Along the Way

To paraphrase my grandma Goldie, “The only thing you get out of this life is what you eat, drink, or smoke; and if you’re lucky, you might just get to love someone along the way.”

Strange how love, luck, and fear all roll down the same highway.

Have I been so lucky, or have my fears guarded my heart too much?

I always went for safe men to fulfill my basic human need to love without getting too involved, lest they seek to harm or throw restraints on me.

For good reason. I learned at a very young age that I had to protect myself and guard my sisters from men, particularly from a pedophile who had blended into our family so well that no one believed that he was capable of harming children.

I had some odd ideas about men… wondered if they were some kind of subspecies, so most should be regarded as dangerous creatures. Even those I trusted and deemed as safe had oddities. I believed strange things, like men could not feel the bitter cold of winter because my father went years without a warm coat while us girls were all bundled up and still chattering. In hindsight, I know better… those were lean years when my father went without to provide for his children.

Needless to say, I grew up with some warped ideas. It took years for me to realize that men were just people, too. Poetry and music helped to solidify that conclusion, as it amazed me that men could write with such passion and other emotions.

I was 22 before I willingly had sex with anyone. Thankfully, I had a patient husband who learned how to touch me without triggering body memories that would render me to instant ice or worse… I’d do that little parlor trick and poof, be gone.

Maybe I should delete that, but fuck it… I’m only one of an estimated 60 million survivors in the USA today (link to source) and stats do vary, 1 in 3 girls… 1 in 4… 1 in 5?  Predators thrive on silence, harming little minds as well as bodies, so pretending it does not happen only perpetuates the silence and hinders recovery.

So, how did I meet my husband?

He was in our back yard hunting fishing worms with my nephew when I arrived home from work one day. The only reason I agreed to go anywhere with him (our first date, if you could call it that, was a walk to the park to go swing on the swings) was because I had already said “nothing” when he asked what I was doing and I couldn’t think up a valid excuse to say no. Then he baffled the hell out of me. That weird little man brought me flowers darn near every day while he courted me, but never once tried to touch me. After several weeks passed, I kissed him and we married before the end of summer.

The marriage lasted less than four years, but we were together on and off about ten… lived separately but continued an odd relationship after our first and second dissolution.  Dissolution instead of divorce was quite fitting as I was dissolving in the marriage, felt like I had to explain my every action, as if I needed his permission or approval to breathe.

After I moved two counties north to break free, I tried dating. That was bizarre. I quit after a few blind dates from hell, couldn’t deal with dinner conversation that made me feel like I was on a job interview in the Twilight Zone.

I did meet someone at a gallery… a zany artist who was leaving Ohio before I met him. It started out as a mutual attraction that drew us together now and then, despite us each having reservations (okay, serious issues) that prevented seeking a normal relationship.  Our “unique and special friendship” spanned more than twenty years, with over ten of those years being after he moved to another state.

Once again, I had picked someone safe to fulfill my basic human need to love and be loved.

Then everything changed on March 30, 2015.

Something clicked inside when my aunt died. I threw caution to the wind, and made what turned out to be life altering decisions based on, “What would Betty do?”

Uh… to give credence to what that implies? After my ex-husband met the vet, he asked me how I hooked up with that guy and when I told him that it was a WWBD decision, he was like, “OMG, your aunt was wild! You can’t do that!”

Well, yeah… I did.

I had to throw caution to the wind, banish fears and live a life that’s raw, real, and right now… I just wanted to feel alive.  We could blame it on the bipolar as I did go a tad too manic there for awhile, but there were other things in the works that had been stewing under the surface for a very long time.

So, I went off the deep end, lost a dear friend in the process… but, eventually got it together and life goes on. The consequences of my decisions have not all been bad. Some were pretty good, got me out of the Towers and into a home of my own.

As for the vet, he’s a good man… comes off a bit mean on a first impression, but under the stoic face and military persona is a playful little boy with a kind soul and a teddy bear heart.

He feels more deeply than I do… I opted not to tell him things that he doesn’t need to know about because I don’t want him to feel sad for me. He would, too. I saw his reaction when he asked about a scar on my skin, a little white spot that no one else has ever noticed. He was instantly sad and ready to kill whoever hurt me and I did not go into any details… just said it was a cigarette burn, don’t worry about it.

Besides, I am no longer haunted by body memories. I’m not living in the past, that life is gone. All we have is right here, right now… will it last? I don’t know. All we have is right here, right now, and no one gets out of this world alive.

That’s what clicked inside when my aunt died: a need to live my life raw, real, and right now.

This is not what I intended to write about… I planned to write about life changes docs are demanding I make that run cross-grain to my grandmother’s words, but got detoured by love along the way.

I have been lucky enough to love along the way… and each of the three men mentioned above have blessed my life in different ways. I still love all three… the vet understands that, as he can love me and still love the mother of his children. That’s just the way it goes… true love lingers or flips to hate. It cannot be turned off like water at the faucet. Thanks for reading.

Red

Santa wears red, so red must be the color of cheer. Even my depressed poinsettia is trying to hang onto a few red leaves. Maybe red will do me good… I can’t afford Christian Louboutin’s red soled shoes, so I treated myself to a new pair of faux fur trimmed fingerless mittens.

Hey, they match the tablecloth. 

I’m just looking for a bit of holiday cheer, which seems to elude me this year. 

Dear Santa

It’s been a rough year. The death toll is staggering… more friends, family, neighbors, and acquaintances have departed than I can count on three hands. I cried too many and too often silent tears, lost myself in bottles, sought comfort and love in warm brown arms, then sunk my bare feet into the muddy waters of reality until my toes found solid ground on the south side of Youngstown.

So, may I have some paints please? Oh pretty please, dear Santa?

Here’s a link to my wish list at Dick Blick as I’m a bit particular when it comes to art supplies.  I also added a full set of pencils, as one should always dream big when dreaming out loud.

Odds are that I shall find the equivalent of another lump of coal in my Christmas stocking, if the jolly old elf bothers to stop by here at all. The children have noticed, they already know… they say grandma’s a bad girl, that’s why Santa doesn’t bring her anything.

~

Truth be told, I am a bit scared. My appointment with the retinal specialist is today. What if the sight cannot be restored? Depression is already swirling, will I sink into a deep abyss? Paints could save me… art is therapy, I could paint with one eye, fine line details not required.

journey

I do so want to paint again…  I quit when I first became disabled, took up pencils because the medium was dry and I could draw little pictures with minimal body movements while stuck in a chair for endless hours. I still cannot stand at an easel, but paints could be next on my artistic journey.

I could always express emotions in paint, much more freely than with pencils… let the brushes take me where they want to go. Like in this painting below, my 3rd of 1998…

20161202_094616

It is actually two paintings in one… the left side was painting out an emotional storm, then my thoughts turned to a man I barely knew in 1998, an elusive artist with unknown entanglements. I did not know what had him so bogged down back then, but I could feel it. It’s a bad portrait… beard too thick, &c.

I’ve been hanging art… can’t hang that one, still mourning the loss of our friendship, and with every painting comes the urge to paint again.

The wish list of art supplies is just words to the wind… come January, I will slowly start ordering what I need. Thanks for reading! And wish me luck today.