Wednesday, November 17, 2010


I guess I decided not to disappear from my blog for too long. Apparently I have things to say even though I'm very much still licking my wounds.

One of the folks I follow on Twitter posted a link to this article today and it got me thinking. Okay, fine, what doesn't get me thinking? In this case, I started thinking about courage (If you don't want to read the whole article, at least read the last three paragraphs) and how it relates to my life over the past five years.

For most of my life I haven't let people see my vulnerable side. God forbid someone should think I might be weak! My answer to "are you okay" has usually been to paste on a smile and reply with "oh, I'm fine, thanks for asking." Very few people have actually seen me cry and I cry at everything, books, movies, music, commercials, you name it I cry at it. But I can't remember the last person I cried in front of. Might be Ms. Ex during one of our many, many, lengthy "discussions."

When Ms. Ex and I were having our issues during the 18 months it took for us to get engaged and then finally split up I kept everything to myself for the most part. All the screaming matches. All the "discussions" during which she repeated the same few phrases over and over and over again. I think I talked about it, really talked about it, with just one of my friends. Who lives 3,000 miles away. I might have shared bits and pieces with others, but no one really knew the full story. I kept all the pain and anger and shame and embarrassment and feelings of complete failure inside. It boiled inside me, bubbling to the surface only when I could no longer contain it all without exploding. But never in front of other people. It slowly ate away at me, making me feel small and broken. And so very, very, utterly alone.

When FMHW and I broke up I was more open with my pain. I started to open up about what I was feeling. Started letting my friends see my vulnerability. Sharing what I was feeling, letting them help me through the rough times. I was starting to understand that vulnerability didn't equate to weakness. I let people in, let them see the side of me that was messy. And for the first time in a long time I didn't feel quite so alone anymore. I even started this blog to share my story with anyone who might happen to read it.

What I've learned in the two plus years since then is that it's okay to be honest about how you're feeling. It's okay to have a bad day for no reason. It's okay to be sad or angry or hurt and to let people know how you're feeling. People will still like you. In fact, they will put their arm around you (metaphorically speaking) and listen, really listen. They won't turn away from you, leave you there raw and exposed and alone. In fact, they will begin sharing with you in return. All of this takes courage, not the heroic kind of courage we're so used to hearing about these days, the kind where a fireman runs back into a burning building to save an infant or a kitten, but the original meaning of the word courage, "speaking one's mind by telling one's heart" as the article says.

It also takes a bit of coming to terms with the fact that, no, in fact you aren't perfect. No matter how strong you might be there is still a weakness inside of all of us. A vulnerability which should be shared with friends and loved ones. The messy side of each and every one of us is a beautiful thing. And in that imperfection is where you find perfection. I am not perfect. I make mistakes. I say the wrong things. I do the wrong things. I make bad decisions. I quote song lyrics in an attempt to win someone's love (okay, so it was just that once, but it still haunts me). But all those things make me who I am, this perfectly imperfect mess of a person.

The hardest part of being vulnerable, of letting people in, is realizing that it's okay to just be me. That me, as I am, is enough. I am enough. Took me 30 plus years to realize this. For a fast learner I can be really obtuse sometimes.

No matter how broken I might feel, and believe me right now I feel so very very broken, deep down there is still a little part of me that knows I am enough. Knows that I am exactly who I am supposed to be and you know what? That's more than good enough.

So, yes, right now I feel broken. I'm hurt and angry with myself still (for fuck's sake I KNOW better!). There are tears (hey look, I admitted to the entire world that I've been crying!), tears for something that wasn't even really anything to begin with. Tears for the possibilities. I'm a sensitive soul. I feel deeply, very deeply, and these things, well, they cut me to my core. Always have and always will. It's just part of who I am. I don't think I'd want it any other way.

But, I will be okay. I will be more than okay, I'll be amazing again someday. Because I am an amazing person. Ever since I wrote this post I feel like I have to qualify my posts by saying I'm not in the tunnel. And if I was I would reach out and I know that there are people there to help. People who don't care if I'm messy, people who love me as I am and who just want to see me get better.

Thank you to everyone who has reached out to me, those both near and far, new friends and old. You guys are awesome, I don't know what I'd do without you. You are all very special to me and I cannot believe how incredibly lucky I am to have you all in my life. I don't tell you all that nearly enough. So, thank you, thank you, thank you. And should you ever need anything in return just ask and it's yours.

Oh, and if anyone has seen my focus and concentration could you please send them back in my direction? I'd be forever in your debt.

Lyrics for this post...there weren't going to be any when I first started writing, but as I kept typing all I could hear over and over and over in my head were these lyrics from Good Enough by Sarah McLachlan. So, here you go:

Hey your glass is empty
it's a hell of a long way home
why don't you let me take you
it's no good to go alone
I never would have opened up
but you seemed so real to me
and after all the bullshit I've heard
it's refreshing not to see
I don't have to pretend
she doesn't expect it from me

Monday, November 15, 2010

Always a bridesmaid and never.....

History does have a way of repeating itself. Whether it's because we haven't learned the lesson well enough the first (or second or third or fourth or whatever) time around or because the lesson wasn't for us this time, but was instead for the other party, I'm not sure. But it definitely does repeat itself.

One of these days I am going to get it right. One of these days it won't be a case of wrong place wrong time. One of these days it's going to be my turn. Please for the love of God let it be my turn.

Tonight, the other shoe dropped, just as I knew it would for a few weeks now. And it dropped after my poking at it so you could say I brought it on myself. And though I fooled myself into thinking that perhaps I was wrong, perhaps for once my instinct, gut and intuition were all off base I knew deep down they weren't.

I'm angry with myself for letting things go as long as they did without clarity. I know better than that, but I put on my rose colored glasses and pretended it wasn't happening.

It's not the honesty that bothers me. The honesty is a good thing and I truly mean it when I say I want people to be honest with me even if they think the truth will hurt. Being lied to or misled hurts even more. Been there, done that and won't stand for it anymore. The honesty is a definite sign of respect and thoughtfulness which I totally appreciate. What bothers me most is the fact that I know better and yet I let my heart lead the way instead of my head. I let myself get in deeper than I should have without a net even though I knew I would fall. All the signs were there, I just chose not to read them.

Some would argue that following your heart is a good thing and I agree, it can be a good thing. But only when heart and head agree. When heart and head are not in agreement then following your head is a better course of action. Trust me on this, even though it is a lesson I apparently haven't learned yet.

So, it's almost 3 am, and I'm left wondering what to say, how to respond, what's right and healthy for me, what I want and need and can handle. Wondering when it's going to be my turn and for the love of God what do I have to do to finally get it right? Wondering why I even bother any more. For real, what's the fucking point if you're only going to get hurt? Again. And those, my friends, are answers I simply don't have right now.

I feel like a cliche of myself or maybe just a cliche in general. I'm that single friend who no one can figure out why she's still single. The truth is? She can't figure it out either. Everyone, including her, knows she deserves the best and yet the best never seems to appear. Or when it does appear it's unavailable. Everyone sees what a good person she is, including her, and yet still, nothing. Or more accurately no one. It's like there's some sort of curse that she (I) hasn't (haven't) figured out how to remove yet.

I also feel like a child throwing a tantrum because the phrase "It's not fair" keeps running through my head. The rational/adult part of me answers the child with "life isn't fair, get used to it." And the child responds with "I want my mommy!" I think that about sums it up.

Deep down I know I'll be fine. I always am. I've been through enough crap (heartbreak) in my life to know that. I will always come out the other side better and stronger. I'm a fighter. Right now though, it hurts. It's an open wound and it motherfuckinghurts. And a raw, open wound coupled with being angry with yourself makes for an unpleasant mix of emotions. And lots of snotty tears. Which would be why I now sit in bed with my laptop (puffy eyes, a damp shirt sleeve, and a headache) instead of sleeping.

Maybe now though the dreams will stop. The dreams in which it was so obvious that a part of my life was out of control. I would love for the dreams to stop for a while. Even a day or two would be heaven. To be able to lose myself in a deep, dreamless sleep for hours and hours on end would be amazing.

You'll have to excuse me if I disappear for a while. I'm going to need some time to lick my wounds and get my head together. And probably wallow, because let's face it, I'm me and I will need to wallow. And over think. Because who am I kidding, I'm totally going to think this thing to death and then some. But who knows, maybe I won't disappear at all. I don't think I even know that right now. I don't know much of anything right now other than once again my gut, instinct and intuition were right. Once, just once, I would like them to be wrong about something like this. And, um, hey Universe? I asked, believed and received just like you're supposed to. Is there a money back guarantee if what you ordered in fact turns out to be unavailable?

I guess in the end it's true what "they" say, timing is everything. Too bad my time ran out before it even started. I'm not tagging this post with any labels. The folks who know what I'm talking about already know the labels it should have. I'm also not giving it any lyrics. Sometimes, I just have to speak for myself.

And in the end I'm glad I asked the questions. In the end I'm glad I stood up for me. Glad I looked out for myself. I should have done it weeks ago. But at least I did it. Which, for me, is progress. And I suppose if there can be a silver lining, that's it.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Six degrees of...

Recently I've been doing a lot of reminiscing and thinking about times long since passed. It's fun to remember the good things and it's also good to remember the bad and see how far you've come since those days (I have come a long way that's for sure!).

Today at work I had the most random memory. I'm not even sure what prompted it and I can usually trace these things back to something, some sort of trigger, but not today. And this memory is in no way related to anything I've been reminiscing about or pondering recently.

Anyway, today at work I randomly remembered Tyler. Back in 2002 Ms. Ex and I decided it was time to get a dog. We each spent hours and hours and hours combing through the dogs available for adoption on Petfinder. We knew we wanted to rescue rather than buy from a petstore or breeder and we agreed that we wanted a smaller dog rather than a huge dog. I'd never had a dog before. In fact until I was in my early 20s I was scared of dogs. Getting bit in the face by a dog when you're three will do that to you I suppose.

After a ridiculous number of hours combing through all the dogs within like a billion mile radius of where we were living at the time Ms. Ex finally found one she really wanted to see. His name was Tyler and he was at a no kill shelter about two hours from home and a bit over an hour from my parents house. I forget exactly how it all went down, but somehow we arranged a visit to the shelter and a visit to my parents for the same weekend.

Ms. Ex had grown up with a Welsh Terrier and really wanted another terrier type dog and Tyler definitely fit that bill even though he was a mix (a very cute mix, I'll give you that).

When we got to the shelter we were told we'd need to drive down the road to the house of the woman who ran the place because that's where Tyler was being kept. So, we got back in the car and followed her out the driveway only to have her pull over not too far down the road. She got out and walked over into the horse pasture across the road. Confused we sort of sat there until she walked back over to our car and asked us to please help her contain the horses while she went to get some wood to fix the broken fence.

Yes, that's right we stood in a horse pasture for an hour while waiting for her to get the materials and people to help her fix the fence. Because really, that's what we were there for and that's what you ask two complete fucking strangers to do on your way to seeing a dog they want to adopt. But stand there we did, bewildered the entire time.

After that detour we drove to her house where she was keeping god knows how many dogs in the garage. She led us around the back to her fenced in yard and asked us to wait while she got Tyler. A couple minutes later the door opened and out shot this small white ball of fur who proceeded to race around the yard. I bent down to try to pet him and he promptly leapt up and bit me square on the chin. He didn't break the skin thankfully.

We visited with him for a few minutes, but I'd already made up my mind this was definitely NOT the dog for me. He was far too hyper. And besides that he BIT me. I think the woman knew we wouldn't be taking him and she asked us to come see one other dog before we left. We agreed to humor her so back in our cars we got to drive back to the shelter to see this other dog. The one she thought would be far more suited to us.

When we got there she walked us past the goats and the pot belly pigs to the outdoor runs next to the cat house (literally a brick house which was home to all the stray cats). As we walked up we saw this small, mostly black dog climbing the fencing of her run. This was Joanie. This was the dog that the woman wanted us to see. I was already convinced this visit wasn't going to go well either. The woman leashed her up and led her out of the run and we all went to sit on the front steps of the cat house. Joanie sealed her fate then by sitting next to me and leaning her entire body gently against me before licking my ear.

Joanie had been rescued from a high kill shelter in West Virginia. She wasn't scheduled to be on the transport that brought her up to New York, but the volunteer who was pulling dogs managed to squeeze her in. She only had a few hours left to live and they just couldn't leave her there.

It was weeks before we were able to finally go get Joanie and bring her home with us. I won't go into those details, but this woman did not make it easy on us. At all. I won't speak ill of the dead, but I wonder if there might have been some hoarding tendencies there.

This is one of my favorite pictures of Joanie. She so loved her monkey toy.

Joanie was my first dog and as much as I wanted a dog it was a difficult adjustment for me. When she first came to live with us she loved to chew on my arms. I didn't particularly enjoy that. She wasn't trained in any way shape or form. She was head strong and stubborn (very much like both Ms. Ex and I in that regard). But we figured it out eventually and even though she ate my Aurora Shoes I still loved her.

I'm not sure when it was or how long it might have been after we adopted Joanie that I found out who had adopted Tyler, the dog who bit my chin upon first meeting me. Normally this wouldn't make for any story what so ever. Dogs get adopted into loving families all the time. Maybe it's your neighbor or the family two streets over or your coworker. Usually it's no one special.

Tyler though, he got a special family. He was adopted by Matchbox Twenty front man Rob Thomas and his wife Marisol. And this was the random memory I had today at work, Tyler biting me on the chin and how he then went on to live with a rock star. I spent a few minutes on Google during my lunch and discovered that Tyler went to the Rainbow Bridge last November. He'd been diagnosed with cancer in the summer and lived just as long as the doctors predicted he would.

I'm sad for the Thomas's and their loss, but I'm happy that Tyler got to have such an amazing seven years with them. Even if he did bite me on the chin. Every dog deserves to be adored by their humans.

Joanie lives with Ms. Ex now. I do miss her at times and wonder how she's doing (she has hip dysplasia and had surgeries on both knees after tearing the cruciate ligament in each of them), but my Maggie has my heart and soul (why yes I AM a crazy dog lady, how nice of you to notice). And though you might think splitting up the animals (who were our children) would have been one of the most difficult things that happened during the great breakup of 2006 through 2007 you'd be wrong. I was relieved when Ms. Ex said she wanted Joanie. I knew they were right for each other and that Maggie needed my care.

So, that's my story. And that's how I can connect myself to Rob Thomas in one move while playing Six Degrees of Kevin Bacon. I can also connect myself in one move to John Meyer and Ani DiFranco, but those are through humans, not dogs.

No song tonight. Instead, if you have a dog (or a cat or bird or iguana or whatever) go give it some love and affection. Poor Maggie and the boys are about to get accosted. I hope they know what they're in for!