indecision · letting go · relationships

Silly Putty.

3.19.18

At the beginning of this month, I let my therapist know that I would be canceling for March while J and I attended couples’ therapy, since I couldn’t afford both.  When, after the 1st session with our couples’ lady, I told J as much, he looked agog — horrified, morelike.  Uh, so maybe it would be good for me to see her while we go through this?  Perhaps he was right, so I scheduled back on with my own lady.

Then, after our 2nd session with the couples’ person, we broke up and I had a little more funds to throw at my own personal therapy… but really, I didn’t want to.  I was sick with the flu last week, so we had a phone session instead, yet as we hung up, it was me who asked, “Same time next week?”

But the truth is I’d meant to use that session to end things with her!  I didn’t want to continue going.  Part of the reason we began together was so that I could parse out what was going on with me and J.  Now that that’s (relatively) settled, I truly don’t feel the need to keep going.

After that call, I wrote in my journal, “So, let’s get this straight: You’re continuing to see a therapist because you think that’s what she needs?”  And so it came that I emailed her yesterday to officially and for all (foreseeable) time cancel our upcoming appointments.

She wrote back to say okay, but also that this on-again-off-again with her was redolent of how it’s been with J, and that if I wanted to schedule a last session to process this idea, and how our therapy has gone, she’s open to it.

NO!  I don’t.  And YES, she’s right about the parallels.

When I was in the final phases of processing and deciding whether to leave this relationship, a friend said that we’re having a silly-putty breakup.  Huh?  You know when you break apart silly putty in a slow way, she said, it dangles on, a thin strand getting weaker forever?  Well, when you break it apart quickly, the whole thing breaks off in two pieces at once, with a clean edge to both sides.

Hmmm….

My breakups over the last dozen years have allll been the llllong silly-putty break-ups.  Months of questioning.  Months of negotiating out of it, into it, back out of it.  Months of tearful phone calls to friends about “what to do.”  And months of continuing to sleep with the person I’ve told I don’t want to be in a relationship with anymore.

Silly putty.

And painful.  So, when my therapist lady asks if I want to process any more?  For the love — No!!  I am so done with processing.  Can I change this habit of stretching my decisions on into infinity?  Yes, I believe I can.  Do I have to give this relationship any more than I already have?  No.

So, I believe I’ll just email her a simple thank you, put my two halves of putty away, and go for a goddamn walk.

 

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adulthood · authenticity · inspiration · letting go · poetry · transformation · uncertainty · vision

Who’s Next?

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“Creativity requires the courage to let go of
certainties.” ― Erich Fromm
This is the quote of the day relating to the daily
meditation I’m doing through the Oprah/Deepak 21-day challenge.
Strangely or not, it’s what I was writing about in my
morning pages before I logged into the meditation. The idea of uncertainty, of
letting go of what’s known. And how very close to that I feel right now.
I found out yesterday I didn’t get the job I was in several
rounds of interviews and mock sessions for during the last two weeks. And all
for the better, I think. In fact, I’d reached out to an old schoolmate I’d seen
on LinkedIn had worked there to ask her thoughts. And when I wrote back that
they didn’t hire me, she wrote: You are better off. That place is a shit hole.
So there’s that!
But, this morning as I reflected on where I am, with the one
avenue I was pursuing more actively than others cut short, I find myself
without an exact destination. Which is where in fact I’ve been, but I’ve been
distracted with the possibility of this employment.
What brought me to considering the question of Who’s Next
was my bringing out an old reader packet of poems from an undergrad course I
took. I’d brought it down a few days ago; I was 22 when I took the class,
finishing up from the lost semester when I’d been otherwise engaged in a padded
room.
The day after I brought the packet down, a friend of mine
mentioned teaching again, putting together a C.V. (a teacher’s resume) and
syllabus. I went online to higheredjobs.com yesterday to poke around and see.
And again, I sort of went all blank about it. I see titles like Professor of
18th and 19th Century Romanticism or of Rhetoric, and I call myself
uninterested and unqualified.
And then after a while of poking around online anyway, my
computer overheated and shut down on me, which was probably for the best!
But, today I opened that packet labeled Twentieth Century
Poetry II, and I read the names and poems of Robert Bly, Gwendolyn Brooks, yes, even the
ubiquitous Plath. I read my margin notes, and was amused to see that my
handwriting looked as it does now.
I was interested in the poems, but I wasn’t sparked. These were the
dreams and longings of a different person. The person who ate these poems up,
who devoured and analyzed and waxed prosaic marginalia.
I remember the classroom I was in when we read Spenser’s
Faerie Queene. I remember being the one student who was really intrigued by his
epic traitorous, political poem hidden in monarch-approved meter. I remember the classroom where the professor
told us stories of the poets’ lives, who’d met who and exchanged letters, the
relationships behind their lyrics.
I remember the room for my make-up semester, on a different
campus, since my cohort had graduated. The computer lab where I wrote short
stories and saved them onto the new smaller, square floppy disks that were
actually hard.
This morning I reread the same works that meant so much to
me then, a woman who felt she had no voice, and poetry was a quiet art that
could conjure hurricanes, that could release those that were teeming in my
body.
But, I don’t feel it in the same way now. I of course want
new generations of students to hear tales of those smoky rooms where creativity
was incubated and smile in camaraderie at Spenser’s thinly veiled subversion.
But, I don’t know. Is it me? Is it me now?
There’s a quote from a Yogi tea bag I have taped over my
kitchen sink, along with all the others I felt necessary to collect. It reads:
Empty yourself and let the Universe fill you.
I haven’t ever really known what that meant, or how to do
it. I haven’t known how to let go of all I know, of all my plans, of labeling
what I know and feel and have done as relevant or useless. I haven’t been able
to answer the call of that tea quote until today.
I do feel emptied. I
feel emptied of direction, of specific ambition, of perspective on myself. But it’s not a negative
feeling.
I feel like a student in a new class, but one I don’t know
the course title to. I don’t know which of my skills will be useful in this new
class, what of my knowledge will be relevant.
I don’t know if I’ll need a paintbrush or a calculator, what I’ll grow to learn, or who will be my teachers. I don’t know who else I’ll meet in class, and who I’ll
never see again. I don’t know the iteration of myself who will be called upon to
show up here, or who will be created from being here.
I only know that this nameless class is the only one on my course schedule
for the foreseeable future, and that perhaps at the end of it, I may be able to
answer what iteration of Molly is next.

authenticity · faith · fear · intimacy · letting go · recovery · sex

Icarus at the Bus Station

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There is an adage I’ve heard: A new bus can’t pull into the
station if there’s one already there.
The point being, unless you let something go, you can’t grab
hold of something new.
This often comes up when people are talking about relationships,
but it can be sagely advised around anything. Today, though, it does mean
relationships.
There’s a second category of folks that I need to amend my
relationships with, after those who I’ve fallen out of touch with for
self-preservation. This is a category entitled: Men I intrigue with but don’t
want a relationship with. (“with whom I
don’t want a relationship,” yeah, I know.)
But. This list, when written earlier this year comprised of
6 or 7 names. Now, there are only two left outstanding. The rest have fallen by
the wayside as I’ve changed the electrically charged way I interact with them or have
expressly stated I want to change the nature of our lovely, but ambiguous
flirtation.
It’s exciting to
flirt. It’s exciting to know that with a few taps on my phone, I can spark the
interest of someone. It’s a boost to the ego — and it’s totally unfair to us both. It’s a lie, really.
Sure, it’s fun, and I’m not saying that it’s wrong; it’s
just not truthful for me, when I know that these are men who I don’t want to
date or pursue a relationship with. For whatever reason.
Some, I just “don’t feel it.” We were never more than
friends, to either of us, but there’s something nice about that extra “like” on
your status update or the comment posted somewhere down your page, where you
know they’ve had to dig to find it. Yes, most of these “intrigue”
relationships (meaning, flirtatiously undertoned interactions) are acted out virtually,
and that enhances their ease, their prevalence and the reluctance to “break
them off,” since, who are we really hurting? Everyone “pokes” each other,
right?
But, for me, I know it’s not right anymore. It’s distracting
from what I really want, and using someone else as a tool to bolster my
self-esteem. Neither of which get me to the healthful relationship (with myself
or with someone else) that I’d like.
Some of the men on my list are simply fucked up and/or
unavailable, and strangely(?), the last two remaining are in this subset.
It’s not that they’re just my friends who I flirt with; it’s
not as innocent as a few extra “likes;” these two are possibilities in
relationship-land, except that they’re not. At all.
And these are so hard to let go of, because they’re the most ambiguous, the most possible, and the most delicious. Delicious Evil: the curl of the lip when you think about them,
your flirtation with them, what you’ve done with them,
because these are not Rated G acquaintanceships you have had.
You like the thrill, the quickening of the pulse, and the
slight tensing of your thighs.
Who.Wouldn’t?
But.
Here is where my current work comes in. I don’t want to stop
these flirtations/more than flirtations, but I know this bus is not going to
get me where I want to go. These are not available people. And despite the
purring coo my body radiates when I consider them, my brain and heart can’t
really take it.
I do want a relationship, with someone available to me. It’s
nice to get the milk for free, but I’m ready to invest in a cow.
I’ve spoken to a friend of mine who has similar patterns
with men and relationships, and I asked her honestly if there was the same kind
of Icarus-style pull in her marriage. If there was that same forbidden, lustful
quickening. If there was that, We’re going to blot out the sun with the heat of
our passion. 
And, she told me, Honestly, No. It’s different.
You’re not going to get a cocaine high when you’re sober.
That doesn’t mean it’s not worth being sober; it just means, No, there are some
experiences that won’t be replicated in a healthy relationship.
Sure, it’s just one woman’s opinion, but I trust her, and I
understand her analogy.
No, you won’t blot out the sun, but you won’t go down in
flames either.
It’s up to me to decide which life I’d rather live, and
which course I’d rather take. I know where this current “intriguey” bus leads –
right back here, again.
So, I’m going to have to make a choice to be brave, and let
this bus drive on without me, and trust that if I do, there will be a different
one coming. (pun intended.)

boundaries · confidence · letting go · relationships · self-doubt

Dic(k)tator

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I had a boss once who was the consummate micro-manager. I
would be asked to carry out a project, and as the week would go by, I would get
inquiries about the state of the project, if I’d done a, then b, then c. Did I
remember to? Did I contact? Where was I on it?
I spent nearly as much time on the project as I did answering my boss’s incessant questions.
At one point during my employment, I had come to the end of
my rope about this type of management style, and I let my boss know
that I was having a hard time with our communication – that I felt my boss did
not trust me to carry out a job that was assigned to me.
Although it was stated that of course I was trusted to do my
job appropriately, the actions that continued to take place showed that wasn’t
entirely true. And even though it wasn’t exactly personal, I felt
disenchanted with the duties I was performing, feeling my power of ownership, and therefore, my professional confidence, was being undermined.
In a total book-reader/movie-watcher’s understanding of such things, I would say that
it’s like defending a castle.
There is usually an external wall built around a castle and its grounds, in
place to prevent ingress and marauders. The citizens trust that the wall will
defend them.
However, what if there is a monarch who doesn’t trust those
walls to hold. Despite the greatest masonry, the height
of engineering and construction, the monarch still feels at risk.
And so, she sends out sentries to patrol the exterior of the
castle wall. There are boundaries, but these are not trusted, and so she
employs a defensive and offensive line.
The thinking goes: I do not trust that the boundaries I have
put up will hold, and so I will go beyond them, in front of them to fend off
any attacks. I don’t even know if there are any enemies out there, but there
could be
. And I don’t think the walls I’ve
built will hold.
I am not willing to have the boundaries tested. I must make
extra defense.
Let’s turn the analogy to personal boundaries. If we don’t
trust that our boundaries, our internal mechanisms, will be faithful, will
perform their job appropriately, or have been built to the utmost of our
knowledge, we will continue to send out sentries beyond those boundaries to
defend ourselves.
What this does in the end is show that we do not trust
ourselves and our boundaries. We never get to test those appropriate walls to
see if they can in fact do their job. By not allowing them to do what we’ve
built them to do, they will never get the chance to prove to us that they can,
and we will continue to send out a forward offense/defense.
At the risk of being obvious, I am that monarch.
I may have spent years building and refining a system of
appropriate boundaries, but I am loathe to test them. Instead, I employ an
extra electric fence to ensure that those boundaries are never even tested.
Because what if they fail.
I surround myself with an added, superfluous layer of
defense and offense, because I am scared that if you get too close, my appropriate resources won’t have the ability to measure and defend your threat.
But. If I don’t allow you to get to the wall of the castle, I
will never know if you are friend or foe. Instead, I will always interpret you
as foe, because I have paid my sentries to treat you as such.
I don’t trust you, I don’t trust my boundaries, and so I am
insulated and impervious. To all comers. Benevolent or not.
I hated feeling treated as though I were not capable of
doing my job appropriately. It felt diminishing and disrespectful and
disheartening. I hated having an extra layer of checks and balances around a
system that worked just fine.
The appropriate layer of boundaries I’ve built around
myself, that we all need (that is permeable, and fluid, and always learning and
gaining in refinement) has been long-sheltered and is tired of this
trigger-happy band of sentries, “protecting” my own system of protection.
If I don’t allow you to pass that ridiculous layer of
defense, I will never know you. You will never know me.
And I will miss the opportunity to learn to trust myself and
to create relationships that will enhance the whole kingdom. 

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.  

acting · authenticity · letting go · life · receiving · safety

I Came In Here For An Argument

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I’ve been recalling the above-referenced Monty Python
sketch. In the first moments, a customer walks into a room and the man behind
the desk there begins to berate him. The customer stops him, and exclaims, I came
in here for an argument! – At which point, the man behind the desk apologizes
and says, Oh, this is Abuse. Argument is down the hall. (It’s a very funny
sketch, and I do it no justice here – please make liberal use of Youtube.)
I’ve been thinking about what kind of lesson I think I’ve
been signed up for. What ideas I have about what I’m supposed to be learning in
this life, at this time, in this moment. And how maybe the room I’ve thought
I’ve walked into isn’t that room at all. That although I have some ideas and
hopes/generalities about the parts of myself I’m supposed to be working on
right now – the fact is, that I’m not actually the one choosing my courses.
I’ve had enough experience to learn that I have to let go of
what I think this lifetime’s lessons are for other people (that they should learn self-esteem,
compassion, ease, or forgiveness), and I’ve had mild success at that –
understanding that what I would have this person learn this time around may not
be what the Fates or Universe or Gods would have them learn. That although I
very much and fully think that this person ought to learn how to be softer or
to be more resolved, they’re apparently not here on my course schedule, and so
I have to let go, or else be in the pain of trying to manipulate my will into theirs.
However, it hasn’t yet ever occurred to me that I need to
let go of what my ideas are for my
lifetime. But it is now.
Because some of these lessons I’m learning aren’t ones I
would’ve consciously signed up for.
Last night, at my callback for this play, I was asked to
read a scene as the mother to a teenage girl who stood on stage with me. We
read the scene, and the director said it was good, but to slow it down, and
really find the emotional connection in it. We ran it again, and I was pretty sure
I didn’t do that.
I see this morning that I didn’t really trust that I could
convey that kind of emotion, and so I barreled through it again. I didn’t trust
that I could be good enough, or believable enough, or hold the emotion of love,
care, and concern enough to portray it.
So the lesson becomes “trust,” instead of “follow my dreams.” Trusting that if I
slow down, I’ll be okay. That if I allow myself to be seen (a lesson that’s
been on my syllabus for a while), I’ll be okay. Trusting oneself is not an easy
lesson to learn. Trusting in the safety of being oneself is not an easy lesson
to learn.
There’s a phrase I’ve been mulling on this morning: There
comes a point in your recovery when you stop backing away from alcohol, and you
turn around and start walking toward G-d.
Whatever your thoughts are about “god,” the idea, to me, is
that eventually, we move beyond being motivated by fear, and must begin to be
motivated by love.
The idea that I know what room I walked into, what lesson
I’m supposed to learn, is a manipulation based on the fear that I can’t be
myself, that I’m not okay with whatever “is.” To accept the fact that I don’t have the syllabus for my life and that
the Fates will steer me toward whatever lesson
they deem necessary for the goodness of all, means I have
to be willing to let go of my expectations for my life and myself. For all my
aspirations and intentions, in many ways.
To let go, doesn’t mean to abandon. It means to release
control, or perceived control. To let go doesn’t mean to not audition, pursue,
or practice what is in front of me. It doesn’t mean to reject or eject
anything, in fact.
For me, this morning, “to let go” means “to allow what is.”
To allow what is in me, in you, in the cards, in our hearts to BE.
I’ve never had the greatest relationship with the phrase,
“Let go.” It feels like falling. But “To allow what is” feels like releasing
and accepting in a warm way.
So, I will walk today into the classroom of life, and I will
allow what is here to mold and shape me, and I will allow that I am cared for
and need not brace for it, and I will allow that I am safe in the care of these
lessons, and I will allow myself to shed one millimeter of armor between us.
I will allow the idea, just the idea!, that I am actually
totally and completely held, and therefore be able to turn my attention from
clenching and bracing to opening, giving, and receiving. 
Bonus quote: “G-d steers the boat; all you have to do is row.”

change · faith · letting go · life · surrender

And now for something completely different!

in the eventuality of time, there is a sacrifice that must
be made.
we are never sure what we must give up in order to move
forward,
but we come to a bridge with a toll and are demanded a pound
of
flesh in exchange for passage to the new place.
it is never clear if this new place is where we intend or
want to go but our anima will impel us forward along
the continuity of movement.
how many bridges we already traversed
does not factor into how many we must pass again. 
we may have already sacrificed pride
love
pain
fear
desire
isolation. and this bridge requires from us another token.
perhaps you feel like the knight in a monty python sketch,
quartered from limb and limb and limb, a torso now, you are
asked to divest even more from what you carry. perhaps though,
you are a lancelot, fueled and lifted, freed by all you’ve
been asked to dispense with, grateful for the chance to
expel another pebble from your shoe.
in the eventuality of time, we will all offer this sacrifice.
we must, because we are alive
and so, we do.