Tag Archives: relationships

a-lookin’ fer love in all the wrong places

So…. I’m making yet another foray into the online dating thing again.

I hadn’t checked in on my profile in a while but the other day I got a “so-and-so wants to meet you – click on this button to view his profile” alert email.

So I clicked and got sucked down the profile rabbit hole, because if you know what these sites are like, you will know that unless you pay for a subscription (which I refuse to do) you can’t figure out who liked you by merely clicking on a tab.

Instead they make you click through each photo and force you to like/dislike a person based on their photo before you can check out their profile, but the app only lets you view their profiles once you have both “liked” each other). It’s a colossal waste of time, in my opinion, and one that I don’t particularly feel like spending a whole lot of my potential X-Files rerun Netflix viewing time on… but…

it was hot, and I couldn’t sleep…

and I had my phone in my hand while I was lying in bed one night recently and I did…

and then the chat messages started.

I get them from twenty-somethings…. which I ignore… (I used to reply to them politely but no longer do)…

I get them from the scammers…. which I block… (I actually paid for a subscription at one point thinking that I’d get better prospects and ended up being targeted by a scammer before having the chance to interact with anyone else – I figured it out quickly enough, but still… it soured me immensely on the whole thing)…

I get them from people who are looking to score (which if they would have looked at my profile would have known that I have no interest in whatsoever)…

And then I get them from another type of guy… they SEEM nice at first but then, as the texting conversation continues, you realize that they are mostly sexually frustrated misogynists who are so embittered by their previous relationships with the female gender, and have such a skewed perception of what a relationship entails, that they leave you wondering whether there is any hope of meeting a decent, kind, man.

Now let’s be clear… I’m not what a large percentage of the men are looking for on these sites, exactly.

I don’t look like Sandra Bullock – I’m more of a Kathy Bates or Camryn Manheim or Queen Latifah, none of whom really fit the profile that many of the guys on these sites are looking for (i.e., “fit”, “slender” – actually they want middle aged equivalents of someone at least one, possibly two, decades younger). Most men on there have an idealized version of what they want; whatever they had before, even though they failed to thrive in it, they are now aiming to surpass because they get a do-over and figure they deserve better… they want a “package deal” – a flawless woman.

Oddly enough, many of these same guys are the ones who can’t see how far they have to go in regard to being able to cultivate a healthy relationship (or even how flawed they themselves are). Some of the things they share make my hair stand on end. And they are the first ones to be rude and belligerent to me.

I realize I’m no raving beauty…
nor am I wildly successful career-wise…
nor do I have all of my financial ducks in a row…
nor am I on par spiritually with the likes of the ascended masters…
nor do I look anything like Jane Fonda in a lycra leotard…
nor do I have rocket science or nobel prize caliber smarts.

I guess the only way one can appreciate me is by getting to know me and finding out which of these qualities I have and in which quantity they each manifest.

But I’m definitely not some puppet woman who is just this|far from being a Stepford Wife.

Also, for what it’s worth, I don’t have “issues with sexuality” just because I think it’s weird that I should offer up an answer within hours of meeting someone as to whether I think they would be a potential bedmate candidate (because, they admit, they don’t want to waste their time on getting to know me if there isn’t a rather immediate sexual payoff).

I mean…. whatever happened to courtship, wooing and the art of seduction? I think men are slipping on the whole courtship, wooing, seduction thing, if that’s what they think they are up to.

Also, I think they need to stop watching porn and thinking that it is illustrative of what good sex is. I liked porn better when it was campy because it wasn’t used as a how-to reference.

Statistics show that a whopping 75% of women don’t achieve orgasm through intercourse. If men want women to have sex with them, maybe they have to offer more of an incentive when the results are compared to those women are guaranteed to achieve through use of an electronic device (or, if that isn’t available, self-stimulus).

One of my friends (after reading this rant, because I initially posted it to my Facebook page) said that many men consider their chatting ministrations TO BE courtship, and that (in her humble opinion, on average) men are emotionally all twelve year olds. Well maybe that is so, if taking into account their fixation on the perfect female form being the equivalent of the underwear models from the Sears catalog of yore. (This section of the catalog was a huge hit with the boys of my fifth grade class.)

I’ve learned to be alone. I’ve learned to love to be alone. I like my own company. I don’t feel the need to absolutely have someone else in my life, especially if they don’t really care to partake of my company in a holistic sense. Life is too short to spend it in mediocre company.

I sometimes think dating sites are akin to searching for a needle in a haystack.

I’m sure people meet and that some matches are successful and have longevity. It seems like it becomes harder as we get older. Many men (as my friend alluded to) are in dire need of further emotional (and personal) development, even if they are not necessarily stuck at the twelve year mark.

While there are no doubt some fabulously wonderful women out there, I’ll bet perfection is still in short number. Women also demographically out-number the men, at least here in the Vancouver area.

Fabulous feels like a myth. No one is perfect… just “close enough” – going from good to possibly great, maybe occasionally at times even stellar… but not in all things, all the time. That would be too much to expect, but I think that it wouldn’t be unreasonable to expect good to great to stellar in the things that make the biggest impact on our personal happiness. And only we know what those are, if we really allow for a little honest self-inquiry.

For me, it would be nice to truly be in a partnership, if I decided to become half of a couple. I’d like someone to really give a shit about the things that are important to me. Not just to nod and say “sure” but to really get why I feel so passionate about the things I feel passionate about. I’d also still like to be with someone who wants to dream a mutual future with me. If I’m going to pair up.

My expectations aren’t that I’ll be dating some guy off the pages of GQ. They can’t all be as fabulously literate as, say, the Neil Gaimans of the world but it sure would be nice if the typos could truly be blamed on autocorrect fail and that there was a certain (higher rather than lower) level of emotional maturity and optimism regarding relationships.

You have the guys who profess in their profiles to want to worship a woman – that she is all that is missing in his life (sort of like the accent furniture piece for the living room). Seriously though – who could live up to that pedestal expectation, no matter how hot they looked or how smart they were?! How easy would it be to come crashing down from that heady height and go from hero to zero with one (very human but possibly very big) mistake?

Then there are the guys who want a Bo Derek equivalent only taller and smarter and nicer – a total female clone of what I am sure they most deludedly must imagine their inner-self counterparts to be – and no one ever measures up, not perfectly, because once again this idealized person can’t possibly exist outside of their imagination.

I hate to break it to the world, but there is no Soul Mate. Truly. Not the way in which we have been taught to believe a soul mate is. By that same token, everyone could be considered to BE a soul mate, because everyone is equally flawed, only in different ways. The sooner we recognize our own flaws, the better chance we have of having a successful partnering with another person. A relationship in which there are two people with similar weaknesses along with similar coping mechanisms and the inability to communicate appropriately – in a way that can lead to resolution of conflict – will always end up failing.

I’ve had coffee dates with men who have spent our whole time together bitching about their past ex, summarizing in horrible detail all of the mean things they were victims of – because they (clearly, isn’t it obvious?) had NO hand whatsoever in the culmination of the spectacular and tragic end result.

There are so many lonely people in this world. Eleanor Rigbys abound. Not because we don’t all deserve to rejoice in each other’s company, but rather because we are incapable of perceiving ourselves as we really are, incapable of exposing ourselves to others authentically and lose hope of ever finding those who really see us and like us anyway, reciprocally.

/rant

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thoughts on white picket fences

new amor mio

I read a post in this morning’s The Elephant Journal newsletter and felt moved to write. (This post actually started as a message to Waylon, but I’ve now rewritten it as a blog post.)

I was approaching 30 and felt much the same way about time shrinking. Back in the late ’80’s and early ’90’s I think maybe a woman’s time clock ticked a little faster than it does now (although in my case my mother was my example of what was possible – she had been an anomaly as she birthed me, in 1964, at the age of 45). I was intent on finding someone to share my life with because I felt that my real life – the one we’d build together – wouldn’t / couldn’t start until that moment that co-creative union occurred.

Well I’d finally met someone who I thought would make a good husband and a father some day – I’d scrutinized his family and how they related to each other (because much can be learned from family dynamics) and marvelled at how few vices he had (because I’d dated far too many pot smokers and party animals in my time). The fireworks weren’t going off gangbusters but I always figured that sex was something that improved with knowledge and intimacy (and I was right).

We married in April of 1993. I moved from Montreal to California, not to L.A. as I had initially expected, because my new husband had taken a job up in the south South Bay and he’d found us a place to live in Gilroy, garlic capital of the world. The truth was, I wasn’t prepared for the shock of marriage, for the trauma of moving away from the place I’d lived in for 29 years (which was so familiar that I could almost navigate it with my eyes closed), where my family (though dysfunctional) lived and for the loss of the friendships that I had, which had begun long ago and still thrived (the distance would make it much more difficult to maintain).

I think I knew almost immediately that we’d made a mistake. Although he was a good man, my husband and I couldn’t seem to communicate in a way that we both heard each other, in a way that we both felt held and safe to speak and listen, and we both lacked the ability to come up with mutually beneficial solutions. We were both intrinsically selfish. I had a long ways to go with growing into myself, and I really can’t speak for him. We plodded along; marriage was a life long commitment, to my mind, and I was determined to figure out how to make it work even if I had no idea what I was doing or how to achieve success.

My husband became a workaholic. Perhaps he was always one, but the initial distraction of having a regular sex life had come to wane and with other issues encroaching (financial ones, because money is one of the greatest sources of marital discord, probably right up there with sex) he threw himself into work even when he didn’t have to. I felt abandoned, mostly, and he became more emotionally distant.

Despite that, we decided after a couple of years that it was time to have a child. I’d turned thirty-one and by the time I got pregnant (it didn’t take long) I would be delivering right around my 32nd birthday. My son was born in 1996 by c-section, one week earlier than his due date because the doctor felt he would grow too large. We’d bought a home even farther away from my place of work; the house was in Hollister while my job was in Sunnyvale. Back in those days family leave was perhaps three months, from start to finish. My heart broke every day that I drove away and left my son with my very reliable neighbour, who had also recently become a new mom and my $100 a week for having her watch my son was helping to supplement their income. In many ways I felt envious of her, that she was able to be with her child (and mine) and have a husband who would step up to the task of supporting the family.

The gruelling commuting, heavy and demanding workload, nursing/pumping, care-taking eventually undid me. I held in until another move elapsed (this time back down to Southern California, where I had merely traded one long commute for another one and 500 more square feet of house to clean), and our financial stress (because I’d taken on being single earner so that my husband could try getting a freelance photo business off the ground without having any savings to supplement the lack of a regular second income) shattered what little composure I had left.

I had a ginormous meltdown. I was contemplating suicide, and admitting this to my husband was tantamount to saying “I don’t care about you or our son” and he thought I was the most selfish human being alive for even considering it in my thoughts. And there was the matter of dropping the financial ball and pushing our house into potential foreclosure (we sold before it got there, for a profit, but it marked our credit with a big black X and it was something that he never forgave me for). Things weren’t looking good. We split up shortly after and were apart on a trial basis. I think if I had not lost my job nine months in, and teetered on possible homelessness (because I couldn’t afford a decent place to live on unemployment), we may never have gotten back together, but we did.

My mother died shortly after we had moved back in together and I felt truly orphaned (my dad had passed away in 1991). I did a lot of self-exploration. Spirituality had always been of huge importance for me, but when death comes knocking, especially with the loss of significant people in our lives, we are compelled to re-examine our own.

I grew… the situation made it so. For several more years our relationship ground along, like metal to metal. I held out the hope that perhaps he would come to see me as an asset rather than a liability, but I felt intuitively that his feelings toward me had changed and he had lost interest in rekindling them. Our relationship finally ended seven years later when I finally had the nerve to ask him whether he still loved me, to which he said “I care about you, but I don’t love you.” I think maybe that was the crux of our relationship – we had become friends with benefits – and had created a child together.

After a 16 year hiatus, I returned to Canada with my son. I tried dating for the first couple of years. It was never a simple thing to do, but at this age I find it even more complicated. I’ve learned more about myself. The learning process is endless, but relationships are interesting beasts.

We want different things at different times of our lives but at their core, when all the other things are stripped away, we want only to be heard, understood and loved, despite our flaws, despite the angers and disappointments that come and wash over us when the expectations we have set for ourselves and each other fail to reach acceptable levels, when the kids are tucked in or are growing hair on their face and looking to launch themselves into their own lives and we find ourselves alone with each other or ourselves… that is all we want.

It is the most difficult thing to find, even if you are looking. For the most part, I think, the only way to find it is by selectively looking – or not looking – because looking too closely will surely show the things that you don’t want to see. The inevitable failings of every human being that is so much less than perfect.

I wish all you brave ones who soldier on luck, though…. from the heart. I hope you find that impossible love. I’ve yet to see it… I’ve yet to see others find it. Relationships take work, no matter how we cut it. They gain an aged patina and must be polished every once in a while to keep them shiny. Love is sustainable only if two people lean in to each other’s wholeness and pull each other through failings and triumphs with appreciation, kindness and compassion.

The picket fence vision was a far different experience from what I thought it would be. I had to factor in myself – who I am, at any given time – and the Other… who for so many reasons is unquantifiable… the “unknown” in a math equation.

I have learnt a lot about myself though. I’m at once humbler and more full of myself than I’ve ever been.

I know that gentle persuasion works better (with me and others) than does passive aggression or outright aggression. I can learn and lean in and feel safe even when exposed to someone intimately (not only in a physical sense).

I’ve learned that many people have a similar reluctance to allowing that breach to occur. And it’s probably the cause of most of what ails humanity – breaking down of a sense of community, and of having differing visions of what that entails. A distinct need for autonomy and self-actualization.

I entreaty you to enjoy your walk in this world… I know you do… but anxiety for something other than what you have is inevitable… we humans are always desiring things, even if what we have is awesome and once one desire is met another emerges. It is our duty to ourselves to visit these desires and determine whether they serve us well, whether they fit into the core of what we want from our lives, holistically.

I am fifty now and I still don’t know shit. After several attempts at dating I’ve given up on it – for now. I think I have more figuring out to do in relation to how I fit into the world before I want to explore that some more. It gets lonely, sometimes. And even peri-menopause doesn’t alleviate the longing for intimacy. But that will have to wait a little while longer until I grow up a little more.

Happiness to your heart and blessing on your feet…
Adriane xo

brave heart, on the rocks

Most days I feel pretty good. The sunlight and brightness streaming inside from all of the windows, despite there not always being sunny days, have lifted my spirits, certainly.

Perhaps it’s because I had such little or poor sleep that I’m not feeling so spiffy and upbeat, but watching The Fisher King this afternoon kind of pushed me over the edge.

I suppose being anxious for the EI deposit to be put into my account doesn’t help any (since I’m down to $2.19 in the account and whatever loose change I have in my wallet), but definitely the movie moved me, touching on a part in my heart that had closed up over old wounds and just got ripped open again.

It was THIS scene that did it.

It’s all such a familiar thing, what she says.

The hitting it off; the invite; the overnight stay; the awkward morning; the momentary elation; the never hearing again. And the quirkiness; the awkwardness; the isolation; the hopes, both bravely entertained and then dashed.

It does get exhausting – so much so that the appeal of engaging in the motions has all but disappeared for me. To preserve myself – the little bits of heart that I’ve got left that still hold out hope – to keep those intact I’ve had to focus on other things… things that move me toward joy in spite of sometimes feeling alone and occasionally lonely; going it alone to spare myself of the seemingly inevitable disappointment.

Being alone is braver, sometimes, than being in a relationship that is juiceless and joyless, but sometimes being alone is a cop-out too… avoidance of relationships caused by an aversion to the high risk of potential hurt that might ensue.

I suppose it’s hard to be brave, either way… alone or with someone else.

empathy, loneliness and the myth of e-connection

Ruminating on things, as I am wont to do.

There was a post this past week (which has appeared before) about the illusion of connection through social media, and how it’s changed our relationships and our interaction with the world. And then I saw THIS TedTALK making the rounds as well.

In many ways I find it to be true… that connecting real-time with people has become more and more difficult (partly perhaps because how I relate to others has changed over time, but also partly because of how society as a whole has changed, too). This is not something new but rather something that has evolved over the last two decades, and perhaps just now shifting into a sort of critical mass, or maybe I’m noticing it more because I am alone.

Let me tell you a story. I met my (now ex) husband online in 1992, we married in 1993. At that time the concept of social media was at it’s beginning; only a nerdy and artsy and military subsection of the populace was collecting ‘online’, a term most non-techie people I’d mentioned it to needed a lengthy explanation for. At that time it was a way for people – who were already inclined to withdraw under normal circumstances – to connect with similar/like-minded people in an nonthreatening environment (because, seriously, were we ever really planning on meeting in real life? No.). We spoke the same language, in a sense. Since the rest of society hadn’t yet succumbed to this disembodied form of communication, real life interaction was still the norm outside of our online escapades, and this forced those of us less inclined or comfortable with direct communication out of our shells.

Over the next decade, home internet access would become like cable connections were in the 80s and most everybody in the developed world who owned a computer was by now connected to it. Many people were still new at the process of communicating via this medium and a lot of it seemed like an extension of analog (written) communication. “Rules” like using all caps to insinuate shouting, emoticon keyboard strokes and other nuances of online communication began to slowly sink in to general public knowledge and usage.

Electronic devices became extensions of hands and ears (starting with flip cell phones, which continued to get slimmer and more portable all the time). People couldn’t seem to be alone even when they were in a private space… accessibility became constant and universal… yet so little was said. Walking the malls felt like every other person had Tourette’s because with their wireless headsets inserted into their ears, they appeared to be talking to themselves. Enter the iPhone – not only could we be reached by phone 24/7, the internet was eternally accessible, all the time.

It may seem as an insignificant byproduct, but for years my ex-husband and I communicated by instant messenger even when we were sitting in the same room, at opposite ends of the living room at our respective keyboards. While we each spent inordinate amounts of time talking over IM and individually engaging in conversations online (I belonged to many online art groups and he had created a bulletin board and was constantly posting to the board, monitoring threads, and was all-consumed by its activities) we seemed incapable of having a REAL conversation with each other (and if you know me at all, you also know that while I don’t necessarily go out of my way to engage in conversation, I am perfectly capable of carrying on an in-depth conversation once I warm to you). Not surprisingly, our marriage deteriorated and eventually ended, but I wonder if had we been pushed to actually connect in real-time, and engage empathically, whether things could have been different. The thing is, I tried to connect on that level and was rebuffed each and every time. I gave up trying after a time. Sometimes I wonder whether I tried hard enough, but the truth is that one person can’t carry both people all the time. Sometimes they need to take turns, and that never happened. It still saddens me, a little, but we all have our limitations.

I also wonder (going forward) what connecting will look like, universally, in light of how things are developing technologically. I see my son using devices all the time and it’s just a part of his constantly-connected environment. I wonder what he would do if he ended up in a cabin in the middle of nowhere without cell connection, internet or electricity. I’m not sure he would know what to do with the internal silence, and frankly I wonder (sometimes) what I would do with it myself, though I at least have some point of reference as to what that might be like, but I don’t think he really does. Do you? Can you sit still, even for -say- five minutes without your hand twitching to reach for your smart phone or your mouse to check to see what is happening online, in your in box, or coming in by text? Bet you a dollar (and there’s a tip jar up top at the left, if you’re the gambling sort), that you will feel a mounting sense of anxiety abstaining.

Back to the thought of social media being central to our social lives, it feels disturbing to me that where print and television media left off, social media picks up, an extension of the bullying that never ceases, especially now that the internet (which for the longest time was free of advertising) is on all-out assault, vying for everyone’s hard-earned money with offers of products and services (and did I mention the ads that one can no longer escape?). And there is something creepy about having our search engine data somehow connect into our social media feeds to offer us “interest specific” ads. What if I’m a writer and I’m writing a story about a pedophile and I’m running thematically appropriate searches – will my Facebook ads then start offering me bizarre things just because I’ve conducted online searches on things I have no interest in outside of my research for the story?

Aside from the ads, even personal posting seems to be masked behind nuance. It’s the ultimate peer pressure venue, where much of what is shared is put through rigorous scrutiny in light of how it will be perceived by the audience. Clothing and style choices are dictated (for example vloggers covering “how to dress for online success”) and have become extensions of real-life criteria, implying that the way we look (even online) determines our perceived value, to ourselves and others. I find this idea extremely disturbing, online or in life leaving no escape from the constant scrutiny of that prescribed “look” that is deemed acceptable. As in the analog world, it seems that online success is determined by the most vocal, and if the big players circle -one with a seven (eight?) figure income- hasn’t yet been breached, it is the yearned after goal. The platform becomes an open invitation for self-made profit and a business networking tool rather than one for authentic connection (or self-expression), and yet we are led to believe that the communication is earnestly a two-way connection because of the familiarity that can be established by way of regular posting.

There was another article that I read last week (I haven’t been able to find the URL for it but will link it if I do) that spoke about how we’ve gone from a needs based society to a wants based one, and how that shift has undermined the fabric of society, skewing it in less than desirable (pardon the pun) ways. That said, there is no turning back from what our expectations and entitlements have grown to become. As the expression goes, we can’t unsee what we have seen. Not only must our needs be met, our wants must also be pursued and for the most part fulfilled, otherwise we are made to feel as though we have lost our purpose (or perhaps never knew what it was in the first place). Maybe the way in which we have the most capacity to recalibrate our perspective (to a healthier place) is in how and what we determine our wants to be, and how we choose to pursue them.

Earlier this week I read about the suicide of L’Wren Scott. I had never heard of her (big shock there, right?). I watched a couple of YouTube videos, one of which was an interview with her just prior to the launch of a new season’s line of clothing. The interviewer was raving about the gold-rutilated champagne lollipops that were distributed at the tables, and she talked about staging an environment that she imagined the girl who would be wearing her clothing would inhabit. Shortly after the suicide it was revealed that her company was in a huge amount of debt. Was the clash between her reality and the fantasy that she painted for all the world to see the cause of this catastrophic conclusion that her only recourse was to end her life, even though her partner of many years is wealthy and would probably, having been presented with the options as she saw them, come to her aid?

I understand where she’s coming from, though. Things can appear pretty grim, and I’ve flirted with desolation enough to know that her solution of choice wasn’t but a stone’s throw away from my own. For the longest time my own life was so empty of all of the things that I wished for it to be filled with that I tried to fill it with things that I thought would be meaningful in hopes that the rest would follow suit. It never did.

Today, with plenty of hindsight in light of my own experience, and also observing others, I question our need to live beyond our resources, chasing after some sort of fantasy that does not genuinely reflect what is happening for real, or chasing a fantasy that is someone else’s rather than our own (once we’ve had a chance to better scrutinize or gain a deeper understanding of ourselves, which if memory serves, is a constantly changing, fluid process). Building the field doesn’t guarantee that “they will come”.

Trying to figure out our way when so many people are yelling along the sidelines, telling us what we should or should not choose, makes it difficult for us to hear our own voice. Even when we do, sometimes our choices become limited in scope and end up being far from what we would choose in earnest if we were in a more opportune situation, though there are ways in which we can be true to ourselves without completely upsetting the applecart, so to speak.

I think this is a global epidemic. We yearn to be accepted by others as something grander than we are because we’ve somehow come to believe that who we are (as we are) is too ordinary or not enough. Or maybe I’m mistaken and this perception is really my own skewed view of the world which I’ve reflected back upon everyone else. Somehow, though, I don’t think so.

Well… that was long-winded. And possibly pompous. Possibly even comPLETEly off. But there you have it, my two cents’ worth.

your choices matter… even the bad ones

Rumi - Field

“Beyond our ideas of right-doing and wrong-doing,
there is a field. I’ll meet you there.
When the soul lies down in that grass,
the world is too full to talk about.
Ideas, language, even the phrase ‘each other’
doesn’t make sense any more.”  ~Rumi

(Because y’all know I contemplate a lot – it’s just what I do I’ve been thinkin’…)

Someone on my Facebook friends list posted that relationship is her spiritual practice. This of course got me thinking (because … see above) about all of the relationships I’ve had in my life, as well as those I’ve observed first hand (like my parents’ relationship, for example).

I thought about my last intimate relationship and how it’s affecting my present moment.

I’ve thought about that person’s new relationship and how joyous it seems, how right, and effectively how wrong we now appear for each other, in retrospect.

I’ve thought about my abandoned marriage and the choices that paved their way to my finding myself here, now.

I thought about my mother’s relationship with my father, and how the choices she made affected both our (actually, our whole family’s) lives, and how both of us, at points of our lives not terribly far from each other’s in age, we made different choices, and how each of us chose to be brave in the best ways we knew how.

I thought about how other people have influenced most of my choices throughout the course of my life; how through fear-imbued rhetoric they managed to shape the way I viewed my potential and possibilities, and how, when my mother had to make a choice whether to leave her shambled marriage or to stay in it, middle-aged and with a young four year old child, she chose to stay, while I, faced with a similar choice, chose to leave. I saw possibility; potential. She saw hardship; strife.

I’ve often reproached myself, over the course of my life, for always being the one to cut out, though in truth I honestly do feel that I gave my marriage all I could with whatever I had at my disposal.

Many other choices preceded that last monumental one. Over the course of my life I had always opted for safety and comfort because I was afraid that I didn’t have what it took to withstand difficulty, but in so choosing it proved to me that I could. The choice of not making the right one created difficulties that were probably just as challenging and certainly more corrosive than the ones which would have resulted had I made the choices I ought to have made in the first place – had I had more courage to embrace what my heart truly wanted.

Each choice, however minute, however beneficial or detrimental, builds who you become. It shapes you, pebble by pebble, breath by breath.

In the end one hopes what the monument of self that we have built over the course of our lives is one we are pleased with when it comes to its end.

#######

The above sketch came to me during Jennifer Louden’s freebie introductory session for her Life Organizer Navigation Course. If you are so moved and are able to take it, DO it. I can’t at this time and hope to continue respectfully engaging in dialog with my shadow comforts and time monsters to reach an equitable working arrangement. Peace. xo

(and below is the sketch from above translated into colour in my art journal)

photo

contemplating commitment

RuneTree

Silver glints in my hair, finely threaded through my bedhead. I wash the gesso off of the foam brush so I can use it again, later, while observing my reflection in the bathroom mirror. It’s all about economy now. Of movement. Of expression. Of resources.

The sun is filtering through the low lying mist this morning, it’s presence an unaccustomed sight. Winter here in the upper northwest is weighted down with short days and even less light, the sun socked behind a haze of overcast that every once in a while miraculously dissipates – like now. It was cold overnight, frost etching the surface of all things with a crystalline sheen.

I contemplate my 30-day journal quote from a few days ago (because I am behind and instead of picking and choosing through the days that I’ve not done, I feel compelled to make up for all of it – yet another thing to explore when I have a moment).

The quote for Day 2 was :
“Until one is committed, there is hesitancy, the chance to draw back, always ineffectiveness. Concerning all acts of initiative (and creation), there is one elementary truth the ignorance of which kills countless ideas and splendid plans: that the moment one definitely commits oneself, then providence moves too. A whole stream of events issues from the decision, raising in one’s favor all manner of unforeseen incidents, meetings and material assistance, which no man could have dreamt would have come his way.”

(words by W. H. Murray from his book, The Scottish Himalayan Expedition)

Commitment isn’t an easy word for me. I’ve struggled with it for a long time. Initially, I commit to things doggedly, so when I finally make the decision to do so, I want it to be the right one. Which leads to very little happening, and very little commitment. I think that by dabbling and avoiding the commitment I’ll actually get to a place where there is enough to pull together and make something from, and then I’ll commit to making it better. There never is. Enough. It’s all just a huge collection of structureless discombobulated bits.

And I realize, on retrospection, that I am much the same with relationships. I observe. I wait. I gauge. And invariably walk away. The cost for all of this, is several fold. Much of the good in life happens when one commits wholeheartedly. It is also something that I’ve never seemed to master. I chose partners who are commitment-phobic (much like me). I chose projects that either require little commitments or end up abandoning them when I feel the pinch of constraint – when things get too hard and require me to move past my comfort zone. I’m sure this must have to do with something from my childhood, a learned behaviour, but I have neither the time, money or inclination to invest in dissection, so I’m left with trying to figure out what it is that edges me past the discomfort and into that place of … danger … of uncertainty … and feeling okay with it.

So here I am, making yet another attempt at operating within the container of time in which to make something. This opens a space for the other things too, I think. Before the onslaught of life happens, and I am employed and become distracted with making a living and the usual grind of life (which wears on me and erodes my self-discipline in ways I can’t even explain), I want to establish structure. I want to figure out what works for me in order to make things. To finish things. So my word for the year, focus, comes into play. I can’t commit if I can’t figure out a way to selectively focus on things, successively, or remember why I committed to something in the first place. And it doesn’t all have to be perfectly executed upon the first attempt.

So… I’m off to make my second perfectly brewed cup of Starbucks Christmas Blend. Enjoy. Everything. xo

needs

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A friend of mine recently mentioned that he and his partner argue all the time. I asked “about what?” and got “anything… everything… literally” as a reply.

But… why?

Seriously. What the hell is there to fight about?

• Unmet expectations and needs?
• Divergent viewpoints and thought processes?
• Poorly synched principles and values?

At their core, arguments are never about the bone that’s being picked; they are about the underlying story:

• the feeling of not being heard, cared for, respected;
• the feeling that our trust in another has been misplaced or violated;
• feeling that the other is unsupportive and not engaged;
• it’s about not communicating the things that are going on inside of us in a way that the other can understand and perhaps find a way to support or appease.

It’s never about scrubbing out the toilet bowl or taking out the garbage. It’s about the why… why the toilet wasn’t scrubbed, and what it means in the context of the two individuals who find themselves in conflict with each other.

In the end it’s about communication, or the lack of it… or rather not having the skills (and at some point, the will/patience) to decode each other’s emotional expressions and landscape.

And about:

• Unmet expectations and needs;
• Divergent viewpoints and thought processes;
• Poorly synched principles and values.

Living this|close to another human being is messy. It takes a lot of patience and forgiveness, because no matter how hard we try not to have them (or to stuff them), we all have quirky human schticks and they aren’t going away any time soon.

If we can’t find the humour in them, and love each other in spite of them, all is lost.

As for me? I question everything. Because everything must be scrutinized and dissected so that I can understand (myself, as well as other). I will wear you down, and will wear you out. Beware.

Which is why I am single. And I do have a sense of humour, in case you were wondering.

And now to bake some more cookies (provided the electricity stays on).

Soul Mates ~ I have something to say (you aren’t surprised, are you?)

So much talk about soul mates in the mainstream, and how “everybody” is looking for theirs. This morning I was reading a journal post on a dating website that I’d joined (and unjoined)*** by someone lamenting on how so many are looking for theirs, and is there really such a thing possible.

I think the interpretation of this concept, if you will, is inherently faulty. I think what we as humans mean by a soul mate is really a mating of the soul. Ahhh… interesting to consider, right?

Okay, I’ll go there… The last decade and a half of my life has been spent with someone who was a decent human being. We all have quirks~tell me you aren’t surprised to hear that I have some too. So it isn’t surprising that some differences are bound to be uncomfortable to live with, but do they constitute reasons to discard a relationship entirely? I don’t think so, but that’s just me. It seems it all depends upon your level of tolerance and what your expectations are of a partner. Fair enough.

If two people are engaged on a soul level, you function from a different place. Wouldn’t every aspect of your exchanges of energy be of an entirely different vibration? Love making be that much more … ecstatic? Wouldn’t every thing you do for each other, for the Whole, be set upon with a different mindset than the “what have you done for me lately?” viewpoint? Engaged. Both (or however many are involved in the dynamic of your relationship) partners, if practicing mindful engagement would feel validated. “I see you” ~ past the fluff of physicality right down to the core of who you are ~ and I honor who you are, in your perfect imperfection.

The other thing the board members were commenting about in regard to soul mates was the expectation of longevity… the “this is THE one” expectation. I would like to propose that every relationship (regardless of the level of intimacy), if approached with that expectation, can only be richer and more meaningful. Whether for one day, one month, one year or one lifetime, if your focus was on exploring the depths of another human being in a reciprocal exchange, wouldn’t the journey be worth the trip, regardless of its length? Is this so hard to grasp?

There, I’m done. Plunge in… 🙂

*** okay, I feel the need to correct… I joined (again) and after I stopped stressing about the whole process am meeting some pretty awesome folks, virtually and not-so-virtually.

Retrospectives… and looking forward

This has been a busy, though largely unproductive, time for me. Today is my last day off before I head back to work and I feel ambivalent about that. My work situation has been … bizarre … no other way to put it, and probably not worth going into in detail anyway.

This past year has been such a year of change for me. I’ve separated after 15+ years of marriage, lost a job, was unemployed for a time, got a job but feel oddly useless in it, moved over a thousand miles away from where I’ve been living and back to my country of origin. I miss the familiarity that I thought I didn’t have at the old place; I’m excited about the new place; I miss having sex (it’s been a while… a year and a half… okay, maybe a bit less, but it feels like an eternity); I miss having a lover (our marriage was on shaky ground for a while before it petered out completely~intimacy was part of the problem). I’ve not been feeling very creative this past year, and only managed to pump out a few pieces of art, wrote a bit of poetry and one short story. It feels like it’s all just festering inside of me, in a state of chaos but not substantiated into anything solid. I’m tired. I miss being loved (by someone other than my child).

I’ve been “the caretaker” and while I used to do a really bitchin’ job in the beginning, my lack of energy mirrors my caretaking these days. Sporadic laundry doing… dishes done so-very-not-daily… cooking sometimes more elaborate things but mostly stuff I don’t have to work too hard at… and the inner chaos I feel reflects my surroundings as well… still not enough furniture to store the boxes of “stuff” I have littering my walkways, piled high against walls. The two, obviously, correlate… I believe in feng shui… but the funds needed for new furniture purchases are slow in coming… something else that is more pressing always seems to take priority.

I always thought that I’d have it “together” by midlife. Funny that by the time I pulled my Self together, everything else around me has disintegrated. Ugh. I’d love to make a career change, but can’t figure how the numbers would add up, seeing that I am the sole supporter of myself and my child now (though his dad does help… it’s still expensive to live on the west coast, regardless of which side of the border you live on).

My ex has moved on, and then some. He’s been dating for months, meeting (and obviously bedding, because that is what he does) women. We’re on friendly terms and talk about these things, and so he’s recently shared news of his successful dates, and encouraged me to visit some dating sites. Oh my… mostly they are frightening, and the whole prospect of dating is frightening to me. I’m not skinny, or even “athletic”… I’m not horribly obese, but I suppose the first thing one notices about me are potentially my pendulous breasts and that my jawline isn’t exactly chiseled. I’m not a breathtaking beauty. But mostly, I’m concerned about meeting someone who will on a fundamental level understand who I am and who I will be able to do the same with. And… I still like having sex and don’t feel like dealing with a partner that I would have to draw a roadmap for… in fact, it would be so awfully nice to find someone who will explore the sacredness of sexuality with me.

All of this is probably TMI…

Looking forward… I’m planning a trip this year with a friend of mine from California. She asked where I’d like to go to, and said she would do the research necessary. I want to go to Italy… Tuscany, maybe, or other parts too, but definitely Tuscany. I want to bring my small Moleskine and watercolors with me and sketch and paint as I go along. I want to see for myself the beauty of that land. I have up to three weeks of vacation time to work with. Now that I have a valid passport, I plan on traveling a lot more. Screw the furniture. ;^P

I find that the start and end to things like calendar years, seasons, Celtic years, Chinese years, school years, birth years… are arbitrary and provide an opportunity to review, integrate and start afresh. I hope you have all had a good year, whichever span you choose to measure it by, and that the next one will be even better.

Blessings to you all…
Adriane