The waiting game

I’m doing the dance.

I found a guy I like, I orchestrated a meeting, we had drinks in a group, I made sure he had my number without actually giving it to him myself, he called, we chatted, were supposed to meet. I was nice, and happy to hear from him but not too available, I was genuinely sorry that we couldn’t meet but was breezy and relaxed about it. I’m doing the dance. Most of the above was accidental and not as Machiavellian as it sounds, because, mainly, I’m incredibly shy.

But now starts the torturous part. I’m waiting for him to call. I know he’s old fashioned, and I know he’ll make the first move, and I would call him if I could come up with a reason that wasn’t your voice knocks my socks off and I just really wanted to hear it again. The waiting game though… it’s killing me. I hate this about being a woman.

Years ago I wouldn’t have cared, I would have found an excuse and called him, but now… things have to be more subtle. I don’t know why, I’m not sure what’s changed but I sense that it has, I have to let him call, and make the first move. Maybe it’s because he gives a very strong “manly” vibe, he’s so tall, his voice is so deep, his hands are so big… or maybe it’s because as I’ve aged, I’ve realized that though I want to and enjoy being “the boss” in my professional life, I want to be “the girl” in my romantic life. The other night, when we all had a drink together, he quietly paid the bill, and then he walked me to my car. In a sweater. It wasn’t sweater weather, and my reaction was to tell him I could walk myself to the car, and to head on home before he caught his death. And then I remembered I wasn’t his mother. And I genuinely appreciated both things, he was a gentleman, and it was nice.

I don’t know where this is going, if anywhere, but the giddy excitement I felt when he called, I missed that. I also hate that. I hate the waiting, and the shaky hands when I hear his voice, and the constant looking around to see if he’s there, but it’s also exactly the kind of lighthearted fun I’ve been wishing for. And I know that when he calls again, because I’m pretty sure he will, I’ll walk around with a smile on my face all day. It’s nerve-wracking, and frustrating and fun and exciting this waiting game, and it’s what I’ve been waiting for.

Blessings aplenty

2016, you’ve been a hell of a year.

I’m trying to stay optimistic, my friend, but I won’t lie, I’m not too sad to see the end of you. I’m sitting in the hospital right now, literally just waiting for my grandmother to die, and I’m wondering what the problem is. Is it my attitude? Am I concentrating too much on the negative? I see and appreciate my blessings, I do. I’m a lucky gal. I was born in a time where women have more rights and protection than ever before, in Europe, to a wealthy family. I grew up in America. I got a great education. I’m blonde, with nice eyes and good genetics, I’m not so beautiful that I’m intimidating or annoying to other women or a target of obnoxious men, but I’m just pretty enough that people are nice to me, and respectful and they listen when I speak, and though it’s hard to admit it, it makes a difference. I’m healthy, I lack for nothing, I’m financially independent and I have the security of knowing that thanks to my background and education I will always be able to support myself. I have two beautiful, healthy, children.

I see the balance in my life and even when I look at the negative, I still see the positive. I miss my father, who’s been dead for ten years, but I had him at my side during many of the most important times of my life, he saw me graduate from university, he saw me married, he never met my children but I know he looks on and protects them from above.

I miss my husband, I hate the separation, I’m lonely and worry that I’ll be alone for the rest of my life, but I realize we didn’t love each other like husband and wife anymore and we both deserved better. He was the great love of my life, and even though he’s not anymore, I had that, not everyone does. He gave me two beautiful children and he’s a fantastic father and a wonderful, supportive friend to me. His leukemia came back again this year. That was tragic. But he is still here, miraculously, he’s with us and he’s relatively healthy, and it’s so much better than we expected.

I’m in the hospital, my grandmother is dying, I had to leave my children on Christmas day to fly out to Brazil. But I could afford to fly out at a moment’s notice, I have a support system to help care for my children, and my grandmother is two months shy of her 107th birthday. She has lived a good, full life. She has experienced tragedies, and grave difficulties, but she has also experienced love, and beauty, and happiness, and health. She was born in Brazil in 1910, there were no cars, no phones, most houses didn’t have indoor plumbing…. Imagine the life she lived, imagine the wonders she saw, the things she experienced. I’m not sad that she is passing, I’m happy she got the life that she did. And we are here to honor that.

2016 has been a tough year, for many reasons, but I’ve also gotten to travel a lot, I’ve gotten to spend a lot more time with my mother and brother, with my friends, I’ve enjoyed my children.

So I do see the good that balances out the bad, I do. But, if I’m going to be honest, I’d just really like a year with no tragedies. Nothing bad. I would like a year where I don’t have to constantly try to find the good to balance the crap. I would like a break, just for a little while. I’m tired of fighting my stress response, I would like to be able to sit and breath and enjoy all of my blessings calmly and contently.

I don’t know if that’s in the cards for me, but I’m putting it out there, in the universe, an end of the year wish if you will. I’m happy to see 2016 go, because I’m still optimistic enough to hope that 2017 will be better, and I guess that’s a blessing in and of itself.

 

Questions, questions

The first thing I do in the morning after snoozing my alarm four times when my brain slowly starts coming out of the night’s torpor is to turn my phone on and look at facebook. For all intents and purposes, I’m still asleep, but there I am, squinting at the screen getting in touch with the world through what is possibly one of the worst mediums ever for that purpose. I saw a short video on anxiety this morning, hidden anxiety, and I realized I did every single thing on it. Obviously I have been unable to unearth this video from the bowels of facebook, because facebook has the mysterious and uncanny ability of disappearing anything that might actually be interesting or that you might need, unless you save it, which I never do.

Anyway the signs, I don’t remember them all right now, but as I sit here I noticed that I am actively experiencing several of them. Jumpy legs, tightness around my neck and shoulder muscles, mild headache that never goes away, tightness in the jaw, and inability to concentrate on the task at hand. The task at hand is supposed to be work, whereas I’m writing this blog post. What am I anxious about? No clue, but I’m always like this. Does this mean I’m anxious all the time? My sleep patterns say yes, but reality is that there’s no lion waiting to pounce on me. So why do I feel like this? Is it really hidden anxiety or stress or what have you? Because if so it’s worrying, my life is no more nor less stressful than most people’s, and it’s miles less stressful than it has been in the past. So is this normal? Are we normal? Is this lifestyle we are all living normal? And by normal I also mean healthy. Is there anything that we, or in this case I, can do about it? Should I even be worrying about this?

Questions, questions and no answers.

Failing

I’m failing at life today. I’m sitting on my bed right now, crying. I’ve been crying for what feels like forever and I can’t seem to stop.

The reason for my meltdown is a cold shower. The cold shower is due to some electrical work that’s being done, in fits and starts, for the past two years. But the truth is I’m crying for everything else. For this house that has cost me more in terms of money, time and energy than it will ever be worth and I’m still not done, for my dead marriage, for the fact that I’m still in love with the person the Ex used to be, for the fact that I lost my temper and smacked the Boy on his tush harder than I should have, for this life I’m living that isn’t really mine but I don’t know where mine went, for the fact that I recently found out the Girl has a really bad nut allergy and I don’t want to deal with that fear, and I don’t want her to deal with that life, because we’ve been walking on the threshold of death for far too long in this family, for the fact that I’ve got nothing that’s just mine and that makes me happy for no reason and for the fact that I’ve got no one to take care of me and it makes me feel so alone, and for my broken heart, mostly for my broken heart. And that, all of that, is making me sad, just so, so sad, today.

So today I’m failing. Failing at this life I’ve been given, where I smile and act happy, and upbeat, and when the shit hits the fan I paint it gold, and spritz perfume on it so I can sell it as something better than just shitty shitty circumstances, where I justify everything and solve all the problems and sugar coat everything else. Where tomorrow is always better, cause honestly can it be worse? Though it can, it always can, but I close my eyes and stuff my fingers in my ears and pretend that that isn’t true.

I’m failing at this farce of a life, and it doesn’t really make a difference cause failing at it or succeeding at it are two bitterly similar things. Failing just means that tonight I can’t stop crying.

Forty something, something

Today is my 41st birthday. Now that I’ve been in my forties for an entire year, I have a few observations to make:

Last week my friend unceremoniously yanked out my very first white hair. It was a bit shocking. Mostly because she stealthily attacked me, like a ninja. I guess I should count myself lucky that I still don’t need to dye my hair, but now I’ve started to wonder how long that will last.

I give a lot fewer shits about most things in general. It’s strange when I notice, probably because it happened so gradually, it’s unsettling. And then when I do give a shit about something, I do so much more intensely but in a less neurotic, haphazard manner.

It’s much harder to date in your forties (this was a given, but it’s different when you’re experiencing it rather than just theorizing). Actually, dating isn’t harder, or I wouldn’t know whether it is or not, what’s harder is all the stuff that happens before dating. Like meeting a person, talking to them, flirting…. Last time I was in this situation I’d go hang out at bars with my friends and we were hyper-aware of our surroundings, of the men around us, smiling and interacting with our body language. Now when I meet my friends in a bar I’m so absorbed by the conversation I forget to look around. Also, I don’t like to wear my glasses (or contacts) so making suggestive eye contact across the room is pretty much not going to happen. And my tolerance for game playing is nonexistent. So you see my problem.

I’m also finally starting to learn to do what I want rather than what’s expected. Worrying about what makes me happy rather than pleasing other people or letting myself feel guilty for everything that goes wrong. I still have to work on being gracious and graceful, but I’ll get there. And then I’ll be perfect.

 

Overall forty-ish isn’t bad for now and I have the feeling this decade can only get better. So I guess I’m back to being an optimist now.

One day

One day they are going to stop running to me for cuddles when they’re hurt

One day they are going to stop looking at me for confirmation

One day they are going to stop saying look, mama, look what I can do

One day they are going to stop asking me if we can be bed partners tonight

One day they are going to stop calling me 187 times after they’ve been put to bed

One day they aren’t going to want me to read to them anymore

One day they’re not going to want to come in the bathroom while I shower so they can keep me company

One day they’re going to stop offering me their hands to cross the street

One day they’re going to stop believing in the Tooth Fairy and Santa Claus

One day they’re not going to fight over who gets to sit in my lap

One day they’re going to stop asking me to paint with them or to play cards or to jump with them on the trampoline

One day they aren’t going to need me to watch them like a hawk when they’re in the pool or the sea

One day they’re just not going to need me quite so much

One day, but not today.

Nobody and dating

A girl is nobody. That was a part of game of thrones I had never really understood, how can a person really become nobody? Some vestige of yourself remains, doesn’t it? Unless you have amnesia of course.

A girl is nobody. I get it now though. A girl just needs to get separated or divorced.

So I wonder now, how does nobody date? How do you know who nobody wants to go out with, who she likes? Who does nobody attract? Nobody, in my opinion.

And when is nobody ready to even actually contemplate dating? Is nobody capable of dating after almost twenty years of not dating? How does it work? How and where does nobody meet people?

I’m not sure nobody should be dating though. Dating might lead to nobody becoming somebody, but the wrong somebody, the somebody who’s dating so and so.

Nobody needs to become somebody on her own terms, before dating so and so, because nobody doesn’t want to be defined by anyone but herself. She just doesn’t know who she is yet. Right now nobody is ok.

Identity

I’ve got a bit of a conundrum lately, it seems to be a side effect of the death of my marriage, I no longer have any idea who I am. I was with the Ex for seventeen years, seventeen, that’s a really long time. I’ve been his girlfriend, his wife, the mother of his children…. for so long that I have no clue who to be without him. More often than not, when you’re married, you mesh with the other person, each one spending a good portion of their time thinking about the other, their wants and needs and would likes, how to make them happy, how to move forward with them, each one slowly losing their individuality, their identity, becoming a hybrid, a bit of the old a lot of the other.

So now not only do I need to learn how to live my life without him, how to be a single (most of the time) parent, how to be my own woman, I also have to figure out who and what I am.

Who am I?

It’s a hard question to answer.

I’m forty years old, I’ve been many things in these forty years, but who do I want to be now? I’m about half way through this life I’m living, this one life I’ve got to live, and I don’t know where I go from here. It’s frightening, and exciting. I get to make decisions for myself, but I don’t know what myself wants. So where do I go from here?

I won’t go anywhere from here until I figure out who I am, independently from all the other things in my life, just me. It takes time, I’m told, but apart from that I’m not sure I know what else it takes. Do I have what it takes?

I’m not used to all this self doubt.  I thought I was good at self reflection, but in reality now I wonder if I’ve acutally ever done it. Am I over thinking? Should I just live and see where I go? I don’t know. All of the certainties, all of my foot holds, the ones I’ve painstakingly created in my life till now are crumbling beneath my feet. It’s destabilizing, and it’s scary. Can I be a person without him?

I have no answers now, just lots of questions. I hope these questions lead to something, because I’m ready to be me, whoever she may be.

Can’t breathe

I am in Rome this weekend for one of my nephews’ wedding. It was lovely, they are a beautiful, loving, kind and sweet couple, that loves each other so much you can taste it. I was very emotional during the wedding, partly because he is the first to get married of that generation in our family but also because looking at them on such a beautiful day, all I did was wish so hard for them to make it, because the Ex and I were like that too, yet here we are. And I hate how sad and cynical and jaded I’ve become. 

This weekend the ex is away on a meditation retreat. So he sends me a picture of them preparing a bed of hot coals and of his feet after he walked on them. And I stopped breathing. That’s how panicked I was. And then I got angry, so fucking angry I could have murdered him. But I tried to rein it in, because I’m no longer technically responsible for him, although I am anyway since he’s the father of my children and I feel the need to “protect” him, for them. The anger I felt was the same as when he jumped out of a plane without telling me, or went bungee jumping. 

I panic and can’t breath. Because every time he does something stupid, like jump out of airplanes or off bridges or walk on hot coals (which is just as risky, since his immune system is suppressed), or like when he texts while driving on the highway, I want to grab him and yell at him that for the love of God he’s hanging on to life by a thread already, he’s survived leukemia three times already, he no longer has his nine lives, why is he tempting fate.

I know, it’s his life. I understand that after all he’s gone through he needs to do these things. I understand. But I can’t breathe. I wish he would be grateful for the life he has, instead of constantly seeking the thrill. I wish he held his life in more esteem, he cared more. It’s his life. Not mine, not really. But it still hurts me, it still sends me into a panic. Worrying about his health and his well-being has become such a huge part of my life that it’s hard now to let go. But I have to find the way. I have to stop worrying about him so much, keeping him alive is no longer my job. I have to let go, but I don’t know how. What I do know is that I hate this feeling. I stop breathing, it almost feels like my heart stops beating, I feel a pain above my sternum, and then I get so angry, just so, so angry. It’s a response to stress, I get it, but it can’t be good for me.

Worrying about him is no longer my job, my job now is taking care of myself. And I don’t want to feel like this anymore, I don’t want to get so tense and stressed that I can’t breathe and the only way for me to ease the pain in my heart and my sternum is to cry, in frustration. I want to be happy, to smile, to laugh, to have fun, and not worry so much. It’ll be hard, I’ll need help, but that is what I’m striving for and I know I’ll get there sooner or later. Because I want to breathe.

Plants and stuff

 

If ever I had any doubt in my mind that we never actually grow up, I now have unequivocal proof that that is indeed the case. I am my own proof, because I’ve now become a forty-year old teenager. I’ve got a crush… a giggly, blushing, heart quickening, hiding behind plants, and driving past his house at night crush. It’s completely ridiculous. It’s also an awful lot of fun. And angst. But also fun.

And I’m so surprised because who would have thought, you know? I’ve been reprimanded already because I’m acting so out of character and how the hell am I going to attract a man if I hide behind plants when I see him, we’re all adults here. Because, I did, I literally ducked behind a plant. He didn’t see me (thank goodness) because, humiliating! Let me be clear though, I’m the first in line to look at myself in total shocked incredulity, when I extricated myself from the foliage I was like what the fuck was that? But it truly was one of those fight (or in this case flirt) or flight responses, my heart was doing triple time, my palms got sweaty and my face blushed, honestly the plant saved me from humiliating myself, or stuttering, or talking uncontrollably. Plants are great.

Also, I’ve apparently lost all ability to interact with men I find attractive. I was never totally great at this, but I also wasn’t quite this terrible. Right now it’s a cute distraction, but how many times can I drive by his apartment before I get cited for stalking?

So I’m a teenager again, and not even the cool as a cucumber teenager that gets all the boys, I’m the nerdy one who makes an ass of herself. I’m just going to go shut myself in my room and listen to angsty music for awhile.