February 1, 2014

Fucket List

book So normal people have a “bucket list,” right?  I believe the concept is putting a list of a handful of things that you want to experience at some point before you kick-the-bucket and hang out with Jesus and Biggie and Tupac in Heaven.

The only things that ever really cross my mind are sexually related to-do’s.  I mean, I see people jumping out of planes and swimming with dolphins and trekking up mountains, and I’m all  more-power-to-ya.  But for me, I’m probably always keeping a solid list of 5-7 things I’m keen on trying out with a future partner.  Although, with the tremendous popularity of the 50 Shades of Grey story, I’m betting there has been a solid boost in the bondage supplies industry sales.  wink, wink

The one positive component, the silver lining so to speak, of my unexpected divorce, has been a sexual rediscovery.  There are multiple degrees of chemistry in a relationship – attraction, communication, lifestyle, and sexual.  Looking back, I don’t believe my ex-husband and I were a good match in the bedroom.  I had such limited experience to compare, I didn’t know any better, though, and I was so utterly in love with everything else about him and about us, it never felt as though it were lacking anything. 

But when dating after the divorce, when I began to experience physical and sexual chemistry with others, it became apparent by comparison that I did have the opportunity to be more closely aligned sexually.  It’s a lot of things – degree of libido, the unstated adoption of the roles of lead vs. passive (sometimes shifting), appetite for exploration, confidence with sexuality, among a lot of other factors, not easily detailed in a list.  Some people naturally match up on these things.  Some people are good with communicating about it, and will discuss how one person can adapt to meet the other’s differing needs.  And some are on differing spectrums. 

It’s exciting when I am dating someone with whom I feel very connected in this facet of the relationship.  It holds the promise for a future of excitement, which for me, is just as critical as the promise for a future of loyalty, love, and companionship.  I think therein, lies the core reason that I even have a “fucket” list --- the promise of things to experience with that very special person.  I wouldn’t dream of opening myself up to a hookup stranger or a casual fling or a friend-with-benefits for these special and new experiences.  I suppose it’s my version of virginity – I’m saving my naughtiest moments for that special once-in-a-lifetime guy.

There are some fun resources out there, I discovered with a quick online search, similar to this sample list at  The Stir  (and apparently there was a movie a while back, how did I miss that one?!).  Do you have a fucket list, and if so, do you have any particular ones to share?

xo, SDSM

Photo source:  goodreads

September 24, 2013

divorce party

divorce partyI’m approximately three years late writing about this topic, but I recently realized I had never posted anything about how I handled the celebratory aspect of my divorce.

In the state I reside within, a full year of separation is required in order for the court to grant divorce.  A pleasant idea, with the conservative ideals to keep families intact and whatnot; however, my ex-husband decided long before I was even aware, on his own accord, that our marriage was over.  So by the time I found out, let him continue to stew on the matter “to be 100% sure” he was making the right decision while continuing to court his not-really-an-affair-but-sorta-his-girlfriend-yeah-it-was-textbook-emotional-infidelity “coworker friend” … let’s just say I was forced to begin to process the notion that I was getting divorced quite suddenly, with a bluntness not permitting any room for “false hope” as the ex so eloquently put it.

By the time the actual full year rolled around, I felt as though I had weathered a handful of years, and a reason for celebration, albeit something that caused me anguish and turmoil, was still met with giddy reception.

I like being with friends. I like drinking. I like being girlish and ultra feminine. I enjoy social shenanigans amid the comfort of close pals. A divorce party was the perfect way to end the most awful year I’d yet endured.

My girl friends enjoyed the idea as well. Everyone’s so tired of bachelorettes, and this is practically the antithesis to all that schmucky bridal crap! Let’s get “Just Divorced” signs! Let’s put up “Ring for Sale” posters!  Everything will be pink and feathery and obnoxious.

We booked a suite at the Ritz Carlton and planned an evening of debauchery at a deuling piano bar.  I made it a point to dress differently – flowy black top, skinny jeans, and a new look with tightly curled hair.  I suppose the idea was to look like a new person, and maybe I’d feel like one too.

It was a fun night, but I truly couldn’t down the free red bull & vodkas that management was providing free of charge to the “newly divorced girl” fast enough to temper the bit of shame I felt about celebrating something I was embarrassed and saddened by. Yes, I caught the bastard cheating.  Yes, I was dumped in one of the most horrid manners you can imagine. But I wasn’t sure if I would ever fall out of love with him, or if I would ever forgive myself for somehow failing to provide the family I wanted for my son.

There were tiny cocktail shooters. There was dancing. There were “you look too young to be divorced” and “can’t believe he let you go” comments. There were awkward moments with an adjacent bachelorette party, celebrating a young girl’s pending nuptials.

I had very mixed feelings about the event, but I’m glad I did it.  It was one marginally bright spot punctuating a year of emotional chaos.

August 31, 2013

the road is still dangerous

Learning to trust the world at large is a daunting task. Every day I tell myself I can do it. And every day there are setbacks.

Sometimes a setback occurs when I discover someone I knew was committing adultery. Or lying about something. Or busted for alleged sexual crimes against multiple minors (true story).

Often I’m set back when I have irrational fears – like that the new guy I’m dating, and who is seemingly very smitten with me, is in fact, probably engaged or married, or at a minimum in a committed relationship and keeping me a secret, because he hasn’t invited me over to his apartment after a few dates. TRUE STORY. My mind went cirque du soleil acrobatics with the possibilities.

Or setbacks come when I allow myself to remember. To visualize what I often try to put behind me, out of my mind, what I push myself day after day, year after year, to forcefully forget and move along.

The memories. The pain of betrayal. How it felt to get hit by the unexpected news so forcefully. I was slammed by a Mack truck in what I thought was a coasting lane of my life, run over repeatedly, nothing left but tire marks and crushed bones and smattered spirit. Is the truck coming back again for another go at my already wounded soul? Can I ever walk down this road again without flinching in fear?

Sometimes setbacks sneak in when the ex-husband brings the mistress-slash-girlfriend around. Especially when she fills my vacant spot on family vacations or is playing Daddy’s Girlfriend in my son’s vicinity. I take a minute to ponder the human psychology and rationalization that makes her love a man that leaves his wife and has affairs. But then I remember my musings and deep thoughts are probably better served focusing on my own little current world. I flick the thoughts of her away, like an unwanted mosquito biting at my exposed skin. 

I’ve accepted that X was not good for me, and I’m probably lucky that in the grand scheme of things he didn’t lead me along further and hurt me even more. I console myself with the possibility. It could have been decades, plural. It could have been my son witnessing the choices and behaviors of his father at an age where he could have internalized the matters. It could have been him seeing my pain in a magnitude I hope he never has to. It could have been more, and it could have been worse.

The solace by what-if only works to a minor degree, though. I still find myself standing to the side, in the warm comfort of the shade of trees and the earthen surface holding my feet steady to this world, to this life, and to my contentment. I tell myself the road I once strolled down is still there. My mantra is muttered repeatedly in calm and confident fashion -- “someday I will go there absent of fear.”

But when I take a deep breath, and actually force myself to glance toward the road in the distance, the emotion rumbles, the sound of another Mack truck that could come at me from anywhere booms in the background, ready to strike and smatter and pulverize, just like before. The road is still dangerous. And the grass is my own.

photo source: http://reallybigyear.wordpress.com/2013/05/22/dangers-of-southeastern-arizona/

July 25, 2013

Self-Fulfilling Prophecies and The Death of Cynicism

While my words have been absent from many of my usual printed sources online, rest assured, introspective musings and complicated meandering thoughts have been a daily presence nonetheless. If I do one thing well my dear friends, it's over-think. I once had a psychiatrist tell me I'm the type of person who has a mind running at a constant 70mph, and I will always feel as though people around me are in the slow lane (this is not intended to insinuate that faster-is-better -- on the contrary, I quite believe the grass is greener out there with the folks that can slow down and adjust their pace with ease.)

At any rate, sometimes I let it pour out of my mind and onto paper. And sometimes I just let it all swirl around and don't even attempt to extract the madness.

I was trending into a rather depressing place with regards to relationships and dating. The cornerstone of my humor, cynicism and self-deprecation, was taking hold of my mindset. A good "single forever" joke is great for a laugh on twitter, or with my friends, and they do say laughter is the best medicine.  But I'd been laughing for a really long time. At myself. At the world. At my circumstances. At my dickwad ex-husband. At the guys continually flowing in and out of my "dating pipeline".  All at an unrealized expense.

Using humor felt like the right thing.  I'm funny. It's good to chuckle at life's foibles, so I don't get stuck in a melancholy state of mind. Except the jokes became my mainstay. The laughs became empty. The chuckles had an echo of truth.

And I wondered.  Have I entered into a classic self-fulfilling prophecy? Has my lighthearted joking about being single-forever effectually rendered me perpetually alone? There's no room for this humor in a relationship of two.

So I made a conscious effort. An effort to swim against the current of pain coated in humor. To change my habits, to alter my predispositions and my patterns. I forced myself to think positively about dating, relationships, and guys in general.

"They really AREN'T all douchebags. You've met a lot, that is true, but it's a small teensy sampling of the the world, and you HAVE to believe there are good things out there, and you WILL encounter them."  This became my mantra.

I refocused and reset my composition in other ways as well.  I tried new things -- singles mixers (I'm not going to lie, I did hide in the bathroom some, but I also made myself mingle and met several men in sufficiently awkward fashion), new dating apps (I was a bit obsessed with Tinder for a while), and reading new books and articles to help my focus trend toward the positive.

All of these things seemed trivial in isolation.  But in retrospect, the aggregate effect is there. My mind doesn't instantly flit to the joke at my own expense. I've experienced a rebirth of hope for my future love-life. I have a newfound confidence in the idea that it will all work out.

Which brings me to a counter-point. This means there's been a death in my psyche, in my humor. My cornerstone cynicism is absent. My ever-present negativity is missing in action. So I suppose I should raise my glass, have a toast for the douchebags, and say a few words in memory of the melancholy ghost I've managed to eradicate from my inner being.  Peace out, asshole. 

image source: atomicbooks.com

May 21, 2013

flowetry, schmoetry

poetryEven though I’m not sharing much on this forum currently, I’m still writing, still thinking about writing, still focused on stretching myself and venturing beyond my comfort zone. For some reason, I’ve been drawn to poetry lately, which is odd, because it’s not really something I’ve ever dabbled in, other than an angst-laden pink fluffy journal filled with the emotions of a teenage girl during my high school years.

Because of that, it feels raw. It’s so unstructured.  There are no rules. There is no framework. There is only the path and the form that my mind chooses to take with the words, in that instant. It’s free-flowing.  It’s utterly exhilarating, freeing, and simultaneously frustrating, scary, and challenging. 

Here are a couple I’ve randomly scribbled down recently, in very “free-writing” type situations.

forward, forward

the metal spins furiously
sparks.
erupt.
everywhere.
tiny feet
gripping, pounding
against the circle
the only path to anywhere
is forward, forward
round and round
I should go faster
I should stop
I should
I should.
I must
I can't.

 

morning routine

Your mom wants a hug, Jackson
Said the teacher,
Absentmindedly
as she stooped low, knees bent
under siege by the tiny eager faces encircling her 
Smile spread
wide, big, full of honesty and toothy happiness,
across her face
What is her secret?
Is it a certain flavored latte, double the espresso?
Is it morning cardio or morning yoga or morning romance?
Is it avoidance of the pain and sadness speckled throughout our TVs and smartphones and idle gossip?
Is it Maybelline?
Or maybe she's born with it. 
Every morning, I admire her
For being so filled with joy
So filled with joy that it spills over
Over and around and within
Everyone and everything around her
And not for one second
Do I question 
leaving my precious little boy with her
I hope he is like a sponge, as they say
and he soaks up her radiance
Your mom wants a hug, Jackson
said the teacher
this morning,
as I squeezed him with all my might.

April 8, 2013

it always comes back to this

I’m thoroughly enjoying my creative writing course, and it is certainly pulling me from my comfort zone of the usual journal-esque type ramblings I spew forth on this blog and twitter (which is really the bulk of the creative writing that I churn out). However, it is also quite a challenge to venture beyond my comfort zone of writing the things that are already in my head, the emotions and worries that simmer at the edge of my consciousness. Closing my eyes, and trying to come up with a story, a character, an image beyond that which I’ve experienced is difficult. But it is delicious practice to stretch my writing muscles beyond the norm.

We recently had a writing exercise termed “galumphing” where we chose a random 3 digit number, and the numbers then corresponded to an object, a person, and a location, and we had to write a paragraph or so joining all together. It took some time for the scene and characters to form in my mind, but as I began writing, it came out clearly.

And once I finished, I realized -- It’s always the same scene. It’s always heartbreak. Rejection. Sadness. Anger. I am seeing that even when I’m not writing about myself, I really still am. The larger ideas that eat away at me seem to manage to eat away at my writing too.

Here is my galumphing story (writing pure fiction is extremely rare for me – this felt so odd!).  My numbers corresponded to car keys, a traffic cop, and middle of a lake.

I took hold of his hand, it was clammy, cold, and trembling. He looked so powerful in his police uniform, and it felt odd to know that in this moment, he wasn't as strong as the badge and gun at his side implied. I glanced to the side and saw that inside the car was his reflective vest -- he must have had traffic duty that day, and then I feel even worse, because I knew how much he despised directing traffic; it always put him in a foul mood. I could feel the wind off the lake at the nape of my neck. It gave me shivers -- or was that more from the situation at hand? -- and I remembered my impulse decision a few days earlier to chop off my long, layered hair to a short bob. It still feels like the hair should be there, hanging past my shoulders, waving in the wind -- instead, this foreign chilled air reaches places my hair used to be. I shake off the thought, and shift my eyes to the right - the lake has a gloomy fog hovering above the water. It matches my thoughts. When I finally muster the courage to speak, I tell him, with a crack in my voice "I can't do this anymore, I'm so sorry."  I register the feelings that fleet across his usually stoic face, confusion, sadness, despair, anger, all flashing, fleeting, but all so clearly there. I shouldn't expect otherwise though. He hangs his head, lets my hand drop, and turns away from me, looking out at the lake.  I close my eyes, feeling the tears rising. I sense movement, though, and look out again, and there he is, arm pulled back, a medley of a furious sadness spread across his face, and with all his might, he flings his cruiser keys into the air. The sound of the heavy metal keys splashing in the middle of the lake seems to echo off the silence surrounding us.

My instructor’s response?

writing2

Oh, Ann… you haven’t met the likes of me.  Apparently I can turn just about anything into a melancholy tale of heartbreak and despair.

April 2, 2013

I want to write…

writing

** Another creative writing assignment – we were asked to list out what we want to write, and why. **

I want to write about my emotions and personal thoughts because I feel that it is cathartic and an excellent means to extrapolate my subconscious into tangible ideas and feelings.

I want to write for my son because I want him to know about his childhood in a way that photos can't tell the whole story (and we so often forget the details as time lags on).

I want to write about my past, my struggles, and my story because I hope to help people who may connect and find community and strength in what I have to say.

I want to write whatever comes into my mind because I feel that words are beautiful, and threading them together in thoughtfully constructed stories and sentiments is a beloved art form.

I want to write something that becomes published because it will feel like a tangible goal has been reached (although I do feel as though this goal should be tempered by the reality of the difficulties of publication, and the perhaps misperception that publication will bring any real sense of accomplishment).

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