Sunday, July 13, 2014

So I had an epiphany. Now what?

Even though my epiphany was a bit harsh (what?  I'm afraid?!) it's kind of exciting to me.  It shows me a new path, a new idea to explore, and I like that.  I haven't been able to understand why I wasn't quite going the direction I wanted romantically, and I think that my epiphany is that answer.  That's excellent, in my opinion, and also necessary, because the definition of stupidity is doing the same thing over and over again while expecting different results.  I want a different I'm going to have to change.

And yet...

What on earth do I do with it?  It seems like an excellent topic to discuss with a counselor, but I don't have the cash to spring for that, and it's a luxury I can't afford.  (Don't jump on me here: I'm not saying ALL counseling is a luxury.  I'm saying that paying someone to discuss my lack of love life with me is a luxury.  I am not depressed, and my life isn't stuck - I'm feeling otherwise successful - and my relationships are solid, it's just romance.  Counseling is critical for many things, and I've gone to counselors/therapists/psychiatrists before, and I'm not dissing them.)

Now, where was I?

Yes.  What to do with my epiphany. 

Since I can't afford a therapist, I'm going to have to unravel it by myself.  If I'm afraid, I think I need to face my fears, but I'm not sure what that looks like.  I'm not afraid of dating, I'm afraid of getting close to someone and being hurt, but when I date I am just not that into many people, so it's hard to find someone WORTH getting hurt by.  (Very tongue in cheek, but with a  bit of truth!)

I'm mulling it over.  Forty four years of conditioning to undo is no easy task, but I'm up for the challenge.  I'm not in a hurry, but I'm hoping to come up with some next steps.


This weekend I had a wonderful time playing with friends, and I had a busy day today doing chores and grocery shopping and minor household tasks, and I hosted my brother and his wife and their four kids and dog for dinner.  I love them all, but collectively.....wowza.  The parents yell at the kids, the kids run wild, and I run around trying not only to do the normal hostess duties but also see that my house isn't positively destroyed....while the parents watch and do nothing.  Since it's summer we did this backyard style, but still nothing was immune, and it was exhausting. OOPS.  Not the best way to end a weekend!  I need some more down time than that.  :-(  Next weekend I have family commitments, including FIVE houseguests, but I swearIswearIswear I'm going to get time in my hammock with a book.  Somehow.

I am trying to squeeze as much living as possible into my days, though, and I like that.  Daily trips to my local beach, time with friends having adventures (Shakespeare in the Park, meandering a street fair, and more), volunteering, working, having fun with my girl, running....while still eating healthy, running, caring for my house, my yard, my pets, and of course doing the hard work of parenting as well as the fun stuff (scheduling, homework, chores, teaching even the not fun lessons).

My injury kept my from running, but I'm trying to regain lost ground.  My clothes don't fit properly any more, and when I run I'm out of breath so fast that it's disappointing - I have nowhere near the speed OR endurance I did three short months ago, but I'm trying to regain it.  On the weekends I'm working out both days no problem, but during the week it's tough to squeeze it in, so I'm working on that this week.  (Last week I ran ONCE.  Oops.  This week, aiming for three times during the week.)  I don't take my health for granted, and I'm trying hard to get back to the level of fitness I had before.

I have the idea that I need to have an adventure a day.  Life gets so filled up with the 'must do this, must do that' that some days the routine gets me down: I feel like I have a choice between being responsible (work a bit longer at work, do another kid activity, chores, chores, and more chores, house projects, volunteering, family obligations...) and having a life, and I want to make sure that five days out of seven I do not find myself merely living instead of LIVING.  An adventure might be quite short - a little trip to the beach to see the sunset, or lighting all of the candles and just sitting in the stillness for a bit, or going for a hike, or riding bikes to get ice cream, or swimming in the sea - but I want to really take time out of each day to LIVE.  Often, I find that adventures involve really moving my body, but sometimes they are quieter (a book and a hammock and a cold beverage is heavenly, and certainly LIVING).

So, my challenges for the week and beyond:
1) Figure out what to do with my epiphany
2) Run three times during the week
3) Carve out time each day to really LIVE.  An adventure per day, even if it's only 15 minutes.

Tomorrow after work will be a great adventure - out on the lake with friends on their boat.  The next days will be harder, because I have a board meeting and then Wednesday Katherine has gymnastics....but I'm going to try.  I'm going to try to figure this out, and to keep working on creating my best life.  Where I get to rest in any of it is beyond me....but I'm going to keep trying to figure that out, too.

And on that note, it's 10:15 and my alarm is set for 5am work out.  G'night, everyone.

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Revirginized. Again.

First of all, hey, it's my blog, and I can say whatever I want, including making up words.



At my count, this is the third time I've been a virgin.  There was the whole childhood into adulthood virginity.  Then there was the getting-divorced virginity that left me sexless for about two years or more.

It's been a year since Luke and I broke up, and therefore a year since I last had sex.

(Insert deep sigh here.)

If there is a way to be at once comfortable in one's sexuality but also only choosing sexual partners who suit one's ideas of love and romance without actually refraining from sex, I simply haven't found it.  If it exists, would you tell me how to find it RIGHT AWAY?!

Here's what isn't for me:

1)  Being a cougar.  I know, those lithe bodies and thick hair and carefree attitudes have some appeal - except they don't.  I want someone who understands my life, and a man much my junior just isn't going to relate.  I don't want to mother anyone, I don't want to be a sugar mama, and I don't want to be someone's booty I don't want to be a cougar.  It is amusing when men more than ten years younger are interested, but....not my thing

2)  Friends with benefits.  It's something I've considered, but I just can't have casual sex with a friend, because either I'd want him to be more than a friend or I don't want to have sex with him.  I don't have a single male friend that I'd like to be in a relationship with, so I don't have a single male friend I'd like to have sex with.  Plus, if I bent my own ideas, I'm pretty sure I'd end up heartbroken, because I couldn't separate out my feelings into neat little boxes that way.

3)  Booty call.  I've thought about casual sex more times than I can count, and I've wondered if I'm some terrible prude that I won't do it....but I don't want to do it.  I compromised with Bryan and didn't get what I wanted, and it seems to me that for me casual sex is a huge compromise, and can't possibly give me what I want.  It seems like Pop Tarts - junk food that won't satisfy.  I want a tasty meal, not nasty processed food.

4)  A for-now boyfriend.  Online there were plenty of people who seemed like they'd like to take it to the next level, and a few were decent guys who will make someone a good boyfriend.  Except that I can't seem to do anything halfway, and I know that I'd either fall in love with the wrong guy or be bored with him, and that's not exactly a recipe for chemistry and sparks, it's a recipe for disaster.

So, what's left is the path to true love, and that's not so easy.  I loved having sex with Luke even though it was imperfect and we never really found our groove, because I was truly in the moment and though I wasn't sure what the future held, I was sure that in that moment I was where I wanted to be, and my body responded accordingly (with a giant WAHOOO of release!).  He wasn't my true love, but he was on the path of that journey, so he was a good step along the way.  (He's so far behind me I can't see him in the rear view mirror, though, and I have no desire to retrace my steps to go backwards.)  I don't need my next partner to be Mr. Right, but he needs to be someone with at least that possibility; he needs to have enough in common with me and enough chemistry that I long to be in his arms.  That's not easy to find - why is that?  It seems that my other single girlfriends find that much more it that my standards are too high, theirs are too low, or something altogether different?  I just don't know.

So, here I am, revirginized with no sign of sex on the horizon.  Having just removed myself from the dating pool again, I have no idea how to change that state of affairs (I know, I know, terrible pun!).

Maybe it's because it's summer, and my skin is often exposed so that the sun hits it.  Maybe it's the fact that it's been a full year, and that this time last year I was thoroughly sexed up with Luke.  Maybe it's in the air; I don't know.  But sex is on my mind more than it was before, and I haven't got a good plan for dealing with it.

Single, busy, and missing sex.  What is a forty-something single mom to do?!

Sunday, July 6, 2014

Alternate plans and epiphanies

I had a gorgeous weekend.

First, a whole pile of chores front-loaded onto the three day weekend, so that I got them out of the way.  Then, fireworks and BBQ with dear, dear friends.  Then, off to the woods to go backpacking, just Katherine and I (oh, and our big dog).  We hiked through snow -okay, I can handle this! we're prepared! - to a river too high to cross.

So, we begrudgingly turned around and went back.  I felt heartsick - I really wanted that time in nature, under the stars, and I was longing for it.  But as if to prove a point, the weather turned, and it started raining (no rain was in the forecast, but the mountains are funny that way), so down we went.  We tried to find a car campsite somewhere at lower elevation, even in the rain, but to no avail: on the holiday weekend nothing was available except what we did not want.

We drowned our sorrows in good cheeseburgers and Katherine got a milkshake (a treat) and sulked home.  I felt like our weekend had been lost....

Until I remembered that I'd just hiked for three hours with my daughter in the wilderness.  Until I thought about how many wildflowers we'd seen.  Until I though about how fun it was to play with snow in July.  Until I remembered that we still had a day to do as we wished, even if it wasn't camped out.  We didn't do the whole distance, but we DID backpack.  I felt strong and able and confident, out alone with those packs on our back, and that WAS success.

Why on earth did I think I had figured out the only way to have fun, and that all else was somehow wrong because I didn't get what I wanted on my original plan?

A good night's sleep, and the day started anew.

Today, it was a ten mile bike ride along the sparkling sea, breakfast outdoors at a coffee shop, and climbing on the rocks to look for sea stars.  It was running into urban goats (what?!) on the way home and feeding them.  And then, bikinis and sunscreen and hats and sarong wraps, and friends picked us up and we went back to the beach.  Swimming, sunning, catching up with our friends, picnicking.

I dove into the icy Sound, laughing.  I kept my eyes open underwater, seeing the pebbles below me and the bits of seaweed floating by, and I felt like I was grinning from ear to ear.  I think was the only 44 year old to attempt such insanity, as even the children usually only go wading as it's so cold...but it was 80 degrees and perfect weather, easy to warm up afterwards.

I sat on a chair with my friend, laughing and having girl talk in between mothering.

My fallback plan was perfection.  Not at all the day I'd envisioned, but no less because of it.


I have relaxed into my idea of not dating, of perhaps being solo forever.  There is liberation in not giving a damn, and it's sweet.  It makes me feel giddy, even: I can do what I want whenever I want.

And yet?

Something isn't sitting quite right  It's not "me" even if I am independent, sassy, strong, capable  I don't "need" anyone, but don't I want someone?  Isn't life more beautiful with a loving partner?

By relaxing into my feelings, I think I had a new epiphany.

Since my divorce, I've sought a partner to share the good stuff: my strength, courage, zest for living have all been offered up.  My ability to rock a pair of high heels or waterproof hiking boots, my drive to run long distances, my can-do attitude.  I've sought my partner for all those things, and I've wondered why the men I've met have come up so short.

I think I'm starting to figure it out.

I have been completely closed to The Big Stuff.  The way that sometimes cars break down, or things go wrong, or bodies are imperfect.  I've been willing to share my good stuff - hey, I'm proud of who am! - but not my insecurities.

I am one of the bravest people I know, and I don't say that lightly.  I am damned proud of the way I stared cancer in the eye and made incredibly difficult decisions about treatment and faced those decisions every day for years.  I am proud of the way I cared for my daughter in the midst of that, putting her needs beyond my own even on the worst days.  I am proud of my career change, because it takes some serious nerve to do that at my age.  I am proud of getting divorced when I had no idea how to feed myself.  I have shown great strength and courage, and I'm proud of that bravery.

And yet?

I am slowly realizing that I am not at all brave about relationships with men. I don't put myself out there at all, and I've got walls that make Sleeping Beauty's thorn forest look like nothing.

All this dating, and I think it's only stopping the dating that made me see it clearly for the first time.

My father, and my ex-husband, both had the ability to look me in the eye and tell me what I wanted to hear and then go do the exact opposite of what they'd told me.  They both had the ability to then say it was my fault that things worked out that way, or that I needed to be more accommodating, or that 'what's the big deal?'  My family of origin - not perfect.  My marriage - really messed up.

I managed those issues by not needing anyone.  Witty repartee?  Oh yes.  A running partner?  Sure - I could outrun most people.  Talk about books, or politics?  Absolutely.  Put on the pretty dress and bring on appreciative looks and more?  Of course.

But let someone in?  I think I'm afraid of that.  Me!  Afraid!  I thought I was afraid of almost nothing!

But I think I've got a lot of fear about letting someone else treat me the way my dad treated me, or the way Bryan treated me.  I don't ever want to be treated like that ever again.....and I don't think I could handle it.  For all my strength, courage, bravery....I think it would do me in.

And so the giant walls go up around me, and nobody gets in, and I don't get hurt.

Wellll.......shit.  There is no other word for it.

I'm going to have to mull this over, and figure it out, because I believe in Living with a capital L, and letting fear get in the way of the good stuff is NOT my way of being.

I don't know how to face it entirely, but I'm going to figure this out.  I believe that life is better with a companion, that sex is marvelous, that someone to hold me when I'm crying is pure magic.  I won't let that idea go without a fight.

I'm going to work on this without someone else.  I'm not about to start dating again.  But I'm going to learn how to face the fear, face this idea head on....

Because when that icy water hits hot skin, and I'm in the green sea with the sun above is magical.  Let those on land say "oh I couldn't!" and "are you crazy?" and "wow you're brave."  As for me, I like to get out there and live, deeply and richly, feeling every bit of it, and I know that breaking through the cold water and hitting the warm air is one of the best sensations in the world, and well worth the feeling of the frigid water making me gasp when it first hits my thighs.  (Come to think of it, it's a bit like sex....all tingling and gasping and surprises and shivers....but I digress!)

I will face my fear.  I will learn to let someone in.  I have no idea how, but knowing that it's me - well, that's huge, and I'm happy with it.

But I have fear.  I'm scared.  Someone could hurt me.  If I love someone, they WILL hurt me - it comes with the territory even in the best of loves.

But I intend to learn how to let the right someone in.