2019

I love symbolism, and what could be more refreshing than New Years to hit reset and start again on the things you didn’t do last year? (I’ve been swearing I’d be “fluent” on the didgeridoo for, what, 10 years?)

I place a lot of importance on New Year’s review. This has a been a hell of a year for it.

It started in 2017, when Jax and I broke up. Finally, I knew something about my future: I was never having children. It was sobering and surprising, and so freeing!

A year later, I ran into my favorite old flame – best lover/real emotional affection/worst match – and persuaded him to see me again. We’ve been together now for months.

I’ve never had a carefree relationship. It isn’t superficial. It just doesn’t have to mean everything. I don’t have to understand it. In other words, I don’t have a picture in my head of how this will look in the future, and it’s fantastic! I’ve never had that.

I love him. I’m loving him so much better than I did before. We’re happy.

He’s a ski photographer. Christmas and New Years are his bread and butter, so we parted company two weeks ago and haven’t spoken. We texted once. I invited him to a New Year’s celebration – he is the person I want to kiss right now – but he declined. He had to work New Year’s Day. I expected as much, and went alone.

It’s perfectly equal with Galen, what we want from each other, how we feel about each other, what we offer each other. I can’t say enough how different this is from anything I’ve felt or experienced in my life.

So that’s the biggest thing from 2018, this free, authentic feeling of being with someone purely, not because I have a goal or fear in mind – or in the back of my mind. It feels so good to love someone! I don’t think I appreciated how desperate and selfish my love has been in the past. I was aware, but… yeah, you don’t know what you don’t know. It’s wonderful to love him so wholly.

****

I quit smoking two months ago. I bought a Vape for the holidays, so I wouldn’t go around bumming drunk drags at parties, or walk to a convenience store and buy a pack. (You know that hangover. “Ah shit! Now I have to finish these cigarettes!” Maybe you could throw them out, but I hate waste, throwing away my money, and regret – for the day down the road I wish I hadn’t thrown those cigarettes away.)

The Vape did it! I’m smoke-free and more confident than ever before that I’ll stay that way. Just bring it to any party and you’re set. That melon-flavored metal cylinder accompanies me only when drinking, and I’m perfectly satisfied. Problem solved.

I’ve lapsed on my cooking. Of course, that’s my #1 plan for 2019. Get back into trying new recipes and healthy meals (i.e. lose weight). Galen’s good for that (vegetarian/solar home cook) but, like I said, I got the holidays off from him.

It’s the worst binge, maybe ever. For two weeks straight, every day, everything I can eat, all day, and no real food or fiber. I’ve actually thrown up, actually morphed from Binge Eating Disorder to Bulimia, except I didn’t mean to puke. I just made myself so sick, up it came. So gross. Wow, my life.

I imagine if I hadn’t held onto to Skinny-Is-My-Superpower for so long, I might have figured out some form of food discipline before now? I can’t say. I only know I didn’t. And it’s only gotten worse. Binge Eating Disorder doesn’t sit still, so now I have to make it better. That’s it. Skinny is officially no longer a freebie for me, but I’m more concerned, like any midlifer, with the rest of my life, with comfort, energy, and longevity.

And, let’s be honest, good diet is the last piece of living peacefully with Fibromyalgia. DO IT. If you’re not doing everything in your power to manage your pain, shut up. When you’ve exhausted every option with total integrity and effort, bitch all you want.

Til then, binge less. As a treat. Enjoy it. Accept it. Move on. In 2019, I will binge no more than once a month. Ooh! I just got punch-in-the-gut panic. I can do it.

****

I can’t believe we’re only a year away from 2020. For a decade, I’ve been excited for Hindsight 2020. What a time for review! I feel so lucky to be newbie-middle-aged at this epic symbolic time. I’m young enough to get back into shape and stay that way. (Figure out in therapy this year how to really face Binge Eating Disorder…)

I’m young enough to regain and retain my youthful beauty, and old enough to know that that’s not what matters in my life, but something I enjoy. Thank god I get to!

I have a 5-yr plan for the first time in my life. Penny will be my family for the next 2-5 years. Then I’ll be 50. Fit, brave, happy, free, and ready to TRAVEL.

I’m finishing the process of getting out of debt. (In 2018, my student loan fell to ZERO!!!) I’m not planning to travel much in the next few years. Instead, I’ll save, dream, and plan. I think I’ll drive cross-country with a friend first, then live in South America for at least a year, to teach and travel.

I’ll definitely be in Brazil for Carnival sometime in the next 5 or 6 years. I started doing Samba a couple of months ago. I’m not bad. I’m not good yet, but I will be!

Oh! Be careful what you wish for! I always wanted to join Samba Fogo, Salt Lake’s world-class Afro-Brazilian drum and dance company. (Our founder is 2018’s International Samba Competition winner. This is for real.) In 2018, I did!

I’m in Ala, which means “We.” It’s the community branch of Samba Fogo, and Alas exist all over Brazil, so it’s part of the cultural tradition. We’re performing at the Samba Queen contest this month, and at the annual show in April, which I’ve been attending for years. It’s in that audience that I first began to dream of being on their stage. And now I am.

****

2018 was tough. I came down hard with some boundaries that I’m not second-guessing anymore. I made cuts. I didn’t have the emotional wherewithal to write about it as it was happening. I just did it.

My circle has grown much smaller, and my family’s pretty much out. I never thought I’d fail there, but I have to love myself enough to make unapologetic choices for my safety, even when my mom lectures me in a Christmas card about the need to forgive.

I have. I forgive and forgive, but I continue to be disrespected and disregarded. I give myself permission to leave, whether that’s demonized or not. I don’t need them to understand or stop gossiping about what a bad, withholding person that makes me.

Am I adulting?! Not around them. In their company, I’m everything they say I am.

Recently, I’ve been thinking a lot about etymology, specifically the phrase, “You make me sick.” Most of us are guilty of projecting on someone in that way. I’ve been asking myself lately, “Why do we say that?” “What a strange way to blame someone.”

Why? Because the feeling is one of illness!

It was always there. My family makes me sick. No one respects my boundaries, so I get pissed and pissy, and the cycle roars on. I have a role, but it’s a family act. I’m the screaming, suicidal girl. They scapegoat me for all our problems, because I make the most noise.

When I was young I said all the time, “You think when I leave, everything will be great. It won’t. Just you wait.”

It didn’t. I didn’t start it. I was born into malfunction, but it’s my fault now. All of it.

I’m a symptom, but for them I’m to blame.

So I can’t be around them. It’s sad, but it’s the right thing to do. I act like a child. I hate myself. I hate them. I don’t sleep for weeks. I binge. I trigger mom (who’s already triggered anticipating family togetherness, so she jumps on my buttons).

The rest of them are openly bigoted, dutifully silent, or subtly cutting. (I hate it when people skirt responsibility for “jokes” that hurt. “I was kidding.” Bullshit. You’re cruel.) They don’t care that hate-mongering hurts me. I’m just being difficult.

We’re sick. A family is only as healthy as its sickest member, and I actually get sick with them. 2019 is about respecting all of my health and honoring it, even when my family calls me a horrible person, even when I want to hit three fast food joints in a row.

I ache for the loss of a treasured, long-time friendship, and the bruising of another, but I’ve changed. Things have changed. Twenty and thirty years ago, I’d tolerate nearly anything not to jeopardize relationships that replaced family, but I won’t now.

Without intending any shift in dynamics, that’s what’s taken place. It ended one relationship, inasmuch as I’ve made peace with allowing that friendship to belong to its time and place, love her always, and move on without her.

Another friendship is dinged, badly, and the aftermath remains to be seen, though I can say she’ll always be in my future and vice versa. There’s assurance in that, but sorrow knowing that I might be disappointed forever by what I get back: nothing in the present. Never a text, never a phone call, rarely an answer to same, not even acknowledgment.

It’s so rude. I don’t deserve scraps. Not even social decorum for your best friend?

I give more. It’s reasonable to ask for more. I may not get it. History wouldn’t say so.

It’s sad.

Holding on to what no longer serves us is immature, and I’m not. I’m 45 years old. I’m kind of a bitch and I’m a good person. I’m whole and complex, and I don’t want to spend my time with assholes who piss me off.

I want to have fun. I’m smart, deep, compassionate, impatient, intense, and FUN.

Happy New Year.

halfway bitches
women over 40

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And Then The Weekend Happened, Part 2

I’m so tired. I can’t even come home starving from rehearsal and hope to feed myself without a curse-laden verbal assault.

The whole family was home again. The adults had thrown away Jax’s remaining food (rancid and molding, left over for more than a month) and cleaned the fridge. His dishes were washed and draining, and they had moved on to laundry.

My food was still out sitting on the table. Why?

I opened the fridge. It was clean and turned all the way down to zero. Warm. Empty. Carrie hurriedly began to put my food back in the fridge. Jax was right behind her.

I asked him how long my food – milk and dairy – had been left out. An hour.

“An hour?”

Knock it the blank off, just a blanking hour, get the blank over it, get the blank out of here, we’re cleaning the blanking house, for blank sake, leave us the blank alone. And on and on and on until I left the kitchen.

I’d had a bowl of cereal 6 hours earlier, and danced for 4 hours. I’d forgotten my rehearsal snacks. I was shaking, I was so hungry. And he just launched into me, screaming and swearing. It’s illegal for a landlord to bar me free movement about the home I occupy, but the roommate loophole permits him to do anything. So he is.

I said simply, “It is not unreasonable for me to feel like you are wantonly destroying my property, because you are,” and went to my room.

They’re taking as much pleasure from warming perishable food as they are from freezing me out. (Why hadn’t she put it away and how long had the fridge been clean before I got home?) It’s been 59 degrees in the house for 3 days, until last night, when it dropped to 58. They finally turned the heat on today, for themselves, but she was bundled in blankets and sheets the other day when they were all here, yet again. Why didn’t he turn it on then? I think they came over that time just to see how cold the drastic seasonal shift had left the house for me. They weren’t here long, to my relief.

Jax came home twice after that, alone, just in-and-out stops, to drop off/ pick up whatever. He knew how cold it was. He wouldn’t turn the heat on for me. Or for his fish, for whom he used to heat the house during the day while we were both at work, to keep their water temp stable. He’s willing to torture his own animals to make me pay.

For what? His inability to remove me legally? He chose my departure date! I secured my new home according to his plans. I didn’t do this by myself. Any of it. Trust a friend, risk my health, wait ’til October to leave a once-loving home. I do not understand.

He completely changed personalities once the marriage was official, and he’s completely taken the reins since, and great pleasure in it. I think he’s evil.

He followed me to my room, and barked mocking intentions through the door to replace my food, demanding a list of it. Look in the fridge, if your intent is anything other than bringing hate and fear to my one remaining safe place. It’s empty, except for the food I had perfectly planned to last one week. I told him to drop it and leave me alone, shielding myself from him with my bedroom door, as I opened the front door and left.

I ordered drive-through junk food and ate in the car, sobbing. I have nowhere to go! My friends all moved, and everyone else in my “urban family” is old and unavailable.

I’m so tired.

Only one more weekend. I won’t be alone. They won’t harass me in front of my movers.

I don’t understand. I just don’t understand. I was sick and abandoned when I was mad at him, and he has officially surpassed the length of time that I spent yelling at him for something he shared and abdicated responsibility for. I do not understand. I’ve done nothing to these people.

I’ve done everything I could to stay out of their way, and they’ve done their best to brutalize me all month. I can’t stop crying today. It hurts.

Shouldn’t he be happily newly wed? Why is he so obsessed with me? Shouldn’t being in love and un-alone make it more bearable to tolerate space with a woman you hate? And why are you here if you hate me so much? If not merely to aim for my suffering, for some form of bizarre vengeance, and otherwise for the pleasure of pure cruelty? Go home! She has an apartment! I hadn’t seen him for a month until they decided to tag-team me in this gross campaign to – what? – kill me?

What a sick, petty, small, ugly, mean man. What are they here for? Torture! What else? They’ve cleaned cupboards and a fridge, just a couple of hours work that could easily wait until my lease is through. He knows how clean I am. He knows I’m not leaving this place a mess. It’s not a bit about prepping their home. It’s about making me uncomfortable while I’m in it.

They’re calculating, horrible people, and they actually have themselves convinced they’re victims of an unreasonable woman. You chose my departure date! How do you figure I have any control over this? My apartment is occupied until Sept. 30.

They’re here every weekend to party. WHY? I hadn’t seen Jax for a month, except for brief stop-ins. What’s changed? Only their first decision as a married couple, to torture a vulnerable woman – not yet stable on her meds – as a “family.”

I’m so tired. I’m worn down, depressed, and tired.

****

I came home from my binge, in a running car for over an hour, and Jax had, in fact, replaced the milk and mayo (not yogurt, sour cream, or eggs). Why do it, if you’re just going to save face after? They didn’t think they’d get caught, I imagine. He wouldn’t have done a thing if I hadn’t taken a picture of it (ridiculed, of course). I’d come home with fresh veggies for a big, yummy hash with eggs that I’d been looking forward to all day, so I snapped a pic of the fridge before hiding in my room.
fridgeThey left me alone after I got home the second time. But then, I didn’t leave my room.

One week. One week.

Confronting My Molester

I don’t know if it was necessary. I don’t know if it did anything for me.

I’m still overwhelmed by the coincidence that brought me to the moment I felt it was time to accuse him. I felt like… well, hell, I’ve always nominated myself the one to speak for any disenfranchised “us” I’ve decided I belong to.

I started dating a guy a month ago who immediately read my blog. He got to the part where I mentioned having been molested by the neighbor, and knew him by name! I got sick. I haven’t said that name in 30 years. “How do you know?!” I learned that I had not been a fluke, as I believed. I thought that I just happened to get caught up in it because, as the best friend of the sister he was sexually abusing, I was in the home.

No. He targeted the entire neighborhood. In fact, he raped some of the young girls, including the ex-wife of this guy. She had been a childhood playmate of mine.

I was outraged. The first thing I did was call my sister and make sure she had not been victimized, as well. No, thank God, but not for lack of trying.

Then I wondered, why have I never sought him out? Everyone’s on Facebook. Sure enough, there he was, with his schmuck smiling face, boasting of his son’s military service. I typed a rapid-fire message and sent it before I could chicken out. Normally, I try to withhold words at a time of intense emotion, but he deserves no such sparing and I deserve to accuse my attacker. Panicked at the moment I hit “Enter,” I scrolled back to read what I could not suck back from the ether… to learn that he had contacted me 4 years earlier in a breezy message that went to a junk inbox I never noticed. He was casually wondering if I could put him in touch with my brother, as though nothing ever happened! I FLIPPED and wrote again, then blocked him.

I don’t feel any different. Was it necessary? It feels so strange to come from the trauma with Christine in Spain, wrestling with why I didn’t leave sooner and grieving because I know the answer: I was perfectly groomed not to. I went into a place of survival, where the little girl in precisely that circumstance couldn’t leave. I feel as though I’m recovering from my childhood all over again.

And now here’s my molester. I can’t face it all at once! How do other people process their foundational injuries and move on, meaningfully and successfully? I try so hard. I mean to rise above it every goddamn day. I just keep falling back into it, as though it’s happening now. If others are visited from time to time by the shaky beginning that formed them, it’s the exception in functional, happy lives. For me, it’s the exception to be well. It never lasts.

I’m so tired. I’m so confused. I want so desperately to believe that this confluence of early-life traumas is a poetic, timely event designed to help me at last to put my past to bed. I’m sad to know that it’s really all just random. It happened. It’s done.

And then Sunday came. I’m reeling anew.

Since Jeffrey’s death in 2011 I’ve been wrestling with shame and guilt for verbally abusing him during the lowest days of the heroin addiction that killed him. We were roommates. It was awful. I’ve made peace with the fact that I was fully triggered, and even a healthy person might lose it. Not at the level I did.

Words are weapons, and he got my worst. I abused his parents, too. They came into my home, in what felt very much like an ambush, to accuse me of stealing from Jeff through the utilities. (How do you figure? Half is half.) It’s amazing how addicts can convince themselves of anything to get the money they need for a fix. It was more amazing, and beyond insulting, that his parents believed him and challenged me to prove my innocence, which I refused to do (though I kept meticulous records and made copies for Jeffrey that I explained, and he agreed to, EVERY MONTH). Basically, I told them to go to hell. Actually, I told them they were enabling him to death.

And then he died.

Sunday, his brother and I were headed to the drum circle when his folks pulled up to deliver fresh garden veggies. I haven’t seen them since that day 4 years ago. They couldn’t see me in the car, but I was moved to act and terrified to do so. I had to apologize. I knew through the grapevine that his mother had forgiven me. I’m not surprised. Jeffrey was the most forgiving person I’ve ever known; it came from someplace. But I needed to ask for it, and simply to tell her how very sorry I am for contributing to his suffering and theirs. So I did.

She hugged me. I … feel terrible.

Why EVERYTHING? Why all at once? I suppose I will put this behind me. Even if we don’t consciously put the past behind us, that’s where it goes. But I feel like I’m drowning in regret and failure, while yet knowing I’m doing better than I ever have before. Why don’t I feel good about it?

I’ve had a headache for weeks. I’m exhausted, though neither sleep-deprived nor sleeping too much. I can’t sit with a book. My food addiction is out of control. My eyelashes are getting more and more sparse. (How can it be psychological when they hurt?) I’m irritable and weepy. I’m not coping well.

Thank god for drumming. It’s my happy place right now. Thank you, angels.

***

TO THE SEXUAL PREDATOR OF MY YOUTH:

July 14, 2014

“I just found out I’m not the only girl in the neighborhood you molested. You made the rounds victimizing everyone! You are a sick, violent pervert who traumatized precious young girls. You fundamentally changed us. You robbed us of our innocence. You raped us. All my life, I thought it was a fluke, that you got out of control with your sister and I just happened to be injured because she was my best friend and I was in your house. But you sought us out. You went out of your way to pursue us, to degrade and mock us, and force us to gratify your twisted sexual appetites. In truth, you know as well as I do that the rage it took to perpetrate your crimes was born of your own impotence and weakness. You’re a disgusting loser who has to act out on children in order to feel empowered. That hasn’t changed. Til you die, you’ll be a child molester and rapist. I don’t know how you live with yourself, and I don’t care. I’ve long-since been rid of you, but I found out just hours ago that I wasn’t the only one. You can never make up for what you did to us. You can never restore what you took. I finally decided to reach out and identify you to your face. I see you. I know who you are. You’re a fraud and a liar. You’re a rapist and pedophile. When you take the Sacrament, you are spitting in the face of God, who made me and all of your victims. Shame on you.”

and then…

“oh my god! are you insane? i just saw that you contacted me years ago asking after my brother, as though nothing ever happened! how are you not HUMILIATED? how do you look in the mirror? how do you not kill yourself? i couldn’t live with the burden of being the monster you are. you’re sick. don’t contact me again. I have the right to speak. you do not.”

“The past is never dead. It’s not even past.” – William Faulkner

I’m working through it, presently.

Manifest 2013

Turn 40! Jump out of an airplane – at last! – on my birthday, April 27th… weeeee!

Go paragliding on my bestie’s 40th – June 18th… weeeee!

you are

Fit and Fabulous and Forty is living AWAKE and all the way. Here’s how I’ll do it:

Eat actual food… Learn a new recipe every month… Play with slowcooker and solar.

Lose this 15 pounds! No reason not to be my high school weight. Healthy, strong, trim. (Binge-eating/food addiction journal?)

Coffee and Diet Pepsi are occasional treats, not daily necessities. Green tea.

I am smoke free. Completely smoke free. Not one cigarette. Bright, clean, pink lungs!

Move to a place with more space, SUN SUN SUN, and cheaper rent (suburbs, gulp).

Surround myself with plants.

Write every day… journal… blog… poetry… vignettes… articles… Write every day.

Master circular breathing… Didge daily… Play with others… Meditate

Pray every morning… Angels said Leaf Pose for me… Pray every morning. For reals.

Choose gratitude every day, even the bad ones. I sit peacefully at the center of my life.

Read A Course In Miracles! A miracle a day for me in two, zero, one, and three!

Study throat chakra blockage and clearing… Heal it… and others… eventually…

Get voice coach… Learn 2 each, upbeat song and ballad… Have them at the ready.

Identify and perfect 2 monologues, comedic and dramatic… At the ready…

Audition for everything… Fail gloriously!… Relish every chance to improve and learn… Have fun! ENJOY the practice! “Thank you for the chance to celebrate my craft!” I love to audition! I love to audition! I’m so good at auditioning! Can’t wait to audition!

Invest in good headshots… ? blerg… hate to spend money… Can’t my bestie just do it?

Get one paying gig… anywhere… anything… Rebuild resume… Network… PERFORM! Love the stage again. Revel in the play and laughter of rehearsal and take it seriously.

Perform with Africa Heartwood Project… traditional chorals/ basic percussion…

Get a drum of my own.

(Re)learn guitar… Progress… My wrist is tight but fine. It will stay fine. Play through it. 

Play the piano. I have such a pretty little [poor neglected] piano.

Travel. Go to a new state. See a new country.

Cruise for the first time, possibly (friend’s June wedding if I’m not in a show)

New York for another wedding (and if so, all of New England!)

At least one old festival and one new festival

$ Oh yeah, money. I’m over it. Poverty is not this life’s sacred! Money. Thank you. $

Continue African Dance… Add Afro-Brazilian (Samba Fogo) and/or Zumba weekly…

Learn poi. 

Add three elements to hooping repertoire… PRACTICE… more fluid and dance-y-like…

Conquer blinding dizziness of  LED hoop… Use it, silly! (smaller diameter than I like)

Get my own fire hoop… ? … At least spin again in someone else’s.

Jog the steps of the Capitol at least once a week.

GET UP GET UP GET UP! I slept the first half. Now it’s fun. Wake up and LIVE!

When you joked, “… epitaph will read, ‘Lovingly gave half her life to sleep,'” you didn’t know you were manifesting the first half, did you? Get up, little wildfire. Don’t be afraid anymore to live out loud. It is what you came here to do. Get up and do it. 

“If you asked me what I came into this world to do, I will tell you: I came to live out loud.” Emile Zola                                                          

me, too… 🙂 

I only just began to understand that I can let go my Screaming Banshee and live out loud. She had a job, to protect me and insist on personal truth. I don’t need protecting anymore. Life isn’t so scary anymore. My truth is finally pleasurable. What a relief!

I freaking love 40. Happy New Year!

(P.S. Totally didn’t mean for my [first] vision board to match my bedroom. Isn’t it pretty?)

manifest!
bed

Food Addiction

I’ve had a month-long setback with my drug of choice: FOOD. I’ve been bingeing since mid February. The thing that bothers me most about it is that I can’t really identify any emotion that I’m stuffing, so what’s the use of all this bearing my soul and unburdening myself if I still loooong for that stuffed-’til-it-hurts feeling? I guess I have been terrifically anxious about my wrist, but… Yes, I’ve been filled with anxiety about what it means about aging and comfort and my mobility and dancing and teaching and hooping and, and, and, and!!!! And I find myself buried in bags of potato chips, balanced off with bags of Skittles and Snicker bites and Reese’s pieces. I had a pretty good handle on it for a lot of years, but I’m starting to feel out of control again. And the thing about food is that it’s not like you can stop going to the bar or lose your dealer’s number. My option is to have no food in the house, in which case I usually run to the convenience store for 5 bags of chips, or to stock up on non-comfort foods, which I eat one after another anyway, feverishly chasing that ever-elusive feeling of satiety. At least it’s not chips, I reason, even it was 6,000 calories. In that case, I might as well top it off with ice cream. Later…