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.)

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intimacy · poetry · relationships · sex

pome.

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Tour de Coeur
Here.
  Place your
fingers — Here.
   Lower your
head, breathe and

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  press them in.

Do you feel it, soft and
  warm and — I’ll arch my back 
  pliable. How
the muscles shift around you,
learning you, too.
  Here,
Lay your head here, and I’ll
  breathe, not freeze
  as you
explore the hidden
edges and ridges.
I will try 
  to
keep my eyes open
while you read my collarbone like Braille.
8 6 14

addiction · love · pain · painting · sex · travel

Him, or His Tragedy?

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Two of my formative love experiences centered around the
tragic hero.
The first suffered unintentional tragedy by external forces;
the second, those forces were internal.
I was 19 when I met Joe in the basement dwelling of a mutual
friend, basements being common gathering spaces for teens in suburbia. Scotty
J. even had a puke hole in the back behind the water heater should the need arise, and it often did.
In the morning, Joe didn’t remember driving his Camaro over
to my house the night before, and thanked me for getting his car there safely.
… I don’t drive stick; it really wasn’t me.
It was red. Muscley. His pride, his baby, his staff and his
project. Both he and Scott would spend hours in the driveway with the hood up,
tinkering, fixing, unearthing, lubing, loving, and suping their cars. Scott was
working on a Firebird, the shell of the Trans-Am on blocks in the garage having
donated its engine to the Firebird.
I loved this. I loved watching how attentive they were to
their cars, how dirty their hands were, how much they knew. How sweaty and
excited and jargon-speaking they became when bent over the greasy machine. I
loved how the cars sounded when they started up. I loved the primal growl, the
testosterone surge. I loved that the cars and their owners turned me on.
Maybe a month, maybe less into this Summer of Love, Joe’s
Camaro was t-boned by a woman blowing a stop sign through an intersection.
Suddenly, the man-boy I had “fallen in love with” deflated. Defeated, broken,
grieving for his totaled “baby,” Joe crawled inside a bottle of Johnnie Walker
Red.
I couldn’t follow him there, into his mourning. Nor could I
really understand or have the perhaps appropriate amount of compassion for his
loss, feeling like he was turning his back on what he did have: me.
After my own very misguided attempts to grab his attention
back from the stoned, middle-distance stare he’d acquired, he finally did see
me; but this time in outrage and betrayal, and our relationship ended in
high-octane tears, screams, and pleading.
Tragic.
The second figure I loved so much I fell into that burning
ring of fire, was an artist.
Oh, this one. Andy. A Canadian I met in South Korea at age 23, another
teacher in the pre-school where we taught English. From moment one, I could smell
the pheromones of a tortured soul, and it rang straight into my bones.
There is something very particular about a tortured artist
soul. It reads like a familiar, I acknowledge you as one of my own; I see where
it is black inside you, where it is a vitriolic, white-hot, tumulting blackness, a yawning
cavern of desperate need and distopian pain. God, it’s electric.
The gaping hole, the violent, untenable ache for
validation and self-flagellation… god, you just want to walk into the center
of it, and be fueled by it. Let me stand in the eye of your self-destruction, in
the blaze of your unrest, and be transformed, be elevated by it.
It’s sick. I know. And because you know it’s sick, you
delight in it all the more. The delicious evil of it. The knowledge that you
are, together, charring a path through hell, is invigorating.
Andy was, and probably is, a painter. There was a crooked,
dotted path of yellow paint down the back alley toward his building where one
of his cans had leaked through the bag, and bread-crumbed his trail home.
His fingers were often covered in paint (like Joe’s in
grease), and his apartment had more than twenty completed canvases leaning on
the floor, against the wall. The typified artist whose greatest work lies stale
and unrealized behind walls, in drawers, in storage.
I loved the
unrealized potential of him. How he slammed his head against his self-made
cage. I hated how he “did nothing with it,” and as if I had the power to free
him from that bondage, I would look up galleries and places he could show his work. I
would read the poems he wrote to accompany his pieces, and create books in my
head for this next great artist.
The fantasy of his life, what it could have been, drew me
like a moth. A sick, misguided, gaping hole of my own, moth.
Andy had a girlfriend. He had another tragic girl he was
sleeping with. I would sit on the heated Korean floor with him and drink and
play cards and fuck and drink and intone and fuck some more.
He was never in love with me. This I knew, but tried not to
know. I wondered if I could crawl inside him and patch his broken places if he
would love me then. But he was also in love with his tragedy, and you can’t
take a toy from a child.
The men I’ve loved past these two have been thousands of
shades lighter in tragedy. And I have learned enough that you cannot date
potential, or rent love from infatuation, or demand love from one who doesn’t
love themselves. I have also learned enough that I don’t really want to be
ignited by tragedy anymore, but rather by joy, and I pass up the visibly broken
ones for hope of something different.
But in the sense-memory playground of my love life, I do
know that my heartpace quickens recalling tragedy’s twisted pleasures. 

adulthood · authenticity · fun · intimacy · joy · relationships · sex · sexuality

Not Vanilla

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So you might as well know now, since it’ll come up
eventually: In April, I’m going to Boston for a booty call.
It’s probably one of the most forethought and conscious ones
I’ve ever had, since it requires, you know, plane tickets.
But, my dear friend is a flight attendant based in
Seattle, and invited me to see her for a few days. I have a few days off around
Passover next month, have never yet seen the Pacific Northwest, and said, yes,
oh please, travel yes.
In the meantime, my long-time flirtation with a former SF
resident began to pick up speed—well, as speedy as text or messaging or
emailing can be. There were more “like”s, a few more texts, and not undesired
flirtation.
God. We can flirt!
Holy shit. It’s pretty much what we did together for the half-dozen years or so
we knew one another in SF before he moved to Boston. We went on one date once,
but it didn’t really take off, and we remained a flirtation.
So when the Seattle trip came up, and I saw that it was only
a few bucks more to fly through to Boston, I asked him if he wanted to pull
this flirtation from out of the clouds and onto the ground—or at least, into
bed.
We both had reasons and justifications why this was a bad
idea. For those of you playing along at home, this was my Cupcake Conundrum. It
could be a disaster. Awkward, too much pressure, a lot of time spent with
someone you don’t really know that well, all texting and emailing aside.
And then my friend told me, Life is meant to be lived. And I
believed her.
So, ticket bought, the flirtation has taken on a new edge of
anticipation and intrigue. And holy shit, is it F U N.
One of the wonderful things about this one in particular, is
that we do have a basis for being pretty open and honest and vulnerable with
one another about other stuff. I wouldn’t exactly say we were friends before,
we never called one another up to bitch about stuff or hang as platonic pals,
but we’ve developed a foundation of communication over the years that enables
me, at least, to feel a little more bold in our new iteration.
I get to be sexy. I get to be saucy, and not a
little eye-brow raising in my replies.
And something interesting is happening for me. In the same
way that yesterday’s blog was about music reminding me of a greater part of
myself, and opening me up to something greater, this whole level of sexuality
and sensuality I’m getting to explore in relation to him is doing the same. I
feel radiant, is what I wrote in my morning pages today.
Because the flirtation remains in the realm of words and not
bodies, I get to be and write things I might not otherwise say. I get to push
envelopes, and in doing so, I’m pushing a door open within myself. I love to feel this part of myself in a way that is safe,
connected, supported, and reciprocated.
It hasn’t always been that way. My ex was decidedly vanilla.
I mean, pretty much everything about him was vanilla!, but so to in the bedroom
department. Which is fine. But it’s not
going to change anything, open anything, explore anything. I mentioned some
things to my ex that I wanted to try, and he wasn’t into them. I mean, god bless
him, he tried a few times, but it was obvious he so wasn’t into it, or was so
out of his element that he was more just doing it instead of enjoying it.
Despite my public comportment (which shall remain), I am decidedly NOT vanilla. (Nor am I triple swirl chunky monkey supreme, but.) It’s something I know about
myself, and until this recent flirtation, have not really gotten the chance to
share in a way that feels esteemable before. Sure, I’ve had dalliances where
some of my wantonness was explored, and boy
were those fun. But those were nothing sustainable, and one-offs, unfortunately
(or fortunately).
So getting to express and open and reveal a side of myself
that is rarely unveiled is thrilling. It feels so good to say something out of the box, then follow it up
with, “I feel insecure that I said something out of the box,” and have him
respond in a receptive and reassuring way. It’s novel, man.
I mean, I am a Libra.
(I just felt all your eyes roll!) My sign is ruled by Venus. The planet and
force of sex, sensuality, desire, beauty, luxury, charm. In all my chasteness
and celibacy, there has been something missing. Like all of the parts I’m
struggling and striving to claim and reclaim, all the passions I’m diligently
unearthing and revealing to you, sexuality is a critical piece of that
excavation.
It’s sort of a sex-positive thing, I guess! Which, it is
important (to me) to note, does not mean that I’m going to throw it around or
be “easy” with it – that’s the only reason why I think this is happening in
this organic and esteemable way: because it’s safe. Because I feel heard and held
and reciprocated and appreciated. Because this person knows much of me that
rounds out the view. This isn’t Molly as Sex Kitten (but hey, Yum). This is
Molly as multi-faceted, self-possessed woman. And isn’t that sexy. 

adulthood · authenticity · change · intimacy · sex · sexuality · writing

Eat, Pray, Sex

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“If I understand you correctly,
this whole year is about your search for balance between devotion and pleasure.
I can see where you’ve been doing a lot of devotional practices, but I’m not
sure where the pleasure has come in so far.”
“I ate a lot of pasta in Italy,
Felipe.”
“Pasta, Liz? Pasta?
“Good point.”
Eat
Pray Love, Elizabeth Gilbert
Unless you choose to live a life of asceticism, you are
bound to come to a point when you have to attend to your body’s needs. There
are so many ways to go about this, and we all probably have our own patterns
for doing so.
There’s serial monogamy, adultery, the hands-on approach.
There’s serial hooking up, prostitution, polyamory, and even the somewhat “normal”
approach of having an intentional monogamous relationship.
In this age when sex outside of marriage is often par for
the course, we really do have a buffet of options. And chances are that we’ll eat
from one tray or another at various times and emotional states in our lives.
There is no handbook for this. There really are no rules. As
the saying goes, “You can do anything you want—as long as you’re willing to
accept the consequences.” Sometimes, consequences of actions are marvelous; not
all consequences are negative.
I remember the first time I had sex in adulthood sober. I
honestly hadn’t had sober sex since I was in my teens, if then. God, it was awkward. I
was so aware of everything: the way the
room looked, the sound of our breathing, the exact touches. And also, very
aware of the intimacy of the act.
That is something that drunken sex does not allow for. You
might get off, but you are so far from present; this is not an intimate act.
SURE, it can be and was fun; as Dr. Seuss puts it,
It is fun to have fun
But you have to know how.
And I’m not sure I ever really knew how. I mean, I lost my
virginity while I was drunk. Which isn’t uncommon in many of the women I
know.
So, to exist, sit, breathe, be in the intimacy of sex with
another person – well, it really is no wonder I was celibate for so long! Though,
I can admit, too, that distanced/detached sex is also very possible sober.
Which is usually how it’s been for me. Like I told you earlier this week about
the two-way mirror: I may offer you entrance, but I’m not giving you anything
in return. Here’s part of another poem I wrote during that celibacy time:
every inch closer you come toward
me is
every inch farther from myself
that I am.
so by the time your cock is pressing
against
the putty of my cervix,
i have found a home inside your
wall.
(And that was with a boyfriend!)

I suppose part of my reason for sharing these poems with you
recently is to normalize the experience for me, as I think I’m bringing these poems
to my Writer’s Group today – my all male
Writer’s Group. Though there’s absolutely a titillation factor to my work, the
reality is, this is my writing, this is what I’m working on, was working on
when I wrote them, and I guess, if there is feedback on how to improve my
craft, I want it. But, I also know it may be hard (forgive me) for people to look
past the word “cock” and get toward the structure and craft.

We’ll see. I haven’t decided yet if I’m bringing these poems
there. It feels exposing, but then again, sharing any of my writing feels exposing.
And I guess that’s what I’m getting at – showing up without
retreating. To know that I am safe and thereby be able to show up with vulnerable work, to show up physically and
emotionally during sex. To let myself be present with the cacophonous
heartbeat of it all.
I have little experience being present in flagrante delicto; but, by
escaping it, I do think I’m missing out on some of the fun.

adulthood · change · intimacy · sex · sexuality

Sex Ed.

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There is more right with you than wrong.
I had a therapist once who used to tell me, “As long as you
can take a full, deep breath into your lungs, there is more right with you than
wrong.”
Today, on the most gorgeous day we’ve seen in the Bay, I finally succumbed to the pseudo-strep throat thing
that’s been passing around work, and this afternoon, I’m performing a preview scene of
the play I’m in that opens at the end of the month.
So, I take homeopathics, vitamin Cs, a heavy dose of
over-the-counter Western, and The Show Must Go On.
And I’ve been thinking about sex. Because, who hasn’t?
I’ve been thinking about the unintentional self-imposed
celibacy I was in from August of 2011 through October of 2013. You can do math,
and understand that’s more than two years
without sex.
And, it’s not like there were some clandestine, but
ultimately PG-13 moments in there, either. It was pretty much a white-out
period.
Granted, about 8 of those months I was bald and a sallow
shade of green, but, the year prior to cancer was not a wanton, robust one.
It was sort of intentional. I’d broken up with my ex in the
early months of 2011, had two rounds of rebound sex that left me feeling more
empty than fulfilled, and a few months later, found myself back in bed with my
ex in a misguided attempt to see if we could pump (pun intended) life back into
our relationship.
We couldn’t. And I finally realized that giving the milk for
free was wearing me down.
And so began the Great Celibacy of my 30th Year. The year
women are purported to have the greatest libido. Probably because our bodies
are sending Morse Code messages through our hormones, stating, Get on with the
baby-making thing, lady, Time’s a marching.
I began sending texts to two girl friends as each month
passed: Two months, no sex. Six months, no sex. A YEAR, no sex. It was
appalling but also, I wasn’t about to jump into the sack with anyone just to
get my rocks off – because, honestly, you can’t ever be sure that your rocks
will get off with someone you don’t know that way. It’s a crap shoot, and is it
worth it to have lackluster sex with someone who you know you’re not that into?
Hm.
It’s not as if I denied myself the pleasures of carnality; I took
matters amply in hand. But it wasn’t the same. It’s never the same—as good sex, at least. Sure, you’re pretty sure you’re gonna
get your happy ending, and don’t have to think about what you do afterward, how
long you wait for him to leave, or if you cuddle or not. But, part of a poem I
wrote during the celibacy goes:
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
                                 or grip the muscles of your back
as if you were my life preserver
I once read a story that included the line, “At night, she
masturbated herself to an unsmiling orgasm.” What a waste.
I broke the celibacy last Fall with a very pointed and mutually
understood bootie call with someone I’d been on a internet date with twice, but
who wanted to just hook up, and though there was certainly physical chemistry,
I didn’t want that and we parted amicably. A year and a half after that date, my hair grown back to something I could pass as feminine, I
asked him if he was still interested in something “casual,” and he was, and I
was, and we were, and it was…Awesome.
But, that poem of mine concludes:
how does this alchemy work?
lead returns to lead as
i bolt the door behind you
the moment gimped
by an awkward exchange of
‘see you’s
what tangle the sheets are in,
still warm,
i climb back into them as if
i could coax them into being
you
and you were something else
So sometimes, celibacy is the better answer, isn’t it?
“Life is meant to be lived,” has been going through my head, though. And my body is still one of a woman in her early thirties receiving and
extending messages that say, Virile and Viable. And sometimes, it’s worth the
awkward exchange, and sometimes it’s not. Sometimes you eat the cupcake, and
sometimes you don’t. And sometimes you take a full, deep breath and remember
that there is more right with you than wrong. And perfection is an illusion,
“really.”

anger · fear · growth · recovery · sex · sexuality · the middle way · vulnerability

Discovering The Third Thing

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A or B, Molly? Your life depends on it. Is it black or
white, Molly? Your life depends on it. Is Dad coming home right now, your life
depends on it. Is he in a temper-FIGURE IT OUT-your life depends on it. Is Mom
crying? Is she still alive-LISTEN HARD-your life
depends on it. Is it black or is it white, Molly, YOUR LIFE DEPENDS ON IT.
A woman I met once and have never seen or sought out again asked me, What if there’s a “third thing?”
Much of what I hear is about how we break things into black
and white, but that life is not that way. There is an indoctrination, as above
italicized, that makes us learn and perceive that life is and must be black and
white as a way of survival. And in adulthood, that must be unlearned.
What folks have suggested as remedy to this, however, is
“life is gray,” shades of grey (no allusion intended). That it’s somewhere in
the middle.
Years ago, I decided that “grey” didn’t work for me in this
metaphor, too bland; that instead, “not black and white” could be interpreted as “in
color.” Life isn’t “black and white;” it’s in color.
But, this woman told me something else entirely. That it’s
something I haven’t even conceived of before.
We were not talking about life. We were talking about sex.
I was telling her how I’ve vacillated in my life between the
icons I have named Betty Crocker and The Vixen. How I swing the pendulum of
myself from one to the other; bored by the first, burned by the second.
I was emailing with a friend yesterday about how some of situations I find myself in at the moment are reminiscent of something that happened in my early twenties,
a situation I got myself in as a result of swinging from Betty Crocker to the
Vixen, to disastrous results. She pointed out a few places where things are different now, that I’m
sober, older, and it was just plain different.
But there is a rubber band that pulls this circumstance
back to then, a sense memory that lashes out, OH! UH-UH we’ve done this, lady!
Remember!! Remember the outcome, the consequences, the disaster! Warning,
warning!
She tells me it’s not the same. I remind myself of the year;
I look around myself at who and where I am. And it’s very freaking hard to
separate the past from the present.
Which brings us back to the trust I’ve been working on. To
trust that I am different, that I am safe, that I can allow myself to
experience life in a different way today. That I am able to be the third thing.
It only occurred to me today that perhaps the person I’m
becoming as I sort all this out is the
third thing, neither the puritanical Betty Crocker (who avoids all human
contact in search of the unicorn idea of a risk-less relationship), nor The
Vixen (who overrides all hesitance toward prurient wantonness).
I had my first initial phone call yesterday with a woman who
works somatically with trauma. We’re scheduled to meet next Wednesday, the one
day I have off rehearsal during “tech week.” As helpful and warm and not really “getting into anything” as our
conversation went, my body closed up tighter than an asshole over a flame. And, this is why I want to see her! (duh.)
I used the words “ingress” and “egress” a lot in my morning
pages today, the allowance of things to enter and to exit. Currently, I allow some of
myself out, but I refuse anything entry. Or, if I allow entry of someone or some
emotion, then I refuse them anything in return.
The two-way mirror of my skin. One side can look in, the
other cannot look out.
The third thing, here, would be a window, instead. (Don’t
even suggest something without a pane; I might deck you.)