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I had a chat on Monday night that changed the way I see everything. It was one of those moments where my heart beat wayyy too quickly, I knew too much, and I felt disgusted because I thought I’d left these goddamn moments of panic behind.

I took a few more sips.

I finished the bottle.

I filled a tub.

I let myself thrash in the throes of fury, violent intentions, and painful hurt.

I took my time.

Finally, I laughed.

The more I listened to this song, the harder I laughed.

And somehow, with the burning of pictures and crazy wild yoga and sweaty hot walks, I’m actually feeling lighter than I had been, before I knew what had really been going on.

So while I’d like to say fuck you, I’d add a thank you as well.

Turns out, I’m one lucky bitch.

Crazy how that happens.

I am well aware that single is the only way for me to be right now. In no way am I ready for a love interest, no matter how ravishing or ‘perfect’ for me. But in looking at love and relationship, and who I want to be, and who I’d like to be with, these are the questions and ideas that come to mind . . .

Dear future lover,

If these quotes intrigue you, then we’re off to a good start:

“The feminine belongs to boys AND girls, for men AND women. The feminine is not a gender but an essence, and whoever understands that, also understands the feminine.”
~ Tami Kent

“Love never dies a natural death. It dies because we don’t know how to replenish its source. It dies of blindness and errors and betrayals. It dies of illness and wounds; it dies of weariness, of withering, of tarnishing.”
~ Anais Nin

Will you get lost with me in the space between sensuality and sexuality?

Will you reverence and worship my body as a body, not just a set of sexy curves that appeals to your eyes, but compels your hands to feel and explore, and causes your heart to swell when my skin and muscles and heat responds to you?

Will you listen? Even when it hurts you, and especially when you don’t understand?

Can you understand that loving me results in my loving you, and your being filled and loving me back, and my being filled and showering you with love? Can you see the cycle of intimacy that’s possible when you live without keeping score?

Will you show me your soft side, and let me hold you there? Can I show you my softer sides, my rough edges, and will you hold me and not flinch, judge or look away?

When I need space, will you realize it isn’t about you?

Do you have a healthy love and respect for The Beatles? Led Zeppelin? Janis Joplin, Weezer, Sublime, the Grateful Dead?

When I express myself, will you witness it?
Will you let me be wild without asking me to be calmer, quieter, smaller, more manageable?
Will you express yourself to me?
Will you whisper how I affect you, how you value me, why and how often I capture your attention?
Will you be honest about what you desire?
Will you tell me your secrets?

If I’m frustrated, can you inspire me to smile? Laugh? Surprise me with pleasure?

Do you understand that underneath the color of skin, outside of different cultures and religious beliefs and spiritual practises, and despite language barriers, we are all connected and worthy of love and respect?

Most of all, do you feel that you are responsible for your own happiness?
Do you believe that Guys Night Out is just as necessary as Girls Night Out, even when in the throes of early romance or the routine of long-term love?

And how, exactly, do you feel about cats?
(Answer this one carefully, dude.)

xoxox
xoxo
xox
xo

4th of July 2009 was going to be difficult to top: skinnydipping in the Berkshires under a bright, full moon with 5 other ladies, and chai tea to warm us up afterward. Niiiice.

And perhaps I didn’t exactly top that, but I came damn close, if only because of this lingering memory I have of a shirtless stud breaking up wood for the bonfire I was sitting by. I’m pretty sure cougars are much older than my 29 years, and I’d bet this particular hunk was barely, if even, 20, and so maybe that isn’t enough of an age difference, but Samantha Jones: I GET IT.

A day of baseball, a night of drinking, and a morning after of shopping was exactly what I needed to feel like I’d been on vacation, when really I was just livin’ large 2 hours from home.

Now that I’ve had a night to recover, I’m back to reading my mind-blowing, body-loving book and this quote has been replaying in my mind all day:

“Your root conveys your relationship with expression, whether you tend to hold yourself back or let yourself go.”

I know where I fall between those two extremes.

I also know that I’m capable of breaking open and letting go. I’ve held myself and let myself be held for two months now, through grieving and sadness and relief, and it’s no small victory that I feel so intact right now. Stronger than ever, in fact.

And as I’m taking a look at my root, at the story my body is telling me about how my life affects me, I realize softening and letting go is a must for me. It’s scary to trust in how you feel vs. what you think you want in the moment, but I’m learning that I Always Know.

Truth? I fantasize about the Cougar, too.

I wanted to be the Cougar, because I thought those women had the experience and wisdom to Know What’s Best. As though their knowledge could make decisions for me, and in essence, save me. From mistakes, from a broken heart, from a potential divorce, from making the wrong decision. And yes, I’m sure they do, and I’m sure they could give advice that would ‘save’ me. But I realized that no one else can know for me. I love the cougar idea, but I don’t need to wait til then to make decisions or feel safe knowing what I know.

And if I’m mentally unsure, my body isn’t.

So yes, the hunk was handsome, the beer was . . . cold, and the different city brightened my spirits, but the more amazing discovery was my creativity. I let go of my old lady bedtime, my punctual meal times, and my own bed, and realized I felt more like myself than I have in a long time.

I got my wish: he sent me two messages today. Short, simple, full of love and fully aware that this weekend would be our eighth anniversary.

Even though I wanted to hear from him, the words still weren’t enough. I’m not sure what I want to hear, or even if enough words could compensate for tangible action.

I’ve got plenty that I want to say to him, though, because well, he was my best friend.

But as a girlfriend, everything changes. I can’t just send him back a page long email about what’s happened in my life since I last saw him. I can’t just go hug him because the only hug my body craves is from him. But as a girlfriend, what I most want to tell him would be that my definition of love has transformed from this to this. And that’s part of why I hesitate to go back.

But I hesitate to seal the door shut because I realized this weekend that, essentially, I was hoping to find him plus the extra potential I’d hoped he would grow into.

And perhaps the ability to get this quote from Anais Nin:

“I do not want to be the leader. I refuse to be the leader. I want to live darkly and richly in my femaleness. I want a man lying over me, always over me. His will, his pleasure, his desire, his life, his work, his sexuality the touchstone, the command, my pivot. I don’t mind working, holding my ground intellectually, artistically;

but as a woman, oh, God, as a woman I want to be dominated.

I don’t mind being told to stand on my own feet, not to cling, be all that I am capable of doing, but I am going to be pursued, fucked, possessed by the will of a male at his time, his bidding.”

It’s been a while since I felt courageous enough to log in and write a post. I’m not even sure how to describe where I am in my life right now – grief is one hell of a ride. Some days I feel so sure of myself, so solid in my choices, so alive with freedom . . . and then it can all crash down and I can see the tearful reunion in my head. It’s the worst when I picture us hugging, because I can remember that so physically that I tear up.

I’m not sure why, but the longer I’m away from him, the worse I feel. I thought the opposite would happen. But the last two weeks have required intense strength and discipline to keep me from driving by, sending a message, gettin’ all reckless and giving in to the evil voices plotting in my thoughts.

Then, the date.

And being called ‘baby’ by someone else, and the tears that threatened to give me away to people I’d just met. And, damn you facebook, he updated his picture. After I’d updated mine.

I know what you’re trying to do.

And damn me, but it worked. He looked more handsome than even in my dirtiest memories and that evil voice thought it should be no problem to just mention it’s a nice picture.

Except, he sure as hell didn’t say that about mine.

And it’s a damn good picture, if I say so and took it myself.

So now I’m listening to Warren Haynes whom we both love, and it helps but it doesn’t. It makes me feel closer to him in ways that don’t cause tangible drama, but the music can’t hug me. The music doesn’t smell like him. The music doesn’t tell me what I want to know.

I keep telling myself: My wanting to see him is like wanting my favorite ice cream – it may be satisfying in the moment, but I know from past experience, it’s not the healthiest choice. Not for every day.

But maybe, if I check my email one more time, I’ll get some temporary relief in the form of an email.

Too bad that only happens on the days when I feel my happiest and his words don’t affect me.

Join *8Things

Magpie Girl inspired some loveliness today with a gratitude list, and this is my version:

1. Warm, sun-shining, flip flop weather
2. Mellow mushroom bought by The Bossman for lunch, YUM
3. My supportive and loving and twisted and crazy family
4. Winston, the fierce boy cat who’s stolen my heart, even though he’s serious when he scratches
5. The women in my life who tell the truth, love fiercely, and laugh much
6. The tiny, playful, gorgeous birds I see in the mornings
7. My healthy body
8. Eat Pray Love

Lovely soundtrack for this post, courtesy of Alanis Morisette:

spread the love –
xooxox

Shiva Nata arrived in my hands around Christmastime.

I just started practicing.

The hype? It is so true. I had the most subtle a-ha just reading some of the articles and then practicing this morning . . . I don’t like the hard. I avoid the hard. This whole Shiva Nata thing was a lot cooler before I realized I had to make it hard for it to work.

And within these thoughts lies this killer one: I avoid saying the hard thing that would make my life easier.

Then, I realized I sort of said that in yesterday’s post – – if my life were easy, because I could just say how I wanted and needed things to be, I would be getting away with something, right? That would just be too easy, why should I have it so easy?, life is supposed to be hard: everyone knows that.

I feel guilty getting what I want. Having an ‘easy’ life is really ‘not cool’ don’tchaknow?

Oh, so if that’s true, then I must create drama to foul things up and bring back the hard, yes? And have drama like all the cool kids. So when someone asks how I’m doing, I can roll my eyes and have ‘something’ to talk about.

Otherwise, I might sleep well at night, do lots of yoga and meditation, and listen to my heart’s desire and follow it . . . to more hard, like going back to school for that risky, sexy something that whispers in ear, but that I fear won’t support me in the long run.

Oh.

Join *8Things

When I first read Magpie Girl’s 8*Things post, I felt some awe, some whoaaa, that’s a tough one. Could I really defy the logic of financial security? She says you can. It sounds so . . . rebellious. So powerful. So completely true, so really controversial. You see, my friends, I am unravelling the way I handle conflict, and what I know so far is that I like it, if I can throw a tantrum. Highly effective and original, yes? Perfect for relationship drama, salary negotiation, any situation where you actually want to leave feeling content. Except that the ‘content’ part has yet to kick in . . .

So yes, I have unconventional ideas and rather conventional parents . . . dare I speak up and risk ‘outing’ myself? But, but . . . they’re the adults, right? With all the experience and the money and the approval . . . can I really re-write the rules and end up ‘okay’ or will they end up with an ‘I told you so’ in the end?

This is another favorite: I feel something that scares me, do I really have to say it? And risk changing the climate of this moment, this relationship?

Exploring my relationship to power feels revolutionary to me. As in, if I make this easier on myself and therefore feel able to have my needs met, or at least heard, I’m getting away with something, right?

Must journal on this later . . . because I really did write a list, and I didn’t stop at eight. I’ve got much more to unravel on the topic of power.

– That’s not ladylike. I’ve always rebelled against this, which caused me to do everything non-ladylike until, like I’ve mentioned 70 times, I found myself sobbing over wanting to be ladylike and treated like a woman. You know, whatever that means.

– You shouldn’t feel that way. Well, I do. So, isn’t the wise thing to learn how to properly handle this feeling?

– That just doesn’t sound very adult. Just like with gender – – what exactly does ‘adult’ imply?

– It’s for your own good. My good, or yours? Or, your comfort zone, or my happiness?

– You’re wasting your time. He doesn’t want to marry you. He would’ve proposed by now. All I can say is that listening to other people’s opinions led me to stay hung up on an event rather than the health of my life. The more difficult part is that I see both sides, and feeling like I have to choose between both has made me feel insanely unhappy with anything.

– Diet, exercise & not smoking lead to a long, healthy life. What no one tells you: drama, especially self-created drama, and the physical highs and lows, have wreaked much more havoc on my body, not to mention giving me a ‘reason’ to not exercise – how can I, when I can’t sleep because my life is falling apart?

– Pain must be avoided at all costs. What if pain was just information? A sign to ease up on life, stay in bed, listen for an answer or need?

– A rich (handsome, well-connected, insert desired trait here) man/woman is the key to a happy life. Except, you have to live with him or her. And sometimes life requires more than money, looks & status.

Bonus: – Treat others as you would like to be treated. Except, maybe others feel loved or respected in a completely different way. Always better to ask.

First off, if you aren’t reading Cleavage by Kelly Diels, jump over there now to read about needs. I have these tiny seedling concepts floating in my mind and then BAM! she writes a fleshed out post that spins me around and expands my mind and it’s better than drugs.

She talks about emotions in that post, and this is a subject I’m just immersed in. I am an emotional creature, and thank you Eve Ensler for your new book. I promise I’m heading to my library to get it. Because I fought my emotions for a while, until I realized they were telling me important things about my relationship situation.

I had this idea that my relationship failed because our fights were more like a battle of wills than communicating about our issues and needs. Because he was right, then I must be wrong, and vice versa. He did not acknowledge how I felt. So naturally it follows that we could never get past our respective perspectives to any sort of compromising solution which may have saved us.

And I’m starting to think this is a common problem with many relationships.

I’ve been so sad since all texting between us ceased, because he was my best friend. It’s tough to lose a lover and a best friend in one fell swoop.

So in the process of writing it all out, as I’m wont to do, I had this crazy idea. I knew I wanted closure from him, which clearly wasn’t coming, so I started thinking of what I actually wanted to hear from him.

Here’s where the uncommon part comes in: I wrote myself a letter from him, saying what I wanted him to say. I explained the situation from his point of view, I acknowledged my point of view, and I apologized. I voiced the emotions that kept me (him) from apologizing at the time.

What floored me: after I finished, my heart had softened.

I was tempted to call him. I had thoughts that maybe we could’ve been saved, that I finally saw how he saw it, and I felt heard and understood and loved.

But it was all from me. Not him.

For the rest of the night, I couldn’t shake missing him. I’d fooled my heart into believing he’d said all that, and my hope had been restored (not totally, but enough).

This little exercise won’t save the relationship I just left, but I’ve learned enough that I have hope for my emotional and communicative skills for the next one.

After all, I’m also reading Kelly Diels. Pretty soon, we’re gonna have this shit all figured out.

After eight years, I left a relationship that drained me. I had no idea how much emotional support matters to me, until I gave up flailing and explaining and agonizing in an effort for him to get me.

When we started out, all shiny and bright, I had this idea that I wasn’t ‘girlie like that’ because I like sports and casual clothes and foul language and beer. So all the needs and wants and desires that I thought guys hated, and girls loved – – I decided they didn’t matter. It was easy to decide that, because I’d never gotten that kind of treatment before. I didn’t miss it, so I thought I could live without it.

Until I was sobbing in front of him, telling him I did need those things.

I suppose I could’ve seen the writing on the wall when I wrote blog posts about the lack of authenticity in the bedroom. But it took feeling ice in my body when I hugged him last for me to know that it was over.

I am fucking thankful for that ice, y’all.

So this is the backstory to why I say your body will tell you the truth. My inability to speak up in the bedroom was telling me that I didn’t feel safe. My lack of desire told me that I didn’t want him. My constant fatigue told me he drained me. Now, I see.

At least I know that I’m listening to my heart, because that’s when I left.