A Date Myself Night

Last night took a detour.  I was excited and filled with Anticipation. It started when the kids were picked up by the ex.  He kicked me to the curb, down the gutter, and for months I couldn’t even get out of the manhole.  He seemed shocked in saying I looked good.  I wasn’t expecting the shock or the rage that seemed to fuel it.  He wanted to talk child care and I told him to go ahead and use his girlfriend.  The agreement we drafted was made pointless by the loophole he immediately saw, and I decided to stop fighting it when I decided I wanted a divorce.  I’ve told him to divorce me several times, but I decided to do it myself mid-February.  I let him know in February.  Last night he asked why we have to go back to court and I reminded him about the divorce that is coming.  He asked if I was divorcing him because of my new man.  I told him it was none of his business.

I went to visit my childhood friend that we named our firstborn after at his job and he showed me the rooftop.  The sun was starting to set, and it fell between two buildings. It’s right in front of the Deloitte building which has always been my favorite because of the football shape on top of the building.  When I find hilltops in my neighborhood to look at the Downtown Los Angeles skyline, I always look for that building. The sky slide on the US Bank building was on the side we couldn’t see, and I could see the Library but know it’s much more beautiful inside, and I’m due to visit the fountains in the courtyard because it’s been too long. I can’t remember the names of all the other buildings he pointed out. He took pictures of me because I looked like I cared and that is a good look on me.

As I headed out, my date night became a date myself night.  I started heading home, but ended up taking the streets to Santa Monica.  I had a pair of jeans and my Uggs in the car, so I threw them on under my dress in the parking lot as teenaged girls were flirting with the Bubba Gump staff enjoying their breaks.  Walking up the stairs on the north entrance to the pier, I got a face full of strawberry e-smoke and an apology.  I told him I was fine.  When I smoked it smelled like tobacco, and not like fruit.  He told me the e-cigarettes helped him quit smoking and I told him I quit cold turkey but it didn’t make me a nice person.  He told me that took a lot of mental strength and his observation made me smile as I hit the pier.

I thought I’d dine at Maria Sol and rewrite an old memory with someone else.  They were closing and I ended up wandering around the pier. As I was walking, a vendor stopped me to ask where I’m from.  I’m a native Californian, but he couldn’t imagine me being from Santa Monica, because he would have remembered me. He takes pictures of people in front of the lit up Ferris Wheel and sets them one of top of the other for a holographic dual picture effect.  He offered to take a gratis picture of me to make me smile.  It did make me smile and I thanked him and admitted I was having a rough night at that point.  Years of being gaslighted made me start to believe I was divorcing my husband so I could date and that it had nothing to do with the times he told me he was done, or the many times he cursed me out at the top of his lungs or by text, or the time his girlfriend texted me from his phone to tell me I was a horrible mother, and physically unattractive. He was negating his responsibility for the other times my arguments with him became her fight to battle. I think the photographer’s name was Martin, but he offered me coffee or tea, and told me I was beautiful. He asked me about my day and gave me words of encouragement. He handed me a free picture without a hologram and asked me to visit again sometime.

I walked away feeling better because it had been a few months since a stranger handed me something free just for the opportunity to see me smile.  Then it occurred to me that most people never have that happen to them and for me it has happened a few times a year for much of my adult life.  I truly live a charmed life when I remember to look past the drama. I walked the shoreline and passed couples in the icy water, or huddled on the sand.  There was a beachcomber with a metal detector and sand trap, sifting for the day’s lost treasures.  The sound of the crashing waves is energizing and it just makes me happy.

Walking the pier, there were several men that looked at me and smiled once I acknowledged their looks.  I was being friendly but I wasn’t feeling like a shameless cougar. There were two men old enough to be my grandfather.  Some were young and in groups.  One was female. Two were chasing kids or holding hands with someone else.  Then there were the handful that were purposely avoiding any glance in my direction.  They made me laugh.  Earlier in the evening I had joked with my friend about finding a self car wash near a high school in my dress to boost my mood, but that is really disgusting and something I totally would have done in my early 20’s.

I left and took the streets home again.  Driving past Hollywood High School I remembered the junior high graduation I was late to. Our auditorium was too small so we borrowed theirs.  I barely made it in time step into the moving procession and make it to my seat on stage with the rest of the graduating Leadership class.  Years later I was sitting on those steps as an ex boarded all over them, grinding the rails.  I don’t know if he wanted me to watch him, or if he didn’t care that I was bored. He skated and I lit up one cigarette off of the butt of the last one. It might have been both. I realized I shouldn’t skip dinner even if I wasn’t hungry, so I stopped at the Denny’s near Roscoe’s Chicken and Waffles were I had my very first set up date.  It was my 10th birthday and my sisters took me out with one of their friends and his kid brother.  I sat and tried to rewire the thoughts running through my mind.

I can’t be the whore I felt like for divorcing the ex.  You can’t blame a divorce on a person that doesn’t exist.  I reminded myself that I waited.  I waited over 10 months after he threw his wedding band in a parking lot to take mine off.  It’s been over a year and it’s okay to decide I am done.  As I was leaving the restaurant, the security guard asked where I am from.  That’s a common question because I look uncommon. I’m mixed.  I don’t fit the standard categories.  He called me beautiful too.  I thanked him and told him I was having a rough night and it definitely made a difference.  I believe taking a chance that a compliment wouldn’t bring out my crazy should be rewarded with gratitude. He said I had a glow about me and he couldn’t see how I could be having a rough day.  I get that a lot.  I had just eaten a Denny’s pot roast, with tepid and not hot tea because I forgot I prefer IHOP’s pot roast and I had a waitress doubling as the hostess. I didn’t send it back because I was trying to focus on not feeling like a whore for reclaiming my future from a dead past. I smiled on my way home and this morning emailed a friend about my cover up tattoo.  I’m ready to look at designs and ideas.

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First Date Anticipation

It’s happening and the clock teases me by going too slowly, then speeding up too much. My 5 day kid free stretch starts in about an hour and a half and I decided I would accept not staying home or enjoying my own company.  Tonight I will share my company and consider it a public service.  I also think it’s time to bite the bullet and stop being afraid of people. It shouldn’t be this exciting, but it is. The caveat is the excitement is heavy handed with fear.  Right now I don’t at all feel like a shameless cougar.

I hold up hangers as options and then I wait and see what they have to say.  Will this one call me easy?  Does this one say I’m a prude? If I wear this dress will you see my personality, and will the sweater on top if it make it all that can be seen? My insecurities creep in and I choose the dress that feels so sexy, no one needs to care what I think.

The shoes are next, and it’s an elimination process that starts with color.  The shoes should match.  Then I try them on, one at a time and walk in my underwear.  Which ones feel stable? How do my legs look? Do they pinch my toes? I go with the pair that make me feel tall and are hard not to notice.

I put on the ensemble and decide it’s too much for something so little and I go with the dress that says I’m pretty and I’m really not as desperate as the last one made me feel.  It requires a little less commitment to being weatherproof as the temperatures dip into evening and I don’t want to rely on a stiff drink to keep me warm.  Stiff drinks present their own shenanigans and debauchery and I’m just dabbling in my own mischief tonight. I choose the heels that are easier to walk in.

On most days I start with a clean and moisturized face.  I add blush on my cheeks, eye shadows, and eyeliner, and as an afterthought, a bit of lipstick.  I like it when I can give a hug and my makeup won’t stay on someone’s shoulder.  Tonight I started with a clean face but then layers of makeup piled on in layers with time to set, then in shades that compliment my dress.  My mascara smells like it’s time for a replacement and I plan to grab a tube on my way out.

I change my jewelry and look for something flashy to wear, because I want soft lighting to hit shiny bits . . . if there is soft lighting.  Then I take it off because I want to wear something that is tied to my every day. Part of going out is the mystery of what someone else thinks will be my idea of fun.  My nerves are messing with my stomach and I’m considering if it would be better to puke or to cancel.  I decide deep breathing will work too. I spritz a little Versace Red Jeans on my pulse points and decide my next splurge will be on a bottle of Ysatis by Givenchy because I’ve always loved that scent even though I rarely wear perfume.  Then I giggle when I remember the time a friend tried to coach me into the correct pronunciation of Givenchy.  I’m officially out of control and all over the place.

The ex calls because he’s running late, and that buys me another half hour to debate a cancellation.  It’s a last minute night of shenanigans with someone I hadn’t daydreamed about spending time with.  It’s a chance at spontaneity and I didn’t allow myself to think this one through and I have more time to think of the many reasons why I should take myself out alone instead.  It was so much safer to imagine a silly crush because that was safe.  I get a second chance at being single and it’s a bit terrifying right this second.

I might tell you how it goes, but it won’t be part of this post on anticipation because it’ll be about my Date Night. One day anticipation will smell like excitement and not taste like heart burn.

My Weaknesses Displayed

1897797_1202447999789120_110455241906682084_nAsk about my weaknesses and I’ll tell you I spend more time plotting the next thing I plan to say and not listening to the ideas you’ve just plopped before me.  If I’m doing well, I’ll stop talking at that point.  I tend to talk too much and it will cross my mind that it’s a problem because you take too long to spit out what you are thinking and odds are you are not cute enough to entertain me and I will guess repeatedly what you should have said by now because my curiosity isn’t satisfied by your slow self expression. Your point should have arrived and you are now stepping on my time and my interest has flown. In short, I can be really impatient.

At the same time, I can get completely tongue tied.  When my words come out a jumbled heap and the words don’t sound like words, that means I’m excited and nervous and feeling intimidated by the person I’m talking to.  This is the time when silly confessions and saying more than I should becomes a problem.  I will shine with the creepy observations that the average person doesn’t see because that careful observation of everything around me and the imagination that fuels them are normally the perfect breeding medium for what I write, but I’ve turned off that censor and words tumble out and make messes of embarrassment that cover me in bright excitement and the heat rises and my cheeks feel it the most.  It’s not as simple as shame or embarrassment. It is a jeweled crown of mortification.

I also have more passive than aggressive in my anger.  I may write what I think, but I won’t live it out. I should verbalize my anger. I’m much more careful with the gilded frame in which I situate my words when I have fear my words will hurt another person.  I’m always a little too worried about hurting others. It’s usually a strength, but not when it’s only at my expense, and not when my caution is fear based. Being assertive is on my radar but I’m very much into hedonistic exploits right now, and assertive training isn’t part of that. At the same time, I believe joy and happiness are choices, and I haven’t found the balance between happiness and aggression.  Let me know if you think of a safe place to express my pissy moods.

Insecurities are a thing, and they’re my thing.  I wrap them around me and push through them until they become my strengths for the most part.  At times I can’t even see my insecurities until they’ve been twisted into weapons by someone else. That’s the point of this post.  If I announce it, I can own it and deal with it.

I have been teased about using $5 words and shamed for trying to sound smart.  I like reading and being a bookish broad wasn’t always a strength.  Again, it might just be the men I was dating. I find men that can get lost in a book and are able to converse about the ideas bounding from their shifting perspective is a new kind of sexy that I didn’t know how to address before. It still intimidates me. I have spent too long trying to simplify my language so I don’t look like I’m trying to make someone feel bad. I don’t mind explaining myself, I just hate second guessing myself.

I do a lot of reading and much less talking, so I’m sometimes unsure about the words I want to use because I know what they look like and what they mean, but I don’t always know what they sound like.  I don’t want to relive reading “melancholy” out loud in junior high. That was bad.

I love too hard, and for much too long.  There are patterns we get from our family of origin, so thanks Mom. This inability to quit for the sake of love is what had me holding on to my marriage for so long.  Letting go and accepting that some questions are not meant to have answers is difficult for me.  Closure sounds so silly in the face of all that was done, but at the end of the day, it matters more that too much happened, and not why it had to.  Some things don’t need a reason that I can understand.  Earthquakes are natural but not normal and we don’t always know how to predict them with accuracy enough to evacuate cities.  Sometimes the shaking is the only point I need to process and grow from.

Some puzzles keep bothering me.  People and their motives are fairly easy to grasp for the most part.  Every once in awhile I’ll see a puzzling expression or someone will very clearly bite their tongue on a rogue thought that very nearly escaped. A moment kept crossing my mind to the point where I had a dream about it and woke up to keep turning it over like a cat tiring out a field mouse.  A month later and it was still crossing my mind.  I’ve had random moments where I’ll catch a similar expression on someone else, and that moment is renewed and fresh in my mind for further torment.  It’s insidious. I have a hard time letting go of things I want to know that I have no possible way of finding out. It’s the same for riddles and plot lines that are not neatly tied by the author.

Math is a weakness. It started with multiplication tables in the 3rd grade.  I couldn’t memorize them and math tends to build on itself.  I was solving quadratic equations and slowly counting out the multiplication I should have memorized on tapping fingertips and whispered counting on murmuring lips. I did really well in geometry, but algebra was a challenge. In high school I got through my second year of algebra and believed my counselor when she said I wouldn’t need anymore math.  She lied.  You need a certain level of math to graduate college, and that class likely has several prerequisites.  If you don’t practice it, you will forget it.  I wanted to be a geologist until the math required scared me away.  I got through college level algebra, but then I was looking at Trigonometry, Calculus, Chemistry and Physics, which are all special names for different math tortures and I decided English sounded a lot easier.  It was the practical decision when I looked at mothering and running a home. It was the boring choice to get lost in literature when  I could spend a night in a tent and get up with the sun to play in the earth with other scientists. Banging out a paper while half asleep was easier than solving equations and mapping complex equations along the x, y, and z axis. It’s a weakness I’ve made peace with but every so often I entertain the idea of going back to do better in those classes.

I’m messy.  I have always been messy.  I grew up with too much junk in the house and it was comfortable. As an adult, walking into the home of a hoarder is both familiar and it gives me extreme anxiety.  As mom, I tried to keep up but found myself snapping at sensory integration dysfunction meltdowns.  When kid1 and kid2 were little, I would piece their wooden puzzles together and neatly stack them.  I’d leave the room for laundry, and hear the crash of a box of wooden puzzles being turned upside down and scattered with the Hot Wheels and Thomas the Tank Engine.  My kids might not have survived being toddlers if I hadn’t decided the messes weren’t that important. I had to let it go, or risk becoming an abusive parent.  Now I will save major cleaning for when they are with their Dad and I even enjoy cleaning up, but to clean while they are actively making messes can make me angry and a bit terrifying. I used to get so angry when I was trying to clean up around the ex that was watching television or laying in bed. The wife I was had to do everything at home on my own and I knew that if I left a mess, it would wait for me to get to it whenever I got around to it. Ideally, they would clean up after themselves, but that first struggle of having to wait for people to talk translates here as well.  It’s easier on me mentally if I just do it myself, and one day I would love to hire someone to do it for me. Sometimes they help and from what I understand, they do a lot more at their Dad’s house, but when I’m not exhausted, I find peace in picking up after my natural disasters while they sleep.  I put on music and dance through it.  There’s balance.  If you saw how organized my sewing kit is, you’d see how much I crave the control.

I don’t cry often.  It’s a weakness because humans are not meant to hold it all in. At times I’ll have a slow leak of too much emotion.  The tears fall silently and I may sniffle a bit, then blame it on allergies.  Most people around me might not notice it unless they are super sensitive or over informed about my latest drama. There’s always drama. I have a seething angry cry.  That usually comes out when I withhold a beating of angry words for someone else’s sake.  I don’t ugly cry though and those cries are the most healing.  I don’t even cry chopping onions anymore.  I could use a good cry and I’m not even sure how to turn that stuff on.  I could have been one of those women that manipulates a relationship with waterworks, but I never figured out how.

The Pets I’ve Loved

As a kid, I remember finding a dead bird and wrapping it in large ivy leaves and giving it a full burial.  My neighbors had a thing for birds and I watched over several days as they carved a piece of softwood into a nest for their little eggs.  The neighborhood dog had puppies every spring.  I wanted to witness every aspect of puppies and dog life, and would laugh at seeing two dogs stuck together. They were cute until they became loud and stinky.  I eventually convinced my parents to let me have one.  There’s nothing like the smell of puppy breath and seeing them wander aimlessly on bellies with pudgy and useless paws, leading with noses that know the smell of their exhausted mother, though their eyes and ears were sealed shut. I’ve rescued a litter from underneath a house because the spot chosen during the beginning rains wasn’t ready for the water sluicing through the mud as the storm progressed.  One spring I was cramming for an exam and the dog sitting at my feet started whelping pups. That carpet was doomed and I ended up ripping it out myself. With the many births and pets I’ve had, death and loss are part of that.  I’ve cried over some of my animals, but not all of them.  Maybe that makes me cold, but I doubt you cry over every human life lost and broadcast on the news.  I tend to do that and don’t watch the news anymore because of the uncontrollable empathy that I feel, but I will read and catch up on stories as I choose to.

I’ve always thought of animals as part of my home, but home is shifting for me.  I have a home, but more and more my home is where I am happiest, and that place shifts depending on my mood.  It’s no longer tied to a place and a person. It’s all about me, and while I still have animals in my home, they are not my home.  I miss my children when they are gone, but shared custody has given me an early empty nest for part of the week.  For a while I wanted home to be my haven, but I’m finding peace in knowing my home travels wherever I roam and I can find joy in almost anything.

We’re down to two animals! My lonesome koi doesn’t count as I have nothing to do with his survival.  That little thing just won’t die.  I never even named the little guy. I like having the two animals.  We’re down to the first two we adopted when we moved here 9 years ago and before we found out about the many allergies my older two suffer from.

Nature is the German Shepherd mix we adopted as a puppy.  I can’t justify her name, but I can justify the pride my then 5 year old felt in naming her.  He’s 14 now.  He was nonverbal for so long, we were encouraging his words in any way they came out.  She has old lady joints and forgets about them sometimes.  She reminds me of myself although I would be willing to part with her.  She follows me and lounges near me.  She understands when I tell her to get off the couch or go to her yard, but she will also look at me as she tries to steal scraps at the table. She gets that from Kid2. Socks is the cat we had since she was a teenager of a kitten.  She was playful and loved socks on laundry day.  Now she’s a murderer that will eviscerate birds, rodents and lizards, leaving entrails and feathers with an occasional tail.  She eats her kill, then she’ll delicately lick her paws as if it’s a regular bath and not destruction of evidence. She keeps rodents away, so she’s a keeper. She likes people though.  The first few weeks after my ex left, she would bring me a freshly killed bird each morning.  I hate the way she loves me.

We had Max dog for several years.  He was a stray that followed my niece home.  She couldn’t keep him and we took him to the pound.  We kept checking on him to see if he had a missing owner that missed him.  We eventually adopted him because I couldn’t imagine that sweet boy being put down.  Now my niece is a grown up with her own place and she was able to take him back.  He was my teenager, always hungry and sneaking food off the table, and sneaking out for a midnight run.  He was very sweet and loving and often tried to steal kisses from me, but he knew I don’t get licked by dog tongues. Every so often he would try to convince me he could be a lap dog. My niece picked him up last night before I hit the beach. I didn’t ask the kids.  I just did it and when they got home today they were okay with it.  They like the idea of visiting him still or having him visit on holidays when my brother brings his dog, my sister sometimes brings hers, and my nephews bring theirs.

I’ve had so many animals.  It started with a German Shepherd named Spikey Brownie Power.  I wanted to name him after Spike from Tom and Jerry.  My sister wanted to name him Brownie but I was the baby and I won almost everything until my parents started foster care.  Spikey came from the neighborhood dog that got knocked up every time she was in heat and we called her Puppy.  I called her Puppy Power and that’s where his last name came from.

Bear was my favorite.  He didn’t do tricks because I didn’t teach him any, but he was smart and he understood me.  He understood English and my very limited Spanish. My early 20’s were rough and he was by my side with his head in my lap whenever I cried.  I got him through Parvo only to lose him to a rattlesnake bite a few months later. Living in the wilder areas near Dodger’s Stadium wasn’t always great.  Sure parking at home and walking to the stadium had perks.  The grassy lots on Elysian Park and Stadium Way that people park in now were always full of rattlers.   My friends were always giving Bear tastes of their beer. He was a chow mix mutt.

All of my animals were mutts and either came from a shelter or got adopted out of a back yard in the neighborhood. Mighty Max was a chihuahua that came with the name a friend gave him before she had to give him up. Gorda ended up being an only puppy because her mother (Puppy) was part stupid and had her litter on the couch we kept on the porch.  Some of them were smothered in the cushions and under her. Puppies that survive when their littermates all die get to sample each nipple as many times as they want to.  She loved falling asleep in my pumps.   Eventually only her muzzle would fit in my shoe. Chester was mainly black with a patch of white that looked like chest hair.  Cuddles was a husky and she was a whiny little bitch. We had a chihuahua named Naughty List.  You can’t be a homeless dog at Christmas without being on the Naughty List.  Honestly, I don’t remember all of the animals I’ve had.

The cats I remember were Sugar who was white with a orange litter mate named Tang. Our sitter’s neighborhood cat died, leaving her kittens homeless and I wanted to rescue them.  Arwen was my cuddly cat.  She would lay on me at night.  I would shift positions or roll over and she would walk on me as I rolled and ended up on top of me as smoothly as if I had never moved.  She was the mothering cat that took in and loved all kittens.  We adopted her from the pound after her abortion.  She’s been gone a little over a year. Milk was a kitten I got from my sister.  His mother was a Savannah that my sister bought on sale which means she still spent more than I would have. He was my first tiny kitten and I had no idea cow’s milk could be fatal.   A large vet bill later, and I named him Milk. My ex brought home a pit bull for long enough to break in a window that Milk jumped out of.  Milk died by dog when the pit decided it was play time.  The pit went away after that.  I’ve fostered a couple of kittens long enough to know round the clock feedings with a wet cotton ball were not worth the cute.

We also had reptiles.  For a while, the ex wanted to run a reptile rescue.  I never volunteered to be his mother, so I went with it as long as my involvement was as minimal as I wanted. The kids preferred sleeping on the couches, so he commandeered their room to house over 30 different reptiles.  I had a few I liked.  I had two sulcata tortoises I named Slow and Poke.  I had a couple of baby albino corn snakes I named Clio and Calliope.  We had a tegu that I fed raw ground turkey mixed with raw eggs and calcium powder.  We just called him Tegs. He had a dog like temperament, and would follow me around in the little play pen we put up for him.  The cats would watch from outside, super curious and more cautious.  We had a mali uromastyx named Chubby that I grew collard greens for.  He was sweet and loved so much by Kid2. I hated the iguana and that temperamental tail whip of a beast hated me too. One Father’s Day one of the red tailed boa constrictors gave live birth, then smashed some of it’s babies because snakes are awful mothers.  We had ball pythons and bearded dragons that were always in the mood for love. We had turtles and frogs, and chameleons.  There were live rodents and frozen rodents, live crickets and freeze dried crickets.  I chopped fresh produce and was grateful that someone in the house was willing to eat a salad.

When I was a kid I had a hamster named Goober.  My uncle found him and his habitat with food and everything else he needed left with the trash collection in 90210. He was a sweet little food hoarder.  We brought home a rat and didn’t feed the snakes right away.  She gave birth and I pardoned her.  That is how we started breeding rats for a while.  They don’t mind incest and we had several rat litters going for a while.  They are amazing mothers, willing  to steal babies from other mothers to raise and care for.  Feeding them is important because once food becomes scarce (even by a couple of hours), they will turn into cannibals and eat each other.  I couldn’t keep doing it because, ew.

I fully recognize I’ve done more than most would, and it’s quite enough. I like other people’s animals, but this newly designed life I’m choosing isn’t going to keep including animals.  I may keep a cat because I prefer an invited cat that is okay staying outdoors to uninvited rodents, but once Nature dies I’m not getting a replacement dog.  I plan to run away on weekends and I can’t do that without worrying about the beasts.  In the last decade or so, animals that can’t reproduce were a first choice.  We’d have pets and ask someone to check on them when we wanted to skip town, but now I love the idea of an empty house and no obligations because I know the kids are fine with their Dad when he has them and I love the idea of skipping town to play in towns I’ve always wanted to see. Is it horrible that the last guy that asked for my number while walking his dog was rejected because of the dog I was petting? Really, the question of whether I’m dating comes down to who’s asking and so far I haven’t been asked by anyone I’d be willing to change my dating status for. Dog or no dog, I probably would’ve found another reason to reject him.

Laughter and Flirting Over the Pacific on Easter

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Santa Monica and Pacific Park

I can’t complain about my Easter away from my kids.  I was with family.  There was lots of laughter and joy.  Maybe a little Jim Beam Apple Whiskey, straight up. Very little.  Like a taste, but not enough to call it a shot, and I gave my Mom’s orange tree a taste too, because it looked thirsty.  I’m so not a drinker but there are enough in my family that my weak contributions are made up for.

My brother had an idea for my cover up tattoo.  I haven’t nailed down ideas yet for covering up the ex’s name.  He offered a mock up with a sharpie. It was somewhere along the lines of a craigslist ad.  I declined his offer.  All of us laughed for a little too long over that, and it was a moment of my family joining in on what they’ve spent a year respectfully giving space to.  My nephews and even my baby brother suggested different dating sites and apps.  They want to see me move on and they believe in my ability to find happiness.  They saw what years with the ex meant for me, and they want better.  I have no idea what better looks like, but they believe he’s out there for me. They encouraged me to jump in and go after what I want. They made me laugh and they made me smile and these days my smiles come so much easier than they used to. I wanted to laugh and smile and I was happy to take their suggestions. I needed that push.  It was a good push.

I came home for long enough to get a few things done, then I drove to the beach.  There’s something about the ocean that makes me happy. I walked along Will Rogers for long enough to be slightly creeped out at being completely alone except for the few men going through the trash cans with flashlights.  I was approached with a friendly request for a joint.  I haven’t touched one in decades. I decided a more populated beach might be a wise decision and drove to Santa Monica.  I walked along the sand for a while, then decided to walk the pier and see if fish were biting for the anglers up there.  I was surprised by a text, and ended up flirting shamelessly for a while before heading home.

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I’ve decided the moment my husband changed into my ex, was when I was ready to consider a next.  The men in my family encouraged me enough to take a chance and the reward on my gamble was huge.  There’s been laughter tonight.  Lots of laughter and silly giggles.  There is so much healing in silly giggles and belly laughs. The flirting was completely one sided.  It was entirely on my side, with spaced out polite responses from the other side.  The huge take away was that I loved the way flirting made me feel. Even a polite lack of interest is something to celebrate.

Angry Diatribes and Self Inflicted Injuries

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The husband is on his way to pick the kids up for Easter.  We haven’t really talked since my birthday and that was before I started blogging.  I can’t stop the million and four mean things I should have said that run through my mind.  I start an internal chant of, “I forgive him,” but the rage pushes through because I can’t forget how he burned that bridge with me still on it.

I love my boys.  I love their hugs.  I love their silliness.  I see their fear and the uncertainty they live in.  My son spilled his drink while pouring it.  Sugar free fruit punch splattered, then pooled on the countertop and he began to attack himself over the accident.  He vocalized his frustration with himself.  He started to hit his head.  I stopped him.  I hugged him.  I told him it was a little spill and when was the last time I freaked out on a little spill?  On the other hand, actively making messes while I am actively cleaning up will piss me off.  He smiled at that and hugged me back, then I cleaned up the mess because it took two seconds and a flowing motion from what I was already in the middle of. It’s the next morning and I feel I need to be gentle with myself for nurturing the responsibility of the mess away from him.

There was a chance I wanted to take that I didn’t, and those thoughts still haunt me.  I know the timing is wrong because I am still angry with my husband that I am still legally married to.  I believe there are chapters in my life on hold, waiting to be woven into the narrative. I know that in time everything falls into place in the best possible way.

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Today I will be gentle with myself.  I will love my quirky ideals and accept my anger as a valid feeling before I release it.  I will play with my hair and spackle on makeup because I owe myself the focus and I may meet my next adventure later tonight. Then I’m putting on jeans because that adventure usually lies along Pacific Coast Highway. I hear good things about Zuma Beach and I haven’t been there yet.

Scent Memories and Lingering Ghosts

There’s something so primal about a memory tied to scent. Infants at birth will use their sense of smell to know where food is coming from.  They are familiar with the sound of mom’s voice but her scent is instinctual. There’s an entire science of pheromones and secretions from sexual organs that call to sexual partners.  It’s really fascinating and gets me excited in all my geeky places.  Scents can flood your mind with memories, help your memory and brain function, boost your mood . . . Your nose is amazing.  Mine tends to spread across my face a bit like peanut butter. It’s adorable on my kids though.

I was part of the last minute hordes on an egg run at the grocery store this morning. Reaching for a dozen eggs, my nose started sniffing in the opposite direction from where I was reaching and looking.  A man walked past me and his scent hit me in the memories of 8th grade.  I don’t remember what he looked like.  It didn’t even matter.  He reminded me of a boy in a semester length typing class.  I loved walking past him because he smelled like his black leather jacket and Drakkar Noir.  I didn’t have a crush on him.  I just loved smelling him.

Dial antibacterial hand soap reminds me of a particular summer.  I once bought a ginormous refill bottle that lasted the entire summer.  There was a blonde skater who was in the middle of renovating his house.  He used the same soap in his bathroom, and that scent always reminds me of him. One whiff reminds me of him, but it only took two dates to decide he wasn’t worth my time or the free drinks.

Old Spice reminds me of a frat boy with a gift for a single handed bra removal, and a love of binge drinking. He was an engineering major, and dorky enough to be cute. He didn’t always wear it, but the one time he did left a memory that revives itself when I smell the original after shave. He loved how tall I was and had the silkiest black hair.  At the end of the day, commitment was never meant to be part of our relationship.

Sun tan oil reminds me of a season in skate shops and sandalwood scented sex wax.  That was a spring filled with Boone’s Farm, sage smudge sticks and nicotine kisses. It was a time when I could expect a hand picked bouquet of some neighbor’s flowers each day.

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Lately my scent memory reminds me I have a history before marriage and I will have a future after this one.  There will probably be a next husband once I get past the fear of being open to the first date.  I wonder what that will smell like.