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Is it longing that shapes our lives? I find myself walking a line between wanting to NOT HAVE TO DO ANYTHING, and escaping into my never ending TO_DO LIST. Each of which would drive me crazy if I had to live there indefinitely. So, I guess I need to develop an appreciation of the joys of the present moment, instead of wishing I was on the lazy side of the fence when I'm doing the busy work and lamenting that I should be doing SOMETHING when I'm relaxing.Really, the fact that I have a choice is a great gift.
It is a good gig indeed. I left my store at 5:30pm and handed over the space to Peg. She loves putting on Ladies Art Nights and they're so successful! It's a win-win all around. My take will be over $200 and I don't have to do a thing! In some ways my investment in this art store was the very best thing I ever could have done. It's a hoot! I get to try things, meet people, expand out of my comfort zone. The social interaction is a buoy that keeps me afloat. This is my delight.
I'm sacrificing this beautiful evening. A storm blew over about an hour ago and cooled us down. Usually, I'd go for a walk, or find an outdoor chore to do. But I'm lazy tonight. I've been working hard and I feel like putting on PJs even as early as 8:30pm. Done. I'll do anything I darn well feel like. I just got done burning my dinner left unattended on the stove. The rank smell still permeating the indoor air. I better check my fire alarm, because the smoke didn't seem to bother it one bit! My precious food wasted.
The endings of relationships often sneak up on you. If this person is a close friend, you might not even notice a change, so confident are you that the bond is intact. Little by little there are indicators that go unregistered. The unanswered emails, the longer length between contacts and invitations, Six months later, you'll see that this person is out of view. Then there's the evaluation phase: The hindsight overview, then the reckoning of reality, then the decision to go forth without them or to attempt to renew the relationship. Some relationships have a natural, mutually accepted ending point.
Some relationships are so necessary that they CANNOT END. These relationships are parental or sibling or long term marriages. It's as if the bond is under the skin, that you're wearing the person throughout your life; a haunting presence though in a good way. We want our children to let our parental advice and nurturing follow them throughout their lives. We behold the bittersweet, intimate first love feelings that are too innocent to proceed but undeniably intense. We find ways to imagine or convince ourselves that the deceased beloved is still with us, helping us through our lives. Ahhh, memories.
Dear son, you asked, when did I know that the marriage was over? Hindsight red flags. Here's an example: We lived 60 miles from the ocean; the tantalizing pure frenzy of activity at the fringe of the water. The stunning array of two blues, sky and the water meeting, the roar of the waves crashing. there is nothing so pleasing to me. Husband knew this. We were driving so close to the ocean that a slight detour would bring it near. He indulged me. He spent 5 minutes driving the parking lot loop of La Jolla. Then declared, since there...
...were no parking spaces, we would be on our way, back to our inland home. What? I said. You won't give me time to sit on the beach for even awhile? Correct. I remember the slicing evaluation that went through my thoughts. I mean so little to this man that my great desire was so insignificant to him? It was a declaration bereft of love, a cruel slap that this union was not one of mutual giving, one of a shared augmentation toward life. I knew exactly, in that one moment, that my well being was questionable in his world.
Dear Son, I'm afraid I cannot hold up our relationship by myself anymore. The obligatory Mother's Day message..."you can call me back if you want"...was just slightly off-putting. It wasn't a scream, it wasn't even a surprise. It was the last flicker of the tenderness that we once had, albeit probably outside your young memory. Snuffed out by neglect? No. It only took a breath to extinguish the flame because of my cautious backing away, letting go to keep in communication with you. There was no stronger love in my life than that I held for you. Puff.
Why is it so hard to pin down the reason for our relationship demise? I'm still waiting for clarity; I'm waiting for the dust to settle so that I can explain it to myself. But then, really, I'm trying to distill it by modifying my reasoning, my memories, my perceptions into a form I can live with. I'm not there yet. I'm trying to take the sweetness of our bond over a life time, mix it with the undetected vapor of your self serving malevolence and put the tincture of poison I'm left with in a bottle with a cork.
Have you noticed my wall? Can you feel it? The six foot barrier space I keep away from you? The intentional non intimacy? You don't have to take it personally. You could see it as the accumulated lessons I've learned. The Course in Miracle has it right when they speak of love, but not personal love, not a special love for one individual. I won't waste my energy on it anymore. That kind of love is for procreation and raising children. It's true, I'll meet my decrepit decision down the road, at my end with no one there to care.
Dear Mom, I'm going to bring you out of the basement and expose you to light. I'm trying to take the little crumbs of care you gave me and extrapolate them into a vision of love that is flimsy, but strong like saran wrap. It's not like the warm fuzzy coat that Maya Angelo could wear through her life. It's not the stylish suit that sister wears, either. But it's not thread bare fragile. It wreaks of truth and transparency. It doesn't cover like a shield from the elements, but there's a layer of strength, a reinforcement of distant care.
More than I want to hear: the dental hygienist who is bored and wants to have a one way conversation, the friend who loves the attention light so much that her stories keep expanding backward, the would be boyfriend that tries to impress me with details, as if boring names and technical words are a sign of intelligence, my sister who thinks that lengthy medical RN explanations expand her expertise, my son who rants pre rehearsed debate strategies on religion, my ex, who has nothing to say and tells me the weather by his frequent wardrobe change reports. I'm bored.
Dear Caroline Hax, I am estranged from my sister. I'm fine with not being close to her, not sharing her narcissistic approach to life. I'm fine knowing that she will never call me (as opposed to waiting and wondering, why doesn't she ever call? Then receiving the explanation, "out of sight, out of mind.") I'm fine vacationing alone instead of treading down the path she has laid out for me. I just don't like this truth: "I'm estranged from my sister." It conjures a huge shortcoming on my part; a big black mark. Guess that's the trade off for peace.
Proud. Another big effort for the art cart. I struggled to get everything ready in time. A friend stopped by to chat and I asked her, "please, Help!." Thank God for friends. I was at the appointment, ready at the right time. The project went ok. It was a collage assignment with household shapes. I thought the ladies would look at the still life of the real objects and place them accordingly. But no. They just floated on the page; some spaced to make a different object, some randomly. Doesn't matter. The ladies spoke of knitting, because of the yarn.
Friend Steve, shared with me his favorite book, "Shane". It took me a while to get through it. I understand that his evaluation of its merit took place in his youth. It's a hero worship piece. It's not even a character study of a mighty man. As I read about the behaviors and the conflict escalation, it reminded me of animals; the lion stalking his prey, the cunning upstart dominating the elder for control of the herd. It's the same for mother nurturing stories across all species. It makes the matrix more clear and more devastating? Men destroy, women build.
Silence is a good answer to a lot of questions, I'm learning. The overbearing colleague that doesn't know her boundaries is receiving silence from me. My indifferent son is receiving silence from me. My awful, narcissistic sister is receiving silence from me. I wish my long ex husband would receive my silence and not push for more. When there is no explanation that can help clarify; when there is nothing that can change, silence seems like the best response. It doesn't end the potential for discussion, it doesn't define the exit or the ending. It hangs ungracefully, on and on.
Saturday morning. As I drink coffee, read the paper online, I'm also formulating a long to-do list. I keep adding things, keep subtracting the time slots I have available. The process is largely unconscious, but coming to light now. My anxiety builds. As my anxiety builds so does my resistance to getting started. Thus the slacking time, this computer time, elongates into a morning marathon that doesn't want to end. So there's the pattern. Now, where's the will to change it? Mindfulness is clearly a very important tool for change. Mindfulness is self awareness. It's the decision making mechanism.
I handled it well. I was open to discussion without being defensive. I asked pertinent question to get a better understanding about what is expected. I actively engaged in sampling examples of sufficient/ non-sufficient. The bottom line is that art is very subjective and I am left with trying to please "Barbara" whom I'm not permitted to talk to. My task is to incorporate a fun and rewarding art project for seniors that results in Barbara's sense of artistic sophistication being met. Impossible. I'd rather stand by my principles of allowing the self expression of the individual to manifest.
If I stop calling you, will I ever talk to you again? Do you ever think of me? Would you ever go out of your way to help me? These are hurtful questions to have to ask, because the answers are right in front of me and by asking the questions I'm feeling the answers. How did I raise a person who has no love for me? How does he walk away from family so indifferently? There is nothing I can do to make him care, or love me back. I have to leave it alone and let it bleed.
I made no money yet this week. I show up at work, piddle around while I listen to the radio, avoid doing art while I do everything that needs doing then leave at the end of the day. It feels like I don't do anything. But I am...I got my finances ready for a meeting, I wrote a letter to a client, I followed up on a payment from HCR, I watered the flowers. I did get things done, there's just no one there to witness it and they were not payable tasks. It's all going to be ok.
I was naive. I went to a meeting with Score (retired volunteers who help business owners.) I wanted help learning how to do accounting. I packed up my computer and all my bank statements since January, thinking he was going to teach me how to do it. I should have known. He asked me so many questions. Then gave me a name a phone number of a person he thinks can teach me. That was valuable--if the person is available, affordable, finds me teachable. We'll see. First step to a new plan. That feels good. Good job, Flow! Bravo.
Version 132: I 'm estranged from my sister because: She doesn't like the new me. I feel hurt that she can't accept me. Therefore, I don't want to be around her. Version 133: She doesn't like me if I'm not playing my little sister role. I don't like her not liking me. I think 133 is the most succinct version. Expansion: little sister role was catering to her wants as the golden child, putting her before me. This was doable in vacation land, where I have known her for the last 40 years, but not sustainable. Reality checks always hurt.
For the record, I have screwed up royally this week. It started with an extremely lousy meal I served my poor neighbors on Sunday. Then two days ago, I rode my bike to the studio. Someone was there waiting for it to open. I had forgotten my keys. Had to go back! Yesterday, regarding my new job, there were two training sessions. By the time I noted the time-it was over. The second session was about question on the first-so I couldn't ask anything! This record of mistakes is made to hopefully, contrast it to a good week.
Wow. Perspective is so important. I experienced a mini firing today and took it very well. I didn't question myself, I didn't berate myself, I didn't even squirm. Background: I created a small sideline for cash revenue by taking art to seniors with Alzheimer's. A once a month gig. It is/was a challenge I was up for. And yet, I have another replacement gig that starts in one month. I wasn't sure how the two gigs would fit in my schedule anyway..so to let one go is inconsequential. Lovely that it doesn't affect my mental stability or Wa.
Sam's in town. Surprisingly, knowing this did effect me. I guess I have been thinking about him. I put on makeup! I sort of wandered around the store predicting when he would show up, what did I want to be engaged in when he did? Specifically, I saved tasks to do so that it wasn't just he and I sitting for a discussion, because that would honor the time together too much. I want his attendance to be a drop by, come as you will, I've got things to do, sort of an encounter. My rehearsal says it's more complex.
At age 63, I'm experiencing a pendulum swing that is quite noticeable. I say this because a dear friend, whose home celebration I attended yesterday, kindly sent me at link to her online boutique. My whole life, shaped by my mother and sister, has been built upon appearances. We were always trying for the sophisticated chick look. We so over emphasized the look, we neglected all other attributes to social function: manners, polite conversation, compassion, gratitude, purpose, etc. Now, I'm quite the opposite. I showed up in capris, with cargo pockets, no less, whereas all the other females donned dresses.
I received some bad news this week. The program I arranged for the seniors at Able Court was not liked by the CEO. It was the activities director who hired me. Then she had to let me know that the product was not sophisticated enough to impress CEO. Never mind that the ladies had a good time. That the still life I created for them promoted a life review, conversation. CEO wants product for the families and her walls. I don't know why I didn't just give it up during the phone conversation. I should have. I've enough to do.
I'm in a weird place funk. Not where I wanna be. It's a holiday. I've got social obligations (bake a peach cobbler.) then meet to have fun. I've got personal fun things that I could do, but I'm out of energy, having just succumbed to (internal) pressure to tidy up my yard. If I fantasized about enjoying the day totally on my own, I know I'd feel sad that everyone was having fun without me. See? there's no pleasing me today. My funk is made of my own stupid thoughts that are creating the clouds around me. Stop it! Stop.
I wonder how many "Sad Mom" poems are written and stuffed in the back of drawers or inside a private journal. Millions! We go about our path, not mentioning that we've been left behind by our son's, our daughters. It feels shameful. Unnatural. There is the self recrimination, over and over until it's clear there's nothing to come from it. How can this person I've known since the very beginning, held and guided and played with, delighted in; how can I mean so little to him? It hurts. I try hard to be happy. Sometimes the effort wears me out.
I'm going to cheat and put two unfinished batches together for the month of June. Doesn't matter. My sweet cat sprawled over my bedroom rug will still love me. He calls me from downstairs, "should I come up there? or are you coming back down?" I tell him to "come on." He is a delight. They say we can't really tell if pets love us; but why, when there's a multitude of places to rest, is my lap the best, most desirable place? I do know this, that the cat can relax better there. Maybe he could be using me?
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