Posted by: scintillatingspeck | October 2, 2018

Lost and found.

As I emerge from the food co-op, Lily is pointing to a CD case in our car: “What’s this?”

“Here.”  I hand her the album Wherever You Go, by the band Sweet Wednesday.

“Can we play it now?”

“Sure.”

The first song comes on as I start the car and head toward home.

this is my day to find your note
in the pocket of my coat
that you wrote
a year ago
I never saw it

telling me I should not fret
and that everything it happens for the best
as long as you can see the sky

“When did you get this, Mama?”

“Five years ago.”  The lump of sadness in my throat is impossible to conceal.

“Why haven’t I heard it before now?”

Read More…

Advertisements
Posted by: scintillatingspeck | September 29, 2018

Let me feel the grief.

I don’t want to write anything sensible.

I only want to write what I need to see before my eyes, what I need to learn, what I need to wrestle or love into verbiage.  In my chest is a heavy clog of heart-soreness.  In my mind is a tangle of images, plans, cut-up ribbons of concentration, fretful crying, a determined holder-together of things.  I’m less willing than I used to be to showcase untidy, vulnerable thoughts and feelings, but there they are, and I won’t deny them.  They need my tenderness.  They need my words like little anchors of acknowledgment.

I’ve been sitting with the ache of unpartneredness.  I realize this is bundled tightly with my, our, heavy conditioning around cultural ideals of romantic love and what it means to have a “successful” life.  It’s not like I haven’t thought about this, a lot, already.  It’s not like I haven’t already rejected the standard narratives about marriage and happiness and belonging.  It’s just in my face, all the time, lately.  I try to remind myself that this feeling of being unaccompanied, uncompanioned, is an illusion, despite the surface facts of my lack of a Partner.  I don’t even know what a Partner is supposed to be.  I’m possibly more confused than ever about that.  I do think that, in keeping with the principles of relationship anarchy, each interpersonal connection needs to be negotiated on its own terms and allowed to grow or fade as it will.  I have plenty of conviction in principles but not a lot of bedrock faith in my own lovability.  Especially when I feel withdrawn and alone.  My friends do tell me they love me and that helps and I hope they don’t stop.

There is much I have been distraught about and unable to share for a variety of reasons.  That corked feeling builds up pressure.  I don’t like it.  What good is it to mention without specificity?  Is there any relief?  Not really.

Meanwhile I am still Handling Things.  You know, taking care of my child, feeding us, tending the home, tending to homeschool group stuff, tending and tending.  I wish someone would tend to me.  I wish I knew that someone would be there.  I’m trying to be grateful, trying to take in every moment of kindness, trying to BE THERE myself for my people.  I guess there’s a part of me that wants to say: damn it, let me feel bereft already.  Let me set aside the brave face and the gratitude.  Let me feel the grief.

Posted by: scintillatingspeck | September 16, 2018

Inner Wise Woman says…

Photo by Artem Bali on Unsplash; unsplash.com/@belart84

Tonight I developed a sudden fixation on searching for and compiling every reference I’ve ever made to Inner Wise Woman on Facebook.  It appears that she first started speaking to me in late 2014.  (To be clear, Inner Wise Woman is me, and I am her.)  At some point I noted on Facebook that I had made a shift away from an internal voice I called the Crazy Love Lady and instead felt more of a resonance with Inner Wise Woman.  I don’t think it’s a coincidence that that happened in 2014.

Re-reading these Facebook posts of mine has felt… intense.  But there you go.  The times I have called upon Inner Wise Woman have usually been intense times.  What would Inner Wise Woman do, or say? I would ask myself in moments of despondency, anger, confusion, self-berating, and insomniac anguish.  I don’t think I needed to call upon her when I was feeling peaceful or elated.

It is strange to see these all compiled in one long list.  I don’t expect that many people will read this all the way through.  But if you are one of those dedicated readers, or if you read any part of this at all, thank you for accompanying me.

“We’re all just walking each other home.” —Ram Dass

Read More…

Posted by: scintillatingspeck | August 27, 2018

Teetering on the edge of Scrivener.

I bought some writing software called Scrivener about three weeks ago, after some careful examination of whether it might be useful to me.  I decided: hey, if it can help me untangle the mess that is my book content, the the thick threads of thought, the blog posts, the Word documents in a folder called “Uncategorized Writings,” the photos, the Facebook flotsam, etc., why not?  Why not?  Am I not experiencing some great momentum towards writing and eventually publishing this tale?  Don’t I want to get serious about this?  Don’t I want me and my book to be going steady?

And I thought, YES, momentum!  YES, Serious Writer-ness!  YES, book—I will marry you!

Have I been able to bring myself to dive into Scrivener since then, to migrate my content, to start sifting through the words in their messy glory?

No.

After some deliberate questioning of myself, I think it scares the crap out of me.

You would think that with all this momentum, I would be embracing the chance to finally crest the hill that I’ve been climbing for four years.  I know this is a tool that will help me.  I can see the outlines of a developing book, like an ultrasound image, a discernable emblem of my own humanity in my own head.  I can almost taste it.  I’m doing this thing! I announce to myself, plastering posters of my imminent debut in the hallways of my consciousness, only to have a fearful janitor tearing them down when I’m not looking.

In the meanwhile, what have I been doing?  I’ve been meditating daily.  I have never had such success with meditation and practicing mindfulness/bodyfulness.  My dear friend Carolyn signed me up for Camp Calm, a 30-day online meditation workshop, and I have been diligently keeping up.

I think it may be time to give myself some credit, as it turns out.  I have been practicing staying with my present experience: good, bad, ugly, scintillating, deadly boring, you name it.  It seems reasonable to assume that this might carry over to patiently tolerating my fear of Scrivener.  Fear of Scrivener is really my fear of succeeding at the task of writing this book.

What happens if I succeed at writing this book and it ends up out there, in the world?

I will be seen and heard.

Some people won’t like it.

Some people might like it a lot.

I will get more attention and I’m not sure I want so much attention.

I might alienate people I really need in my life.

I might be misinterpreted or misunderstood.  I might have sweeping judgments meted out towards me.

I’ll be sticking my neck out.

I want my neck to be treated tenderly.  I can’t count on that.

The world feels like a harsh place, all too often.

AND.  I have committed to this process.  I’m all in.  ALL IN.  No matter how long it takes.  No matter what ferocious demons awaken.  No matter where the journey takes me.  When this book is complete, I will have kept my promise, and that will be a sweet reward to my integrity.

Tonight I will rest.  I will go to bed early.  My sleep has been fractured in a thousand ways.  My head hurts and I’m heart-sore and weary.

Tomorrow morning: Scrivener.

Photo by Kelly Sikkema on Unsplash

Posted by: scintillatingspeck | July 9, 2018

Show the fuck up.

When I traveled around the USA, all the 10,000 miles of driving that I did, there was an insistent voice in the core of me repeating: Show up. Show up NOW. Show the fuck up! The voice has not abated. I want to translate every last ounce of meaning contained within show the fuck up.

“Show the fuck up” means “Be Here Now.”

“Show the fuck up” means “You have people and they need you. Show the fuck up for them. They have stories that need to be witnessed.” Also: “Your people need to be needed. They want to offer you a haven. They want to feed you. Let them.”

“Show the fuck up” means “Your days are numbered. Live now. Be aware now. Take action now. You’re going to die. Don’t die with horrible regret that you didn’t take necessary risks.”

“Show the fuck up” means “Stop disappearing into your recliner, into a laptop screen, into anything mind- and body-numbing. Step away from the Facebook.   Step away from smokescreens and pretending. Be fucking real.”

“Show the fuck up” means “Stop settling for relationships that have little depth, that don’t take risks of vulnerability, that are not mutually nourishing.”

“Show the fuck up” means “Show your daughter the kind of role model you want to be. Show her that you won’t leave her behind, and you won’t leave yourself behind, either. These things are not mutually exclusive. Show her that you will travel the breadth of a continent to seek the sort of community you both most need. Show her that she, and you, are worth pulling out all the stops.”

“Show the fuck up” means “You promised your lover you would see him again. Keep the fucking promise. Keep it even though you have no idea of the longevity of this relationship or what it means or whether the unbearable heartache is worth it. Show up. Look into his eyes and smell him and know the truth of your union or lack thereof. Commit to seeing this through, no matter the end result.”

“Show the fuck up” means “You don’t actually have a clue how this is going to turn out. You don’t know what you don’t know. Keep learning that lesson that control is an illusion. Stick a pin in your own hubris, the clinging to the belief that you know the outcomes here, that you know the landscapes, the hearts, the real story. No. You don’t know. Let yourself be surprised. Find new delights and new devastations. Make new friends. Lose friends you thought might stay in your life. Let love bloom and wither.”

“Show the fuck up” means “Pay attention, know when to shut up, and when to use your voice. Listen. Really listen. Also, stop fucking devaluing your own experience, your writing ability, your worth as a human being. Just stop it. Is that what you want Lily to see and absorb? Be courageous. Keep showing up no matter how hard you tremble and even if your mind goes blank in a desperate attempt to shut it all down. Be the person who is terrified and goes ahead and does scary shit anyway. You have been training for this, crossing threshold after threshold of risk and vulnerability. Keep doing it. Do it for yourself. Do it for Lily. Do it for all those who bear witness and want to be inspired and emboldened. Do it to show how it’s done—that in your ordinariness, you can cross over into doing extraordinary things. You think it’s not extraordinary for one woman to write her own, true story in her own tremulous voice? You are wrong.”

“Show the fuck up” means “Facebook is a piss poor replacement for tangible relating. It has served an important function in your life, allowing you to connect with people over great distances, allowing you to reveal yourself in ways that felt too risky before. However, it is cutting you off from hugs and eye contact and pheromones and laughter and smiling and all the millions of essential, embodied ways of communicating. You NEED this. You need community, and friends whose arms are ready to embrace you, and lovers who entwine their lips and hands and bodies with yours and not just offer beautiful words, and people who will garden and hike and sing and eat meals with you. People who will tuck you into bed when you are sick or sleepy, and vice versa.”

“Show the fuck up” means “Disembodiment can no longer be a way of life for you. Yes, this is terrifying. Still, you need to confront all the reasons you have fled your embodied experience and bring yourself back to the physical world. You need to feel the sun, the rain, the wind, the grass, the sand; you need to hear bird songs and crashing waves; you need to savor the dripping fruit. You are not a brain on a table. You are a human animal, with needs and desires. You need to live in your body in order to have those needs and desires met in any fashion. You must confront the things that have so scared you that it felt safer to flee within and be numb.” It is hard to write this. I have not resolved this. I don’t know if I have made any real progress on this. I think it’s only now that I’m barely beginning to crack through my fear.

“Show the fuck up” is also a plea. Please be there for me, people, landscape, Earth. Please be there for my Lily. Please hold us, love us, give us a home, welcome us in. There have been too many times I have felt alone, unloved, unwelcomed. I don’t want to live like that anymore. I want to be part of a mutual, loving web of connection. Please tell me you want to hear my voice, my stories. Please tell me you haven’t given up on me. Please tell me you cherish my presence, look forward to seeing me. Please do these things without my having to ask constantly, just because you want to reassure me. Please tell me I matter, that you miss me when I’m not with you. Please tell me I belong here, in this place, in this community, with you.

Posted by: scintillatingspeck | May 4, 2018

How I long to be known. How I fear to be known.

I have been avoiding this blog.  I have even been avoiding making myself fully aware of how much I’ve been avoiding it.  That’s really the best vanishing act: to believe that no vanishing is happening, because—what blog?  what writing?  Really?  I have a blog?  Who wrote those things?  It could go further, you know.  You know.  Obfuscation rolls in like a comforting blanket of fog, smoothing the jagged edges of reality.  Don’t tell me your brain doesn’t play that same, soothing trick sometimes, in ways both tiny and sweeping.

I once made a commitment to myself never to delete anything from this blog.  I have been steadfast in that commitment.  Most of my commitments, really.  How steadfast I am in both my published truths and my unpublished promises.  I’m so steadfast that I’d sooner let anxiety and dissonance eat away at me like acid rain on a marble statue.

I live in a faraway land now.  I can call it that because I am still arriving and arriving and not quite here.  It will take a long time to fully inhabit this place, this community.  It might take a lifetime that I don’t have.  I have little pieces of familiarity, sweet jolts of discovery, tentative tendrils of connection, a few deeper connections.  I am not rooted in Wisconsin.  I’m not convinced I ever was fully rooted, anywhere.

Still, I carry all my baggage with its sleeping ghosts and mistakes, set it down in this new land, and feel terrified to open the latches.  There are things I haven’t been able to bring myself to do, like set up my new little office/writing space.  I can’t do it.  I can’t unpack in there, literally.  I’m not even writing in there, right now.

I do, still, long to be known.  It never goes away.  I’m not sure how we really know each other.  Funny that now what comes up is the idea of “knowing in the Biblical sense”— that can be a sort of knowing, sure, or it can be a bit of annihilation of awareness, too.  I thought I could be known through writing, I mean really seen, really understood.  It seems wildly improbable to me now, but it didn’t stop me from trying.  I thought I could draw people to me and know them, too.  I thought we could find some profound, resonant, universal beliefs?  feelings?  values? to stand on.  Um, yeah.  We get to stand on question marks, mostly.

I do, still, fear to be known.  I fear judgment, shunning, being “othered,” being stereotyped, being discriminated against, being misunderstood.  Is there such a thing as ever wiping the slate clean and starting anew in a new land?  Could I have believed that that might happen here?  The fact that this blog exists, that it records portions of the past 10 years of my life, that it is intensely personal, that it bears the imprint of tremendous change and anguish—part of me doesn’t want to be associated with it anymore.  I think of all the friends, neighbors, and acquaintances that were lost to me along the way, sometimes in ways that I could trace directly to this blog, or at least the spirit of transparency behind it.  I’m not sure anyone understood that that transparency was as fragile as gossamer, ready to petrify into stony opacity.

Posted by: scintillatingspeck | July 14, 2017

How can I be a better relational creature?

This morning I wrote on Facebook:

I want to carve out some time today to write, i.e. think “out loud” but not really out loud, about confusing social things, and see if I can figure out what my baggage is and if I can unravel it, and what isn’t my baggage and can’t do much about. For example: I have habits of avoidance/withdrawal that I want to confront, complete with stories I tell myself of people’s lack of availability and disinterest that may or may not be true. Also, it’s clear to me that we live in a culture that works very assiduously to separate us and keep us from connecting, and I probably shouldn’t blame myself for that. But I’ve been conditioned by all that crap.

Here I am, writing out loud.

I suppose it would be helpful to remind myself that this is a lifelong project, this bettering of myself as a relational creature.  And that I seem to come with certain handicaps.  I don’t know what’s fixable or not.

The confusing social things.  What are they?  They are things like: how do I know when to follow up with someone?  How do I know when to leave people alone?  Who is interested in being connected to me?  Is there a way to know?  Is everyone just way too busy and overwhelmed?  What if I’m busy and overwhelmed?  How can I help other people to not feel overwhelmed by me, or vice versa?  Why do I so frequently assume that I must not be interesting enough, or skilled enough, or normal enough, or whatever enough, to build and maintain solid connections and community?  Why do I think most people are way more mainstream than I am and thus probably reluctant to be associated with me?

I could probably list many more questions than that, but it’s a start.

This effort to improve my relating feels crucial right now, as we are settling into a new place, and I so much want to get us launched in the right direction.  I confess I often feel terrified that I will mess everything up and that we will find ourselves in a situation like we were in before, where we were often isolated and depressed (at least I was depressed).  I want to change that.  I want to feel empowered to create significant changes in our lives.  I also don’t want to mercilessly blame myself if not all relating goes well, to only own what is mine to own.

So, this piece about avoidance/withdrawal is real, and old, and I’m not sure what to do with it other than keep picking away it, keep pushing myself to meet people and reach out to people and not stop, even if I’m afraid and paranoid and tired.  Is that all there is to it?  Just push, push, push?  Maybe I am supposed to be doing things differently.

I wish someone had been teaching me all along how to make friends, keep friends, build community, and keep community.  I don’t think I have a lot of role models to emulate, honestly.  My family of origin was never immersed in community.  My mother left her home country.  My sister left her home country.  I have no history of having a solid community or extended family around me to fall back on.  I don’t have a hometown to go back to.  I don’t have a religious community or workplace or school or any community-of-proximity like that.  What I have is what I’ve tried to create, from scratch.

I do have beloved friends whom I adore, and that is something, indeed.  Many of them are far from me.  Many of them will always be far from me.  I think my reflections about the confusing social things are more about people in my relatively close vicinity.

Do I know what it takes to relate well?  Does anybody?  How have I managed to alienate, or be alienated by, a bunch of people?  What is a reasonable amount of attention to expect or apportion?  Am I not being fair by sometimes failing to recognize all the times I and others have been attentive, compassionate, patient, and loving?

I seem to have more questions than answers.  That’s probably fitting, for now.

I know I have stories I’m running about Who I Am and How I Am Perceived. And mostly, I wish I could toss them.  The stories are generally on the theme of I Am Weird and Normal People Don’t Like Me.  But there are other, newer stories, too, like my overall convictions that there is no such thing as normal and everyone experiences some degree of social anxiety and we all want and need connection and maaaaaaybe I am not all that weird.  Oh, and let’s not forget people aren’t thinking so much about me because they are overwhelmed by life a lot.

I don’t want to comprehend, in totality, all the times I’ve dropped the ball.  It might kill me.  All the missed opportunities.  All the ways I could have been better.  All the fear-driven disappearances.  I want to declare: I’m nipping this in the bud.  I want to show up.  Even if my brain is screaming at me to crawl under a rock.  I don’t know how many people realize how hard it is for me to interact.  Part of me wants to introduce myself by saying, “Hi.  I’m Jen.  I can often do a good job of passing as normal but actually right now my brain is screaming.  I want to connect with people, more than anything, and I also frequently end up a million miles away from achieving that.  How are you?”  Yeah, that would go over well.

I will keep practicing.  I know I make myself sound like a terrible oaf, and I might have more social skills than I give myself credit for.

Posted by: scintillatingspeck | June 14, 2017

Here. Wisconsin.

The Kinnickinnic River, a.k.a. “the Kinni,” in River Falls, WI.  (photo credit: Lily Hartley)

 

We’re here, here and now, right here, right now.  In the present moment, and it is good.  It is exactly how it is supposed to be, in all its joy, pain, challenge, rest, and whatever the moment MUST bring.

Two weeks ago Lily, Tom, and I said goodbye to beautiful Massachusetts, my lifelong home, Lily’s lifelong home, and drove westward for three days.  We arrived in River Falls, Wisconsin, our new home, in a state of exhaustion and bewilderment, but over days and weeks we are settling in steadily and well.

All along our route, through Massachusetts, New York, Pennsylvania, Ohio, Indiana, Illinois, and Wisconsin, the black locust trees were in bloom, their fragrant white (and edible) blossoms waving in the breeze, waving us down the road, their vernal froth announcing the continuity of new beginnings.  This arboreal friend greeted us on almost every highway, tenacious, familiar, rooted, connecting enormous continental swaths with a common botanical language, along with many other familiar plants and trees with whom we are so deeply intimate.

We left behind “our” rivers, or rather, the rivers that we belonged to: the Connecticut River, the Mill River, those aqueous forces of motion that launched our journey to Paddle to the Sea.  And the Sea, in its infinite wisdom, brought us full circle to the land of inland oceans and rivers, the land of Great Lakes, the land of rivers that we can begin to belong to, like the Mississippi, the St. Croix, and the Kinnickinnic.  And we brought our canoe, too!  My beloved green Old Town canoe, that my dad bought when I was 12, the same one that he and I launched into the Saco River in Maine that summer of what must have been 1984.  We paddled, we camped, we sang, we chased our hats that flew off our heads into the water, we paddled through a mighty downpour on that final day.  That time, that river, that profound connection with my dad—I brought all of that with me, as well.

It was hard to leave behind our loves, our friends, our peach trees laden with fruit, the house and land I had hoped would be our nest and tiny homestead for many years.  It was hard, I tell you.  I can’t write this without the tears springing up, the longing, especially, for my cherished ones.  But the call was strong and the signs were clear.  It was time to go from there, and arrive here.  It was time to attend to some deep needs of Lily’s and mine, in particular, that were not being met.  Needs, not wants.  We had the opportunity.  We seized it.  We made it happen.

That’s part of what I want to teach Lily by example.  Look, my love.  We are the sorts of people who make things happen.  We are not complacent.  We will do what we can, and what we can do is a LOT.  We can move to a whole new place.  We can find the chances, the niches, the entry-points into our fulfilled lives.  When things aren’t working, we can look for the ways to change our circumstances, whether those ways are subtle or sweeping.  We can know our ever-evolving purposes and enact them by coming alive, over and over.  We are not here to serve the purposes of the industrial machine.  We are living, relational creatures, meant to serve the living, relational planet.

There are loves/friends here, too, of course.  We cherish them.  And there will be more.  We are meeting them all the time.

“Wisconsin welcomes you,” the sign said on the border.  And so it has.  I feel its blossoms twining through my hair.

Posted by: scintillatingspeck | March 2, 2017

What I learned.

When I started writing this blog post, I thought I would try to do a comprehensive overview of the biggest lessons I’ve learned in this western-Massachusetts-dwelling chapter of my life, from 2004 to 2017.  On the cusp of moving to the Wisconsin-Minnesota border, it felt important to me to contemplate and summarize what I’ve experienced, how I’ve changed, and what hard-won lessons I’ve incorporated under my skin.  I thought I’d tell the stories that brought me to where I am today.  And of course I would do all of this in a mere hour, yesterday.

Ha ha ha ha ha.

Nope.

This is going to be the short version, the Moral of the Story without the story.  Because that’s what I can take on right now.  Maybe it won’t make any sense without context, or maybe it will spring forth especially vividly without it.  In any case, if you find that you really want me to elaborate on why/how I learned a particular lesson, please say so in the comments, and I’ll see what I can do.

I’m imagining these lessons spoken in the voice of my Inner Wise Woman.

What I Learned

Go ahead and jump into strange, new situations.  You’re not a born daredevil and it’s not as if you’re heedless of danger; the bigger danger in your life is playing it safe, playing it small, withdrawing, vanishing.  Don’t vanish.  Show up.

Nothing is more important than love.  Nothing.  We are our relationships to people, the land, the universe.  That driving, creative force of love is the spirit that enlivens us.  Love is worth all journeys, those chosen and those foisted upon us.

Sometimes you will be naïve and think that you have a situation figured out, a path planned, a cat in the bag.  Then you must gently remind yourself, with great compassion, that you are not in control.

Sometimes people will hurt you terribly.  You will remind them of some past trauma, or they will remind you of some past trauma, or both at the same time.  You will cry and ache and try to make sense of it for years and years, and with luck and time, the ache fades, the insights come, the larger picture of how we transmit pain to each other becomes clear.  Protecting yourself and maintaining compassion are not mutually exclusive.

Don’t trust institutions.  Trust the sweet, wild heart of living beings.  Trust that you and they can reveal truths, vulnerabilities, powers beyond the scaffolding of artificial systems.

Don’t trust the voices in your head that say you are unloveable, a failure, a fraud, an unmitigated embarrassment, profoundly unattractive, pathetic.  It’s a coping mechanism gone horribly awry.  Your belief in your own awfulness will not protect you.

The psychiatric establishment and the drugs they prescribe are not your friends.  You are healthier without them.  You know what you need to be healthy: good food, water, sleep, exercise, love, friends, touch, light, freedom, wandering in nature, meaningful work, meaningful play.  Sometimes getting basic needs met in this culture is brutal and despair-inducing; it’s true.  Keep trying to get them met.  Keep trying to help other people get them met.  Your sensitivity and emotional vacillations are not problems to be fixed.

When flattened by despair, perform a small act of service.

Sugar is a substance you need to avoid.

Open yourself more radically than you thought was possible, and love will rush to meet you.  Contract and withdraw, curl around yourself in pain, and love will still be there, tender and patient.

You may often find yourself alone, but you are remembered and cherished.

It’s possible to discern when to accept circumstances as they are, and when to go to enormous lengths to change them.  A lot of people will urge you to accept when your heart is telling you otherwise.  Listen to your heart.

Everything requires about 1,000 times more patience than you originally expect.

You are not obligated to say yes.

Acknowledging the omnipresent reality of death and honoring and supporting grief are sacred acts.

Accessing your deep reservoir of playfulness is a source of exquisite joy and a blessing to the world.

Don’t put off any apologies, expressions of gratitude, or declarations of love.

Stand in your truth no matter the truths of others.

Even when you are stricken with sadness and disappointment, know that not a single effort or moment was wasted.

You are already home, everywhere you go.

dscn6491

 

Posted by: scintillatingspeck | December 14, 2016

He calls me.

He calls me, on the phone.

It sounds unremarkable, that this love of mine should do such a thing.  Is this what lovers do, when they aren’t together for a few days, or months, or years?  Call each other on phones?  Not simply to ask a mundane question, or schedule something, but to talk, to listen, to utter caressing words, to bear witness, to give voice to gratitude, to thrill at the notes of excitement and laughter, to genuinely want to know how was your day?, to say I love you?

Maybe he thinks I’m strange, how jolted I am by this new phenomenon.  We talked about it.  I tried to tell him, I have a bit of a hard time with phones.  Oh, and I figured I shouldn’t call during the week, because you must be busy.  And I’m scared of how attached I already feel, right when I’m gearing up to move far away next season—my heart hurts already. 

All my paltry excuses.  He calls me anyway.  I made up my mind that I would call him today, but he beat me to it.  He might be getting a sense of how anxious I can get, how I flee even in the midst of this gorgeous, voluptuous experience of mutual enthrallment.  I hardly know what to do with the tenacity of his attention.

He doesn’t want me to hold back.  This bewilders me.  I’m the no-longer-wild creature who has been in the confines of the zoo too long, habituated to confinement, suddenly released, standing at the mouth of the open cage, trembling.  I gaze at him like a tame deer, he says.  He likes it, I think, the contrast between my vulnerability and surrender, and my rebelliousness.  What is it you are? he asks.  A radical relationship-ist?  He smiles and teases me nine ways to Sunday.

He tells me, I want you to ask for what you want.  I ask for an object that I can carry with me, from him, that will remind me of him when we’re not together.  He gives me a tritium vial that glows in the dark, just like the stars and planets on his bedroom ceiling.  It’s perfect.  I take it everywhere.  I am never without it.

photo-on-2016-12-14-at-00-28

 

Older Posts »

Categories

%d bloggers like this: