Tag Archives: relationships

Someday, somewhere

It happens so slowly that I don’t know if it’s truly even possible for us to see it. Or maybe I should “me?” I probably shouldn’t assume this is a universal thing…

Anyway, it seems to me, when we’re in a relationship we often lose sight of ourselves as individuals – what makes us happy or laugh, how we want to spend our time, and what we want from, and bring to, being part of a couple. The wonder of getting to know another’s heart and soul, and what you are together as a unit, often nudges aside your own sense of who you are on your own.

When it’s a long-term relationship things you begin to accept as normal may work to dull your other senses. Your judgement falls victim to another’s manipulation of the truth and there’s no one you can really talk to about it because your last gasp of logical thinking reminds you that you can’t share all with your friends. They may not won’t be quite as generous as you are about swallowing some of the explanations, or accepting how far you’ve lowered your expectations.

Every once in a while you have a moment when you think to yourself – who am I and why am I tolerating this? Not only is the situation not what you want, but you yourself are becoming a person you don’t really know, much less want to be. Instead of feeling joyful and confident you start to feel brittle, sucked dry until at last you remember that being independent doesn’t mean being alone and that the most valuable thing you possess is your time and you’ve already burned through enough of that in this situation.

Finally, you get it together enough – the disappointment, the hurt, the anger and the refusal to settle for another day, much less another year, all come together and combine to create a parachute from the anchor they had previously been. You close your heart to that person and, with lots of head shaking, open your eyes and firmly direct them forward.

You won’t forget (at least not the same way), who you are, what you want and what you won’t accept again.

I shall lift my arms
and my roots will set off
to seek another land.

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Filed under aging, friends, love, marriage, musings, Observations, relationships, secrets, Uncategorized

Summer starts strong

Only a couple of days in and I’ve already forgotten what day of the week it is. Summer break has arrived! I was fortunate enough to celebrate the end of the school year with some friends I worked with when I was last a student in the early 90s. We met while working in various capacities for Upper Hudson Planned Parenthood. Good friendships were made there and, despite seeing each other only occasionally, we always seem to pick up where we left off without hesitation.

On Friday we discussed relationships, the work they require to be successful, our professional careers, and how to navigate whatever might come next in life. It was lively. Rosé flowed and the evening was a delight. A perfect start to what turned out to be a fantastic weekend.

A topic we touched upon was the appeal of a strong woman. While our context was primarily male/female, I can only imagine that in exclusively female couples the attraction would be similar. Right? Who doesn’t want a strong woman? Wait…what does that even mean? How would you define “strong?”

As I looked around the table, I saw the embodiment of “strong” as defined in my own personal dictionary. Each of the women present were able, and had demonstrated that ability, to make it on their own. All had endured the dissolution of at least one long term relationship. All were mothers. Each was comfortable with her sexuality,  not apologetic or ashamed about it.  None had escaped the loss of a close loved one or a threat to their own health, yet each had persevered. Political activism and advocacy were important aspects of our lives, yet, despite the serious commitment to social issues we each held, humor was also present in abundance. We’re fun, smart, kind and thoughtful women. We got it going on.

Our conversation, though, was about how men seem to find strong women initially attractive. They claim to admire our independence and ability to take care of ourselves until something shifts…maybe we’re not as available as they’d like because we have our own interests. We maintain relationships with males that make them uncomfortable or jealous. Sometimes we are made to feel guilty because we don’t hesitate to plan a trip or buy tickets to an event without determining first if our significant other is interested or available. How dare we?

We refuse to apologize for wanting as much from a partner as we have to offer and that can be difficult for a guy. Owning our homes, our time and our desire to live full and active lives, seems to be intimidating to some men and not one of us feels that it’s our responsibility to make a man comfortable with who we are. Our strength has been earned, expanded upon with each challenge we have met until it is the thread that holds the richness of our lives together. It isn’t that we don’t want to share our selves with the people whom we love, it just seems to me that being with someone who doesn’t match your strength and seeks (consciously or not) to bring you down rather than lift themselves up, is a situation that can not be maintained, no matter how strong we are. Our ability to recognize that may ultimately be one of our greatest strengths.

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Filed under aging, drinking, friends, marriage, moms, musings, Observations, relationships, Summer, Uncategorized, vacation

Ghosts and cobwebs

Exiting and entering a relationship is never the same twice. I guess that makes sense since I’ve come to learn that the only truly consistent thing I’ve found in my own romantic pairings has been that they all leave a mark.

I ran a race on Wednesday, almost the longest day of the year, that I had also run two years ago. My previous experience had been as close to perfect as I would ever dare hope, the weather, course and company were ideal. I couldn’t imagine it ever being better.

Yet, on Wednesday it was.

Photo: C. Allen

The event was very different this year. We were sans guys, more relaxed (I think) with weather that was kind of misty, rather than sunny, but with fairly delicious air. It was wonderful in a new way. The trails in Minnewaska are lovely, wide with a fairly soft surface, and amazing views. Fantastic.

Photo: C. Allen

As I ran, I felt strong. My feet hurt a little, but my heart felt powerful and I enjoyed the run. Along the course there were parts that were familiar, and others that I didn’t recall from previous races. I started thinking about how the trail was kind of a metaphor for how I’m feeling these days, like there are parts of myself that seem familiar, while others I don’t remember ever encountering before. Ghosts and cobwebs.

Past relationships kind of stick with us in a variety of different ways. At least that’s been my experience. Maybe you wear the color (s)he always liked best and can’t help but to remember how you felt each time (s)he said blue was your color. Like those parts of the trail, that’s a ghost. It stays with you.

The cobwebs, though…those, for me, are the places of which I have no memory at all, because those parts haven’t been used in so very long. Maybe not even ever. It’s like virgin territory. Exploring this new terrain is exciting, but by a certain age, or level of experience, you’ve probably learned to pay close attention to where you step. Keeping one’s feet on the ground and trying to not fall down can be a struggle, but they’re good goals for a trail and a relationship.

A becoming-more-familiar race and a new romance seem to be just about the best way to experience ghosts and cobwebs.  And, like that solstice run, I’ll do it again.

Thoughts to share?

 

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Filed under aging, favorites, friends, musings, Observations, relationships, road trips, running, Uncategorized, upstate New York

Watching my mouth

If you know me, you’re probably expecting a post about my struggle to control my tendency to use colorful language or to share stories that may not always be appreciated by those mentioned. But, no, that’s not quite what this is about. This isn’t about what may come out of my mouth, but instead it is about what goes in.

But, first some history. I’m sure I’ve written before about the recurring dream I had for years. I must have, it was pretty profound for me. The dream is set in a rural area I lived in for a couple of crucial elementary school years. It was a place that had left me with idyllic memories, but in my dream the entire area had been poorly developed and settled with over-sized houses replacing blueberry bushes, fields and trees. The wildness that I had loved was gone.

I always woke up sad from that dream until the day I recognized that I only had that dream when I was faced with change or a decision. Once I had that realization, I never had the dream again.

The point of the preceding, is this: when we recognize why or how something exerts power over us, often it loses its hold. So, about my mouth…

I’ve come to understand that there are times in my life when my eating practices become a form of exerting control. It’s like I’ve been disappointed by the connection between my actions and the results in some personal situation, so I limit my eating to be able to observe the numbers on the scale going down, sort of as proof of the positive relationship between effort and reward.

Without exception, this only occurs when I’m feeling emotionally beaten up and it never really lasts for very long. After a week or two, my body demands more food if I’m going to make it run or bike or walk or paddle board or ski. I remember again that I’m more of an “indulge myself” girl than a “deny myself” lady and eat some ice cream, maybe even with hot fudge, and the scale goes back up a few pounds.

I don’t even know if it’s a bad thing, this temporary curtailing of my consumption. It seems to only make me eventually more appreciative of food than I had been, more thoughtful about what I ingest, which seems ok. There’s nothing wrong with paying more attention to what you’re interested and willing to swallow.

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The truth will set you free

Somehow I’ve always thought that phrase was an invitation for someone to unburden themselves by being honest, but recently I’ve begun to interpret it in a new way – the truth can also release a person from a situation in which they’ve been lied to repeatedly and consistently. Learning the truth about something, or someone, can be the key to finally closing and locking a door that has remained open for far too long.

Relationships between two people are hard, but when there are more than two people involved that degree of difficulty increases exponentially. While I will never attempt to present myself as a 100% innocent person, I can say without reservation that I work really hard to express myself with honesty and integrity. To not have that courtesy reciprocated is painful, to say the least, but what it won’t be is devastating. My life is too precious to be destroyed and I’ve got too much good stuff in my life to allow any individual to drag me down permanently.

It’s a funny thing with this blog. When I’m sad and working through emotional stuff, my stats go through the roof. Maybe I’m wrong,* but I really don’t believe it’s due to the fact that readers love my misery.  Instead I think the reason for increased readership during the exceptional times is because the things I share are universal – life and love are challenging experiences and sometimes they kick our ass.

But, life goes on.

I’ll continue to be proud of the partner I was to someone who apparently knew better than I did that he didn’t deserve me. My exterior will continue to reflect who I am on the inside – a woman who has lots of love, along with uncountable other positive and healthy attributes, and is perhaps willing to share all of that with a man who is worthy of those gifts. Freely.

 

*it obviously wouldn’t be the first time.

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Filed under aging, love, musings, Observations, relationships, secrets

Honestly

1c3d5d14-6ab0-4ae5-8dde-c2cc8c589765-40021-00000afb6a0bf1f3I recently said that the characteristic I most needed in a companion was happiness – someone who simply was happy. While that’s still an important part of the whole package (and I’m not settling for less than the whole package), I’ve come to realize that the very most important thing that must be present is honesty. Hiding the truth only causes pain and wastes time – two things I’m committed to avoiding in my life. Eventually, the truth will be revealed and the hurt from the lies leaves far more damage than honesty, and way more heartache than deserved. Lies just might be the favorite instrument of people who aren’t capable of playing fairly.

I read something that has me thinking:

Three things can not hide for long: the moon, the sun, and the truth.

Yesterday the sun was blazing and my deck, complete with new cushions and plants, beckoned.  I have a complicated relationship with the sun (go figure) and spend a lot of time and money protecting myself from its damaging rays, but it had been a really hard day and I just needed the comfort of home and the warmth of the sun to help get me into a better place. An hour spent lounging on chaise with a book can be a good investment in mental health.

Rather than taking a run, as I had planned, I changed things up and took a bike ride with a friend instead. It was a good choice. The company was welcome and the weather could not have been better. We rode along the river, where the air was wonderfully fragrant, in a positive way, and stopped by Nine-Pin for some tasty cider. As we rode back up the hill towards Center Square, with the half moon hanging in the sky, my calves burned but I felt better, more capable of looking forward, than I had before the ride. Again, getting outside improved my mood and helped me to feel more positive.

Not attempting to hide from the moon, the sun, and the truth but instead learning to live with each of them, is on the top of my list of goals for Summer 2018. I think it’s going to be a good one.

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For the last time

B105CC8D-49F7-4FA1-A25C-C56D5F197860Yesterday I wore a sweater which definitely had seen better days. There were more than a couple of small, random holes (moths? burns?) that made it beyond repair. I almost took it off and discarded it, but instead made the decision to wear that sweater one last time, rationalizing that most of the damage would be difficult to detect without closer inspection. I didn’t expect anyone to be too near me anyway.

I paired my sweater with skinny jeans and a pair of flats with oversized bows that make me smile. It was a comfortable outfit that made me feel good and I garnered a couple of nice compliments from friends. When I caught a glimpse of myself in the mirror, I could see what others had remarked upon – I did look pretty, despite the less than perfect state of my sweater.

At the end of my day, I undressed and looked over the sweater. There was no hope of making the fabric whole again, a fact that I understood and accepted. On the last day that my sweater would ever be worn, it was worn with awareness and appreciation for the way I felt when I was within it. I knew that I would never again wear that particular garment, but was consoled by the knowledge that I had worn the sh*t out of that black sweater for many years.  It had rewarded me with a last “hug,” along with a lesson to remember to be appreciative of the now.

Articles of clothing, time spent with loved ones, relationships – if you knew that it was the last time, would you do things differently? Is there a different level of honor that would be present if you were aware that you were never going to experience something ever again? Should there be?

 

 

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