avoidance · compassion · connection · family · father · forgiveness · isolation · love · relationships · resentment · self-preservation

Well, Shoot.

Normal
0
0
1
418
2386
19
4
2930
11.1539

0

0
0

There has been all this heartache in me about wanting my
father to change. To be loving, available, vulnerable and open. I have wanted
this to happen for as long as I can remember, and I’ve held out a resentment
toward him for his inability to do this for that long, too.
I have tried many ways around and through this resentment:
loving kindness, acceptance, letters to god, letters to him I didn’t send,
letters to him I did. Individuation meditations, praying daily for his peace
and happiness, envisioning him as a child… But nothing has moved this boulder of a need.
And I finally realized what the need really is. It is not
that I need my father to change. At this point, it’s that I need him not to.
Because if he did, then I would have to look at being loving, available,
vulnerable and open to him. And this causes trouble, because this is not safe.
So, keeping my resentment toward him has been a circuitous
way to protect myself from my being
vulnerable to
him.
It’s all well and good to want someone to change – but when
faced with the actuality of their transformation, how do we deal with that?
I wish I could tell you that I have overblown the situation,
and he’s kinder than he appears, and being vulnerable to him could maybe, possibly, just-give-it-one-more-try, be a good idea.
But it’s not. Unfortunately, I have enough evidence to support this. Not ancient, you yelled I was a liar during a game of Clue when I was 5. Like,
recent, appallingly turning my vulnerability against me evidence.
So, here’s the thing. I can forgive all of that. I can be willing to forgive it all, anyway. But do I want to change my behavior? Not really.
I’ve spent all this time trying to find my way around the
rock of resentment to get toward connection, but when I look instead at what
the rock is doing for me, not to me, I get to see that maybe it’s been doing the
right thing all along. And this realization is
hard for a person like me.
I have fear that keeping myself separate from him will cause
bile in my soul and in my body, and corrode other relationships. I have fear that by not being vulnerable to
him, I’m going to call down some cosmic retribution and be serially alone. I have fear that I’m not “spiritual”
enough, or evolved enough or recovered enough, or else I’d be able to have him
in my life as a loving and caring adult, both ways ’round.
I have shame that I can’t allow this relationship to flourish.
That I refuse to be the asshole who riles on the ground before him and begs him
to love me. I have been doing that for as long as I can remember, too.
But the thing I always thought I wanted was for him to do
that too. To acknowledge his faults, to claim ownership of his behavior, and to
beg my forgiveness.
What I see now, is that if he actually did, I don’t want to give it – that
forgiveness is a door to love. And with him, love is a door to hurt.
The boulder has been there doing this job all along.
Until I learn a “healthier” way of screening those doors,
they’ll just have to remain shut. 

awareness · career · childhood · clarity · despair · faith · fear · healing · isolation · jobs · recovery · work

The Runaways

Normal
0
0
1
972
5546
46
11
6810
11.1539

0

0
0

I sent out a mass text on Wednesday to several women I know
who’d understand. I asked them to help me not quit my job that day; that for me
quitting without a safety net is equivalent to drinking; that I was at the end
of my rope.
I got several texts back, including from a woman I am only
acquainted with but who I admire, and she offered that if I called her, we
could pray together. Sure, what else have I got?
When I called, I imagined we’d just say some rote prayer that
is common around, but instead, she launched into a several-minute long prayer
personal to and about me. In it she said, to me and to the ether, that this job
is just a recreation of my childhood trauma and neglect, and to help me see
that and heal that. She said many other loving things, but this is the part that
has been sending shock-waves through me the last few days.
I’ve “gotten” that my relationships in the world tend to be
mirrors or recreations of older, historical relationships. It’s been clear that
my acceptance and pursuit of jobs that make me want to cry with frustration
over the hemorrhaging of my time is a pattern of low self-worth and despair.
However, there was and is a new level of understanding – an
“aha” moment if you will (not gag) – as I listened to my friend’s prayer. How
is my job a recreation of my home life
growing up?
Well, at home, I was a runaway.
When I was little, I only did it twice. I got as far as our
public library, with a small backpack filled with maybe an apple and a
sweatshirt. But at 7 or 8 years old, I didn’t have a plan, I didn’t have a
place to go, there was no where to go. And so I defeatedly walked back home,
and slipped into my house, where no one noticed I’d been gone anyway, just like
the time before.
In my home, my gifts were not encouraged or noticed; there
was an unstable force that expected perfection, meekness, and to be obeyed; and
finally, all of my most basic needs were met. I was fed, clothed, and housed —
anything else was bonus, not to be asked for and not to be expected.
(It wasn’t prison life, I know; but this is the
interpretation and internalization of a small person with a brain that analyzes
and makes judgment.)
So. How have my work environments been a reflection, a
recreation of this initial home environment?
Perfectly. Perfectly parallel:
Basic needs met. Check.
Gifts not seen or utilized. Check.
Perfection and meekness expected. Check.
Unstable authoritarian. Check.
And finally,
Somewhere I run away from. Check. Check, the whole of my life, check.
I have held 6 jobs in the past 8 years.
Each year and a half or so, I become so frustrated with the
confines of my environment and the yearnings of my soul, that I quit. I quit
without a safety net. I quit with nowhere to go.
And so I do what I did when I was young: I go back home. I
find another underearning, underbeing, dissatisfying, deadening, useless position
that also meets my very basic needs and has a few coworkers to be my allies.
I keep this job until I end up crying in my car for an hour (See: this Tuesday). And then I quit again.
Rinse. Repeat.
So, today, I am attempting with every fucking fiber of my
being not to quit. Not to start the cycle again without a plan – without
someplace to go. Without someplace to go that is “right,” that is safe, that is
not running from the frying pan into the fire.
For me, to quit a job without a safety net – meaning,
another job or enough savings to carry me through to another job – is tantamount to drinking. And as a sober alcoholic,
that’s a pretty serious parallel. It is deadly for me to do this again:
 I eventually begin to think about driving into oncoming traffic. It is insane for me to do this again and expect that in any way
it would be different than before.
So, what is my solution?
I have tried every mode of visioning, job window-shopping,
informational interviewing, praying, meditating, and begging known to me to try to “conjure” or land on or decide or realize or discover
what the job, the career, for my life should be. And I have landed on nothing.
I am absolutely blocked in this area of dreaming.
A therapist once told me that I don’t let myself dream.
And this is true. Why dream, when it’ll be taken away or
I’ll fuck it up anyway, which amounts to the same thing?
I had a moment last night when I heard someone say that “we”
are the kind of people who try to get away with doing the least work.
I thought about that. Why is that? Because I completely identify with that.
I leaned to my friend on the left, who identifies with that
way of being, and asked, Well, what about workaholics?
I leaned to my friend on the right, who is a workaholic and would no more do the least amount
of work necessary than eat sand, and asked her about it.
Later, in talking with her, I’ve come to see that although
the routes are very opposite, the motivation and the fear is the same for both
“underearners/under-be-ers” and for workaholics: Things are not going to work
out; I’m not going to be okay.
For the set that does the minimum, the fear (for me at
least) is that whatever it is is not going to work out anyway, so why try? Why
give the world the satisfaction of seeing me put effort in, if it’s only going
to turn to shit?
For the workaholic set, the fear is that unless I have my hand in everything, it’s not going to work
out. I must make sure that I’m doing everything possible, or it will turn to
shit.
In both these scenarios, the fear is that the result will
not be favorable to us. On the one hand, why try to make it work – on the other hand, make
it
.
In both cases, there is a lack of faith in the positive
outcome of things, or in an outcome that is unfavorable but doesn’t demoralize
and crush us into smitherines. Because,
for me, that’s the final stage of the fear – I will be so demoralized, I will be
annihilated.
But aren’t I there anyway?
So, again, what is the solution here?
It seems to me, that I needed a safe place to go when I was
running away. And although I cannot conjure or envision for myself a job or
career that I want, I do think that I
can try to envision for myself a safe home.
Though, even in my home life now, I’ve recreated what it was like when I was
a kid: My own small room that was safe, filled with things I’ve made and pretty
things, a place I could hide, be myself, and a place where I was mostly alone.
What is a real safe
place, not like this isolation? Where would I
want to run away to?
I believe that as I try to answer this question, to envision
what an ideal safe home looks like, I will begin to have movement on the job
front. I will begin to create that environment I crave in the external world. And though that might not mean a lightning bolt in terms of a career
choice, it may help to make whatever my next transition is one that I don’t
have to run away from.

change · community · connection · courage · fear · isolation · persistence · recovery

Nasty Jenga Partners.

Normal
0
0
1
592
3380
28
6
4150
11.1287

0

0
0

I wanted to be a botanist. In 8th grade, I decided that if I
were a botanist, I could live in a tree, far away from people. It had little to
do with botany.
It’s funny to see that what I wanted most, isolation, is
what I’ve actually been fighting against most of my life, into the present. For
someone who purports the necessity of community, and told my interviewers that
what underlines all of the work I want
to do in my life is a passion for bringing people together – they sure do scare
the crap out of me most of the time.
Not surprising. Not unique. But funny to have a primary
motivation in my life be the thing that is also hardest for me to let in, let
percolate. I suppose it’s that way for most people. Or not.
I told my therapist the other day that I want to strive
without questioning/battering myself at every step. I asked her if that was
possible, if “normal” people can actually do this? She said, Yes.
I told her that I’d once admitted to a mentor that I was
scared I was too analytical to be happy. I told her I still have that fear. If
at every turn in your life, you hound yourself, where is there room for
happiness, satisfaction, self-acceptance?
Where is there time?
Because time continues to be a mindfuck for me too. I’ve
been typing up this woman’s life stories she’s compiling at a workshop where I
work. The one that’s sticking with me is entitled, “Turning
80.” At 60, her family brought all her old friends from her home town whom she
hadn’t seen in years, and had a big party. At 70, she got together with the
close friends she’d met while living here in the “new” iteration of her life.
What will she do at 80? How will she celebrate? What’s
important?
I was driving my boss’s dad to and from dialysis in San
Francisco several years ago a few days a week for a few months. He was probably
about 80, too, and I asked him the key to life, as he seemed happy and
satisfied enough. He answered, Do what you love, and Travel.
Simple enough… if you’re not also standing at your own heel
questioning the importance and wisdom of all your moves, like a crappy Jenga
partner.
But, my therapist seems to think it’s possible. No. She knows it’s possible for people to go through their lives,
interesting, interested, engaged, without the “itty bitty shitty committee.”
I’ve said that I don’t think that committee ever actually
“goes away;” I just think the volume gets turned down. On good days, it does.
And certainly, I can admit with fervor
that my own self-doubt is light-years (light-decibels?) quieter than it had been.
Because it is those voices – those nagging thoughts to be
better, wiser, travel more, act more, play music more, paint more, engage more,
be friends more, be available more – that serve to do the exact opposite. Leave
me the fuck alone, voices!
And the lie is
that being alone is the antidote, is the cure, for those voices. That isolation is the cure for
loneliness.
The lie is that isolation is the cure for loneliness.
Of course I’m not meant to live in a tree, or observe the
apes, or tick away hours in a lab, or in front of Netflix. My primary
motivation for living is to engage with
people, connect with them and help them connect with each other. I am the diplomat incarnate.
“Did you meet so and so? They make jewelry, and you make hand puppets, maybe
you should talk.” “I know someone who just did what you’re looking to do, I’ll
give you their number.” “You’re both writers, bakers, candle-stick makers, let
me help you connect.”
Bringing people together means that I have to be willing to get together with them. I know
my hesitations, I know my underlying reasons and history, I know all the “justifiable” reasons not to. And I know how that looks like me abandoning
relationships, abandoning hobbies, abandoning myself.
But this path has become boring. Not to mention lonely. And
if I’m such an intrepid world/life traveler, then (my breathing becomes shallow as I
even contemplate this) I will have to allow myself to try this other
route, this one called Sustained Human Connection and hope the voices get bored
of me not listening, and fade out.

acting · career · connection · fun · isolation · laughter · loneliness · love · perseverance

“Just about the time you’re rotting with seriousness or serious boredom, something happens or else you’d die.” ~ Lorine Niedecker, poet

Normal
0
0
1
460
2624
21
5
3222
11.1287

0

0
0

“The thing about grief,” she told me, “is that something is
broken, but you’re not – and you’ve got to keep going.”
Years ago she told me this, and I reflect on it in so many
situations.
Yesterday, after writing that blog that tore me up a bit, I
had to go assist at a work event, and then head to an audition for a play. I
really wasn’t feeling it.
It’s been two months now since I’ve auditioned, as I’d been cast in a play (yay!), and then turned down for other parts that allowed me the
time to go on vacation. In the meantime, I did go on vacation, and had
elaborate experience and processing about relationships, values, love. I also
got clearer about my career goals, and implemented some action around them at work,
which not surprisingly, I was told last week were great ideas but probably
aren’t going to happen “within the next year,” if at all. So, there’s been
processing around that, too.
In all, it’s been kinda heavy around here. Making
check-points of where I am, where I want to be personally and professionally.
And so I showed up to that audition, late and lost in the hills of Berkeley, with
little more than the feet I was standing on.
But, most times, that’s enough.
God, it was fun. I
really had forgotten that I love this stuff. I’d forgotten the titillation and
excitement, and the nervous sizing-up from the other auditioners, and the
frantic reading of sides before your name is called, wondering if you’re
supposed to do an accent or not.
It was great. It’s less than 20 minutes of life, but it
pulled me back to center, away from the future-gazing, away from the
grief-feeling. I still feel off today, and that’s alright, but for a few
minutes yesterday, I got to do something I love doing, simply for the effort of
trying it. I got to meet other women trying it too, and have a coffee date to
pick one’s brain on the whole “Bay Area Theater Biz.”
It’s strange to get back to this again, this thing that I
just want to do because it’s fun and not because my life or income or goals
depend on it. It’s strange to just have the fun thing simply because it’s
fun. There’s no stepping stone here, no ladder, no life plan founded on it.
It’s an extraneous, avocational, extra-curricular dalliance, and isn’t that so needed right now?
I told you I’ve been thinking about getting back into
band-ing again, playing bass again. Simply for the same reason. I forgot what
it’s like to have fun. To do the things I find fun.
In this time that I’ve been “figuring out” my life and my
strategies and my goals, it’s been satisfying and reinforcing and relieving,
but it hasn’t been fun. In fact, it’s been hella lonely in some ways I don’t
get.
All work and no play, and all that.
But, without really intending to, every single day this past week, I spent time with women friends, mostly
long-established, report-having friends. It, too, reinforced something – that
combination of history and laughter and understanding and ease. It, too, brought me back to a sense of myself, a
little lost in the myopia of “life planning.”
I saw a friend’s post this morning that read, “There’s got
to be more to life than this.”
I replied aloud, “There is.”

adventure · change · courage · fear · hope · isolation · love · recovery · relationships · risk · romance · safety · terror · trying

Changing Underpants

“It’s like he really likes me & I’m not running from
it,” is what I wrote in my journal this morning.
In fact, on Wednesday, I’ll be heading toward it, at 500 miles per hour.
I have my heels dug firmly into the ground below the plane
that will carry me there, and I have compassion for the terror and fear that
insists I stay in my cozy isolation.
It reminded me of a story I’d written in college (A Perverse Act of Gentility), although now,
many of the details have changed. Most importantly, the part where I’m actually attracted
to him, and that he’s never fallen into the deathly “friend zone.”
But, the final sentence of that story, about having
humiliation and disgust for someone who “held me like an angel” — that’s what
sparked the memory this morning. That I anticipate being held in the same way by the Boston Cupcake, but I that anticipate feeling in polar opposite to
how I did then. In fact, that I
already do.
The number of years I’ve spent avoiding true connection is vast. I’ve written extensively here about hiding from, running from, being
suspicious of love, but if you’re new to reading me, trust me: Intimacy … 
Well, here’s the vicious Catch-22 I’ve found myself in for
as many years:
I am terrified of being loved; and it is also the absolute
thing I hope most to be. It is where I know healing, change, elevation, joy, enlightenment, growth, revelation, and alchemy will occur. 
So, there is something different this time (no matter what
the “outcome”) with the Cupcake: I am
actually heading toward it. I’m not listening (wholly) to the fear. And, I feel
different. “Even in my underpants, I feel different,” to quote Elizabeth
Gilbert.
But, less in my underwear (though, yes…), and more in my chest cavity, in my guts, I feel different. At the same time that I have this electric fence
around my whole body, I have a magnet within it too. And one is fading.
I want to be loved
more than I want to hide, and I can feel the shift. I can feel tectonic plates,
long-ago formed in the tundra and tumult of my creation, beginning to ease. A
slight release in the tightness of my guts, and mostly, an excitement. Not just
the titillation and anticipation of getting to spend time with someone I really
like, but also, the opening of a door that for so long hung a sign that said,
Do Not Enter: Radioactive Waste.
Years ago, I wrote a poem about a dusty “Back in Five
Minutes” sign on the massive-shipping container that is my heart. About
brushing the caked dirt off it, but not needing to open it then, just being content
to know that it’s there, “secure, intact, existent.”
I think some of what is occurring is that I am finally opening up
that shipping container, and taking a look inside. That I’m allowing the door
to be open for a few minutes at a time. That I’m allowing myself to
dream about what it would be like to unpack it all, to discard the fallacies,
and engage and indulge in the luxuries.
Moreover, I’m letting myself do more than just dream about it,
and I think that’s where the true change is occurring. I am heading over a continent, through years of
flirtation, through a lifetime of resistance, toward possibility. There is a
willingness to step into the unknown that hasn’t been there before, and after the willingness is actual
action. Call it
cancer, call it recovery, call it straight-up flouting of boredom and
stagnancy.
I still am terrified, I know that. But I also feel
different. In my ribcage and in my underpants, I feel different. 

community · connection · faith · grace · healing · isolation · laughter · spirituality

Too Hot to Handle

There’s a maxim around here that goes: G-d will never give
you more than you can handle.
To echo Wednesday, bullshit.
I think this phrase is missing a key point at the end of it: G-d will never
give you more than you can handle with the help of others.
I think G-d or the Universe or life will always give us more than we can handle *alone.* I think, in
fact, that’s the point. In order to be able to handle that which is handed us,
we
must reach out for help from
others, or help from “god,” which often comes in the form of help from others
anyway.
I think it’s important that we are given more than we can
handle alone, otherwise, surely, we all would. If we could live like Sandra Bullock in “The Net,” ordering
pizza via the internet, watching a yule log screen saver, and never knowing our
neighbors, we would. But I still think about that movie every time I nod or say
a passing hello to my neighbors: I am not anonymous; I am not alone.
In that movie (sorry, y’all!), Sandra’s character gets
accused of something or other, but no one can identify her, and her identity
gets stolen. No one except one character (her shrink) actually knows who she
is, actually recognizes her. The neighbor says, no she doesn’t think that’s her, even though they’ve
lived in proximity for a dozen years.
What kind of challenge of growth is there in that? If we
were intended to live in isolation, there wouldn’t be all this talk about
connection and community, mehta and helping one another, and my understanding of tikkun
olam
(repairing the world) has a lot to do with
eliminating disconnect.
I opined to my coworker, who was listening to Pandora the
other day when one of these new modern radio songs came on (I don’t remember
which one). But it was one that eventually has a chorus of voices yell, Yeah!,
or Hey!. And I theorized that the proliferation of “modern” songs that feature a chorus of voices at some point is a call for
connection, to refill and replace the actual being with others—if we hear a
chorus of voices yell, Hey!, on the radio, we want to yell along with it, too. For a
moment, we are also connected to those voices, even though they be
computer over-layed with one another.
This “new” sound I hear has a lot of that, and my opinion is
that they’re also trying to create community in the best way they know how, to
create a moment of connection and a feeling of being a part of a crowd…even
when you’re just driving alone in your car, and the person next to you is as
well.
I do think “G-d” gives us more than we can handle. In the utter inability to handle things on our own, I think
we’re intended to reach out to one another or to a “power greater than
ourselves” for help, for guidance, for support, and mostly, for laughter.
The amount of laughter you can have alone is much less than
what you can have in interaction with each other – like I’ve been saying about
random connections with store clerks or bus passengers: You never know what
will be said by the other, and it creates something totally unique.
This morning, with all of this on my mind, in my notebook is
a printed quote by Anais Nin:
Each friend represents a world in
us,
a world possibly not born until
they arrive,
and it is only by this meeting that
a new world is born.
I make it a point to say hi, or at least nod to or acknowledge
my neighbors, to let them see my face, and I theirs, as I rush in and out of the building at
the ends of a long day. I want to be able to recognize, and possibly say hi,
when I see them on the street, and, mostly, I want them to be able to pick me
out of a line-up. 

abundance · adulthood · affirmations · change · community · isolation · self-esteem · self-support · spirituality

Easy

“Pain carves out a place in us that allows us to feel more
deeply and be more usefully whole.”
Bullshit.
This is the kind of thing you tell someone who’s had to go
through shit and needs something to hold onto as a reason why. And I’m not
going to tell you it’s not true or that I don’t believe it to be true, because,
maddeningly, I do think it is.
But what about all the people who don’t have pain carve out a place in them? What about
those of us who haven’t have the razor of life cut into our quick? What about
those who have lived what some might call “normal” lives?
Are they not as valuable as human beings? Of course not. Are
they not as deep in thought or artistry? Well… that’s really hard to answer.
There is a pervasive ideal of the martyr in our society
(and, again, I’m not the first to write about this). There is also the
thick idolatry of those who are young, innocent, unscathed, “beautiful.”
So, we have for ourselves, as a society, a conundrum: We
both want desperately that kind of luxury and ease that calls to us from the
pages of Sunset or Dwell or GQ, but we disdain those whose lives
closely resemble them, condemning them for “having it easy.”
So, what do we really want? Do we want the life of ease, or
do we want to tear down those who actually have a life of ease? And if the
latter is true,… why, then, would we
ever want to be a person of ease, and be the object of disdain and
envy-laced judgment?
There is an affirmation in my repertoire: Life is easy for
me.
How nice is that?
“Life is easy for
me.”
What would that be like?
Life is easy for me.
I just smiled. 
Ease. Flow. Calm. Centered. Guided. Held. Easy.
Why should it not be?
An affirmation is something you tell yourself until you live
and believe it, according to my own understanding. So this isn’t something that I
can tell you today with assurance is accurate. But I can tell you that it is something that I would like to believe and live with assurance.
“Life is easy for me.”
Pain may have carved out a place in me that enables me to
help other people who have been there. But there is a downside to identifying
with others on the commonality of pain: What happens when one of you doesn’t
want to identify with their own pain anymore?
A friend of mine inherited a sum of money
a few years ago, after the death of her mother. She, my friend, is one of the
pain-carved women. She is shorn and built and pyred from pain – she is one of
the strongest and most admired women I know.
And yet. After the inheritance, she, on her own, bought a
vacation home—she bought a second home, just because she could. She has a
husband, and two kids, and this was what she wanted to do, and could do with
that money.
It was only after the fact of the purchase, however, that we
began to hear about it. She had to “confess” to us that she had this boon, this
exciting news, this abundance. And she’d been avoiding telling people,
precisely because of that envy-laced judgment.
However, she realized that not talking about her success was just as dangerous to her well-being as
not talking about troubles, and that by isolating and hiding her good fortune,
she would certainly falter.
Not talking about success, about “what’s going on,” is just
as precarious as not talking about challenge. However, because we are a culture
that feeds off mutual exchange of stories of strife, because all of our
literature is based on triumph over adversity, or simply is an account of
adversity, we do not share about it.
We are ashamed of our success. We are ashamed of our good
fortune. We are ashamed to admit that life is easy for us—and so we couch it in
“humility”: Oh, it’s only because of the inheritance from a death; Oh, but I had to overcome such hardship to get
here; Oh, but it’s really only this one time that I’m getting a boon in my life
– I promise the rest of my life is a shit show!
SO WHAT if my life were easy? What does it impede on you?
(is a question I pose to myself as well.) What are the merits of slogging
through a desperate existence, to live to possibly be honored post-humously as
a great writer, as a Baudelaire (and the
list is endless)?
A while back, I wrote you about a poem of mine whose only line went,
            Otherwise,
who would eat the blackened one?
And I told you how I’ve come to see that the answer, which
had so long been, “No one, so I better eat it first so you won’t have to,” has
become, “No one. Period.” I’ve told you that I no longer feel as fated or
compelled to be a martyr.
It seems the other side of that action is to embrace what
our culture feels so aggressively conflicted about: Allowing my life to be easy.
Perhaps my “meta” affirmation, then, would be: It is easy to
allow my life to be easy. 

compassion · dating · fear · isolation · love · self-love

Cookie Monster

Otherwise, who would eat the blackened one?
This single line is the first poem of my first chapbook, back in 2010.
The essence of its meaning is the idea that I must eat the blackened cookie in
order to save others from having to eat it. In fact, it meant that I would choose that cookie above others on the savory plate just so
no one else would have to touch it. I would throw myself on that sword before
you even had to see it was there. I would do this for you.
That was 2010. I revisited this question a little while ago,
and asked myself, if not me, then who would? No one, came the answer. No one had to eat the rotten,
blackened thing. No one had to throw themselves on a sword.
There is
enough
that we can all have a chewy,
chocolate chipity experience. There is enough that none of us have to be
a martyr and I can let others choose around the thing (or choose the thing) if they want.
Today, in my new dating world, I find myself, per metaphor,
rushing to knock others over on my way to the hearty cookies. I am not patient
to wait for the tray to be passed around the table—if there’s a way to get the
good cookie, I will elbow your ribs to find one. In the process, I will annoy
or anger you, or I will eventually upset the whole tray, and no one, including
myself will get a cookie.
Because this way, too, the belief is there is not enough.
Call it cancer, age, healing, I am
not willing to eat the blackened one anymore. I am not willing to drink the
dregs, settle for less, diminish my worth, stand silently… or, apparently, be
patient. In an effort to reverse years of sour cookies, I am finding myself
clawing my way to the better ones. But only here, in this dating world. Only
here, am I getting to see where I have long-harbored ideas of lack, and so
perhaps one could call me “grateful” (gag,
sputter, gasp
) to have the experience now
and the perspective on myself to see what is happening.
I WANT CONTROL. I am so attached to an outcome (the good cookie), I think
that I can poke or wink or smile or demure or hearty laugh or intellectual
conversation or sex or heavy or shared interest my way toward that outcome. Yet, see above: upset
tray.
In many ways, it’s the same as
diving for the blackened one. It’s a manipulation of the results. The belief
follows that if I eat the blackened one, you are saved, and you are able to
love me. The belief was that if I ate the sour cookie, I am the silent, steady
rube whom you will reward for my sacrifice with accolades.
Both manners of being are born out
of the fear of lack of love. Fear that I will not be taken care of.
It does not surprise me that a
monolith of emotions and emotional backlash and predatory fear have arisen as I
step into the dating world. It simply confirms why I’ve stayed away as long as
I have. I know there is work to be done here, and avoidance is a great way to
not have to feel those feelings. To not have to look at the monster and,
perhaps, Hulk-like, calm it down until it reverts back to a normal, California
girl.
If you stay out of the dining
room, you neither have to eat the blackened one nor cut a path through to
the full ones.
But, eventually you get hungry. 
My object now is to whisper in
that girl’s terrified ear, There is enough (love).
If you wait and allow the tray to be brought to you, you can have one. If 
you allow yourself to focus on the rest of the meal, the chicken and potatoes and brussel
sprouts (cuz you know you love em), the tray
will come to you. If, instead you focus jealously on
GETTING A FUCKING COOKIE you will miss the bounty that’s in front of you.
Which is another way to say that
my being so singularly focused on the outcome I want around this (or any) situation, I’m actually making myself miserable. I notice that calculating all the angles to
my end-goal (through poking and winking and sexing and making you see
me
) is taking me out of the joy of the
experience. It’s removing me from my center, my self, and from the fucking
thing I wanted in the first place: to date.
I certainly am learning things!
And I am going to try to eat my potatoes, and TRUST that I can be present in the
moment, and let all the other moments follow in their own order and time. I
will try to trust that I can relax into the moment, into the joy, into the newness and the awkwardness and the hilarity and the growth, because there is enough. 
And, who knows, if
the cookies do run out, maybe there’s a Junior’s Cheesecake in the kitchen.