Heaven holds a sense of wonder….











Pickle and I have been in a tremendously rough spot lately.

She’s been my rock throughout the hardest part of the divorce – renegotiating the terms of my interactions with my ex, my kids’ father. She’s been so supportive through it all, and she’s watched the toxic games play out.

She’s done.

She’s had more than she can take. Now it’s time for me to put on my big girl panties and get ‘er done. I can do this – I can stop playing into his manipulation, I can think first of my children, my self, and my lover. I need to.

She’s felt for some time that I give him more love than I do her. I have allowed him to take up more of my energy than is appropriate. I’ve preoccupied myself with how to make him happy in order to win his cooperation with the objective of making the kids’ lives easier, better.

I don’t need to make him happy. I don’t live with him. He can have his feelings, and I can respect those feelings, but it’s not up to me to take responsibility for those feelings.

It’s not up to me to take responsibility for her feelings, either. Don’t get me wrong. But she is the one I live with, she is the one I love, and therefore, she is the one I have chosen to be deserving of my love and attention.

I should probably show her that, eh?

We have a little bit of a co-dependent streak going on. Wasn’t always like this. But somewhere along the line, our interdependency turned into something a little less healthy.

How to fix that?

I suggested a couple of days ago both of us sitting down and writing lists of our individual hopes, dreams, expectations, boundaries. She said, “Hell, no. I’ve told you, told you, I’m done telling you!”

“Sweetie, I’m not going to force this on you. If it doesn’t work for you, it doesn’t work for you, we can find a different way. But I need the visual. I need to put our two lists side by side – see where we match, where we don’t, where we can meet in the middle. I want to put it somewhere where, when we lose sight of our own objectives or the other’s, we – or least I – can refer to it for a reminder.”

Two days later, after some resistance and negotiating, we finally came to an agreement. She hates writing. So I will write her list for her – on my own. And she will check the list to correct what I’ve left out, misunderstood, what have you.

Could be treacherous territory we’re treading upon. But if it works, if nothing else, she’ll have PROOF that I’ve been listening, soaking in her words. And it’ll be a foundation for us to build upon, rebuilding our trust and faith in one another and our relationship.

We fell in love for a reason. As my brother says, we need to dig down and remember that reason. It’s not hard for me.

I fell in love with her free spirit. Her devil-may-care attitude. Her Peter Pan swagger. I fell in love with her smile, which runs the gamut from cat-who-swallowed-a-canary to little-kid-seeing-something-awesome-for-the-first-time-on-Christmas. No matter what the smile, it’s contagious. I fell in love with her breathtaking blue eyes – eyes older than the hills, yet full of wonder like she was born yesterday. Ice-colored eyes to go with my fire-eyes.

I fell in love with her brashness, her audacity, her romantic spark.

She fell in love with my confidence, my girl-who-rules-the-world bravado, my Tinkerbell flittering. She fell in love with my ass (honky tonk badonkadonk), my belly – it wasn’t long before she couldn’t sleep without my belly moving with every breath on her back.

We fell in love with parts of each other that have been buried under the stressful events of the last year and a half.

We used to get each other token gifts – silly little things, but things that meant something – on the third of every month. We started dating on May 3, 2009, so it was a cute way to commemorate the day.

I think it was when we stopped that that we began to lose our focus. And we just stopped because life got busy, we got broke. Priorities shifted.

It’s time for them to shift again.

Pat Benatar sums it all up. Pickle played this song for me yesterday.

“We Belong, We Belong to the light
Many times I’ve tried to tell you, many times I’ve cried alone
Always I’m surprised how well you cut my feelings to the bone

Don’t want to leave you really
I’ve invested too much time to give you up that easy
To the doubts that complicate your mind

CHORUS:
We Belong to the light
We Belong to the thunder
We Belong to the sound of the words we’ve both fallen under
Whatever we deny or embrace for worse or for better
We Belong, We Belong
We Belong together

Maybe it’s a sign of weakness when I don’t know what to say
Maybe I just wouldn’t know what to do with my strength anyway
Have we become a habit do we distort the facts
Now there’s no looking forward
Now there’s no turning back
When you say

CHORUS

Close your eyes and try to sleep now
Close your eyes and try to dream
Clear your mind and do your best
To try and wash the palette clean
We can’t begin to know it
How much we really care
I hear your voice inside me
I see your face everywhere
Still you say

CHORUS

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Don’t get me wrong, roses are pretty no matter their state. We have scores of dried roses all over the house.

For the last couple of months though, we haven’t had any fresh roses. Neither one of us can afford to buy them for the other.

Oh, it’s so frustrating. I’ve got a new job, and the money’s going to help TREMENDOUSLY, but that first paycheck seems so far away. In the meantime, Pickle has missed a ton of work over the last month because her car has been in the shop – worn CV joints caused the shaft to go bad, and the clutch went out. Basically three major fixes all rolled into one.

I choose to look at the bright side – we didn’t know the clutch was going out. So when the shaft went bad, we got to fix the clutch too. Even if we didn’t have the money. And then, before he wasted his time putting the car back together completely and test driving it, we had our mechanic check the boots, and sure enough, the CV was so bad he commented, “I’ve never seen one that bad before. That’s probably what damaged the hell out of your shaft.”

Three fixes at once. $240 in parts. $180 in labor. $420 total.

I’m pretty sure my kids have sensors that enable them to tell when I’m trying to think or do things. They’ve been quietly entertaining themselves for an hour and as soon as I sit down to do this, they burst out of their room clamoring for attention.

Anyway, our mechanic is being very generous to us, not charging a whole lot, because with the heat and his work schedule, not to mention all the new discoveries, what would have been a one-week long adventure is taking a month.

I have to focus on the good things… that I have a new job and still have my old job. That our mechanic is awesome. That our landlord isn’t hounding us for money, but actually trusting us to get rent paid when we can.

If I don’t focus on those good things, then I start to slip and think about how when we finally do get rent paid, we’ll have to pay rent again. I have tuition for my daughter’s preschool that is three months late. I need new glasses and contacts, not to mention new hearing aids (that’s a long term goal). The kids need haircuts and won’t let me touch them.

Pickle needs to breathe and relax. She needs her medication that keeps her ulcer at bay.

When I start thinking about what our needs and wants are, the words of Shel Silverstein creep into mind: “Listen to the mustn’ts, child. Listen to the don’ts. Listen to the shouldn’ts, the impossibles, the won’ts. Listen to the never haves, then listen close to me… Anything can happen, child. Anything can be.”

I’m naturally a positive thinker. A hopeless optimist. What does a girl like me do when her positivity and optimism does little more than keep her head above water long enough to take a breath before she goes under again? And when her life partner is a cynic who wants to be an optimist but can’t quite figure out how?

Affirmations, man. I live by ’em. It’s corny, but Pickle likes them too. And if it comes from someone-not-Me, she’ll actually pay attention to them.

So right now… I need to affirm our ability to withstand anything, any blows that come our way. I need to affirm our ability to pull out of this financial hole we’re in. (We are $60 over budget. And we can’t cut anything.) I need to affirm the power of my friendships and support networks. I need to affirm my ability to take charge and get things done.

So I’m gonna dig real deep here, maybe get a little corny, show a little of my soft underbelly… and affirm.

I am a strong, capable, energetic woman. I have the power within me to make things happen. I set my sights on a goal, and press forward until it is realized. I close my eyes, visualize what I need to happen, and open my eyes to see results before me.

I am creative, resilient. When one “solution” does not work the way I anticipate, I find another. Negative words go in one ear and out the other – I know I have the power to make miracles, as long as I believe.

I am full of Love. In the end, Love does all the work for me. I am only the vessel through which She works. I experience Love fully, passionately, without inhibition or reservation. Regardless of any setbacks that make my journey more unexpected than I’ve planned, Love sees to it that my travels are well worthwhile.



We lost our internet. Well, we destroyed our power cord, then lost our internet, replaced power cord, it destroyed itself, then we got internet back, and found a power cord in a closet that just happened to fit.

Whatever the case, I am BACK!

And after 4:30 this afternoon, I will be divorced.

Which opens up all kinds of wonderful possibilities, and it must be readable in our auras, because we’ve had people approach us, “If you guys ever want to get married……”

My mother, formerly of the school of “Gays? Meh, hate the sin, love the sinner,” expounds on the potential virtues of a same-sex marriage between Pickle and myself. And not just for us – think of the children!!

My own 3 yo daughter has told me, out of the blue, “As soon as you get married, I will call her Mom, too.”

*shrug*

It’ll happen when it does, but I’m pretty sure neither one of us gets much of a say in things. Those PTB’s already have it all mapped out!



My parents have given me something new to think about. They’re moving to the Missouri-Arkansas border. This weekend, they went down to scope the place out and fell in love with a house. Thirty acres of land, three ponds, a three-bedroom house in which the smallest bedroom is larger than my living room. They fell in love with the town. Met a local shop owner who sent them off with more than $100 worth of merchandise, hopped from Farmer’s Market to Farmer’s Market.

Mom called me up yesterday to rave about the place. Dad’s been texting me pictures left and right.

They want us to move down there with them.

Not with them, with them – not in the same house or anything. But they want me and my family close by. Pickle and I have talked so many times about picking up and moving away, starting over with a clean slate. We’ve dreamed of farm life, growing food and raising cattle and goats, living sustainably. We dream of a house out in the country – or close, so we can still be close enough to have access to the things and people we love.

If we moved to this place, we could have that.

We’d be leaving behind the drama with my kids’ dad and everything tangential to it. But we’d also be leaving behind old friends and connections that took years of effort to build. And we’d be letting some people down.

I’ve committed to my kids’ school as a board member for another year. It would be hard to find someone to replace me. Not impossible, but hard all the same. Pickle and I both have relatively new jobs – I’ll have been at mine for a year in August, if I stay that long. Pickle started hers in March. Both of our jobs were the result of friends pulling for us, and we both are close with the people we work with. Pickle’s best friend is wanting to open a restaurant with her in a year’s time. They’re trying to work out a business plan. If we leave, her friend will be crushed.

And we have a plan for where we are now. Pickle makes enough money at her job to only work one or two days a week. She wants to stay at home with the kids. The kids are thinking they want to be home schooled, and we’re both supportive of that. She’s looking forward to it. On the other hand, if they do choose to go to public school, we’re supportive of that as well. And once both kids are in kindergarten, or once Pickle feels comfortable enough in the role that she’s carving out for herself (or we’re all carving out together), I want to go back to school. I’m guessing that will be in roughly two years. I want to get a degree in small business management and accounting. Partially because I want to help with the restaurant – no one wants to do numbers – and partially because I’ve always wanted to open up my own boutique/café.

Pickle’s always wanted to open a drive-in movie theater and a family fun center, as well as her culinary endeavors.

The town that my parents are moving to don’t have anything like that. They have a building that locals want to turn into a movie theater, but no one has the time to do it. They’d love someone to come and do it for them. Kids in that town have to drive half an hour to the nearest larger community to find fun things to do. There’s a lot of tourism in that area, but not so much in that particular town.

Mom was also quick to share with me that I could be a substitute teacher in Arkansas with only my high school diploma. Nice. But that would open the door to questions about me going back to school to be a teacher. There was a time when I wanted to be a teacher, very badly. I’ve since learned a few things about myself. I love teaching kids, but not in the current system. I don’t like rigidity. And I don’t like being limited in the ways I can help.

My passion isn’t so much teaching, but making a difference. And I have so many ways I’m able to do that. I’m drawn to community organizing for that reason. I’m a resource-finder, a leader-finder. An organizer. I see what needs to be done and I find a way to work on a solution with the people affected.

I can’t help but think this might be a good arena for all these dreams. I’d have to put my organizing on hold somewhat, until I got to know the area and its history fairly well. And we couldn’t make every dream happen all at once; it would be a lot of hard work and planning. We’d have to re-evaluate finances (cost of living is way cheaper down there) and how we’d spend our efforts.

But are we ready to leave home? What keeps us here? We have so many friends whom we’re very close to, and our friendships have survived much worse than distance. We’ve also lost a lot of friends over the last year, people we realized probably weren’t worth calling friends in the first place, painful as that awareness was.

The kids have a life here – they’ve never known anywhere else. They have friends here they’ve known since infancy. If we move them now, it’ll be easier for them to adjust; if we wait until they’re older, those ties will be even stronger and the move would be even more heartbreaking.

Granted, we may be in Kansas, but there’s some semblance of culture here where we are. And we’re an hour away from Kansas City, where we can have a mini-escape when we need to. This town my folks are moving to is three hours from Springfield, five from St. Louis. That’s a long way to go for civilization. Pickle and I are both city girls, to a degree. We can’t live in the heart of the city because we need fresh air and green grass, but we need access to the excitement.

If we moved out there, at some point, I know I’d find myself blogging less than I currently do – because I’d be busy with my hand in every pot.

So much to think about. Cold comfort for change? Do we dare?



My brother calls her his brother.

My mother is still trying to figure out which one of us is the “man” in the relationship. Surely, it can’t be me, because I’ll actually wear a dress and look like a girl once in a while. But then again, it can’t be her, because she thinks and argues like a woman.

She calls me a “lipstick tomboy,” a badge I wear with pride because it does sum me up pretty nicely. I love to get dressed up – if I’m Dressed Up. And even in my formal, I won’t hesitate to get down in the mud and play ball.

This whole butch-femme thing is kind of silly. The idea that one of us has to be girly in order make the balance work.

I’m not dating a man. I really have no desire to. So when my brother calls her his brother… something about that feels disrespectful. Even if she is ok with it, even if she does behave like a ten-year-old boy sometimes. Ok, a lot of the time.

But she has girl parts. She has a woman’s physiology. These are things I like. They are not her in her entirety, but neither is her ten-year-old boy persona.

All that said, I have to say, she does look good in her fedora and she rocks that vintage tie of hers that matches, and my heart flips a couple of times in my throat every single time she puts them on. I love going out with her, dressed to the nines, me uber-femme’d out and her all butchy.

I spent a very slow day at work yesterday trying not to think of her. Unfortunately, where I work is very queer-friendly and located in a high-traffic area, so we get lots of good-looking dykes walking in throughout the course of any day. And yesterday, there seemed to be more than usual. And every time a hot dyke would walk in, my mind immediately drifted over to Pickle. And wouldn’t leave.

I had visions of her in full drag (something I’ve heard stories about but not yet seen for myself), and private scenarios played themselves out in my mind, causing me to grin foolishly in a store full of customers, repeatedly waking from my reverie blushing and stammering apologetically to those looking on, trying to puzzle out what the hell was wrong with me. Couldn’t stop.

But honestly, six days out of seven (and probably more than that), those who know me expect to see me in cargo shorts and a ribbed tank top, maybe with a button-down work shirt thrown over it. Or jeans and a big hoodie. My hair is almost always pulled back out of my face, and if I’m wearing shoes, they’re likely to be her DC’s or my canvas Airwalks. I hate pink, and all my “girly” clothes (except for the really nice stuff) look like they’ve been worn by a girl who likes to play in the mud. And her uniform consists mostly of t-shirts or polos and jeans.

We both walk the line somewhere in the middle. She’s not a boy, and neither am I. I find her sexy regardless of what form she takes – as long as she’s comfortable and true to herself.

I’ve also been known to entertain visions of her slightly more femme-y (and even then, she’s still wearing jeans and a tank top), but I’ve seen pictures of her in a dress, and it’s not her. She looked pretty, but she didn’t look like Pickle, and it didn’t do a damn thing for me.

She might not be the girliest girl out there. Well, hell, neither am I. But there’s no man in this relationship, and my brother’s brother lives far away, and he sure as hell doesn’t share a bed with me.



My last post came off as, well… defensive.

I didn’t really answer any questions.  I feel a need to justify my choices, even when there’s no one out there to justify it to.  Even when I know that I’ve made the right choices, or done the best I could, I have this desire to garner approval from unknown entities that may or may not actually exist outside of my head.

I guess I desire that approval from within, as well.

It’s been said by some wiser than myself that it is not important to understand the things one does, so much as it is to understand that one has done them.  In that vein, there’s no sense in dwelling on the past and trying to understand “mistakes” one’s made, if one knows that pattern has existed and it’s time to do something different.

Nowhere to go but forward, right?

I had actually meant to address and embrace the truth in all those hurtful things that were said.   Because in every lie, there is a kernel of truth.  The image of an oyster and a grain of sand comes to mind.  A tiny speck of sand somehow finds its way into an oyster’s shell, which I imagine, might be a bit uncomfortable to the oyster.  But the oyster remains passive, doesn’t struggle against it (because, really, what means has it to do so?), and over time, the oyster sheds enough of itself to coat the sand and grow a pearl.

When others say hurtful things, regardless of the truth in those things, I want to turn their words into pearls.  Over time, my inner goodness will overpower the discomfort and pain those words can cause.

All that aside, I have a task at hand.  I am to explore the question: “Why did I wait so long to actively work on the divorce?”

Having said that understanding why and how the past happened isn’t as important as understanding and accepting that the past did happen, it’s a valid question that she asked, and she deserves the best answer I can give her.

I’ve taken my time to think about it because I don’t want to give an incomplete answer.

Was it because I was still in love with him, or attached to our life together?  No, oh nononono no.  I was so relieved when we broke up, and even more so when he moved out.  I’d been living a lie for years, and hadn’t known it.  He had bored me since before our first year was up, there was no challenge there, and for some reason, I refused to see it for a long time.

Actually, I was chicken shit.

I saw it in the last few years.  But didn’t do anything about it.  Confrontation of any sort gives me the runs.  I get panicky, fight-or-flight sets in.

In this situation, I think I did my part to make the marriage as unbearable as possible so that I wouldn’t have to be the one to call it off – or if I was the one, it would only be the logical conclusion.

Then once it was over, and I’d said the words, “I want a divorce,” why didn’t it follow that I jumped on that paperwork and filed immediately, instead of stalling?

What happened?

I pointed to the kids, and said, “They need their father.”  I pointed to myself and said, “I don’t need a lawyer.”  I refused to believe he was still capable of manipulating me.

First, it was money.  “I can’t afford a divorce.”  Then she said, “If you really want this, you’ll find a way to make it happen, and fast.”  I couldn’t argue the truth in that.

At first, I thought we could do it ourselves.  I bought a packet for $35 at Office Depot complete with a CD-Rom and how-to manual.  Filled out everything pertaining to me in the first week of having it, and gave him his share.  We agreed to meet once every two weeks to discuss the parenting plan and get everything notarized and filed.  Once every two weeks because it was clear that agreeing on the parenting plan was a daunting task.

After a month and a half, I realized I really couldn’t do it without outside help.  He could “understand my point of view” regarding what I feel the children need, but he couldn’t do it because, in his words, if he didn’t have the kids at least half the time, he would have to pay child support and he couldn’t afford that, and if he had them more, he wouldn’t be able to work because he couldn’t afford child care.

I stalled again.  This time because I was so uncomfortable with the struggle at hand and tired of struggling and I just didn’t want to face it.

I’m like a turtle.  I move slowly, and when I feel endangered, I pull my head and limbs into my shell.

This time, though, my best friend was having trouble with her ex-husband and the way he was treating their children, and she got fed up with him.  I took inspiration from her, and decided to grow a backbone myself.  I’d made up my mind to tell him what the arrangements were going to be, because I know what’s best for my kids, and I can point out how this arrangement is hurting them.  And then Pickle and my mom, while both admiring my nerve, suggested that I go ahead and get a lawyer lined up first, before telling him, just to be safe.

I called Legal Aid and got accepted, and got the paperwork.  I filled out most of the paperwork in the first few days, and only had  a few financial details to fill in before notarizing.

Then tax time came, and I decided to wait until the tax return came before filing it.  And I cleaned the house and accidentally threw the paperwork away.

It was about 3 weeks before I called the lawyer for new paperwork, because I was working during his office hours.  Why I didn’t think to leave a message in his off-hours, I don’t know.  Pickle thinks that, subconsciously, I was stalling again.

Once I called though, the paperwork arrived that week, and I had it all filled out, notarized, and turned in less than a week later.  Now, I’m waiting on the lawyer to file with the courts.  It’s in motion.

From the first DIY divorce packet in December to now, it’s been five months.  Pickle and I had been together for six months in December.  Her question, “If you were legitimately broken up with him before I came along, if that relationship was really over, why did it take you six months to start the whole process, and why has it taken you five months since that point to actually file the paperwork?” gives me pause.

I understand the first six months.  I was in a spirally, twisty place with no perspective.  Completely ungrounded, unbalanced.  I had no business being in a new relationship, and I knew it.  However, things happened as they did, and I didn’t have the strength or confidence to change it.  In retrospect, it may have been better or easier for Pickle if I had said, “Whoa, I’ve got baggage I need to sort through.  Let’s wait until my divorce is final, let’s just be friends for now, love each other from a distance.”  Heaven knows it would have afforded me the space (and motivation) to work on my shit.

Shoulda coulda woulda.  I don’t believe in regrets.  If anyone were to find themselves in the position I found myself, I now know what kind of advice I’d give, if asked.  But I don’t believe in regrets, and I do believe that things happen as they’re meant to, even if there are multiple paths one can take.

She and I had a lot of hurdles to jump.  We have a stronger relationship now for it.

But the last part of the question – why did it take me five months to get established at Point A?  Life happens and I’m a scatterbrain and blahdeblah… none of that helps me to be accountable for myself.

Filing wasn’t hard at all.  Once I got it done, I was amazed at how easy it was.  I’m known to make things harder for myself, a form of sabotage – when things are good, I have to go and complicate them.

I’ve known from a very early age that when life is going well, and everything is as it should be, I get very uncomfortable.  It’s like… something is going to go wrong eventually, so, subconsciously, why not just make something go wrong so that, at least, I know when it’s going to happen and how, and I’m the one in control.  I fear being out of control.  It’s probably my biggest fear, next to creatures with stingers.  But that one, I’m learning to conquer – and it’s related.  Bees and wasps, to me, are extremely unpredictable creatures, but I’m learning to watch them, to be able to predict their next move – and to be ok with it when I’m wrong and they land on me.

I want to be ok with it when life is good and things happen and it’s not my doing.

Even when it’s not my doing, I somehow find a way to make it my fault.  I know how to be sorry.  I know how to fix things that I’ve broken.  I don’t quite get plugging away through adverse conditions that I didn’t create.   If I don’t have myself to blame, I don’t know what to do.  I don’t know how to hold someone else accountable (well, on paper, I do, but practically speaking is a whole different matter).

Self-sabotage.  I think that’s what it is.  How much does she love me?  Do I even deserve her love?  Putting her emotions and psychological health through the wringer because, somehow, I don’t think I’m worthy.  And then… if she leaves me… it’s because I did something wrong.  And because I don’t deserve her, I knew it was coming all along.

Oh I know it’s horse crap.

I know she’s perfect for me, and we belong together.  I know this, my logical brain is very smart, and it tells that broken little girl inside me just how silly she’s being on a regular basis.

But even still, she’s still there, and she deserves her recognition, too.  That broken little girl.  And the more I’m aware that she’s working on me, the more I see how her patterns are affecting me and the choices I make, the more I can find ways to hold her and calm her and show her she’s worthy of love – from within and out

The other day, I had a dream.  I was riding an escalator up and passed an advertisement that I’d seen a few times already, earlier in the dream.  The ad featured a polar bear exhibit at the local zoo, and had the tagline, “Do Polar Bears Need Hugs?”

I woke in the morning with the strong feeling that my subconscious was trying to sell me on something.  I googled the question and got wonderful pictures of polar bears playing with each other and with other animals, hugging.  Heartwarming stuff.

I asked friends, what do you think?

The answers I got varied and really the concept that resonated with me most was this: No matter how strong one is, everyone needs a hug sometimes.  That is what keeps us strong.  One of my tasks right now may be simply to acknowledge a challenge, acknowledge that the source of that challenge may need some love, and move forward.  It may not be for me to give that love, but the simple task of recognizing the need for compassion or affection may be all it takes for me to go on.

That broken little girl in me needs a hug.  She tries so hard to be strong, and feels so bad when she’s not.

My Pickle needs all the hugs she can get.  I’ve put her through hell and back just to prove she loves me, and not even been aware.

This divorce needs compassion and love.  I may not be the one to give it, but I won’t stand in the way of it.  It’s a process of growth and change, and it’s fraught with challenges.

I’m on the escalator and moving up.

Life is good. Pickle loves me, I love me, our kids are amazing, and we’re all growing so fast.



Oh, co-dependency, you raging, monstrous bitch, you. I try and try to shake you off, and just when I think I’ve mustered the strength to resist you, you clutch my guts in your clammy claws and cling.

I tried to bite my tongue. I tried to wait until morning, to let the ooky feelings slowly ebb away, work themselves out in dreams. I really did try.

She came in at 3:30 this morning. No sense in stirring the pot then. No sense losing sleep when we both needed to be up at 8:30 to see the kids off to their Dad’s house. Let it go, I breathed to myself, a mantra meant to calm that panic welling up inside. Let it GO! I screamed in my head, a battle cry against the irrational.

I went to bed at midnight. She’d gone out with friends. A good thing, she needs to spend more time with them, she needs to spend more time without me. A good thing. I was ok with the concept.

When she’d left, though, I’d just finished putting the kids to bed. It’d been a difficult bedtime. The littlest was still popping up to tell me “just one more thing. I love you and I want to spend the whole day with you.” Sweet words, yes, and I hear them so often it’s begun to make me cringe.

And she left. After mentioning to me that she’d gotten to spend the day with everyone else but me. We got to hang out for a little bit earlier in the day, much earlier. But for hours, my brother and the kids had her all to themselves while I cleaned the house and puttered about. She had told my brother she’d go hang out with him downstairs for a bit. When I was done with the kids, she asked me to join her because she missed me, she wanted to cuddle.

I said no, I needed to stay upstairs because I didn’t think the kids were completely settled in. I’d rather put them back to bed already upstairs than have to run up and down stairs for an hour.

Half an hour later, she came up and got ready to go. Cuddled me for ten minutes, while I tried to be happy for her.

“This is going to be hard for you, tonight,” she observed.

I tried to play it off. “What are you talking about? I don’t know what you mean.”

She gave me a Look.

“It is going to be hard for me. It’s good for us, though. I’m trying to keep positive. I keep thinking about how little time we got today, and how little time we’ll get in the next three days because of the hours I’m working–”

“Oh, baby, please don’t,” she interrupted. “I told you yesterday I was going out and you said it was ok!”

“It is ok, I want you to go out. I’m just being honest – it is going to be hard for me.”

She called me later on when she was out for linguistic advice. Her friend was writing something and needed a synonym for “irritation.” I came up with “annoyance,” “vexation,” and “pet peeve.” And that was the end of the phone call.

After hanging up, I felt strangely wounded and… well… vexed. It felt like a pity call, a call she made out of guilt for leaving me at home. Like she made up an excuse to call me and see if I was still pouting. I hadn’t been until then, but then those clingy, clammy claws commenced to clutching again. Ugh.

Then at midnight, we spoke again. I asked when she anticipated being home – not really needing to hear a specific time, but wanting to know when to expect her. She said an hour, hour and a half.

“Ok,” I replied.”

“Why do you sound so… ehhh… about that?”

“I’m not.” A bald-faced lie, but I didn’t have any reason to be “ehh,” so I kept my mouth shut on that front.

“You don’t sound happy…”

“Well, am I supposed to? Am I supposed to feel one way or the other?” I tried to laugh it off.

“Oh, you hurt my head.”

She reads me so well. It doesn’t matter what form of communication – in person, on the phone, text – she knows when I’m bubbling over with conflicting feelings. She doesn’t always realize that I’m struggling with myself and not with her, and often, she’ll give me what she thinks I want (which is what the codependent part of me often does want) just to avoid a fight. When then ends up leading to – guess? A fight!

Last night she didn’t do that. She stayed out. I’m glad she did. She needs to be with friends more.

And instead of coming home at 1:00, 1:30, like she’d said, she walked in at 3:30. Let it go, just be glad she’s home. My mantra. Go back to sleep, it’ll be better to talk about in the morning.

She sat on the bed. “You’d be proud of me tonight. I played hero. I jump-started a car not once or twice, but five times tonight.”

Let it go, it’s cool, it’s fine, I silently told myself as my mouth spontaneously opened to declare, “Once? A hero, yeah. Maybe twice. Five times? That’s just stupid.” Oh my god, you didn’t. Go back to sleep, Let It Go.

She didn’t seem to notice my bitchiness, and kept going on about the night, how the folks should have listened to her in the first place, how they ended up going to Wal-Mart to get a new battery, and then my cauldron bubbled over.

Wait till morning. Let this shit go! NOT NOW. “So that’s why you’re just coming home now?”

I half listened to her excuses – that’s my department – to be flaky and then justify and come up with excuses. I don’t remember any of them. I tried to make myself go back to sleep.

Then she said, “I sat in the parking lot for the last hour, eating cheeseburgers.”

I sat up. “Why the fuck did you do that?”

“I knew I’d be in trouble.”

You dumb bitch. “You do realize you just made everything much harder for yourself than it had to be?” Also my department. WTF is going on here? “I was prepared for you to come in at 2:00, or even 2:30. I know you. If you’d walked in at 2:30, I might have grumbled for a second or given you a little bit of a hard time, but I would have let it go!”

“I knew I’d be in trouble. I knew you’d be mad.” She sounded so small. “I knew you’d be mad, and I just couldn’t handle it then. I couldn’t deal with it.”

Ugh. “You know, I’m not mad because you’re a bad person who did a bad thing. I’m mad because I love you and I worry about you and … if I didn’t care, I wouldn’t get mad!”

Silence.

“Now you’re getting mad,” I sighed.

“No, I’m not,” she answered. “I’m really not.” Then she kissed me, surprisingly sweetly. “I love you. I think we should get some sleep.” She rolled over and wrapped my arm around her the way she does.

I was out pretty quickly. I thought it would be ok in the morning. But this morning, as I rushed around the house, getting the kids ready for their Dad’s house, and she slept so soundly, I felt resentment.

I’ve been trying to figure out what that resentment is. It’s why I write, to puzzle this shit out.

She can go wherever she wants, do whatever she wants, and whenever she wants. She doesn’t have any obligation to me or the kids. And that’s the way it should be right now. I chose to settle down young and have my babies young. And, while it wasn’t necessarily the wrong choice or a bad choice, it was a choice that created more challenges for me.

As a result of that choice, I became a single mom of two kids. I parented on my own when I was still married, and nothing really changed after we separated. Now that I’m with her, I have to find this weird balance of knowing that I don’t have to do everything all by myself anymore, and not expecting too much from her because, let’s face it – they’re not her kids, and our relationship is still in diapers.

So… do I really resent myself for complicating my own life? I’m so very good at it. I’ve noticed all the things she did last night that set me on edge are mirrors of the things I do. I’m the one that makes things harder on myself, I’m the one who avoids, I’m the one who forgets to call or stays out too late, I’m the one who plays “hero” the same way five times when the third time should be different.

Last night, she was me, and it really upset me.

She was my reflection, and I didn’t like what I’d seen.



{March 7, 2010}   All that she wants…

Pardon me for being so blunt.

I am a raging hormone machine. It can’t be helped. I want sex, and lots of it. Try as I do to distract myself, to spend my time pursuing other activities, my mind keeps wandering to sexy thoughts of my Sweet Pickle and the way she makes me feel.

I’ve noticed a bit of baby lust, too.

Has my biological clock begun ticking again?

I often find myself daydreaming of nursing babes again, holding little squirming bundles of smooth skin and plump cheeks. Looking deeply into big blue eyes, feeling the grip of a tiny palm with tiny fingers wrapped around my own mama-sized digits.

I think it has.

I’m about to turn 29 this month. I’m not old. I have, easily, another ten years of baby-having in me. The caveat, however, is that if I am to get pregnant, the only way Pickle and I can agree on making it happen, is if I essentially carry her child. In a sense, surrogacy.

She’s a bit older than me. Scientifically speaking, her ovaries are on the blink. If this were to work, we’d have to freeze them now.

We don’t have the money for that. Adoption would be more practical.

And, though my uterus is hollerin’ at me, “Now, Mama, now!!!” I know that, in all practicality, for sanity’s sake, I will not have any more babies of my own for another two years at least.

It’s hard to resist the call of the female reproductive system. I succumbed four years when I conceived my daughter. If I had the maturity then, the foresight I have now, I would have waited longer.

No regrets, though. None whatsoever. I have two beautiful children. Had I done things differently, the way I possibly “should” have done them, they wouldn’t exist, at least, not as they are.

Then again, if the me that I am now had been calling the shots five years ago – even ten years ago, when I met my children’s father, she would have said, “You know, I like you. You’re a good guy. I don’t really see lifetime potential with you, being that you have a penis and penises kind of scare me and I’m more of a t’n’a kind of girl, but you’ve got good genetics. I’d like to have your genetic offspring. No need to feel obligated to be an active father.” I bet he would have gone for it, too. He never really wanted to be a dad. I sucked him into it with my grandiose vision of the life I wanted: settled down at 18 with six kids and a zoo’s worth of pets.

The me I am now knows I could have had that without him, and probably would be much closer to that vision without him. But I wouldn’t have learned as much about myself had I gone that route.

So the me I am now is content to wait two years for another round of babies. She just wishes the hormones would quit throwing their fit in the meantime.



“You’re my ocean.” She said it so peacefully, so factually, and left it at that.

Sardonically, I thought, “What, ‘cuz I’m drowning you?” Instead, I waited a few beats and ask, “How’s that?”

She thought for a moment. Licked her lips in contemplation. “I don’t know. You just are. Your emotions are like the tides. You can be so destructive and rough, like the waters in a storm. Or you can be calm and beautiful. But either way, you always put me at peace.”

Those might be the most beautiful, honest words anyone’s ever spoken to me. I want them to be written into our wedding vows, whenever that day comes. She’s the only person who can take my voice away.

In re-reading the words she said to me, I realize that typing them out on a screen does them a harsh injustice. She’s not a words person. She’s a numbers person, logic and reason. Words, for her, are cut and dry. Use them to say exactly what you mean. Which often doesn’t lend itself to poetry, though today, it clearly did.

The other night, she told me, “When I marry you, I already have our rings picked out.”

What? When?? What happened to If?

Girl reads me well. “I mean If.” She smirked. “If I marry you. The company that made my vintage wave ring is still around. They do custom designs. What I want is gonna cost about $5,000 for the both of them. Waves with little diamonds.”

I looked down at the ring on my finger now. I wear it on my right ring finger, saving the left one for the Real Ring. Thought about how that ring ended up there… one week ago, I went out without her. She said, “I trust you,” and put her ring, one of her most treasured possessions, on my finger to keep me “out of trouble,” she said with a smile.

I told her she wasn’t getting it back. Got her a new wave ring from work.

Then the conversation about the rings, the custom rings that will cost us $5,000.

“We’re never getting married, are we?” I joked. “With the rings and the lavish Mardi Gras party and costume dress, it’s a wonder we’ll ever get the money!”

I thought the wave ring was a great idea because she used to surf, and her love for the waves has never gone away. She misses the Pacific Ocean. I love the ocean myself, and water is one of many things that binds us together.

It didn’t hit me until today just why wave rings would be so meaningful at our wedding. She’d never said words like that to me before. I’m her ocean….

I asked her, “If I’m your ocean, and you know how destructive I can be, then why the hell do you provoke me?!?”

She grinned, shrugged her shoulders.

And then it came to me. “Because you’re a surfer girl, and you like to ride the waves. You need that rush… and the calm that comes after.”



{February 22, 2010}   A connection…

She says she misses me so much she could cry. And when I’m around, she tells me I cling. I go out without her while she works, and she has a 15 minute break where she gets to stop at home, and I’m not there, and she feels robbed. And when she comes home after work and I bring her a beer and breakfast, she turns on her favorite shows and I don’t exist.

I get it. She wants me around, but I don’t have to be right there. I’m not good at giving space, co-dependency comes naturally to me. Without reconnection in the way I understand it, I feel panic set in. I’m uneasy in my skin. Is she angry? Did I do something wrong? I don’t need her undivided attention the whole time. I know when she comes home from work, she needs to unplug from the world and forget it exists. Her job takes so much out of her. She doesn’t get a lot of time to herself during the week, she says. Unless she’s asleep.

Yesterday I was up at 5:30 a.m. to let my brother in my house to crash. She felt cheated of her alone time. She says she only gets Sunday mornings while I’m asleep and she comes home early from work. The rest of the time, I’m clinging to her or the kids are demanding her, and she’s ok with that, she says, she’s ok with me clinging and the kids demanding, as long as she gets that one day. I tell her she needs more than that one day, if that’s really the way her life is, that’s not right…. and I’m thinking about it, and I realize, I work two or three days out of the week when the kids are gone, and she has two to four hours to herself, awake, without anyone else in the house… why doesn’t that alone time count?

I think she needs to have alone time without her favorite shows. I think she needs to find her hobbies and her passions again. She used to have a lot, and this job has sucked the life out of her, and transitioning from single-hood to step-parenthood has not been easy, and I think she’s losing herself.

It’s no wonder she’s sick all the time. It’s no wonder she’s depressed and angry.

A lot of her friends stopped talking to her when she and I started dating. My ex allowed people to believe that if it wasn’t for her, he and I would still be happily married. No one bothered to ask me. Only a few people asked her. Everyone else just assumed it was the truth. Between missing friends and missing funds, she doesn’t go out as much as she used to before we met. Neither do, I for that matter. Now, she sits at home and watches all her favorite shows on Hulu and plays a bunch of silly games, and I’ve fallen into that trap too.

When we spend time together, it revolves around the computer or the TV or the bar or the bed.

Not real conducive to finding things in life to be excited about.

We talk about getting out and doing fun things – going to the art museum, wandering around the cemetary, heading to the dog park. And when it comes time, plans seem to fall through – one of us is too tired, we forget.

Priorities.

If this relationship is a priority, if we are priorities to one another, we’ve got to work together to pull out of our respective funks…

So I can’t take it personally when she acts like I’m not there. Because I know she is comforted by my presence, I’m there if she needs me or wants me and that makes all the difference to her. I tell myself that when the panic begins to set in. And I tell myself I will do something nice for her that doesn’t encroach on her space.

Today, I cleaned out my closet. Still in the same room. Completely silent, undistracting, still there.

The question that’s been on my mind: “If True Love is giving of yourself unconditionally, expecting nothing in return, what can you give your Lover?”

Today, the answer is… something to smile about. I will reconnect with myself, help her find a way to reconnect with herself, so that we can remain connected with one another.

Take that, co-dependency!



et cetera