Letting go… with or without abandon

From an article in The Uranian “From the Editor”, March-April 2018

Everything I’ve been reading about this recent Aquarius and Uranus energy pretty
much comes around to the same conclusion: it’s all about detachment—
letting go of what no longer serves us, or has outlived its purpose. That could be
anything from a pair of shoes, to a habit, to a marriage.

Or, put in Uranian/Aquarian terms, setting all that free. Some of us might tip-toe around it, making piles of clothes as we rummage though our closets and drawers — the “maybe” pile, the “I’ll-think-about-it-later” pile, the “definitely gotta go” pile… Others (the Aquarians among us, I suspect) just tossing anything we haven’t worn in the past year or two into a big plastic bag and calling Goodwill the next morning. How I envy them. Though it might be a bit difficult, I imagine, when done with such wildly enthusiastic abandon, not to throw the baby out with the bathwater.

I tend to operate the same way when a relationship I cherish hangs in the balance. Unless the soles are totally worn out, and there’s no hope of patching up the spots worn away by time and friction, only then, perhaps, might it be time to surrender it — not to the recycle pile, but discarding it altogether. But, if there’s any chance of reviving it, rendering it useful, with a little loving care, then, just maybe… I have always had a hard time employing the Aquarian principle. It is also the sign of my North Node.

And then, moving on, we push that Aquarian energy into sacrificial Pisces. Time to reflect upon (and perhaps feel sorry for ourselves about) the decisions made with that Aquarian protocol. As Venus moves into a square with Mars, we see, as astrologer Kimberly Maxwell puts it (albeit a bit on the long-winded side, but descriptive nonetheless):In the case of Venus/Mars this can manifest as a strong need to take action in a relationship. How we assert ourselves or pursue our desires may be challenged. Being open to feedback can reveal an underlying fear that must be addressed for the relationship issue to be successfully resolved. Venus in Pisces acts as a sensitizing force of inclusion over the independent and adventurous Mars in Sagittarius. This aspect forms a nearly exact T-square to the October [2017] conjunction in service-oriented Virgo that amplifies the paradox of serving each person’s need for freedom to express as an individual while being at one with each other in a state of love.

One can only hope. Aquarius/Pisces, to me, equals sacrifice.

This recent Olympics has brought up some long-denied emotions. I was a figure skater for 30 years. I had not been able to watch any skating competitions, Olympic or otherwise, since the day I stopped skating. This was the first Olympics I could watch; and I was riveted to my TV (though at times wishing grace would win out over athletic ability), but riveted nonetheless. I realized I had forfeited leaving behind an unknown prospect — and the disappointment that goes with it — for accepting the decision I made; and I could finally share in the grace and joy of those who did not give up. Sacrifice, not unlike love, takes on many faces.

— Beannachtaí

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The Art of Re-Acquainting

We were sitting in a sports bar in La Jolla. Loud, full, friendly. You had just come back from a cruise. A long cruise. Your hair was longer, and a bit unruly, and you had grown a beard. I loved it. My Bohemian Seafarer, personified.
It was crowded; we had found two seats where the bar turns a corner, our backs to most of the patrons. We ordered wine and beer, and something to eat… mostly pre-occupied with dispersing that familiar nugget of time it always took to re-acquaint each other after that ocean of time in between. We knew the drill.
Missing you was a double-edged sword.
There was a woman sitting at a table with a couple of men, across the room to my right. She would catch my eye, turn back to her companions, then look over again. Eventually she got up, walked over to where we were sitting, leaned in, looked me in the eye, and said, “OK, now you are gorgeous – but what my friends over there and I want to know is”– she gestured to the men seated at her table–
“What are you doing with Ernest Hemingway?”
It took a few seconds to sink in… I smiled, slowly, looking at her the whole time. I turned to look at you – laughed, nodded, and said, not looking away, “Hm. I never noticed that. She’s right.”
I turned back to her, and gave her an answer I don’t think you heard:
“Because he is the love of my life.”
She acknowledged my decisive look for a moment, nodded slightly, smiled and said,
“I’ll be sure to let them know.”

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Christmas miracle fail

xmasblog-picI often write, sitting out in my garage with the door open, on an old portable typewriter — the kind with keys that stick and apostrophes that are made using shift-8. There is no cursor to go back and change or correct what is written, essentially, though not quite literally, in stone. What you strike is what you get. And sometimes it’s a bit hard to read. But there it is.

December 25, 2015
I have no idea what I am planning to write on this Christmas day. I don’t even have my glasses on and the ribbon is probably too dried out to even work. But it’s one of those ridiculously clear beautiful windy Southern California days and I have spent time in my yard moving stones around and making some paltry attempts at beautifying what passes for a front yard. The man has, once again, become silent. Or perhaps that should be has remained so. I don’t know what’s sadder—having no one sharing your life and being alone because of it… or having the shadow of someone who may or may not be there and being alone because of it. At least with the first option you can make your own plans, or not, knowing you are the only reason they might change. The second option… well, you end up holding off—and holding out—because maybe that shadow of a person might actually appear. You know  better… but you do it anyway.
The third option, and maybe that’s not as much my own secret as I would think—is creating that imaginary, loving soul mate, ever present when you want him to be; absent but always thinking of you when the world gets too busy.
I used to live that third option almost continuously as a teenager. Probably more than most. The choices, however, seem to become far fewer some 40 years later.
At least last year the shadow man sent flowers, whimsically anonymously. And made New Year’s plans that did not include me. This year there was an offer to fix my erstwhile garage door which was stuck open a few nights ago. In the rain. I did, however, in my ever-industrious autonomy, manage to get it working again, letting him know there was no longer a reason for him to stop by the next day as he had offered. So, as I have done so many times in the past—Christmases, birthdays, anniversaries—I drove up to his place while he was at work and dropped off my gift to him, tucked behind his screen door. Which, he acknowledged with a text message, he would open today. And “happy Christmas”.
It is now Christmas afternoon and the silence hangs over the day like an unkind torment.

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Myopic Autonomy

I can’t seem to get myself together. I change the music, I change my clothes. The days get away from me by leaps and bounds and there’s no grasping them even by a hair. My own mortality, my lack of wanting to move on, or even know where to go or how to get there is overwhelming. I stood in the garage the other day for what seemed like hours, frozen by the not knowing. Why do I have any of this stuff? Who will care, who would want any of it, if for some reason I stopped breathing tomorrow…? I have no children, no husband, not even someone who cares to hold my hand or talk to me as the day ends. I want to say I miss that purposeful vulnerability so much, but did I ever really know it, for any longer than a few days at a time? It’s been almost 12 years since my divorce was final and I am still in the same place, still by myself; still painfully alone at times it knocks the wind out of me. There is no one to lean on, no one to help me through. There never really was—with the exception of that short, precious pocket of time when the man came into my life and fell so deeply, totally in love with me; I had to tell myself daily I did deserve it. But it took so much trust for me to accept it; and when I did, when we were finally on the same page, he turned and ran. And returned. And left… again. I can ask the cards, pick runes, dangle a pendulum, but to what end…? I can’t look at myself in the mirror with my glasses on—I see old, wrinkled, sad. That lovely veil of far-sightedness makes me out to be far more attractive than what I am when I really see me for who, and what, I am.
Zen KittiesWhat does he see?
What did he see, and why did he work so hard to finally win me over, only to come to some realization that I am not what he needs, what he wants. I was a liability. Far more than his children ever would be? Or are? I have to wonder if his children—and they are still children, grown as they may be—had come to accept me, that maybe this whole painful rollercoaster ride of whatever it is we’re doing would have been avoided. I can’t change anything about him. But I can try to accept that I will never come first—though I did for a brief time—until he felt the consequences; I will always take a back seat to his being “the parent”. He has said as much. And proved it.
That is so foreign a concept to me—being chosen, being favored. As a parent, or a daughter. And he knows that. Does he feel any empathy about it? Perhaps. Not.
So all this time, the years I wasted being married to a man-child of an addict; the failed attempts at the few relationships since then—what have they amounted to? I have made some huge mistakes along those lines. But from it, I have learned to depend on no one. I have learned how to fix my plumbing, build a fence, patch a wall. I learned how to do without because there is no “other/second income” besides mine—indeed, in its place for so many years there was a massive sucking of my resources by the addict, no support in any definition of the word—no one to lean on in times like now when I am back to wondering just what I’m going to do with my life; if I’m ever going to find any kind of meaningful employment ever again, for one thing. Meanwhile, there is no one to come home to, to work out the puzzles of life with, to seek shelter in that warm safety and comfort of understanding, loving silence.
God, I want that.
But, if I got it, would I find it hard to get used to? For years now I haven’t had to answer to anyone, I talk to myself, I make the bed, or I don’t. I steam broccoli or eat a hard-boiled egg for dinner. I don’t know if I would even know how to live with another person anymore. I secretly bristle when I have a house guest. My home feels too small. I feel like my life is being invaded; anywhere they are is too close. It seems such an effort to make conversation, to “entertain”. I want to do what I normally do—walk around in my underwear, or switch gears every few minutes, or just waste time—could I ever be good company to anyone and still live that way? I am spoiled by my own autonomy. I heard that phrase somewhere, and it stuck to the inside of my eyelids like a grain of sand.
That’s why the way he lives his life, his work, seemed—seems—like such the perfect fit for me, for us. I love that he has the same independence, the same need for autonomy; and he is traveling the world more often than not. And for once I wouldn’t have to take care of everything, to make sure I could cover all the expenses of OUR life, or be the one responsible for holding everything together, sometimes barely by a thread like I did for so many insane, stupid, intolerable, wasted years. He could, but wouldn’t have to, take care of me, if it came to that. And he did, for a while. I didn’t want him to leave my house. But neither of us were ready for it… whatever it is.
And he loved me. At least he thought he did. I ached to share that non-conformative life; to be there—not to be needed so much as loved—appreciating the silence, the space, the differences, the similarities, the autonomy.
To be liked.

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Reaching Down Deep

volvo-cats-ryan-connersThere are few things more daunting than experiencing what it feels like to lose all the power in your car—while you’re driving it;  no signals, radio, a/c, no power steering (thank goodness for 24-Hour Fitness), engine steadily losing power, everything stops working one by one… just lights flashing like crazy on the dashboard…

And so it was for me one fine Monday about a month ago. Somewhere in the back of my head while taking note of each thing as it failed, one by one, I wondered, oddly, if this is what it’s like to die—nerve centers go dark, one after the other until finally, all systems just stop functioning altogether…
But back to the emergency at hand—I somehow maneuvered my failing Volvo into a parking lot without killing anyone, including myself, in the process; and after I finally manage to park it—I can’t get out. Windows, door locks, nothing works. So, here I am trapped inside my car in the Circle K parking lot on Morena Boulevard after I did such a Herculean job of getting there, thinking hey I was at least bright enough to realize maybe I better get off the freeway. And did I mention it was a very hot day. And the windows were all closed since I actually did have the a/c on—until that went out. Hmm, I’m thinking, well, I could crawl into the trunk from the back seat and find out if that glow-in-the-dark emergency release lever really works (now we know why they put it in there, right?)… I could kick out the windshield…
Instead, I call AAA who proceeds to put in a call to 911 (which I didn’t realize) as well as a tow truck. In the meantime, my boss shows up, walks up to my car—and opens my door. I couldn’t get out from the inside, but someone could get in from the outside, go figure. It was the only door that worked. And it definitely was locked. As was everything else. Then the fire department shows up… and an ambulance. Party time in the Circle K parking lot. They were duly dismissed after realizing that the ditsy redhead wasn’t trapped in her car after all (thank you, AAA).

Ok folks, here’s the cosmic joke: I had an appointment to take my car in to the dealer the next morning, because I couldn’t really put my finger on what was wrong, but I knew something was, and strange messages were appearing on my dashboard but disappearing before I could decipher them. So for the first time since I was maybe 10 years old, I rode in the front of a tow truck. And showed up at the Volvo dealer about 12 hours early for my appointment. I was SO close.
Strangely, I didn’t even look at my chart until almost five days later (bad astrologer!) Nothing really jumped out at me—except, maybe transiting Uranus squaring my natal Uranus that was pretty much exact on that day. My natal Uranus is in Cancer—not unlike a toaster in the bathtub. So electrical things going out one by one because of a failing alternator might be somewhat appropriate. On a day that the Sun and the Moon change signs, the only planet in a water sign being Neptune (but he never really knows where he is anyway, so no danger there, right?)

I was told once, when things mechanical happen, to look at your car as your motivation. So I tried that on for size. The alternator is, quite frankly, the nerve center of a vehicle. Things depend on it to convert power to almost every other part, electrical and otherwise. This little experience had a profound effect on me—even more so than being sideswiped by a semi or broadsided by a van which totalled my first Volvo. Those were unexpected and sudden, and involved someone else.
This one was all on me.
That frightening, almost helpless feeling of knowing that I have no control over what’s going on with this ton-and-a-half hunk of metal that ultimately had control over me; and on the other hand realizing that I had to call the shots and discover that somewhere I did have the resources to do whatever it is I had to. And do it somewhat calmly. I realized later, after finally exhaling, that the whole incident could have been so much worse, for any number of reasons. Past experience has shown that I’ve always had to deal with things like this on my own—people I should have been able to count on just weren’t there for me—and, I’ve always had a really hard time asking for help, from anyone. This was like some timely cosmic test—with the circumstances being just harsh enough to push the envelope without tearing it open and spilling everything in it. I know it shouldn’t be such a big deal for a grown woman, but most grown women my age have a bit more of a support system than I do. So I work through this, figuring it out as I go; wondering what part fate has played, and what parts I can control.

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The heartbreak adrenaline mystery rush

Something I started writing some months ago. And unfortunately, still has a thread of truth running through it… if only just that catch-in-the-throat feeling that none of us seem prepared for, whenever it descends…

How can someone just drop out of your life in the blink of an eye? One day he’s so in love, the next he’s disappeared into that chasm of doubt… for the third time. Is there a family crisis? Is he shutting himself down again… running away… did he have a heart attack? The mind reels. Do I just pack up my heart and take down the pictures… again? Ah, yes, that roller coaster ride is taking off… again. All too familiar.
All this angst, from the not knowing.
Though he was pretty good at telling me before. Which leads me to believe there’s something else in the shadows. Or he just can’t face to pain he knows he’s about to inflict.
When does one trust her intuition, and when does one just stop expecting the worst; provided there’s even a difference between the two.P1010398-vert-WP

What do I do with all these plans, these dreams we talked about, were saving up for?  I suppose I just fall asleep and hope for the best, tomorrow.
.  .  .

And now, some time later, I accept that he can’t look love in the face and welcome it. If someone doesn’t have the capacity to recognize, to accept what he needs when it’s offered, he really can’t blame the other person for not providing it.

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Awards night

Picture 30The Grammy Awards are tonight. I have never really been a big fan of them; the whole music world sort of lost me somewhere in the 90s. Which is odd for a person who likes to make her living singing; but that’s beside the point. This point, anyway.
What I always think of when the Grammys roll around happened about the time I was newly thrust into the world of on-line dating. It was relatively new, and not quite as, well, lascivious as it is now. I had been chatting, for only about a week, with a photographer—I think his name was Peter—who lived in New York, when one day he told me he had to come to LA for the Grammys on assignment and would I like to join him. I sat back in my chair and stared at my computer screen. I had been married for nearly 15 years, divorced, been a recluse for a year, and had no idea what the protocol of the dating world out there was in this case. Do I drive up there and meet him at a hotel? Do I get my own room? Was I expected to spend the night with him? Would he pay for my parking? There were way too many questions. I didn’t ask any of them.
I never responded to him.
Though I have to admit, if it had been the Emmys or the Oscars, or even the Golden Globes or the SAG Awards, I might have given it a second thought.
Indeed, a few years later when I started seeing a producer (also someone I met online), he invited me to the Emmys. I even got a dress for the occasion. And was about to buy a pair of shoes the next day, when, unfortunately, during a rather heated phone conversation, I couldn’t stop myself from giving him a loaded piece of my mind when he, being such the arrogant, blatantly bigoted individual he was, insulted not only a good friend of mine, but the entire African-American population.
I never made it to the Emmys.
But I did get to wear the dress years later at a friend’s 20th anniversary re-wedding, as her Maid of Honor. I borrowed a pair of her shoes.

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A week later

At this time a week ago I was quietly crying on the shoulder of the man I thought I was going to spend the rest of my life with. For reasons that seemed a bit contrived, he ended what was the most loving, fun, honest, adult relationship I’ve ever had; probably either of us ever had. I dared to live every day filled with the joy that the universe had finally given me a break. As it turns out, the universe wasn’t quite so benevolent; the great cosmic joke of giving me what I had always wanted but never dared to think I deserved turned out to be just that—Oops, we made a mistake, you don’t deserve this happiness, what were we thinking! This man will now take back every promise he ever made, every plan he ever offered up to you. Sorry… better luck next time.

So as he rushed to leave, crossing the proverbial and literal threshold, I asked him to wait, just for a minute. He stopped at the doorway. I put my arms around him, and said nothing. I didn’t really mean to cry, it just happened, quietly, for only a few seconds. He held me, but when I looked up at him, he couldn’t quite reciprocate; he stared straight ahead.
“We had such great plans,” I said, looking at him. I even smiled. To my surprise, he did respond to that.
“Yeah, we did.” He held on another moment, then let me go.
“I have to go.”
And he did.
About 20 minutes later, I jumped, startled at the sound my phone makes for his texts only.

I AM SORRY. You deserve better than me.

Maybe I do. But where would I even begin to look.

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Christmas Eve

Nine years ago was my first Christmas as a divorced person. I had spent Christmas eve with my friend and her extended family. Brothers, sisters, aunts, uncles, in-laws, children everywhere. Music, laughter, food — miles of food (they were Italian). Someone handed me my first Cosmopolitan as I maneuvered my way through a game of pool. It was one of the very few times I had ventured out in a social setting since being separated eight months before. In that time I had become something of a recluse; closing off anything that had to do with my married life, and dealing with the repercussions of trying to keep an alcoholic-turned-self-righteous-recovering-alcoholic ex-husband with a certain sense of entitlement at bay while attending to my own 12-step CoDA program. Keeping my sanity and balance took all the energy I had; there was little left for much else.

So it surprised not just my friend but also myself when I actually drove the 15 or so miles in the rain to spend Christmas eve with a houseful of strangers. It was loud, it was chaotic. It was wonderful. Begrudgingly, near midnight, I hugged everyone, kissed children, and came home. My neighborhood was quiet. There was a light mist falling. I took my dog for a walk. Christmas lights reflected off the wet street. When I came back to the house, I turned off all the lights and sat in the living room with just the Christmas tree glowing in the dark. I opened my one present, from my sister. It had been two weeks to the day that my divorce had become final. I was safe and warm in my own house. I was totally alone, and at peace. I could finally breathe. It was the happiest Christmas I’d ever had.

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On the fast track


I was sitting at a Starbucks for a while today waiting for my car to be smogged. On the community bulletin board there was a flyer, a one-of-a-kind masterpiece of industrious proportions.
It was also enlightening; I had no idea you had to bathe a guinea pig (which is really not a pig at all — where did that name come from?). I thought this was a superb deal. If I had one, I think I would take advantage of the service even if I weren’t going anywhere. The company of another guinea pig alone I’m sure is worth the price.

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