Would You Rather. . ?

Gluten free is easier and feels better than eating wheat. Food that makes me feel like death is coming for me through my digestive tract is evil. Even if it is buttery and flaky with sweet marzipan filling.

It should be illegal to make sugar free foods if you can’t make them taste better than the idea of starvation.  Meals should be based on taste and hunger. Anything that makes me want to brush my teeth to get rid of the taste should not be considered food. Yes, I’ve tasted sugar free snacks that tasted far worse than toothpaste.

We’re all looking for something.  It might be a pinata with a blindfold.  It could be your keys that are just chilling in your door.  It could be sanity in the bathroom where you can lock the door and hide from kids.  I bet you’ve spent some time looking for a sock or two and just decided to accept your role in the House Elf Liberation Front (if you don’t know Rowling, just know there are libraries for people like you). If you’re really lucky, you have help looking for that ever elusive g-spot, even if it is just a girlfriend sipping a bloody Mary and describing the journey over dinner with lots of giggles. I’m looking for company, but it looks like I’d rather be alone.

I did it again.  I tried online dating.  It lasted less than a week this time, but the horrible feeling was just as fresh.  I’m in a different place from the last time and I didn’t get pulled into the needs of others.  I was able to distance myself in some ways, but at the end of the week, I felt just as violated. There were a few decent people online.  We just wanted different things.  They wanted a forever partner and I’m not her. Two out of three men wanted me to get sexual because I was willing to say hello.  It was usually, “Hi.  Sex tonight?” Sometimes it took a few texts before they were comfortable enough to treat me like a discount hooker.  I wanted someone to stretch my perception, make me think, get my heart racing and give me peaceful moments.  It was too much to ask.

Laugh at my Freudian slip.  I did. The not gorgeous doctor stopped talking to me after this.  It was going so well as we talked books and museums.  The person I was thinking of was worth the slip up.

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I’d rather be alone than go through all of this again . . .

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Sometimes they are friendly for a while until they subtly ask for a picture, and not one you would be willing to share with the world.

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I was up front with my shallow side.  I like looking at beautiful men. I like watching them run.  I may or may not have taken a few detours on my way to work to watch that lovely poetry in motion on Chandler.  It’s a public service they perform and I will be that public audience, shamelessly.  I mean, there is a point to that really close relationship they seem to want with a bench press, and it’s for me, right? Except, I won’t dehumanize him to his face unless we mutually arrive at that point and I haven’t gotten there.  He has to be amazing.  He has to be worthy of that next crush (#4 in 16 years, because I was a faithful wife). For now, I’d settle for someone willing to jump into my intensity.

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There is a dating app that looks like a really great idea.  You get to see people that cross paths with you.  The problem is most of those people worked near me or at the same company, or they lived in my neighborhood.  It’s all fun and games until you are looking over your shoulder on a Perrier run at your local 7-Eleven.  I got a “hello neighbor, it’s nice to meet you” followed by, “let me bring you something from the store” in the same evening before I fully wigged out.  I live on a street that is 3 blocks long.  I made the mistake of naming it, and now I’m slightly paranoid every time I drive past the house he carefully described.

 

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He ignored me after this and later the next evening I deleted the profile and the app because the gravity of my tiny one way street with no parking really sunk in.

And then on my way home tonight I met a beautiful hipster with blue eyes and a terrific smile while walking home with Kid3.  I may or may not have seen him topless through his bedroom window and I might have missed offering the neighborly suggestion for drawn curtains at night. I can’t remember his name, but the look that was friendly and not predatory tells me I really don’t belong online.  At least when looking for company. And no, he’s not the one.  He looked really young.

 

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Brotherly Love

My boys are boys.  They fight and yell and curse each other out.  They are affectionate and loving and sensitive and tender.  They protect each other but they are also terrifyingly violent with each other. They’re boys and they’re brothers and all three are my sons.

Kid1 was a surprise that came with joy and excitement.  Every time I puked while pregnant, I laughed.  It didn’t happen often, but really warm gatorade would make anyone vomit, and I just learned to steer clear of whole milk, but 2% was just fine.  I celebrated the stretch marks that were his permanent gift to my body.  I was altered by him in so many ways from the girl that lived for attention in short dresses and only worried about making sure I had my three packs of cigarettes a day and enough boys in rotation throughout the week to buy me drinks.  A week before his first birthday, I found out we were having Kid2.

During my second pregnancy, I would place Kid1’s hand on my belly to feel Kid2 move and kick.  I’d also pick out pictures in magazines or point at the television anytime I saw a pregnant woman.  I would point at the belly we saw, then mine and say,”baby.” When he was 18 months old we went to the hospital and in my hospital bag was a toy packed for Kid1 from Kid2 because he needed a toy to keep him busy while he was too little to be played with.  When we came home, Kid1 was taught that Kid2 was his baby and we all had to be gentle with him and care for him.

With Kid3, we had a 3 year gap, but the older two were taught the same way.  Earlier this year I heard Kid2 (at 13 years old) tell Kid3 (9), “you were created so I could love you.” In that moment I knew they would be okay.

With my first surrogate pregnancy, I didn’t mention much at all.  I kept the kicks and wiggles to myself and just enjoyed what it felt like to have life so fully inside of me.  The hospital stay was odd for them, but I came home to them filled with hormones that directed my happy bonding compulsions at them.  It was the same with the second surrogate pregnancy, but with the third, they were older and Kid1 was upset that the girls I carried wouldn’t be ours.  He likes babies and would like a sister.  I’m not looking to start that kind of adventure but that might be one of the perks of divorce.  He has a Dad that might.

Tonight, there was fighting and playing.  And more fighting and name calling.  I finally got them to stop.  I explained that I love them all and it hurts me when they say things like that about each other.  I explained that they never hear me say bad things about their Dad because I know it would hurt them.  I explained that the same hurt they would feel is the same hurt I feel whenever they say things like, “are you on team pussy now?” (I admire their creativity.) It took about 3 reminders but they were better about treating each other with love.

There was singing today.  My boys sang with me, as we belted it out to Lady Gaga.  They laughed and explored with oobleck (cornstarch and water and super fun). They played Minecraft together and helped each other scoop boba into their glasses for homemade Thai iced tea.  These brothers are everything to me and through their experience, I am unlearning a lifetime of what I thought it was to be a man.  They are sweet and sensitive.  They are caring and compassionate.  They love children and are willing to step beyond what they see and tap into their beliefs and how those beliefs inform their choices.  They remind me that motherhood is amazing.

These Hands

These hands have dug in fresh soil and planted tiny seeds.  They have watered thirsty seedlings, weakened by the sun and pulled weeds determined to steal their care.  They have scrubbed bare feet that wiggled in freshly turned soil and crusted in dry earth and chipped nail polish.

These hands have snipped fresh herbs from the garden because there is magic in them.  They picked out ingredients in the grocery store.  They’ve washed and chopped and seasoned to taste . . . They’ve crafted a meal laced with love and a little booze.  My sons ate their food in silent tribute without a moment to savor the flavors these hands carefully balanced.

These hands have prepared needles and plunged them deep in flesh during seven IVF cycles to bring life to families I don’t see anymore.  They have carefully measured and filled hormones in oil and given self administered scar tissue and knots under flesh that wasn’t prepared to house the medications that forced a life where there wasn’t one.

These hands have cradled a growing womb, caressing and loving children that were loved profoundly from the moment their existence was known.  They have tapped back at kicking limbs and pushed back on rolling turns as a growing child sought comfort in confined spaces.

These hands have changed diapers that painted on canvases of infant backs and ruined onesies with mustard consistency.  They have caught vomit before the projectile ruined furniture. They have burped babies that couldn’t do it on their own with a spit up payment of spoiled milk.  They have spoon fed baby food and fought exploring tongues that pushed their food out instead of helping them swallow it down.  These hands have cooled burning flesh in cooled bath water while being covered in the smell of sickness breathed out by weak children like dragon’s fire.

These hands have held children close to my heart, in unconditional love and loving abandon.  They have rocked them to sleep and brushed their hair with gentle back scratches.  They have held open books as voices were changed between characters.  They have held little hands and taught them how to knead dough that’s baked into the sweet aromas of yeast and sugar.  They have taken pictures of children singing and laughing and learning through exploration.  They have felt the soft and tender flesh of a newborn.

These hands have written love letters and careful explications.  They have used pen and pencil, keyboards, and crayons to tell the secrets of my heart.  They have erased and backspaced and scrapped the old to make room for something new.  They have filled out applications and completed documentation because autism moms have to paper tiger through life.

These hands have held other hands.  They have found solace in connection and traced the lines of faces meant to be memorized visually, and tactilely.  They have rested on firm chests with racing hearts.  They have tickled and teased through hair and on dampened skin, sticky with the wonders of a life in motion.  They have felt the sensations of pleasure I’ve known in the touch of another and they have granted sensory joy in careful exploration.

These hands can use a hammer and drill.  They have dug holes and laid new plumbing. They have repaired electrical outlets. They have replaced vanities and changed tires.  They have picked up dead animals and nurtured small ones to health.  They have scrubbed floors on hands and knees and washed dishes that no one ever notices.  They scrub toilets and bathtubs and take the trash out.  They carry large bags of dog food and cat food and bottled water because I don’t trust my pipes.

These hands have been manicured and cared for.  They have been dried out by frequent washing in scalding water.  They have been massaged and neglected.  They have known callouses from the uneven bars in gymnastics, and weights, and garden tools with yard work and bare hands.  My knuckles have known the sting of flesh punched off of bony fingers.  They have healed into hardened scabs that eventually lost all memory of their trauma.  They have soothed me when stressed by picking at scabs or with bitten nails, and picked at cuticles.  These hands are sensitive.  These hands are mine.

Living in the Moment

Being in the moment is something I intentionally work for.  It shouldn’t be work, but it often is.  I can tell when I’m not in the moment because time is never doing what I want it to.  If time seems to slow to a crawl, I’m living in the past.  I’m looking at what was and trying to remember it presently and boredom and apathy settle in and around me.  When time is flying and I don’t have enough of it, I’m living in the future.  I have too many things to do and too little time to accomplish my goals.  It’s not enough time to read or write or tackle my latest project.  I have some deadline that hovers and obscures this moment right now.  I worry about some imagined deficit and have a hard time remembering that I usually have exactly what I need and it falls into my lap at precisely the moment I need it to.

I had a brief conversation this afternoon and the statement I heard was a simple reflection about the difficulty of living in the present.  My response was about my daily goal to live in the moment and “BE.”  I try to be and do epic shit daily.  It’s a happy place to find yourself in.

Once I started heading home, I really had to think about what that means, because as I was driving home, I wasn’t in the moment. I wasn’t present in traffic.  I wasn’t aware of the car I was in or the music on the radio.  My thoughts were on the back patio at work with my favorite sweater holding me and the muted heat of the sun barely caressing bare flesh.  I was observing soccer players in the nearby park and appreciating the beauty of the mountains and superficial conversation with company I always enjoy.

I started to wonder what being in the moment is really about.  Is it actually a subjective concept?  I mean, I was at home, with a dog begging for belly rubs and a cat hoping for a canned meal treat and my mind was reliving and exploring what happened an hour prior.  Was that my moment though? I was physically with my dog and cat, and my kids were gaming loudly inside, but the moment I held onto was being lived again in my head.  I was able to savor and hold the memory and I didn’t rush through it.  I didn’t feel it slipping by too slowly.  I was present in the moment of a memory and that memory was a moment of peace and joy.

In the last few days I’ve been flirting here and there.  It’s been silly banter or lingering looks and I can appreciate it for a moment, but any longer and I look away.  I’m really not interested.  I’m playing with online dating but I’m not taking it too seriously.  It’s really become an audition to see if there might be someone beautiful enough to give up my alone time but I know the answer before I even swipe.  I even let my cat swipe for a while in an effort to be that lonely cat lady.  True story.  I recognize it as a moment with a stranger that highlights other moments I’ve had in recent months, and those moments are too tempting to fall into with tender affection and slow observation.  In those moments, I’m in the past, but that past still brings a bright joy to the present and those moments are my present moments because of the joy assigned to them.

It’s not a moment in the past where I am lost to a dream that I’m trying to change.  I didn’t carry expectations that became resentments.  It’s not a future I want to create.  It’s a moment in the past that still shades my present in rosy tones and floral scents.  It’s stepping back into a moment that makes the present moment beautiful and hopeful.  The moment can be subjective.  Right now could be right this day, or right this month, and I imagine it can be the beauty of a good year.  It’s a moment.  It’s now.  Now can last as long as we allow it to.

And I’m still wondering how long right now is supposed to last.

Love Bombs

It feels amazing when a love bomb is dropped all over you.  It shatters the inner dialogue that claims you are not enough, or worthy, or that you need to be more than you see in the mirror. You are seen intimately.  The call of your heart is heard and held and it resonates with meanings that are understood. You are given such a pure vision of how you present yourself that there is no denying that you are a beautiful being, full of light and possibility.  You are validated and shown that there is value in who you are as you are, without further expectation of who you should be based on a value system you are never expected to understand.  Love bombs are epic.

I love your capacity to love.

I love your ability to see beauty through the ashes.

I acknowledge your pain and validate your anguish.

I love watching you dance and hearing you sing.

I love your excitement over good food.

I love your spontaneity.

I love your caregiving nature and servant’s heart.

I appreciate your generosity.

I see you as beautiful and feel your power and authority over your life.

I acknowledge your accountability.

I appreciate your vulnerability.

I admire your ability to internalize criticisms as a catalyst for intentional change.

You amaze me.

Yesterday I was committed to being gentle with myself.  Still fractured from behavior I’m not proud of, I was seen and given a couple of objective views of the situation.  I was given an explosion of unconditional love. I was given love in my weakness and in behavior I regretted.

I love bombed all over myself. It was a Thursday night and while I usually take Thursdays as a day to feel small near the ocean, I used it as a date night for myself.  Usually that’s a weekend thing.  I’m very comfortable with sitting at a table alone in a crowded restaurant, on any night, but usually Wednesday or Thursdays are about feeling small because I need that perspective often.  I took my time walking through stores and picking up items that interested me. I was intentional with my epicurean endeavors. I treated myself to dinner and walked through a bookstore, enjoying the weight and smell of the books I picked up.  I later went home and stared longingly and lovingly at myself in a mirror. I left hand written notes to myself and left them in places where I would find them later because I will need the reminder of my awesome later.  I tend to forget.

I realized that I am so in tune with the desires of my heart and no one can love me as deeply as I do. I took a selfie to remember how great that felt. Tonight, with my sons home, I’m committed to being silly.  I’m committed to laughing at myself and really appreciating what this feels like.  The love explosion all over myself is what is driving my night and my focus this weekend is to teach my boys that same appreciation.

There will be silliness and shenanigans.

Excuse me

He said excuse me as I was walking by. 

Shoulder to shoulder and our bodies shifted toward each other. 

There’s something amazing about a smile that lingers and fades into intensity. 

His was a gaze filled with passionate promise. 

I forgot everything. 

Everything that should have mattered melted at his smile. 

I remembered the hint of a feeling that stirs from a lifetime ago because I was looking from past to future, held only by a smile in our moment. 

I remembered everything and that moment held the promise of a million tomorrows. 

Then I looked away briefly. 

And the moment was gone.