Forever tuning

pic 1: Me at the Salt Flats in 1991 when Chris and I drove across the country in our move from Maryland back to Davis, California. At this point, Salt Lake City was a foreign land to me— obviously I had no idea I’d eventually live here—but we pulled over and took some pictures because it felt like a mirage in a desert since while your feet touch the ground you can look out over certain stretches and it appears you’re standing on the mirror image of another world.
Pic 2: late 1990, me during a trip to see Chris in Washington, DC when I still lived in CA; I didn’t know that I’d move out with him, we’d move to CA together then I’d meet James and then James and I would move to Northern Virginia near DC together. Life.

And so it was that when I was about 13 (circa ‘82) I went to see Adelaide the psychic whose name my family had been passing around and she told me two things which stuck with me all the way through until that time (1992) I was trying to make the decision whether to break my engagement with Chris and be with James or listen to my mom and stay the course into a marriage which by now would have already ended.

The first thing Adelaide told me that day was that someday I’d be writing a book. And the second thing she told me is that one day a man with blue eyes would say goodbye to me and I’d be devastated and inconsolable.

As such a fortune might beget, I wondered about that blue-eyed boy for many years, mesmerized by a love so deep I’d excruciate at its loss, believing that perhaps Adelaide spoke in deep metaphor or that the goodbye could be averted somehow.  So when one month out from marrying Chris in the foothills of Gold Country (CA), I saw vibrantly-blue-eyed James at a bus stop–the night after dreaming I was swimming with a blue-eyed man–I retrieved James’ dropped Blue Book, and thus awakened from the slumber which had shielded me from realizing uber-cerebral Chris was for a “me” that didn’t exist anymore, and that Adelaide’s blue eyed man could be this very one.

And of course I had to find out.

The year was 1992, 3.75 years after I left for college, 3 after my parents divorce; 2.75 after the Loma Prieta earthquake destroyed the family home and I dropped out of college, 2.5 since I’d broken up with my (beloved) boyfriend Steve, 2 since I’d gotten rid of everything I owned to shack up with Chris and his roommates in Maryland, and .75 after Chris and I had moved back to Davis, CA to settle in so I could finish my degree.

He supported us, I had my dogs, my guinea pig, my cat, and the potential to abandon years worth of “too much”. Yet there I was.

I honestly do not feel I can adequately express how frightened I was during that time. I wouldn’t be able to explain what it feels like to go through days of being petrified, shaking in the adrenaline of having to face the choice, unable to eat, defying the mom you’ve never crossed. I could not condense a lifetime of the self-doubt involved with being a “pleaser” into the arc of a single event, where one choice is accepting the truth of yourself but spurring others’ disgust, hurt, your own personal hardship, and from which the other is accepting a life of external ease–making everyone else happy–while you slowly suffocate.

My body shook, my mouth was dry. It was an altered state in which I was reaching every vulnerability until they quivered and begged for mercy.

And, in the end, I married that blue-eyed boy (1996) then saw him leave myself and our two daughters (2007) while we grieved with what I thought was feeling that would never end. But it did.

Events unfold for us what we are.

We bear moments of going against the tide, scared, shaking in uncertainty only to see those same moments becoming portraits of ourselves standing alone in our power amidst a crumbling facade. For that Adelaide called into my mind the door to such grief and I opened it anyways for the potential of love writes of many unspoken truths.

Because James left. life is scales, humans playing experiences, fear and dry mouth one day becoming whispers of resilience to our selves another. And so we rise up and fall down and ride roughness into song, slowly catching the breath of the music just like a world of forever-tuning instruments.

4:51, and Ripe

This morning I rose at 4:51 to a chorus of high-pitched mews from the foster kitten room (rough translation of which was: “get up! ‘the f-ck this door still closed for?”) and my own cats scrambled when I got up and let them out because the old batch of fosters had been trained to stay the hell clear but this new batch uses my cats’ litter box and scamper around like happy little assholes and it’s bullshit, and watching my cats bitchslap kittens makes me wonder what would happen if cats had access to low grade uranium and Internet forums.

And on their way out, the kittens summit the pile of laundry indelicately blocking the hallway and it’s Class A athlete stuff because the pile is enormous (to include all the clothes that need washing AND all the clothes I even own=I have no clean clothes) and the laundry room is downstairs which might as well be nirvana so it’s been growing in “complexity” (ripeness) but the kittens push forth through my shame and my cats find higher ground as they explode like shrapnel into the living room.

By neither nature nor profession am I a fancy person. Yesterday, I had six animals and two kindergarteners climb onto my lap; I scooped five litter boxes, walked three dogs; helped one girl with lice pull back her hair, reminded one boy to stop picking his nose, one not to hysterically laugh when he passed gas, and washed a thirds accidentally-flicked applesauce off my bottom lip with what (I’m hoping) was superhuman zeal; then today by 8:10 a.m., my Siberian cat rubbed against me with a suspiciously wet tail and I had to give two kittens a bath because they fell into the toilet. When I leave the house, I may or may not be covered in cat hair, toilet water, boogers, lice, or someone else’s crusty food, and there have been moments during my work days when I’ve said “oh my god! What’s that smell?!” and I wasn’t that surprised to find out that it was me.

And it used to bother me because the world likes to keep score, and I know that society values folded laundry, kittens who aren’t covered in toilet water and women wearing their most presentable self. But just past the pile of laundry, is the realm of personal pride in doing something meaningful and the self-love needed to accept that not everyone is here to be black and cream patent-leather Kate Spades, coiffed hair, tailored coat, beautiful to look at with an unmistakable air of frigidity.

And while I don’t always cheer to look down at myself and think “holy shit; wtf happened to me?” I have accepted that it is your heart that tells you what to value and if you don’t listen to her, you’ll one day end up pissed off because somehow you got stuck living a standard rather than your life.

So…I’m out of pants.

Yesterday I wore what amounts to a fashion “concoction”. Sweater over dress, dress over yoga pants with my Nepalese boots disguising the fact that I ran out of socks a full week ago, and, today, my pants are my “Velcro” pants, that are basically size 6 miracles capable of energetically-manifesting lint, fuzz, dirt and copious quantities of animal hair up and down their length even when no animals were even present which is not a joke and not at all funny because it’s like being a walking advertisement for witchcraft.

But whatever. It’s all good.

Live in your heart. Be real. Everyone has a place in this world.