The Checklist

In my observation, there are certain boxes that need to be ticked for me to let you into my life. While the checklist may not be an official written document — nothing published, nothing in black and white, nothing particularly noteworthy — there are certain things that you attribute to my life that make me want to learn more about you every day.

In other words, there are a few things that I think you should know that I think of when I think of you:

I appreciate you. Your smile is beautiful and your heart is amazing.

I appreciate your challenges. I would never tell you that I love hearing your criticisms of my personality because, if you read through this blog, you’ll see that I’ve worked very hard on becoming the me that I am today, and I happen to like this me. That said, I appreciate your challenges, and I appreciate the softness in which you’ve learned to deliver your messages to me.

I appreciate your intentions. They’re deep; they’re considerate; they’re thoughtful; and they’re incredibly unique. Your respect for your own situations is equally as respectful as the respect that you show for my own self.

I appreciate that you let me love you. On the day that we actually became friends, I told you that I have a rule: I always tell my friends that I love them. I don’t expect them to say it back; that certainly defeats the purpose. What I do expect is that, if I love you enough to tell you that I love you, you love me enough to let me tell you this. ‘Love’ isn’t the most comfortable word for most people, and some may say that I use it too frequently. Suffice it to say that I disagree — at least to my own extent. I absolutely use the word often. I subscribe to the idea that I may use it as frequently as possible, for so long as it’s true. Thus, I love you.

I appreciate our differences. As recently discussed, we couldn’t be more different. Down to almost every detail, we are polar opposite people. The things that make us so significantly different are some of the things that make me love you so much.

I appreciate the rapid-fire quickness of my favoritism toward you. Just a short while ago, I never would never imagined having someone like you near me — in my life in any way. Today, I can’t imagine my life without you.

What I have learned in these thirty two years (or, perhaps I should say in these last nine or so months of significant self-searching), is that I love myself for my vulnerability… my fragility…my heart-on-my-sleeve way of learning.

In this, I have also learned that I have people that are in my life that love me to the end of the earth, and I love them just the same. I communicate through my fingers; I don’t speak what I need to say — I don’t know how. Today I told you that I speak through my fingers: I touch and I type. That resonated with you, and for that, I am glad.

At the same time, I am not sure that you understand the fragility into which I was born. I am sensitive. I have an enormous heart, and it’s one that is easily cracked, broken, or even shattered. I also love with a fierceness. Of all of the faults that you find in me, those that love me can find a million more things that make me amazing and unique.

I’m curious… how do you find so many faults in my being? I realize that you find them with love, and that your intention in pointing them out is to make me grow… to make me a bigger, better person. What I wish for our beautiful, amazing friendship, is that you would realize that I really do live in a glass house. I don’t throw stone, as they will break my own walls. I don’t judge others, although that is your perception of me. I decorate my glass walls with ornaments of the love that is delivered by my friends, and I reinforce the fragile exterior with the strength of those with whom I choose to surround myself.

It took me a very long time to realize that I didn’t know how to communicate. If you love me at all, you’ll love me for acknowledging the fact that this is one of my biggest works in progress. I am happy to have constructive criticism, but what I ask from you on the other side are two things:

What positive qualities do I have to offset this awful evil that you have found in me?
Can you tell me that you have successfully mastered the flaw for which you are critiquing me?

In all truth, you are just as faulted as myself. The difference between the two of us, one of many, MANY differences, is that I will never choose to point out your faults as my first line of conversation. Admittedly, I have used this as a line of defense, and for that, I am absolutely sorry and ashamed.

Going forward, I want and need you in my life. I promise to try my hardest to respect your boundaries and walls if you promise to try to let me in a little. The thing about having a checklist that is already completely checked when I let you into my life is that I expect a little humanistic leeway on your end. I realize it’s not exactly an honor for you to be in my life, at least not from your perspective, but I promise you that I have many people in my life that would argue this fact.

I love them to the end of the earth.
And they love me just the same.

I have checked off enough boxes to earn a spot in their hearts.
And they have checked just as many spots on my list.

My friends love me. Check.
My friends can disagree with me. Check.
My friends mean no harm. Check.
My friends have the best intentions. Check.
My friends want me in their lives. Check.
My friends want to know about my life. Check.
My friends appreciate me for me. Check.
My friends adore that I appreciate them for them. Check.

Beyond everything, my friends allow me to love them in the ways that I know how, and they love me for my love of loving.

Yes, it’s been an emotional few days, but in the end, after many tears and a few incredibly raw meetings with me and myself, I have come to the realization that my checklist is significantly far from intrusive or inappropriate.

I just want to love you. Remember that love takes many forms, and I communicate via type and touch.

I love you as my friend. Check.

Dear Doctor Jekyll

In my observation, you really do exist.

Or are you Mr. Hyde today?

I never know.

I’ve written this letter a million times in my head.  I was angry.  I was sad.  I was lonely.  I was elated to talk to you again.  And then it started over.  My words have circulated so many times in my mind that I couldn’t find a beginning or an end.

After your recent conversation, the end was finally achieved.  And with that, I gratefully saw the beginning, too.  Gratefully because the beginning was so beautiful.

I have so many things to say to you.  Among the most important, I’d like to express my anger.  Beyond anything, I’m angry with you that you have spent months teaching me how to talk about my feelings — how to discuss things on my mind — how to be okay with not being okay, and addressing that with the people that need to hear it from me.  You taught me that I matter.  You told me that I’m worth being heard.  You helped me to understand that my words and feelings matter.

So, yes, it hurts me more than anything in the world that you refuse to hear me speak.

I asked you to talk to me.  I asked you to call.  I asked you, if I wrote you an email, would you read it or delete it.

I was sick.

You made me sick.

Not in the way that it may at first sound.  I was literally sick.  Between tears that I couldn’t control, I got so sick that I couldn’t eat.  I didn’t sleep.  I didn’t leave my house.

I cried.

And you were responsible for it.

Your perception of my love for you is skewed, and for that, I am truly sorry.  I am not sorry for the way I love you; rather, I am sorry that this is a foreign thing to you.  My friends love me.  They love me from the earth to the clouds, and I love them the same.  You will never understand my love.  It has nothing to do with looks or chemistry.  It simply has to do with you.  You’re a beautiful person, and as my friend, it was my job to love you.  It was my duty, and I take that duty seriously.  To be honest, even with my significant lack of self-esteem, I can look myself dead in the eyes in the mirror when I think about the value of my friendship to the people that I hold dear.

What I want for you is happiness and peace.  You’re beautiful.  Despite your shadows and dark clouds, you’re beautiful.  I hope you find someone that is ready to drop their life on a dime to come to you to make sure you’re okay when you’re hurting.  I hope you find someone that you can share your secrets with, even though you’re scared.  I hope you learn what love is in terms of friendship, regardless of what other love that life may bring.  I hope you understand one day that my friendship is invaluable — that I loved you (and always will) as my best friend and nothing more.

I also hope that one day, if you’re afforded a friendship as beautiful as ours, that you’re willing to let go.  You gave me so much of you.  Our conversations were beautiful.  Our friendship was beautiful.  I’m hurt.  I’m confused.  And I’m angry.  Beyond anything else, I’m upset that you don’t care.

Why don’t you care??

I’d like you to know that you gave me the most perfect insult ever.  After I laid my soul on the line and begged you to talk to me as adults, you informed me that I am the most self-involved thoughtful person that you’ve ever come across — that I’m thoughtful with expectations.  I want to thank you for that.  You are absolutely correct.  I AM the most thoughtful person you will ever come across, and I do have one expectation: that the people to whom I devote my heart will be my friends in the end.  In the grand scheme of things, asking for a shoulder to cry on every once in a while or needing a soothing voice to calm me down every few months is well worth the weight in gold that I put into my friendships.  I’ve thought about this statement a lot.  In all honesty, I can’t imagine a more beautiful condemnation.  If you’re looking for an apology, here it is:  I’m sorry that I am the most thoughtful person you’ve ever met, and I’m sorry that the only thing that I ask in return is to be treated a fraction as well as I treat you.  My friendship is quite a gift.  And I feel so blessed to be given the gift of giving.  I love me for that.  My friends do, too.

As a human being, I deserved to know what I did and why you’re angry.  As your friend, I deserved resolution and communication.  As someone that loved you more than I’ve loved anyone for a long time, just as friends, I deserved better than all of this.

Please remember, this began when I dropped everything to come to you to make sure you were okay when you were hurting so, so badly.

You denied me.

You inflicted far more hurt upon me than you could possibly imagine.

And for that, I thank you for reminding me that all good things must come to an end.

I have begged you to talk to me.  I have been on hands and knees asking for kindness… communication… best friendship.

You know I love you when I tell you this:  I will always be here for you.  If you need me, let me know.  I don’t remove people that I love and am grateful for.  I treasure them.  And just because you’ve chosen to walk away, it doesn’t mean that I won’t be here for you when you need me.

Whether it’s ten days or ten years, I hold the answers to a lot of the questions that others can’t answer.

I appreciate what you’ve given me.  The friendship and the incredible pain — they both make me me.  And my friends love me for me.  I do, too.  I guess I just needed reminded about how invaluable my friendship is.  I’m not disposable.  I’m invaluable.  Not to be mistaken with unvaluable.

 

All the love in the world,

Your (Former) Best Friend

The First Breath

In my observation, I now understand what it felt like to take that first breath 32 years ago.

Each mother that gives birth waits for that moment.  They wait for their newborn baby to cry.  To inhale.  To let out that first exhale.

It’s a sign of life.  It means things will be okay.  It will be a long road ahead of them, but there was a breath.  An inhale.  A tear (or a few)

It means a beginning.  While we’ll never know what it was like to have the whole room stop and wait for that big cry, any mother that’s given birth, and any father that’s been nearby, can surely relate to the anxiety that comes with awaiting that first breath.  For me, after the recent events in my life, after the ups and downs and turbulent conversations — after trusting that the people with whom I’ve entrusted my life, my emotions and my soul — have proven not up for the task, at least I can say that I truly know how to breathe.

I’ve spent the last week and a few days running through my mind.  I’ve run marathons.  I stopped breathing.  I stopped waking up.  I stopped living.  It’s okay.  It’s something that I’ve done for 32 years.  But this time was different.  This time I gave all of myself to my friends.  I have nothing left to give.  I try to set my expectations at a reasonable level.  In saying that, I think 50/50 is ridiculous.  It isn’t something that is attainable in real life.  And, although I live in the world of emotional sensitivity, I’m still a realist.  It’s not negative, and it’s not to be mistaken as such.  It’s simply the way it is.  So, in an attempt to be realistic with expecting a certain amount of reciprocity (my favorite word), I alter the scale by which I weigh my expectations.  I think 70/30 is reasonable.  And its by this ratio that I guide my expectations.

Having said that, I recently met my grave.  I entered into a darkness, that which I have not felt in a long time.  I was lost.  It was cold, and dark, and lonely.  I sought the people that I value most to give me a guiding light.  What became of this situation was honestly nothing I ever expected.

I refuse to call it “tough love”.  For clarity, at this age and in a group of friends, I don’t believe in tough love.  At this age and with my friends, I just believe in love.  I believe in being there for the people that need me, even when they don’t realize that’s the case.  In the end, the appreciation far exceeds any prior frustrations relative to the issue.

This was different.  Now that I have taken my first breath and cried, now that I have stepped away, now that I have given myself the forgiveness of knowing that it doesn’t always have to be my fault, that I am an amazing friend, that I am worth my weight in salt — now that I am breathing, I realize that my first breath brought me into a place of mourning, as well.

Although it’s in my nature to apologize, to hide from conflict, to run from confrontation — although it’s in my nature to fix what’s broken, regardless of fault — it was with this first breath that I have been afforded the new light by which to guide my principles.  And it is with this new light that I understand, as hard as it may be for me, that my enormous heart is well suited for the people that will let me in and let me love them.  While I don’t ask to be met halfway, I ask to be met — somewhere.  It may seem like I put a lot of effort into my friendships, but that’s not necessarily the case.  I put a lot of love into my friendships.  The work is the easy part.  The love comes with trials and tribulations that I’m not always willing or able to absorb at the time.

This time, my learning didn’t take a decade.  It didn’t even take a week.  It maybe took a day or two.

After the dust has cleared and the tears have dried, you’re there or you’re not.  I will guide you to my heart when I need you.  I never expect anyone to just “know”.  But when I’ve given you the keys and the map, do me a favor, and be my friend.  For the 364 days a year that I will stand by you no matter what, do me a favor, and pencil me in one the one day that I need you.  I’ll write you directions if you’ll just show up.

After all, watching someone take their first breath is an amazing miracle.  Why wouldn’t you want to be there to experience it?

 

 

Tomorrow

In my observation, tomorrow always brings a new day.

And I promise, tomorrow, I will do my best to be better tomorrow.  Of all of the friendships (and enemyships) that I have made, I have taken a taste of each of them, and I promise tomorrow, that I will do my very best to be better tomorrow.

Can you say the same?

Maybe you can; maybe you can’t.

Recently, I’ve found a little bit of a voice.  I hear that I’ve found much more of a voice than I thought I had.  Those that love me, love me for the words that I am finally able to speak.  There have been so many times when I was silent — because I had to be.  I was silent because I didn’t know how to make words into a coherent, adult conversation.  And if you know me, you know that I still don’t.  But those that love me love me for the effort that I put in while I try to learn.

Just as we learn to walk and learn to speak as young children, we learn to walk our paths and speak our minds as adults.  For me, I’m not sure if I’ve been slower at the process, or just different;  I haven’t yet decided.  One thing of which I AM absolutely certain is that the people in my life, each and every one of them, has made me me.  I love them for it, even when I’m angrier than I knew I could be.

I hate anger.  I hate animosity.  I hate confrontation.  But in the end, I love what these things have brought to me.  I have a renewed understanding of what friendship and love really are.  I have an enormous respect for those that put up with me, and I promise that tomorrow, I will try harder to be a better me.

I promise to take what you’ve said to heart.  I promise to put your feedback into the person that I am today, and I promise to wake up trying to be better tomorrow.

Friendship is a funny word.  For some, it can mean the same as love: an indefinite appreciation of the person with whom the word or activities are shared.  For others, it’s a very finite line; doing something great and being in an amazing place makes you a great friend, otherwise, you’re only worthy of being walked away from.

Friends, to me, are family.  They’re there for better or for worse, for richer or for poorer.  They’re intimately connected to me, and they can never do anything wrong.  As humans, they do questionable things at times, as do I.  It’s not only okay; it’s perfect.  The imperfection of humanity is what makes each of us perfect in our own ways.  The beauty of being human is being able to fuck up, and the beauty of true friendship is being able to know that your people will always be there for you when it’s over — much more definitively, knowing they’ll be there when you’re going through shit.

I’ve been in an interesting ‘today’ for a little while.  When I needed someone to be there, I had a lot of Favorite People step up and make sure they had me.  There have been others that bowed out, letting me know they had to wait for the storm to pass before they would be willing to come back.

I can’t imagine walking away when someone needed me.  For me, it’s amazing if you’re doing amazing today, but many of us are not.  So many of us are working toward being better tomorrow, myself included.

Not too long ago, when I thought about who loved me, I thought about the people that loved me yesterday.  Now, when I think about people that love me, I think about the people that loved me yesterday, but they also love me today and tomorrow.

In this thing that is called “life”, I think it’s unfair to think that anyone could do it alone.  I think there is something so sexy about friends that are willing to set themselves aside and be who they’re supposed to be for the people that love them.  Sometimes, it should be a friend, sometimes it may be a lover, and sometimes, it may be a smile in passing at the grocery store.

Tomorrow, I promise to try to be a better person, friend, and lover than I was today and yesterday.  But if you haven’t afforded me to struggle today, I am not sure what tomorrow can bring.

The Unattainable

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In my observation, this is a great debate for Nature versus Nurture.

After all, when do you think that children in the grocery store were taught to throw temper tantrums at the check-out line?  The overwhelming answer would be never.  You see, as soon as the check-out line becomes unattainable, whether it’s pronounced with words or caused by some form of body language that readily dictates intent to all parties involved, it becomes a sexy object of desire — a challenge.

So what is it about being told ‘no’ that makes humans, at all ages, spend infinite amounts of energy plotting ways to overcome a challenge that is intended to be anything but?

As babies, we spend unquantifiable amounts of time plotting ways to push the boundaries and figure out just how far we can push the lines.  As children, we throw tantrums when we can’t get our way.  As teenagers, being told we can’t do something immediately means plotting, sneaking around, and getting creative.  And as adults, The Unattainable is often a phrase rooted in relation to the opposite sex.

It seems that for many of us, chasing The Unattainable is much more a lifelong pursuit than that of happiness.  And only the latter was promised to by our forefathers.

When did the pursuit of happiness become convoluted in a muddled, emotional, and unattainable mess?  Was it always this way?  Think about presidents in the old days and their plantation lovers.  Socially unacceptable and forbidden bodies thrust together, some by choice, some by chance.  Think about all of the women who marry convicts that are behind bars for life.  These are often people that have never met — never spent a night together — and never will.  These are men that are proven to be bad people, and overall degenerates to society.  And yet?  Women flock to prisons to meet their mates.

There seems to be an innate drive to seek that which we cannot have.  While I’ll opt away from the animalistic hunter instinct idea, the thought certainly did cross my mind that, throughout evolution, we were hunters.  And perhaps there is a part of our makeup that still needs to find and meet the challenge of hunting a type of prey.

For clarity, The Unattainable come in many forms.  If physical attraction isn’t met by both parties — if the fire and sexual passion that makes living without each other an impossibility — someone is Unattainable.  Maybe they’re overweight; maybe that have a face that only a mother could love.    If relationships are in place, either with significant others or children or family or friends inhibit the sultry burning that should exist between two people, the Unattainable has surfaced.  Sometimes our own demons step in and refuse to allow us to be free.  They are members of The Unattainable.  If friendship trumps the opportunity for greater possibilities, The Unattainable has entered.

Recently, Self and I have had a lot of discussions.  Enough to make one of us crazy, and I’m not sure which one of us is going to come out of this alive.  The day I turned thirty two, I promised that this would be a year of honesty, both with myself as well as others around me, particularly those that I love.  While I’ve never been a liar, I’m quickly learning that experiencing unbridled honesty is much more dramatic than simply “not lying”.

It seems, as luck would have it, that The Unattainable are forcing me to learn more about me in thirty two than I have in the three plus decades prior.  My heart was tender before, and it was often worn on my sleeve.  It wasn’t until I looked in the mirror, and decided that my vulnerability is sexy, that I began to experience the raw honesty that I promised to seek out this year.  It’s not only part of me; it is me.

We all have demons.  Some of us struggle with our own.  And some of us are forced to face the demons of others.  Most of us are stretched across the spectrum.  We must deal with our own insecurities and vulnerabilities; the things we’ve done that we’re not proud of; the things that would feel better if we just got them out, but they’re meant to be left unsaid.  And in our roles in other peoples’ lives, as parents, friends, children, or siblings, we shoulder others’ demons as well.

A combination of confidence and insecurity.. a combination of ego and introspection… A combination of untouched and still inside of me… a combination of being a lover and being unlovable… Unattainable.

Isn’t it funny that one person’s Unattainable simultaneously seeks their own Unattainable?  The naked vulnerability runs on parallel tracks, sometimes even meeting at the station at the same time, and just as quickly as they arrived, The Unattainable pull out, and go about their own directions in life.  Until concessions are made, and the path on which the tracks run is diverted, via work and will, the tracks of The Unattainable may never become one.

Rebound

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In my observation, I had rebounded, and I didn’t even know it.  It’s all so clear to me now, but when I was in the middle of it, I had no idea that I was just a woman on the prowl seeking my next prey to satisfy my long-neglected desires in a sexy rendezvous.

After nearly seven years of a one-sided, mentally exhausting relationship, I spent a couple of years cheating on the side. I met with men, I met with women, I met with individuals in dark rooms, and I took on groups of suitors sometimes.  Really, cheating was exhausting, and I didn’t really enjoy it.  It wasn’t nearly as exciting as people make it sound.  I would find myself perched in my car, rehearsing the conversations to come so I didn’t call out the wrong name when things got hot and heavy.

When you’re in the throes of a potential life-long passion, no John Doe wants to be called Jane.

I did my homework.  I found out everything I could about the people with whom I may bed.  I found out their secrets, their tricks, was ready for everything that they would tell me that I knew they say to all the other girls, too.

I was nobody’s fool.  I was leaving my other partner on my terms, and on my terms alone.  I had spent so many years shackled to the wall, speaking only when spoken to, being allowed out of the basement for an hour a day for Yard Time.

It was my turn to paint the town red and slide under the sheets with whomever I damned well pleased.  And so, after many, many meetings in dark alleys behind the dumpster and years of exchanging my pillow talk for theirs, I finally got it out of my system.  I was done cheating.  With all of this effort, such an assertive, master-minded effort, there was no way that I was going to be the ragdoll in the basement any longer.  No more would I stand for giving my partner explicit use of my emotions for their own entertainment purposes.

I was on my way.

Apparently, I was just in a serious rebound.  In the weeks since, it’s become incredibly clear to me that I was, in fact, willing to take whatever was given to me.   Don’t get me wrong.  I didn’t flee one relationship to become a man-eater.  It’s not my style.  As far as I was aware, my full intentions were to enter into this marriage with the idea that it would far exceed my prior relationship.

It was a wolf in sheep’s clothing that came out from under the bed one night.  The truth of the matter is that, no matter how long you date, how you met, how many secrets you divulged to each other prior to taking the big leap, you never really know what you’re getting into until you’ve gotten into it.

Relationships, just as life, need to be at least an attempt of equal parts give and take.  As I was packing up to move out of my already-temporary new home, I was told that I hoped I learned something about myself.

I did.  I learned that this must have been a rebound because, as committed as I was and as eager and willing I was to be the good wife, I wasn’t willing to give more than I could take.  in fact, I learned that I really couldn’t take any more at all.

I did not cheat with intent.  But you can always tell a relationship that isn’t going to last if you look back at it when you’re still in the honeymoon phases, and you can’t even remember that first electrifying kiss that got you hooked in the first place.

That Moment

In my observation, I just realized that I’ve been one whiny ass bitch. I’ve cried from the moment I woke up until… (((end time still to be determined)))… and for no reason at all.

I’m completely overwhelmed with being given all of the things I asked for and being granted all of the wishes for which I’ve desired for so long.

And it’s too much.

I broke.

I met that moment, when the moment looked at me and said, “You’re being a pathetic asshole. Shut the fuck up.”

People talk shit about how sensitive I am, but in reality, it’s one of my favorite qualities about me, albeit one of the most frustrating and hard to overcome qualities. I feel more than most people; I might feel more about you than you probably do.

My life and myself changed dramatically after my dad died.  I was just a kid.  Just nineteen.  Shortly thereafter, I attended more funerals in a twenty four month period than anybody should ever attend.

Right next to my friends.

Because we went through that shit together.

Today, Alicia Titus would be turning the big FOUR-OH. But she didn’t even make it to the big THREE-OH.  She was sacrificed on 9/11 as she serviced the people on her plane.

She, too, was just a baby. Just 28, I believe.

I remember thinking about how amazingly beautiful she was (because SHE WAS). She walked through the universe holding the hands of her amazing family no matter where she was or how far she traveled.

She has an amazing family.

Her family is my family.

Today her brother, the husband of my best friend, posted a happy birthday note to her on Facebook, and gave her shit for turning forty.

And in that moment, I wondered where the fuck the years went.  I am now older than her.  In my life, her death is one of those things that built me to be me.

My new co-workers chastise me for loving people too much.  I chastise them for not loving people enough.

It’s all in a person’s perspective.

When I ran errands today, and was still bawling my face off for no reason at all, every person I interacted with told me that they wished they could be sad like me because I still smiled, and I was still so congenial.

My struggles are my struggles, and I never intend for them to be your struggles.

It was in that moment, when Zac wished Alicia a happy fortieth birthday, that I remembered what made me.  It was in that moment that I remember that my purpose is to smile at a stranger and make someone else’s day a little less difficult than it was when I found it.

It was in that moment that I remembered wondering when twenty-eight would ever come, and in the same moment, wondered where twenty-eight ever went.

It was in that moment that I found the serenity of my amazing friends and family. And it was in that moment that I was okay with trying again tomorrow.

Forty comes too soon, after all. It was in that moment that I wondered how I would fill the next nine years.

Going to See a Man About a Horse

In my observation, I’m saddled-up.

This time tomorrow, I will be sitting in a state that I never realized would hold such an imperative place in my life.

Four letters, three of which are vowels – never did I imagine an importance in this description that could outweigh my beautiful Ohio.

Iowa.

You never made that grammatical connection, did you?  It’s possible that they have much more connectivity than just the consonants and vowels that form them.  Just as we humans have binding ties like black and white, female and male, blonde and brunette – our consonants and vowels – these states possess human idiosyncrasies for me.

A birth.  A renewal.  A fresh start.  A test.  A story.  An introduction.  A taste.  A belief.  A theory.  An idea.  A state.  A unicorn.

The birth of hope is just the same as the idea of giving life.  For some, when trying and seeking and looking and wanting has begun to give in to the acceptance that whatever will be will be, the stick turns pink.  There is life in the belly.  There is something moving and breathing and waiting to be born.  There is you.

Renewing the hope of one slightly forgotten is a gift, that which cannot always easily be repaid.  The thought of self-esteem, the thought of “it might be okay”, the thought of something new – renewing that excitement that you had as a child on Christmas day – that is the renewal.

Fresh starts come after the end of something else.  One cannot begin until there is an end.  Perhaps they will overlap – more often than not they do.  But the forgiveness of oneself for the things that have tainted them for a day, a week, a year, is the making of room for new beginnings.

New beginnings cannot come without a test.  My greatest test, just as many others’, is the test of my own self.  Can I do it?  Am I good enough?  Am I worth it? (See The Birth, Renewal, and Fresh Starts above!)  The answer is – of course!  At this point, a new beginning comes with shaking hands with a partner that will continually exert effort to be good enough for me.  It’s not about you anymore, partner.

If nothing else comes of this week, I will have words.  The beautiful combination of letters that go together to make a story.  My story.  It may be humorous, likely sarcastic, more than likely cynical, and – if I’m feeling like it – my story may be wearing four-inch heels and strutting sexy.  I am making my story.

I will introduce myself to allowing someone to pursue me.  I will introduce myself to way too many people in way too short of time.  It may not work out.  It may work out.  No new beginning starts without the introduction.

I, like many people, want to taste success.  I want to taste what’s out there.  I want to taste a compliment. I want to taste this side of pursuit.  I want to taste the fruits of my labor.  And if nothing else goes well, my fruits can make some damned good wine when I get back to Denver!

I believe that I’m not only good enough, but I’m more than valuable.  I also believe that looking for a new partner has been an absolutely exhausting situation.  I believe I could place blame, but I choose to put my index finger into a mitten, and shelter it from the cold that results from pointing it at those who couldn’t care less.

I have a theory – somewhere during Soul Revival 2013 – I will find me again.  I miss me.  I theorize that, regardless of my ass-busting hard work in which I’ve partaken over the last three years, I will reconcile with my soul again.  We were peeps, my soul and I.  I miss him, and I think my soul misses me.

The idea of jumping on a plane just to have a new experience is not an idea I had just a few weeks ago.  Just like the many ideas that I will have a few weeks from now that I do not yet know exist, I do have that idea now.  It’s exciting to wonder about what ideas will fill my mind and agenda a few weeks from now that I do not yet know exist.

The state of Iowa is welcoming me with open arms – or so I hope.  It’s a short visit – just a few hours.  I will return back to my wonderful state of Colorado after a tedious test.  Never did I imagine that the two states with four letters, three vowels, and one consonant, could potentially impact my life in such a similar manner.

I’m going to see a man about a horse… a unicorn, actually.  A colleague recently told me that finding someone to work for that will treat me as I deserve to be treated will be like finding a unicorn – some say they don’t exist, but others know because they’ve witnessed them.  Some have even ridden on their broad shoulders across grand skies to the lands of richer possibilities.  A unicorn hangs in my cube.  I hope to find her someday soon.

I have my saddle ready, my boots on, and my carrots in my bag.

I’m going to see a man about a horse.  While I’m there, I’m going to see if anyone might have a unicorn to spare.

Shame

In my observation, shame can be third-person.

Because I carry shame for you.  I am ashamed that this was acceptable, and I am ashamed that you see no recourse.  I am ashamed that you do not feel shame.

I am proud of the shame that I carry for you, and I am proud to do so, as doing so allows me the humanity and humbleness, that which you are unable to feel.  I feel fortunate to bear this burden for you, and I honor the stresses with which you struggled as you determined that this is something that you could not do for yourself.

I am an Honored Recipient of your shame. One day, perhaps sooner than you plan, you will hurt from your shame.  In the interim, I bear this for you.  I am your sounding board, your punching bag, and that on which all of your own unrecognized inner aggression lies.

I realize it must hurt you.  It hurts me to bear it.  It is with back-breaking, agonizing pain that I permit you to lay this upon me – this burden, that which you refuse to recognize, and that which you completely own.

My humanity can bear it, as my humanity is humble yet strong.  It is honest.  It is appreciative.  It is happy.  And I am happy that my humanity is my own.

You are happy that yours is your own as well.

I am most happy that your humanity is not my own.  Only certain beings can own what you own.  I am not one of them.  I am not just a being.  I am a human being.  I will house your shame until you are willing to own it.  It is at this point that you may taste the beautiful flavor of humanity as well.

Monkey See, Monkey Poop

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In my observation, the monkeys may be on to something.

More than likely, our primate friends do actually enjoy the art of throwing shit at their arch rivals.  Also more than likely, this defense mechanism exists for a reason.

As humans, if you have experienced this artful display of chaos, I would be willing to bet that you were not in the midst of the Great Wild; rather, you were probably on “this side” of the cage at the zoo.  A zoo that you paid to enter, and a zoo whereby you derived enjoyment and a certain sense of learning by witnessing these wild animals in “their environment”, engineered by a human counterpart “looking out for their best interests.”  A zoo that is making money from the entertainment that you enjoyed.

Don’t get me wrong; I happen to enjoy the zoo as much as the next guy (particularly on Free Days, but not for the political reasons that may seem to be!)  I once helped give an elephant a pedicure – and I thoroughly enjoyed myself.  I respect the animals.  I respect their space.  And I respect that this isn’t exactly “their thing.”  They do the best with what they’ve been given.  And fortunately, they’ve never felt the need to do their best at giving me a Monkey Shit Shower.

Unfortunately, they can’t speak for themselves.  Having often heard the term “monkey suit” in reference to a man’s tuxedo that he wears as he walks down the aisle, I frequently questioned the derivation of such term.

I think I get it.

When I entered into my current wedded bliss, that from which I hope soon to divorce, I also rented my semi-perm monkey suit.

I get it.

Much more fitting than the term “ball and chain” or “till death do us part”, is the phrase “monkey suit”.  Upon stating my “I dos” to the pseudo-business world, I put on my tux and in turn, I put on my monkey suit.  Little did my suitors know, I have observed nature and am an avid companion of all things that come naturally to a being.

Any being.

I happen to find poop-throwing to be a great defense mechanism.  So much so, in fact, that I have recently decided to try my hand at it (that always seems to end up being a terribly placed pun in this blog.)  

One thing to remember is that any being that has been placed in a less-than-optimal environment can only be okay with said environment for so long.  The polar bears chill on their fake ice in the middle of August and the penguins dance for you on their faux icebergs behind their glass.  The Komodo dragons (one of my personal faves) will potentially eat their siblings in front of you, and the elephants make beautiful songs through their gracefully moving trunks.

The monkeys are going crazy.

Batshit (monkey shit) crazy.

Just like all of their zoo life friends, the monkeys are going crazy.

After swinging from the engineered vines for way too long, the monkeys are eventually going to rebel.  They know that you’re there for your entertainment. They understand that their job is to make you happy.  And at some point, they’re going to get bored.

They’re bored.

For me, playing with metaphorical monkey poop is what I imagine it would have been like to play with finger paint as a child.  I wasn’t really allowed to have finger paint as a kid (Hi, mom… don’t worry… It’s not a dig!!! I totally understand), but at thirty one years of age, I think I have found my own finger paint; it comes in the form of the monkey poop that I decided to throw at my captors.

Another thing to remember?  You, as the Greater Being, fed said monkey.  You gave the monkey fuel, and you made the monkey crazy.

What goes up must come down, and what goes in must come out.

So when you have been blessed with a Monkey Shit Shower, perhaps it’s time to reassess how you treat your captives.  Wearing your shitty words on your face can be more embarrassing, perhaps, than anything that you have tried to make your Worker Monkey perform for you over the years.

I can balance a ball when you tell me to, and I can swing from tree to tree when I need to.  But when Mother Nature calls, and the time has come, I can also throw a little monkey poop your way.

One more thing to remember, it’s probably going to sound like a better idea from “that side” of the cage.

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