Friday, October 30, 2009

Halloweens Past

Happy Friday, and day-before-Halloween.

2002 (or, I wasn't feeling particularly creative)



2008 (or, mommy didn't even ask and imposed her will on costume choice)



1982 (or, check out the awesome costume my aunt made me)



2007 (or, my burst of creativity on a zero budget)



2007, also (or, what a thrilled little bat!)



1984 (or, one of my most favorite costumes ever. The other was my mermaid one.)



Happy Halloween!

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Posted by Tere @ 10/30/2009   | | | links to this post

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

New

Time is messing with me. On any given day, I'll forget that this new dimension of our relationship is quite young. I forget because before this - this tenderness and affection and deeper sharing - there was a friendship where we communicated a lot and regularly hung out. And while back then it was that and nothing more, with no idea that it would blossom into this - this so sweet, so exciting, so hopeful - the truth, it is clear now, is that we were building something that in this new stage of our relationship has given us a sense of comfort and knowing that makes it feel like "we" may be new, but we have some good roots sown beneath us.

My memory of him does not go back just a couple of months; it goes back further, to all the personal things we've shared, the fun nights grabbing some drinks, the meals we relished, the adventures we took together, the times when a simple idea (i.e., "dinner") turned into hours and hours and hours of us talking, talking, talking. There are hundreds of email exchanges, and - at last count - well over 4,000 text messages between us. There are words, so many words - covering the mundane, gossiping, expressing hurt and anger and uncertainty and wonder and shock and giddiness.

There all these things - things that ultimately can't be quantified even as I try to do so here - that give me this sense that we are solid and further along, from a closeness/knowing each other perspective, than might otherwise be true of people who have been dating a couple of months. As Boyfriend himself has told me, "we" did not begin that night when everything changed between us.

And yet, this aspect of us essentially is new, because we don't fully know each other in this way, and very little time has passed, and we must learn to be a couple even as we've each been touched by loss and failure and ruin. I can't lie: I struggle to fully see myself as a girlfriend, as a partner, and don't really know how to do this. I know commitment and trust and intimacy, but I no longer know it in the context of something new. And in this newness there is apprehension, because there are pieces of the damage that remain, that jump up at me at times and fill me with worry.

Ah, that blasted damage. I could easily tell myself a lot of rational stuff about that damage, and how it was central to one (very, very messed up) individual; but the thing about the damage is that it went deep. It was too many years of hearing the same shit over and over, of being treated a certain way - and after a while, the damage won. I was utterly defeated when my marriage ended. I didn't believe shit of what my ex had devoted so many years to drilling into me, but the effects of those words and his treatment of me broke me. I've been shadowed - even as I've felt better and stronger and less stressed and more hopeful than I have in many, many years (possibly ever) - by that damage, and by this big, scary question: what if everyone else will always see me as he did? From there, it expands: what if I'm silently being judged? what if I'm undesirable? what if I'm too talkative, too bossy, too boring? what if I'm unlovable because my house is a mess? what if I'm not interesting enough, or my interests are lame? what if my annoying habits are just too unbearable? etc., etc., etc...

This is the thing I've been able to conclude about the life that was mine: it was made clear, in every possible way, that every single thing about me was judged, and that I was rejected in various ways for those very things. I'm not even exaggerating that. I could give a list of specific examples, but honestly, it would be too humiliating. And if this bullshit that was rooted in my ex's own intense self-loathing fucked me up in any serious way, it was because I have always believed (and I still believe) that when you really love someone and are really committed to them and the life you build with them, then certain things, certain basic, elemental things, are not up for judgment, nor are you rejected because of them. Moreover, I believe that when you love someone, you love them despite their flaws, and that when you choose to be with someone, then you choose to accept those flaws and not let them eat at you or erode what you have with that person. And I have to tell you, in the end, I experienced none of those things. So is my theory just like the wrong one? Does it make no sense? Does it all always devolve to the shit I went through? Does no one ever get truly accepted for who they are; and is everyone seriously judged for every. damn. thing. - for choosing long hair over short, or for not obsessing about being thin, or for lavishing too much attention on a dog?

I gotta tell you, I'm wondering if I'm crazy right about now.

So to be in this position now, with someone with whom I have a very positive history but whom I now see, and more importantly, who now sees me, in a romantic light, I can't help but feel some of the rawness of the damage. It's not Boyfriend himself, not in any way, and I'm really aware of this. But these feelings, they are there. Will I disappoint and disillusion him? What will be the thing about me that would make him want to be here, to stay, and be happy? And I don't know what - except for time and for giving us a real chance to grow into this newness, into each other and the life that we're building together - will erase this. Time. A real chance. As we grow into our relationship, as our feelings deepen, I have faith that the damage will continue to diminish.

Because surely, I can't ask him to staple a sign to his forehead, assuring me that there's no judging going on, no intent to reject?

Or can I? Would that be too weird?

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Posted by Tere @ 10/28/2009   | | | links to this post

Monday, October 26, 2009

Somehow, This Turned Into a Rant About Housework

Hello. What's up? Oh yeah? Sweet!

Ahem.

I'm coming off two intense weeks, school-wise, and I'm extremely relieved and mildly stressed. My house looks like shit. I've been so wrapped up with two tests and a project (plus Max, natch), that the housekeeping's been ignored and now I have this crazy mess that I have to tackle.

Ugh.

I miss having a cleaning lady. Between hating housework and being pregnant then having a little one to run around after, it was easy to justify the cleaning lady and fork the money over to keep my home clean (and in all seriousness, I have a dust allergy so severe that I get quite sick if I touch or breathe it, and having someone take care of that was incredibly helpful). But now - now it seems like a waste, to pay someone to clean up after just Max and me (but I'm now in a never-ending cycle of not dusting because I get sick when I do, then getting sick anyway when it piles up in the bookshelves and hard-to-reach places).

But the truth is, while I manage the cleaning just fine (I've actually developed a pretty steady routine with the chores, and it's helped a great deal), my real problem is the junk. I try to toss mail out or put it away immediately; I get rid of magazines instead of letting them pile up; I've become much stricter with myself about what, among papers and mail and general paper-like stuff, I can keep and regularly sort through things to either put away or toss. And yet. Man, it's like I can't get rid of enough stuff. I do a thorough sweep pretty often, and I just can't get this place bare enough. It's always more mail, more notes and lists, more paperwork of some kind.

And I'm feeling all ranty about it right now because everything's piled up these last two weeks, and I'm mad at myself about it. You'd think I'd have enough time now to buckle down and get shit done, but no. I always manage to distract myself somehow, to find an excuse, to just sit and veg out because the thought of focusing on this seemingly huge task totally paralyzes me.

Oh, and on top of all that, my house is so old, and it so was not maintained prior to my moving in, that I'm also in this constant battle against counter surfaces and floors (wood, tile and linoleum) that just won't clean properly. It's impossible to get any of it sparkly clean, either because it all needs new grout, or because it's just old, or because past abuse has permanently damaged it. It's frustrating, to freaking scrub scrub scrub scrub and still nothing looks fresh and clean.

And I come full circle: this is why it's worth it to pay someone else to take over, because the money is worth the aggravation it would lift off my shoulders. Ah, maybe one day... I'll get a cleaning lady again, or I'll tackle everything I need to tackle, or I'll be able to get news floors and bathrooms... maybe... one day....

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Posted by Tere @ 10/26/2009   | | | links to this post

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Something About my Crappy Writing, and the Boyfriend, Too

Now that the cat's out of the bag, re: Boyfriend (or, "El Jevo", as I affectionately call him), it's way easier for me to admit the following: my blogging sucks lately, and I currently, at this moment, have nothing great to offer, because I've been too busy being giddy and happy and dreamy-eyed and sighing. Because of Boyfriend, of course.

I mean, don't get me wrong: I have plenty of stuff to write about, but it's all overshadowed by this very wonderful thing that's all but taken over my life. And if not my life, then definitely my brain. The thing I've noticed lately is that having such a smart, mature, level-headed person by my side has made my life seem way more manageable and way less overwhelming. There's a difference, in knowing you can handle anything that comes your way and riding your life roller coaster, and in having someone there to ride with you, and to back you up when you need that extra support.

Before things changed between us, we used to talk regularly about whatever challenges we were facing. And there were times when the challenges were really big, really emotional, and we each took time and attention to help the other break it down and handle it. We still do this, but I'm aware that there's this part of me now that looks at it all differently. Things that used to be about him, and about me, separately, now get classified as "us" in my brain. There is something about him, and us, that makes me - unconsciously - view us as a unit, and not so much as him in one corner and me in another.

It's very nice, but very new, strange even. I'm still getting used to this, to seeing someone as a part of me and my life and not just someone who's with me, but keeping a distance; or with me, but not with me.

I'm learning so much right now, and it's really great and really intimidating and really, really, really different from anything I've ever known. That's what sticks out to me: how unlike anything I've ever experienced this is.

Meanwhile, I'm thinking about my writing and it's sucky quality lately. I'm not very happy about that, but maybe now that it's front of mind, I'll work on it and make things right around here.

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Posted by Tere @ 10/22/2009   | | | links to this post

Monday, October 19, 2009

I Can Has Boyfriend?

Wow, it's so weird to use that word, "boyfriend." I didn't exactly plan on having one, and honestly, I haven't used this term in eons, not applied to myself, so, to use it now - to write it and tell others something as offhand as "my boyfriend and I are planning a trip" - feels strange as all hell.

And wonderful. Wonderful as all hell, because people? I have a boyfriend and he is awesome and the entire situation is funny and sweet and unbelievable. Over the last couple of months, my life has taken a very surprising (shocking, really) turn, and yet it has been such a wonderful surprise, such a sweet turn, that I just feel this powerful sense of gratitude for things developing the way they have.

You'll forgive me, I hope, for not deconstructing what happened, and how and why. On the one hand, I don't need to deconstruct it, and on the other, this is just so sweet (that really is a perfect word to describe all this) and personal that I want to keep it between him and me. But I'll share what I've shared with the people in my life: we never expected this to happen between us, never. We have known each other since high school, and only ever had a polite acquaintanceship, until very early this year when circumstances in both our lives brought us closer and we developed a very nice (but very platonic) friendship. We each valued the other - for the person they were, for the way we got along, for all that kind of stuff - but never related it to liking each other "that way."

And then one night, everything changed. We were stunned, a little freaked out and unsure of what to do next. Over the next weeks, it all sorted itself out to this: we wanted to be together. We didn't individually know that the other felt the same, but then one night, that too became quite clear, and the rest is history.

I'm happy. He is a good person, a great one, and we're really, really good together. We're lucky to have this incredible foundation beneath us, a friendship that we each valued and that allowed us to really get to know each other. There's no pretense between us, because we were friends first. I don't need to be anyone but myself, because that's who I've been all along, and that's who he fell for.

I didn't expect that something this special could come into my life. But it has, and already I cherish it so very much. Whatever lies ahead for us, I'm open, and excited, and willing.

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Posted by Tere @ 10/19/2009   | | | links to this post

Thursday, October 15, 2009

A Little Scatter from my Brains

1. School is stressing me out. Have a test this week, then a quiz, and a paper due at the end of next week, and I'm worried that I won't ace them all. I love, love, love the material and feel like I totally get it, like it all connects and makes perfect sense. But I'm struggling with how disconnected I feel, and am frustrated with my professors, and have not yet found a good, solid system to study and feel like a student. I don't at all feel like a student, and this sucks. I love what I'm studying but hate the way I'm studying it.

2. I smacked into my car door as I opened it yesterday, and I now have a gash on my forehead. It's small, but damn, it stings. And when I touch it, it's all sore and tender.

3. The gash incident happened minutes after I yelled at Max for disobeying me and dealing with the resulting tantrum. It's crappy to yell at the child, and crappier still to cut my forehead open in the heated aftermath of said yelling.

4. Meanwhile, I really need new glasses. I have one pair that looks awful on me, so I only wear at home, and my nicer pair that's all crooked now because of an accident (namely, legs got completely bent up.) Now the nose pads dig into me, and on top of that, the prescription's wrong because my vision's changed due to blood sugar issues. I've been hesitating on getting a new pair, feeling like it's a luxury I can't afford, but I don't know... maybe I need to just do it so I have the right pair that'll help me see better.

5. I spent all of yesterday convinced it was Thursday, and am mightily bummed that it was not.

6. However, despite the stress of school, I have some lovely days ahead of me, and I'm very excited and happy about that.

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Posted by Tere @ 10/15/2009   | | | links to this post

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

On the Cusp of Something Great

He is learning that letters come together to make words. He sounds them out now, deliberately pronouncing each letter, trying to make them into a word he knows and understands.

It's a slow process; he tries to string the individual letter sounds into words, but can't really do it just yet. His focus is more on nailing down each letter's pronunciation. "Tuh," he says for "T", "tuh, tuh, tuh, tuh."

He is learning, too, how to connect letters to the words they begin with. Rides in the car are now filled with him pointing things out and saying, "Look, mommy, house! H is for house!", or, "A car! C is for car!"

The most amazing moments, though, are when he figures one out on his own, when it's clear he's not just repeating what he's learned at school. On the drive home yesterday, he was sounding letters out to himself, mumbling, "mmmmm" and "buh buh buh", when he abruptly blurted out, "P, mommy! P is for Pete! Like Tio Pete!" Just like that, he'd figured out that P is the letter that goes with his uncle's name. It hit me then, the enormity of that moment, and how in reality it was so unexpected and so fleeting, so tiny, that I almost missed it. I choked up, feeling lucky to have witnessed this small miracle.

But then later at home, when he asks me to read him a book at an inopportune moment (I mean, seriously, I'm scrubbing the toilet) and I decline, telling him to enjoy the book by himself, he wails, "But I don't know how to reeeeaaaadddd!" He sounds so frustrated, so sad, that I ache a little for him.

He's frustrated because he can't read, because the words remain indecipherable. It's not enough for him anymore to just look at the pictures. He wants the words.

But he doesn't know how close he is, how in just months he'll be reading very basic books. He doesn't know how the world is about to open up for him, far beyond our daily reading sessions where he asks dozens of questions. Soon enough, his imagination will take over, and, with any luck (and all of my encouragement), my little boy will lose himself in the wonderful world of books.

I'm so excited for him that I could cry. In fact, I do.

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Posted by Tere @ 10/13/2009   | | | links to this post

Friday, October 09, 2009

This is How I Eat my Words

Like this: chomp, chomp, chomp, I'm a big ol' hypocrite.

I've spoken a bit here about how I loathe skinny jeans. Far beyond this blog, I've pontificated quite mightily to just about anyone who would listen about the evils of skinny jeans.

Except that now? I love skinny jeans. LOVE them. I look amazing in them. They're perfect for me. Tank tops, t-shirts, flirty tops, long flowy tops - they all work with skinny jeans. Worse, I tuck them into my boots and am all sexified. And pants-tucked-in-boots has long been another fashion peeve of mine!

I'm so ashamed, people. I spoke so badly of these jeans, and here I am, with like five pairs of them. They're so awesome. So very awesome.

Although, I still maintain that there are some unflattering skinny jeans styles out there and that some people have no business wearing them. Or rather, since I now believe these are easier to pull of that I originally thought, some people don't know how to properly dress themselves, and they need to stay away from the skinny jeans.

But man, the minute the temperature here dips enough for me to slap on some boots, I'm grabbing them, tucking my dark skinny jeans into them, and running off into the sunset in a blazing glory of fashion hawtness. I so am.

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Posted by Tere @ 10/09/2009   | | | links to this post

Wednesday, October 07, 2009

Things You Should Know

1. I'm suffering from a semi-minor bout of writer's block. It seems like I'm busy juggling all aspects of my life and can't find the time or space to write or really think about everything.

2. I'm no longer jobless, as I started a new job on Monday. It's nothing close to what I've done these last 12 years and honestly, that's what I like the most about it. It's different, I've got a lot to learn and I like it a lot, so all's good.

3. I'm going to be flying at least once in the next month and I'm totally freaking out about it already. Hold me.

4. My brain is stuck writing just this post. I mean, seriously, it's a list, an update of sorts. And I can't even get it down?

5. All right, so really? I don't think I can handle thinking too much (or over-analyzing) right now because my life is requiring more emotion from me than it has in a long time, and that makes me extremely vulnerable, and it's dangerous for a vulnerable Tere to over-analyze and obsess and tune in to her fears and worries. So, for the sake of, you know, my freaking sanity, I'm trying with all my might to be normal about this. Ay.

6. Mainly, though, my concern right now is this: I'm desperate to wear boots. Like, now. But it's still really hot here in Miami, and boots right now would look plain foolish. However, my desire gets more intense with every passing day. I need a cold front, stat.

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Posted by Tere @ 10/07/2009   | | | links to this post

Friday, October 02, 2009

Finding our Groove

We have a rhythm now, Max and I. Life has taken on a routine for us, and it's really nothing spectacular. We play after school, and as the afternoon leads to the evening, we do dinner, play a little more, and slip into a bedtime routine that now has him falling asleep on his own.

What's spectacular about this is how solid I feel in it. I lived for months with this fear - mainly, how this two-homes situation would affect him (or rather, mess him up) - that I never really thought I'd ever relax about it. But the thing is, I have to see what's right before me, and what that is is a boy who's happy. He's happy when he's with me, and he's happy when he's with his dad. The bumps - and there are some - are not awful, just... bumps. He is a mix of what he's always been - active and stubborn and challenging - with some added anxiety here and there. It's definitely something that needs to be addressed and taken care of, but it's not anything that has me freaked out. I have a boy who is cheerful and social and chatty and affectionate.

With life settling into this rhythm, with the evidence before my eyes that so far my child is not messed up, it's been easy to feel normal, to finally feel like this "Life, Part 2" is really all mine. I think now - because almost a year ago I was in the thick of the worst feelings about my marriage ending - how I'd just assumed that I'd never feel this, or not feel it for another five or ten years. It's like, you hope for this. You hope to be over everything and to feel good and to know in your bones that the book is firmly closed and done with. But you don't dare hope that it could really, really happen, or happen at such a good pace.

This post has been on my mind, because it was when I first really felt these things. The quote that starts it off plays a lot in my head, because I've been thinking a lot lately about the way we think we know what our lives are, and then shit happens and it turns out your life is not what you thought it was, or was going to be, and after the intense sense of devastation, you find that life is still full of some pretty awesome surprises. The key, though, is that willingness to let go and to stay open to what lies ahead.

I can't help but look at where I'm at right now. Broke, to be sure. About to lose my house. But my son - he is so sweet and quirky and not-fucked-up that I could care less about the other stuff. And I myself feel more emotionally healthy than I've ever felt. Seriously. Ever. I am what I wanted to be when I was married (before then, even) but couldn't be, no matter how hard I tried. I feel the mental and emotional strength that I suspected lurked somewhere inside me but could not exert itself.

I hate to jinx myself, but I am lucky. And I am grateful. For all that my life is right this second, I am grateful.

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Posted by Tere @ 10/02/2009   | | | links to this post