Dominant: Butterflies and Love

Lately, love has been the dominant thought running through my mind. This is a big deal. Really. It’s a big deal because for the past six years, since my traumatic divorce, I’ve remained single.

I don’t mean the kind of single that signs up on Tinder. I mean single as in celibate. No dates, no kisses, no one-night distractions, no hugs, no cuddles, no intimacy. Nothing.

As I might have mentioned before, when I took a trip to Paris, I had an Irish roommate in one of the hostels I stayed at who told me his old Irish mother said it takes half the time of the length of the relationship to completely get over it. And don’t you know, I think she might be right.

So here I am. An almost forty-one-year-old divorced mother of three. And I feel somewhat transported back in time, to that younger self who was still optimistic, even in the midst of all the ugliness of life. Still optimistic. That’s the gift of youth I suppose. Life is still ahead of the young.

But now life is not exactly ahead of me anymore. A good portion of it is behind. The first half has come and gone and I am now entering the second half. It’s much different approaching the idea of love in the second half.

A significant portion of my life was shared with a man. And together we did something very significant. We created three human beings together. And though it is probably the most significant thing two people can do together, it was not significant enough to keep the vows from disintegrating. That gives one a reason to pause.

And I have. Paused. For six years. But recently a spark has been lit and I’ve hesitantly taken my finger off of the pause button and nervously but excitedly pushed play.

I have butterflies again, butterflies that have been sleeping for many, many years. I am ready to follow them now and see where they lead me. Maybe, just maybe they will lead back to love.

 

 

via Daily Prompt: Dominant

The Mess Which Bespoke

Ugh!!!

There were several pairs of shoes, their shoes, littering the dining room floor which is where the front door was. As soon as they entered, their shoes were kicked off, leaving the shoe bin (purchased specifically for…well, shoes) feeling neglected and lonely.

She walked past the table surrounded by chairs laden with winter jackets, their winter jackets, to hang her own coat on the desolate looking coat rack. No coat rack should look that barren in winter time. She attempted to shrug off the tired anxiety along with her coat, but only managed to elicit a crink in her neck.

The Amazing World of Gumball filled up the space in the living room and her eyes scanned over the cups, their cups, littering the little table in the middle of the room which was spilling over with markers and crayons and multiple pieces of art, her art, composed on white copy paper.

What a mess. That is what she thought. That is what she always thought. Stuffed dolls on the steps, laundry over flowing, letters and reminders from school piling up: the Holiday Shop on Tuesday, the winter concert on Thursday, and the cookie exchange on Friday.

Sigh…

It was a mess.

But it was a mess that bespoke love, laughter, and most of all…it was a mess which bespoke family.

 

https://dailypost.wordpress.com/prompts/bespoke/

via Daily Prompt: Bespoke

Here is My Panoply

Here is my panoply

derived from animosity

or more like your hostility

over my remarkable ability

to disregard civility

but only as it pertains to the insanity

of your idea of family.

Here is my panoply

born from your insincerity

or more like your disloyalty

to our state of conjugality

not only the physicality

but even more so the emotionality

destroyed by your lack of masculinity

and jaded by your falsity

forever changing my mentality.

Here is my panoply.

guard-your-heart

 

Panoply

 

 

Sometimes I Feel an Echo

via Daily Prompt: Echo

Sometimes I hear an echo, only it is not quite a sound but rather a memory. Or perhaps a memory of a feeling. Like yesterday, when I saw him standing there and I felt a giddy sensation of possibility. The new and exciting feeling of “love” that I only remember feeling too many years ago. And it is though I have never felt that feeling before and it is all new and wonderful and filled with a mysterious magic. But I am no longer young and I have felt that feeling before with devastating results. The echo was lovely but now it’s gone and I am finding I am ok with that.

Sometimes I will watch a married couple and I will smile. I will remember the days when I too was married and how, even though there was so much unspoken misery, there was also times of unity. And an echo of that memory when I was not alone but a part of a team, however incomplete that team may have been, will swallow me up and for just one moment I will sigh with relief. But then I remember that I am alone and the only unity I can speak of now is the unity of all of the fractured parts of myself. Yes, the echo was lovely but now it’s gone and I am finding I am ok with that.

Sometimes I will see a commercial, like the Amazon one with the Dad who drops his son off at preschool and peeks through the window to see his son sitting desolate and alone while the other children play. And I will feel the echo of the days my oldest son, who is now nearly fourteen, was in Kindergarten and he was terrified of the boys bathroom and how it sounded as if the whole world would disappear whenever the toilette was flushed. Or I will see a mother in front of my children’s school with a baby and the chubby, fleshy thighs will stir an echo of a memory of my own children when they were just babes, and oh how my heart will swell. And an ache will accompany the memory because those days are gone forever. The echo was lovely but now it’s gone and I am finding I am ok with that.

There are constant echoes of past that sound at different times: days of playing kickball in the old neighborhood covered in dirt and grime and all the signs of childhood happiness, the first kiss that released the bevy of butterflies aching to be free, the roundness of my belly that swelled with life, the long walks with those babies through changing seasons…And the feelings reverberate within my heart as if I am standing on the edge of some great cliff overlooking the world and I am shouting out as loud as I can to the universe, to God,

Thank You.

Being of One Heart

“Who are you?”

cheshire-cat-smile

What a silly question. I know who I am. I suppose the better question is do I show you or him or fuzzy-eared Jim who I am. It’s an awful risky thing to do you know. And to further complicate things, I change. Constantly.

It’s not a drastic or dramatic thing like jumping into an icy river naked as the day you were born. Shocking! It’s more like a subtle change similar to the Delaware River which I am fortunate enough to live by. Everyone should be fortunate enough to live by a river. Sometimes it rises to staggering heights and spills over, flooding everything an angry brown. Other times it is so low you can walk clear to the middle of it and marvel at the smooth gray slabs of stone underneath. Sweet Earth. But regardless of  the exact state it is in, it’s still the river.

A couple of months ago I dared to show my very best friend a part of me. That day the metaphorical river was overflowing with a muddy brown. I was terrified. But I needed to show her the part of me she did not know. Relationships are built on honesty, right? Or at least in theory they are supposed to be. I also wanted to be honest with her because I felt she had a right to full disclosure. She had a right to know how I felt about something that was contradictory to an incredibly important belief she held, a belief that was a huge part of her life.

You see, this woman who I love with all of my heart and soul, who has inspired me and supported me and loved me since we embarked on this adventure of friendship, is in an intimate relationship with my other really good friend who happens to also be a woman. She supports gay rights and gay marriage and  transgender rights. She is very into rights for everyone regardless of their sexual inclinations or gender identification.

That is her life.

She is such a good, good person.

But I disagree with her on some things, important things. And I felt like a fraud keeping it hidden. So I took a deep breath and I showed her the hidden part of me at the risk of being rejected.

Homosexuality has never rested well with me. There has always been an uncomfortableness, a sense of something being off-kiltered. In my ideal world things would be simple, things would be defined, compartmentalized in a very neat and straightforward way. Blue would be blue and up would not be down. A pot would be a pot.

In my mind, a man and woman are compliments of one another, the yen and the yang, a complete and perfect balance. So to have two men together or two women together, it feels unbalanced. Although honestly, with the rate of promiscuity, infidelity, and divorce there is very little balance to be found. Throw in the pervasive violence and the whole world is a flippin insane asylum.

So I expressed this to her because she has a right to know who her friend is, who the person she is confiding in is. She has the right to choose whether or not she wants to be friends with someone who feels contrary to the way that she feels about something so personal and so important.

I also needed to express it to her because I believe the Bible, which in my mind is the word of God, indicates that homosexuality is a sin. Of course the scriptures can be and are interpreted in incredibly different ways. I have friends from all different branches of Christianity and they all have beliefs derived from and supported by scriptures, and those beliefs are contradictory, so who’s to say?

Next I had to confess to her that I did not believe it was right for any Christian authority to marry gay couples because I believe the God does consider it a sin. Would I protest gay marriage? No. I do believe in gay rights and if two women, like my friends, want to be married and it has been legalized, then that is their right. But Christian leaders have an important responsibility to be stewards of God’s word.

But again, the scriptures have many interpretations, so who’s to say?

I knew confessing these things to her might be the end of our friendship. The thought made me cry. I really did love her. So much. But I also was tired of hiding because of the fear that I would be hated.

There is a definite risk of being stereo-typed, labeled, and having words put in your mouth if you disagree with certain issues. Homosexuality and abortion are two major ones. And that has happened to me.

As soon as a person learns you have different beliefs they stop seeing you. They forget all of the things they love about you – your good heart, the laughs you’ve shared, all of the memories you’ve made together – and they only see hate. They see hate where there is no hate, just a difference in beliefs.

But my friend, that body of goodness, did not reject me. Her eyes did not see hate where there was no hate. Her ears did not hear words that my mouth did not speak.  She still saw me. And she still loved me.

Though homosexuality and transgenderality do not rest easy with me, I am not here to push my beliefs on anyone. In the end, everyone has a right to live a life according to their conscience – not my conscience – but their own.

Honesty is a wonderful thing. And it is truly a gift when you can share it. What I am learning is that life is not just about agreeing and being of one mind. It’s even more importantly about disagreeing and still being of one heart.

Solitary Surrendering

This darkness is all I can see and it is only because I stare into your eyes.

In them I see everything in me I want to deny. 

I once believed you were God; you were my God.

But you had no answers and I was forsaken by you so many times I believed I did not exist.

I stomped through your life a ghost but my feet were invisible so they never made a sound.

I floated a solitary surrendering.

Alone.

I don’t want to be a ghost any longer.

Remembering Love

She had loved him. It was as though she were waking up from a long sleep to these feelings that she had held for this man all along. Feelings that had been buried, suppressed, in a deep, deep sleep. The wrongs committed could now be thrown into the smoldering rubble in which there still remained enough heat to turn them into ash. The many offenses, his offenses and her own, she had worn like a cloak, a cloak so heavy that she had not realized how it had hampered her movement until she found the strength to shrug them off. She had loved him. She held this old love in the palm of her hand and it glowed warm in the sun and she smiled with remembrance. She had loved him. And it was a relief.

She looked at his picture. She looked at the young face she could barely remember. The eyes that were so bright, so blue. They had dazzled her once. Over the years, through the battles she had stopped seeing them, could not see them through all of the smoke and flames, through the depressed fog. Only now, the war that was their love was over. The flames were dying down, the smoke was just beginning to lift, and like any war-torn landscape, the damage to her heart was devastating. At first the devastation was overwhelming. It was nearly impossible to imagine how this barren broken place could ever be rebuilt. But as time passed, she began to notice that the trees, though scorched still stood. There were green patches of grass, peeking out hesitantly, on the soot blackened scarred ground. And somewhere in the distant she could hear the laughter of children.

To Sincerely Love Again

Never regret anything you have done with a sincere affection; nothing is lost that is born of the heart. ~ Basil Rathbone

For the first time in the past five years since my ex-husband left, I am seriously considering opening my heart to a man. Five years is a long time, and then again it isn’t.

It’s a long time not to have intimate contact with another human being – a comforting hug, a passionate kiss or even just a simple kiss on the cheek, a warm body to feel, to possess, to become one with. Sounds cheesy I know.

Or maybe it just sounds cheesy if you don’t believe in love anymore.

And so I guess that is where I am at. Do I really believe in the idea of romantic love anymore? I want to say yes. The head that aches to lay itself on a strong chest wants to say yes. But there is an even bigger part that shakes its head at the thought.

Ridiculous. Absurd. Cheesy.

And it’s not just the lack of physical contact that makes five years a long time, but it is equally the emotional aspect. Last Saturday I stood on the edge of the sidewalk to watch as the children dressed in their Halloween costumes walked by in the Halloween parade, and every time I saw a really cute or funny costume I would literally turn my head to comment only…there was no one there to comment to.

I’m no stranger to feeling a bit alienated in a crowd, but it feels now that alienation is growing larger. Is this really it?

I know I once believed in the idea of love most sincerely. Oh how I loved that man. There were no pretenses. I loved him wholly and fully with every fiber of my being. If I never experience a single kiss again or equally an embrace, I can always smile with sincere affection at the memories of the one love I did experience.

But it was beyond sad to watch as that love morphed into something ugly, something bitter, something resembling hate. It was a pain to make one wish for death. Incredible but true.

It gives me pause to believe in the idea of love again. It died once; it can surely die again and again and again.And yet there is still something inside that meekly raises its eyes in a fragile hope.

Possibility. Maybe. One day.

Maybe one day I will believe in the possibility of sincerely loving again.

Sincere

Ghost

There are different corridors in my mind, winding round, over, under, near and far, steps leading to steps that abruptly fall away to nothing. It’s something to walk these halls followed by and following the echoes of my footsteps like mischievous sprites leading me astray.

Each corridor is different as if it were some bizarre cubist masterpiece, deconstructed and reconstructed until it no longer resembles me and resembles only me. What is this now? My nose is my eye and my eyes are my mouth squinting into a smile, salivating or crying, while my lips are pursed as an ear. My ear? My darling little ear with darling little teeth. He was once in love with my ears but they would bite his kisses now and spit them to the ground.

Sour kisses.

Bitter taste.

No more of him. He is nothing but ashes in the corridor eternally ravaged by flames.

There is another corridor far away, must be a day and a life’s journey to reach. The walls are painted white, a pure, guiltless white. My fingers caress in a line, sighing and moaning, as I walk the length. The floor is covered with grass, new grass with an unheard of shade of green.

What color were his eyes? Hazel? Blue? I never knew. His skin was soft, though I never touched, never felt. But I could tell. I am a mother and mothers can always tell.

Oh that I could have touched. Would I have touched? Descended the stair? Tasted the peach? No. Fingers tremble at the thought and hide themselves away with their sighs and their moans, away.

I come upon a hole drilled into the wall by a very ambitious carpenter bee and I know by the honey dripping from the hole this is the spot. I lean my body into the wall, my breasts against an invisible chest, palms flat against the smooth surface, and I look inside.

There he is, that one I never knew with eyes of hazel or blue. I see him standing there, sitting there, walking back and forth. I only ever knew him in a box. Four walls, a ceiling, and a floor. And of course there was always the door. Saying goodbye, goodbye, goodbye.

Always saying goodbye.

He is ethereal, intangible, becoming a ghost. The details, the words, the memories like smoke. But the essence still remains. The essence of him, of me, of an us that never was and never will be.

Goodbye, goodbye, goodbye.

Always goodbye.

Daily Post: Ghost

Carry

Carry.

I was carried once on my Father’s shoulders. He was a tall man, a handsome man, and a giant in my eyes before I learned better. I only remember it ever having occurred, my riding high on his shoulders, once. Perhaps it happened more, but if it did, the memories are lost to me.

I don’t remember my mother ever carrying me. Even though I was in love with her long black hair and the way she twirled it around her fingers, the softness of her stomach, the comfort of her breasts…I do not remember her ever carrying me. Perhaps she did, certainly she must have, but if she did, the memories are lost to me.

My husband, no longer my husband, carried me once. Actually I believe it was twice and always in the water. Please don’t think it was because I was too heavy. No, it just so happened he was too weak. He may have carried me more but he never did. That I am certain of.

As for me, I have carried a lot. Guilt, remorse, anger, hatred, love…so much love, all the love that can be contained in three children, above all in my three children, but not just in three children. I’ve carried it in countless children I’ve taught, in the dogs at the kennel I once cared for, in the few friendships I’ve held, in the father that once carried me and the mother that never did and even, yes even, in the husband who is no longer the husband who was too weak to carry me.

Carry.

Dailypost