Lately the power of "no" has been an elusive friend. She watches me from her corner booth with a dry vodka martini in hand and the solitary light of an inhaled ember that is a beacon in her ephemeral haze of cigarette smoke. I can hear her laughter cutting into me like a slap across the face that is kissed into tenderness. My life has been vacuuming away my choices, so I can only see decisions. These decisions have a heavier weight to them. There's an honest clarity that we can't always coat in confectioner's sugar and the independence of a choice is shackled in duty when it becomes a decision. We must do what is right, even if it is not easy. Especially when we know it doesn't feel good. It's the stress of the last couple of weeks that has had me blogging less, but it's not so much about being busy or distracted as much as I've been holding the choice to be a dutiful "person to ______" as more important than the choice to be selfish for myself. Right now that means I'm taking on a little too much and processing it all just before falling asleep and the meaning escapes me in dreams but I wake up with hopeful anticipation. Stress relief looks late late night flirting into early morning hours because I can and a nap is never not an option. I'm reminded fairly often that I need to take care of myself first and this late morning while still in bed is me doing just that.
I am mother before I allow myself to be me. It has been a few days of frustration, disappointment, powerlessness, and when I wait patiently, I can even see Grace. Yesterday Facebook reminded me of what I went through "On This Day" last year. I'm editing out a few names, but essentially I wrote:
May 20, 2015 at 4:29 PM
It's been a rough few months. I'm not ashamed. It is part of life. Alone with the kids at bedtime last night, I was feeling too low to want to read to them. Kid3 had a tantrum, so I went ahead and started reading. I keep telling them that giving them less than what they deserve because I might not be happy is a choice and they need to call me on it when I do that. Kid1 called me on it. It's not their fault life is unfriendly to me right now, and I won't punish them for it. So I started reading, and as I'm reading, the tears start and so do the sniffles. My throat gets tighter and the words struggle free and choke with emotion. They didn't say a word. They listened quietly and said thank you with goodnight kisses when I got to the end of the chapter. Their hugs were loving and gave as much as was received. It's a new day and looking at last night, it encouraged me and right now it's lifting me up a bit. I have great boys. I want the world to know how great my boys are.
Kid2 is going through a rough patch right now and last night Kid3 blamed their Dad. It wasn't until after I defended him that I realized how well I'm doing. At first I was devastated. I was happy in my marriage and blindsided that he wasn't. I've found there is true joy in my daily life now that I am single. There's so much joy that even when situations are out of my control, I can find peace and laughter if I dig deep enough. I'm learning how to deal with what life hands me in a way that lets me react in making difficult choices and tough decisions without selfishness and greed. I can hear my son blame his Dad for the family falling apart and I can hear the pain when he feels hopeless in helping his brother. Hearing his concerns allowed me to comfort him and remind him that I have fallen apart myself and it's a choice to decide you want to get back up. I reminded him that his Dad is much happier now. I told him that I've found ways to be happier now and we all just need to find ways to move with what life looks like to us. I felt the weight of truth in stating that this situation with Kid2 really isn't anyone's fault and that we just need to find a way to help each other feel better and be better.
I saw my cousin and sister late last night and he shared some of the pain from his break up. I told him I've found my joy in crashing waves and smiling at strangers. I love matching bra and panty sets. My sister asked who is going to see them and I pointed out I see them in the mirror every day. I showed them my latest tattoo which is over a year old and we talked about online dating. In the end, there is good with the bad, and I am having fun with it. I've found fun on one site and I can let go of the other one. We made tentative plans to go to Florentine Gardens because that was a club we all went to when we were fledgling adults and it would be fun to revisit. Mainly we talked healing.
I love my cousin. He is beautiful and feminine and so full of deep love. I reminded my cousin that he was born at a certain level and lowered himself to be with his ex. I told him he keeps entertaining his ex to offer another opportunity to get kicked. I did it too. If he stops looking below him, he'll see all of the many beautiful men at his level and above. He needs to stop looking down and back and look forward. I told him he may never find closure for the relationship but he will one day find closure for why he thought he needed to allow someone below him to act as if he was above. He wanted to know why his ex would enter another relationship right away and accept an obvious downgrade with worse treatment. I told him that his ex sees him as better than he deserved which is why he's often the object of aggression. Say "have a nice day" and hang up. I do. He looks at what he has and knows it's a downgrade. He takes whatever he's dished because he's afraid to look lower.
I told my cousin about the many great men I've been meeting and he started to say that I would find someone better than my ex. I don't look to compare him to anyone. Not anymore. He's a good Dad. He does what he thinks is best for our kids, as far as he can see. We're just no longer together. I compare these beautiful and intelligent men to me. Can we hold a meaningful conversation? I have goals, does he? I'm taking care of myself, is he doing better than I am? Things are looking better from this vantage point.
I went home and realised the pedestal we place our loved ones on are designed for us. We just need to look around, up or down, but we'll eventually see where the people we love are placed, and we will eventually see that we don't need to put them in our place because they won't always be willing to set us on their pedestal and their pedestal doesn't always lead us forward. If we're lucky, we can hop from stand to stand, side by side and not feel like one needs to be displaced for the other. And sometimes it's not worth it to date a charity case. Letting them go and washing off their sticky insecurities can be a little exhausting. That really doesn't refer to the ex. We're happier apart, and I'm happy with casual dating.