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Archive for the ‘NaBloPoMo’ 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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"Democratic" Republic of Congo © BBCGetting back into writing on issues of the world’s children, I’m struck this morning by a story the BBC is running today on the present state of affairs in the euphemistically named Democratic Republic of Congo.

Anyone who has been paying any attention at all is aware that, like the ongoing situation in Sudan, the DRC is a mess in large areas of the country and has been for years.

Of course, the children get the short end of the stick … or the sharp end, as is very often the case … and if you can stomach it, you can watch a vid on the page that illustrates the point.

This is NOT news … well, not to me. But it does seem to come as a surprise … surprise, surprise … to the UN.

Good old Ban Ki-moon is doing the usual Sec. Gen. tap dance thing of announcing a report … 28 pages of a report … that expresses concern.

Big whip! And SO too little and too late.

In his 28-page report for the UN Security Council, Mr Ban says the human rights situation in DR Congo is a “cause for grave concern”.

He states that elements of the Congolese army and national police “were responsible for a large number of serious human rights violations during the reporting period, namely arbitrary executions, rape, torture and cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment”.

Rebels, including Gen Nkunda’s Tutsi CNDP and the Rwandan Hutu FDLR militia – some of whose fighters are believed to have taken part in the 1994 Rwandan genocide – are meanwhile accused of perpetrating “serious human rights abuses with impunity”.

These include “mass killings, torture, abductions, forced recruitment of children, forced displacement and destruction of [refugee] camps, force labour, sexual violence”, the report adds.

The Congolese national civilian and military intelligence services are also accused of making arbitrary arrests, followed by “torture and extortion”.

Do I hear a “duh” resounding?

The Security Council did just approve sending another 3,000 “peacekeepers” to an area that has seen somewhere around a quarter of a million people displaced … no one knows how many are dead, so don’t need to bother with becoming refugees … so, gee, that should make a big diff. Or not.

Once again, I’m forced to harp on the useless of the UN and wonder how many children who have been orphaned, tortured, raped, pressed into soldiering, prostitution, starvation or other horrors most would rather not think about.

I’ll also drop in a bit about the impossibility of offering any of these children a family while I again wonder about the segment of the world that considers international adoption a bad thing … cultural genocide that robs a child of their birthright to die in the country that bred them.

Gee. Why is this a one-note song?

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Kim (South Africa), Sam (Cambodia/Seychelles/UK), Calina (France) ... all together on my couch.

Kim (South Africa), Sam (Cambodia/Seychelles/UK), Calina (France) ... all together on my couch.

As seen in yesterday’s post, we celebrated Sam’s 6th birthday with a party on my veranda. I’m prompted by the event to wax on about life in the greater world … the world that includes other countries, cultures and concepts.

Not only did we have people from Seychelles, Cambodia, the US, the UK, Norway and Australia here, Sam also received birthday greetings … via Skype, facebook and emails from a whole bunch of folks in America, Sis … New Zealand-born, now living near Portland, OR … Sas and Miss B … born in India … in Luxembourg, Liv-Synnove in Norway, Calum in Kenya, Nadiera in Sri Lanka, Mervyn in China, Clint in Lebanon, Oscar in Finland, and friends living here from France, South Africa, and so on.

The fact that the world is small should be an easy one for all to take onboard, but one that appears to elude far too many on this tiny, interconnected planet. Our differences pale in comparison to our similarities, yet seem to get most of the focus outside social networks like facebook and myspace, and blogs, where people tend to go to look for like-minded folks to share with.

We’re a simple species, apparently, and although we can conceive the most amazing ideas and birth creatures that bring us together in ways unimaginable just a few years ago, we tend to lose the plot more than we follow.

I can only hope that the closeness that happens when people from so many different places and backgrounds communicate … I’m not talking about the pinheaded fools who try to turn chat to porn every chance they get — boring, stupid gits, they are — but those who build bridges and lifelong friendships with people they never would have had a chance to know before the world shrunk … will eventually make a huge difference for the positive and lead us away from our base nature and move us into a new realm where we are happier to share hugs than lob grenades.

And send birthday wishes to a little boy in Seychelles.

Cool.

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Sam’s birthday was on the 10th, but that fell during his time with his dad, so we decided to do a birthday redo today, the first weekend home again.

I have to admit that the day had a tang of the bittersweet for me, and I suffered with that taste in the back of my throat through the morning. Not only did I navigate the first family celebration as a single parent since Jenn and Jaren were young, I also did my first non-spontaneous party, meaning that the tag-team Mark and Sandra show was obvious in its absence. The dance that we choreographed over 15 years that had him doing the food while I did drinks and entertainment was today a pas de one … a difference, a change to be recognized, new steps to be learned.

Stick today on top of the mountain that is Thanksgiving looming … my favorite holiday that has me bumming myself out every year I’ve lived so far from my original family … and, well, it’s the Blues grabbing me by the heart and tugging.

Had a good cry while Skyping with Sis, then sucked it up and made the day fun and love-and-laugh filled. Friends gathered. Kids played. Magnar manned the BBQ. Stan toted and tidied. A good time was had by all.

Tried to load a vid, but it won’t work. There are photos on my facebook page, though.

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Just can’t resist posting this …

And when I go back to Paradise FM next year, this may be my theme song …

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I got my new car today.

That may sound like an easy thing to those who don’t live on an island in the middle of nowhere, but here it’s quite the feat. Won’t go into details and tremendous costs for a vehicle that in the rest of the world would be considered reasonable, but will say that I like it.

One biggie about it is that it represents another severing from Mark. We no longer have a car as bait for bitching. He has the company car … a French piece of shit with windows that pop out and wing mirrors that haven’t worked for 3 years … so less shit to toss at me as ammo.

I now have a cute little zippy number that is all mine.

Plus, it has a great music system that lets me blast out “low down, cheatin’, lyin’ man” country music at full blast … and I’m belting out tunes all the way up La Misere and down Les Canelles. (Rock on, Reba. Take it, Tammy!)

Goodie.

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I had so many comments … both on the blog and privately … on yesterday’s post that I reckon some addressing is due.

First, I’d like to thank everyone who has voiced the opinion that my voice is still valid in the adoption world. That is tremendously encouraging. The fact that even Coco lent encouragement is huge for me … thank you, Coco … and I’ll tell you why.

The online adoption community is notoriously fractious, and in my years of writing on the subject I have made no few enemies … some who have taken their level of vitriol so far beyond the realm of polite reason that mud blobs with my name on them stuck to the net will outlive me.

So much of this has felt counterproductive from the early days of my writing on the subject, and I refuse to pussyfoot my POV, as healthy debate has always seemed a good way to forge links that might eventually provide foundations for bridge building.

A conversation with Gershom, an adoptee who wrote what for all intents and purposes … and title … was anti-adoption, ended up in a dialog that encouraged everyone involved to participate in supporting the right of adoptees to their identity, and I’m pleased to say that she and I have developed respect for each other … a friendship, even

Coco and I also have had issues, but although we differ greatly in attitude, we have found the common ground and mutual respect that will eventually provide the only means to true reform that will protect those needing protection without cutting children needing families out of the equation completely.

Both of these relationships forged in fire where the inspiration behind the formation of Adoption Under One Roof, the community I helped found … then felt unworthy of continuing to contribute toward (although I hope and plan to reenter soon) … that was based on the idea of bringing all notes in the adoption triad together to learn to sing harmoniously, rather than harp on discord … or dis”chord”, as I think of it in these terms, “triad” also meaning a group of three notes on a chord, not simply opposing positions of those whose lives have been touched by adoption.

Of course, I also thank the adoptive moms that formed the backbone of my readership years back and continue to grow in numbers that form a protective circle around me as they close ranks and ‘get my back’.

And I’m pleased as anything to find new readers like Peter … an amazingly talented musician and writer with no adoption affiliation, as far as I know … adding his related experience to the mountain of support I find myself clinging to these days as I lurch my way up and out and toward the light that leads from the depths to the heights.

Thank you all.

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