Tag Archives: separation

Traits and Training: Observations of Modern Life

Self-selection: “Spies in the blood,” or the mysteries of attraction?

So let’s talk about what we see and hear. It’ll be fun. And we can begin with couples:

Most couples are striking for one of two things: their similarities or their contrasts. Some, particularly in long-term couples, are notable for both. There are times when I think my ex and I are like that – both radically alike and startlingly different. It gives one to pause, as my grandmother might have said.

What are the polarities that unite and/or separate couples? They are many: physical, mental, and spiritual factors all have bearing. Age, background, gender, looks and money are just some of the dividing lines that can join or separate us.

To be continued …

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Pageantry

Not the most obvious of topics for a blog about separation, perhaps, but I’ve been musing on it. Feel free to skip this one if you’re not in the mood to discuss … I understand.

So: pageantry. Let’s pour a bit and have a tasting. The bouquet: roses, certainly, in Miss America’s flowers, circa 1978. Not sure which that one was, but it’s bound to be one of the last ones that mattered. Pure vintage, that pageant.

Also: the sharp but bubbly scent of victor’s champagne; incense from a Catholic censer; the smell of horses in a royal cavalcade; the simple wildflowers and sugary cake at a farm wedding. Pageantry is everywhere, yes?

No. Not during the end of a marriage. There’s nothing pretty about it, and those horses smell far better than the spoiled funeral spread you’re left confronting. The fourth wall breaks and that camera zooms in and it’s all just snot and tears, frankly.

So pageantry can go away pretty easily. It can be hard to take a shower, let alone get all dolled up. And he didn’t appreciate it anyway and he’s not even here to see it – thank the stars — so why bother?

You know why. For you. For your own, damn, human, sense of delight.

The pageant is everywhere, all around us, all the time. [So are the horrors, and I’m not minimizing those, but that’s NOT this post.]

No, this is about the pageant. About noticing those wispy clouds in the blue sky, and young [or better, if you’re my age, well-kept older] legs in summer clothes, and the newborn tomatoes in your garden. Look at a few royals. Read some celebrity gossip. Cook a dinner, then start thinking about inventing a dessert.

I’ve learned to at least appreciate all those Miss Americas out there. Dream girls have a place in the pageant, I suppose, though I have vowed never to aspire to that again. And I think we need to all have a long conversation about what’s taking the place that pageant held in the American imagination. But again, that’s another post.

I leave you with this: pageant2

My Own Words

People have written at length on every aspect of breakups, so why am I writing this little unpromoted blog? The same reason I’ve been combing the interwebs – where I found Chump Lady, who is a goddess – for other people’s stories.

I needed to know I wasn’t completely alone. I think I felt everyone else was in a happy relationship, and they couldn’t seem to see me.  I think, to paraphrase Tolstoy: happy relationships are all alike; every unhappy relationship is unhappy in its own way.

Although Chump Lady makes me question that “own way.” Seems there are a lot of similarities when serial cheating is involved, but that’s another story.

So I write because my story is mine. The fact that the last nearly 20 years now seem largely a lie that I lived entwined with others’ lies, doesn’t change that they were real to me. And they were not all bad years for me.

I pursued a career, traveled the world, raised my children, and enjoyed a fair amount of happiness, success and pleasure. And I will do many of those things – along with so many, many more — again.

At the same time, I have things to say about those not-entirely-lost years. They could, and should, have been different and much better. Some of my words right now: zero shit. Facebook floozy. Cupcake overdose [no, I don’t have a sweet tooth.] “Middle Eastern specialist.” Sugar Daddies. Mean girls. Daddy issues – no, not only mine.

Like I said in my first post, if you’re interested, stay tuned. Meanwhile I’ll be working on regaining the person who existed before my doomed marriage, who struggled to survive all through it, and who is now poking back through the soil again with some fresh shoots.

That’s the message we’re all looking for, I think. The end of the “us” story isn’t the end of the You story, or the Me story.

Flashback: finding solace [from 2009]

[note from the present: I wonder if I can entice some hummingbirds to my new place]

Somehow the hummingbirds have become her minor deities. The feeders had arrived in the usual smiling box just days before, and she’d unscrewed the glass globes, canted in the boiled sugar water, and hung the copper-leaf-wreathed balloon-shaped dispensers from the roof of the deck, maybe six feet apart. The tiny marvels that had buzzed the space for weeks, seeking food, rewarded her effort now by zooming in throughout the day, dipping their tiny beak-straws into the red painted metal flowers channeling their nectar. The blown-glass bodies, the whirring dives under the sun umbrella, the startling there-then-not, dart-and-hover of the outrageously exquisite creatures give her a transcendence – in Leonard Cohen’s phrase, for something like a second – that she now regards as her essential nostrum.

Out of it. They take me out of it, praise and bless their bird-brained little wondrousness. Maybe I can build a tiny crystal cathedral to their everlasting glory.

Memories of Shade

The Trees are gone now, though trees remain;
one especially is missed. It drew us all –
taller than thought, ivy-wrapped, bird-wreathed.
The girls ran to it during the earthquake,
remember,
right after we moved in.

One storm-crazed night it fell, and shocked us all.
Missing the house, it blitzkrieged two back yards,
leaving a jagged cavern where there was leafy cover
yesterday. Kate walked around white-faced, shaking,
for days – “What if it had hit us?”

It knew it was loved, I told her. It loved us back,
even when it let go.

It was cut up eventually, dragged away, and grass struggles
gamely to fill the flat, smoothed-over expanse of what is left.

But the windows of my room hold
the shadows of green leaves.

“I’m sorry”

This is a phrase I have heard nearly unceasingly for five years now, from my now-ex. Most recently in an email, as “I’m sorry you think …”

I responded that yes, I know he’s sorry I think the way I do. I didn’t add that I’m sorry he thinks the way he does, too – but I am. I wish we thought more similarly about a lot of things, but if we did we’d still be together.

What interests me are the motivations in “I’m sorry.” Throughout my relationships, his I’m sorries are usually “I’m sorry you’re treating me this way,” not “I’m sorry I hurt you and made you angry. What can I do to make this better?”

Mine were usually “I’m sorry I lost my temper and said what I think in a way you find unacceptable.”

What am I sorry for now? That I hurt him. That I somehow drove him away. That I didn’t let go long ago. That the love I had for him, that took my breath away, wasn’t enough. That we won’t grow old together happily. That we didn’t talk in more depth, while we had the chance, about what made us sad and sorry.

True minds

house_dream“Don’t play hide-the-bimbo with me, Dan,” Erica typed to her husband. “All your tells are showing lately. You’re not fooling me.” 

She hit send and closed the laptop gently. That would keep him quiet for at least half a day, maybe up to two days.

—–

So I’m mistress of my own domain now in the physical realm, and I figured I’d go ahead and blog about it since I need to write anyway. The above is a note for a possible fiction effort; on this blog you’ll find [some] of the true story behind it. Names changed to protect the guilty, because my karma at least doesn’t need the drama.

We met in December ’95, married a few years later, and officially established separate residences June 15. I originally wanted to call this blog “true minds” – yes, that was taken – because my I’d-get-it-tattooed mantra for the longest time was from Shakespeare’s Sonnet 116: “Let me not to the marriage of true minds admit impediments.” But I did, and so did he, and it’s gone now. How did that happen? How did the no-shit love of my life become … my ex?

I’m trying to figure it out. Stay tuned if you’re interested.