You seemed so happy!

“You seemed so happy!”

“Well, I WAS happy.”

“So why aren’t you dating him anymore?”

“Well…”

I’m having this conversation with my 10-year old niece.  She’s asking me about my Ex.  How do you explain to a child that just because one person is blissfully happy doesn’t mean the other is feeling the same – or even if both people are happy, it still doesn’t mean there’s a happy ending to the story?  How do you break it to them that life’s not a fairy tale?

I have a new guy in my world right now.  We’ve been dating about two months now.  I like him, but sadly, I don’t LIKE him.   Always respectful,  I would never lead him on or toy with him, but I’m also aware of this relationship’s limitations.

Coffee Break

My childhood memories that I show you are usually horrific ones of an abused and scared little girl.  I remembered this contradictory morning and wanted to share it with you.  Not every hour and every minute was bad and perhaps that type of childhood is even more challenging – never knowing where on the spectrum of love and hate a moment is going to land.

It’s Saturday morning, not too early because even as a little kid, I was never a super-early riser.  Perhaps it’s 8 or 9 o’clock.  I’m watching Saturday morning cartoons from my spot  on the floor at the end of the coffee table.  In front of me is a half-finished Libby  juice glass of “coffee” made especially for me by dad – three heaping tablespoons of sugar, probably filling 1/3 of the glass, 1/3 whole milk and the final third of coffee.  Tasting more like dessert than bitter coffee, it’s delicious. Dad is sitting behind me at the dining table, reading the paper with his mug of black coffee in his hand.  The rest of the family is still asleep.  All is well.

Pleasures

First kisses
Perfectly cooked crispy bacon
Being brought coffee in bed
My kitty, purring
The scent of freshly cut grass without the noise of the mower/blower
Twittering finches
Babbling brooks
The warmth of the sun on my back
The air when I drive by the cookie factory
Fresh rain on dusty blacktop
Crescent moons on clear, chilly nights
Spooning in the dawn hours
The sound of my pencil on paper
Nutella, spooned straight from the jar
Crackling fires in Autumn
Being loved – despite all my faults
7 am Saturday morning – when I realize I have hours more to sleep
A new haircut
Holding hands
Spaetzle, fried crisp in butter
Nonsensical conversations in bed
Lindor Milk Chocolate Truffles
Napping to the sound of the washing machine
The very last center bite of buttery cinnamon sugar toast
Watering the backyard, barefoot, on a warm summer evening
Wind chimes in a gentle breeze
Sun-warmed tomatoes, straight from the vine

Transitory Clouds

My Buddhist friend calls the myriad of possessions, relationships, events and beliefs in our lives “transitory clouds in an illusory sky”.

I’m a dabbling Buddhist at best, but this statement has resonance. 

If we think of these “things” as clouds – changing, disappearing, migrating – it makes the rollercoaster of life essentially bearable.

When unwanted or unexpected change rears its head, our first reaction is often to cling or clutch for what we know, for the comfortable.  If we see the absurdity in this grasping at clouds, it allows us peace with these things we cannot control. 

It’s perceptive to find delight in a cloud’s formation and just as foolish to mourn its passing.

He’s a Shoo-In

“And she’ll say ‘no’ because of his shoes!!!”  The other night, I went out drinking with some of my married friends.  The conversation turned, as it inevitably does, to my singlehood.  They proclaim, as always, that my choosiness is holding me back.  My long-time friend, P, tells the group, as she’s fond of doing, that I will turn away from a potential paramour based solely on the style of his shoes, gasp!  The conversation never changes.

 

I am not anti-marriage.  I am, however, against subjugating myself to enter into a socially acceptable living arrangement in order to make everyone else comfortable.  “You need to lower your standards,” they tell me.  I wonder to myself, “How, exactly, does one go about doing that?”  Do you examine a potential mate and think, “I am slightly repulsed by you, but I will sleep with you anyway and pretend you are someone else?”  Do you listen to your mate’s banal banter and tune him out, deciding to extract your cerebral sustenance elsewhere?  Do you shove your hopes, dreams and principals in a dusty back closet so you don’t see the disparity?  How, exactly, do you settle without wanting to kill yourself?  I’m not looking for society’s idea of Mr. Perfect – just someone who is close to perfect  – for me.  I cannot settle. Whatever this is inside of me (my soul, my spirit, my beingness?) will not be squelched. 

 

And regarding the whole shoe thing, I admit it.  As odd as it sounds and although not scientific, it’s been a damn good compass throughout my dating years.  If you’re wearing tennis shoes that need to be pumped up or a pair of tassel-loafers, we will probably not “stand on the same ground” on more issues than just shoes. Deciding that perhaps P was right in her belief I’m being foolish, I once put my ‘shoe-dar” to the side in favor of overwhelming carnal desire.  He was clad in Greek fishermen shoes…with white socks.  How I was able to overlook them is astonishing to me – it was a yoga thing.  Needless to say, our coupling was a brief few weeks.  We’ve remained friends and we joke about his taste in footwear.  I do not hold my friends to the same shoe standards as my lovers. 

 

I am happy, fulfilled and full.  I don’t feel I’m missing much.  Of course, I can always want more – turn my “8” life into a “9” or “10”, but settling will not do that.