Get It? Got It? Good.

A cyber friend of mine posed a question today on Facebook that got me thinking; “would you rather hear I love you or I get you?”  and it got me thinking about how many times I heard the words -I love you- in my life and how many times they were, often in the next breath, followed by words that criticized my framework of thinking, or my philosophies of life, or my ideas and ideals, wants or wishes, or well, whatever…judging words.  Words that to me meant, I love you…but.

When I read the question, it took me only a second to decide my answer, and  I concluded that for me, “I get you” is far more meaningful and loving, you know that unconditional kind, that is given freely and with no limitations,  than the L word.  In every way I can imagine, somebody who GETS me, not just on a deeply profound level, but even just in my day-to-day ways of thinking about life, myself, my place in the universe, my choices in how to interact with other humans, my idiosyncrasies, means far more to me than any LOVE ever could.

I looked to my right, to the beautiful drummer boy sitting in my passenger seat, and I realized, in those brief moments of thought that THIS man, THIS person who walked into my life only 209 days ago, GETS me in a way that nobody ever has.  I also feel loved in a way that I have never before known, and the kindness he demonstrates and understanding he provides, is a gift.  The best gift any man has ever given me, and it cost nothing.   He knows where I have been, he knows where I want to be, he knows where I’d like to see myself in the future.  I’ve shared some of my darkest times and regrets and stories and secrets and still, he loves me.   He accepts me, for all that I am and all that I am not, & to be clear, all that I hope to be, and shows me sentiment and unconditional understanding like I have never before experienced.  I really think he gets me, he really gets me.  And you know what?  I get him too.

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Imagine all the people…

“Imagine if we are in a music jewelry box, all of us, this whole world, and there is like a giant girl, and she is up above and when she opens up the box and the music comes on and she looks down  into her jewelry box, we are so small we are just in the giant girl’s box.”Said the littlest love of our family yesterday afternoon, a blonde ringlet-haired, wickedly witty and hilariously funny, and genuinely charming child who just turned five at the end of October.  She expressed this thought, out of the blue, as she says most of her deeply profound statements, starting with “imagine if.”  She has used this expression since she began speaking in full sentences and much like her sister and her mother, had a pretty mature vocabulary before starting pre-school, but today’s writing is not about her use of the word “similar” at two, or how she noted that she was “using sarcasm” before she was much past three, no, today I am in awe of her thoughts on how small we are and our place in the universe, because it is remarkably similar to mine when I was a child too…

When I was four years old, shortly before I started kindergarten, and shortly after we moved into our new house that my Dad built, working every night after work I might add, in what was then a small idyllic neighborhood called Deer Lake Park, I fell off my bike alongside the acre or more of grassy  field that was behind our house along side Oxycocus Road.  I fell face first into a pile of sand where the field met the edge of the asphalt  and found I was right on top of a massive ant colony.  I watched those ants for what seemed like hours, but perhaps was only minutes, and I had a “vision” if you will, that has stuck with me my entire life; that there was a little girl, bigger than anything I could imagine and she had a snow globe and I was in it, and that she was looking down at me,  inside her snow globe, as I was looking down at the ants…that I was just a teeny tiny part of the universe and in my reality I was just as small to this “girl” as the ants were to me…it was a BIG thought for such a small child, and I never told anybody what I imagined I WAS, or how small I believed I WAS, but it simply became as I grew up, an integral part of my framework for thinking about the world and the universe, and my place in it.

I know to read this, it might sound silly, but it is still to this day kind of how I think…I like to imagine how small and insignificant I am in the big scheme of how big the universe might be, and I loved that the littlest wee-one, just out of the blue, shared her thoughts with me yesterday afternoon, and her words indicated to me that she perhaps thinks as I did, and do.  I imagine she and I are not alone in our recognition of how very small we might be…

116, our “Magic” number

So it is today, the 16th of January, 1/16.  27 years ago this morning I became something more than me, I became a mother.  Details come in and out of our memories, and time makes us forget so much, but I can still, clear as day, hear my sister’s voice, speaking quietly and with elated awe, “Ruthie, it’s a girl” and they were the best words I had ever heard.  My daughter arrived a week before I expected her, and I learned early on in the relationship that what I had read and heard was true: that when you become a mother it’s like going through the rest of your life with your heart outside of your body, it’s a strange and fragile love, and it was not until she was a year old that I realized her 1/16 was the same as my 11/6 and that our birthdays were the same number.  We celebrated our “magic” number this past spring with tattoos on the tops of our feet.

Over all these years we have found our number in all sorts of places; my checking account, the day I closed it out when we moved to Maryland was $1,116.16, her house number when she moved to North Carolina was 6116, and a few years ago we realized that my parent’s wedding anniversary, 6/11 is part of our number too… The number comes to us over and over, over time, random and unexpected, it just appears and presents itself to us, and neither of us know if it “means” anything, but it means a lot to us.

My child, my daughter, this grown woman who now lives next door to me with her husband and their two daughters, is often moody and highly irritable, which she can’t possibly get from me 😉 loves to clean and keeps her house perfectly in order, which she absolutely gets from me 😉  is a full time college student and works almost full time as well, is a determined young woman who knows what she wants and how she wants it and makes great efforts to have the life she dreams of…she is in so many ways, a variation of me.  However, there are MANY characteristics that she shares with my mother, a woman I love dearly but who does in fact drive me absolutely mad, much of the time, so it seems that in a way, that is the way it should be…a relationship that shakes me up a  bit, and at other times flows with ease.  I suppose most mothers and daughters have this kind of yin/yang love.  I can only hope that there are elements of me that the little ones have, traits that drive my daughter nuts about me that her daughters will exhibit with pride and positivity, as if some of the traits or behaviors or desires or actions skip generations…maybe that’s part of what makes my mother so close to my daughter, and me so deeply in love with my daughter’s daughters…we see ourselves in them…

When the nurses send us home from the hospital with our 48 hour old babies, they tell us how beautiful they are and wish us luck but they give us no owner’s manual, no how-to pamphlet, no instructional brochure…we read Dr. Spock and wing it.  I look at 27 year old pictures and I can hardly remember myself, or her for that matter.  I was only a few weeks older than 18 and she had only been breathing air for two days and there we were, home from the hospital on a cold Saturday afternoon in Beach Haven in January, figuring each other out, hour by hour.  She was a perfect baby; that I do remember, and she never cried, she sort of mewed, like a kitten, and she slept through the night within weeks and I knew I was lucky.  It’s a miracle really that we manage to raise them to adults, but they grow up and we grow old and we women just keep that whole circle of life going on.

We have five living generations in our family right now: my Dad’s mother is still vibrant and well.  She is the only person in her entire community who is a Great-Great Grandmother.  HER birthday is tomorrow, she will be 95.  Magic perhaps is everywhere, not just in the numbers…

soul puzzle

I’ve been happy for six months and six days.  It is perhaps the longest continuous run I have had with this emotion.  I still have highs and lows now and then, fears and worries, I suppose everybody does, but I have not been in this state of perpetual bliss, for this length of time, ever.  This is the sixth “serious” relationship of my life and the 6th time I have been “in love” and I have decided that I need nothing more.  If we last, and grow together through time in this relationship, or if it ends and we go our separate ways, I will be content that I have loved enough.

I was thinking about that term “soul mates” last night; through the few relationships I’ve had, I’ve often thought about the missing pieces of my life and how I like to think a person brings to me what is lacking, thus making me whole, like a puzzle, when I feel less-than or incomplete.  I’ve tried to fit people into my empty spaces and despite my great efforts at self-deception, nobody ever really quite fit…or they would fit for the first few weeks or maybe even a month, but inevitably something would happen, or something would be said, or some behavior would present itself  and show me that the piece would not ever fit, but because I so dearly love  the idea of being “in love” I would trick myself into believing things would change, or improve, or I could change enough to mold myself around a piece that did not precisely fit my puzzle.  I think if the term “soul mate” can be defined, at least for me, it means a piece that fits me, totally and completely, with no ragged edges, warped sides, or bended corners and that my soul is filled up in all the previously empty spots, and I did not have to morph myself in any uncomfortable way to accommodate its shape or shadow.

I’ve never done a jigsaw puzzle.  My sister is the queen of them…she does ones with 1000 pieces and always finishes them, perfectly.  I’ve done many soul puzzles, and every time they were not quite flat, or straight, or square, or had gaps where pieces should have found a home…My soul puzzle is not so puzzled anymore…all the pieces fit, just right.

More, More, More

What is it that makes me, or anyone for that matter, want something More?  I have a quote in my office, within my direct line of sight that says “Be content with what you have; Rejoice in the way things are.  When you realize there is nothing lacking, the whole world belongs to you.”  I read it every day and see it every day and yet, I live my life with “buts,”  but if I had more money, but if I had more work, but if I had a more fit figure, but if I had a more opportunities to vacation, but if I had more…this bothers me.  Yet, it does not seem to bother me enough to STOP.

I want for nothing, really.  I live a life that by global standards is that of a queen;  Clean water, a stable shelter, food, transportation, friends, family, the ability to read and write, I have everything so what is this problem that I find I suffer with once or twice a year where I become totally despondent and empty and low and create this pity party, where one can not and should not, exist?  I NEED nothing MORE than what I’ve got.  I know this much is true.   I grew up in a home where the motto was, Happiness Wants What it Has…these words were branded into my gray matter for every day of my life at home, but often I feel that I am the only member of my family who just can’t seem to “get” it.   I could blame the weather, the early darkness this time of year, the lack of vitamin D, the inability to play outside…it is so cold and so gray and yet this morning, the sunrise was so magnificent, so big and orange and wondrous as it filtered through the cedar trees on the east side of my property…it was so magical that I had to take a picture…and I took a few, but alas, the iphone did not do it justice.  The sunrise needed an eye.

I’m quite sure that somebody who is blind might give ANYTHING to see what I saw for those several minutes this morning.  I am sure that somebody who is deaf might give ANYTHING to hear the laughter of children or the gentle sigh of a lover or even the deranged rooster that lives next door to me.  I am sure that somebody with no arms would give ANYTHING to push back the hair from her child’s eyes, wipe away her granddaughter’s tear,  or  hold her boyfriend’s hand.  I am sure of all of these things.

I think it is time for a writing break; I find myself to be morose of late, something of a “Debbie Downer” and a friend I used to have often told me that when I am content, everybody who reads my writing is uplifted and their souls feel better…I like thinking that a reader would feel light-hearted and uplifted from my words, so it is time to stop typing for a while I guess, until I get out of my self-induced slump.

I thought about my feelings last night, these nagging feelings of wanting something, so unspecific, unclear, and unnamed that I’m plagued by them, that I haven’t got.  The drummer boy was playing his guitar in the other room, and I love when he practices and probably thinks I am not paying attention, he does not seem to know that I hang on his every note and chord.  I was in bed, checking my email and he was playing, and my heart-felt so full and my life felt so full, and for many minutes I wanted nothing more than what I have.

I still have the jeans…

In November of 2003, around the time of my birthday, after months of success on Weight Watchers, I went to Kohl’s to try on a pair of Levi’s, the size I wore in high school.  If you’ve ever been fat or simply ever been much bigger than you think you ought to be, you will understand that although I had lost a lot of weight and people were constantly saying how good I looked, which always made me think, “well why didn’t you tell me how shitty I was looking before I got so far off track?”  but I digress…I had a goal, not for a number of pounds to weigh, but to be able to get back into my favorite jeans from high school.  I still felt too big, but I knew that it was my brain fucking with me and that I was in fact thin…so I got the jeans, one pair into the dressing room, and they slipped right on and buttoned right up and I burst into tears.  This intense emotion of accomplishment and wonder and joy just poured out of me, rather uncontrollably.  A few minutes went by and I heard a knock on the dressing room door and an old lady asked, “honey are you okay?” and I said, oh yes, that I had just put on jeans that were the size I wore when I was a teenager and I was  just so happy…and that was that.

I still have the jeans.  They are in the bottom of my closet.  Along with 10 other pairs of jeans of various washes, style, and leg cuts.  I have not even tried to get them on as I am quite sure they will not even go beyond my knees.   In the winter of 2006 they still fit, but I can’t say for sure when I stopped “caring” and went to the dark side… I do not FEEL like me, myself, or I.  I feel like some frumpy version of a girl I used to know.  I do not like feeling this way, at all.  Yet, I stopped going to kickboxing class at the end of September and other than taking walks now and then, have deliberately chosen to NOT really exercise, at all, for months.  I also have a sweet tooth that does not seem to ever take a day off and I have some stress in my life right now that chocolate in particular, or junk food in general, seems to alleviate, if only for the moments that said food is in my mouth…it is not a good place to be, feeling like this about one’s self.

The odd thing is that despite how awful I feel I look and how awful I feel about it, I am presently in the happiest and most loving relationship of my life.  A person who thinks I am beautiful on the outside and the inside, and I feel guilty…that this person who is so kind to me and so loving to me and shows me so much affection, DESERVES to have me at MY best.  I feel like I have an obligation, not only to myself to get healthy and to be fit, but to this person with whom I now share my days.  I have done this before, I know what I have to do, it is just the daunting task at hand of HAVING to change, a lot, about how I think about food and my behavior.  It is a strange thing to want to be different…to like one’s self in many ways and to let the one way one doesn’t, have so much value to one’s feelings of worth.  What a mouthful…but I don’t know how else to EXPLAIN how I feel.  Any reader who understands any of this will agree with me when I write, I have to start and take one day at a time.  There is no magic to it, there is no trick, there is no easy way, it just has to be deliberate change in choices and decision-making, every single day, and because I have done this before, I know I can do it…but will I?  Thanks for listening.  Here’s to a better me in 2013, and dear reader, if you are in my same boat, here’s to a better you too…