Poem Art: Elusive


poem art 3

I had a conversation today with a person who played a prominent role in my past. He said something that triggered a visceral, and for me, odd reaction. It was odd, because it surprised me, that I could feel such a ‘gut’ feeling (like I had been punched in the gut) to a very simple thing this person said in a perfectly normal conversation. It wasn’t like we had delved into the past or were reminiscing… and yet, the comment, in a sense, was about the past, because it referenced a place we had shared together.

This moment touched off many thoughts in me. Like what constitutes relationships and ‘falling in love’ with someone? And is love even the right way to approach a relationship? Should it be more about wanting or needing something–for yourself; in others?

Certainly at my age, love seems a far cry from where I am these days. My relationships with people close to me seem to be based on things much more involved than love. Things that seem even more important and lasting than love if that makes any sense. The things that keep people together–the glue.

Those of you that have lasting relationships of any kind know what I mean here, so I won’t explain what I am talking about. Love can be fleeting and fickle and hard to get a grasp on. But we can still build strong, solid and meaningful bonds even after the love may turn into something strange or convoluted. Or maybe if the ‘love’ was strange from the start.

So can I re-evaluate life and how to live it more openly? To be open to a different way to to be with someone if love isn’t the defining point? It’s another perspective really, but not unfamiliar. It’s a theme that has repeated in my life.

What is the ‘want’ then…or the ‘need’? These become the hard questions to ask. Because simply hoping to exchange love with someone, I feel, is not where I should place my hope.

It seems it should be in far more reliable, tangible and maybe simple things that will help to grow a connection with someone else; things that will ultimately not vanish, just in case the love remains elusive.

 

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Weather The Storm


It never ceases to amaze me that after someone makes the move to cut you out of their life, they often turn around after with great remorse. Seemingly it always seems to be the people who do this without care or tact, they do it rudely and hurtfully. And then, either shortly or some time after, come swooping back gushing flowery words telling their true desire or care for you. It totally baffles the mind!

So, why then, did they go in the first place? It has become apparent to me that either don’t make the same long-term commitment to others that I do, or they base leaving on a particular act or feeling. One moment in time constitutes enough of a reason to tell the other person to get lost.

While it is true that not every case is like this and many relationships/marriages/friendships may weather many storms and then finally hit the tornado that breaks the foundation apart. I understand these situations. But I have found more and more this not to be the case. Rather no-one seems to want to put their heads into the wind anymore with someone else and face the winds together. It is just easier to say: I’ll push you out there yourself and close the door to the storm cellar where I’m safe.

But then, why stick your head out again looking for that person? They would have been bruised and battered by the storm. And adding insult to injury by claiming love or cherishing when you pushed someone out there simply sounds utterly, well, ridiculous!

How then, to avoid these kinds of situations? Well, we can just never trust anyone! I’ve tried that before. But the storms can be dark and lonely to battle alone. And it can be nice to share an umbrella now and then. Getting to know someone takes time, so not rushing that can be helpful.

More importantly, the burden falls on the people who do the dumping. Although we can’t control them, we can try not to be them. Thinking before we leave a friendship, marriage, relationship is critical. Thinking about the devastation we leave in our wake is critical! It’s not just about us! Empathy-even when we may feel like garbage-is the key. And remembering that at one time at least, we cared about this person we’re about to wreak havoc upon, even if we’re not crazy about them presently.

Finally, thinking about why you are doing it. Is it because you are in some moment that is ticking you off? Is it something that will pass? Maybe you can do something instead of telling them to take a hike: maybe you can GO for a hike, go talk to a friend about it, write, listen to music, run, meditate or whatever it is you do to come down off your anger (beside use substances to excess). If the moment passes, then you won’t make the dumb mistake and be writing that person the idiotic email saying how much you miss them! And they won’t be telling you what a jerk you are later. If it doesn’t pass, then communicate in a mature way with the other person. At least let them know there’s a problem! If it isn’t solved them–seek help together! There’s so many places to get help: professional or otherwise.

There’s no need to just be cruel. If you did indeed love or care for someone: friend, lover or spouse–then don’t let anger or hurt blow it. Just stop and think before you do something that may end “the best thing you ever” had or make you lose “someone you cherish” (these are both quotes -post dumping-from two people who ended it with me)

No-one says it’s easy getting along with someone else, but walking away during the storm will only leave you standing in the rain.

Happily Ever After


So it seems very often (more than once a week even), either in a social gathering or speaking with a friend or relative, the topic always seems to come up that I’m single. That in itself is no big deal, but rapidly on its heel always seems to be some comment related to the fact that I will somehow in the near future be meeting the man of my dreams.

I guess I’m here to say that I’m getting tired of this presumption on many levels. First of all, I don’t want to meet a man. Second of all, I don’t believe there is a ‘man of my dreams’. Third of all, I’m perfectly happy single. Fourthly, maybe I wouldn’t want to be with a man. The list may even go on.

My question is: why does everyone I meet or talk to assume that I need to be with someone? Do I personally exude some ‘loneliness’ hormone? Do I look pathetic and sad? Is it that they are so all fired joyful and happy being in a relationship that they feel everyone needs to be? I simply don’t get it.

Take my mother for instance: understand she is not your typical mother. While she is in her 80’s, she is a very liberated woman. She raised me to believe I could be anyone or anything I wanted to be. She was married twice, but now lives with a man 91 years young and refuses to marry him! But that doesn’t stop her from constantly chiding me every other conversation we have with the old: when you least expect it.

People don’t understand that if you don’t want it, it doesn’t matter when you least expect it. I’ve had many, many experiences with multiple husbands and boyfriends and dates. I find it very hard to picture now trying again. In fact picturing it simply freaks me out. So even if it happened, I would most likely walk away.

And it’s not just ‘them’, it’s me. I’m very quirky: vegan, gluten-free, a diligent athlete, a paramedic with weird hours, dog lover, cat lover, very liberal (in an area that isn’t always that way), outspoken, ADD, OCD….well, you get the idea. I mean fitting someone into my life at this point could be, well, let’s just say problematic. He would have to have “Saint” in front of his name.

In ‘our’ stages of life we carry around all our ‘stuff’ as George Carlin says: we each have our homes, our own jobs, our own families, sets of friends, ways of doing things (that’s not the way I put the dishes away). It becomes increasingly difficult to blend with someone else this late in life.

Sure I sit in bed with my dog at night and wonder about it, but then I think: how could I share my bed again? I take up the whole bed now! I wouldn’t want my dog banished to the floor. Or my three pillows, or the three blankets I use in the winter. Hey, it’s cold!

One good reason to have a man around would be safety. Some days I don’t feel safe living alone. It used to feel OK living where I do by myself, but now nothing feels safe anymore. Or if I was up on the roof raking the leaves and I fell off, at least he could call 911. Or wait, maybe HE could rake the roof! Or better yet, we could do it together? No, he would be watching the game. No wait, I don’t have a TV–and don’t want one! Yup, another quirk.

So, I just wish people would leave me be. I wish they would stop being cute or whatever it is when they say: when you least expect it, or just stop trying so hard (who’s trying?) or well you don’t want to be alone forever…. Who knows, maybe I do!

I’m happy for those married couples that manage to stay together. Good for them. And am never surprised when another couple gets divorced.  But for me, I like my life just as it is: two dogs, two cats, one daughter in and out occasionally. I was raised an only child and find my own company quite sufficient. As long as I have some friends, NPR, nature, a good book, my computer, my yoga, my thoughts and my phone then I will live happily ever after….by myself.

Poem: The Rain


storm

 

As I lay listening to the rain falling

I was reminded of past pattering

Husbands ago

Lying in bed

Dreaming of release

Where I am now

Free of the dryness of my heart

Or the times

Of the suckling of my baby

In my bed

Hearing the storms

While my full breasts

Brought comfort

To us both

And the lover

Whose arms I flew

As thunder pounded

Inside and out

And made fluids flow

We listened to the drip drip

Of the settling leaves

And figured this was forever

But now I lay

And listen to the sky’s showers

Alone, anticipating but at peace

Bleeding Heart


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Some time ago I read an article about women my age going through a realization point. It said basically that by our ‘past middle age’ crone point, we have realized that we can stop trying to please everyone else and that we can begin concentrating on ourselves and what might us happy. Over the past year or so, and certainly since my awful car accident, this certainly has been the case with me.

I probably started this process way before this when I began to realize that not everyone had to be my friend. When I was much younger, I was the type of person that seemed to gather every soul to me.  It was important to me to be nice to everybody possible and befriend all types and listen endlessly to their stories. This, obviously, can be a huge energy drain as most people don’t usually give back what they take.

Over the years I began to realize that I didn’t need to have a million friends in order to be OK, so instead only kept the ones close to me that provided quality friendship back. This was a huge step, but so uplifting. But I was still really a ‘pleaser’ in many ways. At work I gave almost everyone a holiday gift, no matter how many co-workers I had. And I used to send about 60 gifts around the country at holiday time too! No, I did not get that many back.

In my marriages/relationships I think I tried too hard and expected too much in return and therefore was always disappointed. That’s why they all failed. And, of course, I gave and gave to my three daughters also as a mother should. When one is by nature a giving person, it’s hard not to be in every role we play: wife, friend, co-worker, employee….whatever we do.

But in this role, it is easy for others to take advantage of one’s good nature. And this has happened too often to me. I have been hurt more times than I can count: by friends, bosses, husbands, boyfriends and now my kids. And it’s to the point now where my heart bleeds.

I am much, much older now. And I have been through a lot. My business as a paramedic also has slammed home the importance of living life to the fullest and reaping the most joy from one’s OWN life that you can. When one is spending time trying to please someone else all the time, you lose yourself in the meantime. And before you know it: poof, your life is gone.

The really sad part too is that many of the people who expect me now to continue to ‘yes’ them (like my kids or ex-husband) are incredibly disrespectful of me! They, apparently, have become so accustomed to me simply putting my own feelings aside, that this new woman they face has turned them into mean and rude people themselves. They do not like me having an opinion or a feeling that doesn’t agree with what they want, or for me to say NO. They don’t like me finally standing up for myself. They feel I’m too ’emotional’.

I am very conflicted though, don’t get me wrong. Two of my kids aren’t talking to me right now because I’m standing my ground. And my ex and I aren’t either (no great loss there). But I will no longer tolerate rudeness or disrespect. I’m not at work either from my boss. Even my mother said something hurtful and I told her. She got very angry and yelled endlessly. It was amazing! It was scary to me to tell my mother I wouldn’t accept behavior from her!

So I guess people don’t like to see change in someone. I’ve tried to remain calm as they all rage around me. Maybe I’ll end up with no family or friends? I have no idea. But I feel inner peace now. It seems the whole world would rather fight and rage and everyone has forgotten to communicate. I have tried speaking calmly to all that fight with me. It’s funny but my middle daughter told me a man who lived here with me said that I was hard to live with after he moved out. This coming from a man who yelled every time there was a discussion about anything! And who continues to stalk me on my blog.

Maybe I will never understand people. Or maybe they will never understand me. I surely hope my daughters come around and get it someday before I’m too old. My mom and I just avoid everything and so it will remain. But I do know I will continue to stand up for myself. It feels right now. I have only myself now to please. If I don’t do it, no-one else will.

Stuck


Why is it when the two things that should be bringing me the most pleasure and joy in my life, continue to only bring me stress and sadness or allude me altogether? It happens in an indirect way actually, but it continues to be one of the biggest puzzles of the second half of my life.

Recently I made the bold move to invite my middle daughter and her boyfriend to live with me. It was as much for me as for them. They were in a difficult living situation (or so I believed) with his parents, and I needed help with my dogs. My dogs happen to be one of the greatest joys in my life. One would think it would be my three daughters, but actually it’s not. I suppose it should be, and maybe one day we all will get there, but thus far we have not reached that realm.

My dogs–I have three of them–are my constant companions. When I am home, they are with me most the time. I love walking them, talking with them, playing with them and just generally being around them. After my accident, they are who I came home to, even though I had two daughters living in the area. Today, a holiday (not one I particularly celebrate)–the two kids I opened my home to aren’t even here with me. Instead, they are back in the place the complained so bitterly about living in.

It’s a puzzle? I like living alone. I mostly did this to help with my dogs because I hate leaving them all day long. My daughter already took care of them of sorts, but had to use my uninsured car. She and her boyfriend are developmentally delayed and it wasn’t an ideal situation. I felt living here would be better. But now, they are hardly here. So, I’m right back where I started AND I am more stressed because I have two people living here! Ugh.

All people in town cost too much money to walk dogs or to put them in doggy daycare. It’s nuts. And when I think about giving them away, I just meltdown and cry. They are all I have. I just feel at a total loss. I tried to sell my house and move closer to work, but the market wouldn’t allow it. I feel out of control of my life even though I know what would make it better.

And then there’s love. Here’s another thing that I know would supposedly enhance my life. They say having love in your life makes you live longer. I picture in my head just how a loving relationship would go. I can visualize it so clearly. It doesn’t feel like such a quantum leap to have it? And yet, and yet…. It never seems to get there. I’ve tried and tried. No relationship ends well. So I’ve given up. I’ve talked before about how I simply can’t stand all the clichés: “when you least expect it” or “stop trying so hard” or “when it’s meant to be”. Blah. I’m not trying at all and haven’t for some time, and it still doesn’t happen for goodness sake. When I tried hard it didn’t happen either!

That’s not the point. The point is that here are two things: my pups and love–I know they both give value, joy and meaning to my life. And yet the constant dilemma surrounding my dogs causes such a high level of stress in life instead. And the odd fact that I can’t seem to find the path to love just niggles at me a lot. I simply feel like I do a lot of crying and I’m tired of it. Especially since I know what would solve things but I can’t make them happen.

So what does one do about it? I feel like this is an unending loop. And that I tax my friends with this all the time. It’s getting so old. Do I just give my dogs away? What’s the point then? They are my best buds. And I can’t force someone to be in a relationship with me. Sheesh. So on and on it goes. It feels like every solution I come up with doesn’t quite work.

I continually hope for some miracle. Meanwhile, the dogs look at me with those ‘kind eyes’ as my vet calls them. They have no idea how stressed I am. Maybe, just maybe my luck will change.

Be Careful What You Wish For


What seems like a million years ago I used to lay in bed next to my husband and dream for the days I would be single. I would imagine the apartment I would get, how I would decorate it, the freedom I would have, how I would feel and how much better off I would be. Endlessly I would contemplate this dream and want to make it so. When I would go for my daily jog I would think about it too. Being unhappy within my marriage, being single seemed the solution to all my troubles.

Tonight, sitting at my dining room table, alone once again, eating my dinner and listening to NPR’s A Prairie Home Companion with my dogs circling my feet–I was struck by how long ago that wish was and how my life has turned out. I got my wish and I am single. While I have had boyfriends on and off for many years, none have ever really stuck and so have remained mostly alone. Alone except for in the earlier years when my daughters lived with me and now occasionally when they come home for a bit. And of course I live in the company of many furry friends.

So was this dream a good thing and did I get what I wanted in the long run? This is what we always end up asking ourselves with so many things we want I suppose. I have a routine in my life it seems that pretty much follows the same pattern all the time. Partly because I’m pretty obsessive compulsive and I like it that way and partly because dogs tend to like it that way too. But I do find this can become boring and mundane. And when you have no-one in your life to share things, it can be especially dull.

Getting out of the marriage was probably for the best. But I suppose I never figured I would continue on this was for so long! There used to be a desperation surrounding the way I felt I needed to be with someone. That certainly has changed for me–especially after all the terrible experiences I’ve had dating and in relationships. I’m not even sure I do want to be in a relationship again. What I do know is that there are certainly moments where the silence echoes pretty loudly and I have a huge sense of being disconnected from the world. Plus I guess there are days I simply miss love. I don’t mean sex because I don’t miss that at all, but just the caring part of being in a good relationship. So there is a huge ambivalence.

So for all the determination to get out and be single I find now, years and years of it are maybe not what I expected or imagined. Like they say: be careful what you wish for! In my mind’s eye I never pictured never-ending nights of dinners alone with only the radio for conversation. Or that as I got older it might have been nice to have someone help shovel my roof when the snow got two feet deep. No, I didn’t think of those things as I dreamed of independence and freedom and what my cute little apartment would look like once I was unencumbered.

I am not unhappy, but I’m not always content either. And still I wonder is this where I should be and is living alone the right thing for me? It surely felt right all those nights I imagined it laying in bed next to the husband I wanted to divorce. But now that it’s reality and has been for so long? Well….I don’t know? Maybe I’ll ask the dogs what they think about it?

Looking Backwards


So I have never quite figured out why people so desperately cling on to parts of their lives that are over. Sometimes those parts of their lives are  due to things beyond their control. Maybe their spouse wanted a divorce or they were fired from a job. We see these as beyond their control, but are they? Then there are the situations where someone wanted to leave a relationship, but then they keep coming back to it. That’s what I’m going to address here.

 But first I will say that I’m not sure too many things are out of our control. I know many people believe in religious entities that control our fate. And that could be. I’m not really wise enough to say. But in the every day workings of our lives, I think we have more control than we’d like to admit. Someone can feel sorry for a person that was dumped by their partner or spouse. But sometimes if you dig deep enough, you will find that maybe it wasn’t all one-sided.  Or if someone is fired from a job, sometimes the boss had good reason.

As I said though, that’s not what I’m here to blog about. It’s the people who are in relationships that ruin them by being mean or hurtful and then the relationship collapses. So it should be done after that, right? But no, I find these people can’t seem to let go. They come back around, sometimes quickly, sometimes a year or so later. Maybe after they’ve dated and been dumped by someone else. Or married and been divorced. Or maybe they just stalk your blog. How do I know this? Because they leave comments! How strange is that? I simply do not understand it. Why would they want you to know they are doing it?

For me, if I’ve ended a bad relationship, I’m happy to finally be out and done. I turn my head forward, not backwards, and see what’s in store for my future. I would have no interest in what these people would have to say now. They weren’t nice then, so I wash my hands of their energy. It’s cleansing to be done.

I found a similar situation in the fire service. There were members that felt they had to stay ‘on the roster’ even when they never came on calls anymore. For years! They would tie up gear, pagers, a slot on the gear rack. It never made sense to me. But they wouldn’t let go. This was another thing I could never understand. Move on people!

I’m sure there are other situations where people just can’t let go of the past. It just makes so much more sense to me to live in the moment or look forward. If something was bad in your past, then leave it there. If you weren’t happy, or made someone else unhappy, haven’t participated in something, have lost interest in a job–then for heaven’s sake cut your losses and stop lurking around the muddy waters of your past.

We all are surely made up of the experiences of our past, but that doesn’t mean we have to live there. Especially the unpleasant parts of it. I surely don’t want to haunt the people in my past, especially if they asked me not to do it. As time passes (like years), and things fade — then I can understand revisiting past relationships. But things must heal first. Shedding unnecessary baggage from our lives will only make us feel light. And feeling lighter makes us happier people. Being happier will hopefully mean that our next relationship or job will be more successful than the one we left in the past.

Poem: Like a Hole In the Head


I need a man

Like I eat spam or ham

Don’t you know I’m a vegetarian?

I need a man

Like I love a traffic jam…

In Japan…at 11:30 AM

I need a man

Like I need my hands

Driving a van

Filled with orangutans

Sure, I need a man

When I’m in jam

And my libido is grand

But do I need a man

Enough to take the heart slams

An emotional battering ram

I am

A woman

I stand and I land

So sir: do I need a man?

Live without I can.

Find a kind one is the plan.