Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Mommy as a Blushing Bride

Tonight as the kids and I left my friend Marie's house, I began explaining to them how long I've known Marie:

T: I met Marie when I was 21 years old. I had been singing in a band and Marie's husband was just her boyfriend back then. He played guitar in the band. I met her through him and we became fast friends. Then we moved in together 2 weeks later.

I was just dating your dad back then so Marie knew him too. Both Marie and her husband still love your daddy very much.

Rose: They knew you and Daddy before you got married?

T: Yes, a really long time.

Grace: Did you and Daddy have a wedding?

T: Yeah, kind of.

R: Like with flower girls and everything?

T: Well, your dad and I got married in the snow. And it was only he and I and the woman minister who married us. Oh, and a photographer too.

G: Are you still married now?

T: No.

R: No, Grace, they're divorced now. It's kind of like a break up.

G: That's okay, Mommy. You and Daddy are still friends and you still love each other.

T: Yes, baby. Yes we still do.

I've said it before and I'll say it again:

I am SO fortunate to have a wonderful ex husband that I can call friend. And I'm ever so thankful that even my 4 year old can see that past the marriage, separation and divorce, we still care very much about each other.

We just make better friends than spouses.


Sunday, June 28, 2009

What to say, what to say...

I have no idea what to write about.

I can't tell if this is a good thing or a bad thing. I'm one of those people who thinks entirely too much. So, if I'm at a point where I don't really have much to say, that's good, right?

I feel like we're old friends who haven't seen each other in a while and now I'm not sure where to begin.

Let's see...

---

The Kids

The girls were in Vacation Bible School all last week. We don't go to church on Sundays but I most definitely nurture faith and spirituality with my kids.

I like to send them to VBS in the summer so they get a chance to learn about Bible stories and the traditional Christian values that I grew up with. Growing up Catholic, we didn't have any sort of biblical studies so I do find endless joy in hearing my little girls recite memorized verses with the chapters and all. I never had that.

I was not, however, thrilled with the hellfire and brimstone pamphlets that came home with them. But I did use it as a teaching opportunity.

"Some people believe this. I personally don't. It is up to you what you believe. I will support you either way."

I hope they will be open enough to look at and accept many viewpoints before deciding what is true to them.

---

Gentleman Jack

*sigh*

I just love Gentleman Jack.

I think much of this weird transformation has to do with having him in my life. I'm very much a mask-wearer. We all do this. We all pretend to be something so that others don't notice what we're ashamed of or hiding underneath.

Well, funny that I'm in this phase of my life where I'm trying to learn to look at myself, all of me, and accept who I am and what I've been hiding. I've admitted some stuff here on the blog that I may not necessarily admit to anyone else. I have some level of anonymity here so it feels safe.

Then this guy Gentleman Jack comes into my life and sees right through that mask. Like it's not even there!!! It angers me and upsets me at times. I can't stand him for seeing that which I perceive as ugly.

But he turns it right around and says, "So?"

I am being accepted for this? Really? Even though I've always thought it was a horrible fault or weakness or ugliness or whatever?

It is terribly disconcerting and empowering at the same time. I feel naked and vulnerable and completely loved.

He is also saying that I have opened his eyes to many things in his life. It is such an interesting relationship that we have. Loving, kind, supportive, accepting.

I try not to think about what could happen or where or if the relationship is leading to anything. I am following Momma Sunshine's advice of looking instead at what purpose he is serving in my life.

He is definitely in my life with exquisite timing. I couldn't have planned it any better myself.

Every night, when I hang up the phone from him, I say a silent prayer thanking God for showing me such love through another person.

---

Me

I am finding that my head feels a little clearer. I think the homeopathic remedy is helping with the depression. I was also apparently suffering some PMS. I usually have some sort of light mood swing during that part of my cycle but I was WAY low this time around.

I am definitely calm, doing my best to stay focused on the present and using lots more gratitude.


Most of the time, I don't feel like saying much. I truly do feel that I'm pretty tired of hearing myself talk about things like I know something. What the hell do I know?

In yoga last week, I felt a strong calling to begin my daily meditation practice again. I can certainly put aside 5 minutes in the morning and evening to simply sit in stillness.

I am getting some sort of routine back again after being out of town for 3 weekends in a row. I feel so much better. When my routine is off, I feel completely messed up.

The heat is awful. I have definitely slowed down my running because of it. I am keeping up with my cycling and swimming. Next triathlon is in early August, about 5 weeks away.

---

Maybe I can get back into my blogging routine again too. I can't tell where these posts are going to lead.

I guess the quest can go anywhere at this point.

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Trying... changing...

I have begun the 10 Honest Things meme that I've been tagged for because I thought it would be easy. Not that this entire blog isn't an endless list of honest things....

I don't have it in me.

I hate to go all cliche and use the cocoon/butterfly analogy so I won't. Instead I'll just say this...

I am feeling layers of myself peeling away like an onion skin.

I feel vulnerable, frightened sometimes, but definitely, MOST definitely, transformed.

Or perhaps... transforming.

I can't give anything. I can't say anything. I am tired of hearing myself talk.

So, I feel, tonight, that I will retreat into silence.

Tomorrow will be different, I'm sure.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Depression

I have not been myself lately.

Things that normally make me happy don't interest me right now.

I have no motivation to do anything at all.

Answering questions on this self-test for depression proves that I am... depressed.

Duh.

I remember filling out one of those self-tests years ago at the doctor's office. Then they put me on Zoloft for 9 years of my life.

Instead, I paid a visit to my homeopath yesterday. I prefer to get better and still be able to have an orgasm, thankyouverymuch.

---

I talked with my girlfriend Marie briefly yesterday. She believes that depression is her natural state of being. She says she actually has to make an effort to see the lighter side of life.

Gentleman Jack is having issues with his job. He is depressed when things aren't going well at work.

Yet, both of these people in my life stopped thinking about their own depression to help me with mine.

Gentleman Jack says it makes him feel better to help me because he has to tap into his own inner strength. He is right. I've been here for him as he struggles with his own burdens. When I am doing my best to stay positive for him, I completely forget my own sadness.

---

I wonder if most of us go through life feeling as if the world is conspiring against us rather than in our favor.

I've been told and I believe that everything happens for a reason. Everything happens as it should.

But we fight it, don't we? Ohhh, I know that I do. Then, when I'm fighting, it actually does appear that everything sucks and keeps getting worse.

When I can change my perspective and realize that someone else is in charge, someone else is determining that these things that happen are for my greater good, suddenly things don't seem so dark anymore.

That is the real challenge, isn't it?

We can't always change what's happening, but we can change how we look at it.


---

What exactly am I fighting anyway?

All of the things I feared the most happened and I survived. Sure, I have some scars to prove it but I'm still here and my heart's still beating. I've learned my lessons and have become who I am because of or in spite of those things.

Is death what I'm ultimately afraid of? Why?

The spirit knows that death is nothing but we spend all of our lives defending against what we think it is.

That's where the real truth is, isn't it? Spirit.

Spirit knows that everything is OK but rather than listen to it, I stay stuck in my ego-body and feel as if the whole world hates me. Then I end up hating myself.

Or is it the other way around?

Logically, I know all of this. I know that there is much in my life to be grateful for. I know that I should focus on the present and not worry about the future.

But depression is not logical.

It may be just a tiny step between knowledge and experience. Sometimes though, when I feel this low, it seems like a vast canyon.

---

Some quotes that have been helpful to me:

"Learn to get in touch with the silence within yourself and know that everything in this life has a purpose."
~Elisabeth Kubler-Ross

"Our lives are not determined by what happens to us but how we react to what happens; not by what life brings to us, but by the attitudes we bring to life. A positive attitude causes a chain reaction of positive thoughts, events and outcomes. It is a catalyst, a spark, that causes extraordinary results."

~in a card from PT-Law Mom that stays on my fridge and taken from the book, The Resiliency Advantage by Al Siebert

"Seek not to change the world. Seek rather to change your mind about it."
~A Course in Miracles

"Rivers know this: there is no hurry. We shall get there some day."
~Winnie the Pooh

"Lean on me when you need to, sweet pea. I will be here for you and I always will be."
~ Gentleman Jack

Monday, June 22, 2009

Isolation

When I'm feeling especially emotional and thinking WAY too much, I usually isolate myself from the rest of the world.

Or is it the other way around?


Maybe its a chicken or the egg thing?

It was an extremely emotional weekend for me. Between my grandmother's funeral and my grandfather's pain, a bike ride with my cycling group who continue to ask me about Soldier, a family birthday/reunion with my ex-husband's family who all still love me and get sad that we never know when we'll see each other again, and missing Gentleman Jack...

Yeah. I said it. I missed Jack.


Grrr!

We spent Thursday evening together and I suggested we go have a margarita. Well, one... two... and a half... margaritas later, I was boldly proclaiming that they weren't doing anything for me.

Then, I stepped down from the barstool and the room was spinning.

*sigh*

Apparently we had an incredible evening that I don't remember. He had to leave early the next morning for a fishing trip and I felt like I didn't spend any time with him at all.

It really scared me. Now I was missing him?

---

I hate when I isolate myself like this.

I cannot stand that I feel so emotionally needy and yet I do not want to make any effort at all to reach out to anyone.

I didn't want to blog.

I didn't want to call anyone.

I didn't want to talk.

I think.... I just wanted to be held.

I love touch and crave it. I think another reason I was missing Jack was because he touched me that entire Thursday evening but I was too numb to feel it. I felt so angry with myself.

But instead of reaching out and asking for it, I grow ashamed at myself. Very ashamed and angry that I need it so badly.

---

By the time my Gentleman and I were able to talk on the phone again, I was so lost, isolated and angry that he detected it in my voice immediately. Knowing that it was a temporary feeling and feeling such shame in it, I told him that I didn't want to talk about it.

He never takes no for an answer when he knows I'm not okay.

He is one of those guys who will let you beat the hell out of him while he holds his strong muscular chest out and says nothing.


And I did the beating.

All of these verbal fists were pounding at his chest and I was projecting so much, SO MUCH, anger at him for things he has never done to me. I get upset at the unfairness of enjoying him so much but the reality of the distance between us. It seems like such wasted emotional effort on a relationship that will never go anywhere. I feel like I did that already in my last relationship.

Then I realized I was angry at Soldier not Gentleman Jack.

He knows this. He points it out to me before I realize it by saying, "T, I am NOT HIM."

The worst part is when I isolate myself like that, I project on to someone else so that they, too, feel separate from me.

But he held on. He got upset. He told me his feelings with very kind words. He listened and then he said, "I know how you feel."

Suddenly, I wasn't alone anymore because... he was on my side again.

---

No man is an island.

John Donne said that back in the 16th century. Simply put:

"Human beings do not thrive when isolated from others."

I know this. I recognize that my isolation is my own doing and only creates a death spiral of emotions. I don't like being emotionally needy when I feel this way. I don't like that I'm actually angry at myself and project it onto those that love me the most.

But...

It is what I do sometimes. I have to learn to look at and accept my feelings no matter how ugly they are.

I only hope that the love I give in between those times balances out that ugliness.

Friday, June 19, 2009

Do we fall in love or fall into habits?

I've just returned home from Mema's funeral. Surprisingly, I didn't get emotional during the service at all.

Well, then there was a moment when Papa got a chill down his spine. I asked, "Did Mema just give you a hug?" He smiled. Then he lit up and said, "You need to sing! What's that song?" I had sung Amazing Grace at my father's funeral. Now... he wanted the same for his dear wife of 70 years.

My nerves were shot but I pulled it off. He was happy and then jokingly said, "See? I didn't even laugh at you."

My family is pretty silly when we're all together. I really wondered if the funeral director wasn't going to kick us all out.

No, I wasn't emotional until I saw Papa sitting alone in his chair as I closed the door behind me. I hated to leave him alone in the house he shared with her.

After 70 years, I worry about Papa now that Mema is gone. I know that he will miss her dearly. I know that he loved her.

But I also know that much of what he will miss are the little things from having her there with him. Those habits are really hard to break.

I have no doubt that he must feel as if he's missing a limb or something. We become so strongly identified with who we are in relation to someone else that we tend to have an identity crisis when that someone else is gone.

---

Gentleman Jack sends me a "Mornin'" message every morning by 10:00 a.m. at the latest.

Every night, around 10 p.m., he texts me and then calls.

We've created a habit.

It scares the crap out of me.

Knowing that our relationship is a temporary fix, I do worry about getting too attached. Then when I begin to pull away from him, he gets upset and pulls me closer.

Fear

I hate when fear rears it's ugly head.

The funny thing is, I don't think that I am falling in love so much as creating expectations that I know will be unfulfilled at some point in the future.

Is that what falling in love really is?

Do we actually fall in love or fall into habits?


---

Yes, one day he won't text me all day long telling me what he's up to. One day, I won't lean on him when I'm having a bad day. One day those late night phone calls will end.

It will suck but life goes on, right?


Maybe that's why the tears began to flow when I saw Papa sitting alone in his chair while Mema's chair sat empty next to him.

Some habits, 70 years long, must feel like the strongest ache there is.


And seeing that pain right in front of me, really makes me question a lot of things in my life.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Every single mom needs one... (part 5)

Someone to lean on.

It could be a parent, a girlfriend, someone from church, a therapist or simply a good support group.

We all tend to isolate ourselves when we're going through a difficult time. I know that I do and its probably the worst thing I could do.

We need to feel support.

---

I have had many that I've leaned on throughout my 3 years as a single parent. I still have a wide range of people that I lean on for different things.

Right now, I'm leaning on someone fairly new in my life.

Gentleman Jack
.

But let me go back a moment...

---

Right before Gentleman Jack came into my life, I was lying in bed one evening, mourning yet again, the failed relationship with Soldier.

I began to pray.

I thanked God for the person that I knew was out there seeking me out. I had no doubt in my being that there was someone that I could talk to, love, and who would actually be patient with me as I mourned my last relationship.

I know that sounds a bit strange. The thing is, I know many women who have lost who they thought could have been "the one" only to find an amazing partner who would love them anyway and allow them to mourn.

I asked God for someone who would be perfect for me right now.

I felt a warmth over my body in that instant. I knew I could feel him, whomever he was. I could actually sense his arms around me and I wept tears of joy.

It was the next day that I declared myself single and happy. And it was within a day of that declaration, that Gentleman Jack came into my life.

---

The issues began early because Gentleman Jack lives in the Louisiana town where I grew up. Neither of us are willing to move. Both of us were afraid to get involved too deeply because of the distance. Maybe the timing is off too?

Then there was the whole idea of defining what we were doing. Why, oh why, do we need to label things? Sheesh.

I don't think either of us believes that the other is "the one." We established early that we would be friends, no matter what happened.

We've shared hours on the phone and countless war stories of failed relationships and single parent woes.

When either of us feel lonely, we find comfort in receiving a text during the day that says simply, "I'm here for you".

When either of us is too hard on ourselves for losing it with our kids, we feel soothed by the other one's "Yeah, I've done that too" response during our nightly phone calls.

Both of us are highly sexual and sometimes on those lonely nights, after my two daughters are tucked in to bed, and his two sons are too, we enjoy each other via phone.

We've seen each other in person and... our bodies respond to each other in beautiful ways. That warm feeling I felt that night in my bed alone? I feel it every time his voice is in my ear or his arms are around me.

What are we doing?

I have no idea. The whole thing could blow up in our faces at any moment. He could meet someone else or I could and the whole thing would be over.

I'm trying not to think about it. I'm learning much about myself, what I want and deserve in a relationship. Sure, there are misunderstandings and miscommunications between us. We have different body parts. Most of the time, this is a good thing. But other times... Heh. Ya know the whole Mars/Venus thing.

The cool thing is that we're painfully honest with each other. Loving. Patient. We frequently do "page checks" to make sure that both of us are, indeed, still on the same page.

I am not sure what is happening but right now, we are leaning on each other. It feels good to both of us.

I also believe that every relationship prepares us for the next one.

I can only imagine what comes next. This one is exactly what I need. For now.

Every single mom needs one... (part 1), (part 2), (part 3), (part 4)

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

I love you too Mema

My grandmother finally drew her last breath tonight. I wrote this post back in March when she initially went into the hospital. I read it again tonight and thought it was a good tribute so I'm reposting it.

I am happy she is at peace.



On Love and Dying...

Whenever I call my paternal grandmother, otherwise known as "Mema", I ask how she's doing. Her response is always the same:

"Oh pretty good for an old woman."

Mema turned 95 years old back in December. I grew up hearing her stories of the Great Depression. She took my sister and I to Hawaii when we were 9 and 6 years old. She and Papa lived three doors down from us our entire childhood lives. We practically lived at their house as much as we lived at ours. When I would spend the night with them and Papa was out of town, I'd sleep in Mema's bed and she'd hold my hand all night.

These thoughts came to me as I sat in a chair next to her hospital bed on Friday night. I reached under the covers, careful not to disturb all of the wires attached to her frail body, and held her hand too. She stirred in her heavily sedated sleep but her hand held mine tightly. I wondered if she felt the same sense of comfort that I felt as a child, clutching her hand all night long.

Mema smoked for 60 years of her life. She finally stopped smoking 20 years ago but was soon stricken with emphysema. This left her completely dependent on oxygen. When we would visit her and Papa, we could always track her down in the house by following the tiny tube from the oxygen machine to where it attached under her nostrils.

A few weeks ago, she began acting strangely.

After further examination, it was determined that something had occurred in her breathing and she was actually inhaling carbon monoxide.

Now she's strapped down in a hospital bed with a tracheotomy tube cut into her throat and a machine doing the breathing for her. If the machine wasn't doing the work, she would die.

Papa cannot bear it.


He sits in his chair at the house and stares at the clock in silence. He is awaiting the next visiting hour so that he can sit at her bedside and act as if everything is ok. He jokes with her, saying he wants her to come home and start an argument with him. He tells her to give him "sugar" and that he wants to make love to her. She grimaces, much like she would do even if she wasn't hooked up to one hundred machines. He loves to talk sexy with her and if she could, she would tell him to "shut the hell up."

They love each other.

"Look at this," Papa said as he handed me an article in the paper. It was an advice column from Billy Graham. A man had written in wondering why he survived his days at war. Billy Graham's advice to the man was to thank God that his life was spared.

"I've been having visions of your dad... and feeling so light, like I'm in heaven and there are no pains in my body. I thought for sure I was going to die first. I guess I'm supposed to take care of Mema. That's why I'm still alive. God is the only one who knows.... I keep telling her to come home so that we can both go at the same time..."

I had to leave the room. The tears welled up in my eyes and I didn't want him to see me upset. I am his oldest grandchild. I am the "strong" one. I am the one who makes sure all is ok.

Papa has thus far survived the war and 92 years on this earth.

Mema has survived septic poisoning, smoking for 60 years and inhaling carbon monoxide... don't most people die of those things? Heck, if she would have never smoked, she'd probably live to see 120 years!!

That is pretty damn good for an old woman!

This July is Mema and Papa's 70th wedding anniversary. I'm not sure that she will make it. And if she doesn't make it, I'm not sure he'll last much longer either.

Its not even her that I'm truly worried about. Her face lit up into a smile when she saw me. But she's also seeing others in the room, much like Dad did when he was dying. Who knows... maybe she even sees Dad.

I love my Mema and Papa and how they love each other. We could all be so lucky to experience a love like that.

A love that even death cannot divide.


Monday, June 15, 2009

Perspective

I live on a street where people park their cars in front of their houses. It can be difficult to get out of the subdivision because you have to wait for others coming in.

The other morning, I was driving out of the subdivision and found myself face to face (or um, bumper to bumper) with another lady who was coming in. I didn't see her through the other cars parked along the street. She, I assumed, didn't see me either.

I shifted into reverse and began backing up so that she could get by. As I backed up, I looked forward for a moment, only to see this lady waving her arms madly and mouthing something to me.

Seriously?

As she drove by me, she glanced into my window and mouthed, "Bitch!" at me. I smiled and waved.

---

I was inspired by this moment because I had just seen this blog post by Momma Sunshine. She shares a beautiful true statement as she says, "We all see things in our own ways, don’t we?"

I'm assuming this woman was having a very bad day. She obviously felt as if I meant to purposely get in her way or in some way, hinder her from her destination.

I, on the other hand, realized that neither of us could see each other. Our perspectives were different.

I was slightly offended that she took my action as a "perceived attack" on her day and therefore resorted to anger and attacking back with harsh words.

But don't we all do this daily?

I have been guilty of taking things personally when in reality, the other person happened to be a catalyst for lingering anger or sadness that permeated me at that moment. This is when I have to stop and remember one of my Four Agreements: Don't take anything personally.

It usually has nothing to do with you at all.


---

A Course in Miracles says that the only reason for anger is perceived attack.

We will perceive attack depending on so many things but the biggest cause of this perception is our perspective.

Some days our perspective is bright, happy and nothing can disturb our peace. We choose to feel this way and so, we let a myriad of problems roll off of our back.

Other days, everything sets us off. It could be hormonal. It could be a circumstantial situation that has us feeling weak emotionally. It could be simply our belief in lack.

Lack of time.

Lack of money.

Lack of love.

We choose what we wish to see.

And all of that is based on our perspective at the time.

---

So let's go back to the scenario with the angry lady in the car.

She perceived an attack. I was "in her way" or in some way angering her with my not allowing her to go first.

She didn't know that I didn't see her.

I didn't know whether or not she saw me.

I was simply going about my day, not looking to get in anyone's way.

If I felt attacked back, I could certainly take the whole scenario downhill by doing something else. I could say a few choice words as well or initiate some other act of violence.

I actually felt, as I stated above, "slightly offended" and perhaps my smiling and waving was my attacking back.

If I attack back, doesn't that make her attack real? Even if it wasn't at all?

I let it all go once we were out of her way. She may have went on with her day, carrying the frustration of the lady who got in her way. Who knows?

I can only see things from my perspective.

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Parting is such sweet fun

We were lying naked, tangled up in each others' arms.

We decided to meet despite the long, tiresome day we'd had. I was fortunate enough to get a nap so I decided to treat him to a relaxing massage. The massage, very quickly, turned erotic.

How could it not? Having a man's skin in my hands is such a rare, scrumptious treat.

In the after, we curled up together. I could feel his muscles twitch and his breaths grow slower. I knew he was dozing off.

I tried to pull away from him quietly. I was going to let myself out. His eyes opened.

"There's no way in hell I'm letting you walk out alone."

I smiled as I slipped from under the sheets and into my clothing, once strewn around his bedroom. He pulled himself up slowly from the bed and wrapped his arms around my waist. He was groggy and I needed to get going.

Instead, we began kissing again.

"I'm all outta juice." he said, pressing his head into my chest.

"I know, baby. I'm gonna get out of here so you can sleep."

He stood and put on a pair of loose gym shorts. Mmmmm... I do love how he feels in those shorts but I was behaving myself. Until, in the doorway of his bedroom, he took my hand and placed it purposely.

He definitely wasn't out of juice.

We walked hand in hand down the hallway and into his kitchen. His hand slid under my shirt and grazed my lower back. He was kissing my neck as I gathered my purse, my phone and my car keys.

I turned to kiss him goodbye but soon realized that I wasn't going anywhere. No words were spoken as I slipped my hands into those soft loose shorts... and found anything but softness.

Both of us were panting and pulling at the clothing we had just put on, a minute earlier.

He turned me around and from behind, slid one hand into the front of my jeans, another into my shirt. I unfastened myself and let the jeans fall to my ankles as I leaned forward over the kitchen table. Quickly, he was on his knees and savoring me. I was already moist and willing.

His shorts were kicked across the tile floor as he took me. I let out a surprised gasp as he thrust inside me. I was still a little sore from the hours we'd spent together the previous night but the intensity of his silent forcefulness turned me on even more.

I was bent over his kitchen table in the darkness of his house at 12:40 a.m. with candle light flickering near us.

I felt him slide out and begin to explore... the other option. I leaned back into him and encouraged it.

"Do it. I want it. I want you."

Slowly he pushed into me. He was taking my breath away with every bit of penetration. Soon we were able to build into a rhythm of skin-to-skin percussion that echoed throughout the kitchen.

Faster and faster we pounded into each other. I watched the wax from the still burning candle splash out of it's glass jar and onto the wooden table. I couldn't help but moan loudly. This was totally unexpected, exciting and exhilarating.

He was filling me up.

We both exploded into shaking fits and weak legs. I am not sure who was holding whom. Between the both of us, amazingly we remained standing.

I turned to face him again and we both burst into laughter.

"I thought you were going to walk me out. Not fuck me out."

We, once again, pulled on our clothing and hand in hand, walked to my car. As we stood leaning against the car, lit only by the gorgeous moon hanging low overhead, we began kissing again.

"Nope!" I put my hand to his mouth, "Can't do this! You go back inside and sleep."

I sat in the driver's seat, closed the door and rolled down my window. He reached in, his hands in my hair and kissed me more. It was only when I put the car in reverse that we finally pulled apart.

Then he stood in his driveway and watched as I drove away.

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Insecurity or Vanity

I carry myself with confidence. I like to look good. I enjoy the side effects of training for a triathlon. I like that my body is leaner and stronger. I can rock a good pair of jeans.

However, all of us have something that we’re insecure about, right?

I have that. And I hate it. I hate to admit to insecurities.

I try to convince myself that I am completely happy with my body. I see muscle definition in my legs from the yoga, cycling and running. I can wear tank tops and sleeveless blouses because of my toned arms from swimming and yoga. My abs are looking muscular with every hour on the bike and strength from the yoga asanas. What do I have to be insecure about?

Well, in keeping with the theme of honoring how I am feeling, no matter how ugly, I will admit it:

I am happy with my body. But...
  • When I’m in a beautiful yoga pose and take a glance down at my lower belly, I see extra skin from carrying two 9 lb babies.
  • I live in push up bras because my used-to-be 36C cups became not-so-full D cups post-pregnancy. Once the milk was gone, *sigh*, so was the fullness.

---

I wasn't blessed with skin that snaps back into perfect condition. I don't like how those two areas look to me. I hate to say it but...

I am considering plastic surgery.


(God I can barely even say that out loud!)

I guess I've always carried myself with such pride at having full natural breasts when I live in a city filled with silicone perky tits.

(This is why I try not to judge. You never know when you could be in the same shoes!)

I also do my damnedest to live in a Zen state of "I am not my body."

(And if I am not my body, it shouldn't matter if I want to fix something, right?)

So I think, "Ya know, while I'm here, can't I enjoy this body?"

---


I don't want to be some version of a 20 year old T. I simply want to see the benefits of what I've done to keep a healthy body at almost 40 years old. And dammit, I'd like to put on a bikini for the first time in my life!!!

I also tend to think, "Well, the next guy I'm with is going to think I'm sexy just the way I am!"

But I can't say that I'm completely comfortable in my body.

I feel like a sex goddess in clothes. I also wouldn't say that my two relatively minor body issues interfere with my ABSOLUTE enjoyment of sex. Still, yeah, maybe it'd be even better if I didn't wonder if the man I was with thought my body was amazing.

He may think it or even say it... but if I don't believe it, then he can't convince me.

*sigh*

The worst part is the guilt I feel. Why can't I be proud of the fact that it is because of my two sweet girls that my body looks like it does? Why can't I wear this body with pride?

I wish I could.

I'm also scared... SO TERRIFIED... of going under the knife in the name of insecurity. Or is it vanity? What if the doctor really screws up my boobs just for a lift? What will people think if something awful happens to me because I was getting a tummy tuck? Will they tell stories of, "She looked fine to me but she was so insecure/vain that she had to have surgery. Now, those poor little girls..."

Ugh.

I don't know how I'm going to do it. I'm not sure how I can afford it. I don't know how or when it's going to happen.

I only know that I do want to be naked, happy and feeling free in this skin!!!

I can only imagine the trouble I could get into with that feeling. *giggle*


"Love brings you face to face with yourself. It’s impossible to love another if you cannot love yourself. – John Pierrakos

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Big rain coming



I've always enjoyed a good thunderstorm.

Even as a child, there was something about the electricity in the air, the early darkness, the quick flashes, loud booms and the threat of something ominous. I grew up in Louisiana and tornado warnings were common in spring time.

I remember one tornado warning in particular. I was in elementary school, probably in 4th or 5th grade. We were told a tornado was forming and that we should get under the shelves along the side of the classroom.

I remember standing up, looking out of the window and seeing the rotation of the clouds over another building. I was so fascinated that I couldn't take my eyes off of it. The teacher had to force me to duck and cover with the rest of them.

---

When I was at home and the weather turned bad, we would turn on the radio to an a.m. radio station and listen to the deep computerized sounds of NOAA weather alerts. Mom, my sister, brother and I would all pile into the closets in the hallway and my dad....

My dad, ever the daredevil, would stand on the front porch and watch.

He always seemed to have an "I dare you" approach to life and the world. So, he would stand and wait for the tornado while we would hide in the closets with our rosary beads, praying like mad.

To this day, I have a soft spot for NOAA radio. I guess I'm a weather geek.

---

My ex-husband had the same affinity for storms as I did.

I can remember the ex and I pulling out blankets and pillows and making a snuggle place in front of the open window in the living room. We would watch as the sky turned green and smile at each other as lightening flashed, brightening our faces for an instant.

This was good cuddle time. And often, after the storm would calm, we would make love to the sounds of the lingering light rain and the cool air that followed.

---

Our dog, on the other hand, hated storms.

It was during one particularly bad storm, and her panting restlessly at my bedside, when I found the tumor on her throat. I knew in an instant that it was cancer. My husband didn't believe it until the biopsy came back.

Two months later, we would have to put her down.

---

To be a single parent in a thunderstorm is not fun at all.

I find that I'm more like my dad now. I want to stand outside and watch. I want to feel the spinning air in my hair.

My children, on the other hand, want to stick to me like glue. I can feel the terror in their bodies. Their hearts are beating like mad. They're breathing quickly, letting out little yelps with each crash of thunder.

Tonight was especially difficult as the power source for all of my computer equipment melted down after a particularly strong surge of power. Before I knew what had happened, I only knew that I smelled smoke. I heard the tornado sirens wailing. I saw the trees twisting and turning outside.

And I had two little girls who wouldn't stop screaming in sheer terror!

I'm sure they remember last year's storm that had the three of us cowering in the center bathroom. I honestly thought we were going to die last year. But as a single mom, it is my job to stay calm. It is my job to make sure we are safe.

I went outside to see if the house was on fire. The poor things stood in the doorway screaming and shaking as if a funnel cloud was going to reach down from the sky and take their mommy away.

It was excruciating.

That is when being a single parent is hard.

That is when I wonder if I can continue to love storms like I did before.

That is when I really wish there were two of me.


Photo from Webshots.

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

A confession




Sometimes I miss him badly.

Sometimes, I imagine running into him. What would it be like? Would he take my breath away the way he always did before? Would I remember what we had or what he was like at the end of it all?

Would any of that matter if he was standing before me?

I wonder if he would smile and be happy to see me. Would he offer me a half-hearted grin and a hug? Or would he try to avoid me at all costs?

Maybe we would talk for a bit. I could tell him all that was going on in my life but try to balance my words somewhere between "I'm doing so great without you." and "I would really like you in my life again."

Would I melt again into those sea blue eyes? Those eyes that lead me to write this poem:

You're like the sea
From the clear blue-green of your eyes
To the way you wrap yourself around me
And I melt into cautious surrender

You're like the sea
And in your shallows,
I feel the pull of your undertow
But your harsh waves push me back to the shore

You're like the sea
Even in your silence
I hear your song drawing me to certain death
The rocks hidden beneath the false calm of your surface

Like the sea
Unpredictable, intriguing
Frighteningly beautiful
Yet at any moment, dangerous

As I watch the glow of the sun
Setting into your depths
I have to turn my eyes from your beauty
And the ugliness that lingers hidden

I have to walk away from the sea
The land feels more stable and secure
I cannot hold my breath anymore
I feel safer here

Maybe I'll always be attracted to your sea
With the moon, your tides pull and push
But the land can hold me, steady, consistent
Not at all like your temporary calm

My God, you'll always be beautiful to me
Amazing, overwhelming, irresistible
Perhaps one day I can visit you again
When my strength is restored

And when you wrap around me
I can give you a moment
But not all of me
I do so love the sea...



Sometimes I want to call him. I want to tell him that... sometimes I miss him badly.

But then again, I really don't.


Image from here.

Monday, June 8, 2009

Support, Love and Contentment

I recall from last year, upon completing my 160 mile bike ride for charity, that I felt very different.

I suppose it is because once I set a goal, and then achieve it... the whole thing is an out of body experience. Last year I felt very restless.

This year, I feel content.

Contentment isn't something that sticks around for very long. Well, contentment seems to be a fleeting feeling if my blog posts from the past year and a half tell me anything.

I'm hoping I can hold on to it for a while.

---

I was very pleased at my overall time for completing the triathlon.

I was also very happy to share the entire experience with my mom and my friend Gem. I have done many cycling events on my own.

The experience is so much more fulfilling with someone to share it with.

I enjoyed seeing so many men and children giving support, love and encouragement to their wives, moms and girlfriends at the tri. Though I didn't have my girls or a man there to support me, I felt so loved.

Mom rode with me the 3.5 hours to where the event was to be held. Mom went to every pre-race event, helped me to set up my bike and drove the bike course with me. Mom went to the grocery store with me to pick out all of the food/nutrition I would need to eat prior to and during the race. Mom made sure I got a good night's sleep the night before.

And it was Mom who greeted me after I crossed the finish line with proud tears in her eyes.

I received texts from a few of you and other friends in my life all weekend. So many of you left wonderful encouraging comments on Friday's post as well. I loved to hear about those of you who might be inspired to set your own goals, athletic or otherwise. I had to finish it, not only for myself, but for all of you too!

During the final leg of the race, right at the last quarter mile, I was finally able to tell myself, "I've done it. I am actually there. I will be a triathlete."

And I could hear you all!

I could hear all of the wonderful words of support and love from all of you! I couldn't wait to tell all of you about the experience. I felt so strong in that moment.

Then I heard the crowd cheering, the announcer calling out from the finish line, and all of you in my head. A second wind kicked in and I ran proud and strong through to the finish!

What an amazing experience. I collapsed into fits of tears in my mom's arms. We were both a mess!

I am so glad she was there.


I am so glad to have Gem and Mom there to high five me as I came out of the lake. I loved hearing them yell to me as I nervously changed from my biking shoes to my running shoes. I loved sitting with Gem and Mom after the race and sharing a champagne toast with my friend KK.

KK - thank you for encouraging me to do this. Your enthusiasm is infectious! I can't wait to rock the next tri with you!!

And all of you - thank you so much for sticking by and reading as I struggled through learning how to swim and the emotional anxiety of preparing for this event.

---

Next time, I would very much like to have my girls come along.

My kids are very proud of their mom and are both enjoying the medal that was given to me upon completion of the triathlon. They have some idea of what I did, mostly because their dad made sure to tell them to "take it easy" on me when I arrived home last night.

I think, if my girls were there to cheer me on, I would be even more of an emotional mess. Those sweet girls have saved my life over and over again. I would love for them to see me in such the state of vulnerability and strength... different from what they see every day.

I would love to have them see me working so hard towards a goal that they would see accomplished right before their eyes!


I would love to inspire them to set their own goals and know that whatever it is they want to do, NOTHING should stop them. NOTHING should get in their way. The world is theirs for the taking!

---

Honestly, I am very humbled right now.

I discovered a new motto in life nearly two years ago.

Never say Never.


I know how to set goals. I know that I'm hardheaded enough to achieve them. But I never thought I'd do something like this. I never thought I could complete a triathlon. Me? I never did anything athletic in school. I would never have referred to myself as an athlete.

I feel such love. I feel so peaceful. I feel so quietly content.

I know that I can do anything.


And I choose to do nothing at all but enjoy the love and support that is a constant in my life.

I am truly blessed.

Sunday, June 7, 2009

Done.

I did it. I completed my very first sprint triathlon.

I'm way too tired to put together an entire race report but here are some of the highlights:

  • Staying at a friend's gorgeous Italian-esque villa. I felt like I was on vacation.



  • Listening to the amazing Sheila Taormina's motivational speech to all of the athletes. And holding her Olympic Gold medal in my hands.

  • Seeing all of the husbands, boyfriends and children cheering on their women. One guy even had a t-shirt that said, "My wife rocks the tri!" with her name on the back. What a guy!
  • Realizing that the free-style swimming stroke was actually more relaxing to me than back stroke. But still panting my way to finish the swim after getting kicked, knocked and otherwise swam on top of.


  • Losing my contact lens when coming out of the lake. And then finding it in my goggles. Whew!
  • Enjoying the cycling part of the race SOOO much. Even with all of the hills that seemed to frighten so many people, I was squealing with JOY!
  • Noticing that my friend KK left me a message, scrawled in chalk on the cement, along the bike route to cheer me on. (That's just WAY cool.)
  • My bike chain fell off during a gear shift change and it got stuck between the gears and the bike. That shot me down for 5 minutes while I freed it and got it cranking again. Grrr.
  • Realizing that the run was on grass, wood chips, rocks and sand. No one told me anything about trail running.
  • Being cheered on by complete strangers.
  • Getting a high five from Olympic Gold medalist Sheila Taormina as I was getting close to the finish line.
  • Crossing the finish line. Oh My! I am a triathlete!




Final time: 2:03

Make that: time to beat! Next tri is in August!

Thursday, June 4, 2009

You can do this thing

"In each and every woman, there is an athlete. And once you touch her, once you connect with her, once you remember...

'You know I was an athlete as a kid, I rode my bike to school or I swam, or I loved to run around the track....'

Once you connect with that inner athlete that you have left behind, then you will always be that person.
"

~ Sally Edwards
Professional Triathlete
Former Spokeswoman Danskin Women's Triathlon Series



"Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things you didn’t do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover."
~ Mark Twain




"You are never too old to set another goal or to dream a new dream."
~ C.S. Lewis



"If you want to live a happy life, tie it to a goal, not to people or things."
~ Albert Einstein



"How could there be any question of acquiring or possessing, when the one thing needful for a man is to become - to be at last, and to die in the fullness of his being."
~ Antoine de Saint-Exupery

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Treats, Training, Tantrums

I am so sad to hear that one my favorite military supporters, Treats for Troops, is shutting down.

I received an email that June 21 will be the very last day to order a package to be sent to the men and women who are serving this country and protecting us every day.

They're offering 20% off of everything until they close! Even phone cards!

The goal is to make sure that every soldier that was registered with them gets a package before they shut their doors completely.


OR

You can make your way to Hope's blog where she continues to send care packages. She accepts Paypal donations there too.

Love ya Hope! You'll be getting my TFT funds now! Thank you for all that you do!

---

Yoga keeps me strong.

I don't know why I slack off from my yoga practice when I'm training for something. I can TOTALLY feel my age when I'm not doing as much yoga.

My body gets stiff, stubborn and achy.

My mind gets all cluttered with messy thoughts.

My stress levels begin increasing because I can't stop thinking all the time.

Grrr... I guess 40 is coming on with a vengeance unless I can get in my pranayama and asanas.

---

I did my first open water swim over the weekend.

I actually swam in one of the local lakes near my house with some other triathletes. This is not a first for them. I thought it wouldn't be much of a problem for me either since I've been swimming better in the pool.

I didn't plan that I would be recovering from an all out tantrum.

Yes, I fully admit that I threw a tantrum over the Gentleman Jack thing. Funny how emotional drama can suck the life right out of you.

I felt so weak and panicked while trying to swim in the murky waters of the lake. At least with a pool, you have end points at every length of the pool. Swimming in a lake is so different. I would swim and swim and then look up and it felt as if I was going NOWHERE.

Yikes.

I am trying my best to stay calm and level-headed about this triathlon on Sunday. I tend to have anxiety about athletic events like I used to when I was a singer going on stage. I'm okay once I get there and get started. Until then, my stomach is in knots. I'm ready to get to it so that I will stop thinking about it.

No matter how I do, I will finish this thing. And I can't wait to document the experience.

I've already registered for another triathlon in August in my Louisiana hometown.

Go ahead and call me crazy. I fully blame everything I do right now on my complete insanity.

Wish me luck.

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Second verse, same as the first

I came across an old post from January 2008, in which I described Soldier's pulling away and preparing for war:

"I couldn't understand how he could continue to feel so much, tell me how sad he would be without me, tell me how so many things reminded him of me, and still pull away from me."


Grrrrrrrr! The situations are different but...

I am going through this exact same thing with Gentleman Jack.

"My mind is telling me that you're not 'the one' but my heart can't let you go."


(Didn't I just read somewhere about someone who finally chose to listen to his heart because his mind was filled with fear?)


Me? I'm always driven by my heart.

Sure my head will speak up but my heart always tells it to shut the hell up. In that same post from last January, I said this about myself:

"I am one of those people that completely shows all emotion and feeling; if its there, you know it!"


---


Though the similarities are there, Gentleman Jack is handling the end of whatever-this-is completely opposite than Soldier.


Soldier, after he came home, shut me out completely, all the while asking me to be there for him.

Gentleman Jack, on the other hand, is very open with his feelings, he doesn't shut down, isn't even really pulling away at all, he tells me what he's feeling...


But that is what's so very frustrating:

He tells me what he's feeling and what he is feeling is contradictory to what he's thinking.



It feels very unfair that he can wish for so much from me... but then tell me that he doesn't see a future in it.

---


That push-pull cycle looks all too familiar.

Funny thing is, Gentleman Jack isn't pushing me away at all. He's even coming at me stronger now than before. But then he'll say that he shouldn't and that his mind is already made up.


God, is it the chase?

Is it a sexual conquest?

Is it fear?

Is he just saying these things?


He even wants to allow me my anger when we're on the phone. He says for me to let it all out on him so that I don't hide away in pain. Then he'll tell me how he feels bad that I hurt and that it kills him to hear me speak to him from a place of pain.


Is he trying to be some strong man that he's not?

Is this some kind of game?

Is he confused?

Is he afraid because of the distance? Two previous failed relationships?


He's constantly reminding me that he cannot get me off of his mind and that he's never connected with anyone the way he's connected with me. (We speak the exact same love languages. A rarity for sure!)

He tells me that he feels such love for me that doesn't make sense but feels so right.... but is still positive that he "just has to get over me and it is very difficult."


Is he telling me the truth at all?!?!?



Because in my head, in my heart, if I felt for someone the way he says he feels about me, I would leap with joy and do whatever it took to keep that person in my life.

---

Thankfully, I learned my lesson the first time.

I held on for Soldier. I knew that he was afraid. I knew that he didn't want to lose me. So I spent an entire year loving enough for the both of us.

It was exhausting. I aged more in that year than in the two years prior. I loved that man and would have given him or done whatever he wanted.

For that year, I said I would wait, I would love him, all the while hoping.... "when you find you, come back to me."

He never did....

I am SO thankful that I have not emotionally invested as much in Gentleman Jack.

He means much to me but I know that I can let this hope go. I can take this train to a complete stop, rest, and switch tracks. I can be his friend if he can accept my friendship as enough.

---

I am learning that the second verse means the song is halfway over.

Hopefully when a new song starts playing, this will be yet another lesson filed away on this quest.

Monday, June 1, 2009

We have a winner!

We have a winner in the contest for what I believe was the riskiest masturbation story!!

Before I announce the winner, I want to thank all of you who contributed to this fun contest. I enjoyed your responses and the emails that were sent to me directly.

Many of you had stories of masturbating while driving. (Can you get pulled over for a dwm?)

Many of you had stories of masturbating at work.

One of my favorite bloggers, and feel free to speak up, sent me this:

"Just so you know you’re not the only horn-dog girl out there, here are my 'risky places':
  • Work
  • In my car while driving
  • Public outdoor pool – like at an apartment/condo community
  • The beach (sun + water is always a turn on – especially with so many almost nude people to look at)
  • Balcony of my hotel room"

Hells yeah girlfriend! Water is ALWAYS the perfect aphrodisiac!


Others were much more detailed (and I loved it!):


"I have two masturbation stories for you:

1) when backpacking, I was just getting super horny. So at a secluded spot, off came the backpack and down came my pants and underway. My throbbing cock so need stroking and release. Feeling my cock in the open air was exhilarating and I shot a huge load - you could hear it as sprayed and hit the leaves on the floor of the woods.

2) masturbating for a lady is a personal fantasy. I had an online, anonymous lady who enjoyed watching. Some erotic chat ensued and she asked if she could watch me. Luckily, my office door can be locked - so here I was in my office, jerking off on cam for this lady, and could hear voices and colleagues in the background. I shot a huge load - it was so pleasurable, and what made it extra exciting, the woman, was directing me on how to stroke off."


Whew! I guess with a contest like this, I should have expected detailed stories like that, right?

And someone else emailed me about watching girls walk by his office window...

"with a good view of downtown. I was treated in fairly quick fashion to two rather lovely upskirts, gorgeous tanned thighs, white panties in one case, and the other could have been pantiless, although I wasn't quite sure. That swelling you were wanting to hear about was definitely happening, and I didn't want to head to the bathroom to take care of it, I wanted to stay right there, picture the lovely thighs I'd just seen, and imagine all the lovely places those thighs could end up. Silly, probably even stupid, but I got away with it."


The winner chose to remain anonymous but the story was one that I couldn't help but be in awe over.

Perhaps it is because I was raised a good Catholic girl?

Maybe because I enjoy dressing like a naughty school girl?

Or maybe it is because I am exploring my spirituality and my sexuality on this blog and well, this story just about covers it!

Here is the winning story:

"I work for a Catholic University. Actually, this has happened several times. I would be at Sunday Mass and a woman would be sitting in front of me. I am a true ass man. If the woman in front of me has a particularly shapely butt, or is showing a whale tail or coin slot, or has tight pants on and is showing VPL (visible panty lines), especially thongs or bikinis, I can't help myself. I excuse myself and head to the restroom to relieve myself. The bathroom is in the sacristy and is open during Mass. Anyone could walk in. And I don't always lock the door. I 'take care of business' and then return to Mass. I haven't been caught yet. If anyone knows anything, no one has said a word to me."


Wow! That seemed like the riskiest place to me!


The winner will receive a coupon for $50 off any order at Eden Fantasys!

Be sure to check out Eden Fantasys supplies of fun toys, videos and their great new online magazine, Sexis.

Thank you again for reading and playing along. I hope everyone enjoyed the pleasure of learning more about themselves during May's Masturbation Month.


If you know how to take care of yourself, both in and out of the bedroom, you're sure to be a happier lover of life!