Bittersweet

bittersweet

Forcing myself to write…even if it’s not good writing. My hope is that by forcing myself to do it without ant concern or worry of the quality, the tone, the content, or the value, then I might slowly regain my voice again. I need my voice. I need my voice even if no one ever reads my words. I need my voice even if no one believes me. I hope to someday think and feel eloquently again and write that, but until then, forced it is.

Living in my daddy’s big old house is an experience that fully defines the adjective, bittersweet. I head into the kitchen where my dad spent the majority of his time in the 24 years he lived in this house… I head in there to make something for lunch. It is, like me, a contradiction and maybe that’s precisely why I’m so comfortable within that very discomfort? However, this goes far beyond a mere contradiction straight to bittersweet…all contradictions at one time – a simultaneous infusion of emotions, memories, thoughts, words, expressions, situations, and people…pushing right up against each other, smacking each other around the edges of what defines them.

I head into his kitchen… and standing in there as I think of what I might want to whip up for lunch, the urge to be given one more chance to cook for him stings. It stings like 5,000 wasps have landed on my heart and my gut…and they’re angry. They sting all at once and so viciously that my eyes water, screaming for that moment of relief tears would bring. I usually fight them though, almost as though I don’t deserve to cry; as though I don’t deserve that millisecond of relief when the tears finally roll. And I want so badly to just call out through the house into the living room where my daddy is watching golf, some old western movie, or maybe a country music video, Hey Daddy? Can I make you some lunch?  I want to so badly because I think of the million times I could have hollered that out…and didn’t. And from there, I think of the 200 zillion delicious breakfasts, lunches, and dinners that man made me over my lifetime. I think of my favorites. I think of him asking me what I would like to eat as though I were in a restaurant and anything could be whipped up at my desire. I think of later years as an adult how every single visit to daddy’s house was greeted with, Hey baaaaaby (that BIG SMILE lighting up his whole face)! There’s some beef stew/spaghetti/steak/biscuits and gravy/ Hamburger Helper/tuna salad/prime rib/barbecue ribs/potato salad (enter any number of delicious Southern dishes in here). Are you hungry?

I need to DO something FOR HIM….do something without asking anything first or in return or anytime within the next week or month or best yet, year, from him. I’m hit with the undeniable, painfully fervent need to do for him…take care of him…serve him… you see, this was who he was. He did this all my life for me and then when I had two children, he simply added two more people to serve up his kindness and generosity, his time and undivided attention, his compassion, his wisdom…all things that he could serve us laced with his love. And my daddy had a great big love for us. In fact, great big doesn’t really even begin to describe it. This man – this old-fashioned, hardworking, traditional values, classic southern man would serve us like a slave maid. And always did so with a BIG smile and happy heart, with never a single complaint or a whine or a tiny hint of much-deserved martyrdom guilting techniques or sighs. No. He served us like princesses and was unbelievably joyful to be doing it. Nothing was too much for him to do for us. Absolutely nothing.

 

(Side note: a great irony to this massive, unlimited, willingness to give and serve we three girls he loved so great big are the hundreds of stories my mother told me growing up about my dad. There were countless ugly stories where he was some kind of chauvinist pig demanding maid, cook, and personal service while selfishly not contributing whatsoever. Actually, worse even than simply not contributing, the stories were more along the lines of, “Your dad didn’t care one bit if we had food in the house or if we all starved to death. There were so many times I didn’t know how I would feed you two kids. Your dad would go on binges for weeks at a time when I didn’t know where he was or when he was coming back or when we would eat again.”)

So, as I step in that kitchen where the majority of 24 years’ worth of memories were made, I desperately want to serve him even just for one split second…serve him as unselfishly, joyously, and eagerly as he did me and my two children. I want to show him how happy I would be to do for him even if it’s just bringing him a cup of coffee.   I’m learning so much about my flaws, my weaknesses, my shortcomings throughout the nightmare of the past two years. In my daddy’s kitchen, I realize the bottomless depth of my fears…and I grasp the fullness of my excuses. I may not be one for blame so much, but I’m certainly the queen of excuses: legitimate excuses, ridiculous excuses, emotional excuses, any number of those pesky little stupid explanations for why.

Why… is always such a painful question.  Ouch!
You see, I realize so much now that although I am by nature as giving and loving as my daddy (thank you for that characteristic by the way, Daddy!), I’m the laziest perfectionist you could ever know. Therefore, in spite of my eagerness to do for others – and particularly my beloved daddy – I would rather do nothing than do something in return that could never come close to measuring up to the gift I’ve received. And it always seemed anything I could have done for my daddy would be akin to putting a drop of water back in the ocean after taking enough out to fill 500 Olympic sized swimming pools. If I can’t return a favor equally or better yet, in spades more than I have been given, then I typically don’t do anything at all. Pretty flawed logic, huh? And the bottom line truth of me is that I never had any remote degree of physical, mental, emotional, or financial abundance to ever come even close to matching what my daddy gave and did for me and my children all my life. So, I typically did very little in return other than chronically express my hopes and prayers that “someday” I would be able to do something great big and wonderful in return. I mean, I expressed gratitude and gratefulness, love and appreciation daily, I honored birthdays and Fathers’ days in every way I was able albeit usually smaller ways than I’d have liked and constantly professed my love for him, and I did most everything he ever asked of me which was very rare and usually minor. And meanwhile, out of my desire to match up to his giving magnitude, I did practically nothing of those little daily graceful kindnesses in return. Never realizing how much those little drops in the ocean could have been accumulating over the years…before time ran out.
Standing in my daddy’s kitchen deciding what to make for lunch, the sheer volume of his grace and blessings on me over my 44 years wash over me like a fresh splash of a gigantic salty ocean wave. I am humbled to my knees by it. And as it washes over me, it stings a million tiny cuts in my skin of all the lost opportunities I didn’t get to do for him and burns with the dreaded realization that death makes those little and big opportunities gone forever.

Sunlight Returns

Daddy's home....

Daddy’s home….

Dear Daddy,

I always feel your general presence around me and I’m thankful for that. However, as this long winter has dragged on and on and on without one single sound of your voice and not once watching you come in the door in your big red coat, brisk from the winter air, I realized something today.

As the sun finally shone into the windows of your big old house, I could REALLY feel you today and sense you everywhere. I stopped for a minute looking at that sunlight streaking across the floor and felt your presence more than I have in months. (I’ve really missed you, by the way!)

You are always here, with me each moment… You were the only constant light I knew in my life. The passing lights like jobs, accomplishments, friends, boyfriends, husbands, and even children…were all just temporary flashes of brightness passing in my life, like car headlights lights on a highway. You…you were always shining. Always. And I was fortunate that you chose to shine your light on me every day and in every way possible for the duration of your entire existence here on this Earth. Big smiles, bigger laughs, kind words, hugs, gifts, help, love, wisdom, prayers, listening, friendship, or advice…you were always shining your light on me somehow in any way you possibly could think of. And just like one can’t possibly fully understand good without knowing bad or right without knowing wrong, I’m not sure one notices how very dark their world truly is, until a bright light which could always be seen somewhere scattering its bright particles over every darkness, has been fully extinguished. Your light always shined on me; from a distance growing up, it perpetually shined inside my heart through understanding and trusting in your unconditional love and up close, it beamed on me directly with warm, smiling rays of your brightness, kindness, inner joy, and love.

So, today when the first sunny day finally came through after this horribly long and bleak winter, as I looked at it and took a moment to be grateful for it, you came immediately to mind. And it felt like you walking through that door. For one split second even, I almost expected you, yourself, to come walking in the door from that light as though you had carried it into the house personally to shine on me in your death even as you did in your lifetime.

I love you Daddy. I miss you. I talk to you every day and I pray you can hear me now even just half as well as you did when you were here.

With or Without…Him

Will I ever stop loving him? I truly think not…

Things are better, but only as friends… a friendship which is slowwwwwlllyyyy developing and gaining trust (I think!?). I’m okay, no actually, I’m grateful for the friendship we are creating. I would rather have him as a dear friend than not have him in my life at all.

Just when I really believe my feelings for him have finally transformed into a more brotherly-like love, I will look at him and…

I just stopped over to his house to get a donation for a cause I’m collecting for. Coincidentally, as I’m driving over there, the song he once told me in the smack dab middle of our personal not-together-but-not-separate hell starts playing. Even as I pull in his drive, the song (With or Without You) is still playing. I can’t help but play the moment when he asked me to be sure they played that at his funeral through my mind. A thought I’ve not allowed myself to re-live in quite a few years. But I do now. It’s safer now, right? We are truly just friends. Pulling in his drive, I hesitate to turn the car and song (and sweet memory) off, but I gotta grab the donation and get somewhere else.

He’s just fresh from the gym, wearing sweats and kinda sweaty… I actually think my feelings have changed. No, I mean I really believe that.

Then he holds me for a moment and after all this time of craziness and whatnot, I feel for the first time in years, more than a mere friendly hug. His arms wrap around me just a bit softer and more tender than they did for our last few hugs. They hold onto me just a tad tighter and longer. At first, I don’t want to let go. I want to cling to him for life the minute I feel that something more from him. I do hold on, not for dear life, but like him, just a smidgeon more from my soul and not just from my trained-to-love-him-as-a-friend mind (that protection mode I’ve developed after all this time).

And I think to myself, am I imagining this? Is my eight year long fantasy running away with my rational side? I hold on for a minute right back, then gently push away from him and tell myself, Yes, you’re only imagining that something extra. Okay yeah, the hug is slightly different than he’s been hugging you for the past few years, but it does not, and I mean does NOT mean anything.

Snapped back to the reality, we continue a friendly chat for a few minutes. As I prepare to leave (no matter what type of visit/relationship/hug/whatever, I always, always hate leaving his house!), he grabs his donation to carry to my car for me. I walk next to him to grab my handbag sitting on the table. I’m not sad we are just friends. I don’t look at the picture on his refrigerator with the girl he’s dating now and feel any jealousy or even any hurt or twinge of “what if” like I once would have felt like a nail piercing my heart. No, I don’t feel that anymore. So yes, my love for him now must truly be friendly only; love coming from that pure place in my heart which loves forever when it truly loves at all. So, as I’m standing rather close to him grabbing my bag and he’s got his donation bag, I’m preparing to leave. We are laughing about something trivial and suddenly he sets the donation bag back down…(what? what is he doing? No donation after all?).. Yeah, he sets it back down….to hug me again!

tidal wave

This is an even longer hug than the first one…and just as tender..but maybe I sense something almost sensual in this one as he holds me close and brushes the small section of exposed skin on my upper back. Is it? No! I only love him as a friend… yet my heart soars, pitter-patters, skips, and plays hopscotch like a little girl. And this time I struggle with correcting my feelings and I rest my head in the nook of his neck and shoulder where it has always fit just right and I want to let go and melt into him like I have a million times before.

Oh, will I ever, EVER stop loving him?

“…Ladybugs Katherine! Lots and lots of ladybugs!”

Lazing in the glorious sun in my back yard yesterday, chatting with girls and Mark about the big upcoming move, feeling mostly excited and thankfully, only mildly overwhelmed at the moment thinking of all that has to be done…all that’s to be left behind, and what’s to come…  Sweet ladybug lands on my thigh, just hanging out for a moment.  I try to recall what this means.  I have a vague recollection of some movie or some symbolic meaning of this ladybug in this moment.

 “Ladybug: Perhaps best known as an emblem of luck, the Ladybug is a love symbol too. Asian traditions hold to the belief that if caught and then released, the Ladybug will faithfully fly to your true love and whisper your name in his/her ear. Upon hearing the Ladybug’s message your true love will hurry his/her way to your side. Ancient farmers of the land have considered the Ladybug a good omen as she controls aphid populations. The number of spots on a Ladybug’s back is said to indicate the number of months to pass before the wish for love comes true.”

My ladybug flew off and then returned briefly to the same spot on my thigh.  She only hung out with me for a moment…long enough for me to curiously wonder.  Later I found the above explanation when I Googled animal symbolism.

Strange feelings stirred this weekend with Mark’s visit.  He shared some upsetting news with me and it turned my world around.  It was as if some ancient forgotten feelings were gently brushed. There seems to be a woman he has casually dated, who is claiming she is pregnant with his child.  Oh geesh…hello and welcome to the Jerry Springer Show!  What the heck is this?! I remained fairly calm at first but the feelings slowly snuck up on me as I pondered and tears threatened to spill.  I was hurt. 

Only last Christmas I asked him if we could have another baby.  He was adamantly and decidedly against this. Mostly I was teasing him, but I was really hoping at the same time.  A part of me longs to know what a planned pregnancy feels like before I hang up my reproductive abilities forever.  I love our children and wouldn’t think to change a thing regarding them, but I have the saddest sense of never knowing the excitement that comes with learning I am pregnant, in spite of the fact that I have two fabulous children.  I only know the, “Oh my GOD! I’m pregnant..what the heck should/am I going to do?”  I don’t know the, “Yay…LOOK we’re having a baby!” feeling.  At one point, I was absolutely certain I would have this with Dave, but that’s not going to ever be and I resigned myself to the mercy of my children’s father hopefully granting me the third and first expectedly planned child.  Again, not to be…

And now this…a “stranger” having a child with MY children’s father?  A half-brother or sister right in the delicate era when I’m desperately trying to explain intelligent life-choices to my teen/pre-teen girls?  Immediately following my pleadings for a planned child? It’s upsetting to me in a very selfish way and in a not-so-selfish way in regards to my daughters and the family we have created in spite of the divorce.  Mark confessed strong hunches and disbelief that this really is his child.  I admit I share these hunches, but I can’t tell if this is wishful, desperate hope or actual intuition.  Really feels like intuition, as the circumstances surrounding this pregnancy as relayed by Mark, are clouded in a dark suspicion.  Apparently he had “the” conversation with this woman and even prior to their intimate relations which resolutely explained his unwillingness and total lack of desire for any more children.  I certainly am no hypocrite and fully understand taking chances and what happens sometimes, as I have one unplanned child with this man and another one who borders between the planned and unplanned – but purposely and knowingly (on both our parts) taking a BIG chance area.  However, something just feels different with this.  Mark and I never had this conversation he had with this woman, until last Christmas…years after our two children’s births.  And keeping these children was never a thought to Mark.  He would discuss no other options with either actually.

I did finally find my voice to say softly, “Dammit, I wanted us to have one more and I even begged you last Christmas!” I was a little comforted when he replied, “I know and it would be totally different if this was you.”

Something passionate and historically forgotten (but not lost?) for this man, this unbelievably fantastic father of my children, awoke with those words. Momentarily I forgot my sadness and the- what-will-this-do-to-our-children fears and it dawned on me that there IS one person on this planet with whom it is different for me in a good way.  A place on this earth where I have carte blanche and the huge margin of error I’ve never known and always hoped to have somewhere in my lifetime…or recognized might be the more appropriate word?  Hindsight tells me I always had it here, but never fully realized or comprehended. And as hurt and afraid and sad as I felt, it was temporarily overcome by love for this beautiful man, who after everything, does love me and does put me in a position of greater respect.  This man who, other than our two terrific children, has more reason than anyone to NOT put me in this position.  The same man who knows of so many of my faults, mistakes and truly ugly characteristics…still chooses to give ME this place, this status, this beautiful acceptance and WIDE berth of error. 

I flash back to the deciding moments I’ve had with Mark.  The tearfully spoken “Ummmm…guess what?” moments in which this man responded with every support and every ounce of respect any one could offer a woman in such frightening times.  He never once veered in his choices to want and to love our children, unexpected, unplanned, whatever….  Never once.  I did.  I was confused and scared and undecided..reflecting on ALL our options.  While he, he was stout and strong and beautifully decided.  And my selfish, spoiled self rears its ugly head now to scream at this other woman, “Na na na na boo boo…I’M the mamma dammit…I’m the wanted Mamma.  He was never willing to discuss adoption or abortion with me!”  It never even occurred to me that Mark had any other responses to, Guess what?  I’m pregnant than full and total support and strength.  Seems he does.  Although in my defense, I was not a grown woman with a professional career who engaged in the I DO NOT want any children discussion with him just prior to our pregnancies.  Seems as though our accidents were more in the area of mutual accidents and never came across as even possibly planned or pre-meditated, as this situation screams.

I have not always acted honorably in our various life challenges as people or as parents with Mark.  In fact, there are many occasions when I have acted horribly and been just mean and hateful.  I can blame some of these on circumstances, innocence, and youthful self-righteousness and I have had cause to regret them anyway, but they will now always be sources of shame for me after this one little sentence he spoke like a gift from God.  Have I really given Dave K.  every chance, every forgiveness, every excuse for a million horrible and hateful beyond explanation behaviors and actions against me while being selfish and stingy with these in regards to my children’s father, who has repeatedly and thoroughly proven himself as far more deserving of forgiveness and acceptance than this, or any, other man?  Am I this blind?

I was.  I must have been.  Was the intoxicating joy and perfection I felt with Dave and never once prior so much that it knocked me senseless and blind to see the beauty of Mark’s love and respect for me?  I’ve always been admitting and openly praising of Mark as a man who worked hard to change his early shortcomings and surprisingly became the greatest father I could have ever hoped for my children.  I have almost always been open to seeing this and believing in it from the actions-speak-louder-than-words faith, but I just never really “got it” fully.  Am I part of the reason he succeeded so well in this?

I never would have guessed or presumed this.  EVER!   And it smacked me so beautifully and lovingly that I was taken aback with a brand new love and gratitude for Mark, the most beautiful father, ex, and friend any woman could dream of.  I fell just a little bit back in love with him this weekend. Whoa…life sure is surprising in its sudden and totally unexpected twists and turns!  I can’t even imagine what this will or will not bring… or what it even means…

Alexander Supertramp

Into the wild.  Wow…what a story!

A deep respect for Alexander Supertramp (Christopher Johnson McCandless) grew as I read of his solid character, his fierce determination and independence, and of course his stunningly daring adventures! Every person whose life he touched on his journey felt changed for the better by their association with him (That is one of my ultimate goals from the words of Mother Theresa).   He must have truly been a phenomenal human being to have touched so many lives of so many different types of people and earned their respect and love!!   Amazing!  I adored Chris McCandless (aka Alexander Supertramp) throughout this book!  His premature ending was a  tragic loss for the world.  

I am envious of the life he lived in his final two years – an entire lifetime of experiences gathered in two short years.  I felt his self-righteousness and his need to veto all the mendacity in the world and his life as my own.  I admired his ability to make such a stand and his courage in walking away from all sense of security and achieving his dream.  As I read on though, I began to wonder many things.  In spite of his angry resentment toward his father, had he not had the kind of parents and support he did for his entire life prior to leaving it all, would he have been the same person?  Would he have had such courage?  I say no.  To have such a vast sense of independence and confidence as he did, he must have been given the luxury of a powerful inner sense of stability created at his core that allowed and developed such a firm and fierce stance. …Until I read of his parents visiting the “magic bus” 10 months after his death.

 Suddenly, I was envious of the parents he so vehemently and immaturely resented, wishing I had such loving and accepting people as the main characters in my first 24 years of life.  I gather he had some major discrepancies with his father and the deceit his parents shrouded him in for so long and I certainly ”get” that.  However, some of that was standard child versus parents stuff, that period most go through when forming their own individual identity ….if they are fortunate enough to have parents who allow such growth.  With my history, I could never take such a gift as that for granted.  We don’t all have parents like that. 

My heart tore as I pictured his mother standing sentient in that dilapidated bus, among his personal belongings at the end of his life, breathing in his clothes for any trace of scent of her son to whom she gave so very much free love and acceptance.  She loved him and he broke her heart.  The movie indicated that he might have come to a place of recognition and understanding of his parents before he passed, although I was disappointed to not hear of him leaving them any kind of communiqué specifically telling them and so we can’t ever know for certain.  He owed them both a huge apology!

As a mother, my heart aches for Billie McCandless and wants to have a strongly worded conversation with her son, Christopher.  As a child of my mother, I can’t help but have a fierce envy of this boy and his wide open life possibilities which he was afforded due to the kind of parents and upbringing he had.  It’s clear he was not nearly as stifled by them as he felt he was and it’s deeply tragic to me that he passed before gaining the maturity to acknowledge and comprehend what a priceless and precious gift that was for the very life he so resented.

I ended the story feeling conflicted among feelings of jealousy, admiration, disgust and adoration for this brave and intelligent, albeit selfish and “bratty”, young man.

An interesting personal point to me in Chris’ story is that he shares the same brirthdate as one of my best friends’.  Doubly intriguing in its coincidence(?) of their very similar personalities! (I confess: I’m fascinated by astrology.)  George was such a quiet, intelligent, and reflective type who was fiercely resentful of his parents (with good reason at times) and always far more comfortable alone than in society or groups.  He spoke often of going off into the wilderness someday and living far from what he termed the “concrete jungle”.  He dreamed of building a cabin with a huge garden and just living in relative isolation, free from the deceit of government, society and materialism in the world which deeply disgusted him.  The similarities between George and Chris’s personalities are truly amazing.  This added to my understanding of Chris (and surprisingly, George as well) as a soul who reveled in nature and shunned all things which society represents and reveres.  It definitely added even more depth and beauty to his story for me, although the story certainly doesn’t lack those things entirely in its own right.  Makes me more grateful to have the opportunity to read of this unique and morally strong man and makes me miss and appreciate my friendship with George from so long ago as well.

Broken wings

She felt like a child still in so many ways…wondering why the world always seemed to roughly push against her when she tried to stand up for herself and expect to be treated like an equally important member of society…  It was so uncomfortable to stand up for herself against anyone for any reason at all and the slightest resistance or push back and she just crumbled…feeling more and more weak and pathetic. She often wondered why she was so easy to knock down?

As a child, she hadn’t been permitted the luxury of finding her own way, questioning authority, having opinions, or expressing  any type of individuality.  These things simply had not been permitted or tolerated in any form.  What evolved from this was a fearful person; one who fit smoothly into the world and so many lives of others merely because she wasn’t equipped with a backbone to go against the grain, much less, stand up for herself.  Although it sometimes seemed to her that she’d been born without a back bone, a genetic deformity of sorts, logically she understood her mother had removed it entirely over a slow and degrading 17-year-long process. A few times when it seemed  one might be trying to develop in her, it was quickly squashed and eliminated.  One did not question adults, either respectfully or otherwise.  No questions whatsoever.  One liked whatever one was given, one liked what other people liked if one wanted to BE liked or ever hope of being loved.   Always just smile and go along with it.  This made her an easy target for all types of abuse and manipulation. 

So at 5, she didn’t question the teenage boy who insisted she go into his bedroom with him every day.  She didn’t question the other babysitter either, an even older teenage girl  who manipulated her even further.  She didn’t question the elementary school janitor who groped beneath her panties after school.  They were so much older and she desperately wanted to be a “good girl”.  She wanted to be liked and thought well of and maybe if she was ever good enough, someone would come along who could love her.  And anyway, she learned from a very early age that if you didn’t like something, you’d better keep your mouth shut and pretend to or it promised to get far worse.  Plus, she didn’t want to be the fussy, problem child.   God forbid she be an insolent, precocious type child who disgusted the adults with sass or youthful curiosity! She longed for love and acceptance..ached for it actually from her earliest memory on…  Thus, she never questioned or argued, never pushed back against any type of authority…no matter how uncomfortable or wrong it felt.  She didn’t suffer from a lack of identity, inner strength, or sense of righteous indignation, she simply never was permitted to develop any from the beginning.  She was always a chameleon, learning to quickly change colors and quietly blend in with whatever color seemed safest in any given circumstance or moment.  Somewhere buried inside her was envy of those people and children who had no trouble speaking their minds or pushing back against an authority figure if they did something which seemed wrong.  She envied them the security that came from knowing if they just did the right thing for themselves, someone bigger and more powerful would be there to support and protect them.

Ironically, the catch-22  started hitting her early.   She was so hungry for love and affection, any type of acceptance would be welcomed. This must have been obvious and she was often treated cruelly by her peers or friends.  She early on became the common door mat for many to wipe their frustrations and insecurities.  When she was hurt and tried to  discuss this with her mother, desperate for some consolation, compassion and perhaps even just a little sense of support,  mother would yell at her for letting people treat her badly.  This was always so confusing! She wasn’t supposed to expect better, much less demand anything better, right?  Be quiet and content with what you have, or else…it will only get worse.  All she knew for certain is she wanted to feel loved and had to be quietly unassuming and accepting so it  would not get even worse.  

After she left mother’s home and had her very first official boyfriend, she soon realized she had attracted a violent man.  A Dr. Jekyll/Mr. Hyde type man who worshipped and adored her more than she’d ever experienced before, but also would get very angry if she upset him intentionally or otherwise.  This was especially hard for her to handle with any self-respect.  There was the back-bone issue of course, mixed with the open affection and love that flowed freely in moments when her boyfriend wasn’t angry with her.  She knew she wanted more of that, in fact she felt a bottomless pit of need for this love.  How could she walk away from the first person who loved her enough to defend her to others, even if he did physically attack her himself?  At least he didn’t allow anyone else treat her badly.  He loved her most of the time and at least this way the cruelty only came from one person, instead of several.  This was better than anything she had ever known before!

After a few years of his random and violent beatings she realized she must escape soon when he started openly threatening her life if she tried to leave.  She turned to her mother for help… scared and begging for a place of refuge.  Mother said, “You’ve let him treat you like this for years now…so you deserve what he dishes out. You must like it to have stayed so long.  Give it a few years and then if I can believe that you’re really not going to go back to him again, maybe I will help you at that point.” 

Give it a few years?   He had recently forced her into his car and kidnapped her for an afternoon and another time recently had threatened her with a gun.  She never once called the police on him (not wanting to get him in any trouble), and when concerned neighbors would hear and called the police, they never helped.  In spite of her obvious busted lips and bloody noses, they would always say something like, “You two need to separate for a while and work this out on your own.” 

Dad would take one look at her black and swollen eyes and say, “Honey, what did you do?  You know how sassy you can be…you must have said or done something to really set him off this time.  You have to learn to watch your mouth, girl.”

Give it a few years?  The violence was escalating amazingly fast.  She had no where safe to run and she didn’t believe she would last another few years.

In this desperation, she did what she had to do to get free and after a few years of counseling later in life, she realized that mother hadn’t allowed her to have a backbone or to develop any self-respect and then punished and criticized her further for being “weak”.   No one was ever going to stand up for her and she didn’t have the strength or self-confidence to ever stand up for herself, she wanted to be loved too much to ever take that chance.  It was a no-win situation.  She was the world’s punching bag, literally and figuratively… and she could never lose the fear that if she didn’t learn to accept this, it could always get worse.

With this innate sense of constant fear and drastic lack of self-respect or entitlement, she set out in life, mostly hoping not to be noticed much and praying someone safe someday would.

Into the Nook

My  daughter received a Nook for Christmas.  She tried it out for a few weeks and decided she didn’t care much for it and prefers regular books to this convenient mechanism…..  and she has given this most lovely, nifty and absolutely glorious thing to ME!  I am so excited! I still want to jump up and down when I look at it…  no seriously, I really do!  I sneak little peeks at it sometimes when I pass by it while its charging or just sitting there.  I touch it and look at it now and then, even when I don’t have time to read, just to connect with it.  I called customer service the first three days straight after she gave it to me, just to learn something new about its functions and capabilities, so I could have the most incredible relationship with “my” Nook  ever …hehe…  I love it!

And so I’ve begun my journey back to my one of my two original and most passionate loves…reading!  And thanks to my Nook, I can read as easily as I once could before the incident left me challenged to holding a book properly and turning pages.  Thank you to my generously kind daughter and the makers of the Nook for bringing this joy back into my world unencumbered by the frustrations which were clouding my enjoyment for the past ten years.  What a blessing!!

Reading always re-connects me with my other deep love – writing!  And I even had the peace of mind to browse my favorite writers this morning and read these words I love and appreciate so much, which also further inspire me to write.  Reading juicy words of creativity, provokes so many emotions inside, but today, mostly I just feel gratitude for the other writers out there who are gifted enough and intelligent enough, and stable enough to not allow anything in life to rob them of their flow of creative juices.  Although I do feel somewhat sad that I am not that way right now, my juices seem to have been sucked too dry to function with anything of any real value.  After kicking myself a few good, swift kicks…I also feel so inspired that I get hope back that perhaps I will yet again someday feel capable of writing about something other than DK and the pain I have experienced.  I feel hope that I will again feel the urge to write, even when I’m not in agony and mass confusion.

Once it seemed writing of my pain, eased it and helped me to get over it and hold onto myself through it, but it seems lately, there is no healing in me..and I only have energy when I’m in so much pain I’m writhing about desperately searching for something to numb it…but instead of writing through the pain, I have written of it, around it, over it, in it..flailing about trying to find that one phrase or expression that will sedate the pain a bit.  While all I’ve accomplished really, is the flailing about in itself…wallowing around in the damned ridiculous pain I’ve perpetuated and nourished to the extent that I almost cease to function creatively without it..

And my God that is absurd!  Am I to allow them to conquer me in that way?  To rob me of the juicy, dripping, delicious succulence of my spirit and my passion? What the hell is the matter with me?  I can’t give them that.  I won’t.

Thank you to you delightful writers here and everywhere and to my daughter and her (my!!) Nook.   Let the river of creativity begin to flow once again!

I just shot cupid (with JLH)!

Reading JLH’s book, The Day I Shot Cupid, which is an interesting and fairly entertaining book, I came upon this passage:

…because at the end of the day it must be sad to love yourself so little that you’d be willing to become the joke, the cocktail hour topic, or worst of all, the reason someone else will find it difficult to love and trust again.

As I was reading the preamble to the point she was making here, I was on a totally different page as to where she was going with this.  I was riding on a whole other train on that ride.  When I read along and get to the above quoted statement and I stop my train dead in its tracks.  According to DK (yes, in his twisted logic and mouth that can’t stop spewing lies and fantasies of comfortable denial long enough to admit to the weather outside), I (ME!) am, in fact, that girl.  And yet, how can that be fact when he is, in fact, that same person for me…that guy?  And if I stretch beyond myself and presume that in our own little worlds and our own little lives that we are both correct on this matter….what the hell?  I mean, what IS that? 

I’m floundering about lately, trying to figure so much…so much love, so much pain, so much twisted truths and blatant lies, so much WTF’s, so much slander, so much hatefully random mean-ness, so much utter selfishness, so much damage, just…well, so much, so much!  After the last two absolute denials and random mean text spewing in response to my attempt to find peace, closure, and an amicable place to end this nightmare from hell, I finally just snapped.  The first denial of reality(at least the first in awhile, that is), I felt socked in the gut, taken aback, literally a deer in headlights, but then the very next one was just so much more of random senseless garbage that I snapped and lashed out (and lashed out pretty “randomly” if I may say so myself!)…..I atually had a thought where I felt justifiable in thinking that this man has become so inherently cruel and evil-ly twisted that he deserves to die a long, slow, painful death.  I have never, EVER, thought such a horrible thing regarding anyone in all my life! The thought itself shook me to my core.  I felt overwhelmingly guilty. I searched myself for the saturation of love and gratitude that I typically can find for most any human being on the planet, except perhaps the most heinous of the infamous serial killers…  Nope….not there anymore.  I believe every last ounce of optimism, blind faith, and agape that once ruled the lush kingdom of my heart and soul, has been stomped and shredded to a microscopic dust of frustration , hurt, and resentment. Beyond what I’ve ever thought was possible. No, you can’t love hate away for some people.  No, you cannot be so accepting and caring that a horribly damaged person will heal and become beautiful again.  No, you an’t be so unassuming and selfless and take every stab of hurt and bullshit a mean person dishes out and think that this person is one bit more capable of seeing the beauty in the world and in humanity, much less in me.

At this point, the part that is most senseless is thatg I want nothing from him.  I don’t ask for him back.  I don’t chase him.  I don’t try to gain back his love.  My desire in this had become nothing except the bleek hope that he just might not speak terribly of me or think the worst of me forever or spread more lies and hatefully untrue insults to my character.  I guess that in itself is a bit selfish, as it does still mean I was hoping for something from him and I’m not going to feel badly about that because in my world, those things are basic considerations which should be every moderately decent human being’s right on this planet, and maybe even all the others as well.  So, I will not see that basic expectation as truly selfish, but more as me asking to be treated with basic and minimal consideration as a person…..me, asking for the only absolute right that I believe anyone and everyone is truly entitled to merely by their existence as a human being, with all the parts and pieces that make them human. 

Is that too much for him because he hates?  Does he hate?  Or is he as completely apathetic as he poses most of the time lately?  Who knows? I certainly never will.  I lean toward believing the apathetic part, but then what of  the nasty accusation explosion off all that OLD stuff when I requested some closure and expressed my desire to leave it in a good place?  Requested and desired at this point, merely so as to (hopefully) not feel as though either of us have wasted the last 7 years on truly and completely ridiculous nonsense.

Who cares?  Just more mean-ness and hurt added on top of an already existing avalanche of the unthinkable and often unspeakable crimes against my heart and assaults to my spirit…  What damned difference should it make anyway?  It will soon be over…like it or not….over…over…OVER…

And at least now, I can safely know there is an end to the pain being inflicted, even if not the damage done.  This is the glorious positive in this whole last hoop-la of his bitter, hateful, ugly past 5-6 years!  Yay!

The Slut’s conundrum

Slut.

I’m not sure what this means to me anymore…  I once thought that sharing your body intimately with another person should be reserved only for relationships where love was there or at least a potential to love….great admiration, perhaps?

My whole perspective on this has changed in the past 4 years of riding the viciously cruel DK roller coaster.  I haven’t been loved by another in four years, but I’ve loved a man and I’ve had sex with him countless times throughout this period.  And now I might be somewhat free from the painful chains holding me to him, but I do not know my capacity to love any more.  I can’t possibly know if I will ever feel a depth of emotion strong enough for another person in a romantic relationship to label it “love”.  I question my capacity to let myself venture there again at all.

It is painful to think of loving him so much and all we missed out on, as well as all the damage that he has done toying with my heart or four years.  I still can’t be certain I would agree it is better to have loved and lost..but I can finally say with absolute sincerity that the mutual loving experience of that relationship before it turned into something cruel and ugly, was the most beautiful experience I have ever had.  It hurts to think of the beauty of it..because it is gone..but I don’t fully resent it anymore.  I can actually feel a tinge of utter gratitude for having experienced a love that most people will never get the opportunity to know or even comprehend…  And while I still can’t fathom it will ever not hurt at ALL to have that memory and experience, I can qualify that into a category where I see that in some perspective I was truly very blessed and fortunate to have known it.

And now what?  My heart does not (thankfully!) fully reside with DK anymore, but it certainly still is not fully my own either.  Irony is that my capacity to love has diminished and grown overly cautious, but my capacity for compassion and forgiveness has exceeded limits I never would have imagined it could.  And I have always associated compassion and forgiveness with love…at least the deeply sincere kinds of compassion and forgiveness.  How can this be?

And…because of this experience am I now cursed to be what I previously considered a “slut”?  If I cannot love…(will not love?) is it acceptable to sexually connect with others under those circumstances?  When I KNOW I am in those circumstances?  Does this warrant me a life as the stereotypical tramp..the girl everyone uses to satisfy physical desire or fears of self-inadequacy?  I cringe at the thought of being used by so many…or by ANY one really and yet who am I to judge? I have allowed DK to use me to the extent that I feel worth little more than that.    If I cannot/will not (?) love, am I not for all intents and purposes, using others in my own way as well?  No matter how full of compassion and forgiveness my “usings” are…am I any better than anyone else who selfishly uses others for whatever their personal reasons might be.

I have allowed a man to use me to the point that my own self worth has shriveled to nothing… I reside in a place where I can’t even imagine another human being feeling genuine love for me… I am not worthy of that any longer.  I am a body with working pieces, a soul full of compassion and forgiveness, and a heart that is closed.  Who am I?  The slut I never imagined I could be…a monstrous creation formed from a beautiful relationship that went wrong and a love for another that would not subside…which has mutated me into a worthless tramp.  “Self righteous”, “teasing”,” save myself for love only” girl has mutated into its opposite…

And I believe that since the more sex without love you have in your life, the less love you have in general…the more the capacity to love shrivels further and further…then I self-create a continuation of the very thing I never wanted to be…

Or I join an Ashram and swear of all desires and thoughts of romantic love forever…?  Let agape flow from my heart through my outstanding capacity for compassion and forgiveness for humanity, while resigning myself to a life without personal love or selfish satisfactions.

I am a contradiction by definition of my character and spirit… and instead of resolving those contradictions, I, myself(with extraordinary assistance from DK), have dictated my life to expand my contradicting nature….perhaps making me the most unlovable and least respectable human being who has walked the earth…?

Overly dramatic?  Yes, of course!  And still I feel I cannot put precise enough conviction and explanation in my words or thoughts regarding the conundrum I and my life have become…..

Tiny deaths of devotion

He showed up Friday around 2 am.  First time since the letters the girls sent.  I somehow knew he would or at least, had this sneaking hunch.  That’s rather typical, but more interesting is that Lexi somehow “knew” he was coming too.  Said she’d felt that all day long and instead of staying at a friends’ house as we had planned, actually decided to come home with me.  She told me the next day that she’d had the feeling he was coming all day the day before.  I think he intuition is far stronger than mine could ever be because she believes in herself and I’ve taught her to trust that voice inside.  So interesting to contemplate the similarities between us and the differences within those similarities due to vas environmental experiences.

So, I really felt he was coming.  We hung out for awhile debating whether he could stay or not.  I told him Lexi could not see him here under any circumstances.  That’s when he went into talking about Lexi’s letter and how he didn’t want to ever “damage” them, but that he’d only been here “once”.  For the love of God…are you kidding me??    I said, well, you might only remember once because you’re always drunk, but the girls and I are always sober and we remember 30 times easily.  What do you mean “once”??  It must be such a convenient gift to have memories only of our choosing.  I sure wish I were so blessed!!

So, after mild debate, I drove him straight home.  No sex..only a few kisses in the kitchen before we left and a few in the car in his driveway.  I felt really proud of myself for this, but sad too.  I would have loved to sleep and wake up next to him….but I chose not to regardless how much I would have loved that in the moment.

And here is where it gets  irrevocably disgusting:  Had lunch with my boss Monday.  She asks if he came over Friday.  I said “Yes, gosh how did you know?!”  She says she saw him out at the bar.  Hitting on everything there that has at least 2 teeth, stumbling around lost, and barely functioning while throwing himself at any female whose path he crossed intentionally or otherwise.  My boss said she was disgusted and desperately wanted to go up to him to say,”Sober up and go to her.  Stop this ridiculous garbage.  You have a wonderful girl who adores you and waits for you.  What the hell’s the matter with you?  Get over this and go to her.” 

Apparently his good buddies he was with just walked around laughing at him throughout this.  That makes me so mad!  My friends actually care more about his dignity and self respect than his own “good buddies”.  How sad!  And that’s only because they know of the man he once was.  My boss is now thoroughly disgusted in spite of all the wonderful things about him I’ve told her over the years and literally feels sorry that I love him at all.  She would now be about the 100th person to say to me directly, “You deserve SO much better than him.  You could way better than someone like that.”

And after he was rejected by every nasty and maybe-not-so-nasty(?) bar fly, he came straight to me.  He must have walked.  My boss said his friends were still there and suddenly he was gone.  He must’ve walked those few miles straight to my house.  I think of how sad I was that I didn’t hold him or make love to him or wake up with him.  …How it bothered me all weekend that I’d had to pass on one of the few deeply happy moments I can still experience (however pathetic it might be).  And then I think of the only reason he was here was because he was rejected by everything else and that it sure wasn’t for a lack of trying.  And I want to vomit that he comes to me and I struggle with the choice to reject him and I hurt for days afterward for making the “right” choice and not the choice I so want…  My daughter was the only reason I found the strength to succeed in making that choice.

Do I dare say that I felt the tinies bit of devotion to him die?  I’ve hesitated to even document this experience/information regarding him at all because if it doesn’t die at least a little…then I’m truly the most hopeless female that has ever walked the earth.  Yet, my fear that it won’t be enough lingers in my gut, surrounded by excuses and memories of the incredible human being he once was…tempting me to distort it all and color it inside my pink fluffy bubble of lasting love and devotion.  It’s not as though this is the first “unsavory” story I’ve heard in the past three years of this nonsense.  In fact, it’s one of the more typical.  Sadly, there are many far more disgusting.  I just feel the need to protect my love for him and not give them the validity of writing them down anywhere.

I do have enough hope this moment to almost believe that yes, a teeny-tiny piece of adoration for him has died.  Which I’m praying lasts long eough to give me the strength to see him without the deceptively loving and forgiving glasses I always wear.  Maybe even the deepest devotion can actually die incrementally in time with enough disappointment, deceit, disgust, and manipulation?  Have I knicked the surface even?  Do I dare completely give myself that possibility- that hope?

I desperately would like to think that if he came back to me this very second, begging and sober (too many times he’s done this drunk!), that I would be able to say with confidence and conviction, “I love you with everything in me that is pure and true Dave, but I do not choose to be with you again.”

That is my prayer.  To be able to say it and mean it…and not feel like  my heart is dead inside my chest as soon as the words come out and I watch him walk away….  If that is God’s will of course.

Heaven help me.  Thank you.