Thursday, November 08, 2012

Home again, home again, Jiggety-Jog

Divorce, separation, even when wanted, is funny that way, I suppose. Unhoused, home-less, de-homed? To have yet be without.

It's the little things. Well, first it is the big things.  All of routine, the town you return to at the end of the day, animals to care for and the suddenly not. Whether or not you own a stand-mixer, how to find the bathroom light switch in the dark.  But you buy night-lights, the LED kind to save on your new electric bill or to keep the suddenly-rent from going up.  You plug the GPS in again to go grocery-shopping, or just to get home from work on Wednesday, and take long walks to clear your head, and to find out where all these new roads go.

I have a picture in a rattly wood frame, Kelly-Green paint flaked along the hair-line cracks, a picture made in the 60's and probably found garage-saling with my mom before I was in nursery school.  A little girl kneels before her quilted bed, tiny paper hands clasped in nighttime prayer.  She has settled me in for sleep for longer than I can even remember and is the first decoration I hang whenever I move. I would rather not sleep until she is over my pillow.  

It's the little things. Beginning to recognize local faces, knowing where to get a friendly cup of coffee and an iced cutout cookie on my walk,finding the bathroom light switch in a blackout without a compass or torch, reaching into the right cabinet on the first try, returning from a particularly long day at work, all by my own navigation, and sighing into relaxation at arriving home.

Saturday, April 28, 2012

Into the away

I often feel shameful and wish-washy for spending so much of my time sitting on the proverbial fence eagerly searching for the intense predilection telling me into which side I should step; but then I have always felt like a walking dichotomy so it really isn't any wonder that most of the time I am straddling indecision with one leg evenly in both sides of possible outcome.

My wanderlust is nearly feral yet I wallow contentedly in the me-shaped divot I've hollowed out and polished perfectly in my home. I thrill at the sight of full-sized U-Hauls barreling someone else off on a new adventure and keen toward pick-up trucks passing me by on the highway laden heavily with kitchen chairs precariously tied to peeling dressers, always the odd towel or ratted shirt tucked between wood surfaces, incongruously hanging on by one corner in the backlash of traveling at 70mph into the unknown.

Committed relationships are hard for me; or rather the staying is hard. Growing up and well into adulthood I craved a sense of roots and consistency but was overcome by a steadily increasing itch to move every two years, and a craving to overhaul my life every three. Almost like clockwork I cut off most of my hair at the three year mark, and picked and packed up on year four from 18 years of age to 32. Same felt good but the prospect of one same for the rest of my life felt like being backed against a wall with the sky closing down.

My culinary satiation point is null and perhaps inability to find satisfaction runs universal. All of the world is never quite enough. I can eat half my weight in foods tantalized by texture and taste, or, when I had a sex life, indulge for hours every day and still crave more. If we snuggle and it is good I want to curl up inside of you.

A former boyfriend, a best friend I left when the call of the road was increasingly overwhelming despite the leaving deeply breaking my own heart, once labeled me a sensory junkie. It is true. All of the world around comes through in vibrations of scent and emotion. My memory runs through my heart. The past is always but a night-dream or a labile barrier away. I can not say if we are all like that a little bit or only some of us, or some of us a little bit and others, like me, all the way. The memories I keep of lives past come strong and full of pleasures, love, and pain as freshly as if they happen now. Separating what exists now and what was then is a conscious effort or not at all.

I have learned to hinder most of my impulsive behaviors, to recognize it at the lead and step back long enough to realistically consider my next move. I am still learning to have more control by just letting go... still learning but slowly gaining ground.

Saturday, February 11, 2012

another day in paradise

I had to stop myself from having a sob as the parking lot had its weekend crowd and I wanted both to get the grocery trip done and not be seen having ugly cries. My throat had already begun the process, though, and fighting those muscles to stop their contractions just hurt.

My dad is a Phil Collins fan and it was his cassettes I listened to riding shotgun in his 1987 Honda Accord to and from my horseback riding lessons and his cassettes I pilfered for my Sony Walkman. Often it was Phil Collins, sometimes Jim Croce, maybe the Drifters or Sam Cooke. Until I tossed them during the move to the new house before getting married, I still had all of Phil Collins' late 80's releases on tape.

Many of the songs were top 40's hits and I was not surprised to hear 'Another Day in Paradise' follow the introductory silence on the car radio this afternoon. Neither was I taken aback to find myself riding its coattails back to my childhood bedroom circa 1989 to 1991 returning me to a 15 or 16 year old slightly overweight, lonely American teenager.

I have a very strong emotional and sensory memory. I speculate that most people remember things the same way as I, replete with the smells and feelings and atmospheric sense as strong and as real as if you could close your eyes and simply be there all over again. Most of my memories come that way. Sometimes it holds the past right on my heels and it gets hard for my heart to find the lines in the shadows.

I wasn't unseated by my ability to feel like I was one slide away from being 16 and chubby again, but I was shocked today by the overt oppression that barreled forefront down memory lane. Darkness. The feeling of having a fierce and belly-deep gut scream built up and pushing fiercely at an incarcerated larynx, and by an awareness that none of that was ever really dealt with.

I hated it there. After my dad moved out I bloody effing fucking hated it there. I was 16 and just trying to keep my head above the waterline and handle my own shit. I was a pretty good kid. I made B's, I didn't party or take drugs or smoke, I had one steady high school boyfriend. I didn't sneak the car out or steal. I liked to listen to my stereo and go for bike rides and walks and take horseback riding lessons and write every night. I was a pretty good kid. I was just trying to handle being a chubby 16 year old with mild Tourette's and not a lot of friends, trying to figure out what to be when I grew up.

It was a small relief when they said they were getting a divorce. It meant an end to all of the fighting and yelling and to my mom always making disparaging remarks about my dad to us, but in front of his face, too.

But then he left, and the remarks and the yelling all went on, but much worse. That is mostly all I remember of home from those three years- my mom locked in her room and crying, or out of her room and screaming about what an asshole my father was, and what a fat bitch my stepmother to be was, and stark reasons why he was such a terrible father, and why her sex life with him sucked, and badgering us yelling unanswerable questions at us about her and about him every time we came back from a visit, every time we came back from a weekend, every time she bumped into us in the hallway, and if we asked her to stop we were wrong, and if we yelled we were bad daughters, and if we told her it was bothering us we wound up having to apologize to her and tell her what a grand mother she was and no, she was doing nothing wrong, and no, none of it was her fault, and yes, we must be wrong about our own feelings then, or feeling the wrong things. I bloody fucking hated it there and when Thanksgiving break came up my Freshman year of college and I had no choice but to go back after being away for 3 months, I had my first panic attack on the college lawn.

Somehow today when I went back to being 16 for a moment, that sense of needing to let out a goddamned scream but not being allowed to express it all came back, that old scream still dormant in my throat for over 20 years now.

Monday, January 09, 2012

Coffee Cake

The silence is what I can't ever take because I do not know what to do with it, or because of it. I don't know if you are very busy or done with me or dead in a ditch, and I wonder if this is why my mother calls me fifteen times a day when I don't answer the first time. There is too much room in silence. I wonder what it is you cannot tell me and I want to sit on you until you cry mercy- that is if I knew where to find you- and there is too much room in the wondering, too. Are you a father or terminally ill? Not really married? Not a pilot? Not that into me? Living in a commune in California? I want you to believe I would probably be able to handle and accept almost anything and I wish I could make you tell me because it's holding everything up but then you would feel awkward over the beans spilled too soon and we wouldn't be in a better place at all... so instead I hope you come to a place of being able, and I pray for patience in waiting for you, and for acceptance in the event you have completely gone.
And I keep reminding myself I told you how I feel and meant it, and I told you I wasn't going anywhere and will be here still and meant it. "If you love something, set it free...", no? And so I will try. But in the unexplained silence I miss you and I do hope you will be back around.

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Opening Doors

It repeatedly astounds me how thoroughly one's life can change in a relatively short amount of time. I have dog-eared, wrinkly-covered, user-softened copies of most of Robert Fulghum's publications lying around. His writing has always touched my sentimental, introspective, people-watching core. In one of his book's he speaks of the heart-stopping changes that can occur in a moment, preempted by a lone sentence such as, "You're fired." "You're hired!" "I'm pregnant." "It's over." Those changes, welcome or not, propel you to turn the corner and take action. They can be extremely joyful, or just as devastating. They can be exciting or terrifying and all can impose a sense of helplessness, of being out of control. These are the changes we fear or anticipate on long drives alone or when our heads finally hit the pillow. These are some of the things I take time to worry about when my gut starts to tingle with idiopathic foreboding.

There is another kind of change, of course; the change we willingly instigate usually precipitated by a cavalcade of needs or occurrences. I changed my life intentionally when I went away to college and when I quit; when I moved back to PA and when I moved to ME; when I went to nursing school and left Massage Therapy school; when I accepted and then called off an engagement; when I accepted another and got married. One of my favorite quotes is by Anais Nin:

"And the day came when the risk to remain tight in a bud was more painful than the risk it took to blossom."~Anais Nin

I am on the precipice of enacting changes right now because what I've been doing for so long just isn't working anymore, but I'm frightened, too, to step out of the comfort zone I've grown so accustomed to even though I know the change is needed now, and the doors are open. I don't know if or when they might open again.

Sunday, April 27, 2008

my little fuzzy one

This evening I hauled the 1/3 full forty pound bag of blended bird seeds out back all the way practically to the golf course to fill the furthest feeder for the birdies that congregate in the patch between the woods and the shed under which the groundhog lives; the same groundhog I oohed and awwed over Saturday afternoon when I looked out my bedroom window and saw him back there standing up in groundhog fashion :)
(after I got out of bed at 1:15PM on Saturday following 14 hours of sleep- this work/school thing is getting to me!!)

Next I pulled the bag of seed in to the tree in the center of the yard and left it at peace as I filled the two suet feeders that are frequented by downy headed woodpeckers and flickers when the black birds are not hogging it.

I wondered where my beautiful, loving 'stray' black kitty was but we had visited earlier for her lovin's and her belly was full of chicken and kibble. I hoped she was in her shed, warm and resting.

Next, inward to the feeders 15 feet from my bedroom windows. I reached in and grabbed the quart-sized wonton soup take-out container scoop and saw something oval and gray flit away from my hand.

A mouse? Could it be?

I looked into the bag. A mouse indeed! An adorable little fellow (or girl :) with big, round ears and gray-brown short shiny coat and those big as buttons round, black eyes. He did not seem very scared at all; but then neither was I. I tried to scoop him up in hopes of putting him somewhere deeply grassy, or carrying him back towards the house (yes, to let him back in to the porch) when he climbed onto my arm

I was delighted! I worried about this wild mouse being skittish and biting me, but he did not seem at all like he would. (I even tried to pet him. Shhh!!!)

He crawled up one arm and down my back before crawling to my other shoulder as I walked to the nearest shed. He sat on my shoulder and I looked him over, certain he was the same one I saved from my cat in my apartment two months ago.

I lowered my arm toward the ground and he hesitated before leaping off. He sat on the dirt at the edge of the shed and we watched each other for several seconds before he ran on under. I got a full scoop of food and left it at that edge.

I told him as he ran off to stay away from my outside kitty friend.

I am hoping he finds his way back in.

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

to the last finally

In the second summer I lived in a house by the sea in Long Branch, in the first and last summer Jason lived with me, in the season Maine first captivated me, I often listened to Sting's "I Was Brought to my Senses" while gardening covered blissfully to the top of scalp in dirt wet, caked, and dry.

I daydreamed through my plants to the garden it would become. I pet them and coddled them as they grew then marveled when they outgrew dependence upon me and took on strengths of their own, when my job was keeping up only with the weeding and watering.

I listened to Mercury Falling, but mostly this song, and dreamed through my gardening and ocean walks of getting back to Maine.

My four years in Maine became a separate life and it's no exaggeration that a Yankee magazine can bring me to wistful tears.

Now when I garden I hear this song, and when I hear this song the sweet Maine air falls on my face all over again and I dream.