living out loud

shadow battles.

I did a really horrendous thing the other night. It will have reverberations for a long time. It has caused a tremendous rift. I am blessed in that C is so mature, and so good, and really cares about me. I am blessed that Miss M is our creation, and we are both in agreement that everything we do and every decision we make going forward is with her best interests in mind. I can’t (won’t) say more than that about it. But do know: I am mortified. I am in mourning. I hate hurting people I love. (I hate hurting people, in general.) Even when it’s about something that was inevitably going to happen from one or the both of us. (I also hate being mysterious and talking in code, but I am going to right now. I can’t put every single effed up thing I do and go through on this blog.)

Confession: my iron crucifix to bear in Life is that I am a horrible, terrible communicator. For someone who writes and processes everything through the written word, who is by nature a wordsmith, who has been writing out her feelings since the tender age of 9 1/2…I suck ass at communicating. Before texting, I preferred emails and message board communicating, and now I prefer texting and social media communicating to phone calls because I don’t have to worry about them going too long or not knowing how to end them gracefully or having to say hard things with spoken words. Speaking words is not my forte, unless I can be pithy and crack a joke. I procrastinate important conversations I need to have with people who need to know where my brain and heart are at, because I don’t want to hurt them (and then I hurt them anyway) or I don’t know how to start (and then it gets worse and I have no idea how to finish). I overthink things so much I don’t take the simplest, easiest of proactive steps and then I have to clean up really big messes and I suck at cleaning up big messes too. I avoid conflict at all costs, and make jokey jokes because humor is a self defense mechanism for me. Sarcasm is both my blessing and my curse. Just like my naivete. Just like my niceness. Just like my rose-colored glasses (which are cracked and mangled at the moment, just like my iPhone screen).

I don’t know if I will ever be an okay communicator. I don’t know. I do know that, should I ever have another serious relationship again, it will need to be with someone who doesn’t have a problem asking hard questions or making me talk. I do know my communication issues do worry me. Quite a bit.

Today I was listening to The Bert Show on my drive into work (a local morning radio talk show). They were talking about the scary world of 21st century dating for people who’ve been out of the game 7+ years. It’s changed so much; mostly in favor of the men. Men, you don’t have to woo women anymore, did you know? And women, you have lowered the bar so low. Did you know? (…low, low, low low, low, in your Apple Bottom jeans – Flo Rida, and men everywhere.) The show hosts didn’t say this, but I swear it: THIS is why we have Instagram accounts like ByeFelipe, exactly why.  This is why men are letting their freak flags fly free with disgusting and ludicrous behavior toward women – things women get to field nowadays, like THIS and THIS and THIS. (Why do men feel so entitled to women? WHY? I don’t think this is a new thing. I just think the Internet lulls people into feeling like it’s cool for them to be openly entitled and feel superior. We think the Internet will fix us, that we will find true love and the meaning to everything on it, that it has all the answers to our every problem. And we think that because we can Google it and in 0.51 seconds pull up 57,400,000 results that will tell us all the answers to EVERYTHING.)

At any rate, the last thing they said before I turned off the radio for silence because I really love quiet was something about everything dating is now text, online, social media. (Bright spot: they took a call from a woman who doesn’t have any social media, not a single one, who met someone the old-fashioned way, i.e., face-to-face. And they talk on the phone. And they meet up in person. And only text once in awhile. That was nice. That was so nice. I also saw an image-quote the other day that said the best sign of a healthy relationship is no evidence of it on social media. That was nice, too.)

But most of all, the takeaway quote I had from lead host Bert, who just divorced after 21 years of marriage: “It should be more about quality than quantity.” Something like that, at least. It should be more about quality than quantity. We are so focused on quantity these days, everyone has completely forgotten about quality. For example, I’m going to need to replace about half the stuff in my home at some point, because I focused on quantity – price – rather than quality and went to Wal-Mart for that stuff. I think, as a species, we have become overly focused on quantity. How many likes did that picture get? How many followers do I have? Which celebrities have noticed me on Twitter? How many times have I interacted with a famous director, writer, producer, etc. on social media? I think this kind of thinking in quantity-based rather than quality. And, after 44 years of living and 12 years+ of social media and a really bad (BAD) social media experience that will leave a vicious scar, I’ve decided I value quality-driven human beings. Quality over quantity. Less a mantra, more a way of being.

Today, I also got my Rob Brezny horoscope for the week in my email. He referenced this Mary Oliver quote from her poem called “A Settlement”:

Look, it’s spring. And last year’s loose dust has turned into this soft willingness. The wind-flowers have come up trembling, slowly the brackens are up-lifting their curvaceous and pale bodies. The thrushes have come home, none less than filled with mystery, sorrow, happiness, music, ambition.

And I am walking out into all of this with nowhere to go and no task undertaken but to turn the pages of this beautiful world over and over, in the world of my mind.

* * *
Therefore, dark past,
I’m about to do it.
I’m about to forgive you

for everything.

“A Settlement” by Mary Oliver from What Do We Know, Poems and Prose Poems

Using that, his weekly prediction (which is always more like life advice rather than life forecast, which is why I consider Rob Brezny to be the ONLY true astrologer worth taking seriously) was:

More than halfway through her prose poem
“A Settlement,” Mary Oliver abruptly stops her meandering meditation on
the poignant joys of spring’s soft awakening. Suddenly she’s brave and
forceful: “Therefore, dark past, I’m about to do it. I’m about to forgive
you for everything.” Now would be a perfect moment to draw inspiration
from her, Pisces. I dare you to say it. I dare you to mean it. Speak these
words: “Therefore, dark past, I’m about to do it. I’m about to forgive you
for everything.”

That’s for Pisces people, but you can use it too. And if you’re Taurus or whatever, I’m certain he’ll have something soul-worthy for you. (May I borrow it, if it is? It probably will be.)

Today, I also went sifting through my Instagram account, scrolling all the way down to the very very bottom, when I first started posting on it. Before I started twittering. Before C and I started seeing a counselor and trying to salvage. Before I was stalked and harassed. Before…before.

To you, these will just be pictures. Things to look at, a chronicle of someone else’s existence, evidence the human species is growing more and more attention-deprived by the day. But to me, they’re moments-in-time, bits of a life that is over and whole chunks of me and a person I was that I’ll never get back, no matter how hard I try. I am not happy about this. I look at pictures of that person in the photos I’m about to post below and I am in mourning for her. She honestly trusted people, an awful lot. She didn’t tell the Internet her address. She knew enough not to post her Social Security number or pictures of her driver’s license. She wasn’t stupid. But she literally thought most people were very very good inside, and that even if she wrote about sad things going on with her she wouldn’t be taken advantage of, that she and her vulnerabilities would never be used as someone else’s scratching post. That most people would empathize or at least deeply sympathize. She just wanted to connect to good, authentic, real human beings. (She did meet some of these, along the way.) That little girl in those pictures is taller now, and chunkier (oh my god, we are cutting out sugar this summer in ways that will shock both of us…I know doing this is controversial for some people who think kids should eat whatever because you’re only a kid once, but seriously – we’ve got Type 2 Diabetes in our family and she needs to get off Netflix and YouTube and go be in Nature because Nature is good for you). That sweet girl is less sassy, more savvy now. Still sweet of spirit, but growing up fast. Too, too fast. (Life, please slow down.)

I am sifting, because I am grieving. And I can’t do that and hang out on Twitter because Twitter is too loud and too fast and I get too dependent on feedback. If nobody hearts a tweet, I feel lonely. I am not lonely; I am actually surrounded by a very good support system of people I can talk to any time. I am trying to wean myself off of feedback from the Internet, is what I’m saying. (As I type this blog. On the Internet. O, the Irony.)

Anyway. Here are some photos that I’ve been weeping over for the last hour or so:

image

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These were my past. And while they weren’t always very happy and I was restless and angst-riddled, they weren’t dark. They weren’t dark a single bit. Since I separated and we are on a fast course now to signing divorce papers and I have been scared shitless by the Internet and am confused about a lot of things, I will associate the pictures I’ve put up since last Summer with darker times. I’ve always been in close touch with my dark; I’ve always had a careful respect for it, a willingness to embrace it because I’m a Wednesday child, full of woe. (No, literally. I was born on a Wednesday. Deep in the middle of a dark Pennsylvania winter. In the 70s, before they even let the dads into the birthing areas.) But now I’m going to have to contain it, my darling dark. It’s gotten a little out of control.

Fortunately, I have a lot of lights around me, and I am so grateful for these. If I talk to you, if I take your phone calls or texts or we are connected in any way, you are one of my lights. I thank you, I love you, I am blessed we have crossed paths, will you please walk through this mess with me for a little bit longer? I bet there’s ice cream at the end, even though I’m technically cutting back on that drastically in a week or so.

I’m literally in full-on grieving mode right now, is what I’m saying. Lassoing my dark broncos. I spent all of last summer charging up my credit card, making my apartment a faaaabulous abode. I spent all of the fall freaked out, scared shitless, and just basically WTF. I spent the winter battling seasonal depression and sad holiday firsts and just basically WTF. Spring is here, and I thought I’d gotten past all that, that I’d battled down a bunch of daemons back into their cages with just a few left flitting about. But now this Thing has happened and I am not out of the woods quite yet, it seems. One thing fixes, another thing breaks. I am at odds and ends, a bull in a china shop. (What other overused cliches can I throw in here? Crying over spilt milk…every cloud has a silver lining…when it rains, it pours…don’t judge a book by its cover…things I wouldn’t be caught dead doing.) This is going to be hard and really suck. C and I are going to sit down soon and have a really hard conversation, and my heart is with him constantly because he’s in a dark place too. Mary Oliver is also the poet who wrote

gift-of-darkness

 We give each other boxes of darkness. Boxes filled with sifting shadows that challenge us. This is how we do. We love each other so very much, but insist on lugging our boxes of darkness from other bits of our lives in the times Before and then insist on handing them to our most beloved in the Now. Some of our boxes are ginormous, and so very destructive nothing is left once they’re opened. And some of our boxes are just filled with crazy-making crap. Some boxes we don’t even know we have until it’s too late, they’re so dark.

So I’m going to pull a Mary Oliver and find a way to forgive my dark past for everything. If I’m feeling better, I’ll come back and write a blog. If you don’t hear from me, I’m probably off packing up my boxes and battling shadows.

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