Living with myself.

Livingroom

By the time I have figured out its resting place, I am dripping with sweat, the humidity is high and it is hard work.  But in the end I stand back and look and it feels good.  I find myself wishing the room was exactly one foot longer and one foot wider.  Nothing to be done though.  It will be cozy when the woodstove is burning.  For now, two days later, I sit with the eastern light streaming in through the filtered needles of a blue spruce, and a spring blooming shrub.  Shubbery.  I laugh in my head, Monty Python and a random pledging function swirling together to form a mote of my personality.  When Sancho, old with cloudy eyes, decidedly hearing impaired, cancerous and in pain, jumped up and looked out the window he turned and kissed me on the cheek.  For now, he sits by the wide open front door laying on the stone tiles, watching the neighbors cat.

I have settled in quickly, but in some moments when I am tired I feel a pang or two of loneliness, then I notice the thin shape of my ankles contrasted to the thickness of my calves, and get on the scale and notice it hasn’t budged, (for the last 20 fricking years) and I think, no, no this body does not yearn for companionship.  This body yearns for peace and serenity.  I sit on my meditation rock in the backyard, my mind thinking of the kind of lover I want, kind, intelligent, well read, doesn’t watch alot of tv, loves animals, nature, the outdoors, is content to sit and talk quietly, to cuddle and as a tiny drop of dew glistens in the morning light, I realize I am all of those things.  I am fine here, just as I am.  I will be my own lover.  Not in the sense of quietly having sex with myself, but of loving my self.

Living with myself.

My coffee is cold, the dogs are snoozing, and the crystal is making rainbows splash across the room, being content is a conscious decision.  It isn’t an easy choice.  We can dwell on all the things about ourselves which do not satisfy others.  We can think of all the things in others that makes us feel small about ourselves.  We can think of all the things about someone else that annoy us, and the things about ourselves which not only annoy others, but sometimes fester and gnaw at us when we are tired and feeling low.  We can bitch and moan, and want others to meet some nagging need within us, but no one will ever live up to that desire.  I used to tell my ex husband that when you break off one relationship, and start a new one, you are just trading one set of problems for another.  Either way, I have to be content with myself first.  And I have spent way too much time trying to make myself content dependent on someone else being content with me.  Or being content based on what other people call happiness, or being trying to be content while not getting my needs met.  It doesn’t work, and I don’t want to trade myself in for someone else or someone else’s problems.

The problem for me has always been me.  I told someone yesterday that I am a bullshit free zone right now.  I asked someone three days ago, why he was always so miserable, and told him to answer me civilly because I had had enough of him being a grouch all the time.  Later he apologized when he did it again, and I called him on it.  I won’t stand for it.  I deserve to be treated with respect, pure and simple.

But it all started with respect for myself.   And the strength to leave a relationship that was abusive, financially it was a great situation for me, but he was mean, and not loving, or tender, or thoughtful, and the 60 inch tv was a constant assault on my senses and my sensibility.  And as I look around my tidy, organized and clean home, I think no one will EVER call me lazy again.   No one will ever call me a slob again, no one will ever tell me I shouldn’t get a new dog because I am never home (I work 7.5 hours a day 185 days a year, really?  never home?)  and call me irresponsible at the age of 46 or 86 ever again.  Because I won’t stand for it.

This is my choice, to continue on this journey alone.  Because so far, trying to get someone else to love me JUST LIKE THIS, is too damn hard.

Loving myself.

Morning Constitutional

 

Rusted Post and Ring

Rusted Post and Ring

In the dream I had, I was trying to cross a river which was now raging where before it was barely a trickle, and I am immediately swept away, I give in to it as the rush of the water picks up speed, I am throw over a raging and deep water fall and pulled from the water.  The man who pulls me out is like a fairy, only human sized, and he has a magical fire burning bright but smokeless.  He tells me he does not know how to build the kind of fire I need to warm me from the shivering hypothermia of the icy cold river, I tell him to collect wood and we begin to build up a warm cozy fire.  I wake with her body against mine like a lover warm and snuggled, she kisses my hand as I gently stroke her, and then gentle becomes playful.  After a bathroom break for all of us, I get back into the warm bed with my kindle, and then knowing the day promises to be hot and sunny, I offer a walk.

They are a bit off their guard, where exactly is breakfast their faces ask, while they enthusiastically line up for the leashes.

There is a small park near my home, and this is where we wander sometimes, still exploring, still a new place, but a favorite.  I never go to Clark Reservation anymore, it was once a sanctuary, now spoiled by a person who has every right to walk there, but who has smashed my peace in that place, in so many places.  This new park, filled with the people of the city,  but in the hush of the early morning, a solitary woman, a neighbor and her two dogs, and I.  The best part is, I can step out my door and be there.

Yesterday I met an old friend at the Oriskany Herb and Flower Show, sponsored by the Cornell Cooperative Extension.  And when I came home, I planted my rose campion, which will reseed itself ten fold, my two white yarrows, “they will spread”, “I know, I want them for their medicinal properties”, my lavender, and a pack of strawberries in the strawberry pot.  I also talked with my landlord and placed the sedum and hollies as he wanted in the front.  Then I mowed the lawns.  “The house looks great” he tells me, “we both love how you have it set up”.  “Well I guess I am done here, since you did most of the jobs I had on my list”.  I feel proud.

The pirate comes to bring me a Polish lunch, which of course I have to pay for.  He is here not more than twenty minutes, he spends half of it communing with Marley.  I cannot help but wonder what he thinks, when he sees the made bed, the tidiness of the house and the work done in the yard.  Does he self reflect and ask himself, what the hell was I thinking by knocking this woman down?  And I find I do not care.  I like him like this, at a distance, I chastise him for yelling at the dogs, and model the correct way to speak to them.  When they respond, he makes a noise of surprise.  When he leaves I take a book and quiet now, read about Elizabeth Warren in my big comfy chair while the dogs nap nearby.

Is this not bliss?

 

Serenity

Each day is a day of discovery, how it feels to make cookies, to get flour on the counter, to eat them silently, enjoying the butterscotch flavor of the butter and brown sugar with the rich darkness of the chocolate chips.  Looking at myself in the mirror, and accepting the cold sore that has been attempting to grow there for about two months.  I give up and do not take my usual L-Lysine.  I note the way the dog lies by the door looking out at the neighborhood, and when it becomes dark he jumps up on the chair beside me, Marley makes room for him, gracious and kind, and the cat jumps up and we are three huddled on a chair and an ottoman.  I brush him, gentle, mindful of being bitten just a few days ago, he hurts, and I am just trying to make him comfortable; as if he knows, he seems more kind and more gentle with me, coming to me quiet and laying his head on my knee.  I know buddy, panting though it isn’t hot, I know you are hurting.

And when I take down the leash he comes to me, he wants badly to go, and he plugs away trudging slowly but steadily beside me, stopping now where he never would have before to drink from the rocky stream.  Marley races down the paths, and then romps in the water with a gentle push, and then almost pulls me in as she leaps to the embankment on the other side.

Taking note of the sleep, finally, which enters my life through prescribed drugs.  I feel human, I feel alive.  I feel serene.  Do I not now look at my life for more than a half dozen years and ask, was all of it worth it?  I sigh with pleasure as I settle into a chair on the screened porch.  The dogs watch birds and squirrels and the cat waits for her boyfriend to visit.

I go out into the yard and there is a patch of sun on a large raised and flat rock and I sink down onto it, soaking in its warmth after the cold of yesterday, my knees settle and my hands and without thought or effort I am meditating.  My thoughts race, and twist and bend but I am so at peace.

Even my dreams of long lost love have changed, I tell him in my dream, this isn’t real, you are not actually here, you wouldn’t ever be here, I wouldn’t let you.  None of this is real, he chastises me and thinks I am crazy.  I am not.  I wake from the dream, I have found a path out of the nightmares.

I spend the day shopping at the market, doing housework, yard work, mowing and weeding, and shoveling, I make strawberries into jam and bananas into bread, I wash and cut and package fruit and vegetables for healthy snacks, and by noon I have done it all.  I am not lazy, don’t you ever fucking call me lazy again.
Old friends visit, and see the ease of my manner, they comment on it.  I had crossed a threshold of tightly wound to the point of being off balance, but a change of scenery makes all the difference, I feel at ease.  Was all this trouble for this?

The dogs beg to go out, ringing the bells on the front door, they want a walk.  I name the new paths, this one is Jumping Pit Bull Lane, this one is Stair to NoWhere, this one is Huck’s Island Path,  this one is Creek Path.  And what might I name myself?

I paint my toenails in the dusk, and marvel at how beautiful I feel.

Finding my true home

IMG_3832

The unpacking is barely done, or maybe not quite done, and I am on my way to a reunion of an odd assortment of people, some I barely know, some I once knew, some I do not know, all a group who have a common experience or experiences.  Last time I struggled with my life long issue of never quite fitting in, this time it was lessened by two additional years of interaction, and a much closer friend in attendance.  And perhaps, after all this time, therapy has helped, but the best help of all was a little tidbit from A. that there is a large number of socially awkward people in this world.

It took 12 hours to feel at home in my new home, 12 hours before I said, this is home, this is comfortable, I could get used to being here.  And the comfort of being in my own place, and horror of horrors, being attached to the things in my life that have been missing for two years, gems and treasures of my Littlest Angel rough hewn box of godly gifts.

I don’t dance, I used to, until someone told me I dance like Elaine on Seinfeld, like I am having a seizure.  I don’t do this, I don’t do that, I used to do them, before I was told how fat, ugly, stupid, unattractive, unworthy of time, unworthy of attention I am.  I question myself, is my humor too much, when I hear a voice telling me I am unladylike, or that I should not speak this way, I am an embarrassment.

I sit in the early morning, talking with a bozo.  Pain is just weakness leaving the body, you must have a lot of weakness I say.  He hobbles to a chair and sits.  I tell him I am done, with this thing called romantic relationship.  He tells me do not be done, I say I am tired of being told I am not good enough, that I am fat, ugly and stupid.  You are none of these he says.  We pass wisdom between us, in the end I say, I am not saying I would not welcome romance, but I am not looking for it.

As I make my mashed potatoes and caramelized onions with last nights left over sausage, I think of how comfortable I feel in my place, and how I never want to lose this comfort again.

I think of the smallest of favors asked, and the refusal, and the hemming and hawing, contrasted with a kiss just yesterday morning.  And the texts that follows calling out my son in law for not doing it for me.  My calm response, he did enough for me yesterday as he carried in several heavy boxes, a table, and carried out over a hundred pounds of metal to be scrapped, I am tired of people speaking ill of this young man, who is maturing bit by bit, he isn’t perfect, but he treats my daughter better than the last two of my relationships treated me.  He at least came over when I asked and did what I asked without criticizing someone else for not doing it.  Forget it I say, I don’t need your help after all.

I watch as the dry husk of a spider floats on a gossamer thread in the breeze, shimmering until it is lost, and I am still here standing in the sun as the water sings the melody of the crone in my ear.

I am good here.  And you?  you both were or are wrong.  because, I am good here and the fault lies not with me, but with the vile ugliness of your own reflection.

Do not tell me I am not good enough.  For I am.