Blog by Yessica Maher, los Angeles Native.

She explores life after marriage, starting a career in her late 30's, relationships, breaking cycles of abuse, online dating, self care, fertility and depression. 

It's all over the place, but so is living. 

Shenanigans, Debauchery and a Desire Review

For months I've been wanting to get out and into something. An unspoken reality of divorce are the friendships that step away to avoid nasty fallouts and sidestep a pool of anger and a dash of messy emotions. My reality is that I am a solitary type a lot of the time and I'm often socially exhausted from being Mom all day. Add these and the math shows I have no one to go out with.  I have friends I sometimes talk to and can always rely on but I rarely see them. The ones that are still close to me are also parents and spouses and my single lifestyle doesn't fit anymore. I don't fit anymore. I spend free my time walking through malls and going to the beach. I find time to pamper myself and doze off while getting a pedicure. This makes me happy.  There has been a shift in recent weeks toward what I want rather than living in the moment and seeing how I can give of myself. I'm feeling the effect of this shift and it doesn't feel good.  It's not right. The last few days I've been in a funk.  I've been experiencing this reaching sorrow that holds me in a place where I can see what I want and I'm hurt at the inability to reach it.  There's powerlessness in unfulfilled desires.

Friday after work I tried filling this void of longing and it looked like:

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  1. Retail therapy after work.  It looks like pink and white quad rollerskates and a strong dose of hope that muscle memory will keep me from face planting. (I didn't fall, but I looked like a baby giraffe and decided baby steps would start in my livingroom being pulled by hands reaching for walls and furniture.)
  2. I went out with family. It was my sister, niece and cousin and our ages ranged from 47 to 23.  We went to a Hookah lounge called Secret in the heart of Hollywood.  I drove past Beso and had a moment of heartsick longing when I remembered an epic night there in January.  It was wanting to smoke even though smoking is disgusting since I quit my 3 pack a day habit for the man I wanted to build a life with.  We went to the Abbey . . . a huge gay bar/club in West Hollywood and right on Santa Monica.
  3. It was spending more than I needed to on a manicure, pedicure, eyebrow threading and getting my dye job touch up and trim at my local salon.

It was looking at it all and still feeling emptiness.

I just have to say how amazing my time with my family was.  My beautiful cousin is the most giving man I know.  He took us all out and helped with our make up.  He convinced my niece to join us because he just has this loving light around him that everyone wants to be around, but he's also a fierce gay man that will call you out on where you are going wrong because he's seen and felt enough in being the only family member from Thailand who is gay and has turned the "ka-toy" slur into "Auntie, he's so beautiful." He was strutting down the Blvd. in 8 inch heels, and I didn't feel out of place next to him in my 3 inches.  There was food and laughter and selfie sessions.  We were going to head home around midnight, but it was such a rare night to have me and my niece out with other grown ups that we ended up at the Abbey. There were no Cinderella's this night. As I was dancing, there was a man that stuck his nose in my boobs.  I gave him a gentle but firm push away and a firm finger wag with a smile and he smiled back before moving away.  A straight bar would have probably gotten me aggression from a perceived challenge instead.

Fast forward to Saturday night . . . My timelines shift and I'll help you jump around.

I have a very open face.  It's not hard to see what I'm thinking for the most part.  It's not usually a problem because I'm typically happy and not planning something sinister.  I've learned the value of transparency and I try to offer it where it feels safe to.  At times something will slip and I'll try my best to tuck it back in, but that's usually when my world is shifting and falling apart and I distract myself with transparent lustful thoughts and ideas. Joking about this, my other niece pointed out that I'm like a grown up teenager. 

Tonight, my mind was flooded with too many thoughts and things I want to look different, but have no power over.  Life is great at giving me things without  a receipt.  I don't know the value of what I have and I have no way to return or exchange it.

I was at Target when a woman approached me.  She said she could see I have spiritual blockages and she wanted to give me a reading.  She started to speak about what she believes to be true and for a lot of it she was right.  It's always about a boy, isn't it? And it usually involves drama from women that were in his life before me.  It's about the giving friendliness she felt she could benefit from.  People often see that I'm approachable.  She then wanted to give me a discount chakra clearing.  She wanted me to pay her more than I was willing to.  She then started trying to barter the price by asking me to pay for a few things for her and I did.  I don't want you to think I was scammed.  I wasn't.  As she was talking to me, things shifted just enough, and I needed the shift.

Surviving the pain of the last year has been about shifting my desires.  I've learned that when I focus on what I want, I don't have room for much else and that's bad because desires shift and change and grow.  Desires are often out of our hands.  If I focus only on desires,  the end goal will never be in sight.  Instead I try to focus on giving.  I try to focus on what I need to do for my children.  Sometimes I am giving to myself but it's mainly about seeing how I can help others.  I spoil my kids or buy dinner for a random homeless person. This woman had this plan to have me buy a few items for her and she would call that payment for the reading and chakra clearing she was offering at a discount.  I could see in the things she was buying that she was looking for necessities.  These were toiletries and food.  She wasn't looking for a movie or a purse or even makeup.  I had this moment where I could see that her only desire was to get these things she needed and it became my desire to help her through one night. I bought what she wanted but didn't ask for anything in return.  I won't be in her shop for a reading or clearing.  That's just not where my faith is and I didn't feel the same peace I did when I saw the amazing Gypsy Rogue and wrote about my visit in The Art of Gift Receiving.

So much of the last few months have been about what feels good.  My main goal has been epicurean pursuits in a very hedonistic setting of pleasures that I call shenanigans and debauchery.  Mainly it's shenanigans and very low key, non risky behavior.  I've been doing what I didn't feel I had permission to do before.  It's shopping for things I want, rather than just what I need.  It's the beach.  That sounds nuts because it is.  Okay, maybe going to the beach alone at night should scare me, but I've lived in neighborhoods before they became safe places to walk the block with your kids. I never needed permission to go to the beach, but I had this self enforced idea that beach trips are supposed to last all day and I have to worry about kids.  This means that in the past my play time happened once we got home from the beach and everyone was asleep.  Now a beach trip is an excuse to eat French Fries while watching people play in the ocean. It's the drinking.  I went through out of control(ish) drinking because I've always been a light weight, to feeling like all drinks shouldn't happen.  Especially in front of my kids.  I had a drink with my family Friday night.  It was a Cape Cod because it's usually what I order when I want to drink alcohol, but I was at a Hookah lounge with family.  I had a lightheaded feeling from the Hookah that was stronger than the buzz from the vodka.  The food tempered the effect and when we left, I felt sober and wasn't concerned about driving to the next stop. I didn't drink at the next stop though. I don't drink often because I love the control of being sober, but it was also about feeling like a mom shouldn't drink.  My mom would only have a glass of wine before going to bed and I really never saw my Dad drink.  Drugs were never even joked about.  It wasn't done in my family until we went through experimental rebellion. Even then, I never went past marijuana and that one day I tried huffing.  Not my brightest or proudest moment.

Friday night's drinking, smoking Hookah, then dancing at the Abbey were amazing fun, but it came with a sparkly mirror that showed me where I have placed hang ups on myself. My big desire is to live a life the way I should and sometimes it looks like the way I want it to, but more often it's about what I think others expect of me and when I'm most fulfilled it's in serving someone else. I wanted to dance and watch all of the beautiful men that had no interest in me at all, but part of the joy was about helping my sister feel included.  This was her first time at a club since she became legally blind.  She was really worried about being a burden to everyone else.  Part of the special night was the staff at the Abbey.  They were kind and helped her feel like they wanted her there.  (Honestly, that bouncer was dangerously gorgeous and an obviously used to women falling all over him when he was directing his charm on purpose.) Part of it was having help from my cousin and our niece to guide my sister to the bathrooms and bring her drinks and make sure she had a safe place to stand.

I finally stopped at the Heights Saturday afternoon.  It's a deli and bottle shop that replaced a meat market in my neighborhood because that's what happens when areas are gentrified.  I hated the idea that the carniceria I never went to was gone and my neighborhood is shifting but I walked in to step away from my hang ups and walked out with really good gluten free pasta carbonara and 4 pint sized cans of Glutenberg Beer because I'll try most things that are gluten free. I tried the white first because  it's closest to the MGD I used to drink.  I have 3 more to try out eventually. I'm not trying to get drunk or relive my youth.  It's about not being stuck in what I should be or how I should behave.  I'm home alone and not driving the rest of the night.  I'm old enough to vote and I can buy my own beer, so why not enjoy one?

I'm shifting again.  My perception has widened. I will continue to stretch who I feel I should be.  I will continue to do what I want to, but I will also continue to actively look for ways in which to be of service to others. When interacting with others, I will make my needs secondary and see if I can listen for the needs and desires of others.  It's not that I need to take a back seat and come second.  I need to not forget what being a giver feels like because that always feels better than being a taker.

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