28 February 2010


It's not too late to reflect on the old year, is it? I'll use the excuse that I've been busy racking up entries for next years list, which may or may not be true.
Things I did for the first time in 2009:
  • Sang in public sober
  • Reduced rather than grew my personal debt
  • Sipped bourbon and enjoyed it
  • Didn't tell someone I loved them when I was pretty sure I did
  • Was asked to be a bridesmaid
  • Sat for a painted portrait
  • Wrote for public consumption
I like this list.  I think it should be longer.  I used my discretion and left off things I don't feel like thinking about (that's a very short list).  I have a good feeling about the list being longer for 2010.  I'm already taking notes.

27 February 2010

Come Inside

I arrived at another theory on men and relationships today, one that will join a lengthy, well researched, and dare I say it wise list.

All of us have had someone (or more likely someones) who seems to have the secret password to our defenses.  They can get to us beyond what may seem reasonable or in many instances a good idea.
This is not to say that we automatically turn into suckers or doormats for this password-knowing person, but it is much more of a struggle to not spend an exorbitant amount of time thinking about the next time you'll see each other, whether they think about you even close to as much, and how bad you want this to be more than it probably ever will.

Allow me to digress...  I am one of the most open people I know in terms of personal subjects.  Relationships, friendships, pain, sex, and any number of awkward things that people usually tend to keep pretty close to the chest are all things that I, for the most part, am happy to discuss.  (That's basically what this whole thing is about after all.)  I am also easily comfortable around just about anybody.  This openness and comfort level allow me to form a bond with people more quickly than most.  I realized long ago that even if my enthusiasm for someone isn't reciprocated, it will probably be appreciated, and to me that is still a win.

It is safe to say my knack for bonding with people has also lent itself to me getting involved too quickly in romantic relationships.  I crave a deep connection with people which means that I tend to look past things that will eventually prove to be fatal flaws in a possible relationship.  After recognizing this pattern, I find it very difficult to trust my emotions for somebody on a romantic level.  I am getting better at following my gut instincts, which time and time again have proven to be a reliable compass, but I still have my doubts and my hurdles.  (RememberAnd this?) 

My point here is that even though I'm getting better at filtering who I really let in, there appears to be someone that has figured out the secret door and has more than once slipped inside to where I want to hold on to him and share more of me than may be prudent.  Not purposefully and unbeknownst to him I believe, and probably as surprising to him as it is unsettling to me. 

25 February 2010

The First Cut

We met in high school, dated, and I cried in the cafeteria when we broke up.  It took him a few years to apologize and by that point I was in college and he was off in the military; he came to visit me in my dorm room and we went to his parents house and made out but I had to stop because I felt mildly repulsed at anything sexual between us.  Not because I didn't care about him, but I think because I knew how much he wanted to. 
Fast forward about a year, and he (we'll call him G) was back in town on leave for about a month.  I was living in an apartment on campus with six (yes, 6, in one apartment) other women.  (Girls, really, we were all of 19.)  I think I saw him once or twice while he was around but he had his friends and I had my I'm-a-little-too-busy-and-over-you stuff going on so it wasn't anything special.  He moved to Camp LeJeune and called to give me his new contact info, you know, just in case.
I surprised myself as much as I surprised him when I actually decided to call him a few days later.  It just seemed like a nice thing to do.  What was even more surprising was that I kept calling, and looking forward to his phone calls.  This was in the fall and by winter break we were speaking every day, and instead of repulsed I felt intensely attracted to him with a rawness and need that reflects youth and inexperience.  The kind of attraction that consumes most of your waking thoughts and some of your sleeping ones, where you feel like you will actually ignite when that person finally touches you.
I was so young and still really didn't know what I was doing, or what needed to be done, in bed, and we had never gone much beyond second base so there was the mystery element present... he is still the only person I've ever hit home base with over the phone before we got there in person.
In early February G's best friend was going to be home on leave after graduating from boot camp.  G decided that he should come home and surprise him.  I was very much in favor of this, as at this point it would be ridiculous to think (especially being so much less cynical and critical than I am now) that he wouldn't spend every possible minute with me.  He came, he surprised, and he did spend every possible minute with me.  I think we had a total of maybe 48 hours together, after he drove to Madison, WI from Jacksonville, NC non-stop with a buddy.  Then they drove back.
The next week was Valentine's Day.  It was on a Wednesday.  He sent roses, then he asked if he could come back the next weekend.  I said yes, he did, and that was it.

How to explain what happened next?  We fell in love.  I had no doubts.  I look back now and I see such purity, such faith, such trust.  Not before or since have I felt with such certainty that this person was on my side - that we were on a team regardless of what fell around us.  I never considered cheating and it never felt like a sacrifice even though I saw him at the most once a month and usually for a rushed expensive weekend.  I don't regret any of it.  We loved each others families, and they loved us.  (Still do actually - his sister is about to have her first child and I will be Aunt Caitlin, and I see the other sister and usually the Mom and Dad every time I'm home.  It's been more than five and a half years since I've seen him.)

When it dawned on me that if I didn't study abroad in college I would forever regret it I realized that it would be a challenge for G and I, but I always believed we'd be one of the the couples honest and strong enough to make it through a semester.  We weren't.  I still believe that as soon as I made the decision to go, he felt I was moving away from him rather than moving forward in my life.  I didn't think the two had to go together.  The 9 hour flight to Europe changed us irrevocably.  It took two months to break up, three more months for him to try to get back together with me, then five months and a war for me to ask him to be with me again.  He said yes, then realized he didn't, then broke my heart to equal his.

24 February 2010

It's Official

I don't have the stomach or enough I-don't-give-a-fuck-ness to be the "other woman".  Be it with someone who is married, or may as well be.  (More than a few years together?  Check.  Live together?  Check.  Kids and/or property together?  Check.  You're a cheater.)
I see how it could be really fun, and freeing in a way, but it's just not it me.  I just can't stop thinking about the person who he's technically not supposed to cheat on, or all the other ones who he probably is cheating with.  I understand the appeal, and I have had a lot of fun, but ultimately... I Deserve So Much Better.  So does she, and even he maybe, but I digress.
So here's to all of us who have been cheated on, who have cheated, and who may have played a part; more than anything, here's to those of us that are going to be honest and deserve the same in return.

22 February 2010

Bedtime Stories

Last week I had the marvelous experience of listening to someone read to me blogs I had written.  It may be the most self-indulgent moment I can remember but it felt good.  Especially when the reader realized he was reading about himself, and then a little later when it made him cry.

I find myself walking a fine line with more than a couple relationships right now.  (Don't come to conclusions and assume I'm talking about one kind of relationship or another.)  I am questioning all the rules and guidelines I had set up for myself, which can feel very exciting but also untethered and unstable.  How do I know when to say no now?  I've never enjoyed having to say no, I tend towards going too far and dealing with the consequences. 

10 February 2010

I got my Valentine's Day package from Mom and Dad today...

And it reminded me of a few things...

Love is scratching out the "I" on the Valentine's Day card you send your children so it says "We", because it's from Mom and Dad.

Love is sending candy for every Halloween, Valentine's Day, and Easter, no matter where your children are in the world, no matter that postage costs more than the goodies inside.  (It's also, for that matter, sending Girl Scout cookies even though the daughter says she doesn't want them because she's getting fat.)

Love is leaning over your adult daughter as she cries in her bed, not asking why, and touching her hair and saying "You are loved."

Love is parking at the airport, walking your daughters into the airport, and then waiting outside the rope at the security line just so you can wave until they are through.

04 February 2010


My mind is all over the place this week...

Americans who tried to take Haitian children across the border to a Dominican orphanage have been charged with abduction.  The whole story is creepy to me, especially that they keep saying they were just trying to do God's work, and that they're looking to God for a positive outcome.

I had weekends off last month and I've been using the time to get caught up with friends, take care of loose ends that have been dangling for months, and just cavorting and sin in general.  There's been a lot of eating, drinking, laughing.  It has felt really good, but as I start to get a little more focused and sober some of the questions I was dealing with before are coming back in even higher relief and with more urgency...
How can I trust my emotions?
How can I trust anybody else?
Where do I want to be?
What do I want to do?
How many rules will my moral compass allow me to break?
How much discreetness before it becomes secrecy, and how much secrecy before it becomes lying?

Oscar nominations were announced, and ever since I was a kid I've been a sucker for the Academy Awards.  I get excited for the nominations, and then I feel all this pressure to see movies before the awards.  I never see all the ones I want, yet I never let myself off the hook.  It's not even fun, yet I do it year after year.  Maybe it's residual Irish/German/Catholic guilt leftover from my parents generation.  The same guilt that gets me when I'm late in Thank-You notes, when I don't call my parents back, when I think about my messy room...

We got ducks last week.  A neighbor winery was diverging of it's assets, and Colleen said we'd take the ducks.  She and I hopped in the Element with some boxes and came back six ducks and a bunch of duck poop heavier.  They are massive - I was worried about them in with the chickens but they're about as big as the rooster so not so worried anymore.  Today's the first day they're waddling around outside the pen.  At first I felt a little emotional about them, they've got such cute quacks, but now I'm totally ok with the foie gras and confit that is to come.

I have learned some intimate things in the past month about myself, and about some others in my life, all whom I consider to be at the very least close friends.  It has been entertaining, and educational, and a little emotional.  (Hey look at that!  Three E's.)   I wish I could share more but I can't until I get it all a little bit more sorted out in my own head.  Lesson - keep yourself open to learning from those that you think you know already.  The universe has surprises for all of us, and some of them are bound to be good.