dreams · faith · fantasy · fear · hope · loneliness · love · reality · scarcity · vision

Mystery Man.

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There is a conceit that we can only have in our lives that which we can imagine. As the saying goes, “If you dream it, you can do it.”
But, what if you can’t dream it? What if your ability to
dream is hampered, and you can only see the smallest of your dreams, the tiny
parts of a big picture?
Because there’s also the phrase, “Beyond your wildest dreams.” So if something is beyond what we can conceive for ourselves, then the entire
point is that we can’t dream it. Right?
Yes, we’re getting a little metaphysical this morning.
Because, maybe a year ago, a friend sent me a link to the
Oprah and Deepak free 21-day meditation challenge. I’d seen others “sharing” it on
Facebook, and I thought, what the hell.
Since then, I’ve done these “challenges” on and off, and I
also continue to receive little “gift” meditations in my email here and there, like I did yesterday.
So, yesterday, I sat with one, and today, I searched back through my email to
find a different one to do, and I clicked on the one entitled, “Intentional
Me.”
We are asked to envision one of our dreams, in vivid
Technicolor, fleshing it out. I’ve written here before about this one I have of
me in a white kitchen, I’m like 50, there’s an art/music studio detached in the
back. It’s an open floor plan kind of place, that you can see the kitchen from
the living room.
What happened for me this morning was that I added an
11-year old boy to the picture. After yesterday’s birthday party for a friend’s
11-year old, I felt that desire. (In fact, I’ve been feeling more clearly a desire to spawn my own offspring, which surprises me as much as it worries me.) But, – I love boys that age. They’re feisty, but
still sort of willing to listen to authority. They’re not too pubescent to be
very unsure of themselves and therefore super defensive. They’re funny, sarcastic, and full of energy. I love
spending time with kids that age. In fact, I’d taught kids that age a few years ago at
Sunday school.
So, into my vision of my “dream” for myself, now there’s a
boy, a son, perhaps, perhopes.
And then I tried to envision the partner, because I do want that. My partner, my
husband, my beloved (gag). And I have a really hard time doing this. It was like a person flickering in my vision: sort of there, sort of not. I begin to remember my Dad and
my parents and how so very awkward their own interactions were. So forced and
strange.
I can’t keep a solid image of a man in the kitchen to help
me as I chop some vegetable at the center island. I can’t believe in a vision of a partner
for myself. Even in a daydream.
So, I have to wonder: Can I hold an intention for myself
that I can’t really see?
Or is there work to be done to allow myself to have that
kind of love and joy even in the confines of my brain?
Which I suppose, the answer is Yes.
I have very few models of happy married life, but I have two
that I thought hard about this morning, trying to see if I had any at all.
There was the family I babysat for down the block growing up. A married couple
who were symphony musicians, and their three sons. They seemed happy. Who
knows, but to me they arise as a model for familial contentment.
I mean, even last year, when I went with my brother to visit
our old house in New Jersey, there was the dad, older and grayer, but with the
same winning smile and generous spirit, installing a flower box via a
jerry-rigged pulley system with his youngest son. Who was about to go off to
college that Fall. I remember taking care of him when he was 6-weeks old.
But here they were. I heard about the other two, and this
one, about to go to school for musical theater in Texas. It was pleasant, this
whole scene. It felt nice and right, and they live in a small house on a
tree-shaded block in one of the most pleasant areas of the state.
The wife wasn’t there, because she was in New York, playing
with the Philharmonic. But his eyes told me they were happy, they were
satisfied with how their life was turning out. This was their vision.
The second couple are my mom’s friends from my growing up.
They’re sort of like my second parents in some ways, and we’ve become closer
the older I’ve become. Their life hasn’t been easy, but it has been happy on
the whole. And they love one another like … well, like we all hope to be loved.
So, I suppose I do have models for what I want for myself.
And it will be about remembering them fiercely in the face of “I don’t know,”
and “Not for me,” and “How can I?” that come up. In the face of scarcity and fear and
deprivation, I am going to have to be diligent about calling on these models
for hope and health and change.
Because I have some vegetables to chop, a partner to laugh
with, and a son to make faces at. 

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creativity · fantasy · love · painting · reality · relationships

“If I were a painter…” ~ Norah Jones

The earliest I can remember is drawing with sidewalk chalk
on the dresser in my childhood bedroom. I was probably 14 or 15, beginning
to assert a level of artistry and self-expression, and I decided to draw a
chalk moon on one of the hutch doors above the dresser, and a sun on the other.
Senior year of college, much to my housemates’ chagrin, I
began drawing on the walls. In my rented room, there was a walled up doorframe,
which we’d left white when me, The Cousin, my best friend and her guy, A.,
painted two walls lavender and the opposite two a mint
green.
This white moulding begged to become a frame, and when I
was envisioning getting my first tattoo, I thought it reasonable to draw the
image on my wall, so that I could live with it for a few months on my wall
before permanently living with it on my body.
It was a sun again. Four feet of elaborate, vaporous rays that twisted,
and in the center of the sun, I drew the infinity symbol, but shaded it to be
three-dimensional, like a Mobius strip, looping infinitely. Eventually, I
decided that the black & white kohl drawing was not enough, and spent a
good deal of inebriated time coloring in the drawing with various nail
polishes.
Unfortunately, the place I decided to get this tattooed was
the inside of my left wrist, which is not a large canvas, and thus it lives, much
simplified, on my skin. I was otherwise engaged at the time of “move-out” from
that house, and so my father and brother had to clear out my room, and paint it
all back to white, and over this artwork. My father asked incredulously what I
must have drawn it with, since it took three coats to cover.
Living, later, in South Korea, in a rented studio apartment,
I got the itch again. In those studios (which we would call junior studios),
the refrigerator lives in the same room as your very small dining table and
your bed, and so from the vantage point of my bed, I stared at this beige-ing
plastic door, and decided it needed embellishment.
I used my acrylic paints to create huge designs, one in
color on the top freezer half, one in black on the bottom. It was just abstract
design, but it was playful, and certainly more interesting.
Eventually, my lover the painter came over one night, and
together, naked, we painted the stainless steel panel that housed the water
heater in my bathroom, which we could also see from the bed. Naked, inebriated,
painted.
To complete the effect of living in a colored, effusive,
manic wonderland, I painted the cabinets over my sink and small range stove.
Purple and green again, like in college.
I’m sure to their dismay, shock, and irritation, my landlord
discovered all this “improvement” to their apartment after I’d left the country
when my contract ended.
And finally, when I was living in San Francisco in Cole
Valley, the enormous expanse of my white kitchen cabinets called to my paint
brush again, and I embellished them with a few outsized spheres and swirls, using the same colors that adorned that refrigerator in Seoul.
When A., my college room painter, was passing through San Francisco and came to visit, he noted upon seeing the cabinets, “Now, this looks
like you.”
And yes, I owed a penny or two from my security deposit when
I left that apartment, having every intention of painting the cabinets back to
white, but just never getting around to it.
This morning, as I heated up my coffee and glanced around my
kitchen, my vase of paint brushes caught my eye. Specifically a set that I keep in its original plastic case: these are good
brushes, those. They were a gift from my Korean-years’ roommates during my
first contract year there. I wondered to myself this morning when I’d last used
them. Remarked that it’s been too long, much too long. Each of them, like pens,
or a piano, or a piece you want to choreograph to, is potential. Each of them
vibrates with the eventuality of what you can do with them, create with them,
manipulate from them into being. They are possibility incarnate.
There was a time when I was still in conversation with The
Cousin (not my cousin, fyi) when I remarked
to him that it would be so easy for me to fall into the painting of our life together.
Just fall into the frame, like something out of
Mary Poppins, just tip over the
gilding and onto the lawn with the white picket fence, the blue, cloud-flecked
sky, and the ivy growing up the side of the house we live in together.
How easy it is to imagine that things are and were as easy
as just stepping into an alternate reality, the one we’ve created for ourselves
in our minds and mutual enchantment. A “reality” without mortgage payments or
property tax on that ivy-laced house; without paychecks to support it; without
the stymieing banality of pulling the garbage can to and from that picket fence.
Painting something doesn’t make it true. Imagining doesn’t
make it easy. And desire doesn’t make it destiny.
It’s been a while since I’ve painted on my walls, but
right now, the ones in my mind are devoutly Technicolor. 

acceptance · dating · fantasy · fear · finances · growth · maturity · progress · relationships · romance · sobriety

"Love as Burrito" or "This, or Something Better"

Grateful to my friends who gave me feedback, I texted the okJew yesterday morning
that I was a fan of getting to know someone before getting physical (I couldn’t
help but hear Olivia Newton-John as I typed it), and if that was something he
was interested in, then I’d love to continue getting to know him, and if not,
no hard feelings. He texted back to say that, in fact, he was looking for
something else, and didn’t know how that fit in with me or not.
So, I got to sit with that. Tall, attractive, well-built
Jew? What’s not to like? Oh, unavailable.
And, I did sit, I questioned, I turned inward for a few minutes to test that
option, and ultimately, gratefully, I said I was looking for something less
tenuous, and good luck.
Then …
I sat and stared at a wall of books.
I was shocked, honestly, at how “air out of a balloon” I
felt, without all that funny noise it makes. It made me realize that I still do
have some work to do. I identified very clearly the feeling of a crash after a
high. I could almost smell the cigarette smog and late 90s radio.
Hm. Love as Drug. Huey Lewis has a song about it. And, duh,
it’s not “love” as in Love. It was intrigue. Oh, Intrigue!! – when’s the next
text, what do I wear, how flirty do I be, funny do I be, do I invite him in,
scheduling plans, etc…etc…etc… Something to think about, and then the plug was
pulled yesterday mid morning, and I sat deflated and comatose for a few minutes
on and off till lunchtime.
When I went and bought a burrito. My friend texted me to say
that it’s normal to feel feelings, and we get to let them pass. I said my feelings now
feel like a burrito in my belly ~ Real feelings TBA. And that much was true. How
much easier it is to feel full, or to
buy something to feel better – not better, to just feel different. My burrito
accomplished both of those. Better to eat, feel full (and mildly grossed out
that I ate a pound of tofu and salsa flesh), and to get the thrill that I spent
money on lunch when I had a perfectly decent one in the fridge at work.
Cuz, what do I feel when I’m not caught up in the nonsense?
Fear. I feel fear about money and work and job applications and
directionlessness. Who the hell wants to feel that?? No one. But, better to feel those feelings, and
thereby
get into action around
them, than to stuff them with something else, and continue avoiding the
elephant in my psyche.
There’s another okJew who I’ve been talking to – and I’m not
entirely sure that I want to pursue it at the moment. I met up with some of my
new “relationship/emotional intimacy” folks last night after work, which was a
very good use of my time. I’m so glad
I’ve chosen to fall in with them – and they were talking about dating, and
showing up, and boundaries, and desires, and how to be honest. These are things
I want. I
want to have desires –
I have no … desire… to be celibate, or nunnish. I am a hot-blooded woman with
hot-blooded needs, and a great big bag of tools that don’t work.
That said, I obviously do have more tools than I used to (burrito
coma aside) – because I did let this dude know what I was available for, and he
said he was glad we got that worked out early – and it’s true. I know plenty of
times when I’ve let my “fear of looking needy” keep me from speaking up about
my discomfort at the level of murk in a relationship or sexytime companionship.
Once, it took me almost a month, and when I finally broached the subject with
the dude, he said he wasn’t available or looking for more. So, I said, great,
and was glad to know, and left his house feeling better and confident in my
ability to state my needs, and let go of the results.
Sure, I didn’t “get what I want” in that situation – who doesn’t want the person to say, of course, I’d love to
continue to get to know you and see if there’s something substantial that can
come from this. But … as my “sugar crash” yesterday proved to me, there’s more
work to be done. It’s not at all fair to place that amount of expectation on
anyone – because they’re not really being asked to be themselves, they’re being
asked to fill something in me, or distract something in me, or fix something in
me. And, that, my dears, is an inside job.
When I said a few days ago, that if relationships are
Miracle-Gro for your character defects, then surely they are/must be for your
spiritual growth – this is why. My defect here being the desire to run away
from the reality of my professional and financial situation – and when someone
says they can’t be that for me, I’m left simply with my situation all over again, like
the ugly step-sister you lock in the attic. Still here.
So what do I do? Well, firstly, I meet up with folks and I
ask for help. Done, and will continue to do. Secondly, I continue to work on
the job front. I was invited to go camping this weekend, and had accepted, as I
love to camp, and getting out of dodge sounded so very nice. But last night, as
I was compiling job listings into an email draft so I could take a look at them
in my spare moments at work… it occurred to me that perhaps going camping was
not the best use of my time at the moment.
This temp job will likely end in the next week or two, and
after that is a blank horizon. It’s time for me to assist in coloring it in.
Lastly, I offer myself kudos. I made my intentions known,
quickly. I listened honestly to what another person was telling me about their
intentions. Which I didn’t take personally at all (a thought, I recognize, is
also huge progress, but seems so “of course” now). I can try to treat myself
kindly with how I treat my body and not go food coma on myself.
I showed up. I got in the ring. I made out. And, I can be
confident that what’s available for me is “This, or something better.”

action · change · fantasy · fear · integrity · responsibility

Magical Accidental Orgasm

In The Vagina Monologues,
there is a piece in which a woman comes to the realization while in a
“Vagina Workshop” that she had avoided finding her clitoris. That she had
believed that orgasms happen
to
her, that they weren’t something she should… have a hand in. She was
occasionally the recipient of magical, accidental orgasms (on horseback, or in
water, she says), but had never actually made one happen herself.
When she was instructed in the workshop that it was time to
find her clitoris, she noticed she began to panic. She had to now give up
the idea that someone would come along and give her orgasms, she had to now give up the
idea that someone was coming to live her life for her.
Her lines occurred to me as I walked toward yesterday’s professional
development seminar for writers. The sense that I was having to give up the
idea that someone would come along and live my life for me – that someone else
would make the decisions, take the actions that would enable me to be a something. A writer, an artist, a worker.
I have magical, accidental thinking too. And as I noticed I
was experiencing a strange sense of sadness on my way to the seminar yesterday,
I realized this was why. It is becoming time for me to “find my clitoris.” To
stop waiting for someone to do this for me, to stop waiting for someone to hand me
the roadmap for my life, and time for me to begin actually taking action if I
want results.
This brought grief. The death of my magical thinking. The
death of my hope that I could float along on half steam. Because I have floated along on half steam, the recipient of
magical gifts from the Universe. The problem with floating along without my own
power is that I now come to approach the job market, the work world, with no
sense of self-esteem. What
have I
done? Where
have I been a real
asset?
Sure, I have a long resume, with a host of attributes, but
none of them have anything to do with what gives me fire. When a friend
suggested recently that once May comes along, I’ll find my “fuck yeah” job at
40 hours a week with benefits… I thought I would vomit. Or rather, my whole
internal organ system went momentarily into a freeze. FUCK NO. 40 hours a week
with benefits sounds like a prison sentence. But it’s always what I’ve fallen
back on. I’m a good little worker bee; under half-steam I can coast along on
charisma and menial labor.
That is not my “fuck yeah” job. So what is? Because I have
ultimately avoided finding my “spot,” I have no idea.
But, I have now realized that I’ve been wishing that someone
would make those decisions and take those actions for me. That I would
magically and accidentally end up in the career, field, job that I love.
And I’ve realized that this is not true. And further, back
to the self-esteem thing, it doesn’t build it. Being gifted by the Universe has
been wonderful; I’ve been able to walk through the fire of dramatic uprisings
in finances and personal relationships. I have done this with as much work as I
thought was necessary, but not much more.
I am frightened. I have never really done much of the
showing up wholly and fully, and so I don’t yet have the experience that I can.
But, I know for absolute certain that if I don’t let go of my magical thinking,
I will “end up” in another cubicle, and I have promised myself, sworn to
myself, and begged myself to not do that.
This means accepting that I am worth the effort; and that I
am worthy of the effort. That I am worthy of my full attention, and don’t need
to be dependent on or subject to the random twists of fate. 
It’s time to take
matters into my own hand.
acceptance · fantasy · fear · letting go · love · relationships · school · spirituality

"This Rare Human Life" – P.C.

Before I go any further, I must report the variety of
references that occurred in tonight’s Shakespeare class:
Zombie Romeo, Dr. Who, the youtube video of a gosling
falling asleep, The Twilight Zone, and a graphic novella by Neil Gaiman.
And, most surprisingly, were all pertinent to our discussion
– well, except Zombie Romeo – he’s just fun to talk about.
Grad school is weird.
Next, it’s a very
good thing that the topic for today’s
Calling in the One was about Abe Lincoln’s quote that we are “all as happy
as you make up your mind to be,” and to actively practice being happy in the
situation we are in, in the life that we are in no matter what it includes or
doesn’t include.
This is a very good thing I read this last night before bed,
as when I woke up, I did a dumb thing – I looked at an ex’s facebook page. Now,
now! I had good intention, there was this link he just needed to have, it so referenced inside jokes that happened
when we were together – it was pertinent…necessary…
I’ve pasted the link into the comment box … and then I see a
recent tagged photo of him with a girl. … My gut goes PHOOM – CLUNK – GAK and
STAB. Now, I have no idea who this woman is – could be his cousin – though I
doubt that. I delete the link. Ack – how that spun me. For several minutes I was …
triggered? I guess could be the word there?
Now, yes, I broke off our relationship. Yes, we both know
that we weren’t suited for the “long haul.” Yes, I really do believe there are
people who we are both more well suited
for – but F8ck! did you have to find one first!
Ha, as if it’s some contest. As if “happiness” is a contest.
Nannynanny poopoo I got there fiiirst.
So, there were a few minutes of pain that I don’t really
know what emotion it was – jealousy, envy, sadness? And I texted a few friends,
and then as I was putting my coffee in the microwave, I see on my fridge is a
card that has that very same Abe Lincoln quote on it. About being as happy as I
make up my mind to be. And I go back to the CITO book and I look at the wording for today’s “assignment,” and it’s to
affirm that I am happy with everything that I have and everything that I don’t
have. Everything as it is.
So, I say that a few times, sip some coffee, and text my
friends back and say, I’m okay, it was just sort of a kick in the chest, but
that I know that I’m making myself available for something phenomenal – and, in
fact, that I really do wish him to be happy. There’s nothing “wrong” with him –
as really, there’s nothing “wrong” with anyone – just things that don’t work for me or that I may not agree with.
So, there’s nothing “wrong” with any of this at
all. I mean, my life is chock full at the moment. I left the house to go meet
with my fellows this morning and had some good chuckles and a dash of support –
and I got to hold a two-month old baby and told my friend I’d be happy to
babysit – he seemed quite relieved to imagine an hour or more when he and his
wife could have silence. Babies sort of readjust your soul I think.
I went to the dentist for a check-up, I ate some lunch, and
then I met with my Shakespeare professor about my final project. … It may not
have Muppets. Sorry folks. He said, although he loves the um, enthusiasm,
perhaps I could thing of a more “robust” frame. So we spoke for quite some
time, and I also asked him what he thought of a female monologue from Shakespeare
for my audition on Sunday, and gave me some alternative ideas (I still have to
get my headshots printed. … gak).
Afterward, directly as I was walking down the stairs from
that meeting, I get a call from a girl friend whom I love dearly but hadn’t spoken
with in months. We chat for nearly an hour, then it’s time for dinner and
class.
So, yeah, my life is full. Of action, activities, love,
self-care, friendship, community.
And two of my friends texted back this morning to say that
my reaction was human. Just human. Normal, and human. And for me, another
thing to accept is that “human” is not a curse word.