Navigating the impossible

I started this blog nearly over a year ago, or perhaps it was a year ago, as time sometimes seems to move so quickly all the while standing still and I find myself in some sort of a time warp.
I wish I could write and say how drastically my life has changed for the better, that on my quest for what is real, tangible and lovely, I have found all that and more. Yet, as much, life has wildly in fact changed, I have found it hasn’t gone in one direction or the other, apart from perhaps just forward, into an abyss of what feels like what will be a lonely life, unsure, terrifying to navigate and most days living in the past. It’s zombie like, going to bed at night praying tomorrow will bring a different outlook but it’s the same but how could it be….it’s me…hopeful, happy me, surely the ‘old’ me is in there somewhere?
I sit now in a coffee shop (on direction of a friend of mine, or a promise I made that I would attempt to get out more, even it its to pound away at my keyboard, appearing busy, just to get out…so sweet Suzanne, here I am) on a somewhat warm winters day, surrounded by people, even striking up a conversation with the girl next to me about weight watchers, she’s lost 5 lbs in a month and she nibbles on her kids leftovers from dinner and wasn’t paying attention that it was going straight to her waistline. I wish her luck, sincerely tell her I think she looks great and back we both go to typing away at our computers. I wonder is she has the slightest idea that when I leave here, I will go back to my small apartment in Arlington, with my sweet dog and spend the rest of my evening absolutely alone.
I’m a lucky girl, I am…I am pretty on whatever scale we rate, ‘pretty,’, on top of that I’m sincere and nice, I chose to see people when I can, smile, have a great job, make kind exchanges with strangers, yet, I feel like an empty vessel–as if none of those things matter, they really do not matter. I’m beginning to think, it’s luck, which for the longest time I thought I had–I remember, even when the odds were against me, like I was the luckiest girl. That changed, I suppose when I allowed myself to lose myself in another person, to finally fall absolutely, completely in love. I have to say there is no other feeling like it, feeling as if you can finally rest your weary head on the shoulder of another, know that you don’t have to walk through this life carrying every single burden that comes along all alone, then as quickly as it started it suddenly ends, a life that was just beginning and there you are standing there on the brink of a giant sink hole, which was your life, your love.
And now, the clock ticks, it ticks and ticks…time as slow as it moves most days it is in fact moving and at a pace my mind, heart and body can hardly keep up with, inside I see myself screaming, STOP!!! JUST FUCKING STOP!!! Give me a chance. But life doesn’t do that. We make our own chance, conquer our own demons, make our own tomorrows–regardless of how tired and alone we feel, how much we would like to slow down time.
As I ran away from a life that was my happiest life but haunted with too many memories, I thought I could just change the scenery and heal–heal my broken heart and spirit, find hope again. But sadly that isn’t the case, running in fact has amplified any hurt or heartache that I thought I had to face back there, back home. Now there are no memories, good or bad, nothing is familiar or kind. I’m as invisible and vacant as the chair I sit in–when I go, no one will notice, probably not even the sweet girl sitting next to me who is proudly beating one of her demons with weight watchers.
I know for sure that I would not wish this on anyone, this emptiness. My saving grace is that I have my health, my dog, my mom and a handful of amazing friends who have loved me no matter what–even though they are not here, oh and how I wish they were, just to be sitting across from me, sharing a laugh, laughing at ourselves our own fears, triumphs, pursuits we thought would be so perfect and turned into nothing–laughing despite it all.
That I suppose, when in the right company that is what I still have–my laughter, by the grace of god, in my seemingly selfish despair and loneliness, on occasion, I do remember to laugh at it all, despite how difficult it all seems to navigate alone.

Monday morning coming down…

Despite my wicked sense of humor, happy disposition, (my promise to friends that I will write about all the humor in my life, waxing and bleaching bums–my days of beautiful school will soon come), my appreciation of life and all small gifts, I have my days.  Today, in fact, is one of them.  After what was such a fun filled beautiful day with friends yesterday, and a lovely evening visiting with a dear friend, I went to bed last night and awoke from the most awful nightmare.  But the thing is I went to bed feeling so, well, me, and content.  I put on my prettiest, silkiest, adoring chemise–happy and smiling from a happy day and tucked into bed, alone and into warm slumber of rest. When the nightmare shook me awake, I got out of bed and wandered around my apartment, trying to make sense of why our dreams can haunt us.  In my pacing of between half awake, I realized that two day earlier December 8th was the anniversary of the passing of my beloved dog, Wyatt, and I had forgotten, remembering something didn’t feel quite right that day but I still moved through it.  Something I suppose life teaches us, is that the living keep living and time does heal and we are allowed to move past such sad memories.  But not sad..I had a beautiful life with my canine friend and he never wanted for anything, but I felt the guilt of forgetting.  But as I type this, that in itself is a lie, like the little dark creatures that stay hidden, just waiting for a weak moment to take you down a different path.  He would be happy that I didn’t mourn him that day, like I had all the years before.

I finally at some point in the evening fell back asleep.  But this morning, so grey and overcast set the mood, even before I got out of bed.  Oh, fuck it!!  Before 10 am I went to the local liquor store and bought a bottle of vodka, stopped by the convenient store and bought a pack of cigarettes (a new, temporary vice) and decided to resign myself to the mood.  Wanting so badly to get over this hump in my life, my, I guess, mid-life crisis…somedays win, somedays lose or maybe they are all just part of some master plan to shake us awake, much like my nightmare of last night.

Who knows…but I can promise in this blog that you will see a girl, evolve, resurrect herself–knowing that so many are out there doing the same.  One thing life, so far, has taught me, is that despite the current gloom and loneliness, I am a survivor.  I will discover a new and different me, maybe one much unlike the girl I use to know but better.  But today, it is vodka, cigarettes and time reflecting.  Tomorrow, I have no idea what it will bring but I assure you, if I know myself, there will be laughter somewhere, a bit of hope and wellness. Life, as a friend once told me, is not linear, it is a constant struggle to regain, pursue, overcome but when you get to the other side, the reward is beyond what you could ever have imagined.

Cheers, and happy Monday.  :-)

LIfe compared to a perfect opened bottle of beer

Tonight a dear friend came to visit, we sat outside on my deck, as the fall sunset illuminated the trees around us, the last of summer’s crickets singing to us, we talked about life, so far.  Both of us in our 40′s, we said how fooled we were in our younger years that it would play out in such a certain way, according to our ‘plans.’  How grand they were, the perfect companion, the marriage, maybe babies, the perfect little house..etc.  But then I wondered out loud, “I’m not sure I ever really wanted any of that, maybe it was more of what was expected of me, to fit this mold that would make everyone else comfortable.”  Funny enough, I still have a journal from when I was a teenager, where I clearly stated, “I don’t think I want marriage.  I think I’ll move to Florida, get a Cadillac (don’t ask it was the 80′s), and have a nice young lover.”  Yes, even at the spry age of say twelve or thirteen, I saw myself with a lover and not a husband.  But, life continued, I got a career that has taken me all over the world, I met ‘the guy’ and well…the story goes.  Now, single, not living in Florida (thank God), driving a 13 year old Jeep (again, another thing I thank heaven for…somehow, the vision of my 40 year old self driving around in a Cadillac Brougham, just seems sad,– and living in a beautiful treetop apartment in a little village that you really only see in movies.  Quite happily single, grateful that certain relationships ended when they did, although, wildly lonely at times, I am in fact making my way, to some degree in accordance to the plans I laid out for myself as a kid…minus the lover, for the moment.  The gratitude for the friends and family that have stood by my choices and helped where they could will only be repaid in me continuing to live my true path…something that was lost in the mix years ago.

So, back to the moral of the story…. as my night with my girlfriend continued, and (of course) the laughter she picked up a beer tab that she so perfectly had just popped off a bottle of beer and then in the other hand the label that she so haphazardly, slowly peeled away from the bottle.  In our comparison of how things have turned out (not so bad we had to admit, amidst all the struggle and despite it all, still feeling hopeful),  she held up the the bottle cap and exclaimed, “This is how we thought it would all turn out, so perfect and precise, yet, as she uncrumpled the label she said, “this is really how it is!, life isn’t linear, it isn’t perfect, we get this crumpled mess and have to iron it out, work through it and find that ‘something’ that makes it feel more smooth and bearable.”  Lots of laughter at the irony that we were comparing life to a beer tab and its crumpled label to our experience of life thus far, but simple enough and true.  You just have to keep at it, sometimes, it works and other times it’s a complete disaster.  But we’re still here, still laughing, if sometimes through tears, we still get to choose our tomorrow.  Maybe my life makes others uncomfortable at times, all the freedom of choice, me having to balance it all on my own, and to be honest there are many, many moments when I’m uncertain too.  I still long for the perfect lover, someone to snuggle up to, stroke my hair, whisper sweet nothings, make wild passionate love to me and then maybe leave so I can have my entire luscious bed to myself.

I went to bed last night, in my comfy, very unsexy pajamas, listened to music, my music and tucked into bed alone.  Grateful, for the moment but also still missing someone–but that’s the condition of singledom–you want it but you don’t…at least for me.

Thanks, girl, for showing up and for keeping me laughing.  The best medicine, EVER!

 

tossing it all into the river

I always knew I wanted to live near a body of water, whether it be the ocean or a river, but here for the last four years I’ve found myself living so gloriously close to the one of the most historical rivers in the United States, the Delaware.

It’s current and the rise and fall are a marvel to me, different each day.  To walk across the bridge into our sister city, even after all this time, I’m in awe of it.  The continuous flow.

 “No man ever steps in the same river twice, for it’s not the same river and he’s not the same man.” –Heraclitus

I’ve always felt that rivers were like women…the rise and fall, the beautiful unpredictability, the constant flow. In response to Heraclitus, yes, no man stands in the same river twice, as he will never meet and know a woman completely.

“Allow yourself to think only those thoughts that match your principles and can bear the bright light of day. Day by day, your choices, your thoughts, your actions fashion the person you become. Your integrity determines your destiny.” ― Heraclitus

The light of day, dawn, in fact, as all of nature is simply so feminine. And I can’t ignore that he mentions ‘fashion’ in his age old wisdom.

“Some people believe holding on and hanging in there are signs of great strength. However, there are times when it takes much more strength to know when to let go and then do it.”
― Ann Landers

Anyhow, out to lunch with a girlfriend today we both talked and laughed of our little ritual of, each time we have an question unsolved, a relationship that turned out to be so much less than what it promised we write a letter and turn it to the river.  She said today, after a new breakup, “here I go again, another letter into the river, Damn, that fucking river holds a novel.”

I remember this past summer, after a really heart wrenching breakup, I decided late in the night that I was going to take all the love notes that he had left behind, write an epic letter and hop on my little townie bike and have a ritual of my own.  The letter, which I should have made a copy of, flowed with such ease, it really was epic in proportion, the sentiment and expression flowed from my brain to the pen, like nothing i had ever experienced.  Once finished, and after a couple glasses of wine, I rode down to the river, like some sort of warrior, a girl on a mission to release all her pain and heartache in this final display of closure.  
(I have a girlfriend when I started to tell this story, knowing somewhat that it wouldn’t go exactly as planned, she said, “cue the music.”)  So off I went on my trusted steed, with his love letters and my letter of goodbye down to the river, my scarf flowing behind me in the wind, it was late probably near 2 am.  I went to the rivers edge, waded in, just enough for my ankles to feel the current and said a silent prayer to the river and myself, kissed all the dreams and hope that were all bound up in that roll of paper and their promises. And I threw it downstream into the river… FREEDOM!!  It was glorious to let go, to not hold onto those things.  
“When you no longer wish to defend, explain or fight then its time to give up…no matter how much you don’t want to.”–unknown.

I then turned and hopped back onto my bike, so full of myself, feeling the release…in my glory and since it was so late and dark, I wasn’t completely paying attention to where I was going and then suddenly…SMASH into a curb.  I went flying off my bike, over the handle bars, thrown unto the concrete.  I landed and and my first thought was, “is anything broken?  Am I still whole?”  Answer, “yes.”  whew!!!  I went to hop back on my bike, hoping to still ride home in glory, all the bad memories trailing behind me but my bike was broken.  So, ever so humbly, I walked my bike home in the dark night, wondering if it was a sign.  When I got home, I called a friend on the West Coast and through my tears of how what I intended to be a proud, full circle closure, turned into well…a wreck, but she saw it differently she said, “see Dawn, you took an awful fall but you got up and kept on going.  That’s the message.”

I can’t promise that another novel won’t be sent down river or whether it heals or not, but I and it seems many others believe in the symbolism of letting go.

 

Botox, our obsession with thinness and happiness

I think I’ll forever be grateful to my ex-husband, who was, when we met a high fashion model (whatever that means), but he was beautiful.  Hooked up on a blind date my roommate went to the door and turned to me and said, “Oh my god!! I think he’s the most beautiful guy I’ve ever seen in person.”  Oh, great….was my reply.  In a moment, I envisioned a self centered, ego maniac and the next few hour would be spent in misery, listening to his greatness and appeal to, well…the world.  But what I found was a humble, funny guy, who was way more unaware of his good looks than any one person in that ‘league’, I had ever encountered.   Lesson one:  Perception is a funny thing and vanity is a bitch.

In my early twenties, I treated this date as if I were out with a friend, not for a second did I believe this ‘superior being’ would consider me as beautiful or even attractive.  I grew up thinking I was less than I am, and well, to be completely honest at the age of 40 I still struggle with that notion.  I have, over the years, become a master at covering up my ‘flaws’, for Christ sake I even started a candle company because I believe that for anyone, everything looks better by candlelight.  I’ve learned how to manipulate my body, that when a guy is around, he won’t see what I see…cellulite, the extra bit of my bum that with all the exercise in the world will always be there.  Which entails hours in front of a mirror in different lighting, examining myself.  And now, even,  in my 40′s the laugh lines and wrinkles that are a part of the gift or right of passage that come along with making it this far, make me fearful of change.  I am not proud to admit that I am slightly less obsessed with physical appearances, had I not married this guy.  At the ripe old age of 25 this ‘model guy’ taught me a few lessons about appearances that few ever could realize or see, some have sunk in, some haven’t.  But this I know to be true, and will preach it for as long as I live; perfection is a lie (even though I will continue at all cost to reach that ideal).  For better or worse,  I can say I’m not nearly obsessed had he never entered my life but, I’m human and I will always fall short of the ideal. (I’m being redundant because I write this a little buzzed).   In the beginning stages of our relationship, I remember asking him, “why me and not all these perfect models you’ve worked with and even–because I’m overly curious–had slept with?”  His answer, “because you are real.”  I learned that every picture we see in magazines, on billboards or any type of advertisement has been altered.  He could look at a Marie Claire and examine a model and say, “oh, well they took her waist in a bit here, extended her legs by a fraction of an inch.”  He was the one who assured me that even models obsess over cellulite, which is in fact part of being a woman, it is estrogen, the thing that is responsible for us carrying healthy babies, something, in some way, to be proud of.  But still, because we are so sucked in by advertisement and desire, we keep trying to alter ourselves.

I’ve always been a ‘skinny girl’, which I’m not even sure what that means.  Woman, of superior strength and ability have said to me, “I want your body, your skin.”  I’ve even had women say, “if I had your body I would be happy.”  Bull fucking shit!!! is my only response.  Yep, we can all go get botox, fillers, go to the gym more than we should to ‘perfect’ our bodies but really in the end, happiness comes from within.  As easily it is for me to type that, I assure you, I still don’t have the answer.  What is the ‘within’?  What is it that can fullfill us beyond youth, beauty and our obsession to be thin?  The answer seems to to be clouded since this is a debate that has gone on through the ages.  So until then, I will continue on, with any avenue to work towards perfection, or at least my ideal, even as my body ages and sort of defies my expectation.

Even knowing that after years of friendships, relationships and lovers–it isn’t my exterior but my interior, my light,  that attracts people to me.  but even then people will say, “you’re so pretty, and so nice, so skinny”, as if they can’t exist together.  My favorite is, “you’re too pretty to be sad.”  Which in some way deepens and adds to the insecurity.

Back to the cute guy, I ended up marrying— through all the lessons of our courtship and marriage, my exhusband has taught me, that it isn’t what was exposed on the outside but what lies within.  He fell in love with a girl, not because she was pretty or perfect but because she was who she was:  vulnerable, strong, graceful, funny and self deprecating.  I actually, in turn, brought him back to reality.  To love someone, or even yourself, you must love all of that person–flaws and all.  It’s a challenge, one I haven’t even succeeded at–without a doubt, I will keep my botox appointments, cycle, climb, use creams and potions to continue on my quest of what has been driven into my psyche to be perfect.  It is a lovely notion that we could all just succumb to the gift of age but I don’t think, here in this country it’s unavoidable.  Because, just like you, I am only human.

So, the message:  Do whatever the fuck you can to keep it up.  Embrace yourself, yes, enjoy life, enjoy the gift of aging but fight it at all cost.

 

 

Life without you and me

I’ve been through a divorce, had to redefine my life after being a wife for 11 years.  In different ways I’ve mourned the loss of grandparents, friends, beloved pets, lovers, boyfriends and a father that is still living but gone from me, lost in his own mess of sorting through.  And this is what we are all left with, although the feeling, the pain and grief for each person is solitary, the condition is the same, learning to live without the other.  This is a part of life that we can only navigate on our own.  Each person has their own way to mourn, there are stages of grief but no one person goes through them in the same order or in the same time.

Most recently I have mourned the loss of a love that I thought was so special and uniquely mine, it felt true and more real than anything I’ve ever known.  But through a series of events that I still can’t quite explain or put real meaning to, he’s gone and I’m learning to live without him, or the idea of him or probably more true and worse than anything, the illusion of him.  To me it is a monumental heartbreak, I’ve had to face the notion that there will be questions never answered, no real good-bye’s, or gentle disconnect, not even a friendship.  It’s simply just over, as if it never happened at all. Even now, five months later, it haunts me and to speak of it in any length makes me nearly buckle at the knees.  But this is life, someday learning to live without–if through death, divorce, a break-up–even friendships can eventually come full circle and they leave our lives.  Sad, yes, and oh! how we can mourn the loss, never quite the same again.  But if we can hang on long enough, new gifts start to emerge and become a part of our lives, new memories are made, time passes, not ever replacing the other, just different.  The only truth being, that life is this continuous motion that gives and takes, even in moments we least expect it.

I wish each time this happened that there was some magic pill, a spell, a word of advice that could soothe the healing process but what I’ve come to learn is that time alone is the only thing we can count on, like a dear friend of mine has said time and time again, “never underestimate the power of the passage of time,” even when in these moments time seems to move so, so slowly.

We never know what is around the next corner, we cross our fingers and pray to a god, we may or may not believe in, that it will be a blessing and not another good-bye and this is the mystery of life.

I shamefully still ache for the loss of this last relationship, learning to live without all the dreams and promises that were made.  It’s hard to comprehend but I’m learning to realize that this is my life without him, even though he promised he would never leave.  It’s a life I wouldn’t have known had we stayed together and I have yet to be convinced it is better, although so many promise that someday I will realize that it isn’t only better but a blessing.

It took me years to learn how to live without my funny, silly canine friend, Wyatt.  I mourned his loss like few others, because he was just so pure and so loving, more deserving and grateful of life than few I’ve ever known.  Even as he was dying, he did it with such grace, I stood in awe of him.

I know that as long as we walk this Earth, this challenge will be a part of the living, how to live with loss.  If anything it is humbling and I hope for each of us, faced with the inevitable, that we can rise above the heartache and grief, to find grace and goodness that will eventually meet us again in new and unique ways.

The life without you and me, for now is so difficult to navigate but time moves forward, new memories, in fact, are being made, there is laughter and hope again.  And in a timeframe only the heavens can predict, I’m slowly rising from the ashes.

 

Hello world!

“I handle the sky that’s around me at the moment in the best way I know how. I’m not responsible for surviving all the weather everywhere, I’m just responsible for getting through the weather I find…”–Richard Bach

Roars of laughter–as I sit alone on my deck with my fingers frozen over the keyboard.  Oh Dawn!!!  What have you gone and done now.  Hopefully, something good.  I want to say a million things, tell stories that should probably or could be a part of some romantic comedy or tragedy but for now I’ll say, thank you for stopping by. Because just getting to this step makes me desperate for a nap.

My hope is to make you laugh, when you absolutely feel you can not, life is full of those moments–at least mine seems to be.  And so should yours.  If we can’t fall flat on our face, battered and bruised from heartache, loss, grief–if we can’t get up and see what is around us, that even though that moment in time happened it isn’t what defines us or what is before us now.  Deep breath, brush yourself off and get on with it, even with a whole in your jeans and a broken high heel shoe, tears and mascara running down your face.  Get on with it girl.  (so much easier to write than to live through but it’s what we must do as long as we are blessed with being on this earth).

Not entirely sure the context, it will be a mix of things, part being my personal journey through surviving singledom at the age of 40, how I navigate (which seems like such a defining term..for me it’s more like stumbling), through life and literally clouds.    And doing it with grace and humility.

Thats all for now folks.  Better things to come.    Peace out.