reading myself

Over the last two days I reread everything I've ever written in this blog... and you know what came up?
this is my "proof" of working smart.
emailing about schedules.  totally hot, i know.

(well, besides a whole lot of attempts to make excuses about why not to do it even though I said I was going to do it and need to hold myself accountable?)

In reading myself I was alarmed to see how quickly things moved over the last year.  Not really for my own sake, though... I tend to go fast and it works for me...  more out of fear of being found out.  As in: if anyone realizes how little experience I have doing any of these things I currently practice as my life they are going to know I'm a huge fraud and instantly <pick one: fire, dump, reject, shame, ignore> me.

Ay yay yay.

Even though it only took a year to get here, one of the benefits of the new me is that I know when my own head is spewing bullshit that needn't have my attention anymore.

Thank you, head.  Thank you, as always, for trying to protect me.  I've got this.


champagne wishes and nyquil dreams

A couple weeks ago Spiderman started coughing.  Two Friday mornings ago I found him curled up on the couch under a blanket when I got out of the shower.  He never ran a fever, but was a little slowed down for a day or so.  He bounced back quickly.

Last Monday some sniffles I attributed to crying a lot (just hormones, nothing to fret about) turned into the cold Spiderman was incubating.  Then the next day I conducted a training... then the next three days I spent in bed, only waking and sitting up when I needed to facilitate some webinars for work (still in bed, mind you).  An entire week later, my snot is still green... (although yesterday it was a very neon yellow perhaps this was my body's christmas present to itself?) and abundant.

Per Devon's prompting I've been giving myself massive indigestion by downing a shot of Apple Cider Vinegar every morning.  I've even resorted to cold medicine.  I took Dayquil twice with no remarkable results, and Nyquil a few times which resulted in being able to sleep but not much else.

My head is pounding.

I have procrastinating to stop but my body seems to be getting in the way.  I did exactly what I was supposed to do as soon as I realized I was sick.  I stayed in bed.  I didn't push it.  I rested.  I drank fluids.  I allowed myself to be cared for by my sweet.  Still-this shit has been going on for 10 days with little to no progress towards wellness.  I'm sick (and whiney apparently).

Today I went back to work in the office.  Somehow, even though I sniffled and hacked through the day, I thought that meant I was back in action.  I had a to-do list a mile long developing in my head for tonight... and now I'm pretty sure all I'm going to do is make it through the making of the list.


That's why I haven't been here.  That's why I might not be here for the rest of this week.  Because even if I manage to get well I gots shits to do!  I promise to take pictures of myself doing stuff to post in lieu of writing if I manage to get out of bed.

For now, there are 30mL of liquid relief (poison) calling my name.

Why on earth do they make it that awful color?


work smart (December 13ish-January 10 (2013) or for life!)

This is it, folks... the first official post of last "month" of the FULLfillment Project.  This isn't going to happen again.

I know.  Soak it in.

Before the panic starts up, the answer to your next question is: I will keep blogging.  About what, I don't know...  I have an idea or two or five hundred... but talking about that would just be procrastinating which is what I've been doing for the last week anyway and is time to stop.  If there's one thing I know it's that procrastinating is not "working smart."  Nope-nope-nope.

I'm not going to give you a recap of last month because like we learned before it started... I didn't need to get sexy.  I am sexy.  Always have been.  Always will be.  (so there).  And, no, I didn't take the burlesque class--I have mixed feelings.  Let's talk about them after January 10th...  yes, let's get on track here!

This final month is called "work smart (love what i do and do it with love)" and it seems to have come at the perfect time (it's almost as if someone designed this project to work perfectly!  hmmmmm....)  This project is coming to an end, along with the most challenging and rewarding year of my life to date, and it's time to figure out what's next.  At the end of 2011 and the start of this project I allowed myself most of January to figure out how to do all of this... to plan for it... this time, there will be no planning gap.  Planning will be embedded in the project.  That's what this month will be about.

the post-it that says it all.

  • to feel good about what I'm doing with my time
  • to let myself create when/where/and what I want
  • to move toward autonomy and independence
How I'm going to do it:
  • Lots of lists, likely.  and calendars... tasks... reminders...  all that jazz
  • Vision Board--woot!
  • Asking for help
That's it really... I'm swimming in ideas right now.  I have a lot to juggle.  I want to help people who are having trouble reaching their goals because of issues with communication... I want to make cruciferous vegetables into snacks that taste like junk food... I want to keep writing (and I want you to keep reading)...  I want to learn from every little opportunity I can at my current work...  and I want to do it all at once.  Which seems like a lot.  Too much, maybe?

Until I look at what I did in 2012: 
  • took up hiking (more) by joining a group of (used to be) strangers
  • left a job of 10 years
  • started a new job
  • saw the dalai lama
  • moved to los angeles
  • filed for divorce
  • survived to see the day the divorce was final
  • practiced oodles and oodles of self love and brought others along for the ride
  • discovered my queerness
  • parented a 5 year old (and myself) through starting kindergarten
  • fell in love
  • started a formal meditation practice
  • and... well...  this.  i did this (blog).  i did this (project).  i found me.  i liked her.  we stayed together.
Seems like I can do a lot in one year.


you know how when...

A new "month" started 4 days ago... and I seem to be avoiding it.  I didn't forget, but I let myself pretend that I had.  It's the last one in this project and that seems like kind of a big deal.  So, I'll get there... but not tonight.  Tonight, let's just stick with what I already wrote.

You know how when you have an idea to make (draw, paint, build, cook, etc) something and you start to and it doesn't look (smell, taste, feel, etc) like it did in your head?  That phenomena used to stop me, and I've learned in my adulthood to push through that and get whatever I'm making either to the picture in my head or if that doesn't happen find a way to love it for what it turns out to be.  I've actually gotten quite adept at recognizing and appreciating the happy accident... almost enough to have mostly stopped forming ideas in my head of the way things will turn out to be before they get there.  Except...
...with dancing.  I don't dance.  It's not that I don't want to do it.  I have all sorts of dreamy, cinematic pictures in my head of dance numbers that I (and the folks around me) break into on cue at the most emotionally intense moments in my life...  but whether it's a chorus line to make a point or just bumping up against my love at a party the moving images in my head of what my body would be able to do with music aren't what actually comes out of my limbs.

And I don't push through it.  I don't keep trying to get to the picture.  Nor do I end up loving it for what it ends up being.  What's up with that?
random, unrelated picture of miracle leaf hovering in mid air...
One of the things we practice in MBSR (Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction) is walking meditation.  Which is essentially paying attention, on purpose, to walking.  Which can mean a whole lot of different things (thank goodness, if it was only one thing I don't think I would be able to tolerate doing it as often as we have) because there's a lot about walking to pay attention to.  Last week when I was paying attention to walking I was trying to pay attention to each individual movement and separate it from the one that came before and the one that came next (which is essentially impossible because they are completely interconnected, but still super interesting).  And besides eventually being able to recognize some very key steps in the process of walking that I had previously taken for granted...  I also witnessed tremendous gratitude for my body and what it does for me and how well it works...

and in the next moment, I noticed...  I am graceful.  I felt the way the movements of one foot, ankle, calf, knee, thigh, and hip pushed up and transferred my weight from one side to another in one long sweeping movement up the leg and the way the weight came down on the other side and settled into the other hip, thigh, knee, calf, ankle, and foot.  And that it repeated in a beautiful arc that didn't have a beginning or an end... and it was graceful.  I was graceful.  I always have been.

(I tell Devon about this and she says, in a very loving way using many different and varied words, I told you so)

So now... with all my body does for me I feel compelled to do right by it.  To do something that honors the grace and persistence and the unending service.  Guess what that thing probably is?  Dancing.  *sigh*


Let's Talk About Love

I had something else written tonight.  But in that awkward moment where I went to post a photo of myself in a black dress with lace shoulders and a red bra underneath with a caption reading "sexy or skanky?" on Facebook to ask for opinions before I wore it a party this evening I remembered that something awful happened today, and most of the folks I see online this evening are mourning.

sexy or skan-k...  oh.
When I heard about the shooting at the Elementary School in Newtown, CT I was in a meeting at work.  Angry Wombat texted me the news... she's usually the person I hear from first... she's as plugged into what's going on in the world as I am disconnected from it; we all cope in different ways, eh?  Then during some group work in that same meeting my colleagues, all having now checked their phones, started discussing the matter.  Two of the three don't have children--I'm not sure how important that is to the story but it is something I noticed at the time.  Although they spoke about it as a tragedy their comments were so matter of fact... I didn't sense any emotion in their words.  I sat across from them at the table noticing that my body was filling with tension like a bottle being filled with liquid; tingling turned to tensing from my toes to my gut and as it moved upward still I noticed myself starting to gag and wretch in small movements.  I closed my eyes and plugged my ears trying to move away from the conversation without getting up... it didn't help.  They didn't notice me or my reaction...

I sat with my visceral emotional reaction to the news and watched as it faded and eventually left my body.  I chose not to check the news on my way back to the office or talk to anyone else about it but did end up on Facebook and witnessed reactions all across the spectrum.  I read a lot about gun control.  A lot less about mental health.  I read about a lot of sadness, heartache, prayers, and light.  I read a lot of anger.

At first the anger bothered me.  Don't people know that this kind of reactive hatred is why we exist in a world where this kind of things happened? ...I thought to myself

But I know that denying and suppressing anger doesn't make anything any better either so I stepped back from that and waited for what came next.  Eventually I realized I wasn't bothered by the anger, I was still a little bothered by the hate, but what really concerned me was the fear.

In fear we are reactive.  We are quick to judge and act on those judgments. There are calls to arms, which is fine... whatever gets people moving in a direction toward change, but can we stop for a moment and take a breath first?  Do you usually make your best decisions when you're in the midst of an intense and painful emotional response?  I don't.  And beyond that, do you find that your energy for the pursuit of this action wanes as your body and brain settles down again?  I do.

While I am more for gun control than against... and more for mental health services than against... and more for peace than against... what I'm for most of all is love.  I don't believe that any fear based reaction to tragedy is going to move any of us in a sustainable effort towards growth or positive change.

So sure, let's evaluate gun control...  yes, let's talk about the stigma of mental health services as a way to diminish it... definitely, let's talk about how to love one another.  But let's not just do it today and for the next several weeks because we're afraid of what happens when we don't... let's keep talking about it.  every day.


it doesn't have to be good to be not bad

okay folks... i've got some groundbreaking shit to share tonight.  i'll go ahead and start with: my mother was right.  there is indeed grey area in life... apparently some of you already know this (and tell me so while smugly smirking behind your glasses after we've just met at a mutual friend's party after i've helped you figure out how to take the battery out of a smoke detector you insist can't be disarmed... but that's allright.  we all have things to work on), but it's news to me.

theme of the week: neutral.

i drew us a diagram.  this makes it true.
all my life my mother has been trying to convince me that there's something between black and white... she calls it grey.  it's actually one of my favorite colors.  I prefer it in charcoal...  but as an experience I don't have much.  i've known she was right ever since i realized she was right about most things in my 20s (actually, I realized she was right about everything in my 20s, it wasn't until my 30s that I backed that down to most things--sorry, ma) but I hadn't experienced enough of it to make it stick.

Somehow, however, (and I'm going to blame mindfulness--yay, mindfulness!) I seem to be living in it.

All week the answer to the "how are you?" or "how is it?" or "how was it?" question starts to come out as "good" but then backs down to a more authentic feeling... "it just was."  Which seems to require clarification, because whether all y'all have known about this mysterious grey area longer than I have or not--for the most part, we (yes, we) don't live in it.  A lot of things I experience aren't good...  but that doesn't make them bad.  Something doesn't have to be good to be not bad.

I know, it's deep... take it in.  I'll repeat:  something doesn't have to be good to be not bad.

if bad is over here on the left (see diagram) and good is over here on the right... there's a whole fucking arc of otherness in between!  and it's always been there!  ack!  mindblowing!

Just because I experience something doesn't mean that I need to make a decision about it... it can just exist and I can exist too and we can just exist.



shut up and feel better

Part of the Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction class is a day-long retreat and in class last week another participant asked (with terror in her voice and eyes) if it was true (she had "read ahead" in the text and learned) that we were going to be completely silent the whole time and couldn't make eye contact with other people.

The instructor laughed and somehow managed to evade the question... he's really good at that: evading questions.  In an attempt to create space for possibility and allow for every experience to exist without judgment he tends to evade.  After a lengthy discussion about how the person felt about it an answer came: it was true.

Add caption
I sort of knew this going in or hadn't thought about it at all but either way wasn't surprised or alarmed about the silence until the day of when I found myself wondering what that was going to be like and how/if I was going to be able to do it.  What happened that day, however, was much different than what I might have imagined.  I believe that I truly went in without expectation but the absence of expectation seemed to come from authentic ambivalence about the whole thing (note to self: someday try being without expectation without being ambivalent... it might work) so I can't say what I expected, but I wouldn't have known to expect this.

The day consisted of regularly cycling through different mindfulness practices: walking meditation, "sitting," body scan meditation, guided meditation, yadda yadda yadda... and it wasn't a particularly pleasant for me.  I experienced a lot of physical restlessness which manifested in physical discomfort (ouch, that hurts.  oh, my butt is asleep.  ack, my jaw is tight.  ooh, my shoulders are achy) but I experienced it mindfully in that I just noticed it... and didn't react except for the times when I did react and then I just noticed the reactions.  "oh, hello backache.  i'm going to adjust my posture.  i adjusted my posture."  really deep shit here, people.

When it came time to break the silence at the end of the day I noticed I didn't want to, but I didn't really know why.  I hadn't had the time of my life or anything.  I wasn't thrilled and delighted to have experienced all of the things I had experienced, but I still didn't want to let go of the silence.  There was something  (ahem, forgive me) quieting about it.

The instructions for breaking the silence were to partner up with someone and at the sound of the bell whisper to them for a minute about how the day was for you, then at the next bell sit in silence with each other again for a minute until the next bell when the other person would share through whisper for a minute.  At the last bell we could (still whispering) have more of a conversational share.  My partner and I decided that neither of us wanted to break the silence yet so we chose not to... which was awesome... and as the bells rang we started to open up to the silence and remarked to one another about how it felt and how the fact that we had never actually spoken before added an extra dimension to the "breaking of the silence."  It seems that in our interactions with one another as people our social masks are created and donned and in silence, just in our own experiences, we don't have to "think of what to say" or "do" or how to "be."  We just are.

The whole group got to participate in sharing about how their day went and many people, who seemed to have profoundly positive experiences and were very grateful for them, shared.  In reflecting back on my experience (instead of listening fully... oops) I wasn't getting a lot.  It was an experience, I had it, it wasn't overwhelmingly pleasant, but it wasn't painful either... it just was.  And then the judgment came.  Little (and sometimes big) voices started up "you didn't do a very good job today." Or "you sure did move around a lot.  you were so restless and you gave into it... it didn't even help and you knew it wouldn't"  ..."you really need to learn to sit still."  ..."you're not grateful enough."  "you didn't get anything out of today... what a waste.  shame on you."

Geez!  So, in silence... mindfulness came with ease.  The experience was what it was... and when the soft shroud of silence was lifted it allowed the critics and judges back in the room.  Wow.  Who knew?!

I shared my experience and the teacher helped me see that the judgments I was hearing now were no different from the twinges of restlessness I experienced during the silence, the only difference was my response to them... and if I just noticed the judgments they would be as neutral and pass as freely as the wiggles did (or they won't.  and that's okay too).

In silence, I found a peacefulness without perfection...  now it seems the goal is to find that peace with my voice too.


Too. Much. Information.

Lately... when I need to have a bowel movement, if I don't go right away I end up not being able to go for days.  There's this short window of time when the urge is present and it's as if when that window closes the BM retreats and needs lots of reassurance to be coaxed out again.  This is way too much information, even for this blog... but it has me wondering how else this shows up in my life.

I found this post it note on a window in a bathroom... 
I mentioned on Wednesday that I was suffering from the post-crisis crisis... You know, that thing where there is no crisis so one (or more) is manufactured for context and comfort?  I had insight today that besides crisis being a place where I can shine for the simple act of rising above I also realized that crisis is so fulfilling because I believe that crisis is where there is opportunity for growth (hmmm... I should have designed a "crisis" month to be part of the FULLfillment project!  I could have been the clear winner!)

Which leaves me with a question: In regular, neutral, (dare I say...) happy, (or...) peaceful day to day life where is the growth?  Where are the lessons?

At first I don't believe there are any but...  Well, here's one: Learn that you can grow in regular, neutral, (yes) happy, (and yes) peaceful life... crisis is not required for growth and learning.  (<--that's a lesson.  next comes finding the other ones... I'm sure they'll start filing in now that the door has been opened to them).

Here's another (circling back to the BM reference now...), and it's definitely one that is too quiet to have come up and been heard in the midst of crisis... if I don't act when inspiration strikes, I don't act at all.  And inspiration is fleeting.  Actually, I'm not sure this is a lesson yet because I still have a lot of questions... will inspiration have a longer half-life (meaning, will it stick around in my blood stream longer) if I'm acting on it or will it fade just as quickly as it does when I ignore it (let's just guess that it will probably last longer... geez... what a question!)?  Actually, I think that was my only question... but it leads to another.  So, why don't I act on inspiration?  Time (lack of)?  Energy (lack of)?  Laziness (abundance of)?  Fear?  Yup.

I've noticed lately that I'm not getting as inspired.  I'm not being struck by things and feeling tingly all over... and in the rare moments that I am I am finding that it dissipates before I even have a chance to get home and act on it.  I could inquire about why that is but really it's obvious. I've been rejecting inspiration... for YEARS!  and it's tired... it's not going to keep coming back forever.  It's still here and it chimes in occasionally, but it's small and weak and tired and is going to need some attention or else it's either going to leave or wither and die (which is another way of leaving...)

I wrote "be open to inspiration" on my bathroom mirror (in dry erase marker... you should try it, it's fun) several weeks ago, and that was a nice start.  I think it's time to add "and then act on it"  yep... it is.  be right back...



it's called a "shag" rug because that's what you do on it

Sorry about the teaser headline, this one isn't actually going to be about "shagging" although yes... I do have a shag rug, and I have shagged on it.  It's a great place for the act known by the same name.

It's 8:30 and I am just sitting down to write (although strangely enough I was convinced that it was after 9 already just a few minutes ago.  I guess I need to learn to read a clock) which means I have been avoiding it...  which is part of a super fulfilling (<--sarcasm) cycle of avoiding what works and dwelling in what doesn't.

I was in a nasty-ass mood today.  I was sitting at my desk strategically avoiding the project with the closest deadline by doing anything and everything else I could to do to feel productive all under the guise that the little things were distracting me and once I had finished them all I would be able to "focus."  And I was getting no where (you could have guessed).  Actually, scratch that... I was getting somewhere.  I was getting to sad sack head space.  You know, that place where I've convinced myself that no one loves me and my life is meaningless and everything I want is out of reach and everything I need to do to feel differently is too hard.

So I took a walk.  About a block away from the office with the tears welling in my eyes I realized I was wearing my glasses-glasses, and not my sun-glasses.  (Note to self: when taking a walk to cry... wear sunglasses... keep the mystery alive.)  Crying didn't feel like a safe option so I opted to phone a friend instead.  I called Trixie who answered (hallelujah) and pretended to be fine for most of the call (mostly because I knew what I wanted to cry about-thinking no one loved me-wasn't really the problem and I hoped that if I took a step back from it and eased in slowly that I would find myself where I needed to be).

It mostly worked.  I started bitching about work.  I have a great job, for the record.  I get to do something that I love to do, with a great team, in a flexible and accommodating environment...  I have nothing to complain about (but that doesn't stop me from making something up to complain about).  I have been struggling lately with what I'll describe as my ability to "stay connected/engaged with my work and the mission of the organization I work for."  I am inspired and excited often, but it wanes and wears off way to quickly and even though no one is asking me to do anything I dislike or is against my personal values I am not thinking about work 100% of the time and it's such a sharp contrast from what I'm used to that find it very difficult to feel what I'll describe dramatically as disconnected...

I was TOO connected to my last job.  After being there for 10 years I had made it my life... and it hadn't made me its... I did not have a healthy work/life balance.  I got a lot of personal fulfillment from being the person who knew everyone and (almost) everything.  I knew I wanted it to be different at this new job, and it is... and I find myself struggling.

After whining about it for a while Trixie insisted that she couldn't hear a problem (which pissed me off... and I told her so... yay for saying how I feel in the moment!  yay!  are you cheering?  yay!) and then apologizing for sounding dismissive of my feelings she suggested that I might just not be used to a healthy work-life balance and just doing a job well and then going home and not thinking about it might be creating a lot of discomfort for me.  Yeah yeah... true... but it still feels shitty!

anticlimactic punchline for the win
Then... she asks me if maybe I'm coming down from being in crisis-mode for the last year.  Maybe my poor brain and body are so used to being flooded with adrenaline and cortisol that this neutral existence I'm in is challenging?  Without all the crisis of the past year (divorce, single parenting, moving, new job, dating, new relationship...) maybe there was all this space and my brain was doing what it thought it should--trying to fill it up.  And, of course, trying to fill it up with crises.


Yep, that was it.  That one clicked.  Damnit... Yes.  Shit.  Ugh.  Yeah...  I don't have much more to say about it than that.  Things are so neutral right now...  hell, a lot of things are good (great even!) and without a bunch of bullshit to contend with, I've taken it upon myself to create bullshit.  Because I am really good at dealing with bullshit!  I get to rise above.  I get to choose empathy and compassion.  I get to be strong... vulnerable... grow and transform at a rapid pace...

Which... as I hung out with that idea for the rest of the day, told me something else.  This need to be in crisis to feel competent... it's just an excuse to play small.  It's a way to fill up all the time and energy with things and ideas that prevent me from taking REAL risk.

The year is almost over.  This seems like a good thing to have figured out right about now don't ya think?


Why being a lesbian is awesome...

Maybe this will be a top 10 list... maybe not, we'll see

(and by the way, this list really has little to do with what "being a lesbian" means to anyone else and has way more to do with my relationship and it's awesomeness.  I'm sure there are plenty of folks having these delightful things with a partner of any gender.  disclaimer over):

10. Totally okay to have big feelings
9. The other person cries as much and/or more than you do (see number 10)
8. Lots of snuggling
7. Saying what you feel when you feel it is not only tolerated, but encouraged
6. Many statements follow a similar formula "I feel (blank) when (blank happens).  I need (blank).  Can you/we/i (blank in the future)?
5. Having the same anatomy as someone else makes interpreting it a more mutually fulfilling experience
4. Your real life sex life is something straight folks fantasize about and/or only see in movies
3. Lots of tea drinking
2. Your girlfriend may even find your emotions attractive (back to number 10 again. This is a big one for me)
1. You get to (if you want) have a penis & a vagina


I might be a hypocrite, how 'bout you?

Question for ya... not rhetorical either (email me, Facebook, Twitter... whatever suits ya).  When you watch either or both of these videos do you a) find them to be funny? and b) find them to be in the "funny because it's true" category?

my story...  I watched the first video and thought it was funny... and yeah, in the "funny because it's true category" and then I watched the second video and thought it wasn't funny, and mostly because it wasn't true (to me)... and then I got to have a moment of self reflection (don't you love those?  if only life would dole out more... <--sarcasm) and wondered if I was a hypocrite...  Did I think the first video was "true funny" because I'm not in the community who is the subject of the video so I believe the stereotypical norms it portrays.  Ewww, maybe I did... I'm not sure how I feel about that!  I mean, I know that playing on stereotypes can be damn funny... but why didn't I think the stereotypes about my community weren't funny?  Because they aren't... or because I'm *gasp* offended? (I'm not)

Not judging myself here... or you, but truly authentically curious.  Are they funny?  Is one yes and the other no?  Which one?  And why?

Video One:

 Video Two:


I missed the 15,000 hits mark

I think I was probably crying when it happened.

16048.  Nice work readers, nice work.
I did a major possession purge over Thanksgiving week.  Currently there are at least a dozen boxes and just as many bags of my soon to be former possessions creating a fire hazard in my underground parking space in the garage of my building.  The semi threatening email I received from the property manager insists they must be moved by Saturday which is exactly the day after they will be moved because the Salvation Army (who hates me for being gay, but I didn't find that out until after I scheduled the pickup AND I'm craving Chik Fil A like a motherfucker--damn menstruation and it's lack of cohesion with social justice) is picking them up.

It was mostly a non-monumental experience.  It felt good to make space...  this apartment has lacked it since we moved in almost six months ago because I brought 1400 sq feet of house into 600 sq feet of apartment--it was the best I could do at the time.

The monumental moment came when I picked up a stuffed bear who has been missing it's nose for at least 25 years... probably closer to 30 because my little brother bit it off and as I gave it a goodbye hug I started sobbing.  I ended up curled in the fetal position on my bed amid white plastic trash bags stuffed like sausages full of clothes I haven't been wearing because they're either ugly, too big, or both... wailing, while my tears made a horrid mascara stain pool on my pillowcase.

Devon was there.  She was in the living room at the time working and her need for a bathroom break coincided with my breakdown nicely.  Before I knew it I was being cradled and after a minute of that the "why the fuck am I crying" question echoing in my thoughts was replaced by "oh, that's why"
when "I miss my poppa" came out of my mouth without hesitation.

I don't usually call him that (or at least without choking).  It's his "name" or it was, but I just say "my dad" when I talk about him because it's easier.  But there it was on my lips like it was natural and there the feeling was too... crystal clear... like it had never left.  But the thing is I hadn't felt it for what felt like years.

I said it and the recognizing of the feeling resonated and reflected in her eyes.  More holding commenced.  It's good to be loved.  It helps a sudden outburst of emotion resulting from an encounter with a stuffed bear named "bear" that turns out to be about someone whose been dead for 21 years be okay... good even.

Wondering where the sex is in this post?  Well folks... being in love... totally sexy.  Feeling safe enough to be a blubbery raccoon eyed mess and let your wounded sad little girl out to cry... totally sexy.  I'm telling you... sexy is big stuff.


Bananas and Holes in the Sidewalk

I mentioned that I'm taking an MBSR (Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction) class a few weeks ago when it started, but I don't think I've said much about it since.  Tuesday night this week was the fourth class meeting meaning that for the three weeks between the first class meeting and tonight I have been practicing formal mindfulness (formal=sitting/lying down to intently meditate, body scan, do yoga, etc. vs. informal=choosing to pay attention to my breath in a stressful moment or while I'm in line at the market) for 45 minutes a day.

After the first two weeks of that practice (which per the MBSR prescription is a daily 40-45 minute body scan, some reading and occasional written homework, plus I would do some of my own sitting here and there) I was experiencing tremendous results.  My level of generalized anxiety had dramatically decreased and I noticed that when I was trigged by things that used to cause tremendous upset I was either less reactive or the reaction would be much shorter in duration and easier to move through back to emotional homeostasis.  I had even learned that I have even more positive results when I get up at 5:30am to start my day with a body scan meditation and changed my behavior to accommodate that practice (success!)

The thing is though...  a few of the core principles of mindfulness are non-judgement (good is a judgment folks... sit with that for a minute), non-striving, and non-attachment.  THAT... AND we're not supposed to declare whether the program worked for us until the end (which I think is mostly for the folks who it doesn't work for in the beginning but is also for the over-achievers like me to prevent us from burning out in an all too early blaze of glory when the results of our practice aren't as stunning over time.

I was aware of the positive results.  I was aware of my desire to become attached to them.  And that's pretty much as far as I got.  Knowing is half the battle--no one ever says what the other half is.

Cue week three when we're instructed to introduce mindful yoga into our practice by alternating it with the body scan every other day.  I notice I'm somewhat averse to this... but I don't know why.  I like yoga... hell, I've even loved yoga.  I'm also kind of resistant to activity lately which I think is just a result of it being difficult because my activity level has dropped so I'm not experiencing as much success as I'd like.  I figure this is the issue and go on with my life intended to begrudgingly do yoga instead of the body scan every other day (not figuring that I could actually do both if I wanted.  Sometimes my "rule follower" nature still drives the car [brain]).

Cue stabbing self in hand with knife two days later and deciding that I therefore "can't" do yoga (although there is plenty of yoga I could have done, I welcomed the excuse to remain body scan monogamous).  Now, I knew at the time of the stabbing that it had a deeper meaning, and I knew later on when I wrote about it that I hadn't explored it yet.  My first thought: "maybe you don't love yourself enough." Was met with a quick "fuck you.  yes I do.  this was an opportunity to prove that to myself and all of you judgy judgersons by doing right by myself after it happened!"  That felt good enough so again... I moved on!  (moving on is nice.  if you don't do it regularly, I highly recommend it)

Tuesday evening this week in MBSR while others were sharing their observations about the week's practice and the pseudo-celebrity was asking questions whose pondering take up most of the sharing time to answer... I realized that I had not been able to remain unattached to my success in the first two weeks of body scanning.  In fact... I had become so attached that I stabbed myself on the hand accidentally on purpose as a way to remain attached to the practice as it was.  Thing is, it didn't work.  I body scanned every day in the third week of practice, but it was hard, I didn't love it, and I didn't feel particularly great afterward.  I was not as engaged in my practice as I had been before.

Now, what was THAT about?

The discussion from class went something like this... the honeymoon is over.  The class is halfway through and the practice has evolved.  The excitement is wearing off and it's starting to feel less fun simply by virtue of becoming more comfortable or familiar.

And then there's me, in my head: "oh fuck.  i'm attached and because i'm attached and am afraid of that attachment being broken... i am doing that thing i do.  i am trying to leave this relationship before it leaves me!"

wow.  That old one again...  haven't seen that one in a while...

Class continues...

Autobiography In Five Chapters

1) I walk down the street.
There is a deep hole in the sidewalk.
I fall in.
I am lost... I am hopeless.
It isn't my fault.
It takes forever to find a way out.

2) I walk down the same street.
There is a deep hole in the sidewalk.
I pretend I don't see it.
I fall in again.
I can't believe I'm in the same place.
But it isn't my fault.
It still takes a long time to get out.

3) I walk down the same street.
There is a deep hole in the sidewalk.
I see it is there.
I still fall in... it's a habit.
My eyes are open.
I know where I am.
It is my fault.
I get out immediately.

4) I walk down the same street.
There is a deep hole in the sidewalk.
I walk around it.

5) I walk down another street.

Portia Nelson 


How to Catch a Monkey: cut a small hole in a coconut, just large enough for a monkey to put its hand in. Next they would tie the coconut to a tree and put a banana inside.
The monkey would smell the banana, squeeze its hands into the coconut and grab the banana. Unfortunately the hole was not large enough for the monkey to pull out with his fist clenched. Of course the monkey could easily release itself from the trap by letting go of the banana and pulling its hand out but it simply cannot bring itself to do so.

and then the question... what are your bananas (and again, me, in my head...  "i don't have any fucking bananas and I want to go home"  wow, apparently someone's still trying to "leave" before she gets "left" here)?


My bananas/holes in the sidewalk... The places where I get stuck... The things that prevent me from being free:

  • perfectionism
  • fear of discomfort/difficulty
  • control (I thought all day that I was missing Spiderman because he's with BFO for a week when really what I am is worried about him and how he's being taken care of because it's not me who's taking care of him!)
  • attachment
It's strange to be in a place where I'm so fresh off of Chapter 5 in the Autobiography poem for so many bananas/holes that I can still remember the way old routes smelled...  but I'm also in Chapters 1-3 for several things that have been uncovered recently or maybe Chapter 4 for some of the old ones that are needing more time and effort to choose to do differently...  I think the poet should add an additional chapter.

Chapter 6: repeat Chapters 1-5.


the epic sex post

Is calling something epic from the start the best way to set oneself up for success?  God(dess) <---*hehehe... this is the kind of shit that comes out when I write late at night* only knows... I mean, there's that whole "self fulfilling prophecy" thing, but there's also a lot of "living a life without expectation is the way to live" stuff going on in my life lately.  Where is the balance?

Too bad we can't explore that this evening because I promised you we were going to talk about sex tonight, so that is what we will do.  My mom asked me to warn her to stay away from this post, but honestly I'm not sure there's going to be any NSFM (not suitable for mom) material in this.  I'm not going to describe my sex life in detail... and I could say that's because it's not just mine, it's someone else's too... but really even if it were just mine I still think I would maintain some privacy.  I don't have a very high need for privacy, as you all already know...  but I guess this is a place where I do.

Okay, more talking about it and less talking about not talking about it.

Again, this topic ("get sexy") made the FULLfillment project because I knew I wanted/needed to address it... it also came very late in the FULLfillment project because it scared the crap out of me!  Sexy isn't something I ever considered myself and I wasn't sure I wanted to either.

Thing is, somewhere between designing the project and now... I found my sexuality... and I don't mean my "I like lady parts and not boy parts" sexuality (that was this post)... I mean my sexual self (which includes but is not limited to the aforementioned quoted statement).

This month isn't feeling as challenging as I expected it would be when it was conceived, except for deciding what to write about and whether it's mom safe, but we're not going back there right now...  let's go even further back in time instead:

It's the early-mid 90's and I'm pubescent.  My mother gives me a book all about sex, sexuality, sexual health... etc.  The main message (that I took) from the book: masturbation is okay... good even. The main down side to the book: there were no instructions.  Okay... I get it... masturbation is okay.  Now how do I do it?

I actually didn't figure it out for a few more years.  I spent some time trying to experience pleasure by penetrating myself with crayola markers and even electric toothbrushes (personal massager, anyone?) but it wasn't particularly effective and I don't have the greatest stick-to-it-iv-ness.  It wasn't until my first boyfriend put his hand down my pants that I discovered the clitoris...  and that was all I needed to know  (apparently for a good long time...  after which it turns out it was still all I needed to know).

here are a couple of photos of me
with my finger stuck in a dildo
In high school, I took pride in the fact that my saxophone playing ambature made it easy for me to keep the corners of my lips tight for a long lasting blow job (okay, maybe my mom shouldn't be reading this...) and that when a later boyfriend had an orgasm from a hand job his ejaculate (apparently I'm going to make this feel better by using very technical language) used to hit the wall behind his head (I believed this had something to do with my mad penis handling skills...).  The first time I saw a man (let's be real: boy) achieve climax I realized what a horrible disservice I was doing to the first boyfriend who helped me find my pleasure button because nothing we ever did resulted in any kind of ending for him (I'm so sorry!  I had no idea!).

I lost my virginity at the latter end of my 16th year after ditching school for the day, eating delivered pizza while watching "airplane."  I don't remember a whole lot about it... it wasn't super painful or super pleasant.  We definitely got better at it as time went on.

you know... just for kicks
Plugging along I had sex with teenage boys (when I was a teenage girl and it was legalish) and men later...  It wasn't bad, but it wasn't that good either.  After the initial rush of new relationship wore off and if not for the desire to feel wanted I didn't have much interest in sex.  I invented a "virginity score" system in college (to keep it interesting?) wherein a person gained a point for having sex with a virgin and lost a point for having sex with a non-virgin.  I developed (I think my advantage in the game existed before the game itself rather than the game being a motivator) a taste for virgins and had a great score running for a while there...

When I look back on my sex-capades with boys/men I have the overwhelming feeling that it didn't matter that it was me most of the time.  That the goal, for the male, was to stick it in, after which point I could have been any hole really...  I don't believe this is a judgment against their lovemaking skills (at least I don't mean it to be)--I'm pretty sure it has a lot more to do with my interest in their equipment (and them in general) or lack thereof, but who knows really... I'm not sure I can claim that I knew how to pick 'em.

First time I separated from BFO I thought I should probably try and date women... I hadn't ever and it seemed like something everyone should do at least once, but I didn't get around to it.  After the final separation, it occurred to me again and before I knew it I was falling in love with a new female friend.  Our relationship ended up with a 4 hour make-out session followed by a 90 day lapse in contact during which I met Devon and the rest is history...

Cue discovering of sexuality.  Because, yeah... I had already discovered that I was sexually/emotionally attracted to women but I still didn't know what sexy was.  I had only been comfortable with that word (s-e-x-y) a few years before.  Prior to that it would never have come out of my mouth.  So, I was having all of these experiences of enjoying things/experiences/qualities, being drawn to/attracted to things/experiences/qualities... but I never saw them as sexy until someone who was undeniably sexy gave them that description (but she spells it with two Xs, because that's her thing...).


  • list making--sexy (not a coincidence that this is a list... she reads this blog and i know my audience) 
  • color coding--sexy.  
  • calendaring--sexy.  
  • spreadsheets--sexy.  
  • making art--sexy.
  • whipping up a Robin costume to compliment Spiderman's "Batman" in an afternoon--super sexy (just in case you didn't catch that... that means: being a fun mom--sexy).
  • the list goes on...
On one of our first dates we had a lengthy conversation about our favorite office supplies which was quite titalating...

apparently we aren't the only ones who find organization alluring...

And suddenly, I'm experiencing life through a different lens.  I'm in a relationship where the dynamic allows for conversation about what's sexy... and it can be anything.  And it turns out... I have a really fucking sexy life, and a lot of it has absolutely nothing to do with sex and way more to do with me (and her) and who I am (we are).  And, in case it isn't clear, none of this is new... these aren't things I do on purpose to be or feel sexy... this is just me... and me appreciating me and me appreciating being appreciated by someone else (did you follow that last part?)

Now my sex life isn't driven by the goal of "sticking it in."  It seems incredibly personal and specific to me... to us...  and I can't believe I ever did it any other way.

I don't think I need to "get sexy" anymore.  I am sexy... I just needed to realize that and now that I have I just need to remain open to finding out more about what that means.


Ack! I've been attacked!

I mentioned it in passing on Friday night when I was eager to get to the market to get the ingredients for White Bean, Chard, and Pancetta pot pies and didn't want to be writing or thinking about what happened...  but I'm ready to talk about it now.

In a haphazard attempt to pry apart two frozen salmon patties on Thursday evening, I put a butcher knife into my hand.  It happened super fast, and I acted fast too.  I piled paper towels up on it, wrapped the hand in ace bandage and knowing that I had put enough pressure on to stop the bleeding then resting my hand on top of my head, put the salmon patties on the stove to cook and paced around my apartment wondering what to do next.  I sat down at the computer for a moment and googled "how do I know if I need stitches" which revealed nothing... Then I called my mom, who in her attempt to avoid coercion encouraged me to go see a doctor without telling me to go see a doctor.  Then, knowing they would tell me to go in and get it checked out, I called the nurse advice line at my insurance/medical provider (anyone else see an issue with the insurer and the provider being the same entity?  yeah.  me too... we can discuss that later though) and waited on hold for about 15 minutes before hanging up.

Having had responded so quickly to the stabbing I really wasn't sure what I was dealing with so I went back to the scene of the crime to do a little investigation.  What I remembered from the glimpse I got of the wound was that it was about an inch long... and what I remembered from how it happened I knew the knife went straight in.  So, I looked at the tapered point of the knife and discovered that in order to make a cut an inch long it would have had to be embedded in my flesh about an inch deep.  Yeeouch.

Next step: get on the phone with Devon who was housesitting for a friend who lives only 4 minutes away and asking to be taken to urgent care.  I know this doesn't sound like a big deal to most... but this was hard for me to do.  First, deciding to go to a doctor rather than attempting to sew/steri-strip up my own hand is pretty big for me.  Second, deciding that I needed someone to help me (and Spiderman, he's home this whole time engrossed in a cartoon oblivious to the carnage going on behind him) get there safely rather than believing in some false super powers I have, also a biggie... and third, asking the person I'm in love with and have been dating for four months, but am not officially "in a relationship" with (until a couple days later-woot!) and who is very squeamish and may be very uncomfortable in this situation...  um... SUPER HUGE.  The "worst case" scenario in my head was that we get to the doctor, they tell me I'm fine, put a band-aid on me, call me dramatic with their eyes, and I've wasted Devon's time, she's been miserable having to deal with my kid and my bloody hand, and I feel guilty and full of shame.

What can I say?  I got issues.

On the way to urgent care the nurse advice line called me back and started asking questions about what happened.  I tried to answer but I'm still sensitive to the potential worst case scenario so I'm trying to describe it while not describing it as Devon tries to move as far away from me in the car as a driver can move from the person in the front, passenger seat.  Urgh--is the worst case scenario happening before my eyes?!  Eventually I use my gift for radical honesty and tell the advice nurse why I'm being so elusive and she speeds up her assessment and tells me I need to be in the Emergency Room, not the urgent care office.  Instead of hearing "you're seriously injured" I heard an addendum to the worst case scenario that I can't recall well enough to describe in detail, but definitely is about taking the drama up a few notches.

Of course the worst case scenario doesn't happen... it rarely does with me because I have a gift for imagining things up that are worse than life gets.  We go to the ER.  Angus and Devon play, I'm a charming, pleasant patient as usual.  I get 5 stitches which seems to be an appropriately dramatic treatment for the level of drama of the injury itself.  The ER nurse is all in tune with my drama motive and gives me an extra bulky bandage that will draw lots of attention.  He also tells me to use a butter knife next time which is helpful because I had been thinking to myself:

"self, how are you going to prevent this from happening again?  I know you and I know it's not likely that you're going to change your behavior...  you WILL try to pry something frozen apart with a butcher knife again and hopefully you'll remember to put your other hand in a safer place next time.  I guess that's the best chance we've got."  And... instead of that half ass attempt at self-preservation I got to keep my foolish behavior and still be safe by just using a different tool!  brilliant!

I tried to apologize to Devon for taking her away from her evening plans and she was lovingly reassuring that this is what she was supposed to be doing this evening which even the broken, worst case scenario creating parts of me believed.  We go back home (Spiderman threw a tantrum about potato chips on the ride home which was unpleasant, but hey... we all survived) and I still manage to get to bed before 10pm that night which was my goal for the entire day.

And the next day... I am high on life!  If I think about the injury and how it happened I feel pretty wiggly inside (and not in that good "wiggly in my panties" kind of way) but if I just accept the attention that comes from having the dramatic bandage and think about how loved I feel after the whole worst case scenario turned best case scenario thing I am goooo-oood.  And this feels surprising!  I mean, I have a pretty major injury and it hurts (but I almost don't feel the pain because I am so happy in the head)... But I chalk it up to the reward of doing right by myself: allowing myself to get vulnerable and ask for help, and accept it, and have it work beautifully and feel loved and... yeah--good stuff.  I spend zero time wondering why it happened or what I'm supposed to learn from it or exploring the symbolism behind causing myself so much harm (yadda yadda-my normal headspace-yadda yadda) and I am just really fucking proud of myself.

hello.  i am a caterpillar.  aren't i cute?
And the day after that...  I find myself staring at my hand in the shower moaning "somebody stabbed me!" and it's gone a bit downhill since.  The pain has been more present, the bruising on my palm is getting darker before the dawn, and in general I feel a bit assaulted.  I still haven't gone into "why do I hate myself enough to stab myself in the hand" because it feels unproductive and untrue... BUT I have definitely been a whiney-whiner-pants and I'm hurt by what happened.

My hand looks gnarly...  and also like a caterpillar is sitting on it, but mostly gnarly... and it hurts my feelings to think about/recall/experience that someone stabbed me in the hand (and that someone was me).

I'll write something about dildos on Wednesday.  Promise.


an extra hour

wounded, but just physically this time.
it's a nice change of pace.
all of a sudden i have an hour to myself that i didn't know i would have...

this seems like it would be a good thing, but there are too many days in my life where it becomes another one of those "too many choices=paralysis" moments.  today, however, it feels luxurious.  there are tons of things i can do... but instead of debating which ones i'm just going to do what i feel like doing.  and most of things probably aren't on my to-do list at all!

so... now... because yesterday i (accidentally, if that's not obvious) put a knife into the pad of my hand that warranted a trip to the ER and needed 5 stitches, and last weekend i took an amazing writing/acting workshop that brought me back into my body and my life, and a few days ago i learned that I am FINALLY divorced, and I'm only going to see my kid for a day or so over the next 9...  I'm going to go do stuff...  I've got sexiness to commence with.  Call it "research" for the blog.

Oh yeah, actually that is a really good idea... because let me tell you what you people want... you want to hear about gay sex.  If I mention it in the slightest in the teaser line in my tweet or facebook post you all are all over that post...  you guys are perverts.  but I'm happy to oblige.  for now, let me go have a conversation about boundaries with my beloved and start gathering material (as if i need more material... hehehe)

until Monday.


I'm Divorced!

I found out today that I'm divorced.  I have been for 7 days.  I'm trying to remember what was happening 7 days ago and if I felt any different... any disturbances in the force.  I can't (remember).  My memory sucks.  So, divorced for 7 days... only 72 days shorter than I should have been (if the courts weren't so backed up) and I guess if we're talking "shoulds" then maybe 7 years shorter than I should have been?

Eh--who knows.  They say everything happens for a reason.  "They."  The infamous "they."  The next time someone asks me what famous person I'd like to have dinner with, "they" is going to be my answer.  Everyone knows "them" but I'm pretty sure no one has met "them."

Today's blog post was going to be a "what is sexy" list, but I'm all distracted by my marital status and other weird things that happened today...  Like on the way home from school with Spiderman I looked in the rearview mirror to see his entire right hand, arm, and side of his face smeared with blood.  Apparently he had a bloody nose...  the minute or two it took me to figure that out was a strange minute or two in my head.

So, I'm divorced... and other people are very excited about it.  It feels neutral to me.  I've been emotionally divorced for over a year now... maybe a few years if you don't count the last attempt at reunion.  I didn't cry (some people do).  I didn't feel tremendous relief (although there was a little).  I just felt...  divorced.  Is that a feeling?

I've been wondering lately... how long do you have to be divorced before you can just mark "single" on forms again.  I mean, does it really matter on a medical history form or application for a library card whether I was ever married...  doesn't it just matter (if even that) that I'm not married now?  Why is divorced a status?  Married... or not married... those should be the distinctions.

I sometimes still eat Chick-fil-A.  It's delicious... and shameful
Most of the shame comes from being a(n almost) vegetarian
eating a chicken sandwich.  A delicious chicken sandwich.
Speaking of marriage.  This whole same-sex-marriage civil rights issue that's consuming the hearts and minds of many...  I haven't paid much attention to it at all really.  I know it's selfish of me, but not only am I not very fond of marriage and the idea that it's a government governed status... I also think that the community of folks (my community now, it seems) who are being discriminated against by being denied the right to marry are being harmed in much more serious ways.  Yes--it is stupid and awful and evil and wrong to deny the right to marry to consensual, same/similarly gendered adults...  but should all of our money, time, and attention be going to that cause when people are being beaten, killed, shamed into taking their own lives for being gay?  I don't think so... but what do I know?  I've only been doing this for a few years (in my head), a year (in my heart), and a few months (in real life).

Anyway, it occurred to me for the first time today that I couldn't just run off to the courthouse and marry the person I'm in love with (and not just because we haven't discussed it and it's kind of a two person thing...) because she has the same genitals as me.  Yup--it feels wrong.  Maybe not the wrongest thing that ever happened... but wrong.

So, what do we do?  Is legalizing same sex marriage a strategy to pave a road of healing and acceptance, or is walking a path of healing and acceptance what will allow people equal rights?  The US of A has a black president, and that hasn't made us any less racist... just sayin'

Ah, the rants of a newly divorced woman.


wrapping up: chosen family

As has been too often the result over the past several months... that (last "month") didn't go as planned.  In the name of transparency... I have about a half dozen, half finished "love notes" written and a list of a few dozen names to do.  I posted one to the blog... I took more than a week off from writing in total.   I whined a lot.  I felt lost and discontented and frustrated a lot.

I'm torn between recognizing that plans are bullshit and letting it go and attempting to be more committed.  The truth is, the way this blog has been going has been working for me.  I enjoy writing the posts... it contributes to my mental health and personal growth... in general, it's a win.  I do feel a bit off course from the intent of the FULLfillment project, but like I mentioned a while ago I think that's because I managed to change my life into one I wanted to be living much faster than anticipated.  There's still progress to be made (when won't there be?  never, is the answer to that rhetorical question), in fact, the life I want to be living is revealing every day that I can have more if I am willing to take more steps out into the unknown, take more risks, and actually believe in my own worth on an even bigger level... but I'm not sure that I need to be so intently focused on an individual potential fulfillment as I did when this year started.

That being said... next "month" starts tomorrow and scares the shit out of me.

I added "get sexy" to the list because sexiness is something that eluded me for much of my life:
  • I looked like I was 8 when I was 3--not sexy.  
  • I have always been at least a head taller than my peers--not sexy.  
  • My feet are so big that I could only wear buster brown shoes for the first several years of life--not sexy.  
  • I have thick, frizzy, sometimes curly/wavy hair and the products to manage it didn't really exist until the late 90s--not sexy.  
  • My skin is prone to stretch marks and years of growth spurt, weight fluctuation, and eventually child rearing have made their mark--not sexy.  
  • Apparently I believe that there is something wrong with the way I look and that the way I look is the determinant of what is sexy--sooooo not sexy
oh, and let's not forget...
  • I was sleeping with a gender I find completely unappealing for 16 years before I figured out what was going wrong--totally not sexy.
The thing is...  Again, I've been working on this for 11 months now and I actually love myself in a way that includes loving my body.  I have some wounds leftover from being the "jolly green giant/bride of frankenstein" in elementary school, "thunder thighs in high school, and from being moooo'ed at in college... but the image in my head of what I look like and the image that is reflected back at me in the mirror are the same and I'm not shocked or alarmed like I used to be.

That, and... I know that sexiness has little to nothing to do with what I look like (even though I'm gorgeous, thank goodness...) AND I get to learn more about that every day by being in mutual love with someone who communicates very clearly that my mind, body, and spirit are sexy to her.  As we were (...and continue to be) discovering each other I was finding that things about me that I had disregarded as quirks or annoyances or things that are just ways I think or speak or act are things that drew her to me.  I won't go on about this too much (although I could for.e.ver.), but becoming myself and then being loved completely for being that person (and understanding that sexiness has a much broader definition than I ever realized) has definitely taken my comfort level with sexiness up a few notches.  That... and having amazingly mind blowing sex for the first time in my life... that helps too.

So, why the terror?  Well, because I'm going to make myself take a dance class this month.  Just one day.  One time.  That's the challenge...  but that's challenge enough.  I get an almost weekly Facebook invitation from a woman who I met and hung out with for a weekend at a friend's bachelorette celebration a couple years ago to a Burlesque Dance Class that she teaches... and a few months ago I thought about blocking invitations from her because I was tired of seeing it and that's when I realized what I was going to do to "get sexy" this month: I'm going to take the class.

That's it... that's the intention.  That and keep on doing what I have been doing.  I don't think you all (or I) are ready for this to be a frank discussion about queer sex... although I am tempted... we'll see what leaks out as the month goes on.


Avoiding Difficulty

I had a coaching call a few weeks ago with a woman who is a part of an online community I was recently welcomed to who was offering her time and support in service...  and although I've known this for quite some time I came to something through the course of this call that has been shaping my entire life until this point (hopefully, just until this point).

Remember the list of all the things I wanted to do when I grew up?  And remember how I wrote about having too many choices can be paralyzing (it was Wednesday you can go back one post and find it)?  An additional factor, I probably didn't share here yet because I don't particularly like blaming other folks for my own stuff, in not getting anywhere on this list is because I was dedicated to a marriage that didn't make space for me to grow or develop into anything that would reduce my availability or consume my emotional energy.

Thing is... none of those reasons are the reasons why I haven't become any of the things on the list (or maybe they are... but I've got a new reason and I think it's a doozy).  Rather... it's that I'm avoiding doing things that are difficult.  It's a very compassionate and self loving choice, actually.  I'm trying to spare myself heartache and exhaustion, tiredness and the feeling of being overwhelmed, disappointment and rejection, you know... all the typical bad things that happen when you pursue growth (wtf?!  isn't it interesting to find out what you really think by reading what you just wrote/hearing what you just said?).

So yeah, I don't do things because I think they're going to be difficult.  It's why I didn't stand up to BFO and hold him accountable to his responsibilities the first year after our separation.  It's why I haven't gone back to school/started grad school.  It's why I didn't take the extra year in undergrad to get the BFA in graphic design.  It's why I didn't move out of state for college.  It's why I didn't go backpacking through Europe.  It's why it took me 4 years to get out of a marriage that hadn't been working for me since before it started.  It's why I haven't run a marathon or climbed a mountain.  It's why I don't own my own business.  It's why I didn't pull my kid out of his current school as soon as I realized it was a bad match for him...

I don't do things that I perceive to be difficult because I think I am actually sparing myself some pain.  Turns out... life without the potential rewards that come from facing difficulty: still really fucking difficult.  I still experience heartache, exhaustion, tiredness, the feeling of being overwhelmed, disappointment, and rejection.  AND... I don't get to counterbalance them with the potential joy that comes from taking a risk and experiencing a positive result... or at the very least... learning from it.

I'm going to go as far as to day that by avoiding difficulty... I am actually making my life MORE difficult.  Because I can't think of anything more difficult (although I'm sure the universe will perceive this as an invitation to show me!) than sitting idly by watching the potential for joy drift out of reach and feeling helpless to do anything about it.

No more!

Bring on the difficulty!  (and PLEASE bring on the joy that corresponds with it too!)


possibility paralysis

This past weekend Devon and I were eating our dinner of roasted cruciferous vegetables (we've entered that stage in our relationship where farting is allowed--I'm going to go so far as to say encouraged really--so this was a safe dinner choice despite the predictably gassy results) and we found a tiny sticker on the table leftover from Spiderman wrapping presents for his friends (we wrap presents in this house in inside out Trader Joe's bags with custom sticker decorations.  It's one of those things I do that make us look unique and creative, but really I just hate spending money on gift wrap.  That, my friends, is how hipsters are born).  The fish was smiling a big, open-mouthed smile revealing a red tongue.

Who knew that the next comment was going to change my life forever (just kidding.  it didn't really... a least not yet)?

Devon says, "fish don't have tongues" and I am aghast... mouth agape.  I can't say much, and I'm not sure if I'm breathing.  The pause button on life has been pressed.  A scene commences where I remain in shocked silence and repeatedly shift my gaze from the fish tank across the room, to the sticker, and back to my beloved's face.  God only knows why this is such a big deal to me in the moment.  I mean, it ends up being a really funny and playful scene, and who doesn't want to be living in one of those... but why was it so enchanting in the first place?

We consult "the Goog" for more information and confirm that fish do not have tongues.  Some carniverous fish have tongue like bony protrusions at the bottoms of their mouths... but no... fish do not have tongues.

I am transported from shock to devastation (please tell me you know I'm exagerating here. Lately a lot of my jokes haven't gone over very well because people didn't know I was kidding.  Talk about devastation).  I spend the next several days (yes, days) finding myself preoccupied with this new reality more than makes any sense for a productive adult to be.  I lay near the fish tank, gazing in, hoping to get a glimpse of "Willy's"  my one-eyed, 3-pound, poop-machine (aka goldfish) tongue.  I think I see it more than once.  Devon does not see it.

It's Tuesday now (when I'm writing this) and somehow I'm still thinking about it.  Not actively, but when I clicked on a link promising outrageously awesome photos from my sickbed this afternoon I was immediately jubilant to find this picture of a fish with a tongue.  It's probably photoshopped... but who cares, it's a fish with a tongue!

I email the photo to Devon with a comment about not knowing why this is proving to be so important to me...  must be a metaphor for something else in my life I suggest.  Then I go pee.  And because that's where all the good stuff happens... then I come here.

Why?  And why am I so insistent that there are fish with tongues even though the universal knowledge delivery service (aka google) has informed me that there are not?


Possibility is beautiful.  Possiblity is intoxicating.  Possibility is my drug... and just like any other drug, it get me high and it causes me harm.

When I daydream about all that I want and can have in this life I can paint beautiful pictures in my mind where I exist peacefully and contentedly, full of love and lightness.  I can make a list a mile long of the things I want to do with my life and be sincere about my desire for each and every one.  That's the drug, that's what I crave and repeat over and over...

But do I do anything on the mile long lists?  no.

Why not?  because possibility is also paralyzing.

As you know, Spiderman has been having some trouble getting adjusted to Kindergarten and the number of possible solutions was driving me completely batty for a good long while here.  Leave him at this school and help him make it better.  Move him to another public school.  Try a private school.  Put him back into preschool.  Quit my job, live in a tent, and homeschool...  all options.

With too many options on the table I tend to do nothing for a good, long while.

If the reality was a picture in my head (which it usually is), it looks like this: I find myself standing across from a row of options, it's almost like a reverse firing squad.  They are straight and tall and emotionless, they're all uniformed and they look the same.  And we're definitely standing inside of some kind of fort with a dirt ground and arches embedded in adobe walls.  It's all of them on one side, and just me on the other... and I'm not tied to any post, and they're all completely available for the plucking, and all I can see in this row in front of me is that I don't know which one is "right."  And apparently the fear of being "wrong" is so great, I don't do anything.

I found a school that I would love to send Spiderman to a few weeks ago.  It's a small private school and it's expensive.  I'm in the midst of applying for admission and financial aid... taking the steps between possibility and reality.  I became singularly focused on this as a solution and although there was still a lot of unknown and scary and potentially difficult about it, I felt confident about my pursuit.  Yesterday I got a call that a local charter school had an opening for him--he also had a great day at his current school and I was rocketed from my confident pursuit back to window shopping in possibility again and I was shocked by how intense and instant the terror was.

I was never a fan of BFO's problem solving style.  He tends to be able to identify 1 or 2 solutions to a problem and then also identify why both of those solutions won't work, rendering himself helpless and the problem unsolvable... It's a very efficient route to the same destination of paralysis.  I can usually think of hundreds of solutions to a given problem... and I've been pretty proud of myself for that ability... but because there are so many, and I don't know which one is "right" I am rendered helpless and the problem unsolvable.  Hmmmm... that seems familiar...*stepping off high horse now*

Barry Schwartz has written (and talked) about the paradox of choice, particularly for us as consumers...

Whether his facts or figures are compelling enough to support his argument, or you are inspired to consider him credible based on his choice of attire...  I'm going to go with my lived experience as proof enough (by the way, I don't agree with him that the key to happiness is low expectations... no expectations perhaps, but low... no).  When possibility becomes too much choice... and too many choices lead to anxiety and paralysis... it's time to do something different.  It's time to simplify.

I don't know about you, but I hear about "simple living" all of the time and I'm not sure anyone knows what that means.  I mean, it means having less "stuff" which definitely has its advantages... but what else?  For me, it means it's time to know what I want before I seek out the options...  to be confident in my preferences, priorities, and values...  to go with my instincts and trust them.  To rule something out because it feels wrong and to consider something because it feels right.

If I'm going to see possibility as a gift instead of a source of pain, I have to know what I want and need... and I have to remember that there is no such thing as a universal "right" or "wrong" and instead know what is right and wrong for me.

I have a hunch that living simply also includes following through on commitments, like this project (the blog) and it's monthly themes... and I've been really good at allowing possibility to take me off track and haven't been experiencing the results I want.  So, let's change that shall we?

And if I need to believe that fish have tongues to feel safe... then I can.  Goodness knows, people believe stranger things with full societal acceptance.


i smell a sick day

yesterday afternoon after being spun around on some kind of spinny thing (<--really, I don't have the words to describe it... um... it was at a park.  it was round and had a pole in the middle, i sat on it and grabbed onto the pole, i was spun.  then devon joined me and we were spun some more.  it was fun, except for the nausea) my throat started to get that swollen feeling it gets when i eat shrimp...  but i hadn't eaten shrimp.

this morning, after already having been up since 4 (because i went to bed at 9:30 the night before), while wrapping up my body scan mindfulness homework around 6:15 am I sneezed and my sinuses released a big goopy mess all over my face.

this afternoon a more intense sensation in my throat sent me to the first aid kit for a lozenge (my work has the BEST first aid kit. there is nothing it doesn't have in it).

i'm in full blown sniffle-whine-monster mode now...  and i have cramps.  oh, what a joy!

so, instead of whining any more about it here i will leave you with three clever things i said/thought recently that would make good facebook statuses or tweets:

1. I'm so powerful the Universe knows when I'm being sarcastic.
2. The problem with NPR news is that they don't make shit up, so they only have an hour worth of material a day.
3. I was relieved this morning when I realized that tomorrow is election day and it's all going to be over tomorrow... and then I realized it's probably not all going to be over tomorrow.  boo.

goodnight folks.  i'll be here, maybe in bed with tissues stuffed up my nose, all week.


practicing being

On Tuesday I started a course called Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction (MBSR).  Weekly, for the next 8 Tuesdays (okay, well 7 now...) I will spend 2.5 hours in a course where my primary role/goal is to "practice being."  Sounds easy enough... so, shall we begin?

Mindfulness=paying attention, on purpose, to the present moment, without judgement.  (ooh, I was really on board with that until that last part... you?)

the magic pill?  maybe
I'm the "class angel" too, which means that I get to be of service in exchange for a fee reduction...  Private school ain't gonna pay for itself people (or maybe it will... I'm working on it).  On night one that put me in the delightfully awkward position (I've decided that since I like doing things that create awkwardness for others so much I should start delighting in my own awkwardness.  And by "I've decided" I mean, right now... I decided that.  I'll let you know how it goes) of greeting folks at the door.  And these folks had questions... and some of them were more complex than where the bathroom was... and I (wanting to get an interaction with a stranger over as quickly as possible) got to explain to them why I was their greeter despite the fact that I knew not the answers to their questions (again, unless the questions were "is there a bathroom"  yes, and then I would add the location too just as a courtesy, or "can i sit anywhere" sure can!  oh, i can be so chipper sometimes it's surprising).

Awkward moment of the night goes to the moment when I greeted the 90's electronica musician who may or may not share a first name with the title character in Herman Melville's famous novel... who introduced himself and shook my hand to which I responded "oh, I thought you looked familiar."  Because he did... and apparently I was already practicing being in the moment and in the moment, that's where I was.  Cue judgement--mindfulness exits stage right.  Dang it.  He didn't respond.  I'm still new to this whole Hollywood thing.

I spent several minutes after burying my embarrassment in a brainstorming session about my related Facebook status update.  Then later I found myself reluctantly raising my hand to pledge confidentiality on behalf of everyone else in the class.  So, that's all I can say about that!

So, here's the truth...  I'm not stranger to meditation or mindfulness.  My parents used to play me tapes of Louise Hay's voice guiding me through a body scan meditation when I was 8 years old and deathly frightened of the sounds the howling Santa Ana winds made as they whipped around our house.  In college, after years of not being able to fall asleep with any kind of ease I "taught" myself to pay attention to my breath until my mind silenced and body relaxed enough to slip into dreamland (and now... sleep is so my super most favoritest thing to do--and yes, i only like things that are easy).  Still, when a bowl of "objects" was passed around for an exercise in exploring something intentionally with all five senses my brain was shouting "it's not an 'object' it's a raisin, you idiot!"  I have a ways to go on the "without judgment" part of this whole deal.  Even still... the catch.  This course is asking for a 45 minute committment a day.  Yep... 45 minutes a day.  Most days I do 10-15.  Not the same.

And it's amazing how much resistance my mind puts up.  Yesterday evening I got home to some much anticipated mail that contained some forms I needed to fill out (sorry for being so cryptic...) and headed straight into the forms to find that my pulse rate skyrocketed and soon my forearms felt like they were on fire.  Can anyone say anxiety?

I stopped what I was doing and committed to doing my mindfulness homework (this week we're supposed to do a guided body scan meditation every day) right after I got Spiderman to bed.  I lingered way to too long after he fell asleep poking around on Facebook.  I had to avert my gaze from the unfinished forms I left sitting on the table to keep myself from diving back into them.  My breath was still shallow, my heart still racing, and my arms now felt like weight after being on fire for so long... and I wanted more?  Eesh.

The night before I stayed away from the mindfulness practice by completing a Tuition Assistance application for a private school for spiderman...  by the time I got to it, I was passed out somewhere between the belly and the chest (we start at the feet...) and only awoke to my iTunes moving on to a loudly playing Cake song (which, by the way, was super strange because the next day... it didn't advance to a song.  it just stopped.  so i guess i have a kind spirit to thank for coming through for me on the evening when the veil is the thinnest so I didn't sleep the whole night on my living room floor).

Luckily, I can remember that just on the other side of resistance is the next great thing, so I will persist.*

*speaking of persistence.  I have totally veered of course with my intention for this "month" and I will probably stay here.  I'm still writing love letters, but I'll probably send most of them privately.  I can't figure out a way to make it work here on the blog--any ideas, please email me.  Otherwise, know that I am incredibly grateful to have an amazing group of loved ones and without them I would be only a shadow of who I am and know only a fraction of what i know.