I took a walk on the wild side by diving into a relationship. Congratulating myself on my ability to be vulnerable and independent simultaneously, I dove in with both feet. Subtly, imperceptibly, I began to make a movie in my head about the possibility of a happily-ever-after ending with this man. My creative fantasies began to take over and I imagined that this man was everything that I had been missing. Time for a reality check. For one thing, I am not missing anything and although we laugh and have great sex, these things do not qualify as a foundation. After living together for some time, it became evident that this man still has a lot of growing-up to do and I have already raised my children. As delightful as some of his antics were, he was high maintenance and I no longer choose to expend my energy in that way. I succumbed to temptation and examined this issue in order to uncover why I am still drawn to these types of relationships—superficial, physical, and temporary. Not having come any closer to the answer, I am taking a break. The female/male dynamic is difficult at best and I have found that the highs and lows are exhausting! I have decided to recharge my batteries (heh heh) and crawl into my bed, solo, and let this shit settle. As Freud once said, “Sometimes an ashtray is just an ashtray.”
I have been going through a series of difficult transitions. First, the acknowledgment of being a maturing female in a youth-centered culture; secondly, the awareness that there are no “do-overs”; and third, that some precious friendships have reached a crossroads and are destined to travel a different path. All of this has me pondering my finite human existence and the difficulties I encounter when preparing to make way for imminent change.
As an end-stage baby boomer, I have had the advantage of being young enough to remember the sixties and seventies and legal enough to have embraced the eighties and nineties. In essence, I have been blessed with four decades of bad-ass music, social and political turmoil and upheaval, and iconic trend setting fashion (not to mention the sex and drugs!). All of the aforementioned has fostered an attitude within myself of “I will never be that old” in reference to previous generations and I have remained true to this philosophy, however, the world began to change and despite my lack of permission, I entered another age demographic.
Although I have been told numerous times that I do not look my age, I subtly began to notice that something had changed when men began to look past me and focus instead on one of my lovely daughters. This was a shock at first and I had to recognize that my girls were growing up and that I was becoming older whether I looked my age or not. This rite of passage was not so difficult due to the motherly pride I possessed in my beautiful and intelligent daughters, however when I noticed that my expensive anti-aging moisturizer was now being modeled on a teenager, I had to draw the line! I wrote to that company and told them how ludicrous and insulting to have chosen someone so young to market a product obviously geared in development and price to a more mature and prosperous audience but they didn’t respond.
One of the more important revelations in this life juncture has been the awareness that “someday” is today. I will not have a “do-over” and I had better make the most of my remaining youth and ambition while I still possess my blessed health. I took up running and ran my first half-marathon four years ago and I am planning my next within the year. I have always wanted to travel and I am still single so becoming a solo traveler is a little intimidating but I am up for the challenge. I have reached the stage where I am unwilling to compromise my values but wise enough to not sweat the small stuff. I have developed an infallible voice of knowledge and maturity that allows me to choose my battles and not make mountains out of mouse turds! I wouldn’t trade this priceless facet of my experience for ten more years of youth and knowing and embracing my convictions is an invaluable state of being and has been a more than acceptable trade-off.
The transitioning of friendships has been by far the most difficult. This is not to say that the friendship has ended, it is in the changing of the dynamic that is so clumsy. On one hand, the point of the human experience is to grow and change but on the other hand, not all humans are destined to grow in the same ways or at the same pace and in some cases, the path may take such a turn that you are tempted to go back but you cannot, it is not the same. The best option available may be to wave once in a while, shouting out a word of encouragement or two and all the time reminding yourself of how blessed you were to have shared that part of your journey.
He said: I miss you.
She said: I miss you, too.
He said: When are you coming to see me?
She said: When do you want me to?
He said: Are you serious?
She said: Of course!
He: Hmmmm…let me think about this; there are no hotels; Matt is my roommate…
She said: Nevermind…I know you don’t really want me to visit you…I was just fuckin with you
He said: You fucker…No, I really do want you to come and see me but how would you get around? I am working 12 hours a day and you would need to rent a car and then the closest hotel is 40 miles away…and you can’t stay here because I am sharing a room with Matt…
Never underestimate the importance of your chick friends. These are the women who hold you when your heart is broken, when your kids have you stretched to the point of snapping, and when that special man (or woman) in your life has you fantasizing about punching them in throat if they say one more word. These supportive sisters are what keep domestic violence rates in check, don’t break the bank with therapy bills, and keep otherwise sane women from committing hare kare when feeling like you cannot take one more step. In other words, they are the lifeline that tethers to solid ground and helps to restore our equilibrium without creating damage to ourselves or others.
I have been fortunate to have several women in my life who have been a stabilizing factor when the Shit Fairy comes to call. At those times, my chick friends have been a shoulder to lean on, a voice of sanity, and everything else of which I am incapable during times of extreme stress. One such woman uses these opportunities to remind me of facts about myself that seem to be common sense but elude me when the weight of life is feeling heavy (for instance: You are a fucking Viking!). She asks me rudimentary questions such as: What are five qualities of your sober woman? Your feelings, are they fact or fancy? If it’s true, where is the evidence to support it? Are you posing a request or a demand? There are many such questions posited to me during these times and although I know the answers, I am unable to recall them on my own. I used to think that I was a pretty self-contained unit, however, I have discovered that without these women, I cannot see the forest because of the trees—I lose all sense of perspective and I need my peeps to help me remember who I am and what I need to do to take care of myself physically, emotionally, and spiritually. I could not successfully navigate this Life Journey without the aid of these women who have chosen to link arms with me and together we form a chain of resilience and substance.
To sum things up, all of the struggle is real but the illusions and delusions very seldom represent anything close to reality and this where my “true blue’s” are most vital. These are the women who have taught me about friendship through their actions and I have been fortunate enough to be able to reciprocate the same support and encouragement to these chicks, when needed. In fact, the paradox in all of this “we” stuff is that I often receive so much more than I give when I am called upon to help a fellow sister sift their way through the shit. We become like the navigation system on an airplane: never on a perfect path but always in a constant state of correction. The same is true of growing and evolving humans and the only difference between arriving at our desired destination or being stuck, is the inclusion of others in our lives to help us correct our path; in turn, we may be equipped to help others when the occasion arises.
More important, this is where the rubber meets the road in my chick friendships and gone are the days when my life was filled with energy-drainers and tour guides to Crazy Town. I celebrate my chick friends as often as possible because I wouldn’t be who I am, or where I am, without them. These are the women who I have chosen as my family and they rank of high importance in my life; after all, the dudes will come and go but my chicks will be there until the day I die!
Update: this is so much harder than I anticipated! After spending countless and compacted hours together, the irritation could not be denied. Those little habits, and big ones, (you know, those that first escape notice) are now glaringly in full frontal view and not only make a female want to scream but their realistic human-ness does not allow the luxury of being able to avoid looking at myself and certainly helps to explain why I have consistently chosen such a rich fantasy life! The casual liaisons do not require so much work or soul-searching and their impact is minimal; however, this relationship is a different animal and I don’t know if I have what it takes to hang in there. Someone once said that if you really want to see where your spiritual maturity lies, get into a relationship. Apparently the saying that “if you spot it, you got it” is more than a euphemism, it is a rip-the-band-aid-off truth…ouch!
To be continued…
Not too long ago, I did something irrational and against my natural tendencies: I signed up for NaNoWriMo and attempted to “make” myself write a novel in a month. For some strange reason, I assumed that if I had the titles to all of my chapters the words would flow from my brain to my fingertips and then voila’! poof! a novel would be born! Not so easy as it turns out, and not so cathartic; the act of writing is a purging of the soul and NaNo is an emetic for the gut. Both may be productive but only one displays the potential for beauty. And vomit will never be beautiful, no matter what is being regurgitated; think splatter art versus Picasso…need I say more?
Not only did my NaNo experience completely fall flat but the end result was to squelch any inspiration that may have translated itself into written expression. It was as if the well had run dry in anticipation of the unreasonable demands that would be placed upon it and in an act of self-preservation, its waters completely evaporated. Alas, one more attempt to force authentic creativity bit the dust but I did learn something of value: I can trust my process. I do not have to focus so intently on the end result because if I trust the process, the end result will naturally arrive and that little epiphany has freed me from my paralysis. I have been beating myself over the head with frustration due to my inability to perform as expected and I now realize that just as the butterfly must squeeze itself from its cocoon in order to wring-out the blood from its wings, so I must struggle, rest, and squirm as the writing continues to emerge on its own timetable and in its own way.
Since I’m a grown-up lady
With stories bursting in my mind
I will sit and write all night long
Oblivious to the time
The world drops off around me
When keyboard meets the hand
And dimensions never heard of
Are now at my command.
Impossible does not exist
When under my control
Imagination is the limit
Until the tale is told
I wield a nuclear pen
And time is obsolete
Reality has slipped away
And creation sits at my feet!
When I say weiner, I do not mean an actual weiner but the dog next door. I am an animal lover and I would never harm one of our furry friends but the persistent barking of an untrained dog is enough to drive any woman over the edge! Something as innocent as sitting in the backyard, under the shade of a Chilean Mesquite and enjoying a nice, hot cup of joe in the morning cool is almost nonexistent since my new neighbors have moved in next door. The new resident is well aware of the disturbance of her animal and insists on talking to him as if he can reason this issue out with her and come to some kind of mature conclusion and decide not to bark at the person he sees everyday going to and from work, cleaning up the yard, taking out the trash, cleaning the garage, etc. I have thought about squirting him with a water-bottle when he is being particularly annoying but I have my doubts on its effectiveness; I have tried borrowing my daughter’s dog and with earplugs in place, I let Wilma run up and down the yard for two hours which naturally caused the little critter to bark spastically the whole time. My thinking was along the lines of aversion therapy and although the little fur-ball was tired, he was back on his game the very next day without even a hoarse note! I feel like taking a gun and shooting the little bastard but he is otherwise pretty cute and I realize that I might be underestimating the effects of some additional tension in my life due to my ongoing state of sexual abstinence. Oh, the trials and tribulations caused by the weiner… what is a girl to do?!
What is more annoying than fingernails scraping on a chalkboard or that slick of donut oil left on your tongue? Nothing with the exception of that certain type of edginess that is only a result of not getting laid. Lately, I have been experiencing some irritation and edginess and although I have experienced these feelings a time or two before, in the past I have been able to promptly remedy the situation and get back on the beam. Once in the solution, I have always been able to pick up where I left-off and carry-on for a while until those edges and urges came knocking at my door once again and I would add another chapter. This time, however, has been different. The reasons are many but the main one is that I have met someone that I really, really like and who seems to not only embrace my free-wheeling nature but his personality is conducive to a complimentary partnership.
All of that being said, why the edginess? Simple, I am experiencing a time of sexual abstinence due to His traveling occupation and although I am an independent and self-contained unit with excellent problem-solving skills, I am not desirous of seeking to remedy this situation in the usual manner; in other words, I am not craving any other sexual partners to help with my attitude adjusting and I am somewhat adrift in this unfamiliar territory. As a prospecter by nature, I seldom narrow my options so severely, however, this is different and so completely out-of-the-ordinary that it has me a bit unbalanced…and baffled. I don’t, as a rule, back myself into such a tight or limiting corner and as unnerving as it feels, I have a sense that there is no other solution.
How this has occurred, I do not completely understand but at some juncture I experienced a connection with a “Him” that has gone far beyond the sensory realm and has left me so physically, emotionally, and spiritually satisfied that I just know that anything else will be a poor substitute. There is a term for this state of affairs and it is called “supply and demand” and it is not usually a voluntary situation but is instead orchestrated by those who would primarily benefit by capitalizing on limited supply. As an experienced consumer who has purposefully stepped into this particular circumstance, I am intrigued and mystified by my deliberately chosen state of lack. I might have even tripped upon a phenomenon which runs the risk of my retracting all of my earlier romantic cynicism…? I will keep you posted on its progress…