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If you want to change the relationship, change the space

I’m coming up on my four year anniversary of living in New York City.  It is the longest I’ve ever lived anywhere, other than my parents house growing up.  My anniversary approaches just days after I celebrate a birthday.  The kind of birthday where you sit back and think about where you are, how you got here, how you are, and even Who you are.

The kind of responsibility that comes with age and experience, when you are not responsible for someone else (like children) nor  do you share any responsibility (like a spouse, or partner), seems to be the same kind of responsibility when you first move out of your parents house.  I think I’m trying to say “I don’t feel old.” But then in a statement like that it could come across as having a spouse and/or children would indicate one IS old.  And that’s not what I mean.  I mean the responsibility part.  I am selfish, I can tell you that.  I don’t want to share responsibility or have responsibility for anyone else, right now.  I may not ever, but that is something I can’t say with absolution.  I don’t like to share my food, I don’t want to share my room with anyone.  I don’t want someone else’s things in my space.   I don’t want to come home and cook for someone or change diapers. I like being alone.  I am okay with being alone.  This, is new.  Fairly new, that is:

I think I suffered from some kind of co-dependancy for a while.  Seeking validation from people.  More specifically, from the man in my life at any given time.  It was more like I wanted to be wanted.  I allowed myself to think worth was something I had that had to be weighed, or measured by him–whoever I was dating at the time.  That’s something else that’s different.  The word “dating.”  That definition is different at my now-age, than when I was in my early and mid twenties.  In the event I bother with such an outing I take it very lightly, or very seriously.  Nothing in between.  I have either made a decision prior to the outing that nothing will come of it, or I approach it with an intention to really see if we can become something more.  The problem with the latter, is it’s a rarity.  Because I have also learned what I will accept and not accept.  I’m very picky, which doesn’t leave much room for discovery, or compromise.  I have a certain kind of image that comes to mind when I picture a partner-in-crime, if you will.  Because of that image, I am rarely open to an outing with intent for something more.

I still like dark chocolate better than milk chocolate.  I doubt this will ever change.

I work, hard.  The difference is I enjoy my work, and I enjoy where I work.  That kind of stress-less atmosphere and peace has been a huge weight lifted off my shoulders.  So much so, that I no longer take antidepressants.  I no longer ponder, with great depth, any available reason or resource to get me out of work.  The anxiety and stress work used to cause me had a physical harshness that would actually make me sick sometimes.  Sick to my stomach.  Sweaty, sleepless nights.  Terrible headaches.  Combined, they became forces that hurt me mentally, physically, and emotionally.  It is a freeing feeling to take joy in my schedule at work, the people with whom I work, the clients I work on and with.  It is hard work.  It is work I enjoy.  It is work I am good at.  I am appreciated, and acknowledged.  I am requested.  People call, and choose me to be their technician for their needs.  It is humbling, even.  And every night, after I am finished with my final client, I walk out to the lobby and set my eyes angled above the manager at the desk and I take a bow.  She plays along, every night, and cheers and claps. Each bow feels different, each night is different.  Each time, she plays along, and I smile and am reminded again and again, I love my work, and I love where I work.

But…I take a bow?  Yes, really.  As if there was an audience out there.  Or even all of my clients out there.  I often refer to my interviewing at my boutique spa as my audition for the role of esthetician.  With every role, there are performances, after performances we take our bows.  Thanking those who came to see us, so that we can be paid, feed ourselves, clothe ourselves, pay our bills.  I bow.  I thank them.

I am still learning.  I’m currently enrolled in Massage Therapy Education classes so that I can further my career in the spa industry.   Still in a helpful manner, hopefully.  A knowledgeable field.  An important field, in my opinion.  Massage is no longer just a luxury.  It is a kind of therapy that has helped all kinds of people with all kinds of issues with their body.  It is fascinating to learn about the body and how it moves, and how the pieces connect,  and and and and and…There will always be more to learn in this field, and I like that.  I don’t think I’d be able to do something that was finite.  Something that stopped evolving.  Something that had an end.  I am someone who needs to constantly be learning, something.  

I gave up on pieces of me a few years ago.  I tend to use words like “put that part of me away” or “I lost the drive and motivation, so I let it go” but I think the true statement is “I gave up on pieces of me.”  And that is very hard to realize.  It is, I think, even more difficult to say.  I didn’t think that’s what I had done.  I thought I had made a choice.  I thought my chance or time in the world of performing arts had finally come to an end.  It was not long-lived compared to some, but long-enough to many.  I had made a decision that I wasn’t good enough, or fit enough.  I was too tall, to0 curvy or muscular, too loud…I made the decision that I was not what anyone was looking for, and I didn’t have what it took to change someones mind.  I gave up because I was too afraid to take risks.  Failure no longer motivated me to change, it became a luxury I couldn’t afford.  It is so much easier to not follow your heart.  It hurts like hell though.  Like a really hard breakup, the kind where a piece of you dies with the relationship.  It is so much easier…to not follow…your heart.  And so I stopped.  And I allowed the other passions to grow and form.  And I got good at things I was passionate about, like work.

Back to work, huh?  Aren’t you passionate about something else?

No, school and work is my life now.  Or maybe I could say they are my life “right now.”   not forever, but for-now.  And part of the responsibility that comes with accepting this kind of decision is not allowing yourself to get carried away if it starts to hurt again.  It takes discipline.

Which I have none of, I think.  I used to have discipline.  As if it could be something you owned or borrowed.  Rather, I used to be disciplined.  Or is that even correct? In order to be disciplined, or act accordingly…I need something to be important.  I guess, importance is subjective as discipline is relative.  And that just makes me think I must not have anything in my life I find all that important.  (sits back and ponders).

There is a song called “Wondering” from the new broadway musical Bridges of Madison County and it makes my heart pump with joy and ache with pain at the same time.  Anybody want to try to explain that one?  I think it’s a combination of the music and lyrics and the guy singing and the story being told that wraps me up so fast its more like spinning into a web and I am…lost. Or perhaps, rather, I have escaped.  It simultaneously makes me:: want to be in love in a movie, and be in rehearsals, and be dancing and singing, and sleeping cozied up next to someone, and laughing, and crying.  It takes my breath away and reminds me to breathe at the same time.  It lights me up from the inside out, and it starts in my gut and extends sometimes slowly like a creeping fog, or it explodes like lightning and it goes out and out towards the end of my fingertips and toes and I feel it force itself up through my lungs even though I try to suppress it, and it bursts through my lungs breaking my ribs and finds my heart and grabs ahold and squeezes.  And at the same time as soon as it squeezes from the outside in, I can feel it pushing it’s way out of the middle of my heart as well as though it had been living there as small as the head of a pin.  It is painful, and joyful at the same time.

And then the song is over and I am myself again, on my couch, or on the train or anywhere other than–there. And it’s like losing something you didn’t even have.  And it’s confusing, and hard, and beautiful, and it echoes.  It radiates and then I remind myself of where I am, how I got here, the choices I made and that that piece of me isn’t allowed out and then I say WHY??? I infuriate myself.  I struggle, just like everyone else does with decisions–don’t I?  Don’t you?  I want to be relatable, normal–whatever that means.  I want to be someone people look to for truth, for stories, for escape, for reality, for hope, for inspiration…  I want to make people FEEL.  And by putting the actor/performer in me “away” for X amount of time I have done a disservice to who I used to be, and really who I am.  I am doing a disservice to the people that believe in me and encourage me.  I have dismissed their urges and nudges so that I can have my hourly plus tips and commission job that I love and am committed to. So that I can have the roof over my head, the food, the clothes, the electronics, the trips, the new leather jacket.  The things…the things that cost money.  I have done a disservice to my heart and soul, for the security of a paycheck.  Damn that sounds bad–but it shouldn’t be, because I do enjoy my job, it’s just…my  third or fourth passion, not my first or second.

I want to make the right decisions.

Don’t we all?

I miss who I was, now that I am who I am.  I don’t want that to be a poor pitiful me thing.  I don’t want it to be a fishing for a compliment thing.  I just want…it all.  I want it all.  And that places me in a lot of statistics.  That statement makes me a percentage, so I guess regardless of any of what I want or don’t want, what I have or don’t have, I still have to just…make a decision.

And then I think, I’m too old.  I can’t move like that anymore.  I can’t sing like that anymore.  But I also think, the experiences I’ve had in my life make me a better actor. And …I think I need to let that part of me out again.  It’s been hovering.  I get flecks and flashes and moments of pursuing here and there, but as recently as today while writing this I have realized I’m not as happy as I thought I was.  

I’m not unhappy, though.

I just…miss…it.

Missing something isn’t enough anymore.  I am unclear on my intentions, I am unable to specify what I want but I can tell you this.  For the first time in years, as I keep saying to myself, “Put it away, you’re done.  It’s done.  You’re not good enough.  you’re not thin enough or fit enough.  you’re not talented enough.  You’re too old, you’re too fat, to bulky, to this…to that…”    ::something else is responding…

what if the opposite were true?

It would now appear, I am someone who asks questions instead of assuming answers.

And that is not what I expected to come out tonight.

 

 

To Be Determined, Chapter three: The Wind Factor

Ahh New York in June.  Hot. Sticky. Smelly.  Ahh, New York in August.  Hot. Sticky. Humid…Gross. Ahh, New York in the winter..ahh..new york..in…the Winter

A long time ago (which is years in my life, not decades yet thank you) I wrote a song called Winter.  It was inspired by a good friend of mine.  Male.  Attractive.  Successful.  We do that, don’t we?  We try to sum up people and life in as little amount of words as possible.  Some people call it being specific, others call it lazy or curt.  Me?  Oh, you’ll have to wait for that one.  But look, I’m going to call this friend, Douglas.  In order to explain the song, I’d have to explain Douglas.  In order to explain Douglas I’d have to give you his stats, his resume and a few life experiences so that you’d “understand” where he was coming from.  Or you’d “sympathize” with what he was going through.  Or with what *I* was going through, or anyone, for that matter.  And what the HELL is that about???  It’s emotional reasoning.  It’s logically-illogical. what-what-what?? This ones about *feelings.* And you know what the first rule is to feelings that I didn’t learn until I was in my thirties (yes, I’m there)?

Feelings are not facts

And then I added “but they are a factor”

Picture it: (not) Sicily.  (not) 1939.  A beautiful young man (true story)….wait wait wait.  Picture it: (not) Sicily. (not) 1939.  A bright young woman (also true story) fooled by the beautiful young man (bait and hooked)

When you meet someone new and you’re dating and “hanging out” and “chillin’ ” and this and that’n…you’re running on the top three best and worst factors (some will argue facts, but lets just keep it like this) 1) More debt (you know you’re spending money you a) don’t have, and b)shouldn’t )…are the parenthesis too much and too often?  ANYWAY.  1) More debt.  2) caffeine.  3) Infatuation.  You know it, and you like it.  Infatuation is where people too young or naive fall prey to the immediate moments of emotional, physical, or mental stupidness and claim it’s love.  They’ve “never felt this way before,”  Or “it’s been a long time since I’ve felt this way.”  Unfortunately all of that infatuatedness is is quickly followed by the hesitance statements: “I’ve been hurt before” “I’m working on me right now” and one of my favorites “I’ve put up a lot of shields”  Really??  REALLY?  Doesn’t all of that just bother you?  It bothers me, and what bothers me more is I’ve totally said each one.  YES I am statistic.  I’m a percentage.  A fraction.  I mean, who is doling these cards out without letting me know how the game is played?  This is a reason I don’t play poker, or strategy games.  I have to think too much and I’d really much rather have someone else entertain me and educate me a bit for once.  Geez, that sounds egotistical–you’ve said something similar so get off me.  Is it God? GOD is playing with our lives?  –no..no.. lets not turn this story that way.  It’s too political. heh.   Lets get back to factors:

1) More debt.  You know, I have student loans I have to defer them as much and as often as possible because not only do I not make enough for them (but thanks for supporting me wanting an education Uncle Direct Loans, and Aunt Sallie Mae) but I barely make enough money to keep the roof over my head and pay the phone bill that the people keep calling me on to remind me I owe them money.  Vicious circle.  But you know what?  Apparently I didn’t need to eat the first few week we went out new-beautiful-man, because we went and got drinks, and some food.  Sure you paid too, and you have a story of debt behind yourself, but this is my side.  Really I’m just spending money so I have something to complain about, or have something else in common with my friends, family and new-beau.  I’m spending money *now* so I can complain later, after you get to know me and think I’m great and easy going and make enough money to splurge the way we are.  Inside though, I’m freaking out and already reminding myself to pick up more shifts to make up for it, which will take time away from you but I won’t tell you that.  I’ll tell you something like “so-and-so called out and I could use the shift” This way you’ll think I’m not only easy going and have a commendable position that allows me to go out with you and spend my own money, but now you will also think I am accountable.  And oddly enough that will be something you later tell me is nice to see.  That the last few people you’ve dated were flakes and what not.  Which may, or may not be true–but you know I’ll believe you because stroking my ego is just as important as pretending you have a reason to do so.  (read that last sentence again, i swear it makes sense)  But you know what, after I accrue more debt and we’ve passed each others tests I’ll let you know I can’t go out, and you’ll just come over and hang out and we’ll fall into a new pattern of comfortability.  Make no mistake though, all of that happens in the brain before action is taken.  Oh, and to add to our new stay-at-home dates I now am suffering from a mild case of anxiety and depression because of the money I don’t have, and you’re totally worth it–I think.

2) Caffeine.  No, no I stay up this late all the time talking about mindless topics.  It’s all of a sudden WAY more interesting to discuss different kinds of pudding now because I like the sound of your voice, and I’ll tell you that because it will flatter you–yes yes, I mean it, but it flatters you and you’ll speak to me more.  So we both win.  And I mean well, I do.  Caffeine is possibly what we partook in (is that even a word?) during date 2 or 3 because it was safe and during day light or “normal” hours –I’m assuming of course we met at a bar, or at work, because we didn’t meet at my apartment and those are the only other places I go…and this coffee shop we met at that’s around the corner from my apartment, but quite a trek for you–but you tell me I’m worth it and I like that.  During the caffeine period of time there’s not too much food consumed.  It’s early and I’m jittery already but exhausted at the same time.  I get up earlier to look more presentable for the possibility of a spontaneous meet-up.  I go to bed later so I can talk to you as I come down from my day, and we’ll text into the evening until one of us finally says it’s late–which I secretly hope is always me because as the girl I actually do want some control, and if you tell me it’s getting late I may feel that I’m not fun enough for you.  But this subject and phase is neither relevant or important at this time.  Those phases come during “confession” and we’re still in the midst of the early stages of this relationship.  Eventually caffeine doesn’t do it for us, and that’s fine but less we forget the most important part of what keeps us going during the beginning of this new venture:

3) Infatuation.

and if you don’t know the difference between love, lust, and infatuation you’re kidding yourself into believing what’s going on is real.  You know what?  I take that back.  This is what I mean: It’s real, it’s not realistic.  I said that to a dear friend to me a few years ago.  I think it rings true here as well.  AND I’ve been there.  I’m not trying to be mean, I’m being honest and I’m delivering that honesty with a hint of sarcasm and a firm grip. Which may be misconstrued as meanness.  At which point I will say perception, and the age old cliche to each his own.  Then I will shrug and move on, because that’s what I do sometimes.  Infatuation is tunnel vision.  It’s what gets heightened in the event an ability is taken away.  Like your ability to think straight… it’s like when people lose their sight, then they say their hearing is clearer and their sense of touch is more sensitive.  Stuff like that.  Infatuation is driving with a rearview mirror, but no side mirrors.  Infatuation is what people confuse love for.  I know I did.  I had to learn the difference.  Which I was of course against, and more so than that I didn’t want to admit that I needed to be taught anything.  I’m hard-headed that way.

After those first few weeks, one if not all of those factors may still be present.  And you know what?  That’s fine.  You’ll adjust, just like we always do when something changes.   We just have to be careful of how our feelings are defined if we’re running on no sleep, too much caffeine, infatuation that we don’t go into more debt..See how I did that?  eh.  But listen, there’s more to it than that.  I know this.  And you know this.  Once we start to get to know each other better the glossy look that has stained our vision starts to clear and the real stuff comes out.  So you address all that.  You learn the quirks that make you giggle and the stuff that triggers the irate bitch within you.  Fine, I could be speaking for myself but again HONESTY, delivered perhaps with too much speed and pressure it causes blunt force trauma.   Literally.  Figuratively.  oops.

Then.  You know EVERYTHING.  At least you think you do.  And I’m going to tell you something, that’s no fun.  I like a little mystery, or dabbles of unknown and new stories or experiences as time goes on.  Why the rush to know everything?  It’s like the people that rush to the altar…now what?  Well, now comes the work of the relationship incorporating all the lessons and experiences you’ve learned prior, the communication it will take to tell stories without feelings sidetracked, run over with questions or comments, or the worst: judgment.  Can’t we just take our time?  No way, I like the comfort zone.  Guilty as charged.  I do like being in a relationship, but I (finally) don’t NEED it.  That took some growing up and learning and addressing.  And it’s still a work in progress.  “I’m working on me right now”  See, told you I’d said it all.  And the absolute downfall of any relationship after the beginnings, during the Iknowalotbuti’mstilllearning phase where unwelcomed questions and comments arise is the ever terrible: Double Standard.  (lowers head in defeat) Guilty.  As. Charged.  And you know what? I’m really good at twisting it around to make it NOT appear double standard, but it is–it totally is.  And again, Im working on that.  bla bla bla.

But wait there’s MORE.  So we have the facts of ourselves.  Fact, I am X years old.  We have facts of the other.  He has been married four times before, and has no children but wants them.  We have factors (that’s the stuff that plays IN to the experience after the facts have been established.  That’s why you can’t say it’s love so early on, you haven’t an experience there to back it up with–says I.  you’ve established a common language as far as communicating.  You’ve been honest.  You’ve yelled, you’ve been heard, you understand, you’re understood.  But you know what you lack?  Do you know what *I* lack? The ability to feel exactly what the other feels.  You can define your relationship, your feelings as you see fit, but no matter how hard you try–you may never truly, 100% understand what the other means when he says “I love you so much, it hurts.”  Sure you may have your own experience of that, but not his.  Never his.  And that will always put a small hiccup in the stability and function of the relationship.  THAT is the wind factor.

Sometimes that extra debt is just like knowing its raining, and not only do you have to go out in that rain, you have to buy an umbrella at some point, you realize you don’t have any shoes that cover your whole foot, and it’s not going to let up anytime soon.

Sometimes that caffeine becomes the addiction and you cant function without it.  You’re cranky without it.  You get a headache without it, maybe.  And you start to wonder if you should start adding baileys or not.

Sometimes infatuation is just your way of hiding in the glorious warmth of the sun without SPF, and getting burned is only a matter of time.

And then…

Sometimes people explain themselves, and it’s a breeze to understand.  It’s even refreshing in the middle of your day, like a cup of iced tea on the roof of your apartment providing the landlord doesn’t find out. … Sometimes people can give you the facts of the matter: “I have an ex-wife and a son” but that doesn’t mean I understand the feelings of that fact, nor do I understand how to measure how that will factor into our relationship.  It’s possible that one day,with all that information, the weather will remain calm and easy.  It’s possible that one day that information will cause a stormy blinding wind that captures you in its cyclone and tosses you down where you haven’t been before. It’s possible that one day when it appears beautiful it will rain, the good rain…the bad rain.  It’s possible that in the middle of the summertime in New York, when the weather has cooled for the evening and windows are open to allow the light breeze in, that it does also allows debris into your home.  Your comfort zone.  Your space, and it’s then that you have to decide to either shut the window, put in the filter (or screen, I suppose), or go back up on that roof and let it really hit you.  And whichever you decide will tell you more about your relationship than I can, or anyone else can.  Because sometimes it doesn’t matter what the weather tells you it’s going to behave as, sometimes in the midst of a hot summer night it can feel like snow.  But then again, that internal feeling is only a factor, and of course your feelings, just like mine, remain to be determined.

Winter, by Aiyani Mersai in 2003 (no, I’m not attaching the music, we’re not there yet)

Winter comes inside, summer burns outside.

Feel the rain and the cold and the thunderstorms, stereotypical…why did you go?

Winter snows indoors; fall leaves now on my porch.

Can I shed this skin to reveal how I feel within?. . . Come home again.

I guess I always thought you’d come around.

I guess I always counted on us.

I guess I always thought you’d come around,

I guess I was wrong you still can surprise me

Winter breathes in me, the white outside agrees.

Ice upon my heart and windowpanes, its all the same . . . Who am I kidding?

Winter stays here with me, though spring warms the seed.

The love you planted in me, stopped growing…why did you leave?

I guess I always thought you’d come around

I guess I always counted on us.

I guess I always thought you’d come around,

I guess I was wrong you still can surprise me

You still can surprise me, but don’t….

Please, don’t surprise me anymore

Please, don’t surprise me anymore.

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