authenticity · friendship · integrity · self-care

Tourist Center

Some of the things we’ve gotten to do: drive to Sonoma and
eat cheese samples at the Cheese Factory, and a coffee from Hot Shots, the
drive-through coffee joint. Walk part way across the Golden Gate Bridge from
the Marin county northern side. Stop by Crissy Field and take touristy pictures
of ourselves, and a few for the fellow tourists, looking out toward Angel
Island and Alcatraz, and of course the copper-crimson of the bridge itself.

We ate at Green Chili, the wonderful, all grass fed, all
hippie, sustainable Mexican restaurant. We ate at Fenton’s, the local ice
creamery here in Oakland, in a wonderful bout of yum. And last night, at
Mission Pie – my thanks to that guy I briefly dated for introducing me to it!
We’ve also been to an art opening at a gallery in Berkeley,
and last night, a weird white box studio in a factory in a not so hot part of
Oakland. We left before the performance began. It was a tiny room with a
modge-podge assortment of chairs, and an even more motley crew of people. It
was obvious that we didn’t really fit in with what was going on, and as we both
agreed prior to going that we’d leave if it were “weird,” and my friend also
felt a bit of Bay Area culture shock, we left. I wasn’t disappointed – but I
was glad we went, if only for the experience of being a sociologist in a
strange sub-culture of the Bay.
Truth is, I haven’t had much thought to much of anything, as
we’ve been driving hither and thither, and also then resting some, and
gossiping and catching up and laughing and eye rolling, and it’s been fun, and
I’ve been doing my best to take care of myself with bringing food with me so I
don’t have to buy any, and with getting up in time to do my morning pages and
this blog. But, I haven’t been meditating at all, and I do feel a bit off
center. I notice that my focus is pulled by the other person, and suddenly, or
slowly, my center is somewhere between us, instead of within myself.
This is codependent, but also our long history. We’ve been
this way for 3 decades, it won’t shift for me over night. But I’m aware of it.
I’m aware that I’ve been cursing more, and interrupting more, and adding in
bits of my own stories when hers aren’t complete, as if I validate myself or
her experience by adding in my own two cents. When, really, I can just listen.
I’m noticing that more this morning, and being attentive to letting the other
person finish. What I have to say isn’t important enough to interrupt another
person. And granted, it doesn’t “sound” interrupty – it sounds like a dovetail,
like I’m adding to the conversation – but it’s not a conversation when one
person is telling a story, and it sparks 8 thousand other thoughts you want to
get out immediately.
But I recognize too, that I’m also excited and happy to be
able to share all this stuff, that there is this manic sort of energy to catch
up, and share stories, and give opinions, and laugh about people we knew or
know, and just share about our families new events. We grew up basically living
in the other person’s house. We’re more like sisters than anyone I’ve been in a
relationship with – and family sometimes brings out the best, and sometimes the
worst in you.
I’m not going to beat myself up for not having taken a
breath in a few days, or not letting her finish her thoughts. I’m simply going
to rectify the situation, as they say, as soon as I am able.
This morning, I’ll go meet with some folks and have a few
minute meditation, and get recentered, and come back, I hope, with a renewed
sense of camaraderie and ownership of my center. I don’t need to be anything
more or less than I actually am. I don’t need to interrupt to make sure I’m
heard, or valid, or liked. I don’t need to curse to show that I’m hip or cool,
or get sweet dessert things to be hip or cool. I can be me, a woman who needs
to meditate, not eat sugar, and pack her lunch. Who has valid things to say
when the moment is appropriate, and can listen with an open ear, instead of my
own running dialogue – which is exhausting.
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