Swings and Roundabouts

This process of reconnecting with self while at the same time, trying to find the connection with husband, oftentimes feels like two steps forward, a hundred steps back. The connections to husband are like rusty prongs which no longer fit the holes they once did, and no matter how I try to needle them in, they just won’t go.

Often, I’ll wonder if I will love him the same way.  In those moments, I really need to pay attention to the voice that says, “No, you won’t.  How can you?”  The old way was mothering; a trap I fell into, a trap many women fall into, though this was no fault of my own.

So, I guess I’m learning how to be a wife to my husband, and it feels a bit like the USS Enterprise saucer separation, which is an odd analogy, but consider this:  two months ago, I felt an absolute separation, as if all parts of me fled.  But perhaps they didn’t, perhaps they simply ran for cover when the reality of what I was saying sunk in.

He and I have had some frank conversations lately about sex, usually when we are drunk and/or stoned, which has led to things I truly was unsure about doing.  I know now that I am definitely not ready for that; it’s like running before you can walk.

So, how do we move forward?  Slowly.  Patiently.  Cognizant of the others’ triggers.  Not as mother and husband, but as husband and wife, as friends, as partners.

Of course, there’s the child in me that is quite petulant.  Her arms her arms crossed, and she is pouty faced.  She is stubborn and still thinks that she’s better off alone.  That no matter the changes in him, no matter the work they are doing, she cannot see the point.

She is the one who hears his I Love You but clamps the mouth shut in response.  She is the one that gets irritated when he walks on eggshells, or looks at her in that way that I can’t describe in words.  She is the one who balks, indignant at the thought of discovering him sexually.  Why should she have to find out about him?  She’s the one that’s done the work for all these years; she’s not willing to put in the effort.

It’s a constant conflict between the child and the adult. I am somewhere in between, muddling through.  Trying to reconcile, trying to connect with him sometimes and other times, not.  Working on not being niggly, trying to be aware of what I’m feeling or thinking and expressing them, if need be.  I’m not very good at the awareness thing because the child is still very much a wounded creature.  This will take extra focus.

Finding my way back to a cohesive, loving partnership seems like a nice goal.  With fifteen years of backlog, we both have to remember to be patient with each other.

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Pieces.

shattered_statue_by_hecatean-d8o9rd2

What courage have I?  In the moment, it is simply a thing I have to do.  Tired of picking up pieces; the result of others’ choices, I made my own, and scattered my marriage, my life and his life to all points and corners.

I had envisioned months and months of civil side-by-side living while I cultivated the desire to live away from him.  I was shut down, closed off, impenetrable, had made my decision and dammit, I’d had enough.  I loved my children but I did not love my husband anymore.  Even the little, familiar things we shared seemed inconsequential and did not affect my ambition.

Six weeks later, I find myself rummaging for all the pieces.  Slowly, deliberately, even perhaps letting them come find me for repair.  As in Kintsugi, we are reconstructing in new ways.  Our marriage from before is dead; exploded, and the new one is beginning to look much different.

With this slow repair though, comes a devil on my shoulder.  The doubter, nagger, and all around pessimist.  She is obstinate and doesn’t want to move forward.  She is petulant and refuses to show any kind of affection.  She throws emotional grenades that make me break down in counseling sessions.  But what she fails to realize is that her work aids progress; she is part of the yin and yang of me.  However, she’s been the larger of the two for a long time and she’s not keen on sharing power.

So, I am struggling with conflict.  The desire to move forward and to not.

These are interesting times.  I see my husband in a new light but I don’t yet know who I am, or who I am in this relationship.  It’s a new thing, but not.  It’s not like a new relationship that’s thrilling and butterfly-inducing; it has a history.

So, I work on myself.  Or sit with myself.  Do nothing.  Think nothing.  Feel nothing.  Other times, I do, think and feel it all at once.  It’s still choppy waters.

But that devil…..boy, she’s had her way for so long.  I mustn’t fight her, but allowing her just to be makes my life quite challenging.

 

Welcome home.

lost_soul_evolurtion_by_nataly1st-d34sqs9The thing I loved to do became a burden. It was time to push it behind for a while, let it curl up like a tired cat to sleep. In time, it will have been rejuvenated, will have shorn its tiresome aura, its toxicity, and I will be able to love it once more.

Now I can focus on the spirits that matter. I can support, and be there. It’s coming home and it’s most welcome.

I brought out my cushion (which is actually a giant stuffed monkey) and got down into myself for the first time in a very long while.  Almost immediately after the timer bell rang, fat words drifted up to say Hello and the smile on my face stretched from ear to ear.  It was wonderful, and so reassuring to confirm that I am always there even if the ego drags me this way and that.

“This body is not me; I am not caught in this body, I am life without boundaries, I have never been born and I have never died. Over there the wide ocean and the sky with many galaxies. All manifests from the basis of consciousness. Since beginningless time I have always been free. Birth and death are only a door through which we go in and out. Birth and death are only a game of hide-and-seek. So smile to me and take my hand and wave goodbye. Tomorrow we shall meet again or even before. We shall always be meeting again at the true source, always meeting again on the myriad paths of life.”
― Thích Nhất Hạnh, No Death, No Fear

My husband says I am an enigma. He looks at me quizzically. “You’re intelligent,” he says, “and yet, you believe in chakras and stuff.” I love him; he is the practical, realistic one. I am the intuitive one, and a believer of the teachings of many spiritual guides. We balance each other, my husband and me. Eleven years of mawwage tomorrow and how fucking wonderful it is to be right where we are with each other. After the rocky slopes; the slippery slopes, and the glaciers of silence, we are the most connected right now.

Welcome home.

Friday Fictioneers – Momma

Photo courtesy - David Stewart

Photo courtesy – David Stewart

Momma

Word count:  101

Momma’s house has been empty for years. Cousin Willie mows the grass regularly; says he won’t stop until he’s got a toe tag. He never goes in though, and he never touches the flower beds. Just cuts the grass. See, Momma disappeared seven years ago, one year to the day that Daddy died in the mountains. She never stopped grieving; loved that man with all her soul. She raised us kids until we were old enough to fend for ourselves and then one day, she vanished.

I was only eighteen; wasn’t near old enough to lose her.

I miss my Momma.

Mentally Parental

I don’t often write about another large part of my journey, that of being a parent. But the topic is pleading with me so fine, here I go.

Our kids are the first in the family to be born close enough to each other that they suffer and love being playmate siblings. My husband’s sister was seven years younger and I was an only child. My Dad was ten years older than his sisters, my in-laws had large gaps or like me, were the solitary kid. Only my Mum had a brother with whom she was close but that was mostly a fear bonding created by what I can only assume was a violent household.

We have one of each:  A boy and a girl and I love them both with my whole heart and more. As Big Nut Brown Hare says, “…to the moon and back.”

Our daughter is a physical, emotional and spiritual manifestation of all that my husband and I could ever have wanted in ourselves. She has a strong sense of who she is and what she can do. What she cannot do, she will try and try to achieve until she gets it. She is focused, self-assured and confident.

Our son is the opposite; he has a low self-esteem, is reluctant to try or do most anything new, physically or mentally. And when he is made to, it’s the end of the world. He gives up easily, has admitted that he doesn’t believe in himself (but I’m not sure he really understands what that means.) Last night, after a particularly trying day, he wrote a note and stuck it to his bedroom door:

“There is room for 1 person in this room because no-one loves Sean”

The thing is, he is so loved. And I see what he doesn’t: creativity, a quick mind, a visual learner. He is capable of so much more than he realizes and we flounder to help him understand. I am pretty good at motivating myself and seeing the benefit of affirmations, quotes and the like; they nudge the soul to realize its potential. But when I’m with my son and I’m attempting a heart-to-heart, all those wonderful phrases disappear. It’s baffling. He’s uncomfortable with praise and lord knows, we are not the kind of parents to go overboard with it. We give praise where it is due, and guidance as best we can.

Our son is the culmination of the parts of my husband and I that, when we look back on our lives, we feel we could have changed. We were both drifters, with undefined goals, but unlike our son, the springboards that we jumped from into our own futures were not so well-cared for. We see that in our histories, we have hindsight, and like so many other parents now and before, we have a mental chime that reminds us not to be like our mothers and fathers. We seek to show more affection, feel more connected, give the kids more avenues to choose from. Provide them a stable, nurturing foundation with which to carry solidly down the road.

So whaddya do when you have one of each? One who you know is aware of the others’ ease of accomplishing, of figuring out, of taking on a challenge and getting it right? How do you raise him up without having him step on a pedestal, content with that much? Fearing going any higher because to do so could mean failure? Do you conceal your frustration, temper your anger, speak sweetly? Or do you let it fly after you’ve encouraged, cajoled and invited, then moved onto ultimatums, delivering news of consequences should the responsibility not be carried out? Do you expose the honesty when you’ve hit that wall? And for what cause, for what benefit? Shouting and yelling serves only to confuse and reflect your anger back to you, but when all else has failed, it becomes the last raw option.

Certainly we don’t give up. We continue the back and forth, push and pull, throw in the towel, pick up the gauntlet that is parenting. Keep on loving and keep on showing love. Carry on guiding, making them do the things they don’t want to because in the end, it’s more than we had. Like the familial chain it is, it will go on and on.

There. God, this has been a long drawn-out affair which proves to me that being a parent is the hardest job; it’s a lifetime commitment with deep emotional roots. The manual is blank and confusing with every page, and you can’t skip ahead. You can flick backwards but the things you applied a few chapters ago may not work in the present.

Buy, buy, buy

It’s been a strange-feeling Christmas this year, and I can’t quite put my finger on the reason.

This is the first Christmas since my oldest was born that I am working. Perhaps I have felt the time constraints more keenly because of that. When I was able to get presents for my kids, it was within a week and a half of Christmas, and how time breathed heavy down the neck of my shirt. The things they wanted were no longer available; snapped up by others with the luxury of time and income. ~a touch of resentment there. 

buy_all_things-400x300At the mall yesterday (a place I had hoped to avoid) I was aware of the materialistic nature of the season. Signs everywhere begging for attention, and I felt dissatisfied. I’ve been naming emotions the past few days and that one pops up frequently. I’m on the road a lot more this year with work commutes and I’m more aware of the douchy nature of so many drivers. Why not just let the guy in? Why do you have to close ranks and be a dick? Why? Where is the courtesy? Where is the compassion?

I know it’s out there. I see it on my facebook feed daily through the lives of friends and acquaintances near and far.

There’s just something lacking, which is hilariously ironic because truthfully, I lack for nothing. Nothing of importance anyway – I have love, comfort, family, a roof over my head, and those are enough for my soul. It’s my ego that is dissatisfied.

So, to the ego, I say go. Leave and let self bask in the joys of the season. There is nothing here for you to worry over, or stress about, or be angry about. Nobody else matters. Just relax.

Breathe. Beer. Cookies. Delight. Togetherness. Tradition. Family.

All The Good Things

I am in the present moment very much lately. I love that. I can look behind me and feel an ache in my heart. I can look ahead and feel the tug of worry in my heart. Mostly I’m right here, right now. Flying, sailing, whatever feeling that comes from going along comfortably, smoothly. I have begun to allow the dark things some room to breathe and exist.  I can have thoughts of anger, resentment, jealousy, wishing a person ill-will and I am more at ease with these things. I know they can’t be true, they are my own issues from *waves hand* events past. They are not truly who I am. I thought I had changed, become a new me but it’s not that; I am growing into the real me. I smile. I am smiling so much lately for no other reason than that.

The questions that live inside still poke for answers, like children not content with the explanation. But I can do nothing for those questions. I am answerless. They niggle a little and if I have occasion to become wrapped up in them, I can still shed tears for them. But I am ‘cleaning up’ as the chakra lady said. It’s just a bit of a big mess that takes a little extra time, is all.

Yoga has a gym-mat-fad feel in the world. However, at home in the privacy of my bedroom, looking out into the fallen-leaved wood with families of deer frolicking around at breakfast, it is a sensual, albeit sometimes strenuous act. I love the feel of going (and pardon my unyogi-like verbiage) from plank, to yoga push up to cobra to downward dog.  It’s effort and gliding, strength and stretching all at once; so satisfying.

mermaid-yoga-kelly-zumberge

The feel of the first sip of hot Earl Grey tea from the ceramic tea thermos that a dear friend recently sent me.  Instant blanket for my insides for cold mornings on busy, inconsiderate roads.

My husband is home for family dinners.  I adore that we all eat together now when for many years, with him as chef for whatever restaurant, it was never possible.  It’s a fun routine accompanied by music, telling of our Highs & Lows, belching, chatter, giggles, and of course some stern words to keep knees down, all four chair legs on the floor, and to stop mouths being stuffed with too big a bite.

Life is truly good. Just a tinge of things past to nudge my heart at some point every day. It’s ok though; without it, I wouldn’t appreciate what I have so I think I can live with the sting.