Extended Warranty

There is not any sort of warranty of the heart, of love. I know of a woman who after three bad failed marriages, finally found her dear one and moved into his stunning beach house, and was so excited for her last chapters of life to be finally filled with laughter and travel and cooking together with this man who swept her off her feet only to, less than two years later, find out that her fatigue was not just mid-life tiredness, but ovarian cancer and within a year she was not of this earth. I know of a young woman who married her dear one and had their baby nine months later and before that baby was one year old that husband died, right next to her, in his sleep, leaving the baby fatherless and her dreams broken. I know of a woman who married her dear one who she had loved from high school and they worked so hard to pay for their wedding, then build their dream house, and before they had lived in it a year, she decided she didn’t love the house or him really at all. I know of a woman who had been picking out engagement rings with her dear one the day before she got a phone call informing her that she was dating someone else’s boyfriend and did she know he had another whole life on the side, and was expecting a baby?? Despite their hopes and intentions, there was no guarantee that anything any of these women planned for was going to go as planned. We all get these spam phone calls day after day, that our car’s extended warranty is about to expire and we will suffer the expense of unknown and unexpected repair costs…but what about the warranty on love, on people, on relationships, on our hearts…is there any way to help defray the cost, or the suffering, from those repairs???

I poured my heart out last summer when I was going through an upsetting situation and experience with the man I loved. I was confused and sad and completely blindsided by some things that happened with him, and to us, and I kept thinking to myself, “I didn’t sign up for this” but, I did, in a way, didn’t I?? WE have no warranty in relationships. We jump or slowly fall into them, but it’s with these wide open hearts and big dreams and giddy tickles in our spines…We dive into a pool that has no sign warning us if it’s deep enough to jump, or should we just slowly step in, one toe at a time…We simply have no way to know what might happen, what will happen, what could happen, what might work, what could go wrong…NOTHING IS CERTAIN and there is nothing we can do about it.

We get into our vehicles every day, planning to go to work or the grocery store, and that day could be THE day, and there is nothing we can do about it…we can plan our days & our futures, but all we can honestly do is live for today, each day, right here and right now. NOTHING WE TRY TO DO, no scheduled maintenance, no best intentions, no hard work, no precise planning, can stop what is going to happen that is beyond our control. Period.

I had planned on a way to solve my problem this summer and nothing, at all, went the way I planned. So I had to roll with it, rather than fighting what was out of my control. Guess what?? That’s all any of us can do every day…there is ultimately nothing that we control, despite our best intentions. I asked people for help last summer, people I thought I could trust and on whom I should have been able to depend, and they looked the other way, so I just plowed ahead with what needed to be done. This scenario of last summer can be replayed over and over in my head, but to what point?? Things went wrong and I did my best to handle them, and no matter how much I might wish otherwise, what is done is done. My last summer is not much different than those women’s ovaries, husband, house, or boyfriend…meaning, they all had plans, and those plans didn’t work out, period. We only can respond the best way we know how, to what happens in, and to, our lives, because otherwise, we beat ourselves up to death with wishing for what could have been different or should have been different, but it’s pointless… because what happened did, and is now over…all that can be controlled is how we respond to these repairs that have no warranty…

We might do proper scheduled maintenance on our trucks but end up smashed into a telephone pole…because things happen, no matter the efforts we take. It sounds so elementary to compare a truck to life, but…you might tend with so much care to your marriage, or to your house, but an unexpected cancer diagnosis or a faulty circuit breaker box can take away your spouse and your house, no matter how faithfully your performed the maintenance. BAD THINGS CAN HAPPEN to our trucks, our houses, and our relationships, despite our efforts to care for them. That’s it. There is no warranty that any of our plans will go as planned. There is nothing that we can do about anything except to try to live within the understanding that we want to be good people, and happy, and functioning members of a civil society, but that’s it…all we can do is the work to be the best versions of ourselves that we wish to be. My dad has always said it best, tomorrow you could be run over by a pie wagon. Period.

Giving thanks where thanks is due can be every day of the year, not just on a Thursday in November with turkey and pies. Despite all of your efforts to work hard, pay your bills on time, get yearly physicals, not participate in habits that damage your health, this year could still be your year to go from this earth…you don’t know and nobody else knows either…there is no extended warranty for us. None of us gets a phone call telling us that we can have another five years for this low today only price…you could answer your phone or look down at a text in your car today and those would be your last five seconds on this earth…things happen…you don’t know and can’t plan for it. All we can do is try to do what feels right to our spirit and hope for the best. Literally, nothing else can be done. This week of Thanksgiving, do that dear readers. GIVE THANKS. If anything in your plan, has gone as planned, give thanks. If you have a dear one and things are nice & lovely, give thanks. If you have a safe home and food on your table and in the cupboard, give thanks. If you have good health in your body and good relationships in your circle, give thanks. There is no extended warranty, find thanks for whatever is…now…

Rumour has it…

I read a quote recently that said something like, “sometimes people who need help don’t look like people who need help” and that walloped my soul and whacked my mind…we all wear masks in a way don’t we? Most of us play a role; some part we perform that is not necessarily our true self, or who we think we are…it’s the parts we auditioned for…earning husband, doting wife, obedient daughter, athletic son…cookie cutter parts of the “right” way to be, and some of us play multiple roles throughout the days of our lives. I’d say most of us try every day to engage in some meaningful way with others, and sometimes while we play our parts we are dying inside from any number of maladies…as the holiday season nears, please dear readers remember that everybody is likely fighting some sort of battle, and not all wounds are noticeable on our outsides, and scars are very easily hidden behind masks…Everybody hurts, sometimes, as Michael Stipe has told us all. When we hear bad things about other people, or bad things that happened to other people,or something that person did-experienced-said, whatever, most of us pause for that briefest of moments with one of those “so glad it’s not me” thoughts or relief, but rumours and stories are easy to misconstrue or to misinterpret and I am just reminding you, all of you dear readers, that what we all see on the outside of each other, or hear in a retelling, is not what always is.

I have always been a rather open person. If I put it out there then I understand I am open to criticism, however, I don’t have to absorb the jabs or duck from the punches…I can let the opinions of others go in one ear and out the other…I can heal on my own time by my own rules…I can be happy some days and sorrowful others…I can take as long as I need to tend to my upsets and if I choose, I can rapidly sweep any tears away and move on immediately with a new purpose and renewed sense of what will, or won’t, work. I can set new boundaries and nobody has to know where I stand but me, and I can slam the door on my “openness” just as fast as I kept it ajar…I watched the interview with Oprah and Adele the other night and I felt deeply connected to much of what Adele said, and how she was so open and honest about how writing made her address her feelings, and how being a mess in the public eye has its challenges, but it also lets other people see, and know, that it’s okay to be a mess and then you dust yourself off and start all over again. I loved how genuine she seemed about her roles as a woman in her personal life and not just the public mask she gives to the world. Oprah quoted her, that she is not shy or embarrassed to fall apart and I loved that, because on the surface, she sure looks put together; extraordinary talent, exquisite looks, enormous wealth…things any one of us would covet and she too was a mess, fell apart, and had to pull herself out of the ruts she felt she was stuck in…A PERSON WITH MILLIONS OF FANS probably cried herself to sleep just like you or I did…A person with more money and success than any of us can even imagine, and will never achieve, probably had days where she felt like a total loser and a shit of a mom, and sat on her sofa wondering how things could have gone so wildly wrong, and could not believe her good life could feel so bad…A PERSON WHO SEEMINGLY has it all, felt exactly like the rest of us have felt.

She has millions of fans. I have, I think, less than 300 followers, so amuse me a moment while I compare myself for a brief bit to Adele, but… I feel like it’s a good thing to BE OPEN and BE HONEST when things are going to total shite, and not just being open and honest when you are bragging about your honor roll kids, expensive vacation, over priced new car, or spectacular engagement ring, or perfect spouse…all of which are lovely, and fun to see on social media and via text or in real life, BUT life is not always rainbows and butterflies!!! Life is all too often dreadfully sad or scary or infuriating, AND IT CAN LOOK LIKE A PINTEREST PAGE while it is spectacularly imploding!!! I think it is a gift to everyone when you are comfortable enough in your flaws and failures to take off your mask and let the world see you. It gives those who might be too scared the freedom to break free from all the mask wearing…rumour has it that she really is a mess, rumour has it that his credit is maxed out, rumour has it that …LOTS of stories are behind the masks…let us try to be kind to those who are hiding still…

This dear readers is just a gentle pre-season nudge to remember that all of us, shall I write “all??” rather than some, or most, well, I think it’s true; all of us have suffered at one time or another with either a bad habit, a bad break up, a bad job loss, a bad addiction, horrendously bad decision, a terrible illness, an awful relative…SO much can be said about a person when all you see is what is on the outside…but rumour has it that what you see is hardly ever what you get…her highlights may be flawless and her manicure never chips but she sits and cries in the parking lot at Target wondering where she went wrong..his success is apparent by his fleet of work trucks and philanthropic generosity, but he goes home alone and sad to an empty house every day and wonders why he can’t find a meaningful or loving relationship…they get honor roll marks, they belong to all the right teams, but there is no laughter in their kitchen, there is nobody to help them with their homework or to wish them sweet dreams because their dad is already passed out and their mom is out at Macy’s buying things they can’t afford to fill the empty spaces in her soul…These are the people in your neighborhood, it’s going on right under your nose behind nearly every mask…What shows is not what is…the rumours that we hear about people and their lives are just words, their reality sometimes bites, and bites hard and causes wounds that can never be soothed, and for which there is neither a pain reliever nor an antibiotic that can heal…

If you are lucky enough to have no secrets, no scars, no mask, then please do spread that pure and purposeful clean living to others…Don’t be a judgmental jerk, be a giver of good vibes, positive advice, beneficial tips, opinions with kindness…There are people who are very much in need of love, support, resources, or guidance, and you don’t know they are so deeply in need because it doesn’t show… it seems to you like they have it all, but it’s not real…they need some help but it’s hidden from view. If you share your gifts of “how to make it in this world” or “look how I turned things around for myself” it might inspire someone to take off their mask and turn over a new leaf, make a change, make a choice, do something different that supports their future better self. I suppose my point in all these words is that, as the holidays near, just make that tiny nudge to always remember that a little kindness can go a very long way, a daily dose of gratitude is the best medicine you can take, and a smile to someone suffering might literally make their day or holiday season. If somebody falls, don’t look away and laugh, look them in the eye and reach out your hand to help them up….rumour has it that the holidays can be happier for the not happy, if you generously gift some of what you have in abundance, to those who are in need…

Don’t Look Back

In anger…oh, a new day is breakin’…you’re not going that wayyou’ll miss what’s right in front of you…artists write and sing about not looking back for a reason…it serves no positive purpose. We’ve heard it in songs and read it in books and it makes sense; unless you need to see what tripped you and made you stumble or fall, or to measure how far you’ve come from said stumble, what’s the point of constantly looking back?? I’m hard-pressed to find one. I try not to dwell on things, hold grudges, dredge up the past too frequently, or focus on what once was, rather than what could be…I really try not to beat myself up with all of that I wish I had known then what I know now stuff, or I could’ve handled that better-I should’ve handled that better self-flagellation…it’s like a little self-help book in my head that never closes, working hard to keep the words in between my ears good words. Looking back to errors in judgment or words you wish you could erase is just beating yourself up for no useful reason. I am focused on perpetually moving forward and moving on, “press on” my mom says when I do stupid things, flub up, or fail…press on. I think of myself as such a hopeful and positive person that it simply feels “off” to stay angry, or sad or upset for too long, it does not sit right with my soul and it certainly does not do right for my smile.

Do I forgive and forget too easily? Maybe. Do I sleep better than most everybody I know? I think so. EVERY night I talk to the universe and I say my little “prayers;” if I was a jerk I am sorry, if I acted selfishly I am sorry, if I was an a$$hole I am sorry, if I purposefully did something wrong I apologize and let it go…I suppose it’s no different than praying to God, or Gods and Goddesses, just the vast universe that is everything…putting it out there, in case there really is a greater power, something more than this, and letting me be free of any upsetting thoughts and pressing on. *I am truly sorry if I was not my best self today and I will try to do better tomorrow* seems to me to be as good a prayer as any. When my life has been VERY very bad or sad, the reality for me is that it’s been far more ‘very good’ and ‘very joyful’ than anything else. The highs have outweighed the lows in every year of my life on this earth. I don’t want to dwell on any long ago past upsets or more recent wrongs, I don’t want to remember stinky-sucky-sad feelings or upsets, they are over, done, gone… there is no point whatsoever in remembering things that don’t feel good and that don’t bring about good thoughts. Every single second, the second before, or the day before, or the week before, is gone…over…every single second is a new second to turn things around, turn a frown upside down as the kids used to say, move on, move up, flip a flop, make your fail into a fixxer upper. I alone am in control of the words I let live in my head and I alone am in control of my feelings and emotions so why on earth would I want to think about things that already happened, and make me sad, when I can just be present and happy and looking ahead to what joys might next come my way?? I am moving forward…growing.

I used to volunteer at the jail, when I was in college, every Tuesday…it was my day off, my daughter was in school, so it seemed like a good use of time…I worked with incarcerated men and women and every Tuesday when I got into my car at the end of the day I would sit in the parking lot and smoke a few cigarettes and cry my eyes out. Every Tuesday before I drove home was a Camel Lights-sob-fest, but it got all the heavy thoughts in my mind, out of my mind…it was a mental cleansing, something of a mind eraser. I would cry for the people who were stuck in a cycle that they simply could not seem to get out of, I would cry for a system that seldom seemed very just, I would cry for the people who had nobody who cared about them, nobody who missed them, nobody who wanted them to get better, do better, be better…I cried for people who looked back, hour after hour at how they could have done something other than what they did…their whole existence was looking back. I cried for the women who had lost custody of their babies, and I cried for the men who teared up when they told me how it hurt them, how much they had disappointed their grandmothers, and it all broke me, every story, every Tuesday…broke me into bits. Broke me into a woman who wanted to change the world, broke me into a woman who was sure she would get a job in the criminal justice system and find a way to make it better…and while I never got my dream job or changed the world, those broken feelings also built me into a deeply compassionate and empathetic woman, those feelings of despair that I had for others blossomed me into a person whose gratitude, daily deep gratefulness and thanks, became the thing about me that makes my world so bright, even when presented with various forms of darkness.

If every time you made a bad decision you let it eat you up inside and beat you to death with sad feelings and negative thoughts about yourself, that would be so stupid right??!! I mean, seriously, we are flawed humans, most of us make some bad choices at one time or another, and to be clear, some many more, and more frequently than most, but none of us are perfect…but why let imperfection keep you stuck in a bad mindset?? Just step off, get lost, let it go…not one good thing comes from focusing on the past or negative experiences that already have happened. Not one good thing…

Last week I had surgery on Thursday and turned 54 on Saturday. When you are stuck on the sofa you have plenty of time to reflect on important things if you choose to…Every year I like to think I can be a better version of the me that I was before. Each birthday is an opportunity to take an inventory; is my mind sharp, is my body strong and limber, how is my house and yard maintenance, how is my body and mind maintenance, how are my relationships…these are not moments to dwell or dig up old news, these are moments to reflect upon and from which I go on…I find great joy in the idea of being a better version, in some way, or all ways, of myself in the year ahead than I was in the year I leave behind. So on the sofa, with my leg on an enormous pile of pillows, I thought about how will I be a more positive me, and it was not a waste of time, it might be the best time I spent with myself in months…during my minutes, or maybe hours of thinking deep thoughts, I thought a lot about what my friend taught me years ago, that maybe she read in a book or maybe learned the hard way herself; that the narrative between my own ears is the only story that really matters and the only words that really matter, and I concluded that my positive outlook, my optimistic way of looking at the world, my way of pressing on, IS ABSOLUTELY the way I want to be.

Do I forgive and forget too easily? Maybe. Do I want to be happy and live happy and try, if possible to spread that happiness to others?? Yes. Am I going to sometimes look back and rehash bad thoughts that should not be remembered?? Probably. Am I looking forward to moving on into a new year with fresh starts and wisdom generated from wounds that are now healed?? Absolutely. Am I going to keep thinking about upsetting situations and events of the last year? NOPE. We have an expression in yoga class, “finding comfort in the discomfort” and for me that is Ardha Chandrasana, a pose that I simply am fearful of, and dare I write, I hate it, because I am always scared I am going to fall backwards, and fear is uncomfortable, and that is not only applicable for yoga class it is applicable for LIFE!!! Fear is uncomfortable. Fear of falling backwards is uncomfortable. Finding ease in the unease and comfort in the discomfort matters, I believe it matters more than I have a vocabulary to explain. Now, maybe to you it doesn’t matter. That’s totally fine. That is one of the beauties of this life we get to live, we choose what to think about and what to act upon, or not. We choose. When I regret something I wrote, said, or did, I recognize it for whatever it was, an error in judgment, or a mistake, and I move on…EVERY SINGLE DAY is a new day. LITERALLY EVERYTHING THAT HAPPENED THE DAY, WEEK, MONTH, OR YEARS BEFORE IS OVER. A person can think over and over and over, about things but all it is is infecting your own mind of thoughts of the past. Don’t look back is my thought process right now, a new day is waiting every day.

Next stop “Relaxation Station” …mind the gap

I do not relax well. I want to be a person who can comfortably be comfortable doing nothing, but…I am not. I want to be a person who can sit and read for as long as she likes, but when there are other things that need to be done, or let me rephrase, I feel that they should be getting done, I can’t relax to read if I feel that NEED/DESIRE to tend to tasks at hand. I want to be a person who can sit and binge a Netflix show, or series, or sit and crochet while I watch Sense and Sensibility or When Harry Met Sally for the bazillionth time, but I am a person who simply can’t seem to EVER relax enough to be comfortable doing nothing but RELAXing.

Dear R*, You are going to do exactly what the doctor tells you to do today. He already told you, at your last appointment, that you will need to plan to miss several days of work and rest with your leg elevated for at least four days, preferably six. He joked that he hoped your had Netflix. You will do what the doctor orders and your leg will heal better than if you are an idiot and do too much too fast. That is all. With love, R*

I am having a surgery later today on my “bad” leg and when it is healed I hope to never have to use the expression “my bad leg” again, but I am old enough to know that if I don’t do the work of healing, the surgery to fix a problem will not be as successful. I suppose it is much like the lady I sometimes see at Wawa buying cigarettes whilst holding her oxygen tank under her arm like a purse and the hose blowing up her nose…it takes a doctor AND a patient, to make healing successful. It is not some self aggrandizing “look at me, I’m not a lazy person” thing, and it’s not, at least I think it’s not, some mental disorder, this odd inability to relax and do nothing, it’s just not me to be fine with being still.

What is curious is that, since I joined yoga, just about four years ago now, I have learned that my breath and my breathing and my thinking about my breath and breathing can completely control my mind. I take breathing at yoga class VERY seriously. When the teacher instructs me to pay attention to my breath I pay attention to my breath. I don’t let my mind wander, I focus on breathing…so my point is, I have the control of my self to spend 75 minutes many times a week focused on my breath and I think this practice will help me to focus on healing my leg…if my mind starts to wander to laundry that could be done, or cleaning that could be done, or office work that could be done, just like in yoga, when my mind starts to wander I pull it back to focus on my breath, so to heal these next days, when my mind starts to wander I will pull it back to focus on my healing. I might do an exercise where I close my eyes and breathe and do my yoga practice in my mind…I am kind of excited about that…to be supine, with my eyes closed, focused on my breath, and see the poses and the motion and the flow in my brain…to be active while being inactive. I simply am not a person who is ever comfortable, what?? Being Comfortable??!! RELAXING??!! It is absurd. BUT for the week I have to be comfortable doing nothing; nothing but sitting or lying down with my leg highly elevated, for a minimum of four days, and preferably six…Relaxation Station, I’m getting off at your stop!!!

To be clear, in the cold and dreary winter months when my work is significantly slowed down, and I really do have a lot more “free” time, and if it’s raining, raw, or snowing and I am home during the day, I do indeed LOVE to be here and not have to do anything. When those days happen I am so content to cook or crochet or watch a movie or write or, my favorite thing, go on a loud music cleaning frenzy, I mean this is stuff that makes me SOoooo happy, and I am VERY COMFORTABLE BEING HAPPY. Doing things that make me happy when I am “Stuck” home is not feeling stuck at all, but they are also activities that are not resting, and resting is really what I have to do, starting later today when my friend drops me back off here at home. To Relax, or relaxing, is just not something that I am generally comfortable with, but today it is a must…so I am going to go for it with full enthusiasm, I’m going to embrace the laziness, I’m going to avert my eyes if I see a cob web, I’m going to pretend that both my legs have to be elevated, so that I am less likely to say something like, well, I’ll just vacuum for a minute, or some crazy idea I might have to do something OTHER than relax. I won’t be able to use the stairs for a few days, so I shall not be writing while I am relaxing. I have a basket of new yarn and ordered Apple tv and I guess I am just going to go for it…Relax, Be Comfortable doing nothing. It will be fun to see how I make out…It will be fun to see if I can be comfortable just being, and my yoga of the mind is something that I am a bit tickled by, so it could be I might get off at this stop “Relaxation Station” more often in my future!!

Next Stop “Karma Station” …mind the gap

Dear R*, Today is going to be a good day.  This morning you are going to take two yoga classes and when you come home you will do some house work and some yard work, you will un-decorate from Halloween, and in the evening get a good hot shower and smell like Dr. Bronner’s tea tree soap as you quiet your mind from the day, and when you lay your book down on the night table to go to sleep, you will know that you have done all that you could today to do unto others and to be the best version of your best self. With love, R*

My friend took me to the movies a few weeks ago to see Dear Evan Hansen, and I really liked the idea from the story of writing myself a letter every day. I guess, in a way, I do this anyway; I do write every single day, and have been a journal writer since I was 14 and a blogger since 2006, and I also talk to myself, in my head, day in and day out…my whole existence is practically writing letters to myself!!! LOL!!! I once read a quote that said something like, never piss off a writer, she’ll put you in her book, and while I am not a “writer,” I do write, and I only write about what I know, and what I experience personally, and what I think about the experience…I’m not at all creating anything, or imagining alternate realities, or developing deeply complex plots and colorful characters with lots of descriptive details…it is rather self absorbed actually, the way I write, I know this, just writing what is in my head, but it’s what I do, and honestly, I can’t seem to stop even if I wanted to!!! I know that every day I try to be the best me that I can, and when I fail, which is often, I know I can do better tomorrow. I assume that everybody thinks this way, that making plenty of deposits in their karmic bank is a “goal” but I have lived long enough, and been disappointed enough, to know that this is not the case…LOTS OF PEOPLE DON’T know about karma. Writing a letter to yourself every day, even just in your head, keeps you accountable, in a way, at least to yourself.

For my whole life my dad has used an expression about “making plenty of deposits in your karmic bank” and I kid you not; almost every single choice I have to make in life, for as long as I can remember, has been made with this thought, mantra if you will, in the back of my mind. LONG before I learned yoga I learned karma and I know, ABSOLUTELY know that if more people understood the laws of karma, people would be better towards each other. The laws are rather easy to follow, and the funny thing is, in a nutshell, for people who claim to be christian or claim to believe the bible, karma is not much different than doing unto others as you would have them do unto you, which I think might be bible-ish, no?? Yet I have known too many people who go to church and went to Catholic school for example, or sent their kids to private Catholic school, and yet, when it was time to STEP UP AND DO UNTO OTHERS…blah blah blah, they did not step up. In fact they just looked the other way…and those people, well, in my world it means pretty much you’ve struck out, because karma takes care of everything…and when some awfulness befalls them or someone they love, and they think, oh how could this happen to us? the only answer that makes any sense at all to me, is karma…You made a terrible choice to treat a person terribly and look what that got you…So for me, and since I can only speak and act for my own self, the best version of myself is when I treat others as I would want to be treated and I forgive when I would want to be forgiven and I move on when I would have wanted someone to move on…I do not dwell on mistakes and I do not dwell on wrongdoings and I do not dwell on woulda-shoulda-coulda…I believe that every action has consequences and I believe in karma. It’s my station, it’s my hub, karma is my home base.

In general, when I write, I don’t ask others if they mind if I share, because my experience is my own, and I have said and written for decades that I am an open book, I have no secrets, and the one secret I once held (for decades I might add) I finally told, over ten years ago…so to say that my heart and mind is pure, that there are no lies hidden within me, there are no issues that I hold back, there is nothing but openness and truth in my world and I intend to keep it this way until my last day on earth, is the truth that is me. What I understand to be true is MY TRUTH; my reality of events or circumstances is colored by my own perceptions, bias, history, and opinions, but it is still my own.  The truth and the reality of another person is their own; their own history, their own opinions, and their own experience is not mine to judge or twist or manipulate the details thereof, but I can write about how their truth impacted my truth…does that make sense to anybody but me?? I guess what I mean is that I can write whatever I want, about my experiences, and there is nothing that anybody can do about it…it is mine to write.

I had an experience this summer that broke me open and caught me by surprise but now it is November, my birthday month, one of my favorite months of the year, every year, and so the summer is now my past. It is now part of my personal historical record and part of my story and my truth, but it is over, over and done and how I go forward from the experience will color my future, because, like it or not, experiences change us, sometimes for the better and sometimes for the worse…experiences teach us lessons, experiences give us wisdom, experiences prepare us for what may come next and profoundly influence how we move on, and get on with each of our days. I think about my karma & my place in the universe & the implications of my actions with every decision I make and every experience that I have had moves me to act in my next act…I make choices and decisions often because of what I think the karmic implications may be…karmic deposits are a HUGE FACTOR IN MOST OF MY CHOICES and for those who do not “get” what this means, well I guess you just will never understand. When people behave badly, or lack compassion, or are greedy and selfish, or cold and unfeeling where there should be empathy, there are karmic debits that come from that kind of action, or lack thereof. People either understand karma or they don’t. I live my life with the understanding, or belief, that my karmic deposits are an integral part of who I am, how I live, and how I want to be in this life, BECAUSE I 100% BELIEVE that what you put out into the universe you get back…if you do good and think good your life will be good…

When I think about what might be the last moments of my life, I am pretty sure that I will have few, if any, regrets.  When I want to tell someone how I feel or what I feel, I do, and when I want to celebrate a person or thank a person, or express my love and appreciation for a person, I do.  When I am angry or hurt I try to express and discuss those hurts and then move on, rather than dwell…so all of that end of life narrative or dialogue, “I wish I had,” is not something I expect to experience.  I believe that living as fully in my truth as I can is exactly why I will never have regrets, or wishes that I had acted differently or behaved better…I really try to make those deposits in my karmic bank. I feel like if tomorrow is my last day on earth, no one who loves me, or who I love, will wonder how I felt, I feel like no stones were left unturned, and no wrongs needed to be righted, nothing needed to be explained. FOR ME, this is how I have to live. It feels “off” to me, when I don’t live this way…when I do something because I think it’s what somebody else thinks I should do, or I make a choice because somebody tells me it’s what choice they would make; when I am guided by that, well, I feel like I am not myself. I have to be able to close my eyes at night and feel at peace.  I simply must be able to do that in order to be who I am.  SO I make choices that make this happen, FOR ME. When someone disappoints me, I let it be known, and I modify my behavior and make changes so that my expectations and boundaries are such that I will not again be disappointed, and when I have disappointed someone I listen to what I have done, and process it and try to correct my behavior for next time. When someone hurts me, I let it be known, and when I have hurt someone I listen to how my behavior caused pain and I process it. There is no other way to live, no other way to be, as far as I can tell, than to be fully engaged with myself this way and the laws of karma.

“I’m not aware of too many things, but I know what I know, if you know what I mean…” If it seems “silly” to write yourself a letter every day, then don’t do it. By all means, just keep doing whatever it is you have been doing…but if like me, you feel like you could do better, be better, well, there is no harm in making a letter to yourself, identifying where you need to make adjustments, recognizing where you have totally F**ked up your karma, and understanding how you can modify your behavior, your thoughts, whatever…BE AWARE. BE ACCOUNTABLE. BELIEVE IN KARMA, it’s not difficult…here’s your stop, mind the gap…

Taking chances, making choices, embracing changes

We all take chances every day; some people roll through red lights, rather than coming to a full stop before turning right and risk being slammed by a fully loaded dump truck. Some people cheat on their husbands or girlfriends and risk an untreated and highly spreadable STD. Some people don’t pay their quarterly income taxes and risk an audit. We all make choices every day; some people eat right and exercise and do the crossword puzzle every morning to keep their body and mind in good shape, some people chose to smoke a pack of cigarettes a day and drink Pepsi all day long. Some people chose to be mean to their mother, or daughter, or neglect their dog. WE ALL CAN CHANGE AT ANY TIME ANY DAY in literally the blink of an eye. WE are in charge of ourselves. The choices WE make MAKE OUR DAY, CHANGE OUR FUTURE, AND TEACH US VALUABLE LESSONS when we embrace changes and do things differently than we did before. Our past chances and choices that bring about changes are what make us US. If you want it, a change is gonna come…

EVERY PERSON you know has some bit of their history that they regret, for which they feel shame or embarrassment. EVERY PERSON you know has some regret from some event at some point in time. EVERY PERSON you know has some thought about some situation or conversation that they wish they had behaved differently than they did…AND IF ANYBODY SAYS “not me” well, they are full of it.

If I made lists on a two column legal pad of the things I have done that I am super glad about, and the things that I have done that made me sad or mad or full of, “I wish I hadn’t done that” it’s quite possible that the lists would be equal in length. By this I mean, that if we really dissect our lives and experiences, if we wanted to, we would see clearly that every single day there is probably an entry on both lists. No one does only right every day. No one does only wrong every day. We are human. We are flawed. I think if anybody claims they have no regrets, or claims that they always do the right thing, or say the right thing or choose the right thing, they are lying, or totally full of themselves in some grandiose way, because let’s face it, not one of us is perfect. Recognizing our weaknesses and failures makes us better humans, whether you believe me or not.

Many people are very private and nobody knows their business. I have always been an open book and probably share too much too often, but that is who I am…If people judge me, well that is their choice, it has nothing to do with me, what they think of me, or about me. Like in The Four Agreements; what people say or think of me has nothing to do with me and everything about them…I try to live that agreement fully. If every day I wish to be a better version of myself, than I was the day before, that is the only “judgment” that really matters to me. Can I do better today, can I be better today, can I make better choices today than I did yesterday??? That is all that really matters, in the big scheme of it all. Only I can judge myself and navigate the chances and choices that the universe presents to me and act accordingly. Many choices I make are based only on how it makes my soul feel…there are many things that I do that perhaps somebody else would not, but their choices don’t make it impossible for me to live with myself, or sleep at night, only my choices do that…

We all have to live with our thoughts, we all have that gut feeling, that inner voice, that vibration that something feels right to us, or feels wrong to us. There is nothing quite so personal as this. The chances you take today and the choices you make today might very well change the entire course of your life. The chances I take today and the choices I make today might very well change the entire course of my life. From this day forward, from this hour forward, it is only our choices that make our future and it is up to us to know what feels right or wrong, or good or bad, sensible or stupid. If I take a chance today that is different than the chance you might take, that is my burden to carry or my joy to celebrate, depending on how it turns out. If I make a choice today and it turns out to be a terrible one, then I have that lesson to learn…turning wounds into wisdom one day at a time. If I make a choice today that turns out to be exactly the best possible choice I could have made, then I have that joy to build from going forward. EVERY day something unexpected can or might happen to EVERY one of us. It’s a pretty big deal, when you think about it, that we control the direction our lives are going to take…EVERY day we choose to do better than the day before, a change is gonna come. EVERY day we recognize where we went so terribly wrong and we modify our choices, behavior, and thoughts…a change is gonna come. If you don’t like your life right now, guess what?? YOU can in one second, change it…it costs no money, and needs no help from anybody else…it is within you, everything you need to change is within you, your thoughts, your actions, you are the captain of your ship, your are the coach of your team, you color your world like the artist you are…you are the director of your movie and the author of your story…if that’s what you wish, a change is gonna come…

Wasted Time…The trail of tears ends, part III

I feel like it’s universally acknowledged that, after you are done with being sad, you’re mad.  REALLY, really mad. Like, if it was a color, it would be a mix of fiery flaming red, bludgeoned livid purple, and vicious vivid maddened magenta, and black, so much BLACK there is no space for any light to enter…“well darkness has a hunger that’s insatiable and lightness has a call that’s hard to hear” and no truer words might have ever been written…One of my yoga teachers on Thursday said to me, ‘it’s terrible right now, but it won’t be terrible forever.‘ I know this is true. My mother hugged me and let me sob into her shoulder while I was consumed with grief the other day, and that I am almost 54 years-old and still have my mom to comfort me to let me cry, and tell me sincerely it’s all going to be okay, is something I will be forever grateful for…but for today I don’t feel very sad, and I don’t feel very grateful, I feel very mad…on a scale of one to 10, level 100 mad…

I feel like after you have cried your last tears, there is a whole new set of emotions to take their place, and today I woke up so full of rage that I feel like I am possessed…not my cheerful upbeat self, not the silver-lining-seeker I always claim to be, definitely not “fabulous” which is my most standard response to ‘how are you?’ I am not this morning at all full of empathy or sympathy for a man I loved so hard, for so long, and for whom I was sure I could love the pain of his past away…no, today I am angry, and I am so angry that I keep grinding my teeth, and that is not a habit that is normal for me, and I am hardly tasting my coffee as I sip and type…

Despite my efforts to make it so, you can’t turn off love like a light switch. Loss is loss and heartbreak is heartache, no matter how much I want it to stop…it is a slow process and one that I suppose I will work through until the hard work of healing is done. I still can’t believe that I met a man & literally fell in love with him, practically within hours and that I fully opened my home and my life and my heart to him, so sure was I that this was real love…I honestly felt like I had never felt before, and let’s face it, I was already in my mid forties and had grandchildren, I wasn’t some dopey starry eyed teenager…it felt like the most perfect person had finally come into my life and within days I was certain that my love could heal him and help him…in his defense; he made it abundantly clear to me from the very beginning that he had baggage…HEAVY, heavy, baggage, and a lifetime of hurt and trauma and broken dreams and busted plans, and what I found was that he had a positively unyielding sadness that he carried around with him like a shadow he wore like a cloak he could never toss aside…I learned much, but not all, about his past during our first weeks together, and he did not hold back on details, so I can’t claim I was not given fair warning, BUT his story is his to tell, not for me…What I can tell though is that now I understand with clarity that it is impossible to love someone’s pain away. Period. It is not at all a realistic expectation to believe that your love, along with your perfectly folded linens and your exquisite walnut floors, in your clean and tidy house, or your stable and organized life and balanced always to the penny checkbook register, or your joyful work ethic and easy smile and cheerful disposition is enough…none of it is enough, it can’t be enough, can’t even hope to be enough, to shelter a person from the pain of their past or save them from their own demons.

I worked very hard to help him to break away from the chains of his past, and I worked very hard to show him how easy it is to just be happy, just don’t dwell on the hurts of your past and just be happy in your life right here and right now…so simple really…I worked hard to show him how easily it can be done, but now that things have gone so wildly wrong, it seems clear to me now that he did not want to learn how to do it, he kept going back to dwelling on things that happened in the past and those thoughts kept pulling him back to a place of anger and kept him from being truly happy in his present tense. Looking on the bright side became an occasional habit for him rather than the only way to look at life, and now and I feel like I wasted so much of my time, so much of his time, wasted nine years of our lives, because we are not together, and can’t be together, and I don’t believe either of us is very happy at the moment, and I don’t know that I can ever forgive him for how he has hurt me…that fury is eating me up inside. Nine years of trying to care for him enough, TO BE ENOUGH FOR HIM, do enough for him, provide enough for him, fix all of the things I could fix for him that were broken…nine years down the toilet, and I am furious. Furious with him that all of my urging and prompting and demonstrating how to “have a wonderful life” was a complete and utter failure, and it feels like such wasted time. He’s left me with huge messes to clean up; financial messes, and garage messes, and attic and shed messes, left me floundering to clean up messes that I didn’t make, and we have nothing to show for nine years of love but for photographs and our memories. He is no better off for having known me. “well I’m here, to remind you, of the mess you left when you went away…” too many song lyrics for a sad and angry woman to handle on this Sunday morning…

Despite his asking for my help time after time, year after year, it seems clear to me now that he didn’t really care at all about how to make a better life for himself…I tried my hardest to give him, and his daughter, a more stable life than he alone had been able to create or provide for them, and for all these years I did the hard work of caring for others, putting the needs of others before my own, and he threw it all away over one short summer…like my time and caring was nothing but trash…like he just hit the delete button and all my time and all my care disappeared…we laughed earlier in the spring, that come July, which would have been our 9th “anniversary” that living in this house, the house that I built, and chose to open to him and share the space with him, was the longest time he had ever lived in one place other than when he was a child!!! He had laughed that day and said how funny it was that a first date could lead to the longest time he had ever lived anywhere, and at the time it seemed that he recognized that was something for him to celebrate, to feel lucky that we had met, or grateful that I cared to share this space that is so sacred to me, but instead he made so many, too many, horrific choices this summer, that all it was was like a slap in my face, when he chose to leave this house, leave this life, leave me…

He made choices this summer that were not good for him, not good for us, and rather than change the course he was on, he plowed ahead with an appetite for destruction…choices that he himself made this summer that tore our life together completely apart, in nearly every imaginable way, shows me in such glaring obviousness that I spent nine years of my life trying to help a man who ultimately did not really want to be helped at all… That hurts hard, it hurts bad, and it makes me angrier than I feel like I have ever been angry before.

He always talked about how hard life was for him to be without parents by the time he was only 17, that I have felt perplexed and totally baffled all summer long that he continually made choices that could have left his daughter without a father the summer before she herself was 17…did he EVER ONCE THINK ABOUT HER, OR ME, this summer at all??!! The very first time he made a bad choice, did he even one time think, “what on earth am I doing??!! I have a nice life, a secure job, a nice woman who cares about me and a smart & beautiful daughter who needs me??” Did he ever once think that he had nice clean sheets to come home to, did he ever once think about his perfectly folded clean laundry waiting for him in a tidy cared for house that was where he lived, that he called home???!!! did he ever think once about anybody but himself???!!! No, No, I don’t think he thought about any of us…his daughter, my daughter, the daughters of my daughter…people who loved him dearly, the family we blended together, and for whom he was an integral part of their lives, the man who taught the little blonde wonder how to tie her shoes and ride a bike, the man who taught them all how to surf and fish, and countless other things, a devoted dad to them all…did he think about them at all, even one time this summer when he chose to go the wrong way???!!! Did he one time think to himself, would I want a man to treat these girls this way?? Is this the kind of behavior from a man that I would want for them?? It’s so painful, accepting the reality that the only person he seemed to think about at all this summer was himself, and that evil shadow that hung on him and that seems to pull him down EVERY SINGLE TIME HE STARTS TO RISE UP …wise up, rise up, eyes up, be the best man you can be, celebrate your talent and your skills, be your best true self…and it seems to me like it whispers in his ear, “come back to the dark side…”

My rage and my fury and my hurt says no, NO he did not once think of any of us this horrible summer, he thought only of himself, and feeding whatever demon was inside of him, and what that demon wanted… He had countless opportunities to turn things around, to come home, to ask for help…help me, help me find someone to help me, help me find someone to help me help myself…he could have at any time, during any night of this horrible summer of horrible choices asked for help, and I would have stopped everything to help him…I would have moved mountains to help him to help himself…I loved him that much, so fully… I begged him to ‘just come home’ so many nights, and so many nights falling asleep wondering if he was dead, or where he was, or who he was with…no good woman should ever have to beg or wonder such things…If even just one time he had woefully said I am sorry, please help me, I would have spun my head in circles to look towards the future and make it as bright and clean and pure as possible for him, for us, for the family we had created…

The man I fell in love with all those years ago deserved my strength and my comfort, my forgiveness and my help…but that man never said he was sorry and did not ask for help, and when I offered help time and time again he refused it…sometime this summer the man I fell in love with lost his way, and some other man, an imposter, showed up here in his place and one day, by mid August, it seemed I did not know who this person was in my life, in my space…this person who had traded places with the man I so truly loved, and whose smile used to show me every time how much he really loved me…this imposter was not someone I cared to know, I did not respect him and he did not want any of my love or compassion or care or help, and he did not care for me, or about me, at all…

I feel like I wasted nine years of my life because the man I loved so much, and who made my toes tingle and my belly feel butterflies, and whose smile literally lit up my soul, well, that man left me this summer, and some other person showed up here in his place, uninvited and unwanted, and the man I loved was nowhere to be found…the man I found in my garage this summer was not the drummer boy with the grin and the laugh and the sparkling eyes that lit up his whole face and the whole room, who I had fallen so intensely in love with thousands of days ago… the eyes of the man I found in my garage this summer were not eyes that ever looked at me like they loved me, or cared about me, or even cared about himself, they were the eyes of a stranger.

The stranger I found in my life this summer was unknown to me, but wearing the body of the man I once loved so genuinely, and I swear loved with my whole heart…the man whose rage terrified me the last time I saw him was not the man I loved…I did not know that person…that was not a person I ever want to know or see again…he was completely absorbed by some force, some demon, an infection, a parasite, whatever words I can find to try to describe all of this awful summer, fail, and fail miserably, to adequately express the agony in my heart when I think about the last day I saw him…The person I saw last was a stranger, and all I could do was cry…I had lost the man that I loved…I fell in love with a drummer boy but said goodbye to a lost boy…a stranger who made me question myself for weeks, day in and day out, was I imagining that things were changing?? was I imagining that he was changing?? was I making something out of nothing?? was his behavior really that remarkably different?? Am I crazy?? Am I making a mountain out of a mole hill?? no, no, NO…my gut told me things were amiss, my gut told me to find out what on earth was going on, but by the time I discovered how amiss things were, and what in fact was going on, it was too late, he was too lost…he was gone…all those years of comfort and aid and assistance wasted…all that time invested on trying to help someone help himself, tossed away like rotted garbage.

It was the sweetest love for a long time…and all of me loved all of him, and I believed every word he said for almost all of the years that I called him my beloved…I used to so love that Jewish prayer; I am my beloved and my beloved is mine…but that is no more, and what once was can never be again, and after one short summer all I feel now is bewildered, betrayed, & utter disbelief and daily devastation that this sweet love turned so sour…how could two people who were so connected, so close, so in tune, god damn him!!! he truly had found the rhythm of my heart…how could two people go from that to THIS??!!

I imagine I will, in time, forgive him for how he has hurt me. I imagine I will, in time, stop thinking of it all as wasted time. I imagine I will, in time, stop feeling angry for how terribly he let down these precious and smart girls who loved him so. I imagine I will, in time, be able to remember the fun, and the laughter, and all the fantastic things we did together in this blended family we made with these three girls over those nine years…the anger I awoke with is already subsiding a bit, since I sat down to write actually…I do feel like I am healing a bit more every day, but it is going slowly and some days it is rather painful and pitiful, and those days I just will have to accept as harder to handle…

I am not going to speak of this last summer again. This is the end of the sorrow, this is the end of the ache, this is the end of the trail of tears…this is the end of the wondering how it could have gone so wrong so fast…it doesn’t matter now how it happened, it only matters that it did…I am not going to write again of my pain, or his pain, or the pain he has caused all of us who love him. He made his choices, and I imagine he will, in time, recognize that it was his choices alone that undid all that we had created together… I will accept any level of culpability that is mine, but for now, I believe the blame is squarely on him, and my forgiveness is far, far away, and my feeling like it was all wasted time is strong…

I have to move on to my next sentence, next paragraph, next page, next chapter…I have to close the book on the story that I was so devoted to and invested in over these past nine years, and I understand fully that the only person I can control is myself, the only person I can change for the better is me, and the only heart I can heal is mine. I hope and wish that someday, and maybe someday soon, I won’t be so angry & I won’t be so sad. I hope and wish that someday, and maybe someday soon, I will be able to look back with fondness to the times earlier in our relationship when I was just a bookish woman who so loved a drummer boy, and I hope and wish that my heart will heal and forgive him for this summer, but I know my heart will never be quite the same again. I hope and wish that someday, and maybe someday soon, we will find it wasn’t really wasted time…

The Truth Is Out There part II

When I think about the laughter and the fun times and the joys shared over nearly nine years, I feel deep sadness and a sense of loss that is so profound it feels more like a death than a break up…I am in every sense of the word “mourning,” but it really is, when I think about all of the lies of this summer, a loss of a dream…If a person says “I love you” but then on the same day, or in the same week, or during the same month, or over the worst summer of your life, lies to you, in person, right in front of you, to your face, looking right into your sad green eyes, which is the lie?? The love?? Was it ever true?? It’s all a loss of the imagining, the ideas of what we were creating together, and the thoughts we shared about the kind of future we thought we wanted together, the family we had blended, the bonds we had forged…It turns out it’s a loss of what never was…

If like me you are a very trusting person, to find out you have been lied to, right to your face, multiple times over many weeks or months, by someone you love, someone looking right into your teary green eyes, or via text message or over a phone call, the truth becomes something that you question so fully you start to wonder, “was that a lie too?” when thinking about past events, or frankly the whole past of the relationship…you start to question things that you never questioned before…it’s exhausting, and sad, and serves no purpose but to make you feel worse than you already do… I have begun to recognize there is a before and there is an after…simple as that. Before I was lied to and after I found out I was lied to…and the woman who experienced that betrayal, the woman who trusted fully with her whole heart and was deceived, is not the woman writing this evening. The woman writing this evening feels empty and angry and sometimes it is hard for her to imagine she could have been so misled, so fooled, so foolish…I want to think not…I want to think that it was only this terrible summer, this terrible summer of terrible choices and terrible decisions that the lies began, and the life we were imagining together started to unravel and spiral out of control. I want to think it was only this summer, but now I simply don’t know…

I would like to believe that the honesty and the trust that I thought we had for each other, and together, was sound and real for the thousands of days we were in love, before all of the mess. I started to make a timeline for myself last month, trying to find out when it started, the ending, the unraveling, but now I think it’s rather pointless, as is has not made me feel any better at all, because what I think now is that it does not matter when things turned so bad and so ugly and so full of lies, only that they did. Maybe I was too busy to notice, maybe it all started much earlier in the spring, maybe it’s been more than a year, maybe it’s been most of the relationship…maybe I was too naive and trusting to even realize things were going bad at all, and that things were happening right under my nose and under this roof and before my eyes, but I was not seeing what was real, I was seeing what I wanted to see.

I believed a truth, that we had a plan to share a life together, and were both working hard so that someday in the future we would not have to work so hard, and we could find a different place to live together, with lower property taxes and no greenheads. We talked a lot about it, that instead of having a B&B we would open a D&D and call it *dinners and dreams* and I would clean and he would cook and we could have a home and business on a lake somewhere…it was the conversation on countless nights when we sat down to amazing meals we prepared. So many times over many years, we talked of where we might want to go, someday…So sometime in the early summer one of us stopped thinking about THAT, and started to think instead only about himself, and what he wanted, and not about a future together at all…one of us began to behave as if there was no “us” at all and the only future ahead was one that did not include me, and did not include trust, and did not include shared goals or dreams, and certainly did not include plans of sharing a life together on a lake, in a tidy home with crisp white linens and a fabulous kitchen with a butler’s pantry…

There are many things that happened this summer that have shaken me up and spun me around and made me question so much of the last nine years that I sometimes have to just stop myself from thinking at all…why bother?? says the smart part of my brain…why bother dissecting the past, why bother dwelling on the big question, “HOW DID I NOT SEE THAT THIS WAS HAPPENING???” Because the truth of the matter is it did happen, the truth of the matter is I had it happen right under my nose, the truth of the matter is I no longer know what was true and what was real and what was a lie or what was made up…nothing is certain anymore, and yet for many years the one thing that I thought was the truest truth, was that we had total trust in one another, that we never had to wonder, that we were honest, of that we were once certain, or so I thought…that is all gone now, it is cloudy and cracked like an old broken mirror tossed in the dump…it was once crystal clear and bright and crisp, and reflected so much that was beautiful, and now it’s garbage…The truth is out there, but now I think I don’t even want to know…

Pleas of “please…” A/K/A Heartbroken part I

…and so this story is starting at the ending…

Am I heartbroken?  Heart sick??  Heart weary???

Yes, I am all of these things.

Am I sad?  Disappointed??  Confused???

Yes, I am all of these things.

Am I terribly angry, am I deeply betrayed, am I unquestionably deceived?

Yes, I am all of these things.

Just so you know, before you read any further, this will not end happily…This does not have a “When Harry Met Sally” grinning couple at the end talking about their wedding cake, or a “You’ve Got Mail”  *somewhere over the rainbow playing* ‘I wanted it to be you so badly’ ending.  This ending will break your heart.  This ending will make you cry. This writer is writing these words right now, crying, because she is living the ending as she types, but she will gather her thoughts to get back to the start to tell this story from the beginning, and share the unfolding, and the unraveling, and the undoing of what was, for a time, the greatest love she had known, until it wasn’t. 

Just so you know, I am writing a bit every day as a healing process. I am writing a bit every day because it is free and gets the hurts out of my head no differently than if I were speaking to a therapist. Just so you know, I will probably keep writing until my heart stops hurting and I do not know how long that might take…the way I hurt right now, this morning, I might write until I take my last breath on this earth, or perhaps for some inexplicable reason, I will one day soon wake up and feel better and know that I literally did everything I could and there is simply nothing within my power that could have made this ending a happy one.

When you fell in love quickly, looking back now it was obviously ridiculous, AND TOO QUICKLY, there is so much of the, “should I have paid more attention to the red flags?”  questioning and self-exploration as the relationship is ending, and ending badly, and sadly…should I have paid more attention to the red flags than I paid to his gorgeous boyish face??  Yes.  Was his face literally the most handsome one that had ever been in my face asking, “would it be okay if I kissed you?”  on the night we first met, yes.  Yes I should have paid more attention to many things, rather than paying attention to his face,  yes.  His face was the most beautiful face I had ever seen and it wanted my face, my attention, and my laughter, and wanted so much my love…until it didn’t.  It was the most fun relationship and the deepest love I had ever experienced in my life, until it wasn’t…

When you are first suffering from the initial shock of the breakup there is, in my case anyway, a great deal of crying…heaving sobs of sadness and confusion…how is THIS person, the person who not so long ago was MY person, becoming a person I no longer know, and how did things change so quickly???  Sometimes I feel so confident that I will just  get on with my day with my head held high and with the understanding that  this is much like a divorce, just with no wedding, but then I hear a song on the radio or think of a memory and I lose all my confidence that I will be able to take my next breath…but then I do.

As of this morning’s write we have been “broken up” for more than three weeks, but if I am honest with myself, AND when the goal is to be healed, being honest with oneself is absolutely necessary, and to be clear it is sometimes hard to do, what was “we” was “broken” much earlier in the summer, and despite my almost daily efforts to regroup and reboot and re-do all that was coming undone, my pleas of “please” fell on deaf ears…

Service and a smile?

“Thank you, please come again” in my mind is what servers might say to a table when they bring the check at a restaurant.  It seems that what he or she might utter under their breath is “Why the *** would you come out to dinner if you are going to be rude and leave a BAD tip??!!  Stay home jerk!” 

A friend of ours is in the bar and restaurant business and shared a terrible story on Friday night; that a big group of patrons at one table was rude, demanding, and difficult, and proceeded to leave a ONE DOLLAR $ tip on a $230 bill.  This saddened me in such a big way…here at the Jersey shore, while it is true MANY contractors and service workers and “essential” people have had one of the best seasons in years, service workers in bars and restaurants were out of work for a long time, and I had hoped, truly deeply believed, that after pretty much a year of self-reflection, and watching so much sickness and death and ruin play out in towns and states and countries around our planet, humans would come out better on the other side…That people would think, how lucky that I did not get Covid or how lucky that I did not lose my job or how lucky that my town had so little virus spread…or something, something good, better than before…it was perhaps just a silly wish…

We went out to dinner on Saturday night and our server was not very good, at all.  She might have been new, the restaurant is new, so perhaps she did not know the menu well, however it was a VERY small menu, literally one side of one piece of paper (that kind of restaurant, where the chef knows what he wants to make and here are your five choices…it was one page that included appetizer, salad, and entrée, and she did have one special to tell us about) but anyway, she was not a very good server in that she did not bring us water, did not offer to open our wine (but we have not had alcohol in 103 days so it was twist off Welch’s sparkling grape) she did not take our used utensils away after our salad, she did not seem to know the menu at all, and was slow…BUT we were kind to her, and friendly, and when the bill came we left a $30 tip on an $89 bill because WE ARE FINALLY OUT OF THE WOE OF A PANDEMIC SITUATION WHERE MANY PEOPLE WERE SCARED TO GO OUT AND IT IS THE RIGHT THING TO DO, TO BE KIND TO PEOPLE, EVEN IF IT WAS NOT JUST A YEAR OF NEAR LOCK-DOWN AND my PSA is this, DO NOT GO OUT TO DINNER IF YOU ARE GOING TO BE A JERK.

If you and those at your table wish to be cruel and difficult to a server doing his job, or obnoxious and demanding to a bartender trying to keep her station organized and all of her customers served, don’t go out, stay home and be miserable in your own house!!  Don’t bring your meanness out into the world! The world is hard enough for some people, why add to it by being an awful human?? I guess my point, if there is one, which honestly there often isn’t one that is clear, is that one should elevate people, rather than deflate them. The server we had could have said to herself, they were so nice to me, even though I know I should have done ___ blank…or wow, I am glad I was so friendly, they left a nice tip…if she went home that night feeling good and happy then her confidence might improve for the next night she works and she will get better and better…if like those jerks at my friend’s business, we left a rude and hurtful $1 tip, she might have gone home feeling so low and blue and that NEVER MAKES ANYONE BETTER!

Our “jobs” when we are out in public should be to bring goodness and light and kindness into the world…if people want to be awful under their own roof, so be it, but when you are OUT in the space occupied by others, be nice, just be nice. How is that hard to do??