fear · finances · hope · recovery · relationships · romance · self-love

"There’s gotta be something better than this…" ~ Sweet Charity

Why, didn’t every 7th grader want to become a botanist and live in a tree to be away from people? 
I am at the radically awful and hopeful place of beginning to work on relationships, and my relationship to relationships. 
Coincidentally or not, the last time I started this kind of work, I was into the deep and dredging and combing-over-my-sad-history-of-self-abandonment-and-isolation part when I was struck with a bout of Leukemia, and had to stop.
Now that I’m through a round of work on my relationship to money, scarcity, “under-being,” under-earning, me and my mentor agreed that we could work on the other side of the “romance and finance” coin.
Color me thrilled. 
In fact, I am looking forward to it, … sort of. Not the work itself, but the results of it. 
I am not meant to continue my early patterns of self-insulation through isolation or self-abandonment/-destruction. Or, rather, I’m not content to. What I’m meant to do is really only up to me, isn’t it? And a few strokes of fate, I imagine. (hello, cancer.)
But, whatever role I can have in loosening the noose of “Trust No One,” I am signing up for it. 
I do feel that I am in a better place to begin this time than I was about 2 years ago. I’m working with someone who knows me well, who’s walked this path with and before me, and whom I trust and love.
Even though our particular histories are dissimilar, their endings and the feelings they’ve evoked in us became the same. 
She’s told me that my feeling of imminence, urgency & impatience with myself and “the world” will fade: I am a 33 year old healthy smart beautiful woman. Why the fuck have I never been in a relationship that’s lasted over 6 months, and only two of them at that? Why have I been unintentionally celibate for years on end or find myself particularly attracted to taken men? My “hot” years are fading; I want to take advantage of them!
And yet. I seem to land in the same place each time I try to throw myself into the ring, or try to avoid it. And so, it’s time to try something else. Something I know will work, because it works for thousands of other people who walk a path of recovery. 
I’m not stoked. But I am. 
It’s sad stuff to riffle through. There is a Trail of Tears that’s led me here. But I feel ready for this. No, not eager to riffle; yes, eager to heal, move on, move forward. Let whoever I’m supposed to be, or whoever I’m hiding, to integrate. 
Does this look like a bright shiny pot of gold(en haired children) at the other end? Likely not. 
I finished the work on money, and I’m still in the thick of the results of patterns that brought me here. But I imagine they’ll shift over time. 
So, too, I imagine with the love and relationship stuff. I won’t buy a wedding dress at the end of it. But perhaps I’ll buy date one. 

(p.s. this missive is in no way a passive request for dating invitations. but thanks.)  😉 
adventure · beauty · courage · intimacy · romance · serenity · sexuality · vulnerability

I want to tell you everything.




I want to tell you how gently he kissed my forehead, and how
warm his body felt as I shifted in the night. I want to tell you how natural and
serene it felt to twine my fingers into his and lean my body against him as we
waited for the stoplight to change. I want to tell you it was a good thing his
roommates weren’t home most of the time we were, and about quietly resting my
foot on top of his knee while he told me a story over the sunlit kitchen table.
I want to tell you everything. But, it’s not only my story.
And this one is still being written, still has a few more “Choose Your Own
Adventure” plot twists available, and the ending of it could be sooner or
farther than we know.
So, I’ll try my best not to tell you that it was only when I
was finally unpacking my suitcase in Oakland that the tears that had surged and
abated in airports across America finally fell. Or the relief I felt stepping
into the open air of the BART platform and looking around at the hodge-podge of
people I’ve grown so familiar with. I’ll try not to tell you about the dull and
persistent ache of withdrawal.
He’d said, “escaping the world” once when we were planning
I’m sure all vacations have their hangovers. The return to
grim reality, and also to familiarity. The return to my own coffee pot and car
and a toothbrush that doesn’t fold in half. There’s a relief and a longing.
Like finishing a delicious meal and finally placing down your fork, overfull,
yet wishing you could savor it all again.
You remember the small moments. The ones where you took a deep, satiated breath. The angles of the New England homes you drove past on ancient winding
roads, and the spray of the Atlantic, blue today, over the rocks. You remember
playing with his pinkie finger while you waited for your pregnant waitress, looking, still self-consciously, out the window by your table, since it
was only day 2 and you felt new and strange and uncertain.
You try to remember everything. To etch it into
consciousness, since it will certainly fade, the exact tightness of
his arms around you while you lay naked against him; the exact way his chest hair curled while you fiddled with it musingly; the exact timbre of his echoing laughter under the short
kitchen ceiling.
I’d told you before I left that I imagined being held
delicately and protectively and surely by him, and that for once, I wasn’t
frightened of it. Well, friends, it was true. And though we’ve taken fantasy
and pulled it into the realm of reality, with all its attendant Yeses and Finallys
and Contentedness, … we also both took the courageous move to explore the exact
shape of reality’s rough edges and Almosts and Not Quites.
And should it be once again with the man this time was spent
with, and should it be another person completely: I am buoyed to know that I
can rest in the arms of a man, with no thought of escape.

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
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
I still am terrified, I know that. But I also feel
different. In my ribcage and in my underpants, I feel different. 

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

The Whatifs

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

Va voy.

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

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

authenticity · dating · finances · frustration · grief · relationships · romance · work

Bus Stop Boy

Well now.
So, I guess I should tell you about Bus Stop Boy, now that
I’ve finally broken down and updated one of the people I have in my life whose
main relationship with me is about helping me work on relationships.
Over the summer, I began to see Bus Stop Boy, as you might
imagine… at the bus stop. I was temping in the city, and was sometimes taking
this bus, sometimes that. I’d just begun to pay attention to how I interact with
men, trying to focus less on if they’re noticing me or not, how I’m interpreting
or internalizing that information. And Bus Stop Boy was one of these people. I
was aware of him, and he was aware of me. There was nothing more or less than
that, but a definite vibe. Not even flirty, just aware.
One morning, a few months ago, I had come from meeting with
the aforementioned woman the previous day, highly aware now of how I was walking in the world, and I saw him at the bus
stop. Suddenly, I had no idea how to behave. I didn’t want to be all coy, I
didn’t know how to just stand there. I felt a wave of panic wash over me, and
as some of you may remember, I had to leave work as soon as I got there and come home and crawl into a fetal position. Everyone
on BART was standing too close. Whatever it was that my being aware of who and
how you were reacting to me – it had acted as a buffer somehow between us. And
suddenly, seeing Bus Stop Boy, … it was like seeing the Matrix. Suddenly I
could see that everywhere I looked and every move that I made, I was hyper
aware of it, and I was aware if you were aware of it. I felt stripped of some
defense mechanism – I felt utterly exposed, and completely unsure of how to
A rather large reaction to simply seeing a dude at the bus
stop. But, that’s what happened. It took me days to get back to feeling right.
And, in fact, I stopped taking the bus, and opted to take carpool with a friend
of mine during the rest of my temp gig.
I’m still aware of how others react to me, and, duh, that’s
going to continue to happen. People interact. However, I am trying to pay less attention to if “he,” whoever “he”
is, saw me. Noticed. If you’re noticing how I’m holding myself or not. I’m
trying to keep myself to myself when I’m out and about. Not closing myself off,
but simply focusing more on me, and what I’m doing, not on you.
This said, things have progressed.
I ran into Bus Stop Boy when I was on the bus going into the
city for an interview about a month or more ago. I was aware, he was aware. We
both went for the one seat that was open, and he let me have it. When getting
off the bus, I got off in front of him, and turned around and thanked him for
the seat, held out my hand, and said I’m Molly, by the way. He took my hand, said his name, said he hadn’t
seen me on the bus for a while. I replied I hadn’t been on the bus for a while, we both smiled, said see you around.
In reporting this later to my friend, I talked about
“getting a hit” off it. I was nervous about this job interview, and I knew I
could get a little hit from talking to this guy. Sure, there’s the normality of
introducing yourself to someone you see nearly daily just for the sake of that,
and I could file this under that, but I know my underlying reasoning – I wanted
to feel better, and talking to an attractive guy who seems to think I’m
attractive too is a reliable way to do that. (I was about to write it’s a “good
way” to do that, but, this is where I run into trouble.) I felt more spring in my step on my way to my interview, now that I had gotten that burst of acknowledgment from this stranger.
A little while later, I am on my way to another interview,
and I see him on the street in plain clothes with a girl, walking a small dog. Girlfriend, I think, and keep walking. Well, I say to myself,
there’s that taken off the table. He’s got a girlfriend.
A little while later, about 3 weeks ago, I’m on my way home
finally for the evening, having had an awful day at work – feeling my feelings
of despair around administrative work, around having worked so hard for months
to get something so menial, I’d come home from work bawling on the phone with a friend, before I went back out to meet up with some folks for an hour. Suffice it to say that I was drained of
all emotional guile. Of all resistance. Of all pretense.
Funny, then, that I should walk into Peet’s coffee, and
there he is. Bus Stop Boy at 8pm on a Wednesday evening. My eye make-up long
cried off. My incognito hat. Glasses. This is not the look of a temptress. He’s on line
ahead of me, and so I say hello. We chat a bit; we’ve both started new jobs. We small talk, laugh a bit. I
say see you around.
And now, suddenly, we are seeing each other around a lot. I
next run into him unexpectedly on the shuttle from BART – again on a day when I’d sat at the bus stop from work in near-tears. Waiting – FORTY FIVE MINUTES – for a
bus from Berkeley. Taking me nearly two hours to get home from ONE TOWN AWAY.
And there he is. The second time in a row when I’d felt
depleted, and, perhaps, open. 
It hasn’t eluded me that these unusual times that I’ve seen him are at times when I could most use a nod from the universe, some semblance of, Molly – you’re not a worthless, aimless, trundling-along broke spinster. It has not escaped me that during my new days of data entry, receptionist calls, arguments with xerox machines, I’d begun to think of that morning’s conversation with Bus Stop Boy, and it takes me out of my vile existence. It reminds me that I am more than my job. It reminds me that I am something more than that. Simply by recalling the smile of a near stranger, my chest feels less constricted – I feel less trapped. Is this “meaningful”? Is a nudge from “THE UNIVERSE”? Is it just a coincidence? Is it simply pointing out to me the pleasure I take in fantasy rather than reality?
I moved my bags, and he sat down next to me.
After some chit chat, I said, I think I saw you with your girlfriend walking
your dog a few weeks ago (she says leadingly). He got a sudden look, and said, “Ex…” That was their goodbye. She
came to visit for two weeks. She’s been living in D.C. for the past year,
looking for work there and here, and she got a job there, and, as he told to
me, he wasn’t ready to move back East.
He seemed pretty bummed. Secretly, I thought two things.
One: emotionally unavailable. Two: Single. …
So, finally, friends, here’s the kicker. What I admitted to my girl friend earlier today: I have invited him to
come with me to a party my friend is having this Saturday. “As friends,” I
said. But as I spoke to my friend earlier today, … I have no interest,
really, in being this guy’s friend. Nor do I know that I want to be in a
relationship with him. I barely know anything about him. Do I want to get to
know him better? Yes. Am I dating right now? No. Is he? I should hope not! Long-term relationship break-up does not really equal available for a new one any
time soon.
So, what to do? Well, my friend and I spoke earlier about
some “bottom lines” I could set around this. The only thing I could come up
with, which she suggested, was not hanging out one-on-one.
She asked me at the end of our meeting how I felt. I said Stubborn. (She laughed.) I said, Disappointed. The addict part of me wants those hits. Those doses of feeling
something other than overwhelmed with money or lack thereof. With feeling lost
as to my life’s direction or purpose. With feeling lonely, mainly.
As I begin to get some “recovery” or sense of what is
healthy behavior around relationships, I realize that the majority of my recent women
friends are actively engaged in behavior that I just don’t
identify with anymore. I just don’t have anything to say to my friend who’s
texting an unavailable dude daily. Or who just bought sex toys for a threesome. Or who is in and out
of her relationship with the phases of the moon. Which means, and has meant
for me, that several close friendships I’ve had are being let go of — are fading.
Further to the “lonely” part, as I said to my friend this morning, I haven’t been
dating for a year. I haven’t had sex in a year. I am only human. And there’s only so much I can take.
She said she gets it. She felt the same when she was going
through this work. The truth is that I’m doing inventory on my relationship
past, and I don’t want to be involved with anyone while I’m going through this
emotionally raw stuff. I don’t (really) want to use someone else to band-aid the work that I’m doing. The truth is also that I’ve finally gotten paid, and much of my financial crisis is averted, so I finally have the chance to feel a
little less stressed out.
Yes, there is only so much I can take. Luckily, I feel a
modicum more freedom right now, yes, due to money, what-the-fuck-ever to people
who say it won’t make you happy – sorry, food in my fridge makes me fucking
happy, assholes. But that release from imminent worry creates a little more
ease. That little more ease means I won’t have to reach out to false idols for
solace, false idols like the green-fade-to-brown eyes of the Bus Stop Boy.
I can do things to help me bolster and support myself, now
that I’m not as “man the battleships!” Things which will provide more
sustainable relief and support – I can reconnect with friends who aren’t stuck
in unhealthy patterns. I can finally feel the room to write and paint again. 
Do I still absolutely want to just rest my head on his
shoulder and relax to the marrow of every organ in my body? YES.

anger · relationships · romance · sex · sexuality · vulnerability

Sex Type Thing: Poems.

Can you fix me from inside the slickness?
Will callouses and scabs be rent off by our friction?
Will the explosion of your cum inside me tremble into the
core of every cell
and paint them newly red?
Then get the fuck off me.
* * *
my foot cramps in the closed position monkeys
must still be able to make but i can’t
my hip bone pops in its socket and i’m
unsure whether that’s into or out of it
the lightest swing of my body against the mattress
mimics an old playset and i’m suspended
* * *
everything switches off, except your breath
against my hip bone
* * *
everyone i know has an o.c.d. mom
and an absent father
will this fix it?
does it need to be fixed?
how the fuck do you do that?
* * *
i want her to stop claiming “broken,”
as if it’s a setting on the dishwasher
and when its turned all culpability and
engagement in the world is paused
* * *
the tiniest fibers of hair
freshly shaved this morning
no matter how new the razor
they vibrate like frankenstein’s
monster and map
my skin against yours
us in this town
the triangles of string that
connect where i’ve been
connect other lovers
not comparing, enhancing this one
how his tongue felt against the densely
the lightest grazing and
sickly sudden entrance
of manicured or not
strapping my attention
chaining it to the bed.
* * *
how does this alchemy work?
it hasn’t so far.
lead returns to lead as
i bolt the door behind you
the moment gimped
by an awkward exchange of
see yous
what tangle the sheets are in,
still warm,
i climb back into them as if
i could coax them into being
and you were something else
* * *
i only ever imagine the weight of you
when i’m alone with myself at night
i can find folds that you can’t
and pace myself as you won’t
but alone, i can never press myself into the
evaporating softness
grip the muscles of your back
as if you were my life preserver
acceptance · dating · fantasy · fear · finances · growth · maturity · progress · relationships · romance · sobriety

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

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

adulthood · dating · integrity · intimacy · Jewish · progress · recovery · relationships · responsibility · romance · sexuality

Progress, Not Perfection.

So, I did not sleep with my okJew on the second date. We did
however come back to my place, and have a rather heated make-out session.
It was lovely. But. I feel today no better. I realize today
that even though we didn’t sleep together, which was something I didn’t want to
do, knowing him so briefly, that I still feel a sense of sadness around it. And
in writing some about it, I realize that it’s sad because I still don’t fully
believe in my own inherent worth – that I’m more than my body.
Even when we were making out, however fun it was – and it
was, and I’m sure that if we ever do have sex, there will be no problem in that regard – but I felt not fully
present. I felt a little disconnected – and, really, I was. I was disconnected
from the emotions that can come when you are making out with someone you know,
like, and maybe even more than like. I was only acting from one part of myself,
not all of me.
And, knowing that, I notice the desire to pack “Beauty” back
up behind her glass terarrium, and say, see, you can’t be trusted. But really,
it’s not her fault. I didn’t have to come back to my place – it could have been
a short date. I didn’t have to have the extended make-out session – I could
have ended it earlier. But, I did. And this is where “progress, not perfection”
comes in. Because I really could beat myself up here, and retreat back into
isolation, and a position of “See, you really don’t know how to hold intimacy
and sexuality, so you better pack it in.”
Yes, I could do that, but I don’t think that’s the point
here. The point is that I realize that heavy teenage-like petting is a little
more than I want to do on a second date. I realize that I still want to feel
known more than that, and have more of a connection before getting so physical.
I have so much f’ing evidence of how much sex before emotional intimacy is the
cart before the horse, and so, yes, I can beat myself up for not having learned
that “well enough,” or I can be glad that I didn’t have sex when I didn’t
really want to, and be glad that I let him know it was time to go, and didn’t
interpret his erection as an obligation, as I wrote yesterday. (But, … Whoo-ee!
anyway…) 😉
So, there’s that. Of course, I begin to go all the way to,
now I better let him know what I’m looking for before there’s a
third date, and another round of, okay thanks, bye! That I need to explain what
I’m available for, and to ask if that’s what he’s available for.
Some of this sounds valid, some of it sounds unnecessary. I tend
to be an oversharer. I don’t think I need to do that, or at least, I don’t need
to do that today. I won’t see him again, likely, for another week or so, as
he’s busy during the week, and I’m camping this weekend, so I have time to let
some of this dust settle and ask some women, and see what happens.
We did have a good date, overall. In fact, it was a great
date. But I feel overshadowed by my remorse.
Again, it comes back to choice. I can choose to see this as
a failure, and head down to self-flagellation, and I’ll never get it, and how
come you don’t get that you’re worth it – that makes you so not worth it. (A
lovely circle of reasoning, that one.) Or. Or I can choose to see this as an
opportunity, as I spoke so much of yesterday. An opportunity to notice my
growth and change, and also to be happy (or at least contented) that I do notice how I’m feeling, and how I was feeling last night. I wasn’t
feeling present, and that I wasn’t feeling present is a good thing. That I
noticed it. Noticing it is the first step, I think. Then I
can work on doing something about it.
I’ve written a lot of poetry about not feeling present
during sex. Now, I know that that can extend to making out if I’m not properly
known by someone, and they’re not known by me. This person is nearly an entirely unknown
entity – of course I don’t feel
So, I can choose to take this as information for next time –
whether that’s with this person, or someone down the line. I can choose to
allow myself a little bit of affirmation over keeping my pants on. I can choose
to acknowledge that I’ve come a long way to be so present with myself to notice
these even slightly off-kilter parts of me.
Forgive the reference… but, in the final Twilight book
(spoiler alert?), the main character, Bella, throws an invisible defensive
bubble out around herself and her family during the cumulative battle. Imagine
it almost like a Bio-Dome, to mix pop-culture metaphors. In the book, Bella can
feel as one of the opponents pokes into the various places of her bubble,
looking for a weak spot – testing the defenses, and seeing how strong it is. I
feel very similarly about this work with dating/physicality. I feel that my
bubble is being poked and prodded, and I’m getting to see where I still have
spots of weakness, or places that can be firmed up.
I am sad that I don’t yet feel that I’m worth more than my body, or that I could be wanted or
acknowledged or “seen” for more than my physical self. But, this is simply a
place of “weakness,” a place where I could use more care and strength and
affirmation, and behavior that will support the idea that I
am more than that. So, I am glad for the opportunity.
I’ve been shown where there’s work to do – and if that’s not what relationships
are for, then I’ve got the wrong game. 
adulthood · balance · dating · integrity · love · progress · relationships · romance · self-care

Opportunity Knocks

So, first, some news – Remember the “SOLD” blog when I asked
all y’all to pray for my childhood home to sell so my dad and his fiancé could
move to Florida and retire? Well, 10 days after that blog, the house sold :)!!
Thank you ALL for your prayers and kind wishes! I’m really happy for them, even
though my dad is still shocked he didn’t get the price he wanted… Oh dad, you can’t win em all.
Next on the horizon, date # 2 happens tonight (this is the first 2nd date I’ve had in almost 2 years), and lord have
mercy, I’m trying to ground myself in every way possible. Stop tripping out.
Remember that I’m worthy of love and am able to give and receive love in an
appropriate way. Stop trying to script or plan. It’s not about “him.” I mean,
it’s not about wanting this person or not. It’s so much more about how do I
show up and stand in the experience of something new, trying something new. To
stand with integrity, and self-esteem, and awareness, and that fair and
balanced view thing that keeps coming up.
I don’t need a person to validate or complete me. I need to
be able to allow myself to stand without armor. I had a pretty funky
meditation/shamanic journey this morning. Unexpected, but right on track. About
my ability to receive love, and the melting of my resistance toward it.
Overbearing or absent were the ways that I learned love could show itself.
Overwhelm or rejection. I’ve carried out that pattern with my own partners, and
with myself as well. I’ve believed, and have stated in the past, that my fear
is that my needs are too great – that my needs are like a barely held back
tidal wave, and that to let them go, even in the slightest, to let them out,
would be an invitation for drowning – particularly, drowning someone else. So,
better to keep the dam contained.
It all comes back to what is the evidence for that today? Is there evidence of that today? And again, back to,
I’ve never let myself try, or others try, so really, I don’t know. Again, I
could be more capable of a thousand things, but having stopped and shunted them
all, I’d never know.
I am grateful for this “obstacle to practice on,” as is
written in a lot of the work I do with a woman one-on-one in the city. But I
said recently to someone else, that I think I’m going to begin using the word
“opportunity” rather than “obstacle.”
For a while, when I began writing that phrase with my
friend, it tasted so bitter and awful in my mouth – obstacles, fuck obstacles, I don’t need no steenkin obstacles.
I was pissed. How many more f’ing obstacles did I need in my life, I asked her.
And she told me that it wasn’t up to me. It wasn’t really my choice. These were
being presented to me, whether I wanted them or not, and it was my choice on
how I chose to use them for practice.
She was right. What do I know about my path? I want to get
from A to Z, but the “path” needs me to stop at H, J, and O on the way to
garner skills and friends and love and esteem. So, I wrote it. Thank you,
G-d, for this obstacle to practice on.
But, be it the “law of attraction”ish believing part of me,
or simply a framing shift, I don’t want to see or write them as obstacles anymore.
They’re not. They are opportunities.
These are
opportunities for me to choose – Turn Left, toward freedom and serenity, or
Turn Right, to well-worn misery. These are all mental paths, psychological
paths really. And in my phone right now, on my cover screen, I set the display
to read, “Turn Left.” It’s a reminder to me that in every given moment (what a
phrase! “given moment,” these moments are given, even gifts, if I can see it),
at any time, I can remember that I have a
choice. I have the choice to obsess about tonight or not. I
have the choice to believe in my inherent worthiness or not. These are all
choices. And my choices are reflected back to me in real time.
I’d like to choose to
not obsess, to remember that I am talented and worthy, and don’t have to sleep
with people I don’t know well, and that my house can still be off limits even
though I said I was cleaning it to make it “guest appropriate.” I was told that
I am the czar of my own experience, and further, my own body. That
don’t owe anyone anything.
Repeat. I
don’t owe anyone anything.
A date is not a
promise. A date is not a sexual invitation. It is an invitation to get to know
someone better. To vet each other for each subsequent date. A friend once told
me that a first date is just an interview for a second one. And so on they go.
That’s all.
So many years of believing I was promising something I
didn’t want to deliver, or was obligated to do because he was hard. Not my problem.
Sure, don’t be a tease on purpose, but he’ll live. An erection is not an
This is an opportunity for me to hear that and feel that in
a way that I haven’t. For me to try to see that I have assets beyond my
physical self. And for me to allow those assets to be shared and seen. Dating
can start so physically, and that part is critically important, but physical
attraction is a dime a dozen, really. (I mean it’s not exactly that easy, as
I’ve realized that too) – but sex itself is a dime a dozen. I don’t want that.
– as in hell yes, I want to get laid, like every other hot blooded person on
this planet, but I don’t want only that,
and my experience has taught me for sure that when I go to that part too quickly, I undermine myself every time, and I quash any ability for me to learn
that I am worthy for more than my looks and my pussy.
So, here’s to an opportunity to try something different. To
try to believe something different. And I am excited for tonight, and that’s
all well and good, but I’m also going to pay attention to my own music stand,
and Turn Left toward the tasks I have ahead of me right now.
Wish me luck. 
adulthood · change · commitment · community · faith · family · growth · home · life · recovery · relationships · romance · spirituality · tradition

The Kotzker Rebbi

According to legend, and history, Menachem Mendel
Morgenstern of Kotzk, Poland was an eccentric and influential rabbi, teaching
and forming one of the early branches of Hasidism, creating a more austere sect
of Judaism.
According to legend, and history, The Kotzker Rebbi, as he
was known, locked himself in his room for the last 20 years of his life. He
never left it. He received his food through a hole in the wall, and apparently
opened the door of his home once a year, revealing himself and his new
teachings/learnings to his disciples.
According to genetics, I am his great great great
granddaughter. His grandson is my grandfather’s father… I think. I have a family
tree at home somewhere. Either he’s my grandfather’s grandfather, or my grandfather’s
great grandfather. I haven’t done the math. 
Point being, and why it occurs to me today, I have no idea –
but the point being that I have some whacked out crazy, and powerful, Jews in
my lineage, living in my blood and DNA.
I’ve always found this fascinating. Firstly, it sort of
points to the understandability that mental illness runs in my family(!), and
secondly, it just sort of makes sense that Judaism continues to be this thread
in my life. I can’t sever it, ignore it, dismiss it – it is me.
When I began teaching at the Sunday School last year in
Berkeley, I said that I felt it was both my duty and my privilege to do so.
There is a line from some text that if any of us knows even one word of Hebrew he is
bound to teach it to someone else.
Again, I don’t really know why this occurs to me today. I
suppose as I begin to think about the direction my life is taking, or may take,
or I want it to take, I begin to think about this thread. Part of my
consideration in where I will move next, if I move, and eventually I
will (whenever “eventually” is), is if there are Jews there. For example, I’ve
been enamored of Asheville, North Carolina, ever since I heard of it through a
friend of mine who lives there. Young, hip, mountainous, liberal, artsy,
cultured … with one Jewish temple, of Conservative affiliation – aka, more
religious than I am, or want to be.
I don’t want to be more religious, I simply want to have
more connection to the community. More connection to those who share a history,
random Yiddish words, and a very eye-rolly understanding of the complexities of
a Jewish family.
So, Asheville may not be it. I have this crude crayon
drawing I made after a group meditation about 6 or more months ago. It’s a
couple, a man and a woman, holding hands, walking up a street to a
t-intersection. At the head of this intersection is a house – with a
wrap-around porch, huge trees, and a stream in the back, nested by a forest
behind it. To the right of this couple on the main street is a building with a
symbol for recovery on its façade. To the left of them, is a building with a
Jewish star above the door.
This is my vision. This, I believe, is how I become the
woman I want to be. Buoyed by my communities of faith, I’m able to stand in
partnership with another human being, and take part in what the world has to
I am grateful to have the quirky lineage that I have. It
makes sense to me, and makes me smile. (On my other side, my dad’s side, I’m
descended from Bohemians, literally.) Somehow I feel that I’m preparing to take
up a mantle that belongs to me, which includes all of these histories and as
well as all of the modern and current advantages I’ve inherited as a 20th
century woman with good health and education. And I’ll be curious when I find
that crayon drawing in 20 or 30 years to see how close I’ve come.