedes the good of the whole. That we have not yet achieved the “blend” of life goals that we had so hoped to solidify together.
Most of the time it’s just bad fucking habits from weak and unbalanced relationships we’ve grown used to living with over the years. Sometimes we were the strong ones holding on…sometimes we were the accommodators to keep the peace. Either way, the teeter totter was not level and somebody was suffering. That’s not a win-win.
So here we are. What do we do to not perpetuate the same lame-ass, one-sided, ego-driven relationships that we’ve known in the past? How do you drop the bullshit? How do you learn to be fair, and respectful, and honor the new relationship and what you say you want it to be?
You communicate like a grown ass adult who knows what they want from life and is willing to stand for it against the pesky forces of inconvenience, and God forbid, a sense of confrontation momentarily while you explain your thoughts.
That’s how you build something new from the trash of the past. Not by perpetuating your old behavior, but by standing up in the strength of who and what you’ve decided to be instead of that life that made you so miserable, remember? That life that made you walk away from everything you knew and were comfortable with? The one that was so numbing you took great losses to begin again with a small flicker of hope?
Do you really want to keep repeating the behavior of a life you decided wasn’t worth keeping? Think about that.
While you find your words to communicate with the new life you’ve chosen.
I am sitting here in awed silence after my last two phone interviews. I don’t know if I’m gifted enough to impart the courage it takes for the men and women I’ve spoken with to come forward and share their stories. Stories of horrendous experiences survived by training to failure, learning to deflect, mastering the art of invisibility, or shutting down all that is human and humane within them to make it one more day.
I have tears in my eyes and no voice with which to speak, but my fingers fly across the keyboard in a silent whisper of love, respect and support that sounds remarkably like the clicking of keys. The tapping you would hear if you were with me is my promise that your story will be told, your service will not go unnoticed, your voice will be heard and it will matter to someone who is about to let go.
I will admit that I cry for us when I cry for you, speak for us when I speak for you, and my fury at your struggle is equalled only by my respect for your determination to crack the cement of silence and speak to those who still believe themselves to be alone.
Your experiences matter to us, as does your pain. Your fractured bones, broken homes and unsteady yet relentless progress forward gives us hope. Remember the silent and courageous mantra repeated inside that over-burdened soul you’ve carried all these years when the world told you over and again that you could not make it one more day…
Since a few days after my last post, my “datin guy” (as my dad and I like to call him) and I have reconnected and are moving forward. It’s funny to me that I feel this obligation to keep reporting what began as a joking foray into the dating world. We were both surprised by the existence of each other and it just kind of gained a life of its own.
I met his children a week ago. It was interesting for me to feel the terror and intimidation of that when so little intimidates me. They are handsome, charming, intelligent young men, still boys really. I found myself being very quiet which is unusual, but being empathetic by nature I could imagine what they must be thinking, wondering and perhaps feeling a little fearful of as far as the family dynamic goes.
What is she doing here and how does that change our lives?
I myself would be worried, confused and a little resentful, but aside from a slight reserve and a lot of silent brotherly communication, they were kind to me. I appreciated that. They did communicate the situation as they saw it with their mom via the ever present cell phones which I totally expected. Which instigated a phone call from her to my “datin guy” which for some idiotic reason, I did not expect. I’m a little disappointed with myself for that temporary blindness, but I digress…
Apparently they made the wise agreement (in my opinion) to keep the people they dated and their kids separate from each other. This is an excellent move when the parents are finding their own way around and have no idea who or what they want. Why cause confusion and/or anxiety by introducing someone merely passing through? It makes a world of sense to me when the priority is a child’s well-being.
Also, apparently, I am not just passing through.
I will admit that I was impressed by the way he handled that call, and I am not easily impressed. He invited her over to meet me if she chose to, which she declined, and I don’t blame her for worrying about what kind of woman her children were subjected to. I would be freaking out myself. Actually, I was.
She has no idea, nor does she care at the moment, that I admire her love and protectiveness for her boys, or that I’ve raised and fiercely protected one of my own. She doesn’t know that I won’t be used as a weapon to hurt her, or them, if I have the power to stop it. I know that they don’t need a mother since they already have a wonderful one raising them, and you will be proud and astonished to know that I kept myself from trying to adopt them and sweep them into my vortex.
They don’t need me, but their dad does. I love him, and that’s non-negotiable.
I don’t want to know what they think of me, or what her uninformed opinion of me is in these early days. I don’t want to have to fight the urge to smite anyone for dissing me when they don’t know me, so ignorance is bliss in this case.
My people tell me she should be grateful that it’s me. That the boys will love me eventually because I’m cool, fun, and easy to talk to. That she will eventually be grateful I’m not the empty-headed bimbo slut she may fear I am at the moment, and that her kids are in safe hands. That somehow we will be the Brady Bunch and life will be smooth sailing from this day forward.
I doubt it, but I’ll roll with the punches and love him anyway.
The both of them have done a fine job in the raising of their children. I am not needed in that capacity. The rest is open to interpretation and the changing needs of the time so I’m just going to roll with it and see what transpires. He needs his children, and he needs a sanctuary where he knows he’s loved. I can walk that line, especially when he has so far proven to stand for me from a place of respect.
I think I love that about him most of all.
I’m a lucky woman.
This has been a tough week for me. After my dating post a day or so ago, it’s important for me to make it clear up front that no matter what happens after this time to regroup, the guy I’ve been seeing the past 8 weeks is a good man. I’m saying this first because I can’t split my energies between dealing with the struggle of missing him, and defending him from misguided bashing on my behalf. I’ve appreciated the love and messages so much, but please understand that I share only because we’re all walking each other home here, we all struggle and hurt and find our way as best we can.
We can’t know what conflict is going on inside someone else unless they tell us.
We can’t make them tell us or solve it for them or take away their lessons, nor should we. I don’t know at the moment what will happen, and that is hard. When I hear someone say, “falling in love” my heart flinches a little because the impact when you land “in love” changes things. It’s frightening because it’s not just fun and games any more. To me, falling in love, then having landed there means that you have fragile little roots in your heart planted by the flash and sizzle of dating. Then you have to decide. Do you rip them out before they take root, or nurture them into something magnificent?
This is not a simple decision, and not one to be made carelessly.
The human heart is at risk here and there are many things that factor in. If you’re dating someone going through the first year of separation/divorce, you have placed yourself in a minefield by your own doing. I kept myself out of the dating scene for 2 years for this very reason. The whole first year is horribly hard. All the holidays and other family events that are no longer the same, the guilt if there are children involved can be crippling, the stress of going from 2 incomes shared to being on your own…the adjustments mentally, emotionally and financially can be devastating at times.
You wonder if you did the right thing, you mourn the losses, you wonder what life will look like when the dust settles and it is terrifying. You dream of future happiness, wonder if it’s doable and if you are surprised by falling in love in the midst of all this, it can set off a series of events that will either bury you or pull you through.
We humans are such wonderfully complicated creatures aren’t we?
I don’t know what will happen next. I don’t know if we’ll get the chance to become something more amazing, or if I’ll have to go inside and ruthlessly pull it all out by the roots. Change is inevitable and necessary for a beautiful life so I will deal with whatever comes and keep moving forward.
So aside from thank you, and I love you, please know I’ve been waiting for this moment. Dating is an important first step, but is exhausting after a while, expensive and an unrealistic place to “stay” if you want to build something astonishing out of your life, which I absolutely intend to do with mine.
I need more than flash, I need the sharing of burdens and sorrows, the blending of lives, and the constant discovering of the one I love. I want to be their sanctuary, their safe and loved place where there are no knives, harsh words or judgements. The place where they don’t have to pretend they’re super-human and have all the answers. The place they are most appreciated and loved. I need to be that.
I need them to be sanctuary for me.
I ask that you wish me luck, wisdom and strength until I clear things out, and please know that I’ve spent the last 8 weeks with a very good man. The hurt and the missing I’m carrying right now are because he is that amazing. It comes from what I hold for him inside, not from anything he’s done that I need defended from. But thank you so much for caring ❤
Five weeks ago, I returned to you with proof that the perfect first date was not myth or legend. I too was astonished at my findings. After two weeks of what my brother called “power dating” I’m sure you’ll recall that with as amazing and exciting as that was, I was looking for reality to edge it’s way in so I could see how well we handled its intrusion.
It’s good to take the time every so often, in any relationship, to revisit and revise based on what you’ve learned. Especially in the beginning when your heart is so open and easily led by joy. I want to check where I am, see where I’ve been foolish, selfish or wise. What do I need to see differently; what do I need to know?
Is that a red flag? A white one? Or just a weed that needs yanked out by the roots?
I need these times because (gut honesty here) when I’m with him all I can do is smile and feel the wonder of being with someone who will pull me to my feet to dance in the living room, reaches back to take my hand so he doesn’t lose me when we’re out, wants to know what’s going on in my head when I get quiet, and melts my heart when I walk in the room and he’s in front of the Keurig with the makings for coffee he doesn’t drink.
Last week I had a moment when I face-planted into a mistaken assumption I held to be true, tears were in my eyes and I had to excuse myself to go to the rest room and…rest. My experience being what it is, I rarely cry in front of anyone. So I’m in the ladies room, staring at myself in the mirror with new eyes that have tears just rolling out of them, and a woman comes in and touches my shoulder. Our eyes meet in the mirror and I wonder out loud…
“This is a stay or go moment. Am I going to be foolish, selfish or wise?”
My new friend pats my shoulder and tells me I’ll know what to do when I get back out there, so I do. I have questions, but the men I’ve known react to tears by backing away, getting defensive or ghosting altogether. I’ve told you before that I’ve yet to meet the guy who’s strong enough to hold a woman when she cries, especially if it has anything to do with him, but it looks like I may have found one.
We talked for a bit, I asked the questions I obviously should have, and I learned what I needed to know for the stay or go moment. Those of you who know me are now picturing the fist fight going on in my head as it does when something is important to me. It was pretty vicious for a moment or two, and I teared up again.
I have no intention of falling in love by myself. I refuse to let that happen.Then, instead of pushing back, getting defensive or ghosting to safety, he did the most astonishing thing I’ve ever seen…
He leaned in, and talked to me.
My head got quiet, my heart started beating again, and they both whispered one word…
So, my loves, I find myself at the pivotal point in dating where you start defining what will work and what will not. We’ve made it through the accelerated fire of the initial phase where all is perfect, magical and intense.
We’ve so far successfully passed the intrusion of reality and differences in communication styles that bring confusion, second thoughts, second guessing and the confabulation that naturally occurs with a lack of information.
We make shit up when we don’t know, don’t we? Communication must have dwindled to feeble and generic because I stumbled into some bad lighting, spoke a little too honestly, showed a little too much of my heart, or holy shit…
Maybe I’m not all that and a bag of chips after all.
I’m happy to say that while I did lock into “chick mode” for a short time, I snapped myself out of it and asked what I wanted to know. Then let it go to unfold as it would. We are both busy people with family, friends and work. I wouldn’t long be dating a guy who didn’t put his kids in the priority position. I wouldn’t respect or admire that at all.
It seems that even the most authoritative, confident communicators tend to falter a bit and struggle when it comes to their personal relationships. I get that. I used to hesitate plenty, edit too much and accept too little. Not any longer.
Life’s too short to bullshit and play games so I just say or ask what matters to me.
I love that he does the same, even when it’s hard to find the words. I love wrapping my arms around the intrusions of reality that I quietly waited for, wondering what would become of us then. Would he take the easy way and ghost? Guarding a potential treasure is hard work. A lot of us aren’t up to the task because we haven’t learned how rare it is to find like hearts and endless potential.
But some of us know this well, and hold the line.
This is what I can report of my findings thus far…when I see his face, whether it’s after 4 hours or 4 days and I ask him how he is, and he wraps me up, brings me close and just breathes me in…
It is still for me, perfect, magical and intense.
No matter what intrudes.
For those of us who have wondered at the wars and the rumors of wars that come with keeping the faith in the possibility of the perfect date, I present to you proof from the front lines…
I have to write this down while it is fresh in my mind. My findings are astonishing.
He will text you, then call you, then ask to meet you. He’ll call you before you leave home to make sure you know where to go and when. In spite of knowing you can kick ass and take names if you have to, he will ask what you drive so he can look for you, and open your car door when you arrive so you will not feel awkward walking in alone to meet a stranger.
From the moment he sees you and for the 3 hours that follow, you will know that you are the most beautiful, interesting, intelligent and intriguing woman he has ever known.
You will, for the first time, believe it without any doubts.
He will take your jacket, pull out your chair, look at you as if he’s won the jackpot. His confidence lacks any arrogance that repels, he’s strong enough to be easy in the touching of your shoulder, your hair, your hand.
Not once do you have to defend your space because he guards it himself.
You’ll talk with the ease of years and the fascination of new, a sense of recognition in each surprise uncovered. You’ll wonder why it’s effortless when everything has always been hard.
There is a mutual wonder that you’re next to each other, breathing the same air…
It’s now what I call Star Date 13 and we’ve been together 11 of these days. I begin to over-analyze as I am wont to do when faced with something new and amazing…
Dating someone strikes me as a potentially religious experience. When I went through the phase of studying various religions, I remember the universal feeling that was the base of each one before individuals (or groups of them) bastardized them into rituals of ego and self-validation.
They both start off with the feeling of love, wonder and open-ness don’t they? Then you begin to sink in over time, and carefully unwrap layers of the unknown. This is when human nature kicks in and you may begin to uncover (much to your dismay) the actions and attitudes of burning the witch and stoning the harlot when you don’t match up to their pre-conceived notions of you.
You find yourself at times uncovering those who try to buy their way into heaven with shallow kindnesses and thinly veiled corrections while consigning you to “hell” with their judgments based on who they wish you/they really were. This is the beginning of the end of times.
The celebration becomes silence, the glory dims and the dreams fade to gray.
This is only one possibility. The other is that you embrace and enjoy the wonder of each other, accepting every damn thing that made each of you into the person that has rendered the other star-struck. You welcome the story of every trauma and heartbreak that gave you the sum total of the human being who has chosen to be with you.
You may decide to guard the treasure, fight the demons of conformity and become more than the sum of your experiences thus far. You could let go of the shit that limits you to everything you’ve had before and gives you a miracle.
It’s an option.
Blessed are the brave at heart, for they shall know love.