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.

 

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. 

action · adulthood · adventure · dating · family · forgiveness · Jewish · letting go · life · travel · willingness

Melting Boxes and Falling Cards

I may or may not have a date this weekend with a jew I met
on okCupid. We had made tentative plans for Sunday, but I had double booked and
asked to meet up on Saturday instead, and haven’t heard back yet. We’ll see.
I’m talking with another CupidJew; jdate, I have a coffee date aligned for next
Friday, but I’m not entirely enthused on this one – and let another thread fall
when I realized I wasn’t really interested in meeting this other dude. 
Who knows. It’s like the job applications. Send stuff out –
see what sticks. I do feel like I’d like to apply to more teaching jobs though.
It’s really funny. Maybe 6 or so months ago, I met with a girl friend who works
with Expressive Arts Therapy, and she asked how “teaching” felt in my body – to make a
motion or movement – that would express what being “a teacher” would mean to
me. Then, I contracted and constricted my body, on the tack that teaching is a
sedentary, stoic, geographically uninspired profession.
Surprisingly or not, I don’t think I feel that way anymore.
Maybe I’d express it a little more wiggly now – maybe because it is a little
more (or a lot more) wiggly than I’ve previously boxed it in. I also would like
to apply outside of the Bay a little more. I know that moving costs a lot, and
yadda yadda, but, in the spirit of “what do I know about Fate,” I’m willing to
throw my net wider, and my seeds farther, and see what sprouts, … or is caught.
… You get the idea.
What a concept – pushing my ideas out of the proscribed
boxes in which I’ve held them.
Interestingly, my mom comes to mind. “Mother,” lord, what a
“concept.” What huge, enormous expectations and qualities we – or I – hurl upon
such a word. My ideas were formed way back when – she’s crazy, unavailable,
manic-depressive, and dying of her own neuroses – and these have kept pretty
calcified over the years. She’s better now (G-d bless medication), but it’s hard for me to allow that.
If she’s not crazy, if I don’t mistrust her, where are we? How do we engage? Obviously, similar questions can be brought about my dad, and even my brother.
… and more broadly, myself, you, the world, etc. Boxes. Boxes with a label,
Discard After 1987, or maybe after 1996. Certainly, way past their due date by
2012.
I think of this about my mom today in again reflecting on
the agingness of my parents – having seen them both two weeks ago for my
graduation. They’re getting older. They’re not going to be able to do or go or
share or be what they had been. And so, I wrote my mom an email yesterday I
titled “If you build it, they will come,” and in it I simply wrote, “Sometime
in the not too distant future, you and I should go to Paris. That is all. Love,
Molly.”
My mom has never been, nor have I. I’ve been clicking on
this contest prize for a trip for two to Italy for a few weeks now – because,
you gotta buy a ticket if you want to win the lottery, right – and I realize
that there are some things that if I want to do with my mom, I better start to
do them now. Sure, I have no idea if something like a trip to Paris or Italy,
or anywhere, will take place, but the time is getting shorter when they’d,
she’d, be able to really traipse about. Traipsing is a young people’s – or
younger people’s – pastime.
I am glad that the boxes in which I’ve held my parents are
disintegrating like so much wet cardboard. It’s a little scary. But, rather,
it’s not scary, as much as new.
I wish I could let the boxes around myself melt as much. One
of the dudes I’m talking with on the dating site is very encouraging and
interested in my bass playing, though I keep on telling him it’s really a lack of bass playing, and a lot of me being silly and
denying myself (although, surely, I didn’t put it quite that way – impressions,
you know!) 😉
But, it’s another box. My girl friend I was supposed to
speak with about her bass playing, our phone call didn’t happen, and I haven’t
rescheduled. Although I am having two info interviews around theater next week.
One in person with a friend of mine who is an active actor (but has a “real”
job, too), and the other by phone with my former acting teacher at school, who
is the casting director at a local renowned theater company. So, there’s that.
There’s a lot. And as I was telling someone yesterday, a
house of cards must be taken down very slowly and carefully. Not all at once. I
don’t think I’d much like being shaken all the way down to my bonsai tree nubs.
Or pruned, I suppose would fit that metaphor better! But point being, that
dismantling old beliefs and behaviors takes patience, practice, and an ability
to leave it alone for a while.
It’s not some jenga game I have to finish in a proscribed
period of time. (I’m ripe with metaphors today! ha! enjoy or apologies, either
way!) There are time-sensitive matters – my parents’ aging, obtaining
employment so I can feed and house myself, but even that one is a little fluid
right now, although surely top of my mind – I do have this temp work I’m doing,
which I’ll be doing for likely another 2 weeks. I’ve been applying, and we’ll
see. I’d like to apply to different avenues, and we’ll see. I plugged “jewish”
into my searches on the dating site, and we’ll see.
“…and action is its key word.” Amen. 

acceptance · adulthood · commitment · growth · letting go · life · self-support · willingness

Grown-upness

I was on the phone yesterday with a friend/mentor of mine.
I’d asked her for an informational interview, with the knowledge that I had no
idea what I was going to ask her – I’d let her know that in the email, too. She
accepted anyway, and on the phone we were, as I sat beneath the dome of the
downtown SF shopping center during my lunch break from the temp gig.
She knows much of my story and development over the last few
years, and works in a field to help people, and, most importantly to me, seems
to have some semblance of balance between work, creativity, and life. I thought
she’d be a good place to “start.”
I told her the 2nd thing that came up at the
“money meditation” on Monday. The 2nd question was “Do I (Molly)
fear you (money)?” The answer was, Yes, because I mean responsibility.
Oh Responsibility! How I’ve run from you!
Over the course of my conversation with my friend, she
reflected back to me that it sounds like I want to be powerful, without
building or holding or being the vessel for that power. I do want to do great
things (not like, ooh famous – just like, ooh cool), and, I have not wanted to
really take the ownership of what it might take to get there. See,
particularly, Magical Accidental Orgasm.
There is no one coming to live my life for me. There is no one coming to take
the risks and chances and changes that I need to make in my life and attitude
for me. It’s up to me.
Or it’s not. I can choose or not to take the reigns of my
life. I can choose or not to take the steps to holding responsibility for
myself.
This responsibility thing, my aversion to it, came up
earlier this year, in a workshop run by the very same friend. See, I have these
old associations with responsibility. That it means more than I am able to
handle. That’s what it meant when I was young – having to do things a child
should not have to do, things that an adult ought to have been doing, but the
adults in my life were not quite able to do that. So, I did. And I resented it,
and I was burdened by it, and I’ve carried my resentment and fear of
responsibility here through and to my adulthood.
Adulthood. That word came up yesterday in our conversation
too. “Adult.” “Grown-up.” If I want grown-up things, which I very much do, then
I have to learn to be a grown-up. Sure, I’m 30, but that’s no indication of
adulthood.
Things that grown-ups have — a job, a car, a house, a
relationship, stability, vacation — well, they earn these things by showing
up for themselves in a responsible way. My same friend had worked as a house
cleaner for ten years before coming to her pursuit of her current profession.
She also said, basically, nothing can grow in the dark. I am
ripe with resentment, self-pity, longing, entitlement, and self-centeredness
because of this ongoing rejection of the mantle of grown-up. I grasp
at things I think I want, but I’m not willing to firm the foundation to get
there – to mix the mortar, lay the bricks. Chop wood, carry sticks. That’s
where I need to be at. Very simply, I need to lay hold of qualities and actions
that I have tried to avoid.
The truth is that I have no idea what it would be
like to take responsibility for myself. I’ve churned along at this hamstrung
pace and mind-set for so long, I honestly don’t know. I’ve been talking here
some about how “grace” and gifts from the Universe have been incredibly lovely,
but that they don’t help me to build self-esteem around jobs and work and …
being a responsible adult, basically.
To warm up to the idea of being a grown-up. Yes, very much I
want to be one – I want what they seem to have. But what I see, I suppose is
the externals. What I haven’t seen, necessarily, is all the work they have put in to get there. To do what is necessary. I
haven’t done what is necessary. I’ve done everything else, I’ve danced around
the entry to that path for a decade, and belly-ached, Why can’t I get there?
Why is the door closed to me? It’s not closed. Never has been. I’ve been
terrified of what it means to begin to walk down it. But the truth is, and
forgive me, I got a cat a year and a half ago. She is a monument to my warming to commitment – has
this responsibility, has responsibility for this life, hers, created any burden
or pain in my life? Not in the slightest, and in fact, has brought untold and
unforeseen joy.
This is what I too imagine that taking on responsibility for
my own life may bring. Sure, I imagine it’ll be a little different, seeing as
it’s mine, and my brain is such a lovely chatter factory. But, maybe not.
Maybe, the doors will swing open as I take one step onto the path of
grown-upness. Maybe, simply, I’ll feel better knowing that I’m on the path at
all. 

adulthood · authenticity · band · compassion · courage · dance · discovery · letting go · life · maturity · music · performance · persistence · poetry · receiving · responsibility · self-care · singing · surrender

Pulling a Carmen: 2

When I began this blog-a-day back in November of last year,
my first post was called “Pulling a Carmen,” as I’d been reading and was encouraged by her own blog-a-day postings. In the time since, sometimes I
just find it hugely funny how parallel my path is to my fellow blogger and
friend.
For recent example:
  • I also just starting going back on to the internet dating
    scene. In fact, I have a coffee date today with someone I met on JDate
  • I too have said fuck it, and asked out a dude yesterday.
    Unfortunately, turns out he’s married, but it felt really good to do so.
  • Several of the books that are lining my desk and bedside
    table are travel books about Europe, underlining my intention to take a real
    freaking vacation some time this century.
  • And, I also rented a camera and video camera from the
    school’s A/V department to begin taking pictures again. 

Sometimes I feel awkward about our exceedingly similar
trajectories, as if I’m copying her, but the reality is that independently, we
come to these things, and then come here to write about them. It’s really
funny, and also somewhat comforting to know that there is someone who is
traveling a similar path toward “To thine own self be true.”
On that note, I went to see my friend’s band play in the city
last night, and then headed with my girlfriends to go out dancing in Oakland.
Prior to both these… we went to the Dharma Punx meditation – nothing says
spiritually fit like meditating for 40 minutes before downing coffee with an
add-shot. 😉
But to relate it to the ‘self be true’ part – each of these
are places where I want to feel more connection. I hadn’t been to see live
music in MUCH too long. It’s on my current list of “Serenity Moths” on my
refrigerator (a list of things that aren’t cataclysmic, but slowly and
subterraneaously eat away at my serenity and foundation). Yes, “Absence of live
music” is on there, and so should be “dancing.” I’m a white girl. I have no
ambition or goal to be anything but a mildly flailing Elaine Benice, but … i
love it. The absence of self, the absence of self criticism or posturing or
need to be anywhere or anything else. Lost in the music.
The band brought something else up for me. Like the
“dropping” of the whole acting bent at the beginning of this year, what I’ve dropped
more often than anything is the “being in a band” idea.
As you may know, I have 2 guitars, a bass, and a small USB plug
in keyboard. Each as dust-covered as the next. The bass amp sits as a monument
to abandoned dreams in my apartment.
Last night, watching my friend’s band, I remembered that this is
something I want to do. In fact, I’d emailed one of the guitarist’s wife about
6 or more months ago to talk to her about her own process of getting toward
singing in a band – embracing her inner teenage rock chick. If I had my … well, if I had my own back, I guess, I’d play
bass, and I’d sing. Talk about vulnerability.
This week, I stood practically naked in front of an audience
and spoke my poem into a microphone in a moderately full theater. That isn’t nearly as frightening to me as
standing in front of an audience, singing, or playing.
The truth is that for several years, I’ve been gathering information
about the whole bass playing thing. But, no, I haven’t been playing. A few
years ago, I asked a guy I knew for bass advice, and he sent me a long list of
places to start (which I didn’t pursue). About a year later, I contacted this other guy about bass
lessons (which I didn’t pursue). … And the guy I asked out yesterday is also a bass player. Apparently,
I have a thing.
Every few years, I’ll troll craigslist, and I’ll answer a
few ads for singers. I even recorded myself a little on my computer’s
Garageband to send as a sample. I got a “not a good fit, but thanks anyway” from one,
and no reply from another. And, hey, I don’t blame em. When I’m terrified, it
comes through. I don’t know. I’ve written here about it kind of frequently –
and dismissed it and been “embarrassed” by it just as often.
However, once again, the thing that occurred to me last night as I
watched my friend’s band was another case of “I want to do that” … followed by
“I can do that.” There is no one stopping me, obviously except for myself and
my fears, and that critic that says “Not good enough” and chops me off at the
knees before I start.
One thing I’m working on releasing at the moment, a pattern
and belief and behavior that is just not fucking serving me anymore, is my need
or habit to stay small.
When I was living in South Korea, my friend nicknamed me
“Ballsy Mollsy.” I had the absolute chutzpah and hubris to ask anyone anything,
go anywhere, and do pretty much whatever I felt like doing in the hedonistic
way most drunks do.
However, there is a quality of that Ballsy woman who still I am,
somewhere, and who I want to resurrect or reveal or uncover or let loose – or
even just let into the light a little tiny bit.
I find it’s happening in some ways. And I know to have
compassion for myself as I try to aim in this direction which has been a Siren
song for me (uh, no pun intended) for … oh, 15 years.
But compassion for slow progress, and acceptance of
stagnation are two different things. And I’d really like to move forward from
here.
So, for your reading pleasure, here’s a poem composed about
a year ago. Reading aloud is encouraged.  As is recalling the line “So let it be written, so let it be done.” Cheers. m.
Band Practice
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