Sunday, February 28, 2010

life really is good

Sometimes there is no identity crisis.

I'm sometimes short on words. I don't write as much as I should, and get all panicky when faced with a blank page sometimes - how do I fill it with meaningI struggle with my body image. I feel inadequate in a lot of ways - just read the previous post to learn more about that. We all have our days...but at some point today, I remembered that in spite of all the self-doubt, and the obstacles I throw in my own path, I am incredibly strong.

I really had an awful weekend. It was one of those...when you wake up on a Saturday morning and race for the bathroom, because you're feeling sick - and you're on the other side of that life phase - well, you know it ain't gonna be great. I remember morning sickness. I don't ever want to experience it again! Staying in bed was not an option - I had a first aid/cpr class all day, so I got up, skipped that oh-so-necessary coffee and went for it.

I made it through. I felt like crap, and for that reason alone, I was almost happy that the hot instructor was leading the first-aid class downstairs while I froze my ass in the attic with the motherly, matronly instructor who had short term memory problems and hot flashes. Every damn window in the attic was open, and in case you don't live in Ontario, I should let you know that it snowed yesterday. A lot. I'm nauseated, hungry, and freezing cold at 8:30 in the morning, when really, I should be asleep...

And she was really hot. Why do I pay so much attention to appearances? I mean, so what if she was that just-right combination of androgyny and butch that I love? Shouldn't I be focused on more important matters, like the right way to do CPR?

But I finished the day - I can do chest compressions, and the heimlich manouver, and I can even operate one of those AED machines that are popping up in airports and shopping malls. 

I think the nausea was related to the migraine that followed me around for the rest of the day. Try doing chest compressions with a pounding head.

And the migraine has everything to do with the time of the month, which has everything to do with the (once again) low hemoglobin that I've been blessed with. So I collaped last night, woke up this morning to one of the joys of parenting two girls who are fourteen years apart.

Megan moved to a new apartment today. She had a large group of friends and relatives already on hand to help - and I wanted to be there. But in addition to feeling terrible, I realized that I'd signed Emily up for a community skating lesson more than six weeks ago, and that lesson So I scuttled between the old apartment and the new place, the outdoor rink, and the grocery store. Her step-dad was there. My parents were there...but I wasn't, for the most part. I think that I moved about forty times between the ages of twenty and thirty-three, and my mom showed up for each and every move. She bought me groceries, helped me unpack boxes, hung my pictures before she left (because a house just doesn't look right without pictures) and just made me feel good about my choices. I wanted to be that kind of mom.

I am that kind of mom. But as emotionally strong as I am, I just can't do it all. Nor does anyone expect me to...except maybe me. As an obese adult, I never really experienced chronic illness, except for the two months leading up to my surgery, when my herniated disc was in full disaster mode. I managed to get things done quite nicely, albeit a bit slowly. But anemia - well, I'll be happy when I can finally be on the other side of it. My body will probably never absorb iron properly again ( and was the surgery worth the price - I still say yes), but a minor surgical procedure that I'm probably going to undergo this summer should alleviate some of my symptoms. In the meantime, I do what I need to do, and I get by.

I bought Megan the groceries that she needed.  I took Emily to the rink. And it was fun, sipping hot chocolate, and watching her gain some confidence on the ice. After an hour outside I definitely felt better. I always do. I skipped exercising today - as I must when my hemo is really low.  I caught the last minutes of the big game, because I'd invited the movers - including my brother - over for pizza at my place, where there was cable.

I had to let a few things go. I usually cook a lot on weekends, because I try not to rely on pre-packaged food at all, and I don't have a lot of cooking time during the week. I managed cookies, but not dinners.  I didn't submit a story for a contest, even though I'd wanted to. I didn't finish the piece I've been working on, to my satisfaction anyways, and I decided, somewhere in the turmoil of today, that even though the stuff I wrote a few years ago is good, I am a much better writer now.

Coming out changes everything. It does. It even changed the way I parent, the way I teach, the way I hold my head up and smile when I walk into a room. Because I own it, and I've claimed my sexual identity. And it changed the way I write - so much for the better. Not that the subject matter has changed all that much - it's just that even on paper, I used to hide.

I wish I could think like this every day. Depressive thoughts usually strike at this time of month - and let's face it, in spite of my bravado, in spite of really knowing that the right person will come along at the right time, there are days - or rather nights, when I am really, terribly


and my friends are amazing people, but there's something missing.

Thing is, I've never had it. Not ever.

But in the meantime, there are so many things, little and big, joyful and painful that occupy my time and space. The writing I need to work on. My girls, beautiful and strong, who both still need me. There are moonlit walks on snowy streets, cats purring on my lap, chocolate chip cookies in the oven, and a low moaning wind that rattles my bedroom window. I can hold all of this, and know that it will be okay.  Okay if it stays this way, okay if things get worse, and okay if things get better.

 I used to think I was open, but I was a five-year diary with stilted lines, and a rusty key that wouldn't fit the lock. That lock was the only thing that held me together. What will I do when I finally pry it open, and rip the bindings away?

Thursday, February 25, 2010

this is what happens

every time...not that it occurs all that often, but here's some insight into my character and the workings of my fearful brain....

Let's say I meet or chat with someone new. And let's pretend that they have something particularly nice to say about my appearance - they like my smile, they think I'm cute. I can handle and appreciate comments about my strength of character, my writing talent, my cooking, whatever. But comments, positive ones, about my appearance, send me screeching away as fast as my two feet can take me.

And then I rationalize. Or rather, I make excuses. All the reasons why it probably won't work out, so I'd better not even try.  I cut myself off from even the possibility of a relationship before it even exists because I. Am. Terrified.

Why does this matter so much? Why should revealing any vulnerable part of myself to someone be so difficult? I ask myself the questions, but answers are few and far between.

Once upon a time, there were men. And I could offer myself physically without any single emotional component - whatever was done, was something done to me. I really didn't participate - I did what I needed to do without becoming more involved than I had to. It was what was supposed to happen.

I could take my clothes off. Hey, and I was twice the size that I am now. Maybe the weight shielded me in ways that I'm only coming to appreciate now. But now, I think about all the flaws that are still there - because I am hyperfocusing on my flaws, in case you missed it - and I wonder if I can ever be that vulnerable with anyone again. It's not just an act, it's not just something that I'm doing because that's what's expected of me in the moment. It's real.

Or it would be real, if I could just let go. Let go of all the anxiety and fear that really holds me back.

Fear of being just as uncomfortable as I used to be.
Fear of my own lack of experience.
Fear of the flaws that hide beneath the clothes (and yes, I'm 44, I've had kids, that's life)
Fear of being rejected for the very things that brought me here - to this place in my life.

I don't like rejection. No one does. But instead of opening myself to the possibility of love, which may include the possibility of rejection, for whatever real and imagined reason I can think of, I just shut down.

I turn off my IM. My google chat, my innumerable ways of being reached electronically.
I stop writing, because usually I can bring a more positive attitude to bear when I work things out on paper.
Blogging becomes hard. I don't want to show anyone, even those who only know my by the text I write, anything more significant than life updates and stories about the weather. I am that afraid of what lies beneath, and that what lies beneath is somehow lacking.

I wonder why there's been no other messages, but at the same time I'm secretly relieved. Because, yanno, it probably won't work out anyways.

There is at least one person out there, who upon reading this - if she reads my bog- who will be nodding her head and smiling a particularly enigmatic smile. She knows me well.

I feel like I'm drowning in my own pool of anxiety.

Monday, February 15, 2010

self-love and nurturing

Valentine's Day. It's not the first Valentine's that I've been alone. It's not even the first consecutive Valentine's that I've been alone. But you know what? It's really okay.

I decided a while ago to take a page out of someone else's book (and if I could remember whose book it was I would give them full credit - it was a blogger, and likely a pagan blogger - but alas, I have forgotten) and call February 14th the Feast of Aphrodite. Aphrodite was the Greek goddess of love, and for me she is a strong symbol of self-love as well as the romantic type that's epitomized in Valentine's Day. So today, my thoughts turned towards all the love that's in my life. There is so much of it. My kids, my family, my start with. And then there are all the ways in which I am touched by love that I'm not always conscious of - the kids at work, my facebook friends that I've never met, the bloggers who have followed and advised and supported me through so much.

So...self-love. That's a tough one. I struggle with it a lot. I guess the better term is self-acceptance. I am comfortable with who I am in a lot of ways. I know my strengths. I know my talents and gifts. I know my weaknesses - chocolate, for example. And the tendency to let clutter overwhelm me. I'm working on that, but chocolate? I'll always have room for a little bit of chocolate. I've developed patterns in my life that are nurturing and self-loving. I exercise. I eat right (most of the time), I do things for myself and other people that are good, and that are indulgent. I surround myself with good books and good music. After a year, I've finally started cooking for myself again, and I've filled my fridge and freezer with the fresh, home-cooked food I love. I play the guitar that I've worked so hard to buy. I watch movies with my youngest on Friday nights, curled up with her and a small bowl of popcorn between us. I write, and write, and then I write some more. Every day. I journal. I edit my old work and I work on new pieces. These things are all good - so good. Finally, after ten years of inertia, of thinking that someone else's life is more important than my own, I'm finding a groove, I'm settling into this warm and cozy sense of having found something good. My life can't revolve completely around someone else ever again. There has to be something in it for me.

I've written a lot in this space about dating, about being ready to date, about continuing to be alone long after I expected things to change. I've shared my frustration, my sadness, and the loneliness that haunts me, even with this very good life. It's like I've come so far....but I can't take that extra step forward, to complete, or should I say continue the cycle. I was pondering in the car last night (on the way home from a friend's - I tend to ponder a lot in the car) and I came to the realization that really, I am the only one who's holding me back.

It's true.

You see, I want to date. But I don't want to. I have such horrible memories of, it was tough. With the exception of my ex, who made dating very easy. I didn't have to do a thing. I didn't have to work at all...there was no impression to make, no preliminaries, none of that does he or doesn't he shit. Too easy, almost. I didn't evaluate why I was with him, or whether or not I was really attracted to him. I was so tired of being rejected that I just played along. I never really thought about how I felt about him - as long as he liked me, it was okay. Because I could play along, fit into the niche that was safe and comfy. And so wrong for me.

And don't get me started about sex. I have this deep-seated fear that I really am frigid...sometimes. And then I wake from a dream that has my heart racing and my breath coming in big, huge gulps, dreams that involve women - and when I was in the hetero world I never dreamed about men - and I have at least some hope that I'm not. But what if I'm just not good enough?

I really don't want to make the same mistakes again. At the same time, I'm afraid of exposing myself to that scrutiny - what if I physically don't pass muster. I know, I know - all those insecurities are left over from having once weighed 300 pounds, from always feeling as though I could never be good enough. I need to get over them - but I also need to be real. I'm 44 years old. I have wrinkles. I sag in places. My skin is stretched and somewhat loose in places,  no matter how much I exercise, how many different creams I apply. Soft, yes, and supple around my shoulders...but I will never look 20 again. Or 30. I don't think anyone expects that. But I've set such impossibly high standards for myself that I start out at a loss...if I don't believe that I'm capable of sustaining a healthy relationship, then I probably won't.

It sounds like such a negative spew, out here in the blog world - but really, I'm just trying to give insight into my process - how I managed to get through eighteen months of separation without so much as a single date. Crush. Expression of interest (beyond, you know, the usual fantasy figures). As long as I think I might not be good enough, as long as a part of me fears, and therefore rejects the process, the idea of dating, then it likely won't happen.

Sure, I have logistical problems. But don't we all? I mean, I have it a bit tougher, having come out mid-life, and needing to build a network. But I have one, a small one to be sure, but one that I can build on. I deliberately overlook opportunities because I am afraid. I've been afraid of this for so long that I've forgotten what it means to be fearless, to be able to plunge into something new without hesitation.

I need that courage. I need to turn this around and make it positive. All along, I thought I was being positive, but at the same time I use phrases like "I can't." "I won't." "I don't want...." If I want to get somewhere, I need to change that focus, concentrate on what I do wand, what I can do, what I will do in order to be happy. I can say "I want to learn how to..." It starts with self-love. It begins with the courage to change, and know that my past does not define my future unless I allow those negative lessons to maintain control of my actions.

So...I'm ready to move forward. After months of paying lip-service to the concept, I'm ready to build the life I've always dreamed about, but was never really able to see myself achieving. Until now.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

I've been added...

I found this blog about a week ago:

It's a listing which includes queer bloggers from across our vast, diverse country. I was many Canadian blogs to read.

And today they e-mailed me to let me know I've been added to their blogroll.


Tuesday, February 9, 2010

a wee little post

A quickie....

  • Work is busy, home is busy and I've been spending inordinate amounts of time with my pen and notebook. This is a good thing. I've submitted three short stories for consideration in various places. I have three short stories in second draft, and about three more that I am still editing. Work, work, work and I love it. The job I get paid to do is not so bad, either. 
  • I thought I would just ignore Valentine's Day altogether, but I think I'm just going to treat myself very well that day.
  • My oldest got accepted for college in September!!! I am so happy for her! 
  • I am really tired of personal ads and singles websites. Argh!
  • Further to that, I am almost convinced that there are no single lesbians over the age of 35 in my city. I whined about this on Facebook a bit and got a lot of positive, supportive comments. It was great - but the real problem is that if there are single lesbians anywhere close to my age in this town, they are not using internet dating sites. Which makes it awfully hard to meet people, because I don't know any real, live lesbians who live here, in this city. Toronto - well Toronto seems to have all the lesbians, except the ones who live in Guelph (who also don't advertise)....and even though I'd drive to London, or Hamilton, or even places farther away to meet someone, driving in Toronto is not my thing. At all.
  • Not that I need to worry about any of that, because I had maybe three meagre responses from both ads I put out...from places like Australia, and England and Western Canada. While I find it a lot of fun to write to people in other places, I'd like to chat with someone that I have a hope in hell of meeting in the next year.
  • So, tell me, what the hell is wrong with me? I even have a tattoo now, for goddess' sake.
  • Ontario is cold in February and I'm really looking forward to June, July and August.
  • I'm thinking about going to Michfest again this summer, but I'm hesitating. It would be nice to know a few more people who are friend M and her partner might be there, which would make it a better experience than last year.
  • I'm totally going for the music. No other expectations this time.
  • I think it's time to hang my pictures. I've been living here for a year. Clearly, no one is going to do it for me.
  • Darn those kids in my after-school program. They're forcing me to watch American Idol. I cringe when someone goes flat, and tells such a beautiful story that they get to the next round anyways. That being said, there are some good singers out there.
  • It saddens me that I watch at all. But it's fun to ride the cross-trainer to bad music.
  • Can someone tell me why there is such a fuss about repealing Don't Ask, Don't Tell?  Twenty NATO countries allow gays to serve in the military, including Canada, Great Britain and France. Why is the U.S so backwards in that respect? It should just happen. Done.
  • Facebook is really pissing me off today and I am almost embarrassed that I'm so upset. I think I'm on Facebook more than I should be.
  • The snow has totally bypassed Ontario this year. All of my readers who live in Virginia and parts nearby? You are getting a typical Ontario winter. We have about three inches of snow on the ground, and I was hoping that we would score at least one snow day this year. Day off with pay. I need one of those - but then again, Monday is a paid holiday in Ontario. Family Day.
  • I hope everyone is having a good week! Lots of love to everyone!

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Our Big Gayborhood

Check it out:

Lori Hahn of `Hahn at Home` has a new website. It features bloggers that I have been following since I was a neophyte blogger and a just-coming-out midlife lesbian. They are all fantastic writers, who tell compelling stories, and write with passion. of my favourite singers, Tret Fure, is narrating the Starr Ann Chronicles in podcast form,...written by one of my fave bloggers Margo Moon.   .

It is so awesome to read their stories and articles all on one site!

Have a won`t be sorry!