Friday, January 29, 2010

Basically, a Post about Nothing

Writing lately has felt practically unbearable, and arduous. There are practical reasons for this - life these last six months has been very busy and full. At the same time, I sit in front of the computer at night, willing the words to come out, and... nothing.

The daily aspects of my life that I used to like writing about have felt very distant because it's been so long since life afforded me the luxury of composing funny or poignant recaps of those. My divorce and all that came with it has taken up so much space here, and I've struggled with the transition back to "normalcy" now that the worst is over and I am ever more removed from that life. Even those things that I felt I would carry with me for a long time - the worries and fears about being a single parent and doing things right - however true that remains, it's not exactly anything to write about. Or rather, what more can I say about it?

Strangely (or mercifully), I feel no need or desire to write about my relationship. Anything I could say at this point would make me sound like a silly, giddy schoolgirl, because I'm so blissed out that I can barely handle it. I'm regularly surprised by this entire situation, from who it is that I ended up falling for, to how greatly we click together, to how fun and sweet and intense it is between us, to how lucky I feel, to all the small ways in which we are building a life together. I never imagined I would know something like this. I didn't even believe that men like him existed. And when I think about all the ways in which I could write about this here (mainly, as I do with just about everything, when I'm anxious or my mind is getting ahead of itself), I realize that besides the usual of wanting to protect his and our privacy and keeping something this personal, well, personal, there really is no need for that. If I'm anxious or stressed, I just tell him, and that's it. It's talked about. I'm listened to. An entire conversation takes place. I get feedback, and thoughts and feelings are communicated to me. We hug it out. In other words, we each want this to work and we make really good, conscious efforts to make it work. We're different but on the same page about everything that matters. And most importantly, I think we've each learned some major lessons from our pasts, and so we take nothing for granted.

And so I'm here, spending some nights a week culling my brain for something, anything, that I could feel inspired to write about. I go through this, periods where it feels just too exhausting and not-worth-it to analyze and rethink and turn it into something - words - that helps me understand it, and in many cases, be free of it. I feel this way when I think about how stressed out my financial situation has me, this being the one dark spot in my life. This dark spot, though, is serious and heavy, and when I try to write - be it about Max or what I'm discovering about myself or how great it feels to be with Boyfriend - or anything, really - it is this that my mind turns to, and this is not something I can write about. I think about Max, and the bills (which at least, thankfully, do not include any crazy debt), and the fact that things are so friggin' tight and my savings are about to run out, and I fear that I'll not be able to figure things out somehow, and - ugh. I'm overwhelmed. Filled with worry. Stress. Worry.

So no, no way I can sit and write and focus and be creative or funny right now. However blessed I am - and I know that I am - and however overall good my life is, I feel like I'm in this excruciating limbo that doesn't seem to have an end in sight. And while on a daily basis I think I'm able to keep this at bay and enjoy life and function like a normal person, when I sit to write, it all comes at me and all I want to do is walk away from the computer.

(Maybe, too, I am burned out. Blogging and being active in the blogging community takes up time I simply don't have. There's really that, too.)

And, I do. More and more, I just disconnect and leave the computer behind. Let me enjoy, I think. Let me experience and keep going one day at a time. It's all I can do.

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Posted by Tere @ 1/29/2010   | | | links to this post

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Co-Dependent No More... Unless We're on a Cruise Ship

Before I get on to the story of one of the craziest things I've ever seen, I have an important announcement to make: I love cruises. LOVE them. Where have I been all these years? What's my life been, without one or two cruises a year to make it brighter?

I went on a 3-day cruise this past weekend, with my BFF (and wow, I really needed some alone time with her! All this stuff came pouring out of me, and I was like, wow, I've been holding stuff in. And talking to her about it all really helped me sort a lot of things out in my head. I love you, C!). She treated me so I could join in on her sister's bachlorette shindig, and I think I'm going to owe her big time for the rest of my life for this. I took a day cruise to the Bahamas when I was about 10, and then at 15 I took a similar one to this weekend's (possibly on the same ship, though I'm not sure). I've clearly blocked these two previous trips out, though I don't know why, since the little that I remember is quite pleasant. Anyway, it was a great, great, relaxing time.

So, on this cruise, I saw what has got to be one of the most bizarre things I've ever seen. The day we boarded, prior to departure, C and I are in the elevator when this guy about our age comes in and starts chatting with us. He was clearly a Miami guy, and we later concluded that specifically, he must be from Kendall. This guy tells us his best friend just got married, he was the best man, and "now we're all at the reception." I asked him if the reception was on the ship (he was in shorts and tee, not wedding-ish at all), and he replies something to the effect that the cruise is the reception. I was a bit stunned then asked, "so you're with them on their honeymoon?" I don't remember what his exact response was, but I he paused when I said that.

And so yes, that's exactly what it was: a group of about five guys and five girls, late 20's or so, one a cruise together for one of the couple's honeymoon. And let me tell you, they were together all the time. All the time. What kind of a honeymoon is that? What's more, all the girls looked alike, all the guys looked alike, everyone dressed the same - it was almost impossible to tell them apart. This was the most co-dependent bunch of people I've ever seen (and believe me, I've seen a lot!).

The girls and I, we couldn't get over it. Who honeymoons with other people? And WHY? It was suggested that maybe the newlyweds didn't really care to be alone and wanted to share the experience with their friends, but even that sounds strange to me. I mean, if I ever have another honeymoon, I can guarantee you all that the only person I will want to spend a lot of time with is my husband, and most times, and it'll be a miracle if we even make it out of our room (no, I'm sure we will, to eat and soak in the hot tub). I mean, no. This is just wrong.

We had a blast imagining all kinds of scenarios for the Co-Dependent Crew. Every time they (and with a few exceptions, the guys were always together with out the girls, and vice versa) walked by us, we couldn't help laugh and start all over again with, who honeymoons with other people??

Ah, good times.

Seriously, though, I had a wonderful time. We were a fun group and ate (and drank!) to our hearts' content, heard great music, saw some good shows, gambled and, of course, bingo. Because, what's a cruise without bingo?

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Posted by Tere @ 1/21/2010   | | | links to this post

Sunday, January 17, 2010

I've Been Missing Out on My Son, and I Don't Want to Anymore

One of the main reasons I started this blog was to chronicle my son's early years. For however many personal reasons I started this, I also wanted to take note of my son's growth and development; I wanted a place to chronicle memories I would one day be able to revisit and relive. I'm so wary of my Swiss-cheese memory that I wanted to get things down as they happened so that I would not forget them.

(Truthfully, I keep record off line, too, the funny quotes and little incidents that I don't seem to get to writing about, or that would really just be too self-indulgent to place before an audience.)

Over the last year-and-some, I haven't written much about my son, not like I used to. I've been too preoccupied with searching for any sign of emotional trauma, stressing over this that I've done to my child, agonizing over the guilt I feel. Not only have I been unable to step outside this divorce box, but I also have felt like it would somehow be wrong to write about anything else. Who cares about how funny he is, when I've gone and wrecked his life? That's been my general thought about this whole matter.

The thing is, there is so much about my son, so much, that is as endearing and challenging as it was prior to the divorce. He is essentially the same child, and when I look at him and try to assess his behavior, I don't really know if he's damaged, or how much. I find that I think of him a lot in terms of pre-divorce and post-divorce, as if that is the line of demarcation where who he was going to be deviated into what this divorce is turning him into. I hate looking at things, at him, that way. I've gone in circles, driving myself near crazy, trying to figure out if this line is real, if this divorce is the thing that stopped him from being who he was going to be.

At the same time, I consider that he was two-and-a-half when his father moved out. I can't help but think that while he felt the change, it did not necessarily damage him. For one, he's no longer had to witness his parents fighting, or live in house where the tension was palpable, or with a mother who was frustrated far too much for anyone's good. Prior to his dad moving out, he and I were alone a lot, due to his dad's work schedule, and so in us continuing to be alone a lot, I don't know how great the difference is. When his dad moved out, there was a new place to get used to, a new back-and-forth to adjust to, which I think is probably what's been the hardest for him. Even so, he did not miss out on his dad: we've shared physical custody 50/50 from the very beginning, and that is a literal split. Even as I felt he needed more of me at that time, and really, even now, I agreed to that arrangement so that their relationship would not suffer, so that he would not feel estranged from his father, hoping that this will ultimately prove to be the right decision. Up until now, his father and I have pretty much kept the same routines in each of our homes to offer him a sense of continuity; we each refuse to send him to the others' house with a bag, as if he were a visitor (in each house he is fully stocked of everything: clothes, toys, books, movies, etc.); we each allow him to take anything he wants of his back and forth between homes - his father and I have agreed that we each prefer the personal hassle of dropping things off or picking them up as needed by one of us or as requested by him than having him feel like he can't do that. In other words, we've tried to make the back-and-forth as seamless and comforting as possible. At this point, he has no memory of his mother and father ever being together or in the same house. I'm sure this will come up as he grows and gets a better understanding of relationships and marriage and moms and dads who are together, but I can't worry about that now (as it is, we already had one hilarious and heartbreaking conversation about marriage that I'm pretty sure confused him, i.e., "well, if you're not married, mommy, you can marry me." It might be time to pull out my old copy of Oedipus now.).

I consider all these things, then weigh them against the boy before me. And I don't know that I can see anything damaging, any trauma that harms him. At the same time, is that true, or just my wishful thinking? Over the last year-and-a-half, I've consulted with child psychologists, with his pediatrician, with relatives, with his teachers - and everyone basically says the same thing: he's a typical four-year-old. His non-stop energy, and the way he will sometimes just not listen or cooperate, to the point that you want to scream -- that's the thing I've harped on the most. Is he acting out as a way of dealing with the back-and-forth between his parents' houses? Is that the way that the anxiety manifests? It's probably a little bit of both, but I do know one thing for sure: he was exactly that way before the divorce too. I've been chasing that child for over four years now; I've been exhausted since the day he was born.

It was just recently that all this came together for me, to this conclusion: deep inside I think he's o.k., and I know that had I stayed married, there would have been other things that could have damaged and traumatized him. Being with his dad, without it being truly healthy, wouldn't have necessarily meant anything. And yet, I can't fully accept that he's o.k., that he's really a typical kid with good days and bad days. I feel that my accepting this is akin to my turning a blind eye to everything, or my saying, confirming, that the divorce was a good thing and he and I are all the better for it - which may be true but also makes me feel awful. In my mind, divorce is not a good thing, and I was devastated to go through mine. And in seeking so many people out and talking to them, what I've been looking for is validation, for someone other than myself, for a professional, to confirm what I suspect and therefore let me feel o.k. about all this, and o.k. about letting go and taking the focus off the divorce.

But see, I've got this thing about me, where I fear that if I finally accept that something is good and take it off my worry list, I'm just courting trouble; I'm asking Fate to come put me in my place with some tragedy. I know it's completely irrational, but there it is.

And then, there is a little gem of perspective that Boyfriend recently offered me. He is not a parent, but he is an intelligent man who puts a lot of thought into things. There have been many times when he's heard me out as I've stressed and worried, and he recently told me something I hadn't thought of: the divorce is not Max's world. Max's world is his school and friends and toys and all the fun things he gets to do. He's not focused on mom and dad living in two different houses, because at this point that's normal to him. It makes sense, yet I'd been too wrapped up in my worries to consider it. I now see everything through this filter, but he does not. One day there may be questions, and perhaps feelings that will have to be acknowledged and addressed. But right now? That's not the case. And what I've been thinking a lot about is that it's time to stop focusing on the divorce as it relates to him and to let all that stress and worry go. It's got to be o.k. now to enjoy my life without guilt, and to stop interacting with him and reacting to him with the divorce as the root of it all.

Because what I want more than anything is to focus once again on that sweet, mischievous boy who plays with his trains and carries on entire dialogues between the characters; who is quick and warm and sweet with his affection and who responds to my requests with, "of course, my lovely mommy"; who sneaks his sunglasses into his bookbag then greets me in the afternoon with his shades on and hoodie up, all rockstar-like; who doesn't hesitate to tell me I'm being mean or order me to apologize when I've yelled at him. I've got this son who is open and challenging and dramatic and startlingly honest; who is stubborn as all hell and frustratingly energetic and surprisingly observant and who has a smile that cracks my heart in half and at the same time fills me with a joy that's impossible to describe. He is silly and smart and hopelessly adorable. He can be babyish and then a minute later pushes away and insists he can do it himself because he is a big boy. And - he is fun. So fun. Every day there is something new to laugh about. Every day is a discovery, a pure revelation, because of him.

And this is who I want to write about, this is the Max I want to see and enjoy and share. I fear that if I don't, if I don't leave the divorce and all its baggage and just accept that it's really o.k. to do so, that I won't ever see him like this again, and I will end up causing him harm. The divorce stopped being a part of my everyday life many, many months ago, and it's seriously time to apply the same to my son. If I haven't let it define me, I can't let it define him, or my relationship with him.

I can't have the divorce between us anymore. I've missed writing about Max; I've missed being able to enjoy my time with him without all the additional worry and anxiety and sadness over the situation hanging over me. I've missed being just Tere with her son, as opposed to divorced Tere with the son she's short-changing.

The time to move past all that's happened has come, for both of us. It's time.

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Posted by Tere @ 1/17/2010   | | | links to this post

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Lo, an Empty Uterus

Just about every day, I'm startled to find that even as I allow and welcome good things into my life, and into my heart, beneath it all I am always bracing myself. For the loss. For some kind of shock. For the moment where I realize I was misunderstanding all along. For something. I'm always bracing for something.

I never wanted Max to be an only child. I have sisters whom I love dearly, and I've always known that I wanted more than one child, a home full of people and voices and activities.

Before Max - long before him - I had decided that if I was at some point ready to have a child but was not in a serious relationship (or in a serious relationship with someone who did not want kids), I would go ahead and have a child, alone.

For some years, I desired - no, preferred - single parenthood, abhorring the thought of having a baby daddy who did not care for his child. It was better to avoid that possibility altogether and just do it on my own.

After I had Max, I didn't think I would ever have to think about single parenthood again. In fact, just a couple of months before my marriage ended, my ex-husband and I had decided to have another child. There was no plan for that child; we merely agreed that there would be another, and nothing more, and that alone was a tough enough decision to make.

(I realized, as I thought about that non-existent second child in the wake of my marriage's disintegration, that it wasn't only the concerns I'd vocalized that made thinking about having more kids so anxiety-ridden: it was also my marriage, and the things (mainly the subconscious, deep-beneath-the-surface things) that were wrong in it.)

In the end, I became a single parent. And being a single parent like this is nothing like being a single parent by choice. Had I gone to a sperm bank or asked a friend for a huge favor ("Hi, can I have some sperm?"), it would have been challenging, but it wouldn't have been like this. My child would be all mine, and there would be no heartache, and I would have no delicate territory to tread. And in being a single parent like this, I know clear as day that I could not manage being a single parent of two, to not speak of more.

And yet. Nothing's changed for me. I still want more than one child, and I want Max to have siblings. I've thought a lot about how the biggest challenge (and biggest turn-off) for me would be having a baby (as in, getting pregnant and birthing him/her, and struggling through that difficult first year) alone. It's that that I can't handle. I can't be alone and focused on Max and dealing with his back-and-forth between his parents and then throw an infant into the mix. It would kill me.

But what about an older child? An 18-month-old or two-year-old? Could I handle that? I think sometimes that I could. I think I can adopt as I've always wanted to do and that would be the answer. It might not be traditional, but it would be my family. I could accept not having any more kids of my own (it would be very hard to accept, and my uterus definitely wants more babies in it, but I could do it. I would have to) and creating something reasonable and viable under the circumstances of this new life of mine.

The big question I've got pounding in my brain, though, is this: why is this eating at me right now? Sigh. It just is. It is because I want more kids and I had figured I'd have another by now and my child will soon be five and the clock is ticking ticking ticking. That last one is really it. The damn clock, and its ticking. I live with an effing clock ticking, loudly, in my head. I've done most things in my life with that clock pushing me. And then, I finally got to a point where the clock no longer mattered, where I realized I could take each day as it came and it would really be o.k. I mainly live my life now like this, without the clock, and it's really quite awesome.

But I'm not able to take it one day at a time when it comes to this, because in this case, the clock matters very much. I can't be 35 and acting then on this. That's not an option for me, not what I want for myself or for Max. And for some time now, some important aspects of my life have been up in the air, in this excruciating limbo, and I think at this point the anxiety about those things is seeping into everything else. It seems that I can only let go and stay calm in the uncertainty only for so long before I start to question everything. And I've begun to question everything. It's times like these when I have to remind myself that I have, like I always have, my Plan B. It's done, it's ready to go when or if the time comes to shift there. And while maybe one never actually wants to abandon Plan A and forge ahead with Plan B, that may be have to be it. And I have to brace myself for that as well.

Brace myself, yes, but it's not time right now to forge ahead with Plan B, and I'm glad for it. Even so, I understand that some ground work must happen now. I have to brace myself for the possibility that I may never have a child of my own again. I have to prepare - financially and mentally - to bring another child into my home and to make it a safe, happy, healthy home for him/her and for Max. I also have to prepare for the amount of work and heartache this is going to cost me. I have to accept that while right now I stand on the line between the kind of life I always wanted for myself and the life I may end up with, this - me, alone, with Max and an older child I adopt - may be as good as it gets for me. Or not even that - just Max and me. And if it is, it's going to have to be enough for me, and I'm going to have to find a way to accept it and be fulfilled by it. The outcome could be anything, and I have to brace myself for it.

I am almost always, I've come to realize, saying goodbye to what I want most and bracing myself for what will just be. So damn much in my life is uncertain right now, and the weight of it all is falling on my uterus. And so I brace myself.

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Posted by Tere @ 1/14/2010   | | | links to this post

Wednesday, January 06, 2010

Vacation Breakdown

Everything in the distance looked beautiful. Looking out, all you could see was the outline of mountains, gray and blue and so so tall. In reality, they're probably not that tall; but given the flatness I've been surrounded by my entire life, they were tall enough for me.

In the distance, you could also see the green of the trees. The contrast between green trees, blue/gray mountains and the sky was really just wonderful.

But up close, what there mainly was was brown, brown and more brown. Most trees were bare, and the earth was a brown clay that seemed to cling to everything - every time the kids came in from playing outdoors, they were practically caked in it.

The day we arrived, just as soon as I drove past the security gate, I realized for the millionth time this thing about myself: I picture things - I picture everything - but I don't seem to really picture things in their full scope. I knew we were going to the mountains; I knew the house was ON a mountain, as in, jutting out the side of it. So why I never figured that I'd have to drive UP the mountain is beyond me. All I know is, I got past security and was confronted by a four-mile stretch of rode that climbed progressively higher and did so in these crazy curves. I mean, the signs said it: "Dangerous Curves," then later "Blind Drive." No kidding. It was terrifying. And I had never even considered this, that it would be like this, and so I felt caught off guard, unprepared. And man, I really really really intensely dislike being caught off guard.

Staying in a small town, we planned to have some time to do nothing, something we all seemed to need (except the kids, who were essentially batshit the whole time). But we also had some excursions planned - to Amicalola Falls, Consolidated Gold Mine, on the Blue Ridge Scenic Railway. (You want to know something funny about Amicalola Falls? I went there on my honeymoon. I had no clue till I heard there were six-hundred-something steps that you can climb on the falls, which was the moment I remembered climbing those six-hundred-something steps. So yeah, that was smashing.) All these activities were fine - the kids had fun, which was the whole point, I guess.

We also headed down to Atlanta to visit the aquarium. It was disappointing. The design is horrible, making poor use of space. The exhibits - with the exception of the incredible, centerpiece tank that houses four whale sharks (that tank was simply amazing) - were underwhelming. I mean, seriously, you're one of the largest aquariums in the world, and you have FOUR penguins? In a little glass case? And the exhibits were set up in such a way that as you got further in, the space got tighter. You try looking at shrimp when you're crammed into a little nook! It didn't help that there were a billion people there that day, all of us squeezing in to see the spider crabs and alligators. The poor use of space comes in when you compare the claustrophobic exhibits to the giant cafeteria and surrounding seating area. That takes up the most space (and the second floor is completely taken up by two exhibits/shows that you have to pay an additional fee to get into, which is really insulting). Honestly, the tank with the whale sharks was out of this world, but even so, the aquarium in New Orleans is a thousand times better than this one.

The biggest problem with this trip, however, was Max. Or rather, my attitude about Max. I'll just come clean and admit that I was resentful of the fact that this was no vacation for me. I spent the majority of my time whenever we went out chasing after him, scolding him, dealing with tantrums, etc., and it completely soured my mood. I don't know if it was the excitement of it all, or being off his regular schedule, but his energy levels and *ignore mommy* meter were cranked way up high, and I was exhausted and annoyed. I was very stupidly thinking that since this was a *vacation* I would get to relax, and he would be a complacent little thing (I know, I know... how long have I been on the job, again?). I was imagining this warm and fuzzy vacation where my son and I would bond and cuddle by the fire, and while we did have moments like that, I completely failed to account for his behaving like the rambunctious four-year-old that he is, and when he did so, I handled it like an ass. I just wanted none of it, and I felt like my telling him to stop (or to do this, or not do that) just once, sternly, should have been it (geez, did the mountain air knock common sense out of me?). And when it wasn't it, I was just pissed and cranky and unable to get out of that funk.

The truth is, I needed this trip to think. I needed to be away from Miami, from my life, and have time to think and read and just do nothing. For months now, I've just dealt with one thing after another, without finding the time or energy to think. And there have been some serious things that have happened, and serious things that loom ahead, that I need to really think about, and I just kept thinking that I could finally have some time to give those things my attention. As much I was thrilled to share this trip with Max, I needed something for myself, too. And in everything happening as it did, the thing that I felt the strongest was the fact that I'm alone in this. While I did have time to myself while Max played with his cousins, and my parents stayed with all the kids one night so my sisters, brothers-in-law and I could go out to eat, the fact is, I'm alone. I'm it when it comes to Max and his care. I shouldn't have ever thought I could or should be anything but on top of him and on top of it all, because I don't have any other option. It's solely my responsibility to chase after him and make sure he behaves properly and is disciplined when he doesn't. I don't have a relief partner, always having to ask someone to watch him so I can shower, watch him so I can go get the train tickets, watch him so I can get our food at the buffet. I'm tired of asking. I'm tired of feeling ashamed for needing the help, and beholden for all the help that I receive. I'm even more ashamed that I feel so overwhelmed and frustrated even though I have my son just half the time. I should be able to handle it.

Sigh. It was just a trip of unrealistic expectations, another example of me resisting my reality, and then channeling it improperly when he acted out. I don't know what made me lose my mind and think this would actually be a vacation for me, or why I acted like the rules of my regular life didn't apply here. It's not a mistake I'll be making again.

Even so, I somehow managed to get pictures of the good aspects of the trip. All I can do now is hope that the moments we shared that were fun and sweet and loving were memorable and special, and enough, for him too.

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Posted by Tere @ 1/06/2010   | | | links to this post

Friday, January 01, 2010

Maybe What's Missing is Courage

The first few weeks we were together, my mind was on over-analyzing overdrive. It was understandable - our coming together had been so unexpected and shocking, we had each spent the last months on very emotionally fragile ground - and so I allowed it. I remember feeling stunned at how, despite how completely unexpected this had been, it nonetheless felt right. From the get-go, it felt right. We make total sense together - this was the first positive thought I allowed myself, the first acknowledgment that this was good, that it was o.k. to allow this.

Those first weeks my brain could not stop. There was just too much to accept, to adjust to, too many of my old ghosts coming back to mess with me. In typical Tere fashion, the over-analyzing led to our first disagreement, a day-and-a-half that had me feeling terrified (at the intensity of my thoughts) and miserable (because I didn't want to feel what I felt, and I didn't want to express any of it, and I didn't want us to fight about something as abstract as my fears).

Maybe it was then that I made my brain shut off. I could see, however valid all those thoughts and concerns were, that this was no way to go about things. I called to mind instead all that mumbo-jumbo about one day at a time and crossing that bridge when you get to it. I figured those cliches were better than what I had going on at that moment, and that maybe I should stick with them.

But once again in typical Tere fashion, when I got on that path, I got on it to an extreme. I've noticed all these months how many times I'm about to bring up "a topic" only to promptly banish it from my mind because we are not at that bridge yet. There is a point every week where my emotions swell in their intensity and my heart feels like it's going to happily burst, and what I want is to give in to those emotions - to feel them, express them - but I don't; I push them back down, satisfied to know at least that they're there, and leave it at that. To take things one day at time, to be rational and smart, there is little room for me to unzip my heart and let everything in there spill out.

All these months, I think, where I've held my breath on this very very thin line between reason and emotion. All these months where I've convinced myself that my expressiveness has mainly led to trouble for me (this, clearly, a belief that springs from a life before the one I have now), and so the answer has appeared to be to feel, to enjoy, to not shut off - but to temper it with silence, a thing that seems rare and elusive to me.

I've tried to approach this relationship from a practical direction, with my mind. I've thought that my mind has had to lead me - that my reason has had to approve of this whole thing - before my heart could be allowed to have any say in the matter. Perhaps in my actions I've succeeded, but inside, it's been an altogether different storm.

I don't think - after a marriage fails and ends and everything you thought you were is called into question, and your whole life changes so completely - that it's irrational to protect oneself. To be cautious, to slap yourself a little when you think you're happy and all is right and good with your world. To be on guard. That seems like the right thing to me - distance, slow movements. I live on guard. There are too many mistakes I can't repeat, too much seems at stake, especially in light off all I've been through, and most especially (though this is a topic for another day) because there is Max.

The problem I've been having in this relationship is that no matter how cautiously I step, how much I push my brain to be the prevailing force - and how much I make seemingly conscious, rational decisions and act on these - inside my heart's been pounding and swelling and about to explode on one occasion too many. My emotions are kicking my ass but my brain refuses to move an inch.

I feel like I can't let these emotions out. My brain keeps telling me to stop, to hold still. It is doing its job - protecting me - and I'm feeling resentful of it because I feel less and less like I need that kind of protection. Here, then, is the crux: my brain is doing what I asked it to do (what I forced it to do), but now, even as this same brain recognizes that I'm in the right place with the right person to let go and dive in, it's not letting me. My brain knows that if I take that plunge, then that will be it. Everything inside me will tear loose. And while there is no fear that I'm just going to gush everything out like an idiot, there will be a definitive shift, one where the guard will slip, where my heart will have more say and play an equal part in my decision-making.

I am not balanced. I can't integrate these two parts of myself even though the general tone here - the way this relationship is developing - clearly indicates that this is a good, happy, healthy (safe) place. If I stop and pay attention to what my brain's been able to figure out, if I take the data from all these months and compute it, the result is this: I am happy. I am with someone who compliments me in so many ways, subtle and not, and whom I admire and respect and whose company has become vital to me. I have something that is fun and tender and honest. I have a real, true friend who excites me to my core.

I am happy. While there are dozens more things I could say about what the data shows, that right there is it. And even though I am happy with a happiness that feels rich and healthy and right, there is still this imbalance between brain and heart, this line that I teeter on, trying simultaneously to be smart but not think, to feel but not be a fool. To just do things right.

As usual, perhaps the answer - the missing link, in this case, between head and heart - is time, and that idea, to take each day as it comes. But I suspect, too, that I could use some courage here, some guts to just take that deep breath and completely dive in.

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Posted by Tere @ 1/01/2010   | | | links to this post