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I have almost no memories of being a child. Of any time when I was carefree and cared for and loved. Maybe that's part of the reason I wish I had one. I could undo the pain of my past by giving that care and love to another person, by giving them everything I needed. Rationally I know I am too broken and empty to provide for a child. But the biological imperative is strong. I am crossing the threshold where it will no longer be a possibility and I can't see myself living on the other side.

I do better in a supportive community. So it's ironic that I've always thought of myself as a loner and effectively made it so. I need other people, but I don't know how to be around them.
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Dear NC,

I wanted to express my condolences on the death of your friend Beth. I understand she was an old and dear friend and I am sorry for your loss. I admit it hurt when I learned you had a stranger handle the professional services instead of me, but I am sure you had your reasons. I have been uncertain of the best way to interact with you as a neighbor since I do not want to upset you, so please know that even though I may seem distant I still care for you as much as I always did and I want you to be happy. I remain open to trying to mend things and I still hope you will forgive me for hurting you. Life is short.

With care,

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Following that last intense conversation with NC and PMJ over my involvement in PF, wherein they dictated I should no longer perform the functions I wanted to perform but only the tasks they selected which they didn't want to do themselves, I completely withdrew my involvement in the business which has resulted in the breakdown of our friendship as well. (However, I did buy out one of the other investors a few months later so I now own about 3%.)

There are half a dozen houses on a dead-end street next to PF. One of them has been vacant practically since PF opened 4 or 5 years ago and we each always had our eye on it for a possible office space for PF. Then in fall 2013, NC and PMJ set the goal of moving to PF to build the farm of their dreams. The resident next to the vacant house died, and they promptly bought that house and set to work on total renovation. A few months later they purchased an additional 3 acres in the rear of both these properties, cleared the land, installed fencing, and brought in the Amish for a barn raising. As soon as they purchased their new house, I set my sights on the vacant house next door and they were supportive and no longer indicated any interest in buying it. In summer 2015, the vacant house finally went up for sheriff sale. Our relationship was already a bit strained because of tension connected to the PF annual picnic coinciding with another huge vendor event we attended, and NC didn't tell me about the sheriff sale. When I saw the sign on the vacant house myself, I was shocked to learn she intended to bid and purchase it and said she would be bidding against me. Neither one of us got it because the bank was willing to bid more than it was worth, and then the bank spent several months getting the house ready and we had no idea when it would be available for sale. In the mean time, around September 2015, I purchased a secluded little shack in the woods with a large outbuilding down the hill from PF and started working to fix it up. The vacant house finally came on the market right before Christmas, and I offered maybe $5,000 above what I would have without NC's competing bid. She also made no secret that she intended to tear down the house and just use the yard and large garage (which would have truly broken my heart) and the seller was required to favor an owner-occupant so I think that hurt her chances of winning. My $18,500 bid was accepted, but the bank has really been dragging their feet and we have yet to close. The house needs a ton of work (new roof, furnace, plumbing, septic, some windows) but I am really excited about it. The structure is in good condition with no water damage until very recently, and it has large rooms, high ceilings, massive kitchen with large island and attached pantry/laundry, and fantastic closet space. It will be awesome for processing my honey, canning, making mead, and all the other creative projects I want to tackle. I love my apartment in W, especially having JM as a downstairs neighbor, and I will truly miss it when I move. But the major drawback is the small apartment kitchen which has been a big factor in my not cooking much for the past 3 years. I bought a truck to help me with the hauling and that has been a fiasco in itself. I am hopeful that once I am there working on the house, and we have the opportunity for some casual exchanges that NC and I will be able to rebuild some type of friendly relationship, even if it can't be what it was before. Still not sure about PMJ because I still don't trust him, but FAC says he always asks about me in a caring way so I am trying to keep an open mind.

No words have been exchanged between KW and myself for at least 6 months. I think about him all the time and wish I could communicate how I care about him, but I have no reason to think he gives a damn about me. I stopped going to yoga because I don't want to see him and I miss that too.

I found out on Nov. 29 through poking around FB that my ex, MK, got married in the spring to a woman he recently told me he broke up with because she had mental issues. FML. I had seen him once or twice over summer, even gave him some bees, and he failed to mention it. Why?? Why do people treat each other this way, with dishonesty and disregard? I just can't understand it. I sent him a text, no response. I always thought we'd maintain some connection from spending 4 years together, but I have concluded that those 4 years were completely wasted (for both of us) and part of my life I have no business looking back to again.

And in the middle of all this, I started dating a new guy named MK. Another MK. I'll call him Mik3 since he goes by that online sometimes. We met on OkC and based on their matching algorithm we are a 70% match and I would say that's about right. We complement each other well because we are so different, but we have very little in common. He's not my soul mate, but he is a good person and I am trying hard to make it work. Given my age, it's now or never to have kids and I feel so cliche saying that but it's just a fact of life. I always say I never think about having kids since I have not found the right partner I would want to have them with, so I have been weighing how important it is to me to have that experience in my life vs. finding the "right" partner. What are the trade-offs I am willing to make in order to get what I want? What do I want? I think I don't have enough in common with Mik3 to stay together long term if we don't have children, but I think we would be good partners and good parents together if children were the primary thing we had in common. Based on everything I read, and everything I have learned in my line of work, love is the most important thing in life and the most important factor in overall happiness. Family is love. It would definitely be a leap of faith to step toward that ideal, without being able to see the full and complete path, but I am leaning that way right now. Put aside all my misgivings and whims about what I want in the short term and focus on doing the things that should make me happiest in the long term. We'll see how it goes........
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Dear NC,

I wanted to apologize for wondering what will happen "when PJM is gone". That was insensitive of me, and not how I really intended to express my thoughts. What I meant was "when PJM retires" but I guess it is hard to imagine that time will ever come, because who else would do his job for no pay (other than me)?

However, I should not have to apologize for being direct and speaking my mind--it's what men always do. I am sorry PJM perceives it as personal criticism, and though I am sympathetic I am not responsible for PJM's emotions. If he was very upset about something I said or did, the reasonable course of action would be to talk to me and discuss it instead of letting it fester for weeks. If PJM wants to know what I am doing, the sensible thing would be to ask me and find out.

There was a time I might have looked to PJM as a mentor in business, but I have learned he is a visionary person good at starting businesses, but lacking the people skills to make a business thrive. I strongly disagree with so many decisions he has made for PF lately. The property is a mess in my opinion, and I am especially upset that he wants to manage the client relationships for PF, because this doesn't appear to be his strength. I also happen to think a caring and conscientious young woman might relate better to our client base. Additionally, I have talked to PJM about "heritage" sales on several occasions--it is a sales strategy I learned in my two years working at JMP. It bothers me that he sees its benefits only after some older male cemeterian tells him it's a good idea.

I am pretty sure I can't be friends with PJM because I don't trust him. I really hoped I could still be friends with you because there are so many things I like and value about you, and I've enjoyed all the time we've spent together. But I know you two are a partnership and a package deal, so I can't tell what the future holds for us.

Finally--it's not true that you and PJM "can't" step back from PF. You want to be there. If or when you ever decide you would like to sell your interest in PF, I would buy out your shares. And I would take really good care of the place--I have no other interests in life.

Best regards,

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9 Mind-Bending Epiphanies That Turned My World Upside-Down

By David Cain /

Over the years I’ve learned dozens of little tricks and insights for making life more fulfilling. They’ve added up to a significant improvement in the ease and quality of my day-to-day life. But the major breakthroughs have come from a handful of insights that completely rocked my world and redefined reality forever.

The world now seems to be a completely different one than the one I lived in about ten years ago, when I started looking into the mechanics of quality of life. It wasn’t the world (and its people) that changed really, it was how I thought of it.

Maybe you’ve had some of the same insights. Or maybe you’re about to.

1. You are not your mind.
The first time I heard somebody say that, I didn’t like the sound of it one bit. What else could I be? I had taken for granted that the mental chatter in my head was the central “me” that all the experiences in my life were happening to.

I see quite clearly now that life is nothing but passing experiences, and my thoughts are just one more category of things I experience. Thoughts are no more fundamental than smells, sights and sounds. Like any experience, they arise in my awareness, they have a certain texture, and then they give way to something else.

If you can observe your thoughts just like you can observe other objects, who’s doing the observing? Don’t answer too quickly. This question, and its unspeakable answer, are at the center of all the great religions and spiritual traditions.

2. Life unfolds only in moments.
Of course! I once called this the most important thing I ever learned. Nobody has ever experienced anything that wasn’t part of a single moment unfolding. That means life’s only challenge is dealing with the single moment you are having right now. Before I recognized this, I was constantly trying to solve my entire life — battling problems that weren’t actually happening. Anyone can summon the resolve to deal with a single, present moment, as long as they are truly aware that it’s their only point of contact with life, and therefore there is nothing else one can do that can possibly be useful. Nobody can deal with the past or future, because, both only exist as thoughts, in the present. But we can kill ourselves trying.

3. Quality of life is determined by how you deal with your moments, not which moments happen and which don’t.
I now consider this truth to be Happiness 101, but it’s amazing how tempting it still is to grasp at control of every circumstance to try to make sure I get exactly what I want. To encounter an undesirable situation and work with it willingly is the mark of a wise and happy person. Imagine getting a flat tire, falling ill at a bad time, or knocking something over and breaking it — and suffering nothing from it. There is nothing to fear if you agree with yourself to deal willingly with adversity whenever it does show up. That is how to make life better. The typical, low-leverage method is to hope that you eventually accumulate power over your circumstances so that you can get what you want more often. There’s an excellent line in a Modest Mouse song, celebrating this side-effect of wisdom: As life gets longer, awful feels softer.

4. Most of life is imaginary.
Human beings have a habit of compulsive thinking that is so pervasive that we lose sight of the fact that we are nearly always thinking. Most of what we interact with is not the world itself, but our beliefs about it, our expectations of it, and our personal interests in it. We have a very difficult time observing something without confusing it with the thoughts we have about it, and so the bulk of what we experience in life is imaginary things. As Mark Twain said: “I’ve been through some terrible things in my life, some of which actually happened.” The best treatment I’ve found? Cultivating mindfulness.

5. Human beings have evolved to suffer, and we are better at suffering than anything else.
Yikes. It doesn’t sound like a very liberating discovery. I used to believe that if I was suffering it meant that there was something wrong with me — that I was doing life “wrong.” Suffering is completely human and completely normal, and there is a very good reason for its existence. Life’s persistent background hum of “this isn’t quite okay, I need to improve this,” coupled with occasional intense flashes of horror and adrenaline are what kept human beings alive for millions of years. This urge to change or escape the present moment drives nearly all of our behavior. It’s a simple and ruthless survival mechanism which works exceedingly well for keeping us alive, but it has a horrific side effect: human beings suffer greatly by their very nature. This, for me, redefined every one of life’s problems as some tendril of the human condition. As grim as it sounds, this insight is liberating because it means: 1) that suffering does not necessarily mean my life is going wrong, 2) that the ball is always in my court, so the degree to which I suffer is ultimately up to me, and 3) that all problems have the same cause and the same solution.

6. Emotions exist to make us biased.
This discovery was a complete 180 from my old understanding of emotions. I used to think my emotions were reliable indicators of the state of my life — of whether I’m on the right track or not. Your passing emotional states can’t be trusted for measuring your self-worth or your position in life, but they are great at teaching you what it is you can’t let go of. The trouble is that emotions make us both more biased and more forceful at the same time. Another survival mechanism with nasty side-effects.

7. All people operate from the same two motivations: to fulfill their desires and to escape their suffering.
Learning this allowed me to finally make sense of how people can hurt each other so badly. The best explanation I had before this was that some people are just bad. What a cop-out. No matter what kind of behavior other people exhibit, they are acting in the most effective way they are capable of (at that moment) to fulfill a desire or to relieve their suffering. These are motives we can all understand; we only vary in method, and the methods each of us has at our disposal depend on our upbringing and our experiences in life, as well as our state of consciousness. Some methods are skillful and helpful to others, others are unskillful and destructive, and almost all destructive behavior is unconscious. So there is no good and evil, only smart and dumb (or wise and foolish.) Understanding this completely shook my long-held notions of morality and justice.

8. Beliefs are nothing to be proud of.
Believing something is not an accomplishment. I grew up thinking that beliefs are something to be proud of, but they’re really nothing but opinions one refuses to reconsider. Beliefs are easy. The stronger your beliefs are, the less open you are to growth and wisdom, because “strength of belief” is only the intensity with which you resist questioning yourself. As soon as you are proud of a belief, as soon as you think it adds something to who you are, then you’ve made it a part of your ego. Listen to any “die-hard” conservative or liberal talk about their deepest beliefs and you are listening to somebody who will never hear what you say on any matter that matters to them — unless you believe the same. It is gratifying to speak forcefully, it is gratifying to be agreed with, and this high is what the die-hards are chasing. Wherever there is a belief, there is a closed door. Take on the beliefs that stand up to your most honest, humble scrutiny, and never be afraid to lose them.

9. Objectivity is subjective.
Life is a subjective experience and that cannot be escaped. Every experience I have comes through my own, personal, unsharable viewpoint. There can be no peer reviews of my direct experience, no real corroboration. This has some major implications for how I live my life. The most immediate one is that I realize I must trust my own personal experience, because nobody else has this angle, and I only have this angle. Another is that I feel more wonder for the world around me, knowing that any “objective” understanding I claim to have of the world is built entirely from scratch, by me. What I do build depends on the books I’ve read, the people I’ve met, and the experiences I’ve had. It means I will never see the world quite like anyone else, which means I will never live in quite the same world as anyone else — and therefore I mustn’t let outside observers be the authority on who I am or what life is really like for me. Subjectivity is primary experience — it is real life, and objectivity is something each of us builds on top of it in our minds, privately, in order to explain it all. This truth has world-shattering implications for the roles of religion and science in the lives of those who grasp it.



Jul. 16th, 2015 01:00 pm
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I know this is not the right place to say this, but since you're still giving me the silent treatment I don't know what else to do. It has taken me a long time to learn it is better to get feelings out in the open than to keep them all inside. I am absolutely dumbfounded by how cold and distant you are, how you dropped me like a hot potato. I valued our friendship a lot because we shared the same values, but now I am wondering if it was all in my head and I misinterpreted the whole thing. I'm not angry, just surprised and hurt. So if one of these days I unfriend you on Facebook, it will only be because it makes me sad, not because I am angry or I don't want to be your friend. I do want to be your friend, I love you, and I mean it. I sincerely apologize if I failed to make you feel loved.

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"The truth is that the more intimately you know someone, the more clearly you’ll see their flaws. That’s just the way it is. This is why marriages fail, why children are abandoned, why friendships don’t last. You might think you love someone until you see the way they act when they’re out of money or under pressure or hungry, for goodness’ sake. Love is something different. Love is choosing to serve someone and be with someone in spite of their filthy heart. Love is patient and kind, love is deliberate. Love is hard. Love is pain and sacrifice, it’s seeing the darkness in another person and defying the impulse to jump ship."
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I have been hanging out with both KW and FAC pretty regularly. I am still one of the only people who knows what KW is going through and I try to check in with him and get together to talk a couple of times a week (though he started seeing a counselor twice a week at the LGBT support center). We made plans to go to the D. Ball fundraiser for A. Theater but it sort of turned into a fiasco when he invited his sister and lied to me about it. I said I absolutely do NOT want to see JWP, but he thought I would change my mind or something. I am willing to accept the degree of pain inherent in hanging with KW, but I draw the line at seeing his sister and her family. Losing them was probably more painful than losing KW, due to my nonexistent relationship with my own family. I ended up going to the D. Ball with FAC and he slept over at my place for the first time (in the spare room). KW randomly invited me to a baseball game on Monday, but since then he's been weird via text and not returned my calls. I try to give him the benefit of the doubt, but unfortunately my instincts tend to be right. I still don't understand why he pushed me away the first time, and I don't know why he's pushing me away, again.

We have had a sort of ongoing conversation about therapy, which I have never done but KW thinks I could benefit from. Of course I resent his paternalistic attitude toward me, and I point out possible ulterior motives of therapists and wonder if a person can't get the same benefits from talking to a trusted friend or other community member with whom one could develop a real two-way relationship.

KW suggested I think I don't "deserve" certain things in life. I've been thinking about it, and that may be true, but it feels right to me--not something that needs to be corrected. None of us have done *anything* to deserve the gift of life. Receiving that gift is humbling because we can never repay all the wonderful beautiful things we experience here. I value human relationships as the highest and greatest good in this life. Figuring out what my gifts are and then using those gifts to serve and bring others happiness feels like the best thing I can do to show my gratitude.


Feb. 25th, 2015 10:52 am
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I am a 35-year-old straight female WASP and my current fantasy is to take up with both my gender non-conforming ex-boyfriend and my 50-something gay male friend and have babies together and live happily after. I think we'd raise some awesome open-minded and well-informed people.

Maybe I will submit to PostSecret. It's a pretty good one.
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I can't remember a time when my heart wasn't broken. Like it's always been my natural state. I don't usually think about it, but every now and then, usually on a Sunday afternoon alone, it will randomly blindside me and I did I get here? Why is life this way? But I never wonder if things will ever be different, or why this happened to me in particular.

I made a new friend recently, FAC, who is a 50-something gay guy that spends his time with old ladies, gardening, and drinking. He understands my disposition better than anyone since RBC. When I told him it seemed like it was my position in life to support other people's primary relationships by providing something that was missing in that relationship, he didn't question or argue--just understood and accepted it. Like me, he recognizes that happiness isn't a right or a guarantee or even a goal. Contentment with a certain amount of joy and sorrow is fitting for some of us.
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"Some days I wake with a cloud around my heart, and it dulls everything except the weight I carry deep inside. Yet, just because I can't make it to the light today doesn't mean that the light has vanished. In truth, the heart, like the Earth, is continually blanketed by ever-changing atmospheres that come and go between who we are and how we live our days.

So faith, it seems, can be defined as the effort to believe in the light when we are covered by clouds, and though it feels like the sun will never come again, the truth is it has never stopped burning its light. In fact, its heat and warmth is burning steadily, right now, on the far side of whatever cloud we are under.

If we could only suspend our judgement when clouded in the heart. For many skepticisms are born from conclusions drawn while unable to see, as if any kind of understanding will prevent the clouds from coming or going, again and again.

But no cloud lasts forever. The Earth and all that grows from it knows this well. So does the heart and everything that grows from it, in spite of all our very understandable pains."
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KW started coming to our yoga class again. He was away for a couple of months after we split so I thought he was done with it. Then one day he was there. And a couple of more times since. Then one week we were the only two in class. We had breakfast afterward. I think it was good. I feel much more peace about the ex's that I've remained friends with. I feel no peace about ex's with whom things ended badly and we don't keep in touch. I prefer peace.

Last evening KW dropped off a tool I had loaned him, and ended up coming inside. We chatted. I offered him a drink. Then he dropped a bombshell. KW came out to me as transgendered. FML. Really?! And somehow he thought it would make me "feel better" about our relationship ending. It didn't. It made me feel like he lied, and still broke up with me for no reason because there was never any point where I didn't accept his weird fetishes or his cross dressing or anything else. But at least he's telling the truth now. Can't quite tell what his motivation is. Does he want to be my friend? Does he realize he's going to need friends? Does he care about me at all? No idea.

I am not convinced he is actually transgendered, because he didn't say anything like he always felt like a woman in a man's body or that he hates his penis. He fits a lot of the criteria in this article so maybe he's a transvestite? Transsexual? Who knows. My giving, open, caring nature leads me to feel incredibly responsible to help him somehow, so I am struggling with that because none of it is my responsibility. And I know I don't have to agree with every decision he makes in order to still care for him and be his friend. He is growing out his hair and nails and intends to transition to living as a woman. He even talked about taking the hormones, which I have very strong negative feelings about. I competely support wearing whatever you want and unconventional style, but when it comes to unnaturally altering a perfectly healthy body...I have a really hard time. Anyway, I think he should spend more time living a woman's life before he decides to do it all day every day. So I invited him to gay bingo next month, where he can dress in whatever he likes in a supportive atmosphere. I told JM, because I had to tell someone, and she thought it might be good for him to go away for a couple of months to someplace like Provincetown and live as a woman for a while to see how it goes. I thought it was a good idea.

Even though it wasn't completely out of the blue, I still feel floored. Like my world got shattered. Like someone died, almost. I couldn't keep my mind on anything for the rest of the day. I think it will be better when I get a little more distance.......
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"Alone had always felt like an actual place to me, as if it weren't a state of being, but rather a room where I could retreat to be who I really was. The radical aloneness of the PCT had altered that sense. Alone wasn't a room anymore, but the whole wide world, and now I was alone in that world, occupying it in a way I never had before."

I cried at some point every day leading up to the trip to Antigua. I cried for my father and the things he never got a chance to do, and all the suffering of his life, and everything I never knew about him and never will. I cried for KW, for his lack of care and honesty and friendship, but mostly I think I cried for the idea of him--someone like me, who I was attracted to, who I could love, who I could think about growing old with. I cried for myself, for the complete and utter loneliness, emptiness, and lack of long term connection with any other human being. For the prospect of growing old alone, without children, without family, without love.

Did not cry at all while I was was a great escape. So easy to be with JK again. Lived my dream by staying on a sailboat. Did a little hiking. Swam in the ocean. Drank a lot. When I returned, I didn't feel the same loss of freedom I felt after the Utah roadtrip and didn't feel immediately sad when I got home. And for the past three days I am feeling a bit lighter. The sadness wells up in me, but right before it becomes enough that I would cry, it sort of dies down. My eyes sting a little, but no tears fall.

I have been reading the book "Wild" about a lone female hiker on the Pacific Crest Trail, and it is so inspiring. I wonder if I am finding my way back to the place where I was satisfied and happy with being alone, in the time all the way back before I met RBC. I have always believed that my feelings are a state of mind, and it is completely within my power to change that state of mind and those feelings. If it is not possible to get what you need to make you happy, then change what it is you need--consciously. Decide to be happy with what you have, or shift your goals to something more attainable.

I think I am growing more comfortable with the notion of being alone. In a way, it feels like a re-emergence, or a homecoming, or being true to myself. As if trying to get paired off was just a lie that never would have worked. When  I am still and envision the most true and pure life that I can imagine, I am an island. Companions come and go, but the only constant is my own mind and my own body, my own wishes and desires and decisions.

I must embrace things just as they are.

"It was a deal I'd made with myself months before and the only thing that allowed me to hike alone. I knew that if I allowed fear to overtake me, my journey was doomed. Fear, to a great extent, is born of a story we tell ourselves, and so I chose to tell myself a different story from the one women are told. I decided I was safe. I was strong. I was brave. Nothing could vanquish me. Insisting on this story was a form of mind control, but for the most part, it worked. Every time I heard a sound of unknown origin or felt something horrible cohering in my imagination, I pushed it away. I simply did not let myself become afraid. Fear begets fear. Power begets power. I willed myself to beget power. And it wasn't long before I actually wasn't afraid."
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I have been thinking I ought to be writing about all this. Then I come to the blog and see all the happy moments from the past, and how it ended with KW, and I get thrown by the pain of it, and close the laptop screen and push it far away. Why did I record all of that, I wonder. Sometimes the things I record definitely do help, because I have such a bad memory and it is good to be reminded of ways I felt or decisions I made. There have been things in the last few months I wish I would have recorded. Guess I will have to do my best to remember......

I took a trip out West with a casual friend, an acquaintence almost, named JK. He is the cousin of my old manager when I was a kayak guide on the OBX, and we met a few times at the beach and a couple of times here in P. He was between jobs and planning a trip to the national parks in Southern Utah, and after my horrendous summer I was really looking to escape so I invited myself along. The trip was amazing. I recorded a few sentences each day, hoping to later expand the writing, but I doubt I will ever get around to that. I felt so wonderful and free, and like the past didn't matter, and everything was going to be ok. I felt peaceful about my father because he loved the West, too, and he couldn't take this trip...but I could. I felt peaceful about KW because it seemed like our break up was a gift without which this trip wouldn't have been possible, and leaving him opened up all the wondrous possibilities of the future.

On the night I got back, I knew on a subconscious level that the freedom was gone. I cried on the plane, but I often do for some reason. Then I cried at JM's apartment after she picked me up, and she saw it but didn't say anything. Reality becomes further and further removed from the joy and freedom I felt while traveling. I feel tearful most of the day, but usually they only fall in the evenings, after I get back to my quiet apartment. Occasionally when I am alone in the car with too much time to think. But this morning I woke up crying. Mornings are usually when I feel the best, and most productive and hopeful. I am feeling a bit concerned about this. If there is not at least one point in the day when I feel positive, how will I ever find my way back to being happy? I have been going to yoga class on Wednesday mornings religiously. Even if I don't really feel like it, I know it is a good thing to do and it is always the right choice. So at least there is still one time during the week when I feel something good.

I am wondering how much the weather has to do with my mood. The sun has not shown in P for over two weeks. It is actually out this morning, and I would like to go out for a run, but it is still cold. JM invited me down to watch the football game, but I don't know if I ought to be around people right now.

When we parted ways at the end of our trip, JK was heading to Europe to do some sight-seeing in Ireland and Spain, before meeting up with a 63' sailing ship in Valencia and then serving as first mate through Gibraltar, Canary Islands, and across the Atlantic to Antigua. We sent a few messages back and forth, and finally Skyped the day before he was setting sail for Antigua, and he said I should join when he gets there. It will be over Christmas, which is perfect for me because I hate Christmas and opt out whenever possible. I do think of my mother, and this being her first Christmas without my dad, and my tremendous sense of obligation to family. But that is a whole other topic to explore in another post...........
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Dear J & S,

I just wanted to thank you for your warmth and hospitality over the past year. You have a wonderful family, and it was a priviledge to join in so many of your gatherings. I loved spending time with you and M and E, and I will miss you all very much. Thank you for everything you shared.

Yours always,



Aug. 22nd, 2014 05:29 pm
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You are depressed and you are scuttling. I can tell because you are completely indecisive and can't make even small decisions and you neglect common courtesies like returning a call. You have shut down and are not talking, which seems like a terrible response and way to treat me, but I am trying hard to remain open and supportive because that is what I would need when I feel depressed.

I have been a good partner to you. I have put up with a lot, in an effort to show that I have patience and can weather the relationship storms that are bound to come. I finally feel like I have myself together enough to be a good partner, and have something valuable to offer and contribute to a healthy relationship, for maybe the first time in my life. Do you think you have been a good partner? Why not?

I thought going through the ordeal of my father's illness and death would bring us closer. I wonder if my neediness during that time turned you off somehow. I just didn't have the emotional energy to invest in our relationship (for the better part of the relationship, since he got diagnosed in February) and I really regret it. I think it would really hurt my Dad to know that his illness negatively affected my chance at happiness. I dread telling my family and friends that this is ending.

I am also angry because I don't need to be going through this pain right now. It could have been avoided. I should have trusted my instincts about you and kept you at arm's length instead of trusting you. You said all the right things, and I believed you, even though I have learned from the past that words mean nothing. You are proving my theory that men wait to settle down with the woman they start dating when they finally reach the point in life when they have a good job and can be a good provider. So it has very little to do with the woman herself and your compatibility, but mostly your own situation. You have treated me like an object in many ways, instead of one half of a partnership. I often felt like you were looking to me to entertain and stimulate and challenge you, instead of treating me as a subject with independent ideas and unique feelings. I never felt like you tried to work together with me to develop a true partnership where both our needs were met. That would be the real challenge.

If the issues lie within you, then why are you pushing me away instead of looking within yourself to examine and resolve those issues? And talking about them with me so we can work together on a solution?

Have you ever dated a person you had so much in common with--shared interests and values? Those are the foundation for a strong and lasting relationship. Everything else is superficial. You can not expect to feel the same level of infatuation ever again that you felt with your first girlfriend, because first loves are always new and special. Infatuation fades. Attachment is developed with effort through a conscious opening of the heart and sharing of the soul. I think you have not broken it off because on some level you know that would be the wrong thing to do. That first time you mentioned that sometimes you think about breaking up with me, and I stood up to leave, thinking we were breaking up in that moment, and you stopped me. YOU asked if we could keep seeing each other. On some level you knew it was not the right thing to break up. I think you are scared. You have never in your life gone past this level with any woman, and you do not know what it will look like or be like and you are afraid of committing to something you might not want a few years from now. I understand that.

You prodded me and encouraged me to be open to the possibilities. So I was, because you convinced me. And then you completely withdrew. I do not understand why you would do that. Can you please explain?

Are you satisfied with your life's path? If you had a choice 35 years ago between being born as a man or as a woman, which would you choose?
blackbirdblog: (Default)
So I'm not sure why it always goes downhill
Why broken cisterns never could stay filled
I've spent ten years singing gravity away
But the water keeps on falling from the sky

And here tonight while the stars are blacking out
With every hope and dream I've ever had in doubt
I've spent ten years trying to sing these doubts away
But the water keeps on falling from my eyes

And heaven knows, heaven knows
I tried to find a cure for the pain
Oh my Lord! To suffer like you do
It would be a lie to run away

So blood is fire pulsing through our veins
We're either writers or fools behind the reigns
I've spent ten years trying to sing it all way
But the water keeps on falling from my tries

And heaven knows, heaven knows
I tried to find a cure for the pain
Oh my Lord! To suffer like you do
It would be a lie to run away
A lie to run
It would be a lie
It would be a lie to run away


Aug. 18th, 2014 02:57 pm
blackbirdblog: (Default)

From childhood’s hour I have not been
As others were—I have not seen

As others saw—I could not bring
My passions from a common spring—
From the same source I have not taken
My sorrow—I could not awaken
My heart to joy at the same tone—
And all I lov’d—I lov’d alone—  

blackbirdblog: (Default)
KW does not love me. He suggested we break up (for the second time) just days before my Dad died. The whole thing happened late at night when we both drank too much. The next morning I told him I couldn't deal with it right now and asked if we could pretend the whole conversation never happened. He was not as supportive as I would have liked during the funeral ordeal, but he stuck by me, and in the week or so afterward it seemed like we might be ok. Now he is cold as ice, won't touch me, stopped calling. He spent time and effort breaking down my walls, convincing me that he wanted to know me, and that a marriage and a future was within the realm of possibility. And then, as soon as I opened up and let him in, quit pushing him away, and became the least bit vulnerable, he pulled the meanest bait-and-switch I have ever gone through. (And I have experienced bait-and-switch before.)

Some moments I feel completely at peace about it. I know I will be OK. It was beautiful while it lasted. I had an amazing time, so many new experiences, and learned a lot about myself and about life. I felt hope.

I won't do it, but I feel like I would be completely justified in killing myself. This is it for me. Last chance. I will never open up again. I am getting too old for a family. No one else can ever meet my father. I am completely heartbroken.

But life must go on. Somehow.
blackbirdblog: (Default)
My father is gone. I go back and forth between despair that he is no longer on the earth and the hope that he is now a part of the earth.

We held the visitation at my mom's house all day on Tuesday--his 71st birthday. It felt like he was still there, not gone, because we displayed his wood projects and bear skin coat and hunting boots and people from all parts of his life came and told stories and filled the house with his presence. ARH's wife, LH, made a picture show and it was striking to me that so many of the photos showed him with a big smile on his face. I mostly remember my parents being unhappy together, but the slides made it seem like they had many good times and a happy life. It is powerful the way others' recollections and images can change my own memory. KW suggested (practically insisted) that I sit down to write a bit about the past few days because I do have a very bad memory, and there were so many positive impressions of my Dad that I do not want to forget.

We held his funeral service at the graveside at PF. My favorite part was when anyone was invited to speak and tell a story or share a memory of Dad. A couple people said how generous he was, always willing to give money or lend a hand when there was a need. His best hunting buddy described him as a great friend who loved the outdoors. One guy described how Dad was quiet but thoughtful. He did not say much in their church home group, but when he did it made everyone pause to think. Similarly, Dad's first wife, SH, described how he would take so long to answer a question, even a simple one, and it drove her crazy. So she was glad he found my Mom and she was a better match for him. I was surprised Mom stood up to speak, and she shared about Dad's keen sense of humor (even at the end), his generosity, how they grew close and he appreciated her over the past few years, but also how he had kept part of his life separate from her. This was always apparent in the way he spent time alone in the basement wood shop and off at camp with his hunting buddies, but it was never verbalized before. There were friends of his at the visitation that I never even heard him mention and stories I never heard. Everything said at the graveside was especially touching to me because I recognize these same traits in my own personality, and usually view them as a negative part of myself, but now I know I come by them honestly and it makes me feel closer to my Dad so I am less inclined to try to overcome these "flaws". I am a loner, just like him.

Now I know as much about him, and I am as close to him as I ever will be. Our relationship is still and all I have are objects and memories. He encouraged me a couple of times to ask him what I wanted to ask him while he was still around to answer. I couldn't think of much I needed to know, but I asked what some of his best memories were of the time we were growing up, so that I could remember the good times, too. He mentioned the cruises we went on, going to soccer or softball games, and being at the beach in Nags Head.

We were all in the room when he died--ARH, LH, Mom, and me. He was peaceful at the end, with the morphine to sedate his agitation, and it was a relief to know his struggle was over. We kept him at home as long as possible, so he only spent the last 36 hours or so at the inpatient hospice. I feel peaceful about how everything worked out through the past few weeks. I have no idea what the next few months or years will be like without him, but I hope I can maintain the good feelings I have about his life, and keep all the good memories alive.
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