Monday, March 31, 2014

Song of the Week: We Used to Be Friends

Oh Veronica Mars, you're no Buffy, but you do have pluck. Not quite tackling that List of Lost Things yet, but when I do, at least I'll have this good 'ol theme song.

Monday, March 24, 2014

A Joyfully Bratty Mantra and a New Talisman

It’s standardized test time at work, and this means that school has been more stressful and shaming than usual. On Friday, our rooms were inspected and everyone who didn’t have every single thing off the walls, bookshelves covered, and students completely silent was subject to shaming announcements over the intercom and nasty write-ups.

When I opened my write-up and read it, something surprisingly joyful bubbled up in me. I don’t know if it was the awesomeness of my date the night before or the kind colleague who offered to stay after work and help me finish my room. Whatever it was, it added up to this bright phrase shining out of my heart: “Go fuck yourself.”

But it wasn’t the sort of “Go fuck yourself” that comes from anger or makes you want to fight. It was almost made out of love. In that moment, I knew that everything I’d given and everything I’d accomplished so far vastly outweighed any snotty letter or post-test chattiness. Even a month ago, I’d’ve been devastated by that day, and I’m sure I’ll be devastated by many more, but for now, what a surge of self-love.

One accomplishment that got me to this proud point was a fabulous student I’ll call R. He transferred to our school a few months ago and brought so much happiness to our often-snipey classroom. While I’m hesitant to categorize a third grader like this, the kid is clearly as gay as the day is long. He’s also one of the most centered and confident people I’ve ever met. He gleefully practices dance routines and cartwheels with the girls while the rest of the boys are trying to sneak in forbidden games of football.

He’s thoughtful and kind, participates in class, and has the neatest handwriting you’ve ever seen. Yet his behavior grades from his old school were low, as was his reading level. Working with R. really helped me to understand that it’s not just teaching skills that I have to offer, that what really can help a child to thrive is welcome and approval in the midst of a narrow-minded community that often offers none. That’s something I can do even on my worst day.

We do live in a very homophobic area, (and I’m pretty sure every school is a homophobic area) so he often tells me about the boys calling him names. The other day when we were lined up for lunch, he sadly told me that another student had called him gay. I had to choose my words carefully so as not to ruffle any school or parent feathers. I told him that anyone who makes fun of an entire category of people is a prejudiced knucklehead, that he’d meet gay people in his life and they might be good or bad, that being gay wouldn’t have anything to do with it.

I made him repeat all that back to me so I could be sure he’d heard it. He seemed satisfied with my explanation and went in to lunch. the next day, he brought me this very blingy ships-wheel ring that I immediately decided was my moral compass.

R’s behavior scores at his old school made me think of my own assessments and self-assessments, how someone or something good can be kept from thriving just by being in a hostile place. It reassures me that no matter where I am next school year, I will be able to learn and grow as a teacher and as a person, but the more barriers I remove and the kinder I am to myself, the better I will be able to blossom and be present for the R’s of the world, and I guess for the less-fabulous students too.

Friday, March 21, 2014

Happy Friday: Sweet Hallelujah, a Good Date

So it turns out there’s one guy I’m not currently afraid of: Mr. Sweetface! For the last month or so I haven’t known what to do with in. I was feeling hesitant about poly and we’re both going through a lot at home. For some reason, I was inspired this week to invite him to join me at the Cute Neighborhood Music Thing that my adorable alt-country duo church friends run. I liked the idea of listening to the music with my head on a nice warm shoulder, sidling up to his faintly leather-scented warmth.

So, for the first time in I don’t know how long, I put on makeup after work, curled up the ends of my needs-to-be dyed hair into a flip. I wore red lipstick and my red date-night raincoat, even though it’s still a little too chilly.

The venue’s a historic Mennonite meetinghouse; the Cute Church Couple live on its grounds. There are tall candles in all the windows and Cute Church Girl made vanilla cupcakes from scratch.

When Mr. Sweetface joined me, a band with the working title “Poor No-Name Cat” was playing and I was enjoying the Breakfast at Tiffany’s reference and the soulful lady singer, singing torch songs in French like it was a cafĂ© in a movie. I was nervous when he came in—we’ve never had a pants-on date before, so I didn’t know what to expect. He took my hand and I did put my head on his shoulder, kind of swooned along to the music and felt a kind of rest I hadn’t felt in a long time. “I missed you,” I whispered, and he said he’d missed me too.

After the show (They booked me to open next month! First time reading poetry in almost two years!) he drove me home and we curled up on the couch and talked about all the things—his family stuff, the Big Therapy Project (to tell a guy that story and have him hold me protectively is it’s own therapy…), our similarly LSD-fond pasts. We compared the perils of teaching with the perils of parenthood--both involve doing one’s best and feeling like a jerk a lot, it turns out. He got deeply emotional talking about his son and it felt good to take care of him a little, to reside for a moment in a story besides my own. It made me feel true and alive, so gratified that he was kind enough to share himself with me.

I told him I’m a ways away from sexytimes--he held me tight and told me to take all the time I need. I said I’d try to make it quick so I could get back to beating his ass before too long.

His second child is due this fall, so I know I can’t expect much time with him, but I liked inviting him into this new world I’m building and that he’s willing to share his world with me too. I think I’m still poly, given how much I like sharing him with my friend, how much I liked cozying up to a date with a wedding ring. The Mystery Family thing didn’t mean I’m not poly, I just meant I prefer sanity, and so far this seems pretty sane.

On the couch, wrapped up in a blanket with my head on his heart and his (newly beardy, yay!) chin on my head, as he told me his secrets, I felt the thing I love to feel the most—simple human connection. Warmth. Life. We’re getting to know each other in a way that makes my pants-on time seem like even more of a blessing.

Though my heart is still heavy with worry about work, it was lovely to go to sleep last night with an unequivocal smile, to have these gorgeous living moments in my heart, to fall asleep and dream in pretty neighborhood love songs.

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Big Therapy Project, Week Five: Walking a Tightrope

I was gonna take a blog break for the privacy, but that felt too isolating and plus I need the creative outlet. I guess I just have to trust you to know I won’t always be as bleak as these weeks are.

The big challenge lately is the way that the Big Therapy Project has been making my work life tricky. As of right now, I haven’t been assigned a grade next year because the principal has some hesitations about me. It’s my first full school year as a teacher and she doesn’t feel like I’m progressing as quickly as I should in some areas and thinks (as will come as a surprise to exactly no one who reads this blog) that I can be too defensive sometimes. I wish I were learning quicker and I’m not defensive about my defensiveness, but it’s kind of hard going in every morning, knowing that I might have to let the place go.

It’s a hard job in a tough school, there may be someplace more hospitable and less triggering, where I could learn and grow faster, and now that I’m breaking myself of the habit of trying to prove that I’m a good person through sacrifice (now that I know I’m not a masochist) I don’t need to do the hardest job. I don’t like feeling that I’ve failed there, or that the next mistake might be the one to make her feel like I don’t belong. I’m really sad about all of my failures as a teacher, but also about how much time and energy it takes and how many of my actual talents aren’t usable there.

Life just feels like it’s so much about loss and futility and shame at work, and the Big Therapy Project, the one awesome thing that I am unequivocally accomplishing right now, is making the tightrope I’m walking at work a little harder. On one hand, a new sense of autonomy and groundedness is emerging, but on the other having The Bad Thing story so close to the surface often makes me want to scream at everybody to get away from me—I don’t, but I know I can often come across as anxious, and yes, defensive.

One of the major things I’m confronting about The Bad Thing is that it wasn’t my fault. All these years, I’ve been telling myself I chose my rapist, I’ve been beating myself up for the illusion that I somehow could have protected myself from what happened. But whether I was drunk or drugged, I was in no position to consent, and I didn’t. I lost my autonomy in that moment and I’ve long wanted to make sure that never happen again, giving me an inflated sense of everyday humiliations, a need to protect some imagined dignity. As I really come to terms with the fact that it wasn’t a choice, a new sense of being indignant marked IT WASN’T MY FAULT is starting to come out.

But the thing is, teaching means being held responsible for ALL KINDS of things that aren’t my fault: the child who has nine brothers and sisters and is so starved for attention that he disrupts or leaves class and often feels like he might eat me alive, the overworked special ed teacher who snaps at the grade team because her caseload is so overwhelming, the autistic child whose parents refuse to get him services, the child who is just now entering school in third grade and can’t read at all, all of those issues, along with the general awfulness of poverty violence and inequality, are things I can’t change, and they are all things that will effect my evaluations—that’s how the system is set up right now—fewer and fewer resources and more and more strict ways to judge teachers.

So the whole defensiveness thing kind of feels like a catch 22. I want to take responsibility for the things I can change and tell people to fuck off about the rest. I think that’s ultimately how I’ll be able to forgive myself if I end up getting let go. I made mistakes in a hard job, I did my best, but ultimately I can’t control if I’m a fit.

Anyway, in the course of feeling like I have to fight people off, (A character flaw that I’ve always had and which the Bad Thing exacerbated) I’ve had bouts of being very fearful and angry toward men, especially if they seem to be attracted to me. I asked the therapist about this and she said that it would probably get worse before it gets better.

My point is that two of the things I’ve found the most meaning in, my job and my body adventures, are kind of out of reach as sources for fulfillment for a while, and the work of the Big Therapy Project is slow and painstaking. Each appointment, (every two week) I tell the Bad Thing story again, sink a little deeper into it each time, and I can feel it leaving my body little by little. I take a lot of comfort in writing to/with my teenage self—I always sleep soundly afterwards and sometimes I wake up feeling like I’ve just done yoga, even though I didn’t.

I’m accomplishing something I’ve wanted to do for 20 years, but right now it’s hard to see the good sometimes. About eleven years ago, I quit smoking, and this is a very similar feeling—I stayed a way from people a lot because I was afraid I would yell at them, I felt sad all the time, I took a little too much comfort in sugar. I felt separated from the good parts of my personality for years. This is an even more loving thing than quitting smoking, I just hope it doesn’t do too much damage to my life in the process.

The therapist said to list all of the ways that loss relates to my current situation and to the Bad Thing, but every time I think about that list, I feel how big it is and I don’t know where I even could start listing. I feel blinded by it. I lost 20 years of feeling safe with men; maybe I’ll never get to feel that. I may be losing my job and all the things I love about it. I’ve lost so much of my life with Sweetie and I really don’t know which parts are okay to keep. I’ve lost so many friends from adventures gone wrong. It seems like I gave myself faith in the Mystery Family just so I could lose that faith. Dating has a necessary component of loss that I can’t handle right now, so thank goodness I’ve let that go.

How I’m dealing with it is that I’m doing my best. I’m chanting every day, taking long walks, eating lots of produce, hanging out with cute neighbor friends. Church and brunch afterwards have become my big social occasions. For all the loss, I’m free of the feeling that I’m slipping through the cracks—turning my attention to my teenage self is what I’ve been trying to convince myself to do all these years, and now I have. Sometimes it means staying home from something fun because I’m grumpy or panicky, but it also means taking responsibility for myself and settling into my own skin like I never have before. I’m doing my best. I hope I can see myself shining on the other side of it before too long.

Sunday, March 16, 2014

Radio Silence for a Bit

Hi dears,

The deeper I get into the Big Therapy Project, the more I've been craving privacy, so I probably won't be posting very much over the next few months. I think this drawing inward is a very good sign.

I'll leave the blog up, and when I'm feeling more sociable, I'll either post here or start a fresh blog. Don't know how much of a body adventurer I'll be when all is said and done, but I do know I'm making good progress.


Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Big Therapy Project, Week Four: Mini-Update

Well, the kids' interim reports are due tomorrow, so I'll just say it's been like this: panic, rest, write, repeat. As long as I keep the dishes up to date, keep writing reams, and! Outdoor recess! I think I can get where I'm going.

Sunday, March 9, 2014

One Year After the Scary Party: Better, Stronger, Still Pissed

You can read the Scary Party story here.

It’s funny that the only place it felt safe to sit and write this in my notebook was the Whole Foods where Sweetie and I had some of our last dates. I guess it makes a certain amount of sense to process trauma in the same place where I get my hopefully-less-cruel meats.

Ever since the ads started popping up around town for the local horticulture society’s annual flower show, the one I made Sweetie miss last year because I was too upset from the Scary Party (I still wish I could make it up to her somehow) I’ve been thinking about how I can piece that story together with everything that’s happened since.

I never forgave them, but I’ve accepted the fact that somewhere in the city, every second Saturday of the month, there’s an event where the head of security is a predator, where the entire team leapt to defend him and trash me because I was an outsider and a submissive who dared to want a say, where the mean kids happily have their nastiness rewarded with popularity and love. Basically, it’s high school with more interesting outfits and better-organized bullying.

I’ve always believed, entirely too much actually, that if I’m not part of the solution then I’m part of the problem. (This is how a desire to fight racism led me to a job in an inner-city school that frequently saps my strength and my soul. Not ever sure it’s the best strategy.) but I no longer feel guilty that I wasn’t able to change the corruption of the Scary Party, that they’re still walking around seeing outsiders as prey, seeing the players as their own personal buffet no matter what compromising position they’re in. It does make me angry that people I considered friends still attend and love the Scary party and what makes me EXTRA mad is that I couldn’t find a way to compromise with it, settle for it, make it all into a good time somehow. I feel that way about a lot of the things I’m leaving behind—I envy the women who have figured out how to be the right nothing to turn all of that pain into something fun and good. I couldn’t. For all that I know it’s a bad place, there’s still the primal sadness of being left out.

At the time, when everybody was slut-shaming and victim-blaming me on all those threads, I told myself that I kept one woman from going through what I went through, it would have been worth it. I didn’t find out until August, but one lovely friend of mine did see what I wrote and decided to opt out of that party. She’s very pretty and nice and I’m glad if I might have spared her some ugliness and fear.

On the other hand, trying to exact change at one party, keeping one nice girl away, seems almost pointless when the overall problem is so pernicious, both to me and out in the world at large.

Since the Bad Thing in high school, I don’t know how to approach any group of people without deep fear and mistrust, and I also don’t know how to stop loving people who are terrifying and untrustworthy, seemingly as a way to prove and re-prove my suspicions about the world. The Scary Party was a particularly vivid and irresponsible reenactment of the Bad Thing, and I know I keep acting it out as an attempt to fix it. Right now it’s sometimes hard to see the difference between working it out in therapy and the various re-traumas I’ve walked into, except that I’m facing all the fears with pants on, and with someone I know and trust very well. Hopefully that will make all the difference and I’ll see an end to this cycle before too long.

Since I began my adventures a couple of years ago, I’ve always wondered if BDSM was just a prettier and more quasi-empowered form of rape culture, and the answer is (SOMETIMES) emphatically yes. I HATED it when Sweetie would equate D/s to sexism and oppression and (given an actual, humanized power exchange) it doesn’t have to be. But just as with poly or with anything really, the stories we tell ourselves about what we’re doing, about negotiation and respect and mutual fulfillment, are not aligned with what is actually happening most of the time.

What upsets me the most about our local BDSM culture is how much horribleness people are willing to accept or just dismiss as “drama.” Last week I found out that a friend who hosted one of my favorite party series has a girlfriend who is on the Megan’s Law registry for child pornography. Child pornography! and the guy apparently feels fine about having her in his house. And I thought snuggling with an accused rapist was a big risk. It is absolutely both crazy and unsurprising in a community wherein people regularly engage in adult/child roleplay and men so EASILY admit to rape fantasies. I came in accepting and open-minded, but let me just come out and say that BDSM seems to make people think they have license to just go ahead and act like complete fucking creeps. I think we all have dark parts of ourselves that are not meant to be nourished and expressed. Sorry Brene Brown, but yes, I think people need a little more shame sometimes.

Aside from the not-okayness of the Man and his cohort, the thing that still sticks with me, the humiliation that hurts the most, is how much I liked him, how much I was fooled into thinking he liked me, how much I wanted to please him, how I clung to him for comfort after he treated me with so much contempt, how I was willing to give him a chance to try again. That’s what kept the (stupid, ignorant, sexist) management from believing what happened and what almost kept me from walking out of the situation with even one shred of pride.

In the end, it’s not how much the Scary Party disregarded me as a human being or how much the local kinky internet community thought I deserved to get fucked over, it’s how much I must’ve thought I deserved it. He gave off an I-don’t-care-about-your-limits vibe from one of the very earliest text conversations and I still let him put handcuffs on me, and worse, I still let him into my heart. I’m so empty and lonely and self-hating that it seems I’ll let anyone in, and that’s the void I am finally trying to address, to heal.

Even if I have to leave behind the hope of being part of a kink community, (there’s no telling where I’ll end up after the Big Therapy Project) the fact remains that I still get a great deal of satisfaction from submitting and without someone to serve, I still feel a deep loss. I’m not sure how those urges will find expression, but I hope that they will become part of a whole, integrated person, not someone willing to throw herself under every bus of a guy that comes along.

The flower show is the perfect regret: I never again want to miss something beautiful, genuine, and fleeting because I’m broken by something essentially meaningless. I don’t know what the future holds for me, but I do (almost always) know that I exist and hope that I will love myself someday and that I will find a way to be free.

Saturday, March 8, 2014

Her, The Circle, and the Meaning of Love

“That comment had 98,201 smiles and almost as many frowns, 80,198. But overall, as Mae scrolled through the messages, there was—as always when people were asked for their feelings—love.” –from The Circle, by Dave Eggers

I love a good dystopia. Her is not necessarily presented as such, it’s less judgmental than I am about the relationships people (including me) have with their devices and systems, but the when I saw it the month before last it made me see (but didn’t make me stop) the danger of disembodied love.

As everyone knows, Her is about a guy who falls in love with an operating system. You see him happily walking through the streets interacting with her, oblivious to the people present, many of whom are doing the same thing with their devices. We’ve all heard the lecture about technology making us too detached, but when it became a love story, I started to see the real horror in it. But the bad guy is not the technology; the bad guy is the void inside us that fuels the abstraction itself.

One of the saddest parts of Her to me was when the OS, feeling bad about not having a body, strikes up a relationship with a “surrogate,” a woman whose dream it is to help human/Os couples consummate their love. The scene is unicorn-familiar, especially when the plan backfires and the surrogate is rushed to a cab and dismissed, more human than the love interest but already irrelevant to the story, even as she professes to love both of them forever. That scene made me ashamed of every attachment I’ve formed to what is not and will never be mine just because I don’t feel good enough to just go ahead and have my own stuff.

Eventually, he finds out that the OS, being as expansive and superhuman as she is, has something like 693 other love relationships going. This has been praised elsewhere as a happy poly moment, but to me it was a real horror. This man was right to realize that he wasn’t special, that he wasn’t really loved. She was, as he and the audience had nearly forgotten, a machine, and it didn’t mean the same thing to her as it did to him. It couldn’t have “meant” anything—he was loving a thing that couldn’t truly feel.

All of this takes place in an emotional landscape familiar to me: divorce grief. Like my own love-simulacra of late, I think he was making a way to find love in the midst of grief, a place that is (to me, at least) essentially isolating. To be able to be both in love and alone, to have a love we could turn off at night and who would be there every time we log on, would be such a gorgeous risk-free solution, but the proximity-craving realities of love just don’t allow it, and aloneness has to prevail, even if it feels horrible. Grief from a lost relationship feels a little like death, and death is necessarily a one-person affair.

When, at the end of a movie, the OS is gone and he finds himself on a rooftop with a real-life friend, we feel relieved for him. He may be lonely and sad, but he is embodied, and the opposite of embodied is dead.

The Circle is not so gentle and kind. It’s set in a not-too distant world where social networking has been taken to the most absurd degree. The main character works for some totalitarian version of Google and as her job progresses, she goes further and further away from authentic experience and her life is more consumed by an oppressive “sharing” that both fuels her and opens up a tear in her soul. She says that making her life “transparent” and letting her every moment be filmed, she is assuring herself that she is seen and therefore has proof that she exists, but who she is eroded and shaped by the ever-present audience.

In the end (SPOILER ALERT) she gives up her last chance at a real physical connection and really any kind of physical life at all, all to preserve the thread of comments that follows her everywhere she goes.

Though I’m still trying to understand the pain of being told I’m not “real life,” of being wanted but not wanted as a physical thing (and therefore really not wanted at all) what I’m writing about here is not the internet, but grief itself. Those two stories so perfectly mirrored my story, the way I used internet “love” and “support” to cope with the emptiness inside me and then was devastated to find that the love itself was empty. Though I am still very ashamed of what I went through with the Mystery Family, I can forgive myself—grief is very hard to face. Like the Valentine chocolate I’m still kicking, it sucks to be without those admittedly false prop-ups, the illusion of relationship I got from peering in at somebody else’s, the insincere stream of love-chemicals pulsing through me with no real release.

The worst part of facing grief is the feeling that I no longer have anything to offer. I’m not hot, or cute, or entertaining. Just as I couldn’t really serve the Mystery Man’s life in any meaningful or vital way, I worry that I no longer serve my readers.  I have nothing to offer you some weeks but pain and boredom, and I miss bringing you something fun and good. I want to have something to offer and share, and dealing with The Bad Thing feels supremely selfish, this project feels so far up its own ass sometimes I could scream. For so long I’ve found a sense of purpose and worth in being fun and sex-positive, and when I’m not I feel I’m not serving the world in the way I want to. Though it’s not the way I want to live my life, I want to only be something you’d want to read, and that’s really, really hard to let go of.

The point here, I think, is not that social networking “love” is evil or bad, but that being embodied hurts and I see the appeal of trying to escape from it. As much as it’s been my quest to settle in to my own skin, to live as close to home as I can, sometimes the pain is too much. But always, at its core, disembodiedness feels very much like sneaking a peek at what the world would look like if I weren’t here, and that, because for all my depression I do love life, is terrifying.

I’ve given a lot of thought in the last month to the meaning of love, and here’s what I’ve got so far: it’s nothing if not a physical, holistic emotion, putting real arms around a flawed, broken, sometimes unavailable human being. Real love is about farts, and tears, and dirty dishes, about joy and mess, mistakes and shame, sparkling revelations and lazy Sundays. Right now, that kind of love may be too far away to contemplate without being knocked-senseless by what I’ve lost, but, as a friend or romantically, love is in the body, where, from now on, I would like all of my experiences (Even the typed and posted ones) to take place.

Thursday, March 6, 2014

Well Enough to Be Bored Silly!

Now that I'm starting to get used to living on my own, the learning curve on my life has diminished a great deal and I'm starting to have some left over energy. Doing chores that were formerly Sweetie's is getting less fraught with emotion and more routine, and I'm getting used to the fact that I'm a cute-car-having adult who can take care of myself.

The thought of going backward in ANY way makes my body feel seized-up and nauseated, so I know there's no backtracking to drama and hurt. Being pants-on for a while, I'm antsy and unsure of what to do with myself besides work, write, and sleep. As I look for the next healthy inspirations, though, I'm trying to see the boredom as an itch that tells me my insides are healing.

Monday, March 3, 2014

Big Therapy Project, Week Three: Four Very Creepy Words

Even though I’m walking around most days feeling like I have a low-grade emotional flu, it dawns on me sometimes that I’m doing something I’ve wished I could do for two decades—change my relationship to The Bad Thing, get it out of my body, move myself toward a life where I’m not hard, harsh and on the defensive quite so often. I love the idea that that one night when I was sixteen will stop leading me back to itself and crushing me in new and ever more creative ways. It feels like this is the ultimate body adventure and a big part of the point of this story.

Confronting the Bad Thing is a surprisingly physical experience and it’s hard to predict whether I feel warm and open or anxious and coiled up from day to day. It’s hard to imagine whether I might ever be a sex blogger again. For the past few weeks, my sex drive has been superwonky. I still have personal time, of course, but sometimes I’m rattled and upset afterwards, or just restless and vigilant. A couple of times I’ve gotten hives on my thighs or gotten strong urges to find a way to numb myself, especially after anything penetrating.

It seems like as good a time as any to admit that, with some exceptions, penis in vagina sex has been at least a little bit triggering each time I’ve had it in the past few years. As much as I enjoy it, it stirs up a deep anxiety that either leads to too-quick love and clinging or to fleeing, sometimes both at once. It’s sad that something I crave so much could have so much pain attached, and that’s something I hope to at least partly heal. For love and sex not to live so closely with paralyzing fear anymore, that seems like a worthy goal.

This appointment, she had me close my eyes (scary) and go through the story again. I sank further into the story this time, let myself feel where it lives in my body. I realized how much of that night was about not being able to move, that trapped and nauseous feeling. I came close to feeling the sickening humiliation of there being a penis inside me that I didn’t want there, a man on top of me that I was forced to choose. I can no longer pretend that I had any say there, that the sex part was anything like my fault. Even if I had not been drugged, I don’t feel in those moments any sense of agency, any power to consent. I was forced to have sex with him for the twisted amusement of the party, and nobody seems to have even had any fun.

After I told the story and was relieved to have my eyes open again, the therapist gave me the list of words and told me to work through them in whatever way I could. After she left, having high-fived me for our accomplishments, immobilized is exactly what I felt. I got into bed and didn’t/couldn’t get up for at least three or four hours. I hadn’t been to the grocery store yet and I came really close to asking Sweetie to go to the store for me. But I eventually got up and got there.

So immobilized is the one I started with and I immediately recognized its stultifying, sabotaging influence in my life. Even what drove me crazy about Sweetie is what I often described as her “inertia” but oh, how immovable I am on the inside. Part of me, since that long-ago night, has been sitting against the wall on that party’s kitchen floor, unable to get up and get myself away someplace safe. The more I acknowledge its influence, the stronger it feels, like a vice of drugged fear, holding my whole self down. I’ve visited that feeling so often in the past few years, and each time it’s both a horror and a relief.

If my teenage self is stuck on that floor in that kitchen, all I can do is offer my love and support, to tell her that I and all of the people in this story so far (well, the ones she likes, anyway, which is most of them) are there and ready to help, ready to take her hand and help her up and out the door. I know I can’t rescue her or make any cute boys rescue her, I know it all happens no matter what, but I do want her to know how much she is loved, especially by me, and maybe that will take us forward, really forward and not just to the next void.

A Snow Day Prayer

I'm so grateful and relieved for today's snow day--yesterday's very productive therapy appointment left me flattened and in need of extra writing time.

But it's the first snow day without the Mystery Man, and I miss his companionship very much. I want to honor whatever part of our thing was real and hope for the day when I can see the good parts of that tangled, ethereal collision.

But meanwhile, very loving and accommodating weather, thank you for the extra time to love myself. Here's what I'm meditating on today:

"The truth is that the inner Self of every human being is supremely great and supremely lovable...The divine Principle that creates and sustains this world pulsates within us as our own self. It scintillates in the heart and shines through all our senses." --Swami Muktananda

Saturday, March 1, 2014

Checkmarks and March Goals: Loss and Recentering

I feel so much loss when I look at February's checkmarks. I started the month in the beginning of something new, with an admittedly illusory feeling of being surrounded and embraced, and I ended it more authentically but also with a bruised sense of reality and trust. I've learned so much and I wouldn't take back any of it, but I'm still so sad and lost about the Mystery Family's rejection, about how much they meant and how quickly it was erased. I can only hope that my real heart goals will prevail to take me forward into something real.