Being prey.

So much has changed for me since my inaugural post nearly ten years ago.  Back then I was a fresh and perky 36 yo who had just left her husband and had a small, preschool-aged child to care for.  That woman was desperate for attention, love, affection, and sex.  She was also a shriveled, sad, lonely thing with a heart filled with hope and confidence that she would have a better life away from her husband and her stifling marriage.

She was only half right.

In the 10 years since I struck out on my own I have run the race like a sprint.  I went all out for miles and miles and miles, seemingly with infinite energy and optimism.  I surprised myself with my own resilience to withstand the abuses men handed out like Halloween candy and I so willingly slipped into my pillowcase sack, grateful for the revolting candy corn of attention because at least it was candy.

My tolerances have shifted so dramatically over the last 2+ years that I cannot bear to read my older posts here.  I am filled with sorrow for the woman who thought she empowered herself through the whims of men, when really she was trying to surf an avalanche.  There are no winners in that scenario I now know.

My history with men and sex began with sexual assault and as recently as two lovers ago ended in sexual assault.  Fifteen to 45, 30 years of abuse that I couldn’t bring to name as such.  But yes, the first time a boy touched my naked body was an assault and the last time a man came in me without my permission or knowledge was an assault.  And I am done.

So done.  So sad.  So angry.  So confused.  So helpless.

I can’t go back and do it all over again and I am trapped in this airless bubble that has stripped me of my curiosity and hunger.  It’s not a challenge to find a man and get him into bed – it never really was.  The real challenge was always how do I get him not to hurt me? 

To not ghost me, stealth me, scare me, hurt me, to cum in me and leave 10 minutes later?  To otherwise not treat me like a piece of trash?  That was always the real goal, but I had it twisted.  I thought it was the hunt, but really, I was being hunted while I was searching for the soul of a man.

The soul of a man who would be kind to me, tender, appreciative and brave.  That’s what I was hungry for, the humanity I’d read about in articles and seen in movies, but had never actually witnessed myself.

I am now left with the brittle dried pieces of a story burned down to its spine  The pages black and one iron grip away from dust.  This mythical man does not exist to me; he is nothing more than a romantic tale to keep women on dating apps and forever searching for a human connection on the other end of a courtship.  If women really understood that we were the prey animals of the human world, we wouldn’t be so quick to say Yes to the dinner or the nightcap or the walk along the river.

How can I open up when I am being hunted?

I’ve been thinking a lot about a couple of men whose time with me were both important and devastating.  The Neighbor, Peter, The Vet, Francois, and The Golfer are the most prominent in my mind.  Each wore me down in their own ways, past my boundaries where I allowed all sorts of mayhem and chaotic hope to rule my actions rather than calculated data: none of them had ever earned my time let alone my body.

I made excuses, simpered, intellectualized, and defeated my own inner voice and kept putting my hand in the flames.  Off-blog:

  • Peter sent me a scathing “cease and desist” text because he was happy in his new relationship, this after he’d pursued me again and had actively been trying to see me the previous weekend.
  • Francois made plans to come see me for Fourth of July weekend and texted with me incessantly for weeks about his excitement and anticiaption only to ghost me the morning he was set to drive out.  Then he blocked me.
  • The Neighbor, the best sex of my life and a man whose shady ways gaslit my heart.  He ultimately walked out of my life unexpectedly one day.
  • The Vet’s friendship is contingent on me staying in my lane and not pushing too many of his toxic male buttons and I’m often left thinking back on how I was his canary in the coal mine to figure out that he wasn’t ready to be in a relationship yet.
  • The Golfer, the last muse of this blog, managed be all of the others all at once: the best sex of my life, cruelly disconnected and uncaring he sent me a video of another woman giving him a blowjob when I reached out earlier this year,  Invested in me only for himself he was ultimately a troubled, drunken soul I should have left well enough alone, but alas…

I don’t want to feel this angry and scared, but maybe it’ll be the next 10 years of my life.  I’ll have saggy tits and jowls to learn to love by then.  Maybe, I’ll find a kind and gentle man who’d like to join me, but if not, I’m perfectly fine being safe alone.  Fuck the hunt.

 

Taking the red pill.

It starts with embracing everything.

I started with a quarter-pill in September 2018 and bumped it up to about a half a pill during all of 2019.  Dating had lost its luster, men their intrigue, my pain tolerance its infinite depths.  I was beginning to feel my edges, my limits.  Betraying my basic needs to feel seen, heard, and valuable was no longer the course de rigueur, it had become to feel more like the affront to my soul that it was.  Then Covid struck the world and rocked my little chaotic, hurting life – and it was the biggest, fattest, juiciest red pill I’ve ever swallowed in my life.

It was also delicious.

I am free of injuries on insults, free of ignoring my inner voice, free of obligation.  I have stepped into a sense of myself I have longed for for decades.  Interactions with my ex-husband are opportunities to stand in my own righteous strength, my boundaries with my mother are better drawn, my equation related to the world and my energy crystal clear: nothing and no one is greater or more important than my own well-being.  Not even my own inertia to destroy myself.

I haven’t been writing because this space originated out of a need to explore and devour and tell the world about it.  I’m on the other side of all that consumption and am feeling contemplative and supremely private.  I also haven’t been fucking around all that much, so what’s to tell?  How every day is like Groundhog’s Day?  Work, animals, child, parents.  Repeat repeat repeat motherfucking repeat.

I guess I could have been writing about my dating app experiences.  I’ve had a handful of little dalliances in my pocket.   They’d burn bright with dicks and tits being slung across the ether at break neck speeds then the realities of Covid and comfort levels would crash into us and we’d limp away into the dark corners of our phones never to speak again.

The last time I wrote I was hopeful I was curating something fun and light.  I put far too much faith into one so ridiculously young, but oh! how I wanted to believe in the bravado of this young 22 yo man!  It puttered out as pitifully as you might imagine.  Then there was the 30 yo lawyer whose drinking could have drowned a fish.  His open and affectionate manner reminded me of The Golfer in some ways and our texting and sexting was delightful for 6 full weeks.  And then he stood me up one Saturday and I ended things on Sunday.  No wiggle room, no doubts.  I will never, ever continue to see anyone – man or woman – who wastes my time like that.

I entertained the idea that something had “happened to him” for about .3 seconds that Saturday evening when I realized he’d gone MIA.  The only reason I waited to tie things off with him until Sunday was simply to see if he’d break the silence first.

I said my piece, he apologized, offered up an “alternative solution” (“I’d be happy to be your booty call!”) to which I politely declined.  “I no longer trust you and so I won’t be taking you up on that,” I’d said blithely.  I forgot to add that I thought we were booty calls, but by the time I’d realized my omission I’d already lost any sense of giving a shit.

Today, February 1st, is the morning after my second date with a tall, fair-skinned Mexican man.  He’s 28, has a graduate degree, and a fetching Spanish accent.  He also grins ear to ear and bends over in tickled delight at things I say, which is probably for the best because he can’t see me looking at him wide-eyed with disbelief.  Am I really that funny??  Apparently I am!

Our first date was at a coffee shop outdoors  in 42º F (6º C) weather with no heat source.  I sat as long as my cold butt could stand it then begged off.  He’d said he’d be open to coming home with me, but sober and jaded as I was, I demurred.  “I definitely want to see you again,” I told him, “but I’m not up for bringing you home tonight.”  He didn’t seem bothered and when I asked if I could kiss him when he’d walked me to my car he nodded and blasted a grin at me.

Three weeks and several more failed attempts to see one another later he finally made it over to my house last night.  I was observing myself more than him.  A hot cup of tea cradled in my hands, minimal makeup, my knees drawn up against my breasts I sat practically guarding myself from him.  He sat on the middle cushion of the couch while the dog took up the third.  It was cozy, familiar.

He did the grinning, bending over thing some more, told me about his family back in Mexico, his friends, his life.  Gushed over how genuine and different I was from any other woman he’d ever dated.  I was flattered, but also searching for that connection I had felt at the end of our chilly date.  I sensed tendrils of it, but we had been shitty texters in between these two dates.  The water between us felt so cold, insurmountably so.

He was closing in on me, shrinking the distance from me to him.  I smelled the woodsy scents of his cologne, could hear the crinkle of his leather jacket.  “I’m so glad you’re here tonight,” I said looking directly into his beautiful inky brown eyes, “but I feel like some of our connection has been lost these past few weeks because we’ve hardly talked and so I’m not looking to have sex with you tonight.”

He didn’t miss a beat.  “That’s totally ok with me.  I just really wanted to see you and hang out.”

We talked some more about our desire for a stronger connection and committed to keeping the water warmer between visits with one another.

Eventually, three hours after he arrived all tall, dark and handsome, he said he needed to leave.  It was 10:30 on a school night for the both of us after all.  I walked him to the door and tilted my face to his and closed the gap between us, careful to press my heavy and untouched breasts into the bottom of his rib cage.

Our hands slowly explored one another.  One of his cold hands cupped the side of my neck behind my ear.  The other slipped beneath my t-shirt.  I tried not to move away from its iciness.  I sneaked one beneath his jacket and the other ran through the short hair behind his ear.  His lips soft and pliant opened against mine and we melted into one another, a tall dark moon against a short bright sun.

The dog barked at us and we chuckled into each other’s mouths.  It was time for him to go.

Later, as I got ready for bed, I felt so incredibly happy.  And safe.  I felt so completely safe because I had been true to myself through and through and hadn’t done one tiny thing that the whole of me wasn’t behind.  The red pill I started to take 2+ years ago means so much more to me than simply seeing the Matrix for what it is.  It has also been the gateway to regaining my own trust.  Because if I can’t trust myself first and foremost, then how in the hell will I ever be able to trust anyone else??

For the first time in my life, I am feeling truly myself.

 

February Photofest

Reaching for the sun.

I opened my door with an easy swoosh, but my insides were flipping.  What was a 22 yo doing on my doorstep?

We’d met a few days earlier on some app, he’d said all the right things, was bold and cheeky with a bunch of respectful thrown in.  “Would you like a romance with a younger man?” he’d asked me via text.  It didn’t make sense to say Yes to his requests to see me, but then again, What if this miraculously turned into something great??

“I’m open to absolutely anything,” was my answer.  And that’s true.  I don’t know the prescription for happiness.

He stepped inside and set down a tiny Tupperware container with rum and two blood red cans of Coke.  “I don’t know what the open carry laws are here,” he explained when I laughed at his contraband.

We talked for hours.  First outside in my papasans, then on my couch.  He was long and lean, pale with soft, feathery dark brown hair that flopped over one of his blue eyes.  He’s not your average young man.  He’s lived a life of a 30 yo, to be sure.  Wise, hurt, hungry.

Something was wrong with my clock because each time I looked up at it it was two hours later than the last time I looked.  Well past midnight I made my move and put my feet on his lap.  I had had enough wine to warm my veins and he’d tapped into my whiskey.

His warm hands held my feet and ankles and explored my bare calves.  I hadn’t been touched in almost a year – was this real??

I leaned in and twisted a handful of his oversized t-shirt in my hand and pulled his sweet, pretty face to mine.  Our lips touched and I breathed him in, pressed further and felt him melt against me.

I ran my fingers through his silky hair and moaned a little as his warm, wet tongue met mine.  Holy shit, I thought, I’m alive.  I’m real.  I’m seen.

But it didn’t go further.

Despite asking if he could stay the night before he came over, he begged off.  It was 2 am and he was tired, he said.

The morning after I felt light and heady, but drained.  Covid, 22, ugh.  But also: a year.

Sadly, he’s dropped the ball since.  He’s said he wanted to see me twice since that night, but never selected a night.  It’s a week from our date and he’s been quiet for the last 36+ hours.

Since Covid some things have become clear: I don’t make people do what I want.  I wait and see what they do, then I make a decision.  That goes for friends, too.  With this kid it was a sweet, but singular night.  PG.  Not even -13.  I’m not going to make it more than what it was.

Today is the 3rd of October.  I think it was almost exactly a year ago that I met Francois and we had a beautiful, hedonistic week together.  One whole year of not being touched, of not being interested in anyone, of not being thought of by someone.

Covid has been a time of reckoning for me, as it has been for so many others.  As my country crumbles in the most disgusting, abysmal, terrifying way, so too have my self-annihilating ways.  I have no stomach for mistreatment, no patience.  I’m not betraying myself anymore.  It’s scary to have no playbook.

I look back on my life and there’s all but one relationship that has no substance.  The bulk of my life – my sex and love life – has zero substance.  Dating and loving men who don’t love me back, who don’t care about me.  I’ve slept with so many men, triple digits, and how many have loved me?  Maybe two.  How many have cared about me?  Maybe none.

None.

It’s a devastating realization.

I have lived a life.  A big, loud, exciting and robust life.  I have done whatever I wanted whenever I wanted.  I have been fearless and charismatic, eaten up anyone in my path with a hunger that was bigger than me and now, in the quiet of a pandemic, I’m hogtied to isolation for survival.  The quiet is deafening.

I planted no seeds to sow, my fields are fallow and I am alone.  Naturally.

I have felt like writing many times over the last several months, but why and about what?  My personal revolution?  How boring – and selfish.  Would you want to hear about me finding myself sometimes at the bottom of a bottle or at the bottom of a tea kettle?  I can’t even be consistent in my vices – it’s either yoga or booze.  Sometimes a combination.  Ok, usually a combination.

Not only am I 1000x more boring than I was before, but my boringness means I’m focused on myself – not the dipshits I let in my life – and I’m a lot more private about my own shit than I realized.  My traumas that were triggered in September of 2018 with the Kavanaugh hearings have rolled through and over me time and time again ever since.  I can’t unsee my own pain and hurt, and most importantly, now that I am awake, I can’t abuse myself with men anymore, either.

It didn’t happen overnight, obviously, but I was already getting there before the Coronavirus hit us.  I hadn’t had sex since October of 2019 and maybe only had one or two dates in December and January.  I had put out my feelers for men in the London area for Eroticon 2020, but my heart was never really in it.  And now here we are.  October of 2020 and I have kissed exactly one human and hugged approximately 5 all year.  It’s been brutal.

I fear for the safety of my parents and myself and some shitty dick isn’t worth the risk, so I don’t go out.  The 22 yo was a total anomaly and seeing as I’m not interested in convincing anyone to be with me I will be alone for how ever many more months it will be until I have the energy and bravery to be with someone again.

I miss you all.  I miss the way it was.  It feels different now somehow.  New guard and all that, totally normal.  The old trees die and give way to and feed the new growth at its feet.  I used to watch those time-lapse National Geographic videos of a forest that burned down and the green sprouts that would miraculously push up through the dark, rich soil.  Unfurling like little dancers in the beams of sunlight that broke through the treetops.  It was mesmerizing.

And now I am that little green sprout reaching for her sun, but I’m not sure I’m in the same forest.

Go gently into the week(end).

I wrote this on Sunday, but my blog has been acting up ever since.  Now the post has rebuttals.

So much sleep.

So much fucking work.

Some vino verde.

A little wine.

Probably too much food.

Just the right amount.

Three miles a day.

Nearly 3 miles a day.

Queer Eye.

Cheers, Worst Cooks in America, Sweet Magnolias (which wasn’t worth my time and I do not recommend).

Fur babies.

Fur babies.

Baby baby.

Not as much of my baby baby.

Zoom calls.

So many Zooms.

Tense and upsetting conversations with exhusbands.

Dinner outside with The Vet before he leaves in a month.

Curbside grocery pick up.

I ordered too much fucking food.

Hours upon hours of world news articles.

Still hours upon hours…

So many tears.

Very little tears.

Tears for a life never lived.

Numb again.

Tears for the world today.

Scabbing over.

And a few stolen moments to myself.

Too many moments to myself that they all feel dark and oozing and floaty in a universe of aqua-colored hair gel.  

This is “taking time for myself.”

 

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I couldn’t go.

I was nearly done packing.

I’d sorted all my toiletries, added thoughtful touches like a scented candle and sparkling water, a bag of citrus and kolaches, lots of sun screen and self tanner. I needed to only pick out which bikinis I’d take, but the thought was close to revolting.

While I lay out tanning my soft, middle-aged body, there would be a hotel full of people there not by choice, but out of necessity and 6 blocks away people protesting for the lives of black Americans.

It just didn’t feel right despite everyone I talked to telling me I deserved it. Do it, go for it, you need it. Truthfully, what I needed was to stay home and be that person.

The person who wept when she watched the videos of people bravely hitting the streets and peacefully protesting get mowed down by mounted police or thrown to the grown by big, muscular men in riot gear, a septuagenarian harassed and left bleeding by callous officers sworn to protect us.

The person who yearns for a world that feels safe. For women, all people of color, every sexuality and every religion, every different mobility and health status, every height and size., every gender identity.

When you think about it, this world is set up to be kind and accepting to very very few types of people. The lane to acceptance is narrow: attractive, tall, fit, straight, Christian, white, cis, preferably male, [college] educated, never incarcerated. That was a very easy list to write down versus the hundreds of other combinations I could come up with that are not that.

My decision made and my heart light, I called the hotel. I explained that with the uptick in COVID cases in the last week coupled with the protests, “It just isn’t a good time now.”

She was perfunctory and efficient in her response and in less than 4 minutes I’d rescheduled my stay for the end of August. Perhaps then it won’t feel so gross.

I texted The Vet. He was sweet. “Want me to come over instead and bring a pizza?”

“Nah,” I replied. “I have a shit ton of kolaches.”

We sat on my back porch, the cicadas drowning out our conversation from any possible eavesdroppers. We drank and talked and laughed. He’s leaving in one month.

I felt tears, but ignored them. We have never talked about our feelings regarding our friendship and what the move will mean for us. He’s happy to be leaving; it’s good for him. I’m happy he’s happy. But I will miss my best friend and I wanted the weekend at the hotel to be a last hurrah for us. Strictly platonic, of course.

At 1 am, fighting the urge to close my eyes in my chair he bid adieu. He stood tall and bald, casual in cargo shorts and a t-shirt that clung slightly across his broad chest.

“I read an article about how to hug safely if you’d like to,” I said. “We just can’t have our faces face the same way and I have to keep my face in your chest.”

He answered by opening his arms and I stepped into them. I turned my right cheek against his chest and wrapped my arms around him. I breathed in the scent of him, his detergent probably, and wished we’d held on a few beats longer.

I quickly stepped away per the safe-hugging instructions and felt awkward, like I’d just been caught with my hand in the cookie jar.

I walked him to the door and said goodbye. My entire night was the right thing to do and just what I needed, and today I slept until I could sleep no more then walked the 1.45 miles to my ex’s and played for an hour with Peyton and a hose and some slippery grass.

I don’t need fancy right now, all I need is simple: friendship, love and rest.


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The irresistible allure of an escape from reality: What do i do?

As predicted, today was brutal.

Early meetings bled into late morning meetings morphed into lunch meetings rolled  into afternoon meetings like so many cigarettes of a chain smoker.  My ass didn’t leave my chair for 7 straight hours and even the cat got bored of me sitting there and found somewhere else to lounge.

Pey wanted to see me again after work, so the second I was done I laced up my tennies, put on cropped leggings so my chubby thighs wouldn’t chafe, and set out with the old, now creaky dog.

I was a little anxious.

My ex texted hours earlier asking that I refrain from touching our baby while he’s in possession.  A stupid, illogical request seeing as we have shared custody and yet another maneuver on his part to control his anxiety via my behavior, to, as he put it, “keep isolation intact.” Yeah, ok.

Never mind that we’re swapping every two weeks.

But I guess a hug from me while he’s in possession is much more dangerous than taking him back into his home after he’s with me.  I know: it makes no fucking sense.

I pressed Play on my audio book and listened intently to the dulcet tones of Tom Hanks.  I passed fragrant, blooming bushes and trees the names of which I’ve never known.  One tree with long, wispy branches had leaves like dragonfly wings and orange petals like an exploded firework.  I don’t think it had a smell and I didn’t stop to investigate for along the inviting boughs were inch long thorns.  I kept walking.

The visit was lovely.  More playing with the hose, lots of “accidental” sprays on each other.  My ex came out too this time, ostensibly to enforce his request of no touching, but he was mild mannered and we chatted about his family.  I honored his need for no touching.  Reluctantly.

The Vet asked me earlier in the night if I was up for drinks tonight.  I told him I wasn’t sure, but the truth was I wanted to be up for some.  For us to go meet at our favorite hang out or maybe a new one before he moves away and to catch up and laugh while serenaded by the chirping, hysterical cicadas overhead that seem to be everywhere at once.

I forgot that I no longer eat meat and ordered a pastrami sandwich to be delivered as I walked back past all the bushes and blooms and their thick, sticky fragrance.  I didn’t even realize my mistake until hours after I’d eaten every last crumb.  What a shit pescatarian I am.  (It was delicious, though.)

I didn’t cry when I got home like I’d hoped yesterday, but I also didn’t stuff my face or drink.  One rosé spritzer was all I had.  Good job, Hy.  I also completely forgot to text The Vet back.  I’m just a black hole of nothingness and useless grey matter.

Lastly – and most upsettingly – Sunday night, in a fit of desperation (and hope) I booked two nights at a downtown luxury hotel basically for the price of one.  It has two queen beds, a view of the water if I’m lucky, and is walking distance to all the fun, outdoorsy stuff my town has to offer.

But isn’t that the height of grossness??  To be in a luxurious setting while less than a mile away protesters fight against and endure police brutality?  I mean, do I go join them before or after I lay out at the pool?   Ugh – barf.

It’s in bad taste, right?, to spend money so cavalierly when others are having to skip rent payments to survive during this goddamned pandemic and since when did I become a Have and not a Have Not?

And not only all that, but what if I get sick by leaving the safety of my house?  Yet another indecent privilege I’ve been afforded during all of this.

I asked both my bff, Sherry, and The Vet if they’d like to come stay with me.

“It’ll be fun!”  I texted, filled with optimism and gripped by momentary insanity.  “We can drink, play, paddle, lay by the pool, get room service.  Party!”  They both agreed it sounded great and would love to come, but what if they get me sick?

They go to work every day and have been throughout this entire quarantine, and apparently that has affected their threshold for mingling.  Mine remains – apparently – very, very low.

But hotel sheets, a change of scenery, someone to take care of me.  It’s embarrassingly privileged and humiliatingly attractive all at the same time.

The hotel now reminds me of that beautiful orange blossom on that alien-looking tree with it’s misleadingly soft-looking branches – there are big ass spikes all over it, after all.  It is not to be experienced with anything but your eyes.

I have until 2:59 pm tomorrow afternoon to make my decision and get a full refund.  I wish the cicadas could tell me what to do in their songs.

 


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Stuffing my face.

I’ve been eating my feelings the past two days, which might not be all that notable except that I’ve diligently been chipping away at my weight during lock down and this now feels extremely reckless.

My heart is breaking on all sides – no different than you, probably.  I ache for black Americans for all the suffering they endure and have endured.  I ache for essential workers who must chose to risk their lives to keep food on the table.  I ache for the loss of life as we all knew it and I ache for the unknown future.  I ache for my little one who is back at my ex’s.  I ache for my loneliness – I miss my mommy and my friends and dates (even the bad ones).

I just ache.

And after Pey went to my ex’s yesterday and we hugged and cried goodbye I threw myself into work.  I stared so hard at the computer screen my eyes watered and my back ached.  The fat ass cat tore into my lap whenever it suited him to get some attention. It felt like a reminder that I was not actually as alone as I felt.

When my day was over I grabbed a bite to eat – a chicken salad wrap – and took the dog off down the street, careful to suck in my stomach because that’s what middle aged women do, I guess.

My visit was leisurely, there was a hose and some water for all of us, a lolling tongue and squinty dog eyes, hugs and kisses.  I walked back home and immediately opened a bottle of wine and made pasta.  Ate too much, I’m sure, but didn’t care. Then drank some more wine and ate 4 truffles.  I went to bed early instead of eating more because that was all I really wanted to do (eat).

Today, I woke up with Pey’s balled up shirt in my arms.  It’s not weird, you’re weird.  It was so quiet, peaceful.  I wasn’t worried about what my child was doing or should be doing.  I immediately felt guilty for the relief I felt.

Work started earlier than usual and I bore down on my day like hungry little bug on a juicy leaf.  And boy was I hungry.  I ate most of a frozen dinner and then the left over pasta.  When work was finished I laced up my shoes again and headed back out.

This time I was met with an admission that there were tears the night before.  I was missed.  “This is hard.”  Yes, baby, I know.

We fabricated rainbows with the mister nozzle setting and turned our faces into it.  It was good to see each other.  Do you want me to come again tomorrow? 

“Yeah.”

I walked home listening to my audio book (my second ever) and felt guilty for being so removed from all the pain and suffering in the world, for my ignorance of whatever was happening less than 10 miles away.  But I’m fucking tired.

I feel like I have been weeping for humanity since 9/11 when I watched in horror as the first tower collapsed.  I had just barely turned 26.

I headed straight for my last bottle of wine and ordered some Chinese food.  It’d be my third meal of the day – I don’t even remember the last time I ate three times in a single day.  I savored the MSG on the sweet and tangy shrimp and chicken and the mouthfeel of the salty fried rice and wanted to melt into my rug for the sheer shame and pleasure of it all.  This was what I wanted.

I have a brutally long day tomorrow, so my plan is to indulge to the fullest tonight then be in bed by 10 and sleep it all off tomorrow.  No more booze then, no more eating my feelings.  I’m going to sit alone on my couch after my visit with Pey and I am going to cry.  I am going to cry for everything and everyone and everywhere.

But tonight, I eat and I drink.


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This is gonna be rough.

I wrote a whole other post about my failings as a mother.  I had an epic fail today – right off a fucking cliff – and sobbed for an hour as my guilt coursed as readily through my veins as the blood.  Hours later, I’m feeling slightly better.  Slightly.  Gotta pick myself back up and keep goin’, as they say.

Suffice it to say my heart is broken even after I didn’t know it could break anymore.  The injustice of police and white racist brutality is too much.  And then a bunch of white people say, “Be angry politely, please!” which is its own racist brutality.  I thought a killer virus that was sweeping through my nation (and world) was bad enough, but now it’s outright hate and ignorance added on top.

Anyhoo…

All that to say, this Every Damn Day in June is going to be special.  I’m glad you’re here for it!!  Expect to find lots of resources on how to do better and more and re-educate yourself on things.  Mama’s got ideas.

Welcome everyone!

 


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Crying in the closet.

Not the closet, but whatever.  It’s been a while.  Hi.

I have never felt my aloneness so keenly as I do now and so I cried in the fucking closet.

I am alone with all the fear for the future, I am alone in my struggle to keep all the balls in the air, I am alone in homeschooling a defiant, confused, and sad pre-teen, and – as usual – I am alone in love.

I sat on the floor with my laptop set on my giant fuzzy pillow.  My therapist’s wizened face watched me with kind eyes as I wept into my hands.  I wondered what she thought of the clothes organized behind me, hung neatly and in order of type of dress.  I did that the first week of quarantine.

Two weeks after I made the heartbreaking decision to cancel my trip to London on March 11th my ex texted to suggest that I keep our baby because there were so many families in our broken-home chain that I guess they had all decided it’d be safer for the kids to shelter in only one place separately.

I didn’t hesitate, “YES ABSOLUTELY I’LL DO IT.”

I have now had Peyton every minute of every day since school shut down 6 weeks ago and the world screeched to a halt.

I knew it’d be hard, but I also knew it’d be incredible. I hadn’t been able to be a mother uninterrupted since nearly 10 years ago. Yes, yes, yes, of course my baby will stay with me. I’m the kind one, the unselfish one, the smart one, the better, stronger, more capable parent. Yes, I’ll do it.

My child has no memory of only one stable home where the rules remained the same, the love the same, the bed and pillows unchanging.  I wanted to do this.

What I didn’t account for was the complete overwhelm.

I’m working more than ever and am buried under never-ending demands while constantly dealing with the world coming to a mother fucking end.  The heartbreaking injustices, the Sophie’s Choice of daily decisions to survive for so many.  Are there even words to describe the existential crises and trauma we are all experiencing together?  Things will never be the same and my soul is mourning.

Plus, while it’s a beautiful, honorable thing to be solely responsible for another’s well being, I feel like I am barely surviving myself.  Am I a good enough mother right now?  I fucking hope so.

I cried in the closet because I’d had yet another battle about school work and fuck is that English teacher for real?? Does she think I have nothing else to do but sit on my child all fucking day to make sure her need to make students work X amount of time is met?? Why haven’t they just called it already??

School’s out, take a break, mourn the end of life as we know it, parents. Make sure your kids are safe and happy. We’ll make it up next year/over the course of their lives because who really needs to know how to find the area of a fucking trapezoid anyway?  Jesusfuckingchrist.

I can’t talk to my ex – he’ll blame me and push to take Pey away; I have no partner to lean on –  my friends are sympathetic, but can’t understand; my family watch helplessly – they trust me, but have no solutions, either.

I get up early to write down assignments and scour the school site for information, but my child has been lying for weeks despite my best efforts and now I’ve moved my old iMac two feet from my little work station at the dining room table so I can support and help throughout the school day.

At night, after work, I tell myself I’ll work more on the school work, but I’m ignoring work that I need to do for myself and so say Fuck it instead and watch Gilmore Girls and have a glass of wine, make dinner, and cuddle with my sweet, angry, sad one.

We talk and laugh and the dog and cat pile on us.  For a moment all seems normal.  Of course I’m home on the couch on a Friday night because Pey is here.  And then I remember that even if I were childless, I’d still be alone because that hasn’t changed and it’s not safe to leave the fucking house.

And Peyton has been sleeping with me again this week; mothering has literally become something I do in my sleep.

As the years have ticked by it naturally happened less and less and when we moved to our new apartment in November we stopped entirely.  At my ex’s, the rule is no children allowed in the master bedroom for any reason.  Bad dreams, rough day, nothing, no, no, no.

Pey accepted it, was stoic about it, but at my house it was always, “Hey mommy? Can I sleep with you tonight?” and I would melt because, Of course, baby. Anything you need. They won’t always want to be close to us like this; what’s the rush to make it stop?

Then this week my ex refused to let Peyton come stay with him for just a weekend.  He wanted a full two weeks.  All or nothing.

“Would you like to sleep with me tonight?” Yes, my baby said. Yes.  Because this fragile, little baby human was rejected by a father who’s more interested in what he wants rather than what his child wants.

So yes, honey, of course you can sleep with mommy because your little heart is being broken. Your school is closed, your friends are just a bunch of idiot kids too and don’t call anyone either, you can’t have play dates or play your favorite sports, you can’t see your coaches or your teammates, your grandparents, your father won’t let you come see him because he’s mad you won’t stay longer, and you’re trapped in the house with a 45 yo woman who works full time, makes you do distance learning against your will and let’s not forget all the chores and bedtimes that are still enforced. Yes, sleep with me, baby. Forever if you need to. Forever.

Then my loneliness kicks back in as I strive to meet and solve that of my little love’s.  Fuck, the loneliness.

It’s so acute, like a knife in my heart, and it makes me panic to think about when Pey will finally go back to my ex.  I will be so so alone then – and I don’t do alone.

I feed my demanding extroversion through dating and men; they’re how I survive myself and the abandonment I experience every other week when my little one leaves me.

Abandonment. That’s what I’ve discovered during this quarantine: sharing custody  is akin to full blown abandonment to my nervous system – every other week – and I never get to recover or work it out or even feel it for what it is because then we are reunited and I’ve spent a week working longer hours and filling my time with men and wine and deep dreams about nothing.  I anchor my feelings at the bottom of all things, an ocean of nothingness, hidden from myself so I can start all over again in another 7 days, just so I can get out of fucking bed and look normal.

That era of distraction and distancing from myself is irrevocably over and I will have to feel my loneliness and face it head on.  The Universe wants me to notice.

The world is molting, shedding its layers of abuse and misuse and slowing down. The earth is breathing more deeply, people are waking the fuck up, we’re all crying for the loss, the injustice, the fear, the calamity.

This much I know for sure from crying in my closet: I want to love.  I want to love myself.  Better and more than ever before.  I want to be able to weather watching my child leave me over and over without dying inside, without craving stupid fucking dick.  I want to keep empty, greedy men away from me and my most precious parts.  I want to grow and fly and soar above the destructive decisions I ordinarily make.  And most importantly, I want to help my little one’s heart to heal alongside mine.

I’m looking forward to crying in my closet again and highly recommend it.  Everyone should go have a good cry in theirs.

 

I’m fragile.

A cute boy likes me.  I feel good because he likes me.
A cute boy ignores me.  I feel bad because he doesn’t want me.
A cute boy fucks me.  I feel good because he wants me.
A cute boy likes me.  I feel good because I’m amazing.
A cute boy ignores me.  I feel good because I’m amazing.
A cute boy fucks me.  I feel good because I’m amazing.
Take a guess at which one I am.
February Photofest