A dichotomy of desires and denial

A body and soul left untouched for so long that it at once both cries out for and recoils at the mere thought of intimacy

Skin that yearns to be stroked and felt…wanting pleasure and pain again to be tasted, leaving a thirst for more to be quenched.

The same shell that holds my Self screaming inside at the thought of touch and caresses – cringing with a loathing at the closeness that would bring. A closeness that I feel myself not only incapable of but not deserving of.

A mind, conflicted with duality and turmoil. Logic and reason against giving in to wants and needs struggles with the straining to find connection with other souls.

Judgement clouded by fear of actually finding what I seek. My boundaries held in place by a consciousness that is steeped in trepidation.

So the days and weeks and months pass… the habit of aloneness becoming more and more firmly entrenched in my life. The bridge to cross to allow anyone to enter my space, physical or emotional, becoming harder to traverse.

Knowing that the first step to open the door to someone will be almost insurmountable… yet also knowing that it’s time to do so.

I work as a manager at a clinic of chiropractic, physiotherapy, massage and acupuncture. We have a patient who I see come in almost every week. He is a small, hunched over old man who wears the traditional brown robes of a Monk.
Brother Paul, as he is called, is now 90 years old and still walks everywhere. He is slow and unsteady, a walker assisting his travels, stopping often for rests as he goes. I pass him often as he lives in my neighbourhood. Before I started work at the clinic I would see him and wonder about him… who he is and what kind of life he’s had. I have the chance now to speak with him but I don’t really; not beyond the pleasantries of greetings or as I hold the door open for him to leave. The practitioner who treats him tells me how bright and quick witted he still is and how the stories he tells intrigue him…wondering how different his life has been from ours. A life chosen of devotion and faith.

I’m not someone who has faith in god or the divine. My beliefs tend towards Buddhist principals but even then I falter when the subject of faith comes into it. I have an analytical mind, discerning of reason and logic. Faith of anything without proof that is calculable is beyond me. I look at someone like Brother Paul who has lived his entire life devoted to a divinity that he has no assurances exists is inspiring as well as dumb-founding to me. Part of me wishes that I could have just some of that inside of me. That I could trust in something intangible … be it a deity or something as “earthly” as love and a soul’s connection to another.

You see, my absence of ability to embrace devotion also translates to intimate relationships. The trust and faith to believe the feelings that I feel at times elude me and I struggle to temper the rational and calculating side of my mind with the emotional and passionate edge that I know does reside within. I long to throw myself with abandon into feeling and experience what it is to just love and enjoy and not question. I’m not foolish enough to think that relationships are like that in perpetuity … but a taste of it would be nice. Yet my mind holds me back… are some people just wired differently? I don’t know… maybe it’s conditioning. I try to think back to my younger years and relationships and see if there was a difference. I was more impulsive and impetuous. I made decisions based on emotions and desires and many times those decisions brought me to hurt and ruin. So I became more distant and guarded. I started to hold back and fence every emotional response and impulse. I would, and do, resist urges and desires and be my own strictest chaperone – halting actions before I had a chance to act – erring on the side of caution to the point of not experiencing anything. A self-imposed celibacy and break from all intimacy of an emotional or physical sense has ensued. I now find myself wondering how to come back from that.

All of this swirls through my thoughts as I go back to my office after holding the door open for Brother Paul to exit. We lock eyes as he passes me… he thanks me and the sparkle in his eyes in unbridled and beautiful.

Wishes, dreams and goals.

I was at a dinner with a few friends last night and the topic of wishes came up. The question was “what do you wish for”. It is something that’s been in my mind for years now and last night’s discussion has really set my mind on this.

A wish is basically a “want” usually. Something that we desire and long for. Almost always mentioned with longing and with the sense that it won’t be achieved or “granted” somehow. As the saying goes… If wishes were horses, beggars would ride.

A wish is ethereal and tossed out onto the wind, no matter how badly you may wish for something, until you decide to grasp it, it’s nothing more than a wanton desire. Voicing it is a step towards making it something more though… a Dream.

A dream is something that is tangible with some weight behind. You may wish for something in a passing way, even chronically; but a dream has substance. I might say I wish I lived on an island with goats (yes, this is a long-standing wish/dream of mine!)… that’s a wish I have. But when I start thinking about what I would need to do for income and where I could find acreage and a little farm land and how in the world you take care of goats… well then it takes shape beyond just a wish. Making something a dream is the step towards seeing if it’s possible or whether it will stay in the land of “wish”.

Just dreaming about something won’t bring it to being a goal… so many of my dreams aren’t goals and never will be, but they’re still fun to think of and they give me a taste of what it is that is IN that dream that IS a possibility. I don’t have any intention of actually moving to a gulf island and raising goats… but it shows me that the base of wanting a simpler existence is a possible goal (and one much more realistic).

Listening to one of the women last night voice a wish, followed with “I’m going to make that happen” was wonderful. It inspires me to take a closer look at some of my wishes and to start dreaming… one step closer to making them happen 

9:30pm Tired and barely able to keep my eyes open

9:45pm Looked at clock

11:30pm eyes open, it must be morning, yay! I slept…nope…not even midnight

12:15am still not morning

1:00am ugh

1:45am a whole 45 minutes

2:07am clock check

2:25am still awake

3:05am I think I slept 🙂

3:33am more sleep 🙂

4:03am clock check

4:45am almost 45 minutes of sleep… I’m on a roll here

4:58am can’t sleep

5:03am seriously, it’s only been 5 minutes!!!!!!!

5:20am still awake

5:31am pretty sure the night’s “sleep” is done

5:45am headache so bad I can’t stand it anymore

5:50am aaaaand, up for the day

And people wonder why I’m cranky.

I’ve been a lifelong insomniac…going through spells when I either can’t get to sleep at all or when, like lately, I can get to sleep no problem but wake continuously all night – ending usually with being up for good from about 4:30am.

I have tried most remedies…teas, natural supplements – melatonin being the latest one…meditations, breathing techniques etc… nothing works. Sleeping pills work somewhat but only for a few hours or the heavier ones leave me with such a “hang-over” that I can’t function. Plus, sleeping pills, for me, don’t leave me feeling rested. Sure, I was “asleep” (unconscious really) but I don’t wake feeling refreshed – I still feel tired; not to mention the side effects :(.
So, I continue to not sleep and hope for the best… maybe some late night blogging would help 😉

Before you can accept who you are you have to know who you are. This is where I am right now.

We are each so much. We are our beliefs, our memories, our hopes and dreams, our tragedies, our abuses and our triumphs. Yet beneath all of that which has shaped and formed who we are, we are just simply a Self. I think we spend our lives trying to uncover and connect with that Self that is who we are.

For myself I have spent my entire life being uncomfortable in my body and with trying to “be” someone that I don’t feel is authentic. Not in the sense of feeling like I was born in the wrong body but in a sense that I feel like I am wearing a costume and trying to make a layer of clothing fit when it just is never quite “right”. A layer not only physical but mental. Like wearing a dress that is cut just ever so slightly wrong so that it never hangs quite right…always causing you to try to adjust it and making you aware of it every second you have it on.

Physically, I have never liked my body on its most base level. Learning from very young, as so many do, to be ashamed of any part of me that doesn’t resonate with the ideal that society tosses about. The ever-changing ideal, but which is always hinged on being “perfect”. Years of eating disorders never gave me the satisfaction and acceptance of my body that I wanted…that translated, after many years, to a deep hatred for my inner self as I viewed myself as weak and a failure for being able to do even the most basic thing – accept myself for who I am and love myself. A nasty circle that goes around on an endless loop. So many attempts to find “me” … dressing the way I thought I “should” for my age or my role at the time… the clothes never feeling like me but forcing myself to wear them. Make up for years because that’s what I should be doing. Because I was told I was prettier with it on than without; and of course, I wanted to be thought of as trying to fit with what people wanted for me… they were only trying to help me love myself, weren’t they? Like my friend who gently took me aside one day and told me that, at my age, I really shouldn’t be wearing jeans and t-shirts anymore and dressing to be “comfortable”. That I was a mother and a professional woman now, I should be wearing dress pants and blouses and cardigans. So I went shopping… and got more clothes that didn’t feel right. A few years back I finally stopped trying to find clothing that felt “right” and just went for clothes that were easy. Yoga pants and sweatshirts, t-shirts… they did nothing to make me feel good but at least were comfy. Starting a new job this past January I again went out and got clothes to fit the job. Office wear which fit my new role… and which feel like a costume every day. Contributing to me feeling detached…still.

Leaving the outer behind for a bit….

I realized when I have started to shop a few months ago…finally realizing that I need to wear what feels good and what helps me reflect me (to myself at least – really have stopped caring what anyone else thinks or judges)…it became apparent really quickly that the issue goes much deeper. That the fact is that I have been so wrapped up for so much of my life as who I am being what I am that I don’t really know who I am. Oh, I know the base things… I’m kind; I’m honest, compassionate… I love to be outside and I love to be and live as natural as I can. But beyond that I have been living in the trappings of the “what” I am. I ate dinner at a certain time and had meals structured by what was standard – I was raising kids and living a very schedule life so this was fine; for then. I lived my life for what was expected based on trying to chase an ideal that I thought would bring me happiness.

After my first divorce I was so happy and content. I was single, I had my kids, I had a few close, intimate persons in my life who I enjoyed time with but no primary partner. I loved it. I felt like I finally had found “me” and was living the way that felt right for me. My parenting was the way I wanted to parent, not how I had to based on trying to not cause strife with a husband whose idea of parenting was so unlike mine. Then… the “should” started. I started seeing a man who I fell in love with and he wanted to live together and be a family. My mind screamed between not wanting to give up what I was so happy with – a life that felt right and good and that fulfilled me – or a life that I “should” want. The two person parent with kids and a house and a minivan and stability. I know, I have a hard time not laughing now typing that… but at the time it made sense… kind of. I’ll skip the boring details and nasty ending but suffice to say that it didn’t work out.

I’ve realized a few years ago that the societal “norms” of monogamous partnerships just don’t work for me… I’m happier being single but with people I love who compliment my life. I’ve learned other things about my love life and preferences that were just as hard to accept but now that I have, the peace I have in that acceptance is massive – and feels good.

After the loss of my son and a decision to make a move to Victoria – a place I had wanted to move to for years – I find myself at a cross-road of sorts. Being on my own for the first time in 24 years, living alone, is unique for me. To have no one dependant on me and to have me as a priority is both disturbing and intriguing. It affords be the luxury of really being able to do what I want and how I want. But that opens a whole other can of worms….
I find myself looking around my place and finding it feels “wrong”… I have decorated with a style that was how I had my places before… but it doesn’t fit now. I have taken pictures up and down, moved furniture, sold furniture, now ending up with nothing but a hammock chair. I have gone looking for artwork and spent an hour indecisively wandering without making a choice. I pick something up and think how much I love the way it looks then second guess myself and think “it won’t fit with anything else in my place” and leave it behind… kicking myself later because I really did love that and who cares if it doesn’t “fit” in with anything else. I buy groceries that I throw out after they’ve gone bad because I bought them with meals in mind that I never make. I prefer to snack and have little meals. I love to cook but impulsively and not planned a week in advance. That’s a new discovery this past year… that I’m more spontaneous than I ever thought I was… and that it’s ok to be that way.

All outward expressions of the inside struggle to finally let go of the “should” and the “ought to” and just let myself be me.

It’s time to stop hating myself for not being able to let myself express who I am and live how I want.
Lola is an expression of that…a nickname that I answer to more often than my real name. An acronym started years ago when I went through that first transition… Live Openly, Live Abundantly…Lola.
Time to put that into practice.

I was visiting the lower mainland this past weekend and stayed with my 2 oldest boys. They’re 21 and 19 and live together in a basement suite that captures that visualization perfectly… I have lots to be proud of with my boys; they’re smart with money and managing their time, they have a great work ethic and are polite and punctual and responsible. Good heads on their shoulders in many ways. Yet in some ways, they surprise me… case in point – laundry.

I was explaining to my son (we’ll call him Son 2 since they have asked me to never mention them by name; apparently being a blog subject isn’t all that thrilling 😉 )… anyways, I was explaining to him that I’m looking for a new dresser because I’m not loving the one I have now. We went strolling through IKEA with him and I (and Son 4 in tow) debating the virtues of this one and that one. I am highly picky lately when it comes to what I bring into my home…I have to love it or it doesn’t come into my life. Life is too short to live with furniture that makes you say “meh”. Needless to say he was not enjoying the fact that I found something I didn’t like about everything we looked at. The one I loved was just a little too tall (my fat older cat would never be able to reach it and make her way to the window) the one that I loved the colour and lines was only 3 drawers (come on! who can live with only 3 drawers?!) or the one that I REALLY loved was $200.00 over budget. So, as we started to walk away from the dressers without a purchase my son shrugged and explained that I just didn’t understand how to “do” clothing storage… He explained it thusly:

The clean clothes come out of the dryer and are placed in the laundry basket
The laundry basket of clean clothes is placed in the bedroom (on the floor)
As you require clothing to wear, you take it out of said laundry basket and wear it
When it is soiled and requires washing it get placed on the floor…next to the laundry basket
Over the course of time (dependent on clothing needs) the laundry basket will empty and the pile next to it will grow.
When the laundry basket is empty of clean clothes simply put the dirty clothes on the floor into it and take it to the wash for laundering
And…. voila, the cycle begins again… no dresser needed!

Now why didn’t I think of that? I’ll have to get him to explain dishes to me next time I visit….

Doing some thinking today about cheating and relationships. I am trying to come to terms with feelings of anger and hurt that I have surrounding a relationship that ended, essentially, a year ago after I discovered that the person I was seeing for a year and a half had been less than honest about his interactions with others. I put it that way because we had a relationship that went through some changes that included us being open/poly towards the end of our time together…and yes, you can cheat when you’re in an open relationship.

I do differentiate between someone who has a one off lapse of judgement and cheats vs. someone who knowingly and purposely has intimate interactions with persons that he hides from his partner (s). It hurts to find out that your partner has slept with someone else but it’s a special kind of hurt to discover after a year and a half that you were deceived and manipulated in your relationship.

Someone who cheats and is caught quickly (or admits to it) shows a lack of judgement, possibly could be a liar … but it could also be just “one of those things” that happen. We all make stupid decisions sometimes and everyone deserves a second chance I believe.

However, someone who cultivates a relationship based on lies, from day one, purposely hiding information and asking others to help keep secrets shows much more than bad judgement. That behaviour speaks to a person’s basic nature – to their character and to who they are in their core personality. Pathological liars will ALWAYS manipulate other people and situations to ensure that their needs and wants are satisfied – regardless of how much they hurt the people in their lives, even the people they “love”. When you find out that someone who you trusted for so long and that what they told you as truth was in fact all calculated deception it hurts on a level that is deep. The sad issue is that people like this will simply repeat the same behaviour again – with the next person.

It makes you question every aspect of your relationship. When they were going for coffee with that person, were they really? When they just went out for a movie with that person, did they really or was it more? Personally, it turned me into someone distrustful and jealous and petty as we tried to work through seeing what could be salvaged. The truth of the ensuing many months was that, for me, there is no coming back from that level of deception. I have forgiven and moved through issues of cheating in other relationships but this was different. This spoke to my very ability to trust *anything* that came out of this persons mouth. Without trust, there’s no way that a relationship can have any chance.

The mind moves on faster and easier than the heart; but eventually, the heart does catch on and let go. It hurts to lose what you thought you had but when the truth is that you never had what you thought you did… it’s no loss.