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The New Year is now a distant memory for most of us. I know that MKL and I played pool, drank martinis, ate something yummy, watched tropical visions on Hawaii 5-0 on Netflix, and fell asleep before midnight. But many of you in the blogosphere may have noticed the “One Word Challenge.” I was late to that party, but the idea is that you pick one word to which you dedicate your actions and goals for the year. It’s simpler than your standard New Year’s resolutions, which are generally abandoned by the time you get the Christmas Tree off to the recycle center.

I’m not generally a big fan of this sort of thing (or of large parties), but this struck some chord within me. MKL and I do have a goal of combining households and actually living like a married couple in 2016, which led me to think that my word was “home.” But that is a very, very complex word for me (although MKL has made it simpler, as I feel as if my home is where he is). So I don’t think “home” is quite my word. I think my word is for 2016 is “bravery.”

BRAVERY.

The things that feed my soul that I fear pursuing because of rejection or failure need to be brought out to the show windows this year, reactions be damned. Maybe not quite like bravery in terms of Braveheart where Mel Gibson gets his intestines pulled out on a roller, but bravery in terms of going after what I want (no one else can do it for me) and taking risks around changes in my life, seeing new places, challenging myself. I haven’t done anything particularly brave in five years, when I was forced to reshape my roadkill of a life. So it’s time. Wish me luck. No, wish me courage.

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Eastern Colorado.

Quote of the day: “Scared is what you’re feeling. Brave is what you’re doing.” — Emma Donoghue

Daily gratitudes:
My MRI technician
Shamanic journeys
Meeting deadlines
Melting snow
Love

 

 

I spend some time alone these days, and that’s a good thing. I think everyone should spend some time alone.

Alone being a positive is so different from where I was one year ago, eighteen months ago.  Back then, in those dark days, I was lonely and heartbroken.  Being alone reminded me of how I’d been rejected, dumped, forsaken, cast aside. And now I know that I was lied to as well, lied to for a long time. I was delusional about my present and my future. Those days were horrible, and I forced myself to make huge changes, to restart my life, although I felt like a zombie.

Now, all is different. It is as if I am living under a new sun. A new love is a huge part of this, but there are other parts as well.  A willingness to look closer at the choices I made, to let go of the things that were holding me back like silken tethers. A good therapist.  A way of looking at the world through eyes of gratefulness and beauty, noticing the small moments in life that make me smile and feel joy and peace.

Alone time now is a mishmash of a blessing. When I am not with MKL, I miss him. But missing him can make being with him that much sweeter. And being alone with myself, my words, my thoughts, my cat, my house, ensures that I remain the me that he fell in love with – and that I fell in love with as I prepared myself to meet him.

I do not think that I will “end up” alone. In fact, my increased faith in myself, the power of the love of the universe have convinced me that none of us end up alone, even if we pass through periods of this life by ourselves. Alone now is not a bad thing.  Lonely is a little different, but both are states that can change with strength, desire, and intention.

Disclaimer: I feel this way right now. Right now, I am not in the throes of my depression. When I am again in its vile, lying, loathsome clutches, remind me that I said this. During those bouts, hope and faith are both elusive and seeming illusions.

I went searching for a synonym for alone the other day, and do you know what I found? There are barely two or three synonyms for alone that do not imply a state of sadness, emotional/spiritual poverty, depression, or abandonment. I thought that was fascinating.

Most of these synonyms flowed along the lines of isolated, lonesome, discarded, cut off, friendless. You get the picture, I’m sure. But like a miniature lighthouse, one synonym stood out as a beacon: free.

Free.

What a wonderful concept to associate with being alone. Free to choose the company of others. Unburdened by baggage. That is how I feel now.

Beautifully together, and beautifully alone.

I originally wrote the post below about Dottie Sandusky on November 10, 2011, and it stirred up a small hornet’s nest of controversy – people saying that I was defending Dottie Sandusky, that I was being unfair to the victims, that I was a narrow-minded ass and an idiot. Well, as I maintained during those debates, we are all entitled to our opinion, and I stand by that belief.

As the Jerry Sandusky trial is wrapping up, and Dottie Sandusky has testified in defense of her husband, the feelings I had when I originally wrote this post have risen to the surface of my consciousness again.  On a rational and clinical level, I understand the titanic depths of denial thought patterns in a situation like this. However, having followed the testimony of the victims, I have a somewhat increased sense of disappointment, outrage, and childlike bewilderment about this kind of denial. Not only does it minimize the victims’ experiences, it feels like a desperate act of self-preservation on the part of a woman who sees her world crumbling and will do anything to try to save it, regardless of the cost. Wouldn’t we all? I don’t know. It depends on our individual strength of character and moral courage.

As a childhood victim of a molester, I saw the denial that my parents experienced. Were they culpable?  My child’s mind thought so – because I expressed in every way I could that I did not want to be around my molester – every way except telling them what was going on. I was too embarrassed, too ashamed, and too confused. Which sounds a lot like what Sandusky’s victims said about themselves and which is now enabling a clever defense attorney to call their testimony into question, in a large part because those feelings made them hold back the truth for so long.

I know what I think is right in this case, and perhaps it is colored by my own experience.  But so be it.  It takes true courage to admit to being a victim and not spend your life living as one.

November 10, 2011: Thinking of Dottie Sandusky

I don’t follow sports. I don’t have any connections at Penn State. I don’t even know how I became aware in the last several days of the atrocious acts that former assistant coach Jerry Sandusky committed on who knows how many young boys over the past 20 years. My heart aches for the victims. I know a little about how they feel. I remember being a victim myself.

But in all this publicity, the perpetrator hasn’t spoken. He’s free on a reasonable amount of bail. What’s he doing? Spending a lot of time with lawyers, obviously, and supporters, certainly. Note that I did not make the totally inappropriate remark about athletic supporters – oh wait, I just did. He can’t be strolling around Happy Valley with his head held high. Can he? Or can he truly be secluding himself in his home, with his wife of heaven knows how many years? Can he really? Which brings us to the point of my post.

As my heart aches for Sandusky’s young victims, it aches for his wife. What must this woman be feeling? Shame, anger, disbelief, rage, humiliation, shock, nausea, betrayal, bewilderment, devastation are just a few of the emotions that come to mind. What do you do when suddenly you discover that the man you married and loved and helped all these years is a person you don’t even know? And someone you would consider a monster if you did not know them?

It must be impossible for her to believe it, despite the evidence. And I know that, at this point, she is looking at every moment of their life together and wondering. Did she really know and just turn a blind eye? Did she miss all the signs? Does this fact make x,y, and z make sense now? How could she have been so gullible? Such a fool?

These are the things she is thinking privately. She may not voice these kinds of thoughts to anyone. And barely even to herself. To friends and family, I imagine she is still displaying the stong, supportive wife-face she has worn for years. The face that says, “I don’t believe a word of this, and I am standing by my man.” She has perhaps raged at her husband – or perhaps not. She’s not of an era when women did that, for any cause.

People have asked, “How could she have not known? It had to have been obvious, or at least suspicious.” But no, it is entirely possible that she did not know, did not see, did not believe. Sociopaths – which is what child molesters are – are extremely charming and excellent at the art of deception. And when you love someone and have built your life around them, you are predisposed to believe what they tell you. When you know someone as a man who has looked after kids in various capacities for years – and raised the ones you adopted together – then the trips, the phone calls, the bedtime companionship in the basement room, seem like pure fatherly activities. And pedophiles can – and do – raise families without victimizing their own children – sometimes.

The one thing I know is that this woman is a victim in a whole different way. And for that, my heart goes out to her.

So, my new-old house purchase is moving along.  I had word last week that the bank accepted my offer, but their acceptance was only good for 21 days.  Which means I have to secure the loan and close by the 28th.   So I’ve been cranking out documents for my mortgage broker (who says I am “golden”), and visiting the new-old homestead with a handyman who”s done a lot of work for the family over the years, trying to figure out just how far in over my head I’m getting.

The good news is, he said that the place is in pretty good shape for being over 100 years old.  The furnace is pretty new.  Though I did have to climb down and crawl under the house to see it (creepy).  The stuff I need to have fixed is pretty easy to fix.  In fact, he said if I changed my mind, that he’d buy the house for his daughter, which I think is a pretty good recommendation.  Its only downside is that it’s on a fairly busy street, but it’s set quite far back, which is good.  And it adds about 15 minutes to my commute – not so convenient to the bus as the Cottage.  Oh, and there may be a small kick-dog next door that will need silencing.  I can’t tell yet.

I’m definitely having cold feet.  The down-payment will take half my savings.  What if I want to leave?  What if I want to move to warmer climates?  What if…things change again and some of those wonderful dreams leap back to life?  As I was whining about this to Kelsea this morning, she pretty much reamed me a new one.  I won’t report what she said, but she had a good point.

So, I’m moving forward no matter how full of trepidation, fear, second guesses and longings for love that I have.  What else can I do?  And this way, when the time is right to move to the Caribbean, I’ll have my house to come home to for hurricane season. 

Today, I found my kitchen table.  The flea market will hold it for me until the house is mine.  It’s beautiful – retro silver enamel, like the kind I had growing up (except the one from my childhood was red).  Kelsea’s friend Will’s mother gave me an antique rolltop desk that she paid $1000 for about 20 years ago.  She’ll hold onto it until I’m ready.  My boss gave me a dresser that Pat’s holding for me.

I wandered around Home Depot tonight.  I didn’t buy anything.  I picked up some paint cards for the bathroom and the BLUE room.  I looked at carpets.  I talked for a long time about tile with this really excellent Home Depot woman.  I gazed at light fixtures.  I realized that scary as it all is, this can be MY house, with the things that I’ve always wanted (within financial limitations.)  There’s something very satisfying about that idea.  I felt like a little kid in a candy store.

At the Cottage, my hot water heater has been on the fritz for the last few days.  I’ve been calling my landlord and he’s been trying to fix it.  But it occurs to me, when MY hot water heater goes out, I”M going to have to try to fix it.  I’M going to have to rent a sander and refinish the floors.  I’M going to have to paint all the rooms and remove the little bit of leftover wallpaper.  And I don’t know how to do any of these things.  So, I guess it’s time to learn.

I guess it’s time to learn a lot of things.

I awoke this morning after my usual complicated, half-frightening, half-supernatural, all-meaningful dreams, thinking about threes.  I don’t know why.  Maybe it’s because I finished Dan Brown’s Angels and Demons last night, with all its scientific/religious intersectional themes.

Aside from thinking about the classic Holy Trinity of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit (or ” the Holy Spigot”, as claimed by Rowen Atkinson in his short but sweet role in “Four Weddings and A Funeral”), I was thinking about the concept of love – true love – being something that is mind, body and soul.

Love can start in different ways.  It can start as friendship.  It can start as passion.  It can start as a sense of partnership.  It can start as a vibrant energetic connection.  Or it can start as some combination of the above.  In order for it to succeed and strengthen, the three core elements – mind, body and soul – must all be allowed to bloom.  And not just between two people but within each of those two people.

If you are mentally compatible with someone, it doesn’t necessarily mean that you share the same level of intelligence or education.  It does mean that you are eager to expand your thinking to consider ideas or ways of life or activities that you might not have considered before.  You are willing to be open-minded and non-judgemental of how you – or your potential partner – experience life.  And you are willing to involve your partner in your life and become involved with theirs.

If you are physically compatible, well, it’s an amazing thing.  You can have a successful love relationship without intense physical passion – you can be perfectly fine with average physical passion and attraction.  But when you do have the intense body connection, it can transcend the physical and touch the spiritual.  Due to our nearly-inborn Christian conservatism which we all want to deny, we can think that having an intense physical relationship is “bad”. We can place put on our shame-colored glasses and imagine that we should not be in such a relationship, because if it is that good, clearly that’s all there is to it, and that makes it wrong.  Not so.  An intense physical connection is just a part of the trinity, and something that should be nurtured, cherished and honored.

If you are spiritually compatible, you find yourself expanding in unexpected ways.  Your life is full of minor epiphanies about yourself, about the universe, about each other.  You each fuel the flame of spirit that burns within the other – and the result, while sometimes confusing, is ultimately most joyful.  While I don’t think any element of the “Love Trinity” is more important than another, the spiritual element is the most rare and the most frightening.  It takes courage and strength to confront yourself daily.  When the cares of life are overwhelming, the unclouding of the soul can feel like it is simply too much to manage.  It is easier to find a relationship where you can be less (or be the same) than stick with one that makes you grow.  At least then you have the illusion of peace.  Ah, but what you miss.

Back in college, I had a therapist who said that when you were choosing to be with someone, you needed to be sure that your head, your heart and your crotch were all aligned.  I’ve never forgotten that.  I’ve certainly gone with the “two out of three ain’t bad” approach once in a while.  But for a life partner?  Nope.

I will not compromise the mind-body-soul trinity again.  And I feel sorry for those who do.

I know what can be.  I know what I have to offer.  And I know what I’m worth.  I believe there’s a saying that good things come in threes. (I know there’s also a saying that disasters come in threes, but we’ll put that aside for the purposes of this post.  I believe in the power of good.) 

I am a good thing.

I first posted this back on January 27, 2009 – amazing how, two years later, I am feeling the same things for the same reason.  I am not sure what this says about my life.  But I think it’s worth re-posting a slightly edited version.

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I need some help with being brave and so I dipped into Wikiquotes – and the following resonated with me. Perhaps I will be able to dip back into them from some strength.

You don’t get very far in life without having to be brave an awful lot. Because we all have our frightening moments and difficult trials and we don’t have much of a choice but to get through them, and it takes a lot of bravery to do that. The most important thing about bravery is this — It’s not about not being scared — it’s about being scared and doing it anyway — that’s bravery. – Ysabella Brave

Complete courage and absolute cowardice are extremes that very few men fall into. The vast middle space contains all the intermediate kinds and degrees of courage; and these differ as much from one another as men’s faces or their humors do. – Francois de la Rochefoucauld

It requires courage not to surrender oneself to the ingenious or compassionate counsels of despair that would induce a man to eliminate himself from the ranks of the living; but it does not follow from this that every huckster who is fattened and nourished in self-confidence has more courage than the man who yielded to despair. – Soren Kierkegaard

Courage charms us, because it indicates that a man loves an idea better than all things in the world, that he is thinking neither of his bed, nor his dinner, nor his money, but will venture all to put in act the invisible thought of his mind. – Ralph Waldo Emerson

Either life entails courage, or it ceases to be life – E.M. Forster

I wanted you to see what real courage is, instead of getting the idea that courage is a man with a gun in his hand. It’s when you know you’re licked before you begin, but you begin anyway and see it through no matter what. – Harper Lee 

Without belittling the courage with which men have died, we should not forget those acts of courage with which men … have lived. The courage of life is often a less dramatic spectacle than the courage of a final moment; but it is no less a magnificent mixture of triumph and tragedy. A man does what he must—in spite of personal consequences, in spite of obstacles and dangers and pressures—and that is the basis of all human morality…. In whatever arena of life one may meet the challenge of courage, whatever may be the sacrifices he faces if he follows his conscience—the loss of his friends, his fortune, his contentment, even the esteem of his fellow men—each man must decide for himself the course he will follow. The stories of past courage can define that ingredient—they can teach, they can offer hope, they can provide inspiration. But they cannot supply courage itself. For this each man must look into his own soul. – John F. Kennedy

Go to the edge of the cliff and jump off. Build your wings on the way down.- Ray Bradbury

Every great work, every big accomplishment, has been brought into manifestation through holding to the vision, and often just before the big achievement, comes apparent failure and discouragement. – Florence Scovel Shinn

Being deeply loved by someone gives you strength while loving someone deeply gives you courage. – Lao Tzu

Courage is being scared to death— and saddling up anyway.- John Wayne

Courage is the price life exacts for peace.- Amelia Earhart

Few things are more attractive than courage, cheerfulness and optimism. But they take on an extra dimension when you realize that they are not a lucky assembly of character traits, but the result of an act of will—a deliberate attempt to tackle an unkind destiny with strength of purpose and good humor. – Jane Shilling  

Great occasions do not make heroes or cowards; they simply unveil them to the eyes. Silently and imperceptibly, as we wake or sleep, we grow strong or we grow weak, and at last some crisis shows us what we have become. – Brooke Foss Westcott

I am old enough to know that victory is often a thing deferred, and rarely at the summit of courage. What is at the summit of courage, I think, is freedom. The freedom that comes with the knowledge that no earthly thing can break you.  – Paula Giddings 

If you let fear of consequence prevent you from following your deepest instinct, then your life will be safe, expedient and thin. – Katherine Butler Hathaway

In times of stress, be bold and valiant. – Horace

It is better to die on one’s feet than to live on one’s knees.- Emiliano Zapata

Love makes us human, courage makes us extraordinary.- Faryal Khan Kharal

Many of our fears are tissue-paper thin, and a single courageous step would carry us through them.  – Brendan Francis

 Often I have found that the one thing that can save is the thing which appears most to threaten … one has to go down into what one most fears and that process … comes a saving flicker of light and energy that, even if it does not produce the courage of a hero, at any rate enables a trembling mortal to take one step further. – Laurens Van Der Post

Nurture your mind with great thoughts, for you will never go any higher than you think.  – Benjamin Disraeli

Strength and courage aren’t always measured in medals and victories. They are measured in the struggles they overcome. The strongest people aren’t always the people who win, but the people who don’t give up when they lose – Asheley Hodgeson

Those who risk nothing risk being nothing.  – Leonoid Sukhorukof

To have courage for whatever comes in life— everything lies in that.  – Mother Theresa

To see what is right and not to do it is cowardice.  – Confucious (K’ung-Fu-tzu)

What you are afraid to do is a clear indicator of the next thing you need to do.  – Anonymous

Whatever you do, you need courage. Whatever course you decide upon, there is always someone to tell you that you are wrong. There are always difficulties arising that tempt you to believe your critics are right. To map out a course of action and follow it to an end requires some of the same courage that a soldier needs. Peace has its victories, but it takes brave men and women to win them. – Ralph Waldo Emerson

You gain strength, courage and confidence by every experience in which you really stop to look fear in the face. You are able to say to yourself, ‘I have lived through this horror. I can take the next thing that comes along.’ You must do the thing you think you cannot do.   – Eleanor Roosevelt

One of my greatest fears, one of those few things that keeps me awake at night and troubles my dreams, is that, when the moment of truth comes, I will fail. This is surpassed only by the fear that when that moment arrives, I will not fail, but will lack the courage to try.  – Jonah West

You only really discover the strength of your spine when your back is against the wall.  – James Geary

Courage = Love + Hope + Fear. – Shomam

This has been a highly tolerable winter up until now.  We had a snow – I think – when I was away in November, and a small-ish snow just before New Year’s.  But it’s been warm, not even requiring a coat most of the time.  Until yesterday.  Yesterday, the hammer fell.

I live in Colorado, so it’s not as if I didn’t expect this to happen.  I just, in my secret heart, hope that global warming will make our mountain-high weather more tropical every year.  And it is Stock Show time, and this is what we call “Stock Show Weather” – bitter-butt cold and snowy and icy. 

I learned about four years ago that a January trip to a warm beach did wonders for my winter psyche.  I remember that first January trip.  It was a quick jaunt to Jost van Dyke and it required that I spend the night on the floor of Logan Airport in Boston.  I hadn’t spent the night on ANY airport floor since college – and coincidentally, the last time I had done so had also been at Logan Airport.  The floor was harder and colder than it had been in college, and my friend Buddy had so kindly driven in to while away a few hours with me in a side-by-side rocking chairs, bringing with him a flask of rum.  It was a very pleasant night, but sleep was impossible, and I was a zombie by the time I arrived in St. Thomas.  However, the four nights on Jost felt, as time on Jost often does, like 8 nights, and I was happy and refreshed by the time I went home.

This year, I’m pinching pennies.  If I get the house (or a different house – I’m going to look at a slightly less expensive one just down the block from the one I’ve put a bid on), I’ll need everything I have to get it together.  If I don’t – well, then I believe I will take a little jaunt somewhere – unless of course, a job comes up.  Then I’ll have to stay here, which will also be fine. 

I am working on the novel again – just started, and gearing up to finish.  And I’m submitting some poetry to some contests, which is cool.  On the agenda for the week is submitting some work to the Denver Women’s Press Club unknown author’s contest.  I’m nervous about it, because I’m submitting both poetry and a non-fiction piece, and I’m really unsure what to submit.  But the important thing is that I submit something.

I could just chuck it all and move to somewhere warm – and when it’s 0 degrees outside, that sounds tempting.   But the spiritual price I would have to pay is too high – I’m worth too much now.  Ironically, out of the dishonorable things I may have done over the last few years has come a sense of honor that is too strong to even consider compromising.  It’s one of the most valuable things about me now.  And even another life somewhere in the sun is not worth surrendering that.

So I guess I’ll just have to stick with singing that Kenny Chesney song in the shower for a little while longer.

As this blog’s subtitle is “Journal of a Citizen of the World”, it may seem as if I am homeless, at least psychically.  Sometimes I am.  I still think of North Carolina as “home”, but after Mother sold the house I was born and raised in, I really felt like I had no place to go.  I remember after her memorial, turning to my aunt in front of Duke Chapel, and saying to her “Now, I am a citizen of the world.”

When we bought the house in Superior, when things in my marriage were good, I was excited about having a home of my own.   I have always loved my little house.  But when only one person in a couple is trying to make it a home, it becomes sad.  It is Kelsea’s home now, to me, which is good, because she loves it as I did my own home growing up, and as I loved the little house when I bought it.   I can love it for her now, with only a twinge of sadness sparked by the loss of my marital relationship with Pat — which was lost long ago.

When I moved into the cottage, I felt I had found a haven, although my unconsicous mind was still searching for a home for several months after the move.  Every night, I would dream of looking for my home, or looking for my room, wandering through huge houses, through hotels, through streets in familiar and unfamiliar towns.  It added to my sadness.  After a time, as I settled in, the dreams stopped.  Now, I often forget that the cottage is not my own, and that I cannot just stay tucked away there indefinitely. 

Two days ago, my landlords asked me to re-sign my lease through next May.  It was a bit of a wake-up call.  While I have been thinking about buying a house of my own here, it’s a hard decision to make, as the only reason to do so is really Kelsea.  I know I want to move elsewhere (job be damned), and as I’ve said before, I have considered just taking a year’s sabbatical and living in different places around the world, coming back here every couple of months for a visit, which would give me a chance to see where life would lead me work-wise.  A chance to pursue my writing.  A chance to really be a photographer.  A chance to find some balance of peace and adventure.

I wonder if the concept of home will always be so elusive in my life?  Perhaps I was never meant to have one, not really, and home is just where my heart is.  Maybe I am one of those people.  Maybe I am a hobo at heart, which would be interesting, considering Kelsea’s fascination with hobos.  Maybe I was indeed born under a wandering star.  My Mother once told me I came out asking where the next bus was.  She saw it in me from the start.

So I am putting off the landlords until I can decide, and I am idly looking at listings on Colorado Homefinder for a place here that I could afford, a place I could return to from travelling once in a while, that is close to Kelsea.  So far, no luck, but no rush either.  I am compiling my list of places to live worldwide, preferably tropical.

Perhaps the whole thing is as the Zen saying goes: 

Leap and the net will appear.

I have never been a big spender in real life, but I have always had the soul of one.  My dad used to show me advertisements for jewelry in the New York Times, cover the prices and ask me which one I liked best.  I would invariably pick the most expensive piece, and he would be very pleased.  “Ah, my little sweetie has fine tastes,” he would say, “I raised you right.”

 

The most expensive dress I ever bought was about $130. I got it at a vintage store perhaps 23 years ago, and it still hangs in a closet in Pat’s house.  It’s a sapphire blue silk velvet evening dress from the 1940s, and looks like something you’d wear to the Oscars.  I don’t think I could fit into it anymore, but it’s nice to have.

 

The most expensive pair of shoes I ever bought were about $175.  I got them on clearance at Saks Fifth Avenue in New York City on the night they lit the tree in Rockefeller Center, perhaps 15 years ago.  They were Italian designer stilettos, pointy-toed and sparkling.  After watching the tree lighting, I went to an Irish Pub, drank champagne, and showed them off at the bar.  When I lamented that extravagance, my Dad sent me a check to pay for them, making them a gift from him, just because.

 

I don’t spend much at all now, except on bills, groceries, the occasional book.  And orthodontia, karate lessons, and People-to-People programs, but you can’t count those.

 

Some things DO come with very high emotional price tags. I try very hard to understand that. Not that I don’t think it’s justified – sometimes high emotional prices are.   And heaven knows I have paid one by uprooting myself from my placid, flaccid life four months ago.  I’m still paying – I’m on the installment plan, I guess.

 

But if you make the choice to invest – in a person or a future or a dream – and then you find you’re uncomfortable with the investment, or worse yet, you don’t even recognize yourself as the person who invested because you’ve changed so much, what do you do?  Cut your losses?  Become a hermit? Indulge in endless self-flagellation?

 

One question is “Did YOU make the choice to invest, or were you just dabbling in the market, and someone else suddenly invested it all for you before you were ready, before you were sure?”  Is that why coming to terms with this investment, this change, is so terribly hard?  That you weren’t in control of it?

 

It is difficult to look inward and say, “This is who I was. This is who I am becoming.  I am a work of art in progress.  But these are my core elements. My true colors. Not the things my life has defined me as, but the qualities of me that have always been and always will be.”  It’s sometimes hard to see those qualities (the old forest and the trees thing), and sometimes they seem to become amorphous before your very eyes, changing, moving, taking on shapes and patterns that are unfamiliar and frightening.  However, you must trust that the core is still the core, despite all outward appearances to the contrary.

 

My calendar quote for today is “Any dream can become reality if only we believe in it enough.”  Soggy platitude?  Perhaps.  But if you’re on the path, paying the price, by your own hand or someone else’s, believing things like that can’t hurt. Bravery, faith, change.  All wrapped up in one fine, expensive package.

 

Slightly edited. To Russ’ credit, he never told me that I “cannot” do as I said in my last bullet.  He told me I “will not”.  He has indeed been my champion in exiting this relationship.  I wish he would remain so in my life.   I have nothing to offer him but my love.

 

You cannot always see the end when you are in the middle.  Transformations are painful and take time.  You do not get to determine the amount of time it takes.  I will come out of this dark place a free, strong woman.  On this blog, I may resurrect the “Transitioning” page, as I sense there will be an upcoming spill of pain. 

 

Here’s what I do not know:

What my future holds now

Whether I will have a job in the next two months

If I will ever have a partner (that one brings tears welling)

 

So let’s look at what I do know:

I am getting divorced.

I am going to have to pay child support.

I am going to take a financial loss.

I do not want to be doing what I am doing.

I want to live and work somewhere warm.

I will not let anyone tell me what I cannot do anymore.

 

I need to open doors for myself.  In the writing, in the traveling, in healing – not only healing myself, but healing others.  I sense that I have gifts that I have not acknowledged.   I have never been in a still enough place to acknowledge them.  But I am shifting there now. I feel as if I am learning a different language. Or learning to walk.

 

So what can I control? 

 

Getting divorced.  I chose that.  There has not been a single person who cares for me who has not supported that choice, except my brother, but that’s a different story.

 

Having to pay child support.  A fact of divorce.  It will not be a lot.  I am going to negotiate Pat’s wanting me to pay for half the mortgage into the child support allotment.

 

Taking a loss. Yep, another fact of divorce.  Wrong, but a fact.  I am meeting with my financial guy to determine how to minimize the loss and penalties that I will incur.  Perhaps if I can split certain investments somehow, I can make this work out with a minimum of loss.

 

Not doing what I want to be doing.  Well, this is a fact, but it ties to two of those things I don’t have control over.  So, what can I do?  Let’s see. I am attracted by the concept of “Do what you love and the money will follow”.  And I am determined to follow the thinking that great rewards require great risks.  I do not want to go out and buy the latest version of “What Color Is Your Parachute?”  I think most parachutes these days are sold with holes in them anyway.  I have a powerful soul, a good heart and a lot creativity.  And some wisdom, believe it or not.  The pull to healing of some kind has always been in me.  I will ruminate on that, cow-like, and see how it manifests.  And I will write.  I have written since I was a child.  I just need to focus.  This time alone can be used to focus.  I can compromise my writing style for publication to whatever extent I need to.  I just need a plan.  I know how to make one of those.  I will put up my photo gallery to sell and my images – if I put my energy into, I can make things happen.  The Photographer’s Market will go on the shelf this week, along with the Writer’s Market.

 

Living and working somewhere warm.  Several things follow from this.  To do this, I have to be somewhere warm.  To be somewhere warm, I cannot have Kelsea all the time. But working doing what I love – writing, photography, and – yes, put it out there – healing – can be done from wherever I rest my head.  And it is warm here in the summer.  I can make it work. A first step, after this settlement is settled, is to find some land on an island.  I have been waiting for a partner to do that.  But that’s not realistic now.  Now is a good time to buy land.  Once I own it, I will at least have a place to pitch a tent.  I’ll figure out the rest as I go.  And if I have to clear the whole thing myself with a machete, I will.  I’ve always wanted to be good with a machete.  I should add it to the life list.

 

Not letting anyone tell me what I cannot do anymore.  As a child and an adolescent, my parents (bless them) limited my footsteps: “You’re too young to walk to the store by yourself.” “You can’t go too far away for college.” Done with that.  As a wife, I have allowed Pat to limit my own views of my capabilities: “You can’t do that.” “You can’t take care of yourself.” “You’re no good at x, y, z…” Done with that.  And even now, in my breaking away, Russ is telling me what I will not do:  “You will not break free of this co-dependent relationship.” “We will not have the life we have dreamed of.” Done with that.  I can and I will.  I was always a willful child, and now that I have recognized myself again, I am going to be a willful adult.

 

May 2019
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