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Archive for the ‘I wanna’ Category

Falling in love is so hard on the knees.
~Aerosmith

Given the rocky road all my romantic relationship paths have morphed into, often ending up in a screaming careening off a cliff into the abyss and crashing upon crags of whatthefuckhappenedthistime, this article titled, “Relationship Advice: Want a Sustainable Romance? Here’s the First Step”, got a read out of me this morning and assigns a bit of homework.

This post is about a frequently overlooked first step towards a sustainable relationship with your current or future partner. Couples I’ve worked with find it helpful because it builds the self-reflection and self-awareness you need for growing and evolving yourself in your relationship capacities. I call this first step doing a “Relationship Inventory.” With it, you can review, understand and learn from your past relationships. Then you can face forward with greater clarity and capacity for creating and sustaining emotional and sexual intimacy in the present and future.

Begin by making a list of all your significant romantic relationships. For each, reflect on and write down what attracted you to that person and why, at that particular time of your life.

Ack! This might take a while, but since I do still hold out hope for a “sustainable relationship” somewhere in my future it seems worth the time and effort, but I’ll keep my list of “significant romantic relationships” to myself, thankyouverymuch.

First things first, and that will be defining “significant”. I suppose I could set a minimum time commitment, but that would include some whose impact was negligible even with a bit of longevity and ignore a few who made a huge difference in a short time. Most miserable subsequent heartache could be a qualifier, as well as most joyful moments, although those could go hand-in-hand. Prompters of life changes make the list, of course, as well as those who set me off to thinking in different directions, and men who pop into mind a lot go higher than those whose names I struggle to recall.

Okay …

First for pondering is: What was the pull?

What qualities of that person attracted you to him or her? Why did those qualities attract you in the first place? Be honest, regardless of how you might feel about those traits today. Consider what role your life circumstances played in the attraction were at the time, including your emotional state and needs. Describe your level of emotional development and awareness at the time of each of those relationships.

Hm.

Considering the fact that the first romantic relationship I had involved being handed a ring at the age of seven, there’s bound to be some differences in my level of emotional development and awareness.

Since I still have the ring and remember the boy’s name, he has to head the list, and the pull is still obvious to me: he was cute, thought I was wonderful, and he owned a horse.

Over the years my parameters have shifted, and I’ll have to give a lot of thought to why I invested myself in men who weren’t so cute, were not so convinced of my wonderfulness and didn’t even own a bloody car.

Also, reflect on how your parents’ relationship impacted you, in terms of the model they exposed you to of how couples relate.

The model my parents exposed? OMG! No wonder I’ve been doomed to infidelities, narcissists and multiple divorces. I don’t think I even want to go there, actually, but I suppose I must if I’m to learn about myself through this pop quiz. Fine.

Next step: Then what happened?

Write a paragraph or two describing what you think happened during the course of the relationship that led to its ending. Of course, you’re looking back from today’s vantage point, but try to portray an unvarnished story of what happened, and why. Describe, without assigning blame.

Easy enough in some cases; not so in others. And I’m not just talking the not assigning blame thing. I’m more than willing to shoulder my part of any breakup and admit where I’ve fallen from the path.

Some relationships exploded, some imploded, some simply fizzled out. Some I outgrew, some were jettisoned for damned good reasons, some I hung on to by my bloody fingernails until there was nothing left to grasp. Some ended suddenly and completely, some lingered for years; some resulted in deep friendship, a very few in a lasting rage. Some I was happy to see the back of, some I miss to this day.

There were relationships begun with the writing large on the wall spelling out clearly: This won’t last! Others started in a climate of hopeful anticipation of happy-ever-after. Some could have been perfect … if only one or two things had been just a bit different.

I am not an easy woman in the get-along-with-for-a-long-time sense of the word. I can be demanding, expecting the best of those in my life and pushing for excellence. I know this can be wearying. I am also moody, stubborn, opinionated, insecure, needy and I don’t cook, so no picnic for anyone on a long-term basis. I have very little tolerance for soothing male egos out of some traditional mandate to do so and figure a guy should be able to take a bit of constructive criticism without feeling the need to run out and find some bolstering from peripheral women to make up for it. I take commitment seriously and brook no betrayal and am far too honest to take kindly to lies.

All this, I know, does not add up to a pleasant package for some, and the fact that I’ll walk away rather than stick with something that feels slimy has put the kibosh on more than one partnership.

So, moving right along to: What did you learn?

Next, write down what you think you learned about yourself from each of those relationships that ended. Include what you think you recognized at the time as your blind spots, your own behavior or unexpressed feelings that might have contributed to the failure or to prolonging the relationship when it would have been healthier to end it sooner. Did you apply what you learned in your next relationship, or did you repeat the same things, despite what you thought you learned?

See above … but it’s double-barreled when it comes to that failure vs/ prolonging thing. The difference between dragging a dead relationship and working through issues is not always clear, a distinction made more difficult when the horse continues to be flogged on a regular basis. As I’ve written before, hope flings infernos, and sometimes I apparently like the heat.

As for blind spots … well, I really like men and that seems to fuck with impartiality in a big way. My taste also tends toward confident men, and it’s often not until some time has passed that the confidence proves itself to be a mask for insecurity and a compensatory illusion, more flash than substance and a defense that can eventually prove offensive.

Next: What didn’t you learn?

Reflect on what you now realize you didn’t learn about yourself in each relationship that would have been helpful to your growth and to your next relationship. Or, what you could have learned from the relationship that ended that would have helped you grow your relationship capacity if you had been more self-aware at the time?

Much omphaloskepsis happens with this step, an ongoing process throughout life. Since even the stuff I have learned has yet to be completely integrated … things like dealing with the fact that I don’t like being alone, my needs for touch and comfort and sex and someone to care for … self-awareness doesn’t always seem the issue.

My “next relationships” have been sometimes based on finding someone who is sans the specific issues of the last relationships, so while my list of what I don’t want gets longer, I may not be paying enough attention to what I DO want.

I also suspect I’ll again give my heart too freely, and I really should have learned that lesson by now.

And finally: What happens now?

How can you use what you’ve discovered from the Relationship Inventory in your present life, as you go forward in your current — or next — relationship? For example, can you describe the kind of personality, emotional qualities, life vision, values or “vibes” that mesh well with your own; that promote connection and positive energy between the two of you?

I can, yes. What I can’t yet do … and perhaps I’ll spend more time with this inventory … is alter the idea that it will still come down to passion, chemistry, connection, fire, and that may mean I’m doomed.

There’s a lesson in that, though, and one I may have to accept. Since I have so few regrets when it comes to past relationships … they were what there were, for better and for worse … it’s hard for me to imagine turning down many had I been armed with this inventory.

I’m thinking back to my first husband, a man I married when I was 17 … he was 19 … and wonder what my life would have been like if we’d managed to stick that one out. We would have celebrated our 42nd wedding anniversary a few weeks back and there would be years of history shared, kids, life intertwined. We’d be growing old together, companions, and he is still very cute.

That, however, was not a path I was given to walk, and although I’m rather tired of ending up at Lover’s Leap and DO hope to get it right one of these days, I’m not convinced I’ve learned enough yet on love and life and men and myself to pull that off yet.

Is it unreasonable at my age to still find myself wanting a knight in shining armor I can baby?

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Apologies for this convoluted mess of a post. I’m processing, and that’s not a tidy endeavor, so this thing is all over the place …

Being a reader and a writer, I suppose it makes sense that I often think of life in terms of books.

One of my favorite images, developed when I was a kid and honed over the years, is of internal libraries we each carry with us; volume after volume of stories lining endless shelves and constantly being added to. The history section grows as we age, as does general knowledge and reference works, and although some are better than others at retrieving info we know is there, just about everyone is aware of the fact that dusty corners hold stuff we haven’t bothered to look at in a very long time.

I use my library as an aid to meditation and often find illumination for troubling issues while wandering the stacks. There’s an entire section with nothing but numbers on the spines … all in Roman numerals. (I don’t know why, but that’s what it is.) The first is marked “I” and I can trail my finger along … V, X, XXV, XXXIII, XL, L … and stop where it feels right. Each book is a rough accounting of one year of my life, yet none are finished but have blank pages interspersed throughout since many of the yarns have yet to complete their weaving.

The library itself is inside a book inside my head, but much like reading on my iPad, I have no idea how thick this book might be. I know I’m a good way through, but just how far from The End, I can’t see. It could very well be that the next turn of the page is the last … or perhaps there are still quite a few chapters.

I might sketch notes in the corners if I could get to those pages by somehow jumping ahead — they are fairly blank, after all — but thumbing forward is futile and ends up heading back through chapters on history. That’s not a bad thing. Not at all. In fact, filling in gaps can be quite helpful even without knowing how it all ends.

One rule of fiction writing dictates everything included in a story must either reveal character or advance plot. Interestingly, reads back through my book seem to indicate that rule was followed even though at the time it seemed either nothing was happening or what happened was scripted by the William S. Burroughs school of writing. Oh, those not-so-lovely Deus ex Machina moments that make no sense at all … the shit asteroids falling from a clear, blue sky … the people popping up seemingly out of left field and tagging up … the bright, shiny objects floating into the path and compelling me to follow.

Yep, those WTF moments, the where-the-hell-did-that-come-from issues … when looking back in the Big Book of Sandra I do get the idea that all these shredded threads actually unspool from a source and following the fragments is possible. Some of it even makes sense when looking at it backwards, or if not sense at least symmetry. After all, I’m where I am now and getting here is what the story’s been about … so far.

As a new year begins, the image of blank pages ready for filling presents, but I’m not writing my life, just living it. It’s not me setting the scene but the sea and the clouds and the blue sky above, the bird chirps, the sound of the dog’s leg tapping along in time to her scratching happening with no need to be described … it all just is.

I can’t write others’ actions or reactions. I can’t build a character who loves me enough, never lets me down or saves the day. It’s not for me to calculate another’s trajectory and where it intersects mine. I can want to, but I can’t DO it. No. What is, is.

What also “is” is the part I can’t know — the part composing on its own. Are we coming toward an unexpected plot twist? A lottery win? The death of a loved one? Someone wonderful about to enter stage right? Cancer? A job offer? A heart attack?

Any or all of that could be part of the plot … well, not the lottery thing, since apparently you have to actually buy tickets and I don’t … and if I die tonight, my book is done and I’ll be filed away in the libraries of those who know me, but will continue to fill pages in others’ books … cross-references are a huge part of the life of Life books and parts of my story will continue to be included in the story of others for a while.

My volume varies in size from library to library … much thicker in my grown daughter’s than in Cj’s, for example … and there will be many different versions of my story. The version I have access to now will never be read by anyone, so no one will ever know the me of me that I know, just as I can’t know the them of any of them. Our stories are not only unique, they are forever beyond the comprehension of anyone, even ourselves; unfathomable biographies covering millions of seconds, each leading to the next until they stop doing that.

And there will be rewrites, some kind, some less so, but all tailored to fit the edition to the library hosting.

If I could write the rest of my life, I would end the book for MMX with ” … and she lived happily ever after to the end of her days”, then start on a new one with an outline for just how that would unfold making sure there were many, many pages left for all the great stories about to commence. For all I know, however, it’s already written, and perhaps that is how it goes. Maybe I do live happily ever after. Maybe all the carefully composed outlines have forged themselves in some sort of unassailable form that MUST be followed. Maybe. For now, though, all I can do is look forward to the read … and the ride.

For all who’d like to take a look,
my life is but an open book.

But please, I beg you, all my friends,
some word if you know how it ends.

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Today’s post is an exercise prompted by this article by “performance improvement consultant” Russell Bishop, and no doubt tied into the febrile state I’ve been experiencing for the last few days, the goal being to examine my list of want as this year rounds out and another approaches.

As 2010 comes to a close and we move through the holidays on our way to a new year with new resolutions and new goals, it occurs to me that we might all benefit from taking some time now to take stock of what we truly want out of life as opposed to what we seem to be settling for.

Want. Instead of ‘settle for’. Hm.

I clearly recall this time last year when top of my Want Parade was to have 2010 be a better year than was 2009; not too tough an agenda as long as no child of mine dies in that twelve-month span. (So far, so great!)

Of course, that wasn’t the only parameter I set for gauging “better”, just the most vital. I also wanted happiness, security, a bit of fun, some interesting work, few conflicts, a dearth of of incoming shit … stuff like that … most of which had a specific focus at the time.

Well … the year is about over now, so how did I do?

I had some happiness, occasionally felt secure, laughed a lot, worked a lot, had a few conflicts and some incoming shit, but nothing I needed to build a monument out of. Comme ci, comme ça, heh?

It occurs to me this morning that one want for the day is for Cj to get over her fever and for mine to abate, as well. If either or both of those things happen, I get what I want. Cool.

And isn’t that how want happens? It is in my world, since long-range wantings are too often smacked out of the reality ballpark by batters I can’t see swinging, so what’s the point of keeping my eye on those balls?

When I was seven I wanted two things more than anything I’d wanted before: a bike and a horse. I wanted a horse so badly that my Catholic-trained mind did hefty bargaining over it and left me questioning the whole point of prayer, but the bike was waiting under the Christmas tree.

I loved that bike right up to the point months later it proved the cause for a leg-mangling I bear the scars from to this day, but the joy of that Christmas morning scores high on my memory chart.

The point of the article, however, is ‘life goals’, which should ride a different scale than childhood lustings after toys, right?

In the course of my life’s work, I have asked literally thousands of people some version of the what-do-you-want question. For the most part, people tend to list all kinds of things they want. Cars, houses, money, and toys of all sorts frequently come to mind for most individuals. All pretty understandable, really.

Really.

Although my list has included a car that runs, and selling my house will be great when it happens … a holiday would be nice, too … I don’t consider these ‘life goals’. Next Year goals, sure, but like the bike, once gained, Want done.

Okay, this guy apparently makes his living helping people move up executive ladders where a car is a rung, a house is a rung, a holiday is a rung, and he does make that point:

If your focus on what you want is more on physical possessions, then at least you have some guidance about how to choose: which fork is more likely to lead to the job, house, car, or money? However, if what you truly want is found more in the quality of experience than the quantity of possessions, then you need to make certain that you are thinking about the experiences you seek and not just the possessions you could accumulate.

There is little doubt that the ‘quality of experience’ can be made much more attainable with a roof over the head, a car that starts when it’s supposed to, food enough, and all of what some of us are lucky enough to consider basics.

In the grand scheme I want: world peace; an end to hunger; corruption, stupidity and greed to fall by some wayside and rot; that beamy-uppy thing from Star Trek; non-fat sugarless Butter Pecan ice cream; and for me and those I love, happily ever after.

In the less-grand scheme, I want to finish the book I’m working on, my land to sell so I can live closer to town and a date for New Years Eve.

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Not bad for an old broad ...

We turn not older with years, but newer every day. ~ Emily Dickinson

Some time back while perusing facebook, I came across a status update from a friend whose grandfather had just celebrated his 90-something birthday. In the comments it was asked if he’d spoken of any regrets he might carry from his many years of life. The answer went something like this:

The one thing I regret most is having felt old in my 50s and 60s. I wasted those decades because I had convinced myself that I was too old to enjoy them in many of the ways I well could have.

Of course!

To someone close to hitting 100, 50 is a kid only half way through, and with 50 more years on offer.

Although there is little to no chance I’ll ever get anywhere near 100, I’ve incorporated this man’s thinking and keep the words of Mark Twain handy:

Age is an issue of mind over matter. If you don’t mind, it doesn’t matter.

And the fact is, I don’t mind. I don’t mind my age … I’m really crap with numbers, and like Erma Bombeck, “As a graduate of the Zsa Zsa Gabor School of Creative mathematics, I honestly do not know how old I am”, and in dog years, I’m dead …. and I don’t mind the ages of the people in my life. I don’t mind that my youngest child is 5 and that my oldest is 41 or that my last boyfriend is 39 or that some of my friends are in their 70s and others are in their 20s. I don’t mind that my mother is close to 80 … although I wish she was more comfortable.

I do mind that my son died at 38, my father at 69 and the boy I could have grown old with at 19.

As that prolific sage, Anon, once said:

Do not regret growing older. It is a privilege denied to many.

No. I don’t regret my years. In fact, there are few minutes that ring the regret bell for me.

I do, however, fear senectitude … not the numbers, but the toll … much more than I fear death, although both come in the natural order of things.

It is old age, rather than death, that is to be contrasted with life. Old age is life’s parody, whereas death transforms life into a destiny: in a way it preserves it by giving it the absolute dimension. Death does away with time.
~ Simone de Beauvoir

But I’m not there yet … neither destination … and although I’m faced daily with the evidence of my own personal senescence, I can still ignore much of it, so I do. I wear what I damned well please, parent little kids, dance with whomever I like, talk too much, sing loud, add tattoos to my collection, do tequila shots, take my top off at the beach … whateverthefuck I want to do, I do.

There is no pleasure worth forgoing just for an extra three years in the geriatric ward. ~ John Mortimer

No shit.

Given that I’m single again, I have been giving some thought to just how many years of cute I have left in me, so was encouraged by an article in the news today that showed Jane Fonda, 72, and Raquel Welsh, 70, looking and obviously feeling good.

Despite their combined age of 142, Jane Fonda and Raquel Welch were still turning heads as they appeared together at a charity event in Beverly Hills.

Okay … it sucks that men get away with this all the time without anyone making a big deal of their age (Did anyone ever think Cary Grant at 70 or Gregory Peck at 84 looked anything but hot?), but this is Planet Earth in 2010, so I live with it.

I know people decades younger who are too old for me … lackluster, boring twits with little imagination and no curiosity, wastes of space and youth … and that’s depressing as hell. Thoreau was too right when he said, “None are so old as those who have outlived enthusiasm.”

Anyone who stops learning is old, whether at twenty or eighty. ~ Henry Ford

I know that timing has been lucky for me. I’m a Boomer and people have been talkin’ ’bout my generation for decades. I’m aging along with the likes of Keith Richards, although he has years on me, as he wades back through his foggy past and reminds us all what a fuckin’ good time we’ve had … and how much fun we’re still having.

And because my generation has buying power, marketing is finally setting out to make us feel pretty … after all, we’re neither blind, nor stupid, so do know that what hugs a 20-year-old ass won’t ride quite the same on one that’s been ridden longer … and models in their 40s, 50s and 60s are making the point of beauty beyond presumed boundaries well.

‘It’s been really fulfilling to create shots that celebrate the wonder of getting older.
‘It’s important to challenge what we see in our media with a broader reflection of beauty.
‘Enjoy the magic of these women, their confidence, their attitudes and their allure.
‘These wonderful faces express the joy of getting older – not something we see enough of.’

Would I turn back the clock if I could? Nah, although I’m not opposed to a bit of the old nip and tuck to make it look like the calendar missed a few pages and may go that route someday. I see nothing wrong with someone opting for a trade-in on a new set of tits or less eye baggage. I, like Oscar Wilde, do have limits, however:

To get back my youth I would do anything in the world, except take exercise, get up early, or be respectable.

As Brigette Bardot so aptly put it: It’s sad to grow old, but nice to ripen.

Yes … I’m ripening, and I’m okay with that. What was once firm isn’t so much now, my hair has less brown in it daily and I don’t shake off a hangover with anywhere near the ease I did a few years ago, but I’m still here and I’m still cute and I’m smarter than I used to be. And I have a good bloody time.

Unless I’m lucky enough to have death sneak up and bite me on the ass, the day will come, however, when I’ll wake up one morning and know I’m old. I’m hoping it will be a false alarm:

There is always some specific moment when we realize our youth is gone; but years after, we know it was much later. ~Mignon McLaughlin

Call me delusional, but I’ve not yet experienced that “specific moment” and I plan on putting that off as long as I can. After all …

How old would you be if you didn’t know how old you were?
~Satchel Paige

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In less than a week, I’ll be horrified by celebrating my birthday, and although for many this is justanotherday, it’s a big fucking deal to me. After all, don’t we all deserve at least one day out of every 365 to indulge and be indulged?

That’s the theory.

As a gift to myself, I’ve indulged in a bit more body art, as nothing says birthday like new tattoos as one heads into senectitude … or something.

Sam has already presented me with a lovely card, and Cj has promised to rub my back for five minutes on the day, gestures well appreciated and counted amongst my blessings.

For the most part, however, this year’s reality involves unrealized plans and hopes that my next year see things working out a bit more favorably.

Anyone with a better idea is more than welcome to offer it …

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For last year’s words belong to last year’s language And next year’s words await another voice. And to make an end is to make a beginning. ~T.S. Eliot

If there’s one thing the past couple of years have taught me, it would be to never assume things can’t get worse. They can. They do. And 2009 stands as an example of just how faulty my thinking was at the dawning of this year.

To say that I approach the closing of this admittedly arbitrary bunching of days with some sense of relief would be accurate, although no little trepidation accompanies the heralding of 2010.

Much like an attempt at herding hyenas, I formulate plans, well aware that so few factors lie within my control … or even influence … and try to prepare for contingencies that range beyond the boundaries of the comfortably conceivable all the way into OMG!-if-that-happens-I-won’t-make-it-this-time territory.

At the same time, I take onboard frequent admonitions to think positively, to take the bull-of-the-future by the horns and wrestle it into submission, in the hope that thoughts are things and we can create our own reality.

With that in mind, I’m dwelling at length on options I do have and taking T.S. Eliot’s words to heart. The whole “to make an end is to make a beginning” resonates and puts a spin on endings I can warm to.

With this holiday season being about as dreary and miserable as I can take, a determination to form a 2010 that will close to a more upbeat finale has formed, and it’s very likely that to begin that ending I may have to stamp “DONE” to quite a few aspects of my present, stop listening to “last year’s words” and await another voice.

Life is, however, a process and 365 days of the coming year will toss a lot of flotsam into whatever pool I manage to dam up. Some will float and some will sink and some may even be fun to play with for a while. My job now is to clear the debris and find somewhere to stand that won’t have me constantly treading water.

Now if I can just stop with the metaphors …

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Please click here to fill out a few little boxes that may lead me out of some of my cluelessness …

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