42

Today is my birthday. I don’t much mind the birthday itself. I think 42 is going to be a fantastic age, and a grand year in almost all respects. 

A dear friend once told me his philosophy on life. He said life is like a pie. It’s cut into 6 or 8 pieces and all of those pieces represent different parts of your life. One piece is for joy & satisfaction from your children. Another is job satisfaction. Another is spiritual peace. Another is sex. And so on. One is romantic love: the satisfaction, joy, & contentment from knowing you love someone with your whole being & they unequivocally love you back. That you are their person. 

He contended that as long as most of the pieces of the pie were full or mostly full then that made up for the pieces that were only half full, or a quarter full. I think, though, there are some pieces that are WORTH more. That instead of being evenly divided the pie was lop-sided. That having only a quarter of a big piece was more impactful than a quarter of a smaller piece because then you still had more of the whole. 

How much can we affect the value of each piece? Can I tell myself that I don’t need romantic love and convince myself to make that piece smaller? What about sex? Sure, I can get sex if I really want it but do I want to waste my joy & vulnerability on someone that I don’t have a heart connection with? No, I don’t. I think those two pieces are woven together tightly. They should be, at least. 

So as I sit here on my 42nd birthday, the year that will provide me the answer to life, the universe, and everything, I wonder what I can do to fill up my pie more in the other areas while lacking in the love & sex pieces. Because I don’t want to dither anymore. I don’t want to waste my time. I don’t want to keep hoping for what isn’t there. I’m 42. I’m strong. Dammit, I’m a badass. (At least I was told that once or twice). 

I’m not going to settle for less than I deserve. I’m not going to settle. Period. 

My darling dearest, you come at me with love, respect, and an open heart and I’ll be here. Until then, I’m going to rebuild, strengthen, and increase every other piece of my life until I am surrounded by peace & love & hard-earned prosperity. And then, my friend, you will wish you had me to hold. You will wish you saw this power radiating in me through your narrow vision before it was too late. I will not let you oppress me. 

I have it all within me. I just need to believe it, own it, and focus. I will not be swayed. 

This is 42. This is me. 

Xoxo,

Stef 

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Maybe love comes softly … or maybe not 

I hesitated to write this. I don’t share much about this and I beg my dear readers to understand that I’ve kept this close to me because at first it was nothing to talk about. But then it became dear to me and I held it close to keep it safe. Now? I don’t know. I need to write the words. It’s as safe as it can be, I think. 

But enough, Stef, wtf are you talking about? 

Real affection. Real caring. A tender heart. A longing for one. That’s what I’m talking about. But let me get there in my own fashion – 

My romantic life is becoming the only commonality among a lot of change at the moment. I actively participated in my semi-annual foray into online dating a few months ago. Boring in its predictability, I talked, texted, dated, and made some new friends but no new boyfriends. Nobody I could see myself with at family BBQ’s, or a cold Sunday night with a fire and feel-good movie. There’s either too much machismo, too much personality, too much selfishness, or too little sincerity, too little desire to be a part of something intimate, or too little maturity. Happily stopped after a month and came back to my status quo. 

I have been seeing a man off and on for quite some time. But it’s casual and he doesn’t want more. I want more. So we each, I believe, keep ourselves open to a relationship with someone else, but always come back to each other … for comfort? At first it was just fun. Exciting. Intense. Over the past couple years it has grown deeper, stronger, more intense, more comfortable. 

He says we aren’t compatible. He says he wants to be alone. He likes his loner lifestyle. I call bullshit. I think he just doesn’t want a relationship with me. 

But yet … when we’re together … I feel like the only woman on earth for him. He makes me feel that way with every caress, with every gentle shoulder kiss, and with every heartfelt, “you’re so beautiful,” as he stares into my eyes. I am transfixed. 

He’s become a regular sounding board & supporter too – in his purely unobtrusive, under the radar way. One night, laying together talking about our lives in post-coital bliss, I told him I had a big work thing coming where I had to give a presentation. Fast forward 10 days, I get this random text, the day after my presentation, “so how did it go?” He listens when I think he doesn’t. He notes it, all of it, and I think he feels more than he lets on. That’s my hope. 


Side note: why is communication so hard for men? Though I’ve dated quite a bit since my husband & I split, there have only been two men who really hit my true love & affection orbit, and neither were/are good communicators. I LOVE/LOVED THEM ANYWAY. One thoroughly broke my heart with nary an explanation (and I miss him, still, because I’m such a sad sack when I finally fall for someone), and now, this affectionate lover continues to crush the air out of me regularly … but then turns around and breathes in so much oxygen with one text, or one visit, that I’m high for days, weeks even. Nothing can touch the magic we weave when we are together. 

All in all, I’d rather have my non-communicator, part-time man, my sincere, mature, smart & clever man, my partner in secrecy, my half broken/half oxygen-high roller coaster man, than a full-time player who can’t take the time to learn & capture my heart. 

Ideally, though, I want him at my family BBQ. I want him by my side at the company party. I want him on a cold Sunday night with a fire and a feel-good movie (which I think he’d either bitch about or walk away, or both, but I’d like to know for certain). I want a try at something real with him. Maybe it will happen, maybe it won’t. 

Oh but my goodness … his kisses could melt the biggest glacier in all the land and I’m nothing but smitten by his touch. You can’t  easily walk away from that kind of fire. 


I’ve written about him a fair bit. I admit it’s been influenced by how I’m weathering the roller coaster at any given moment so it is decidedly indecisive: 

Addiction

I need you now, love

Dearest, give me what I crave

Hold me as I fly 

Taken, a haiku 

I’m the most single 

As single can be, taken

In my heart of hearts 


Stumbling 

Stumbling in drunken waves down the hall 

Flowing with sinewy grace, united 

I’m burning, a tinder igniting at your call

Longing, forever, but keeping it hidden

But you could love me, she said

Why would I do that? I’m a loner

Down, down the hall she lead 

Come, be with me, sweet lover

***

Ahhhhh, so raw, so bare … to you all. Please be gentle with me; sharing this is so hard. I am almost 42 and I have to say this feeling is as real now as when I was 17. The excitement, the flush of happiness … when I’m going to see him I’m fairly jumping out of my skin like I’m about to board Space Mountain. But he is my own private, personal roller coaster and I don’t want anyone else on this ride. 

Yours in resigned confusion and ecstatic excitement, xoxo

Stef 

I have cobwebs on my ceiling

Warning: expressive, explicit language. 

Sometimes I sit in my living room and look up at the cobwebs on my 20 foot ceilings and I think, man, I should clean that. I must be a terrible housekeeper. That must mean I sort of universally suck, right? Then I remember I don’t have a telescoping ladder and I feel even further defeated. How the fuck am I supposed to clean the ceiling now?

I recently fell in love with “Say Yes to the Dress (Atlanta).” Mostly it makes me laugh & smile, but sometimes … when the love is so real, so heartfelt … it makes me cry.

Sometimes the loneliness is palpable. And when the kids are gone, and some lady on tv is glowing with love, I think, man, is this it for me? Is this my life now? Alone, with dirty ceilings and no mechanism to make them better.

The boys have been with their dad all weekend. I miss their voices when they’re gone. I did have a lovely weekend, though, and I even had a date(ish thing) recently, but … then I get to Sunday night.

My house is quiet. My phone isn’t making the sounds I desire to hear. The walls are closing in. The cobwebs mock me. The full to bursting gutters, the hole in the wall, the loose faucet .… they haunt me. And I think, what am I doing? I can’t do this. I can’t manage this on my own. Then I remember that I AM actually alone, and likely will be for the rest of my life.

So this is what’s going through my head, and then it gets worse.

Because I’m short & chubby, with terrible legs and I snore, and my big boobs point down rather than out, and I’m stubborn and a control-freak and I always feel like I have to be right, and I have to do right, and live right, because if I screw up then I’m a fuck up and a failure.

So that’s what I am, right?

Because look at those damned cobwebs and my short, fat legs and how the fuck can I be good at anything if I can’t keep my ceiling clean? Nobody is going to love me. In fact, the man I thought could love me decided, nah, not going to do it. And why would he? I can’t even figure out how to clean the ceiling in my own house.

So it’s Sunday night and I’m folding laundry. I’m watching a miserably sappy movie about love, faith, and doing the right thing. I’m sad. And my phone is stubbornly fucking quiet and I think, you pathetic moron, what does it even fucking matter because your time has come and gone. Get used to this, fat ass. Fold your damn laundry and just focus on being a mom because you don’t deserve shit.

Then I turn on a recorded episode of “Say Yes to the Dress (Atlanta).” Lori & Monte are packing up to go to a bride’s home. That’s unusual. Then we get the story. The bride recently lost her 8 year old son to cancer. Her mother & family conspired to put together a wedding & surprise the bride with a dress. The family is still so deep in their grief. For their son, and grandson. The bride doesn’t feel like she has the right to be happy with her son gone.

Well don’t I feel like a jackass?  Sitting over here being a crybaby because of a hole in the wall (that can be fixed) or some full gutters (that can be emptied) or the fact that I feel universally unloveable (which ebbs & flows). But what is that in comparison? That’s nothing to her pain.

I have two amazing sons. I have a good, challenging job. I have a home, cobwebs & all, that keeps us warm & dry. I have my family & a few friends I love dearly. I wouldn’t trade what I have for all the clean ceilings in the world.

Sometimes life hands us these little reminders so that we will shut the hell up and stop brooding over what we can’t control. Just a little kick in the ass.

Know better; do better. (And buy a telescoping ladder).

Xoxo,

Stef

An Inspired Season

Inspiration is a funny thing. A snippet of overheard conversation, a picture or painting, a feeling from someone or something. I was inspired recently by several things and they are coalescing into something quite peaceful, I think. I hope.

Here are some examples:

A parents’ love for their child in the face of a difficult diagnosis, and the entire community/family supporting them.

IMG_1207.JPGPictures of Paris and the Eiffel Tower in the snow.

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I mother losing a battle but surrounded by the purest and most bountiful love as she transitions.

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Precious joy on a child’s face from the true spirit & belief in a magical Christmas.

Wonderful, generous donations of money, toys and food to help our fellow humans by wealthy philanthropists, police officers, and a regular ole Joe Schmo with a few bucks to spare if he cuts back his Starbucks intake.

IMG_1172.JPG Romance, recognized.

The pain of separation. The healing. The peacefulness that can come with acceptance & forgiveness.

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Songs that make me cry in the shower (currently: “I Choose You” by Sara Barielles); songs that make me dance in the shower (“Shake it off” anyone?)

IMG_1206.JPG An iconic tableau.

The hurt of betrayal. Whether my own or what some of my friends have been going through – that abject pain can be a beautiful thing as it transforms & heals the bearer into someone so much stronger. Like a Phoenix rising.

IMG_1146.JPG Silliness with Santa/Dad instead of pain and harsh words.

All these things have come to me. They’ve been hitting me the last couple of weeks, bam, bam, one after another. I’m not positive, but if I was a betting (wo)man, I’d say someone was trying to tell me something.

Inspire me.

Teach me a lesson about love, appreciation, gratitude, recognition of my blessings, love for humanity, and the necessary joy that comes with pure bliss. Help me realize that we, every single one of us, are in this thing together. We aren’t coming out alive so we better make the best of it, right?

Our lives are not perfect, nor are they intended to be. We’re humans – messy, emotional, prone to make mistakes humans. We love; we grieve. Sometimes we’re too scared and other times we leap.

The one lesson I have learned the most in my 39 years is that nothing, nothing, is black & white. We are walking opinions; we are brains & hearts & gut reactions. We are human paradoxical enigmas.

This Christmas I am trying my best to be kind. To be gentle. To have joy. To release stress. To be generous. To remember those less fortunate.

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May all the light & love from the spirit of Christmas be with you today and throughout this season, and beyond. If we could all be as kind in January, April, August & October as we are in December then I think we could maybe increase our collective gratitude & generosity for others. Just a thought.

XOXO,
Stef

For I am just human

For I am human,
She said, with sadness.
Hands twisting hands,
Confused, mad mess.

What do I know of this?
Tumbling, falling blindly;
Is it a swing and miss?
Broken, hands hang idly.

I was slow, she said,
I was unsure, scared.
It took time, she said,
With a push, I dared.

You’re human too;
Mistakes are made.
Forgive in lieu,
Of anger & pain.

But I need love, she said,
And you are a true man.
Attention, touch, she said,
For I am just human.

I get weak

Some of the things he writes make me weak and soppy and hopeful. No matter what, I don’t think I’ll ever stop being a romantic.

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I think this is from Moulin Rouge, but I didn’t realize it until I was trying to attribute the quote that was in my mind and looked it up:

The greatest thing you’ll learn is to love and be loved in return.

With love,
Stef

On Writing Blood

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Hemingway. HEMINGWAY. A man of unfettered passion. He lived his life fully, he wrote from his vast experiences; he dominated his life.

I was having a conversation with a friend last night about the poetry I write. I generally don’t share it because it is often intensely personal. I write it when I’m feeling strongly. I write it from experience or longing. I write it when I HAVE TO GET IT OUT.

Hemingway has a quote, “There is nothing to writing. All you do is sit down at a typewriter and bleed.” To which I say YES. YES.

I write from my heart. It’s not going to always make sense to somebody else. Sometimes it barely makes sense to me – these mutterings that sometimes only resemble coherent sentences – but they are the words that cascade from my heart, tripping through my brain and down through my finger tips.

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I want to live my life and feel every moment and then I want to write about it. Fully. I don’t want to apologize for the things I felt. I don’t want to hide what I felt and not be honest. I want to say this is what I did and, dammit, this is how it felt! And I’d do it again. Or I wouldn’t, because it hurt too damn much, but at least I felt something. I didn’t hide away and forget to live my life. I want to love and be loved. I want to feel and experience and when I’m 90 I want to say, boy, I can’t believe I did that but it sure was fun!

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I’m so practical. I’m so inhibited, most of the time. But I’m also such a romantic and I can be very creative – but I bury it. Because.

Because . . . why? I’m scared. Of doing the wrong thing. Of hurting others. I’m scared of judgement & condemnation.

I want to live without apology. Without guilt. Without worry. I want to LIVE. Why should I apologize for wanting to make the most of my life? To celebrate life? To love, to dance, to kiss. To have Wednesday afternoon dance parties with my sons. To have midnight walks with friends. To have adventures. Why should I apologize for that?

Ernest Hemingway Quote

 

Hemingway. I want to be Hemingway.

 

With love,

Stef

 

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Recent inspirations, part one

As with most people of my generation, I spend a good portion of my day online. Facebook, Tumblr, Twitter, Instagram – they are my daily companions. Not my only companions, of course, but my early morning, late night, midday break companions.

As I cruise around these sites I often find bits if inspiration. Lovely pictures, amazing words, things that I want to remember & feel for a long time to come. I generally save these to my phone to look at & weed through later, and I thought I’d share some of these with you:

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