Revolution, schmevolution.

(Family, this post isn't for you.  Please read this post, too, if you  missed it from a while ago.  If you choose to read it, keep it to yourself.) 

Under the Mopac bridge, 9 am today.

Last night was a late, pleasurable night at home alone and so it's not surprising that today I've been exhausted.  But it isn't a bone-weary thing, it's this weird brain-weary feeling.  I have been thinking so fucking hard, for so fucking long.  I think my brain is finally feeling it.

I realized a year ago that shit was going down.  If you go back and look at my August archives you can see it with your own eyes.  Of course at the time I had no idea.  None. Nada. Zip.

I had no freaking clue that in a year I'd be facing hysterical mothers, broken dreams, floundering toddlers, and gaping, open space in my closet - and, lo, my heart.

This week has been a big week on so many levels - oh so many levels.  I feel like I'm in different places at once, even different time periods.  I can feel like my 8-year old little girl self who only ever wanted her daddy to stop abandoning her.  Then it's to feeling like a warrior mother who will stop at nothing to protect her baby.  Then a loving, helpful friend and supporter.  Then I'm an almost-single woman on the loose and enjoying half-naked, glistening men on the running trails. Then, back to 19-years old and struggling to feel the way I want to feel in a house that absolutely rejected such a concept.  And finally, I'm simply a woman who someone doesn't want at all. 

All these different, big, imploding bodies pulling me in so many directions.  I am a taut rubber band, resolutely hanging on, determined not to snap.  I won't snap.  I never do.  It's not what I do.  But fuck.  This is hard.

Tonight has been particularly difficult because I came face to face with the fact that Anthony will not always be there for me.  It is the nature of a break.  And, obviously, I won't be able to offer him that same flavor of solace either.  And in the mean time, my life goes on and I continue to find myself needing someone to lean on. 

No one's going to stop being hysterical for my benefit.  No giant "pause" button will be pushed.  People will continue to do what they do regardless of what's happening to me and I will now have to endure it on my own, whereas for the last 7 years I've had a companion, a confidante, a champion to stand by me.


Some minutes have gone by and I've just sat here thinking and feeling and really sinking into a calmness.

I'm quieter now for having written the above angst and I feel more connected to the wonderfulness that has been coming my way the past several weeks since I went public with the new things in my life.  So many of you have reached out to me and lovingly reminded me that I'm important in some way, either to you or to the universe.  I feel like a parched, lost traveler with a glass of water in my hand when I get those missives from you.  I feel found.  Grounded.  Better.  (And, thank you. Thank you thank you thank you.)

I am about as far from being an island as a person can get.  I crave connections and attachments of all kinds, but am ultimately terrified of putting myself out there too far, even on a good day.  I feel I often misrepresent myself and I confuse and unsettle people frequently.  I am too boisterous, too intense, too weird.  I can drink too much and behave ridiculously.  But truthfully, I am more tender and sensitive than all that.  I am intuitive and caring and thoughtful - at least I strive to be.  I only want to be loved and accepted for me.  That's it.  It sounds so utterly trivial, but it's true.  The more the sands slip by the more convinced I am it's my one true quest in this lifetime. 

And all of this is tied up with the multi-tiered, multi-layered bullshit feelings I'm experiencing because although I'm going through a present-day crisis my entire freaking life is flashing before my eyes and I'm having to re-experience critical moments.  I don't want to be stuck in a hamster wheel.  I want to be able to explore more of myself.  I don't want to be chained to faulty expectations and motivations.  I want to be noticed for the woman that I am and loved because of it.  I don't care who you are.  I want you to love me because I'm me.


Hello, Sanity? It's me, Jessica.

 My tree.

I have so much to say.  Tons.  And tons.  I don't know if it's even worth trying to put down on paper (or whatever) it's so prolifically overwhelming.

I spent the better part of this morning in my underwear and t-shirt re-reading old This is Worthwhile posts.  Like the one about Levi dying.  And the ones about my dad dying and being an awful dad.  And the one about me being curiously unhappy. And the one about me not wanting my marriage, but reinvesting in it anyway.  And the ones about some boxes, my grandmother, my mom, my sister's wedding, plus-sized assessments, Hollis' birth story, and last but not least, the one about my the sex dreams.

And you know what I thought when I was forced to walk away from the computer and get dressed?  I thought, "Damn." 

Yep.  That's it.  Just DAMN.  Nothing insightful or honest or even remotely understandable because I think right now my head is so far up my ass I couldn't see the forest through the trees or the goblins in the garden, or whatthefuckever that saying is, if it was a snake and it bit me.  Did I get all those right? 

Basically, I'm a hot mess.

A hot mess with an after-school special waiting to happen to her.  Stick that in your hat and suck it.  Or... whatever.  I give up. 

I'm realizing now more than ever that the thing I'm going to have to be most aware of and careful of is my decision making, or lack there of.  In this particular instance it means not drinking too much and not using social media as a bedfellow.  It means forcing myself to slow down, "enjoy" the process, and to not get too hyper about my new-found freedoms.  It means blogging every goddamned day if I have to in order to get out what I need to in a productive, worthwhile manner with people whom I trust even though I know hardly any of you - but I'm like a Golden Retriever like that: pat me once and I'm your friend for life.  No questions asked.  Just keep patting.

I guess the other thing I thought about after I read all those depressing and intense posts is that, "Damn, I'm really depressing and intense!"  I swear to God I'm actually, marginally funny in real life.  You can ask the handful of real-lifers who read this blog.  I just also happen to dive into the depths of my own psyche.  A lot.  Maybe too much??  I don't know.

You'll never hear me sully Anthony's name on this blog.  I love that man, I do, it's just he also happens to be the wrong man for me and me the wrong woman for him.  Not a comment on Anthony in the least, it just is.  But it's also really hard to avoid the thought of, "Anthony doesn't want me," and therefore, "I am useless/not good enough/unworthy/wrong."  You follow me?  I don't think there's anything wrong with him for not wanting to be with me.  I think there's something wrong with me that I can't figure out how to make this work.  AND I think there's something wrong with me that I'm happier now than I have been in forever.

It's bad enough admitting that a relationship is over, but it's just outright self-harm to blame yourself for its demise.  And then on top of that to be really, really happy right now, too?  Oh my God.  I'm dizzy just writing it.  How can I possibly house all these conflicting thoughts and emotions in one body?

 I think this is why I went back and re-read all those posts.  I've been meeting people lately that I know read my blog and I'm curious as to what I look like to them.  I'm not the most scrupulous editor when it comes to this space, yet I am still intensely private... in an open way.  Do I come across as bat-shit crazy?  thoughtful?  loving?  funny?  sad?  weird?  self-absorbed? 

Ugh.  Whatever.

I've recently met someone by random happenstance who reminds me that there are really cool fucking people out there and that I happen to be one of them, too (at least according to this fine friend I am).  Despite the fact that I'm an utter failure at this marriage and I'm on the verge of being a complete idiot most of the time, this friend of mine assures me that it's those very things that make me the great woman, mother, and friend that I am.  How nice is that??  No reallyHow very fucking nice is that??

I'm so all over the place with this.  I feel like I should put a disclaimer at the top of my blog apologizing for (what potentially could be) months of this bullshit.  Months!  I shudder to think of it.  But I'll just say "sorry" now in advance, because I am.  I'm really sorry that there will be a theme to my posts about my sanity and me striving for it, because honestly there's nothing more intensely boring (to me, anyway) than someone ranting on and on about their search for meaning.  I mean, just go find it already!

Wow.  Ok.  This might possibly be one of the weirdest posts I've ever written.  In any case, thank you, friends.  All of you.  New and old, real and virtual.  Your words heard and read mean the world to me right now, so thank you.  I also promise to not wallow in all my weird, intense posts anymore.  There's just no good in that.  Maybe I'll update my "Lighter Fare" section in the mean time...

[By the way, I may take this post down later.]


The Universe giveth and it taketh away

I suppose I forgot to mention an important piece of my world in my earlier post: tonight is the first official night where Anthony lives somewhere else with my son.

I packed up a bunch of clothes and toys for Hollis and we "shopped" through his things for other odds and ends and when Anthony got home from work we almost immediately took off for the apartment; me chatting amiably with my small passenger about how Daddy has a house, Mommy has a house and he has two houses.

It's no small miracle (and blessing) that Hollis adores the apartment, and more specifically, Anthony.  The idea of spending a bunch of time away from Mommy with Daddy is a no-brainer for him, an enormously fancy treat that only fills his heart with joy.

So, you can imagine his pure jubilation at the idea of overnights in the apartment with Daddy

It made tonight better.  It was an immediate salve to my broken heart.  And this amazing Wookie/Blues/Ewok brilliance during our pizza dinner brought tears to my eyes and made me know without a shadow of a doubt that we would all survive this.

 Forty-five seconds of sheer genius.

And now that I'm home safely I will get happily stinking drunk because I'm really fucking sad and lonely, and I'll simultaneously do my best to not drunk-tweet, -dial, -email, -text, -blog, or -FB.

[Ed. add: I only got happily sleepily drunk last night, lest some of you worried about me.  A few friends all randomly texted me love and funnies and I had a couple of great conversations with friends millions of miles away.  It was a good night.  Sad, only a little bit lonely, and a lot pretty cool.  Only snafu was when Anthony called at 11:30 because Hollis was scared of the apartment and wanted me to come and get him.  I lovingly talked to Sweet Baby Hollis for a few minutes until he abruptly said, "Ok, goodnight!  Love you!"  I got a text a few minutes later of a picture of him sleeping.  All really is well.]

I shouldn't be drinking coffee at 3:30 pm

He's caffeine-free.

I got iced coffee for the first time today in years and I've been nursing it for 3 and a half hours.  *sip*  *sip*  I know I'm going to regret it later, but I can't seem to stop myself.

That's been a theme for me the last few months, whether it be watching TV into the wee hours of the morning, polishing off a bottle of wine by myself after Hollis is in bed, or smoking a cigarette (or five or ten), any kind of disregard I can inflict on myself I've taken the opportunity.

Of course, I've simultaneously striven for balance with a healthy diet, lots of exercise, intense therapy, and lots of communication with Anthony as we go through this chapter of our relationship (read: the final chapters of romance), but it still doesn't negate the fact that I self destruct - though "destruct" is too harsh a word.  I'm thinking self-spank is more apt.

I remember being a kid and having no power in my life or over how I got to express my pain.  I immediately turned inward, blamed myself, sought outlets where I wouldn't feel.  I'm not a kid anymore, though I still seek outlets that let me disengage.  Thankfully, they're just those spanks I mentioned before, but I'm still confounded by them.  Why do I still do anything of the sort?? 

All of this brings me to a question that I've been pondering at great lengths lately: how do I teach Hollis to feel (and deal with) those feelings that are painful, difficult, stressful, and otherwise wearing on the soul?

I was given no skills in this department as a little person.  Zero.  And I know most aren't given the tools to work through feelings deemed "negative" or "troublesome."  I feel like it will be a major parenting win if I can somehow manage to do this (don't ask me what it means if I don't somehow get this achieved - that's another post)

I want Hollis to express his rage and sadness.  I don't want him to internalize it or be afraid to show it like I was.  I don't want him to grow up and go on benders or hide for months and years at a time behind drugs and shallow relationships - all things I attribute to my inability to process my pain.  I want him to have avenues of expression, be they artistic or otherwise.  I want him to feel the discomfort and grow from it.

Like every parent I want him to live a better life than me; not pain-free, but expression-full.  And expression that moves him forward, not backward like mine always seems to do.

As an (almost) 35 year old woman I've learned how to counteract my unhealthy coping mechanisms, but I'm still at a loss as to how to avoid them all together.  I get it now.  I don't even beat myself up over it like I used to.  I just trudge on and love all the weird ass parts of me; all the contradictions and idiosyncrasies.  But teaching a little person how to do what's always alluded me??  Eesh... how the hell do I do that???

I'm open to suggestions. 


6:44 pm: Suicidal spider

I have removed this spider from my two bathroom sinks no less than ten times over the last seven days. Just now, I did an underwater rescue. I'm all for personal destiny and everything, but I keep thinking it doesn't really know what's at the end of that drain and it's my job to save it.


Wherein I break with all common sense and spill my guts

(Family, this post isn't for you.  Please read this post, too, if you  missed it from a few days ago.  If you choose to read it, keep it to yourself.)

Image via Lucynka55.

I'm "home sick" today.  Literally, and for the first time since becoming a mother almost three years ago.  I woke up this morning before dawn and had a 101.5 fever.  I patiently waited until the sane hour of 6:30 am and called my mom.

"Mom," I croaked.  "I'm sick.  I give in.  Can Terry come get Hollis later today??"

So, Hollis went off with Papa for a day (and night) of fun and frolic and I am left in an empty house, an empty city, and with an Ibuprofen-controlled fever.

And I don't know what the fuck to do with myself.

Forget for a minute that my son is gone for the day, but really: I. don't. know. what. the. fuck. to. do. with. myself.

Like, in general.  My marriage is all kinds of fucked (let's be honest here, I am not hopeful and neither is Anthony).  I don't have a job, though I'm perfectly educated for one.  I feel like I have too much time on my hands to think/feel/worry/wonder/fantasize.  I feel adrift, to say the very least.

Even feeling like this confuses me because I know that I'll land on my feet.  I always do.  I may prefer dogs to cats, but I'm very cat-like in my nimbleness.  For instance, I got a $100 check card in the mail the other day during a month that we're particularly hemorrhaging money.  Just more proof that I'll be ok.

I consistently feel like what I really want is out of my reach, too far away, destined never to be in my grasp because I'm not smart enough to figure it all out.  How do I get that fucking holy grail of happiness and contentment?  Why am I compelled to reach for it in the first place?

I hate limbo.  I'm such a shit or get off the pot sort of gal.  You'll never hear me complain about something unless I'm prepared to try to fix it.  Therefore, Anthony and I have decided to take the separation a step further: he'll be moving in to the apartment full time and Hollis will be going back and forth.  It's been too hard on all of us, this weird sharing of space and pre-dawn commutes.

When did my life become a series of moves to disassemble??  I spent so long putting it all together in the first place.

One minute I'm extremely excited about my future and its possibilities for greater happiness and the next I'm disconsolate over my complete inability to make what I have work.  But how can I possibly change who I am at the core??  This isn't a communication issue.  This isn't a behavioral issue.  It's a person issue.  I am the wrong woman for him.  He is the wrong man for me.  It's no one's fault.  It just fucking is.

It's taken me hours to write this, all day in fact.  A friend came by to see me today for a few hours, I chatted online with friends, I perused/sifted/day-dreamed about so many 1s and 0s, then Anthony and I chatted and we discussed official separation papers and "Do we know any family attorneys among our collection of friends?"  I've kept the fever at bay, but not my insidious worrying that I will fail at this transition somehow, that I'm failing now.  

It's interesting that I can at once believe in my abilities and failings so completely at once.  A sign of the times, I suppose.

I want it to be two years from now so badly; to just skip over so much bullshit emotion and pain and be on the other side of this.  Full of piss and vinegar again, ready to tackle anything.  I'm so tired.  So, so tired, and yet, I wish I were busier.  I'm plagued by my free time.  I'm envious of Anthony and his skills at compartmentalizing.  I've never been good at that.  Occasionally I get a whiff of what that's like when I lose track of time writing or talking to a friend or working out, but I can't consume myself with those things all day every day, can I?

I miss Anthony and what he represents, but I don't miss our combined energies.  We're both happier apart.  This is really the right thing to do.  All of it.  Every last drop.

Swirling confusion.  I feel like I've been blindfolded and spun around, then spanked smartly on my behind.  I'm titillated and interested, confused and stumbling; I'm eager to swallow the treat.  So eager.

Just keep rolling with the punches.  I can do this.


[Ed. note: I went to bed last night thinking, "I should probably put a disclaimer on my post reminding people that I'm ok", so, here it is.  If we hung out we'd joke and laugh, and I'd make inappropriate jokes as per my usual, and we'd talk about your house renovations or your PhD program or your son.  I'd answer any questions you had about what's happened with me and Anthony and I might tear up (a little), but I wouldn't cry.  Then I'd tell you all about how Hollis named the underground garage at Wholefoods a "car-house" and how I've fallen back in love with my boobs.  I might even tell you about my new found resolve to most definitely not get another dog.  It's not all doom and gloom over here.  I just had a moment yesterday.  I have them regularly, though not continuously, and once I get it off my chest I feel better.  Thanks for all the love you give me, everyone.  Truly, it's amazing and overwhelming and it's such a wonderful reminder to throw open my front door each and every day and smile into the the world and to keep doing what I do.]


2:05 pm: My nursemaid is SO unprofessional

 Mommy, kiss my hand!

He didn't get the memo that, "Mommy is sick.  Mommy needs to sleep," actually means, "Toddlers stay put in their own beds."

Too sick to be a hard ass, I'm now on the couch and he's in my bed.

I've been paid well with kisses and pats, so I'm not complaining...

Oh, wait.  Yes I am.  Shoot me now, please.


A Worthwhile Post #4: One-Sided Momma

All the Worthwhile Posts I've talked about so far.

Clearly, I'm not the only one wiped out by BlogHer.  Anyone who reads a handful of blogs probably came across a post either criticizing it, hailing it as the best thing since sliced bread, or attributing post-convention exhaustion and feelings of being utterly lost in real life to it.

Honestly, I'm in the third camp.  Either I'm not smart or naive enough to be in either of the first two.  I'm not sure which.  In any case, my extreme fatigue has already been written with such eloquence and skill that I'm spared the task of even trying.

Erin, of One-Sided Momma, is a former teacher, a current military wife, and mother of two two-legged and one four-legged wee ones.  She's smart, emotive, and real and she weaves threads of narrative into colorful patchworks with ease.  And this post is no different.  (I also had the very great pleasure of touring the MOMA with her and can also add she has an easygoing demeanor and alabaster skin.)

It's not just because her content hits so close to home, but also because I think it goes beyond just this week for so many of us.  We all have days, weeks, months just like this, where we question our own fortitude, sanity, and will.  Her candor and skill at sharing it is what really grabbed me.


Man, I Miss Me

Holy blog deprivation, you guys. Since being home from my little hiatus I haven't been able to find my mommy mojo and get back into the routine of making time to write while also doing the 456, 732 other things necessary for oiling this family machine. Nothing like a break in your typical program to kink up your momentum and make you feel like the substitute teacher without hand-outs and teacher's key. I have lesson plans (if matching shoes and going to the pool count as lesson plans) but no "insider's knowledge" of how to get through them smoothly.

I think the real irony here is that time away from home usually makes other people in your family appreciate all you do but this time it made me realize all I do. And now I have no idea what kind of super human freak I was before I left because seriously there isn't any "leftover" time in the day to write. There isn't any kind of pocket of unused minutes I can dip into for uploading pictures, organizing thoughts, and posting some coherent story about our day. Did I once do this at 2am? Did I give the children bags of gum drops and looped cartoons around noon so I could blog? Was there a slow CO leak I didn't know about? Whatever the case, I once was crafty enough to find the time. Now? Two weeks later I am putting Abby in her brother's T-shirts because suddenly her own clothes don't fit. I am forgetting to make eye contact with Grayson who has a running dialogue with my thighs lately as I whir a blue streak around the house with Windex. I am cleaning up doughnuts that Sadie heisted in our absence, not because she loves sour cream cake, (mind you, this dog has been known to turn her snout away from steak if it's too gristly), but because she's bored as hell (or is assuming that I am bored as hell too and want to play hide-and-doughnut-seek when I return). And don't even get me started on that guy I haven't seen in going on three weeks now but whose aftershave leaves me breathless because my nose tricks me for one millisecond into thinking he's only in the next room. Seriously you guys, what the hell is going on around here? Where is my children's mother? Where is that dogwalker, cook, maid, nanny, split decision maker, multi-tasking gangster? Where is that girl who could whip everyone into shape by 10 am and have enough brain power to post relevant images and daily meanderings?

She must still be shopping in NY.

I just hope she remembers milk and eggs.

With my sidebar feature, "A Worthwhile Post...", my hope is that I will spread some blog love and give due nods, props, and high-fives to the writers I stumble across (and repeatedly visit) without having any rules or strings attached.

If I ever feature your post, please feel free to grab a "This is Worthwhile" button. There's no obligation whatsoever. Do whatever floats your awesome writer's boat. My feelings won't be hurt if you don't use the button.

I'll also do individual codes for each blogger, because I want anyone who clicks on this button to come directly to the post that says why I think it's worthwhile.

This is Worthwhile


A new blogging promise to me

There's something about this picture that really speaks to me.

As you all know by now I went to a big blogging conference in NYC called BlogHer.  In a nutshell, its purpose is to bring together female writers for networking, skill-building, and fun.

(And here I just SIGHED trying to collect my thoughts.  This is gonna be a long one...)

I don't really know where to begin.  First off, it was amazing.  Absolutely fucking amazing.  Women everywhere you looked laughing, hugging, talking, squealing, conversing intensely and seriously, drinking, eating, dancing, looking uncomfortable, nervous, happy, stressed, lost.  You name it and you only had to look to a different pocket of people to see something new and real come to pass.

I had two sets of two different roommates for my three days there and so felt doubly fortunate to share close quarters with twice as many people as everyone else might get to.  I also made connections with women who (for reasons I can't really speak to because it still seems a total mystery to me) actually (and truly) wanted to meet me as part of their conference experience.  - Even typing that now still makes me smile and shake my head.  Hearing those words and knowing them to be heartfelt and true makes my heart swell. It feels like fucking magic.  If I say it too much a genie might appear and demand repayment, so I better stop.

It was nothing short of utter chaos.  Beautiful, overwhelming chaos.  I did everything I wanted to do.  I skipped almost all of the parties, instead preferring to be under-scheduled.  I'm about 90% certain it was the right thing for me to do because it allowed me to go at my own pace, though the other 10% is me missing hanging out with friends who were going to scheduled events.

One of the very first people I got to meet on Thursday was a woman whose writing touches me and challenges me in the most fascinating ways.  She tweeted about being barefoot in the lobby in a green dress and I looked up and there she was, rushing past.  I called her name and we hugged.  Fiercely.  Multiple times.  I was just SO happy to meet her finally even if it was in a crowded lobby and all we got to do was hug.

Then I dressed in my favorite blue dress and went down the initial BlogHer party whose lone purpose is to help everyone relax.  I saw bloggers I'd met at pre-BlogHer meetups and we hugged and laughed and drank wine bought with our limp little drink tickets.  I thought to myself, "I definitely need to hang out with her again!  And her!  And her, too!"  Then it was time to meet up with the DinHer ladies and catch a cab to a trattoria a stone's throw from Times Square.  I ate, drank, made lewd disgusting jokes about having "the COCK---les" for dinner and inadvertently made everyone take a group photo again when they realized I had missed the first round due to taking a phone call.  Later, I'd roam the streets surrounding the hotel in stilettos looking for the dive my roommates were in eating pizza, order a drink they couldn't/wouldn't make, and then happily head back home blistered and sober in the company of two nice smelling girls.

Friday I hit up a session about inspiration, then ducked out after lunch and hid in my room for a while chatting amiably with my roommates as they did a quick outfit change before dashing off to party #13 (or maybe it was #27 -for real, their party schedule was inspired).  I showered, relaxed and then headed off to the NYC public library to meet a friend I hadn't seen in a decade.  We hugged tightly and I noted his hair had thinned a tad and he very much looked the part of a distinguished and handsome librarian.  (I'm sure he noted the years on me, too.)

As the head librarian for the rare books division he gave me a personal grand tour of the archives and the library itself.  Each room filled with volumes of leather-bound books and each room having a distinct scent of worn paper and ink from the previous.  (Michael's office, sequestered in rooms stuffed full of books all about tobacco, reminded me of the way my grandmother's encyclopedias used to smell.)  I saw The Columbus Letter with my own eyes, inches from my face, and original art, historic pieces, and craftsmanship that were awe inspiring to say the least.

The library closed and we took the subway to Lombardi's and drank wine and ate pizza cooked in a coal-burning oven.  Then we walked through Little Italy, SoHo, Greenwich Village and Washington Park to grab a drink at The Algonoquin.  - Actually, we grabbed three drinks.  Side Cars for me, Stingers for him. - We talked, caught up, shared.  We talked about my situation, my life, Life in general, his life.  It was incredible and rejuvenating.

Then, we walked some more, filled my eyes with art deco paintings and tile work in atriums and lobbies, swung by Rockefeller Center and finally dropped me off at my hotel exhausted and happy. Only for me to head back to the hotel bar and hang with more new friends, laughing, and cussing more than I think I ever have in my entire life (if that's even possible) because, I thought to myself, when will I ever get to do this again?  I didn't care how exhausted I was or how even more exhausted I'd be the next morning, I was determined to wring out every scintillating second out of this weekend if it killed me.

Saturday I caught a session with a woman I greatly admire (and who earlier in the conference got to hear me gush about how I loved her work), but had to leave early to check out of my old room and into my new one.  Then, down to the lobby to meet with another great woman who wanted to come to the MOMA with me.  We ate paninis with bread too hard and crusty, and swapped sandwich halves like an old couple.  Roamed the halls filled with Matisse, Pollock, and Rothko, women's photography, and different languages filling the spaces overhead.  Eventually, we were spent - done filled up with art and beauty, as it were - and sat out in the courtyard on the stone steps and talked.  And I mean really talked.  It was incredible to share with her in ways I can with only a select few. 

Later that night, I'd do it again, with a different, wonderful woman sitting on the lobby floor under fluorescent lights wishing I could pack myself in her bags and go live next door to her, too.

I didn't cry as I spoke about the pain and confusion of my life right now.  I only gritted my teeth and sunk down into a trove of strength I didn't know I had.  I was so proud of myself for finding this new reserve even I didn't know was there as I let my words flow with big, bold emotion.  A new me was found, it seems.

And even later than that, I would continue to spend time with a woman who tucked me under her wing and was lovely, wonderful, hysterical, and real and who I hope like hell comes to visit me some day.

Peppered into all of this were more dazzling conversations with other women; stolen moments sitting on marble retaining walls smoking frou-frou cigarettes and watching all of humanity roll past; drunken toasts; ass-shaking to music clearly spun by someone born in the 70's, too; picture-taking; elevator-bay SEO sessions; Swag Mountain; meeting bloggers with tens of thousands of followers and a heart and hug so big and warm you'd never know it she was a blogging giant in her own right.

I could go on.  And feel like I have, but I still haven't gotten to the point of all of this: What I learned about myself from this weekend.

Well, a couple of things: 1) I am a sensitive woman-of-my-word who is a wine-drinking, foul-mouthed, feminist-mother, who practices attachment parenting, is a breastfeeding activist, occasionally uses the word "retarded," who likes to be connected to a select few, but part of a bigger group, too, and who also likes light-hearted and not always politically-correct or personal-belief-aligning blogs, and 2) that that's all ok.

For so long now I have tried to be too many things to too many people because that's me.  I want to please everyone.  I want all the feminist writers I admire to admire me, too.  To consider my blog as "feminist" and to list me as so and not think I'm frivolous or don't care about changing the world, too.  I want the humor writers to not think I'm a drag and so fucking serious all the time.  I want the life bloggers to think I'm well-rounded and good at just, well, being.

I'm actually this close to getting rid of my blogroll just so I can start fresh and clear my head.  This blog is for ME, after all.  Not for anyone else.  If it resonates with anyone else that is purely lucky, amazing, spectacular mojo.  Not intentional.

So I hearby have a new Blog Mantra:
I will no longer feel bad when I blog about something silly or otherwise "meaningless."  I will stop trying to prove myself to people who, I'm certain, don't think twice about it one way or the other.  I will write about whatever I want with honesty, clarity, and a vision of filling my own shoes, and proudly so.  I will write about causes that I care about.  I will share things about my life as I see fit.  I will let this blog be as much a representation of me as I like.  I will assume that everyone else does what I do whenever I read their writing: just read and enjoy.  That simple.

Wow.  This ended up being really fucking long.

Oh, that reminds me, I'm also going to start swearing on here more.  Deal with it.

BIG LOVE to everyone who made BlogHer so unbelievably special for me.  I hope you know who you are.  If not, then I've done a terrible job painting the picture.


What I haven't been saying

Here's the post I've been dreading for weeks.  Months.
My marriage is faltering - and not in a cute get-to-the-end-of-the-post sort of way where you'll discover I'm talking metaphorically or analogically and all is well.

I'm fucking serious.

Rooster and I have separated.

After months of agonizing, we have decided that we need some physical and emotional space to try to determine if we can continue our relationship as married partners.  But truthfully, neither of us are all that hopeful.

Nothing I've ever written about Rooster and our marriage is negated by the current happenings.  I still esteem him, I still love him, he is still loving, thoughtful, articulate, an amazing communicator, trustworthy, loyal, and kind.  He is all of those things.  However, what he is not - what we are not - are proving to be a mightier beast.

And I am broken because of it.

I feel like the wind had been kicked out of me and I am writhing on the ground.  And yet, it's happening in a peaceful enough setting, maybe under a looming oak tree, with cotton-ball clouds passing above me, all oblivious to my suffering, but suffering I am, nonetheless.  It is the most bizarre, out of body experience wherein I am being gored by an angry bull and soothingly petted by a kind stranger.

At once fire and ice; pain and relief; anger and joy.

The antiseptic details are as follows: we have rented an apartment together.  We are taking turns staying there.  I go to "work" and come take care of Hawk on my weeks scheduled for the apartment.  Rooster stays away almost entirely when it's his turn.  Hawk knows about the "pawpotment" and thinks it's grand.  He knows Daddy's there now.  He knows Mommy will go there tomorrow night.  He digests it much as he does everything else: with aplomb and without too much significance.  It is 100% mutual.  We are both miserable.  No, it doesn't seem to have a solution other than separation and a reconfiguration of our very amiable, loving relationship with one another.  No, I don't take this lightly.

I am a shell of who I normally am.  I am under water most days; I can barely see through the haze of my own emotion.  I often forget where I'm going while driving.  I can do nothing other than nap when Hawk doesn't need me.  On my days at the apartment I schedule things with friends within an inch of my life in order to fall asleep exhausted only to get up before dawn to be back at the house before Hawk wakes up.

I am emotionless and raw, and yet overflowing with both emotion and pain.

I am sorry if you are reading this and you wish I had called you to tell you, or asked you to coffee to discuss it face to face.  I just can't do it anymore.  I've had half a dozen conversations like this and each one peels off another layer of my self and I need all the layers I can get right now.  I hope you can understand.

I feel like a colossal failure on a bad day, a sad mishap on a good one.  I can't tell you how I might have avoided this day because I honestly don't think I could have.  There were signs early on for the both of us that we chose to ignore and be hopeful about, but in the end are irreversible and unchallengeable.

It is one of the worst things that has ever happened to me.

I worry about Hawk so intensely that it overwhelms my entire being.  Will he understand relationships, love, commitment??  Will he get the nuance of his parents being fiercely attached to each other, yet wholly wrong for one another?  Will he believe in love?  Commitment??

Will I??


This is what has stifled me for all these weeks and months.  This is what has been stuck in my craw preventing me from my usual flow.

It's real.  It's happening.  I am brokenhearted and also at peace.

I wish with all my being that this wasn't happening.  And yet, it is.  Funny how that works.