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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Honest Review

A critical one, I’m afraid, but the writer walked away from the night enjoying himself, nonetheless, and praising the gusto and heart of our little community production. I chuckled at what could be a stretch to find something nice to say about us, but it really did warm my heart: “The company’s exuberance and commitment filled the space with energy,” he wrote, and he’s right. “I couldn’t find anyone doing it halfway.” In other words, Wellll, they tried really hard, and good on ’em. (Thank you.)

I appreciated the author, too, because he was very thorough and thoughtful, and because his findings are precisely how I feel about our show’s weaknesses. For whatever reason, they chose to do these cheesy-ass projections behind us on set. I finally watched them Saturday before the show, and they’re worse than I could have imagined. Awful! So distracting, awkward, and embarrassing.

(Oh, and the face I complained about weeks ago is up there larger than life. Not even one smiling shot of Adelaide to introduce her. Just that bitter, angry mug of aged disappointment, haha! That was so dumb on the part of production. “Angrier!” the photographer commanded, with no sense of character and variety. Production told him “Angry,” so he got one look locked in his brain. He wouldn’t even take the shot unless I exemplified something akin to rage. So ugly and out of character. Duh.)

I’ve also been sincerely annoyed by our choreographer, bless him. While I do appreciate his demand that we Level Up, he has to choreograph to the group’s ability as a whole. It’s so disjointed and glaring. Some are dancers, and some are not. You blend. That’s your job. But his ego required this frenetic, intricate stuff that some simply can’t do, and it looks out of balance and amateur. I can, but barely. (I’m OoooooLD, and man! My feet are starting to scream.)

(I get to wear my beloved patent-leather red stilettos for 5 minutes in the closing scene. I will pay for this.)

Finally, the performances. He liked us, though we don’t “overflow with triple threats.” (Ouch!) He said that my choices “told a million tales in subtext,” which I appreciated so much! I always wanted to play Adelaide’s sincerity. She’s a caricature; that’s why she’s great. But she’s a real girl with a broken heart and massive, hilarious anxiety. I love her.

I love our amateur production. I love my castmates. I’m glad I have time left to appreciate and enjoy our show and my new friends. Hell Week is hell. I try always to keep that in perspective, but ours, as I mentioned, was the worst I’ve ever experienced. I was pissed.

I was also moving, having a nervous breakdown, and being terrorized in a tag-team assault by my ex-boyfriend and his new bride (whom he dated for 5 weeks). I was stuck in the home with them, when they didn’t need to move in before my apartment became available 3 weeks later (and hadn’t planned to before they decided to torture me in their first act as family). The man with whom I was trying to have a baby just months before, who had chosen my move-out date himself, was now mercilessly harassing, abusing, and mocking me, and I couldn’t get free.

Oh, and motherhood passed me by. The plot is known at last, at 44. I’m no one’s mom. Ever.

I forgive myself for losing perspective.

It’s back now. I’m looking forward with some hope and joy.

Gen X Women

Interesting. I said to myself just yesterday, “Generation X was the perfect name for us. We’re nothing but a bridge between Boomers and Millennials. Crossbeams. We hold shit up.” Then my friend posted the following link on Facebook.

This article is long, validating, terrifying, and excellent. Ambiguous Loss has a name! And I’m not alone in rage.

The New Midlife Crisis

“Like X, for whatever,” I thought aloud. “I give up. X for cancel us out. X, for cross right over us. Without us, Millennials couldn’t ‘speak their truth.’ We fucking insisted on it!”

Gen X was pretty much there just to be a battering ram against the old guard, as far as I’m concerned. Thing is, the Boomers were the original revolutionaries, and look what planet-killing warmongers they became!

*sigh*

Maybe we’re all just assholes.

X is whatever value you give it. Perhaps in mid-life it’s a negative integer, but screw the “U-Turn” the article describes for other generations. X that shit out and start over! Isn’t that what we’ve been doing all along?

Perhaps I’m just Oppositional Defiant. Perhaps I’m a fucking survivor. Today I feel depressed, displaced, discouraged. I’m still getting up tomorrow.

X marks the spot. Start here. Start now.

Murky Full Moon

I still feel spun near the center of a Universal smack-down, but I’m ebbing out of the survival zone. Last month’s eclipse is still with me and hurting, specifically because my ability to have fun with it made it all the more bittersweet. Sometimes it makes me sad to see how good I am at making the best of a bad situation. I don’t know how to explain that, except to say that the little girl growing up beaten, abandoned, furious, and scared to death just figured out how. And this middle-aged gal still has it. How can that be sad?

It’s bittersweet, too, because though I was able to make a joyous occasion of it, I could simply have gone home and enjoyed my family, the spectacular countryside, and the magic. I chose instead to scrape out another miracle of mood-alteration. I guess I needed to believe I still could. Nice it didn’t take drugs, like the old party girl would.

I hope in the second half of my life, I’ll finally let go the need to prove myself to myself. It’s like the first half was so hard, especially the nascent beginning, that I simply refuse to believe that anything is real or solid or sticking around if it doesn’t just suck.

Thing is, that’s childish, and I’m the only one who can grow up, or refuse to. I’m in danger of not doing it at all if I don’t get this shit behind me, like, yesterday. I’m 44.

Christie, trust that the skills are in there to enjoy and appreciate magic and beauty every day. They don’t disappear or stop coming if you know that. Expecting miracles is different from taking them for granted. They’re your right and your routine.

I suspect that they’ll become more powerful if I let them in every day, rather than needing each one to be epic. It’s just the way it is. I’m connected and I know it. So are we all. Nothing special, just a walking marvel, ‘s all.

So, here I am in full moon energy during the day, a red-gray sun snuffed by wildfires severe enough to cause evacuations in northern Utah. It’s bad. The throat and eyes sting, mountain beauty’s blotted out, and the whole damned planet is burning or flooding or turning night at midday, just 2-odd weeks ago. It’s eerie and spooky, and everyday run-of-the-mill. It all is, and I’m busy cleaning up the mess I’ve made, of my life, my family, my namesake, my most important friendship, and my last relationship.

****

Today, this memory popped up on Facebook. It seemed especially poignant and timely, so I’m marking it here to make myself accountable. Of the memory, I wrote:

“Two years ago, the last of my 3 best girlfriends left Salt Lake City. At that time, I began planning my move, too, to the next phase/location of my adventure, but found continued wonderful reasons to stay, as one does. The last month+ has got me asking the Universe, sincerely, “Is Utah kicking me out?” I’m anchored through November with a passion project 24 years in the making, which would make any big transitions impossible until the end of whatever lease I’m able to come up with next month, which tells me: ONE YEAR. My life purpose for one year is to look at 20 years in the Promised Land and squeeze in all the personal goals I meant to reach but didn’t, face character deficits I ignored or pretended away, and set myself up for the second half of my life. I don’t want to leave next year, but I’ll have a picture of and real progress toward a clear 5-yr intention, with no particular destination in mind. What’s next? It’s terrifying, exciting, bittersweet. It’s time.”

jojo's good-bye

Jojo’s good-bye… Germany, here she comes! Aug. 29, 2015

 

Downswing

I feel icky. And then I feel bratty. And then I feel like I can’t get safe enough. I need money.

It started yesterday. My cat has long-since established dominance in my new place. My roommate’s cat holds his own just enough that she doesn’t attack him (much), but there is the odd chase here and there. Penny is obsessed with Oliver, and his room is her favorite place in the house.

Several weeks ago, my roommate caught on that she was using his litter box. I was horrified, of course. That’s complete alpha ownership behavior, and poor Ollie must feel so violated and insecure.

Recently, my roommate changed litter brands and Penny didn’t approve. She pooped outside the box and he stepped in it. He, my roommate; not he, the picked-on cat. His slippers were ruined and he ground shit into the carpet all over his office.

I fell apart.

As far as I was concerned, it’s all over. There’s no coming back from that. I felt like an idiot. She’s been at it forever, and we just got wise. It’s not going to get better. Ollie’s not going to hold his ground any more than he does, but she’ll keep getting bolder.

The only solution I could immediately find was to keep my girls captive in the bedroom while I’m at work, and I wanted to cry. That’s fine for Fat Cricket, my little Shadow Cat. She never leaves our room, never has. But Penny basks in the sunlight of living room windows, or on a recliner and blankets in the spare room, and on Ollie’s bed while he cowers underneath it.

She can scarcely stand our door being closed overnight. She wakes me up with the most pathetic (hilarious) chorus of mews, begging to wander in the dark. Every night. Her vocabulary of varied pitch, vowels, and syllables is staggering, and utterly delightful. “Oh! You tell a good sad story,” I tease her, and readjust to fall quickly back to sleep.

I can’t bear it. I can’t imprison her.

My mind leaps. “It’s over. I have to move.”

I tried to keep myself in check. No need to “awfulize,” or borrow trouble. Let it play out. There might be an option you can’t see in this state of mind. If not, you face what comes next when it comes. Today, you just clean the carpet.

I couldn’t! I was pouty, angry, sullen. The mood of the entire house changed, and I felt that old shame for using my energy to hold everyone hostage. Negativity was palpable. Jax kept reassuring me and I wanted to scream, “Shut up!”

Even my cats looked at me with that searching anxiety. That’s the worst. I felt awful. I was mad, at a cat! Who has no ulterior motive, who’s being perfectly feline. She’s alpha, because she is. That’s all. And I was mad at her!

I was mad at myself, for thinking her dominance was cute. For thinking I was some kind of cat whisperer who’d negotiated a sort of peace between the 2 of them. For thinking it was getting better. For blurring the lines with my roommate, and spending most nights in his bed and not mine. Why shouldn’t she?

I was mad that I can’t afford to live in Salt Lake without a roommate, mad that I’ll never be able to buy a house. I was mad at all the stupid decisions I made in my 30s that cost me so much. I was mad at all I’ve lost and given up, and can’t get back. I was mad that I’m getting older and running out of time to do anything I once dreamed I might. I was mad to know that my life will never be anything more than scraping by. I was mad that my roommate thinks his yard is xeriscaped, when really it’s just overgrown and ugly. I was mad that I’ll never have a haven of my own. I was mad that I’ll always be alone.

I’m mad that that’s exactly what I want, and I’m still not satisfied. I’m mad that I’m losing my looks. I’m mad that I failed, and now I’ve lost my bloom. It’s all over.

You know, perfectly reasonable stuff like that. Meow >^..^<