adulthood · anger · change · family · love · recovery

Wilderness Survival

So, here’s a funny.

Remember when I posted that blog about finding equanimity in my relationships? About not being thrown by others emotions (or even my own)? Yeah, that one I posted on Friday… three days ago?

Well, guess what I’ve been given the opportunity to practice these last three days?

Bingo!

To be respectful, I will simply say that I saw many chances to retaliate and behave how I used to — particularly, by being curt, punishing, and seethingly silent. If I behave that way, you, of course, will apologize for your behavior, and change in the way that I want you to, right?

Unfortunately, or fortunately, I really noticed how I wanted to react, my first reaction. How my disappointment wanted to come out as being mean. Instead, I tried to my best to “let it go.” I had that silly Frozen song in my head a lot this weekend!

How others are choosing to behave is none of my business. As it affects me, it is my business. But it’s up to me to choose how I want that to be expressed.

Let’s just say that I was pissed, so much so that I was on the phone while driving, and got pulled over by a cop before I even left San Francisco.

Luckily I was let off with a warning (and I know how much those tickets cost!), but it gave me the opportunity to pause and look at why I was behaving in the way I was — in a way that wasn’t good for me.

The whole weekend ended up, for me, being an exercise in letting other people have their emotions and their actions, and not being drawn into that drama. It’s camping. It’s supposed to be light, fun, and not particularly insightful, except maybe the insight and rest and joy that comes from being in the silence of the forest. Which, is never actually that silent, once you get quiet enough. That’s one of the things I love about it. To hear the rustle of the trees, the little animals, the little noises. How this tree sounds as it sways in the wind as opposed to that tree.

Luckily, I was able to ask for some of that time for myself, so that I could get my stillness in.

I am no saint, and I am no angel, and I have no business judging others, or assuming that they should be any way other than they are. But I do get to ask for what I need, and I do get to behave in a way that is in alignment with how I want to be. Despite that my brain gremlins are momentarily eviscerating you.

Upon arrival home to Oakland, I get a phone call. It’s my dad.

Really?

I let it go to voicemail. I’m emptying out the cooler in my bathtub. It rings again.

Now I think it’s an emergency. Nope: After a decade of being engaged to the same woman, he’s finally getting married.

The last weekend of the play I’m playing the lead in.

I was *informed* I should see if they can get the understudy to do that weekend. I wasn’t asked what play it was. I wasn’t told congratulations. I was told, in the voice of force only my father knows how to invoke, that I should be there.

I told him I’d ask about the understudy.

I called my brother, who’d left me a voicemail about this earlier that day. If the invitations were going out the next week, it was clear that this plan was in place quite some time ago, no? Could be that I could have been informed a little earlier, no?

I was virulently reminded of when I was sick with cancer, and my father told me that he could only call me after dark, when I was exhausted from my days of chemo, that “This is how it works.” This is what he told me about not being able to call me earlier. “This is how it works.”

After I got off the phone with him yesterday, I remembered that. This occasion, this insistence that I be there, despite whatever (SUCCESS) is going on in my life, is part of his pattern of demand, and selfishness.

And, an inability to say something like: You know, Molly, it would mean a lot to me if you could be there.

I told my brother when we were discussing the viability of my coming out, plane tickets, and where to stay, things that my dad has obviously not thought of. … that I would talk to my network. That I would look at my numbers. Maybe ask him to pay for half the plane ticket out, since I’m not in a position to go back east again right now.

But then, I do know how awful it is to ask for money from him.

So, I will talk to my network. I will repeat “Let it go” in my head, and I will remember the thing I usually forget when I feel made small by him: I am awesome.

My being in a play IS a big deal. My getting a lead role IS a big deal. I’m doing a brave and new thing. I am taking chances to be greater in my life. And the exercise in equanimity is to allow and remember and embrace and be bolstered by these facts.

It is not a surprise that the weekend I claim that I’ve moving “beyond” being thrown by others, I’m given several (immediate!) chances to practice what I preached.

A mentor once told me that our “character defects” (or, outmoded coping mechanisms) aren’t relieved from us. They aren’t removed. Instead, we’re given opportunities to either pick them up again, or to act a different way.

I haven’t known what that other way is, until I’m given the chance to try something else. If I only reach for what I know, I do the same thing. It’s not that I feel relieved of being thrown by others’ emotions. I just feel more able to deal with what that brings up for me, and how I choose to engage with that.

What will happen with my friend? Change.

What will happen with my father? I can only hope: Change.

adulthood · family · femininity · love · motherhood

Dear Mom, I Hallmark You.

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It was always very clear what our family would do on
Mother’s Day: We would have bought hanging fuschia plants at Metropolitan Plants up on Route 17 in Paramus, one for our mom (Ben’s and mine) and one for
my Dad’s mom. We’d make the U-turn by Grand Union, near which, whenever driving
past it together, my best friend M. and I would parrot a mean jingle about our
babysitter: “Get everything you don’t want aaaat Grand Pam!” (name changed for
anonymity!)
Once home, we’d exchange the broken and feeble fuschia that hung by the
side of our house all winter for the new one, hook the other in the Camry, and
drive over to Queens.
After the lovely awkwardness of pizza with them, our family
would reward ourselves by stopping by The Pastrami King. Which has since
closed, and there’s now a Pastrami Queen somewhere, which, sorry feminism, is
not as good.
Pastrami King had the real barrels of pickles along the wall, all different
kinds, fat, warty, dark, light green, and my mom would dive into the barrel with the plastic tongs to fetch these prizes out of the water. My brother and I would gag at
her.
We’d get round potato knishes and pounds and pounds of,
really, the best pastrami I’ve ever had, and also some of their own spicy
mustard – because people, no mayo, no ketchup, nothing but MUSTARD, is supposed to go on a pastrami sandwich. Sorry.
It’s the Jew way. Well, at least,
our Jew way.
Mother’s Day did mean
something in our household, and despite all the “It’s a Hallmark holiday” scorn
it receives, and despite the mixed emotions it may bring up for people who’ve
lost moms, lost babies, can’t or didn’t have babies, for me, it’s nice. Yes,
even on this arbitrary date some CEO thought up some years ago, it’s nice to
acknowledge my Mom. And so, I do.
This year, by coincidence and fortune, I came across a
website with cuff bracelets with large metropolitan city subway maps engraved
into them. Paris, Berlin, Chicago, New York. My mother, the consummate New
Yorker. In fact, this very morning, she sent me a batch of photos from the
window display of her local dry-cleaner. The purveyors apparently rotate a series
of Barbie tableaus. Last time was the Oscars, complete with a miniature “Gone
with the Wind” poster, red carpet, and a Marylin Monroe Barbie. This month, a Barbie Seder,
with mini Afikomen and all!
She loves the city, and so, my brother and I split the cost
of one of these cuff bracelets for her. She may never wear it, it may be “not
quite right,” and sure, a nicely written
card could have done the same thing, and for many years it has. But, this year,
it was nice to say, “Hey, I know this is something very important to you, a
part of you, this city, and I want to give you something that represents that,
that says, Ben and I know you. You are not invisible, you are seen, you are
recognized, and you are appreciated in your interests and oddities.” (Not many
women her age would brave black and white saddle shoes with skinny jeans. But,
her photo to us to mark the start of Spring was of just that!)
I am not a mother. I don’t know if I will be, the fates
haven’t sent me that postcard yet. But it’s baby season around me. At work, I’ve gotten
to snuggle almost weekly with what started as newborn for the last 4
months, and now teeths and laughs and dances and flirts all shy and coy
sometimes, while his mom gets to compose emails with two hands. Like yesterday, I’ve gotten to snuggle another newborn at my friend’s house, letting
him sleep on me for swaths of time where my little heartbeat rests right
against his, and his flutters like a bird, and he’s so warm and soft and new.
It’s glorious.
I’m flying out at the end of the month to visit one of my
best girl friends on Long Island. She got married last year during 4th of July,
went on honeymoon in August, and got pregnant on a boat in the Mediterranean. 9
months later, baby. I asked a few of the new moms I know if it would be “worth” my
flying out to see her. How “important” it was. If money were no object, it
would be no question. It’s the only time at work that I can really go in the
foreseeable future. 
How important is it? The baby won’t remember. My aunt tells
me all the time how she was there when I
was born. I don’t remember. Doesn’t really mean anything at all to me. Or, at
least, it hasn’t. But, now I’m beginning to see that it is meaningful — to the adults. To have
the people you love around you at a time when everything is changing, exciting, exhausting, new – I’d want my best friend there, too.
I don’t have those “uteran tugs” that some women experience
around their 20s and 30s, that ache for a baby in my body. But being so close
to the motherhood around me makes it so much more real, significant,
miraculous.
I’ve written before about my own “Maybe Baby” question, so this
one is just to say, laying a baby – my baby or not – on my chest, having him
nuzzle into me and rest because I’m a safe place, is Life’s great privilege. 

adulthood · childhood · community · compassion · death · friendship · life

This Used to be my Playground

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I’ve been thinking in detail about my home town today.
Thinking about describing it to you: Up the block lived the boy I
had a crush on, across the street from him was our teenage babysitter, the park where
they buried plastic eggs every Easter, the library I used to hide in, and the
honeysuckle fence by the elementary school we all learned to eat from.
I catalogued it all in my brain before I got up. The radius
of what I knew determined by how far we’d bike. The friends who lived the flat
road across town to the other elementary school, and the bakery where my mom
would buy bagels each week, and sometimes cupcakes with frosting heaped on top
in the shape of Sesame Street characters – we’d beg for Cookie Monster, since
he also had a cookie stuck in his mouth.
The Dunkin Donuts down the hill where I got my first job,
and how you could smell the doughnuts baking from the top of the hill. The house next-door where my best friend lived, yellow, now beige with new owners. That big house on
the corner that burned down amid rumors of arson and insurance fraud.
The houses you knew to skip on Halloween, and the little
league fields with an actual brick concession stand. The tire playground that
used to stand at the grade school, where D. fell off the top of the pyramid and broke his
whole leg. The small white, bean-shaped rocks that carpeted that playground; I
picked up a handful the last time I was there, and when I rub them together in my
fist, the sound of scraping unlocks my childhood.
I was going to tell you about the awesome 4th of July parade
one year when I bought a Strawberry Shortcake ice-cream pop that, once
eaten, revealed a “Get One Free” prize on the wooden stick, so that the free one I got had the same message.
The street I first tried to drive down, the patch of pavement
where I fell off my bike and broke my foot.
I’ve been thinking about all this, everything I knew and
remembered, that shaped the world outside my front door, because facebook told me
yesterday that an old classmate’s mom suddenly died of cancer a year after his
father died of it, too. And I was picturing where his house is, just a block
from the library, one I’d have walked past thousands of times. It abuts the big
park where we all went on Memorial Day when school was closed, and there’d be
hot dogs and cotton candy.
For reasons I can’t explain (and despite being tired of
talking about my own cancer — Tired of referencing it like people reference
a year abroad: “Well, last year when I was in Scotland –” “Well, last year when I
had cancer…” as it simply is my frame of reference right now. Tired
and bored of it, and yet astonished at where, like yesterday morning), its
presence and reality will side-swipe me.
My sudden grief wasn’t all about me: it was the sadness of
the reality, once again, that life is so uncertain, so sudden, and so
disillusioning. That life offers those of us in it, grief. Live long enough,
and it just does.
When my final grandparent died last year, my generation, the
one of my classmates, became solidly in the center of life’s process. Our
parents are now grandparents or grandparent age. We’re them. And the generation
we’re birthing is us. We’re transitioning to the center of that boat.
Some of us already have transitioned, lost parents long ago, and have
always been in the center of that boat. But there’s no illusion anymore that
this is something we may be exempt from.
I don’t really know why I cried when I saw this. I felt for
him, for the innocence of our town, for my own remission/relapse fear. For
sudden grief that doesn’t permit goodbyes.
I don’t know how to end this blog. I don’t say that “those
were the days,” that the experience was idyllic, though these recollections tell me it was closer than I knew. But the fact remains that
those of us who grew up, who learned to ride bikes and squirt super soakers at
one another, who bought Big League Chew at the same candy store and rang the same Halloween
doorbells, will always be connected.
We may not be or have been friends, we may barely know the
lives each other lives now, but by circumstance
and proximity, we shaped for one another those two square miles of childhood. 

abundance · adulthood · determination · fear · intimacy · perseverance · recovery · relationships · self-love · self-support

Manic Panic.

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It’s what the junior high and high school kids
were using to dye bright streaks of their hair in the 90s. There was one store in the
mall that sold it (Nature Works? – The Nature Company! that’s it.),
and if you said you were going there, you meant that you were going to dye your
hair a brilliant shade of rebellious.
I never bought Manic Panic. I was as straight an arrow as
they come until the end of high school. There was too much order to maintain,
and too many rules to follow, for me to diverge any bit off the path I was
expected to walk.
And so, as I am very apt to do, once I hit college, the
pendulum swung so desperately and frenetically in the direction of “off the path,” that it
swung right around and hit me in the now-pierced face, like a rogue tetherball.
Obviously, this wasn’t the “way” either. This wasn’t
my authentic way, at least.
I had a therapist tell me a long time ago that if my mother
had killed herself when I was young, as her behavior threatened she’d do, that
I would have probably gone down with that ship. I’d spent so much time and
energy attending to the needs and expectations of someone else, there wasn’t
room to explore or attend to my own.
Years later, I had another therapist tell me that this life
was my own, that I didn’t have to make
choices anymore based on whether I thought my dad would approve, or disapprove
and retaliate anymore. That this life was my own was such a novel concept, I’d
rejected it for years. That I could choose now to dye my hair, pierce my face,
be alone, reject the world, participate in it, smoke, not smoke, date, not date – is still a
concept I’m adjusting to, but the marination of this understanding and
awakening has been long underway.
The idea that I am a master of my own fate … well, it seems
just as rogue! That I can choose the kind of toilet paper I want; toothpaste I
like; friends I call. That I can choose how I want to dress in the world; what hobbies to pursue; … job to have … partner to love.
Fulfillment, is the end game, or the suspicion of the end
game. Am I happy in my path? Note, Molly: this is your path. There is no mother to care for, no father to
obey. What is it
you want in
life? And do you feel free and brave enough to pursue those desires?
Do you feel free and brave enough to apply for a new job? Do
you feel free and brave enough to wear clothing without stains? Do you feel
free and brave enough to accept that you want a partner whose clothes are also
without stains?
Do you feel free and brave enough to accept that you want a
good life? A job you respect? A partner
you admire?
Do I feel … stable enough, secure enough, self-supporting
and self-worthy enough to not only admit these “taboo” desires, but also to
express them to the world, through action?
Do I feel ready to tell you, world, that I want in? That I
want in on the goods, on the joy, on the self-respect, on the intellectual
stimulation, on the bed-rocking sex, on the critical, yet specious-seeming ease?
Well, I guess I’m telling you. I guess it’s been long enough
that the tetherball has hung limp and impotent, and it’s time to begin playing
again. I no longer am… tethered to ideas of being and living that aren’t my
own. The cord is cut, the apron strings untied. The life, really, is my own. 
And though today that may not mean dying my hair
green or copper, as I wish I’d been able to do a dozen years ago, it means I now know that I could. And that I would be awesome besides. 

acceptance · adulthood · beauty · faith · intimacy · letting go · loss · love · relationships · self-love

Because I’m your Mother, That’s Why.

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The last song on Anticipate Thisthe mix CD I’d made for him, is Dave Matthews’ Say
Goodbye. It includes the refrain, “For tonight let’s be lovers, and tomorrow go
back to being friends.”
The line from Alanis’ Thank You has been repeating in my head: “Thank you, Disillusionment.”
And, finally, if I was “craving cupcakes,” well, a cupcake
isn’t a sustainable meal, is it? It’s never actually intended to be, and so you’ve got to enjoy it while it is there, savor, relish, cherish it, and then you let it
go. Then you move on.
We had a “debrief” conversation last night, during which most of the
above sentiments where shared by us both. Acknowledging the loveliness, the heights, the
calm, the titillation. And yet, that it was what it was. That it was a moment
in time that we’d both signed up for, participated in, and get to let go, get
to allow its sanctity, without marring it with all those Whatifs that spun in (both) our heads.
To allow the sanctity of beauty, to allow it its singularity
is a challenge and a lesson of adulthood. To be disillusioned, to know that
moving isn’t right for either of us, that fantasy can overtake reality and
crumble it. To have had the hard-won experience of knowing that selfishness and
possessiveness can suffocate a beautiful thing, is perhaps not “romance” as we
think of it. But it is, in itself, a mercy.
Relinquishing the ties to future, to “meaning,” to purpose,
we can allow it the simplicity and integrity of its joy.
I wrote a poem once about trapping a moment away in a mason
jar, locking it deep inside for fear that the moment would get marred by time
and eventuality. But the problem was that I forgot what that moment smelled like anyway; in my possessiveness and fear of losing it, I forgot what
made that moment so precious to begin with.
The same is true here. And, smartly, maturely, rightly, and a little wistfully, we both, or at least I, have to allow the experience its
autonomy and “string”lessness.
I called my mom yesterday. I’d spoken to several friends
about my conflictedness, and my sadness in letting the moment go. In knowing,
surely and deeply, that I would have to. This knowledge all the more
painful since it was such a thing of beauty, since it was, for me, a lesson in
intimacy, vulnerability, and ease that I haven’t felt with anyone in my past.
As we spoke, I told my mom it was like tasting ice cream in a shop
for the first time, and having to realize that ice cream is available
elsewhere, all over the place, in fact. That I don’t have to go to this one
place to experience it. That I’d be missing out if I thought this was the only
wellspring of deliciousness.
Part of the beauty of it at all, is that I get to see that
ice cream is in fact available to me.
(Ice cream! Cupcakes! Sheesh, can you tell I don’t really eat this stuff
anymore!?)
But, I did. I got to experience, savor, relish, and cherish,
and I get to decide to believe—DECIDE TO BELIEVE—that I can have similar dishes elsewhere. Somewhere a little less
complicated.
My mom told me that of course it was available to me. That we all deserve to have the kind of love
we want in the world. That we all are worthy of finding it, searching for, letting
the non-fits go, and working toward creating in ourselves a person deserving of the highest order this life offers.
Why? I asked her.
Why? Why is that so? Where is the cosmic contract we’ve all
signed that says that we’ll get that kind of love? Where is the agreement that we
sign as humans that says, Work and open and heal and (for)give, and you shall receive?
Really, honestly, who the fuck says that any of us get any of that?
It was important for me to play my own Devil’s Advocate. I’m the one with all the woo-woo affirmations posted
around my apartment about abundance and light and love and serenity and
security and radiance. I’m the one who’d easily and believingly tell a friend that
things work out. I’m the asshole who believes all this muck.
And for once, I needed someone else to tell me it. I needed
to be the petulant asshole who says, “Yeah, Says You.” I needed to allow my
disillusionment of that kind, too. I needed to allow that it sucks and hurts,
and is disappointing, and hard fucking work, and that we (I) do this with
absolutely no promises whatsoever of any kind of “reward,” or change.
There is no rule that says, Thou Shalt Not Toil Until Death.
There isn’t.
So, I need, sometimes, someone else to tell me. Because,
truly, somewhere (a little out of reach at the moment), I believe that we all
do deserve the precious and gorgeous things in life. I believe that none of us are meant to toil and suffer and be beaten by
life. I truly, somewhere, have a faith that is unalterable. A
place inside me that has never known fear or scarcity or sorrow.
But, despite my friends’ ears and wisdom and empathy, I
simply needed my mom, former Miss Cynic of the Universe, to tell me, Molly, It’s
going to be alright. There is ice cream
elsewhere. There is love, abundant and resplendent. Not that it isn’t without
its own challenges and lessons and compromises, but there is love, and I am
worthy of it. That I “deserve” it.
Despite the “adultness” of letting go and loving detachment
and equanimity and allowing what is… in these moments, in this one, I simply needed
the maternal “all knowing” assurance of that which I actually believe.
Dear Egregiously Gorgeous Moment in Time: Thank you.  

adulthood · ambition · connection · death · direction · life · mortality · stagnating

Caution: Lifeguard on Duty

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Today, I think of Death as the figure of the Grim Reaper
lounging by a public pool, a lifeguard. Watching, waiting for the people to
tire, and when they do, reaching in his scythe, and hoisting them out of the
water.
Over the last week, I spent my time with several people I adore who are all in their 30s and 40s and in phases of change in their lives. I
got to witness how they’re handling, adjusting, chafing, and, sometimes, enjoying their lives. And if
I’m honest, I got to witness a good deal of loneliness. (“If you spot it, you got it,” the saying goes.)
Because this isn’t only my story, I will be courteous to allow others their story and their privacy, but it inspired in me a great deal of reflection
over the week about my own life, my own story.
Early in the week, I heard a woman, a stranger, say, “At some
point, we have to give up all hope of our past being different.” There’s a lot
of standing in two worlds–past & present, present & future–that I got to witness this week, and see reflected in
myself. I had a line from Fiona Apple repeating to me on the plane home yesterday:
The child is gone.
I got to see that there is a pivot point in life; that adulthood is more than an age, or bank account, or relationship. It’s a
marrow-deep understanding that the time that was is over. We’re no longer looking toward the top of the mountain and how to get there: it’s now a horizon we are looking toward. There is a plateau in the middle of the ‘natural’
course of life between the climax of our lives to come (if we
get to it), and its decline.
Maybe it was all the True Detective we watched this week!
I don’t mean to be grim, I just mean to be realistic
with where I am standing in my own life. I simply saw the story arc. I heard
the restlessness, the ambition toward something not yet attained, and I
believed for the first time, despite all cancer-awareness and mortality-facing,
that the long life we have is shorter than I’ve known, that the center of that life is closer than I’ve known.
Mostly, I thought about my own ambition toward family and
career. Toward relationship and being “settled” and the timing of all that.
I’ve written before that being in a metropolitan area, I feel less inclined to
think “TICK TOCK” than some of my suburban friends. But, on the heels
of the new job proposal I handed into my work last week for myself, and the
idea that if I spend 7 or 8 years in that job, I’ll be 40, and then be poised
for a more senior management position. Seeing my professional future suddenly chopped up into finite chunks, seeing that I actually do want that kind of trajectory, having the ladder open up to me suddenly, and fucking taking a step onto it
– well… everything else seems to now be broken up into those same finite chunks.
I’ve never had a “five year plan” or a “ten year plan.” I’ve
never known enough about what I want to do to have any path whatsoever seem
like it makes sense to pursue in any certain direction.
There may be “many roads to the mountaintop” and “All roads
lead to Rome,” but I’ve been so stilted in knowing where the fuck Rome is, that
I’ve sat at the base of the mountain, stared at the nailed signpost with its
array of choices, and drawn figures in the dirt with a stick, waiting for one
of them to illuminate or something.
Well, honestly, one of them has, career-wise, and I see the
opening, and I feel myself– well, no, I actually did take a step in that direction at work. And in seeing
that there is suddenly a path that I’m actually on and actually taking, I see
that there are all these other 5 and 10 year plans that I kind of have to be aware of now… and I see what implication that has for life. For
romance, for family, for place.
I see that I’ve sat at that intersection for much too long,
or, simply for as long as I needed to, but now I feel like I have to race to
catch up to the toll of the clock.
I feel like the sense of timelessness in life has
disappeared. That, “eventually” and “some day” are not allowed anymore. And not
really that they’re “not allowed” or “not permitted,” but that there’s just no
room for them. The dreaming must be directionalized now.
This terrifies and goads me. I feel pushed in a way I haven’t.
I feel more certain of what I want in my life, and a bit of a manic thrall
toward doing it. – Sure, All things in time, and All things in balance, but: I have
begun to think that this might be what ambition is; and what it is for. 

adulthood · adventure · chance · courage · crush · doubt · fear · passion · risk · romance

The Whatifs

Last month, I contacted my psychic to ask about this upcoming trip to visit the Boston Cupcake (as he shall henceforth be known).
I can get an emailed reading from her, and despite your and
my own doubts, I get pretty accurate and insightful results from her, via email
or by phone. I mean, I’ve met her and
all – but this isn’t about her. It’s about him. And me.
I’d panicked a little after we’d confirmed that I was going
to fly out, over the continent, to spend 4 days in his bed, arms, town, space.
As Shel Silverstein elegantly put it:
Last night, while I lay thinking
here,
Some Whatifs crawled inside my ear
And pranced and partied all night
long
And sang their same old Whatif
song:
Whatif it’s awkward?
Whatif I can’t sleep?
Whatif I don’t come?
Whatif we ruin our friendship?
Whatif it’s good, but that’s the end of it?
Whatif it sucks in person, and we never text-flirt
again?
Whatif we do like each other?
Whatif we fall in love?
Whatif I’m too bruised to fall in love?
Whatif I have to move?
Whatif I move and it doesn’t work out?
Whatif we get married and have kids, and everything works out amazingly?
Whatif we get married and have kids, and struggle for money?
Whatif I have to leave the Bay Area?
Whatif I can’t afford to leave the Bay Area?
Whatif there’s no women’s spiritual community?
Whatif I never see my friends here again?
Whatif I hate the winter there?
Whatif he doesn’t like the way I laugh?
Whatif I don’t like the way he chews?
Whatif …
What if.

Va voy.

So, a few days before the deadline to purchase my flight, I
emailed my psychic to try to divine some answers. What are the implications of this
trip? Is this a good match? Is this a good thing, even if it’s not a match? What Is Going To Happen To Me???
Well, here’s what happened: She got sick, and emailed me
that she’d have to postpone my reading until the following week. Or, she could
just PayPal me back the funds and cancel the reading.
So, I thought about it. What was I really trying to get from
her and her answers, anyway? Assurance, Confirmation, Certainty.
Ah, yes. Certainty. If you can tell me with certainty that the
risk I’m about to take has the outcome that I want, then I’ll take it. If you
cannot tell me with certainty that it will be alright, then I am terrified to
risk it.
So, I went to her blog, to re-acquaint myself with her, to
see if I could divine my own answer, since I knew I was trying to get something
that no one else could really offer me. That life can never offer me.
And her most recent post was basically, if I remember
correctly, about taking chances. About putting your best effort forward, and
letting go; about allowing ourselves to try, and to know that whatever the
outcome, we’re cosmically safe.
Arghh…. Right. I am
safe, loved, assured, no matter what any outcome; but it is my responsibility
to try.
If nothing changes, nothing changes.
So, I emailed her back, and told her her blog helped me
realize that it was up to me to take this risk, to try without certainty to
allow adventure, intimacy, attraction, vulnerability into my life. That I would
take the refund from her, and go on this trip, and let all these unknowable
chips fall where they may.
Because, it all flows from what I was just saying yesterday,
about throwing my hat in the ring at work, professionally putting myself out
there, just for the esteem of it, not
knowing if it’ll “go my way,” but getting the benefits of trying anyway.
It’s all about what I’d quoted earlier this week, “You gotta
get in it, cuz it’s a day-by-day gig.”
If nothing changes, nothing changes.
I won’t know til I try. I won’t have certainty even when I am in it. None of us do, even with cohabitation, a ring, children, none of us know if this will “work out,” or if we’ll end up signing divorce papers, bankruptcy papers, restraining orders.

But, what I know for
certain is that I really am looking forward to this trip, to spending this time
with someone I admire, fancy, and enjoy. I really am so very happy that I am
taking a risk, stepping into the wide unknown, opening my arms and falling into
his, come what may.