Friday, November 21, 2014

Love You, Mean It

We were standing in the middle of a ski shop. The ex was browsing through the aisles when the clerk came to me. "So, you ski?" he asked.

"Ah, no." I am accident prone and gravitationally challenged and have shit lungs, I thought. I don't ski.

"You board, then," he said.

My ex and I had been talking to this clerk before and it was very clear that we were there for ski stuff for the ex. I was just an accessory, a plus one. The person who held things when the ex passed them to me.

"No," I said. "I don't snow board either."

This irritated the clerk. "Well what do you DO all winter?" he asked, condescendingly, as though I barely qualified as human because I didn't strap anything to my feet and careen down steep mountainsides.

"I read, actually. A lot."

"You READ." He sniffed. "Whatever."

"Yeah," my ex said, finally coming over and standing next to the clerk. They smirked at each other. "I don't get it either."


For the record, a nearly perfect evening in my world involves warm socks, a comfy chair, a glass of wine, and a book.

A completely perfect evening involves all of those things while cuddled up to someone else. Said someone would also be reading.

Please note that in that relationship I had no perfect evenings.


Someone recently asked me if I had forgiven the ex and I realized that I forgave him a long time ago. It took me longer to forgive myself for tolerating a relationship that was so diminishing, where it was okay to mock me and the things that I am passionate about. However, the realization that yes, I forgive him and yes, I finally also forgive me made me think about the nature of love, and what it should look like.

It should look like support and appreciation. It shouldn't look like disdain. It shouldn't be all "let's explore everything you love and say everything I love is stupid."

It should be meeting someone where they are and loving them in that exact spot on the map of their life. It should not be looking at her as though she is a wax figure that you can mold into your idea of perfection.

If you love someone, then you give AND you take. You go to the ski store and then to a book store. You spend a day at the resort and some time in the lodge. It's not one or the other. It's both.


I get it now.  When someone tells you they love you, they need to mean they love you -- the things you are AND the things you're not. The things you've been and the things you'll become. Your hopes, your fears, your successes, your defeats -- they need to love all of those things.


I got lucky, by the way. I met someone who tells me that he loves me, and when he does? He means it.

And now? I have many perfect evenings.

I hope that, however you frame a perfect evening, whatever that would look like for you? You have them as well.


Wednesday, November 19, 2014

The Spider Convention

Dear Spiders,

You may recall that when I moved into this apartment (to be referred to as "home"), I was on a mission to be a kinder, gentler human being, one who was more willing to appreciate all of the earth's creatures, even the ones that I considered to be madly frightening and in possession of FAR too many legs (to be referred to as "you"). While I have had no love or affection for you, I have many friends who really love spiders. Sincce I consider these to be (otherwise) sensible people, I reconsidered my stance on you and your presence in my home. 

Thus, the Treaty.

You remember the Treaty, right? It involved you, my home, and, well, me. 

Please allow me to refresh your memory regarding the Treaty.

You were allowed to be present in my home -- though you did definitely run the risk of gentle relocation to a friendlier space -- as long as you did not attempt to establish any kind of residency in what I call "The Forbidden Zones." The Forbidden Zones were VERY SPECIFICALLY stated as the following:

My  bed
My  person
The shower

Oh Spiders. We had a good thing going. But then you got adventurous and greedy and, frankly, bold and ridiculous. 

The first time you violated the shower portion of the Forbidden Zones I chalked it up to some sort of rogue agent who needed to be (ahem) squashed in his efforts to void the Treaty. That little guy was BRAZEN, I'll give him that. It was very sneaky to drop down from the shower head when defenseless, blind without her glasses Yellie was rinsing her hair , unable to tell if that was a GIANT HAIRY SPIDER INTERLOPER or, say, a tangle of said hair.  

He blew his cover by MOVING.

Actions were swift, immediate, and punishing but then the Treaty held.

At least, it held until today. Today, when I was once again rinsing my hair and discovered one of you. It wasn't enough that you were in the shower. OH NO, SPIDERS. Instead, you dropped down (again, I suspect from the showerhead area) and landed on my hand.

That's TWO Treaty violations at a single time (and, to be honest, a little impressive in its audacity) and I will simply not stand for this level of disrespect.

The Treaty is now dissolved. THAT'S RIGHT, SPIDERS. All of the zones in the home are now declared spider free. Even as I type, the cat is stalking one of you and, in all probability will not only eat you but will barf you up later for me to clean, allowing me to get rid of you twice. HAHAHAHAHA! 

I tried, you know. I made every effort to get along. THIS IS ALL YOUR FAULT, SPIDERS.

It's ON.



Tuesday, November 11, 2014


Eight years ago this month, I pulled the plug on my marriage by finally summoning the courage to move out. It was difficult for me to admit that it was a) past over and b) more abusive to stay by the minute, but eventually, I had to do it. You can only put a doily on the elephant in the room for so long before you're forced to admit that it is, in fact, an elephant and not an end table. 

So. I moved out of the house I loved and into an apartment that I most definitely did not love. Not even a little. I tried to tell myself (and Beansie) that I loved it, that it was great, but between the job I didn't love, the apartment that I didn't love, and the soon to be ex husband who, frankly, scared me, I was a miserable, sobbing, depressed wreck.

It happens.

When my folks were all, "Move to North Carolina and come live with us!" I fought it. I don't know why now, except that -- possibly -- when every day is a fight? You just get used to fighting. "No," I said. "I don't want to," I said.

The Flinkster told me to go. I still fought. "No," I said.

And then one day ... Tired, defeated, anxious ... I called my mom in North Carolina. "Okay," I said. "Okay."

The Flinkster refers to it as "when you put yourself in time out."

When I think about that time, I call it "when I unplugged."


The first week I spent in North Carolina, I slept. Really slept. For the first time in months. With the air conditioning on and Beansie curled up on a pillow beside me, I slept.

The second week, I realized that I could breathe without feeling like someone was standing on my chest. I found myself crying, but it was with relief -- for the realization that I was still alive, that I was still here. I played cribbage with my mom. I drank coffee with my dad. I practiced simple things: breathing in. Breathing out. Tossing things for Bean to chase.

I did that for three years.


I rarely left the house, except for business trips and shopping excursions with my mom. It was sort of monastic. It was a very quiet life.

It was healing. It let me heal.


I was thinking about this today, because The Fella did something unbelievably thoughtful and got us tickets so we can go home to North Carolina for Christmas. Make no mistake... North Carolina became home in spite of everything (the heat! The politics! The poisonous spiders!). I can't wait. I haven't been in ages, and am excited for my parents to meet my Fella, and to sit on the steps and drink coffee, and to stand in the office Bean and I used to spend our days (and sometimes nights) in and just think.

I am also excited because I want to make sure I thank my parents in person for giving me a place to go and unplug. If they had not urged me -- repeatedly -- to go to them, I wouldn't be where I am now. I might have made it through, but not like I did. I wouldn't have enough trust or love left in me for The Fella. I wouldn't have made it through losing Bean.

When I was on the phone with my mom earlier this evening, she said something about buying a birthday present for me.

I need to make sure that she and my dad both know that I appreciate what they gave me eight years ago, and that I'm thankful every day that they let me unplug then so that I can be plugged in now.

There's not much that's worth more than that.