Balance / Transition

So much has happened. I can barely keep it all straight. Time and space seem curiously malleable right now. Is this real? It feels solid enough, I guess. Who knows? Who cares?

But that’s the thing – I do care. I need to make sense of it, to draw a straight line from Point A to Point B, connect all of the composite parts into one definable thing. Discovering and categorizing is what I do. I am nothing without my organizational skills, and my ability to ferret out the hidden details. I need to know more. What is this I want to define? Is it a place? A time? A thing? What is It? Is It me? Who is this where I am right now? Do I inhabit, or merely oversee?

I have been rushing a lot lately. That’s the only part of this that doesn’t suit me. The to and fro has a hold of me, and I need to put the kibosh on that kind of un-thinking before it sucks me back in. The overall goal has to be to slow down and dig in, not to speed up and float on the surface. One simply cannot get to the heart of the matter by treading lightly.

I started my new job last month. I fought long and hard to get it, and now that I have it, I find I’m…bored? I guess that makes sense, but it doesn’t quite seem right. Uninspired might be a better word. There’s nothing wrong with it, exactly. It’s a solid career choice, and a good company. I am not unhappy. My coworkers are decent people with whom I don’t mind interacting. My clients are fine. It’s probably the least angsty that I’ve ever been at a job, despite the insane hours. But it means nothing to me. I should feel something, right? Pride at doing a complex job that not many people could handle so easily? Or joy at being instrumental in bringing happiness to others? I struggle to find meaning in it.

Years ago, a psychiatrist told me I should just make others smile, and sometimes I remind myself that just being kind is its own karmic reward. The truth is that I found greater purpose at the front desk than in the events department, but the front desk doesn’t pay.

On a personal level, structured learning opportunities have dried up for the moment. I couldn’t afford to take another Spanish class, and my pottery studio has become so popular that the class, announced monthly, keeps filling up within moments of opening. The autumn session of Chorus Girls ended tonight, and I’ve decided that I won’t be performing this session.

I haven’t been able to devote myself to finding a new class in either October or November, and I need to keep an eye on that. Am I being lazy, or am I just overworked and overscheduled, and giving myself the extra breathing room that I need in order to not lose my mind? A tricky question, since I’m ever-inclined to lie to myself if comfort is involved. That being the case, as soon as I’ve written what I came here to write, I’m giving myself an assignment to find just one simple class to take between now and November 30th.

And then there’s the best bit. The being in love bit. The being loved back bit. In lighter moments I think that it’s the key to the whole puzzle. Other times I am frightened of what it means to open up to trusting someone again. This has been a big lesson for me, and I’m sure it will continue to force me to confront myself at all turns. I can sense that relinquishing control will be a source of great power for me in the end, but fuck, is this difficult. He has me fighting to explain myself, and in the process, I’m seeing through to me with new, appreciative eyes.

In the meantime, however, there’s the beauty and simplicity of the everyday. Someone who wakes up and makes me a cup of coffee, just because. The most beautiful smile, in answer to my delight. Explanations, silence, physical contact, shared humor, shared perseverance. Acceptance of my quirks, of my need to ask questions, and my insistence on defining us ad nauseum.

Tonight as I exclaimed again at the intensity, the confusion, he laughingly asked “Haven’t you been in love before?” I told him that maybe I hadn’t. But that wasn’t exactly true, was it?

I’ve been in love. In puppy love in high school, with the boy who kissed me in the rain and taught me to look for magic. Obsession with a dreamy musician who could barely regard himself, much less me, and who taught me to stop dreaming. Respect for a solid, capable architect who offered me respectability and solid ground after what felt like a lifetime of getting kicked around. Fascination with a writer who forced me to confront my fragile mental state, and offered me a way to grow into myself, finally, so very late in the game. But all of this was the quiet stomachache of mismatched socks. And between those pairings were other, even less appropriate, matches. I’m nothing if not persistent, and despite my jaded veneer, there’s a deep wellspring of hope buried here. I kept trying. The truth of the matter is that I’ve never been in love with someone who loved me back in a way I could identify, quantify, and believe. It turns out that makes all the difference.

But where does this get me? Time travel. Longer mornings. Longer evenings. Shorter workdays. A future that sounds pretty fucking fun. A man who speaks about who we could be together, and makes me hope to the gods that he’s right. I honestly wouldn’t mind sticking around to see 140 with him. Here I thought I’d be the first against the wall.

I’ve written myself into the prairie. I won’t bore you with more musings tonight. Instead, let me go and find a class. Maybe something on speaking to the dead, or perhaps I’ll take the tough way out and find a module on trading on the stock market, or making the perfect coq au vin. I’ll drop back by tomorrow to let you know.

October Level Up

This month, I’m learning how to be in a relationship again. It’s neither a fancy class, nor a completely unfamiliar topic, but it’s high level, and potentially life-changing. After two years of flying solo, I have found someone worth taking a risk on. So in October, I’ve been devoting my time to working out how to build the initial framework that will ensure a sound partnership. Of course, I’ll be doing the same next month, and the month after that, and the one after that…as long as he lets me, I suppose. This one is worth the hard work.

In other news, this month is also my last at my current place of employment. After nearly a year of posting out for new positions, I finally got the promotion I’ve been looking for. I’ll start at my new hotel on October 28th!

Don’t worry – I’ll be back to learning new, non-relationship and non-career topics in November. For now, though, I’m happy to focus on just celebrating my achievements and working on honing my skills as an event planner, and as a girlfriend.

The Ramp

I haven’t gotten around to writing about my intentions for October yet, because I’ve had this post on my mind, and wanted to get it down just right. This is from my other blog, Compass & Quill.

Compass & Quill

It didn’t rain on the day of the funeral, which was unexpected. Rather, it was a crisp, cool day with a brisk breeze. The sky was still laden with clouds, but the sun peeked through from time to time. It was a perfectly acceptable day, all in all, despite the giant hole in the ground, my father’s body in a box, and the social demands of a hundred or so gawking well-wishers.

My mother had insisted I bring a windbreaker, but I refused, and we bickered as we prepared to leave the house. I had driven up from Louisiana with only a light sweater in tow. I packed hastily, and managed to forget that spring in New Orleans and spring in North Carolina are two completely different seasons.

She had a coat for me, but it was three sizes too large, and looked terrible with my black fit-and-flare dress. I…

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Brain Dump

I’m having trouble concentrating today, so I thought it might be good to get some thoughts out on the table. I’ve met someone, and that spectacular chemical cocktail of a crush is roaring through my body as we speak. I’m utterly infatuated. He’s all that my brain can handle at the moment. This is ridiculous, and good, and right. But still annoying, since I definitely have work to be doing that does not include thinking about the way his eyes crinkle when he smiles, or how his hand looks holding mine, or how relaxed I feel in his presence, and have since the first moment.

We’ve only just met. There’s no reason to be this stricken with a person so early in the game. But it’s happening, and I don’t think I’ll be turning it off any time soon. My brain has turned traitor, and it’s up to me to hold the line.

It’s been five dates in two weeks – six if you count the Waffle House – and even so, I’m taking it slower than I ever have. From our conversations, it sounds like he is, too. It’s difficult to adequately explain that, but I guess the best way would be to say that neither of us grew up in a time when people actually went on “dates.” Sure, meeting up at a concert, or grabbing some dinner, but usually just hanging out and watching a movie – today’s Netflix and chill. And having bypassed the culture of the date, I think it’s safe to say that both of us transitioned straight into physical intimacy very early in our dating careers.

There’s nothing wrong with this. It’s served me well. I’ve had a really fun life so far. But I’m 37, and I want more. More conversation, more understanding, more mental and emotional intimacy. And what’s blowing my mind is that I knew this about myself, but was still probably going to fuck it up by crumbling the first time the other person suggested any alternate actions. But somehow, with very little direct discussion about applying some restraint to the proceedings, he and I turned out to be on the same page. We’ve been eating good meals, having fun conversations, seeing parts of the city that I never see, and generally just enjoying getting to be around each other.

I’m blown away by how natural things have been thus far. To be honest, I don’t want to think too hard about tomorrow, or any day after. I’m terrified, and it’s easier to leave those sights unseen. But I have a cautious hope, and that will need to be enough for now. I can’t remember the last time a man impressed me this much. At least more than a decade ago.

So here I am. It’s the end of September. This project started nearly 10 months ago, with an aim to build a better life – one where I could move in strength, with purpose. I feel like I’m on the way.

The Proof

Y’all, I’ve been a’featherin’ this nest! Check out my new living room, complete with rug, sofa, and lamp. It could be a better photo, but you get the gist…

I’ve still got plenty of work to do in the living room, and next up will be revamping my home entertainment options. I’m hoping to luck out thrifting and find a record player cabinet, then buy myself a record player for my birthday, so I can finally play these records I’ve been collecting.

My bedroom will also be seeing some changes. I’m replacing my linens, and am looking to finally frame this large artwork that I’ve had for years, just waiting to hang over my bed. I’ll post pics once I’ve gotten that far. It’s an odd size, so we’ll see what happens. My best friend is a framer, and I don’t really want anyone else to frame this thing, but it’s too large for her to complete in her hometown and mail to me, so I’m kind of stuck looking locally. I also want to replace my massive bedside tables, and I need to add shelving somewhere in the house, so there’s plenty left to do.

As far as shaking my tail feather goes, I’ve had some fun this month. No dancing, unfortunately, but I started dating again, and that’s gotten me out of the house to museums, art gallery openings, movies (with subtitles), and some really solid culinary experiences. I did get invited out to go salsa dancing, too, but that sadly never materialized. I’m not going to dish the dirt on here, but I’ve had a surprisingly good time with all this, especially on my last two dates, which were with the same person. That’s a first, so I’m being cautiously optimistic.

Most exciting of all news is that Chorus Girls starts again in a couple of weeks, which means that I’ll be back to struttin’ my stuff in no time. I’m really looking forward to getting out on the dance floor. It’s been too long.

That’s all the big news for now, though. Stay tuned for some decent pictures of my place once I’m feeling like the whole scene is set. I’m really excited to be living a slightly more put-together life.

September Level Up

I’ve got two big goals this month – feather my nest, and shake a tail feather!

By now, I’m sure you know that I’m an introvert. This doesn’t mean that I’m shy, as much as that being in social situations really zaps my energy. It takes me time to recover, and the best way to do so is to spend time in a quiet, comfortable place. I’ve been living in my apartment for five years now, and though I love it, and it definitely provides me a place to regain my energy, I can’t help but see room for improvement. This month I’ve resolved to redecorate, and make the place feel even more like home.

The flip side of making my home even more conducive to rest and relaxation is planning time outside of its confines, as well. I’ve been working on scheduling social activities for the month, to set myself up for opportunities to connect with friends and loved ones without wearing myself out. September starts the busy period at work, as well, so it’s going to be tricky, but I’m certain I can do it.

Feeling Less Than Bold

I am afraid to write.

I feel cut off from expression, and it is strangling me. My soul is finding it increasingly difficult to navigate this. I am lost and sad and feel like I’m losing the battle, and I want to be honest, but know that truly discussing my life will bring negative attention from my family, and I don’t want any form of conflict with the people I have left. This, more than anything, is destroying me. I need support, but I have no one who can help me. I am alone, and now I am without a voice.

Yes, I have friends and acquaintances. Plenty of people to fill the air with chit chat on a down day. But my best friends, the ones who know and love me deeply, are scattered all over the world. There are four people to whom I can bare myself completely, and they are not available to me right now. Not in the way I need. I have no one in my city that I feel safe being my authentic self with. A suitable version of me, sure. But not the me with hair down, mask off, pants unbuttoned, dirty feet hugging the earth.

But this type of being alone is something I have felt for years now. It’s just that lately, it’s felt more important. I’m scared in the world. Our politicians are insane. No one is caring for the environment. The world is dying. The seas are rising and full of plastic. The bees will cease to exist, and then so will the food. We are in big, bad trouble, and no one in political office seems to give a shit about fixing it. They’re going to let the world die while they argue about green scraps of paper. My friends are having babies, like they’ll be able to keep them safe and fed and on dry land. I worry for all of us. But I have to be honest – primarily I worry for me. I am alone. I have no one to hold me when I feel like this. I have no one to promise to love me while we run out of clean water and fresh vegetables. I have no one to make a plan with. I am alone, and maybe alone will make me more nimble, or maybe it will just make me more likely to perish quickly when things get truly dire.

And in the midst of all of this, I really miss my dad. He’s been dead for five months today. His last meal was chili mac. He loved crystals and rocks the same as I do. He could smell small pieces of silver, buried in a pile of costume jewelry from 10 feet way at a yard sale. He had HUGE hands, but turned the pages of antique books with the same care and awe you might afford a butterfly’s wing. Sometimes I’d catch him just studying my face with such love, it made my heart hurt. I downloaded the newest Bernard Cornwell book a few days ago, and can’t wait to read it, but I also can’t bring myself to start. Who will I discuss it with? Who’s going to get it like he did?

I’ve been crying every night for four nights now. I don’t really know why. Is it because I feel sorry for myself? Is it because I am scared? Is it because I wish that things were different? Is it just because I’m tired and worn out and it would be really fucking nice to just have someone hold me and listen and be physically present for me to melt into for awhile? Maybe it’s hormones. I hope that I’m not crazy. This is grief. This is what grief looks like. I had a person, and now he is no longer here. The end.

No matter what, this shit has to stop sometime. I was taught to be strong, resilient, self-reliant, resourceful. Not to choke back feelings – he didn’t believe in that. He was in many ways much more emotional than either my mother or myself. But even with tears in my eyes, he wanted me to be bold and sure in my choices. And lately I feel less than bold. I really could use someone to talk to. It used to be that when I felt like this, I’d call my dad. But who do I call now? Who sees me?

It’s up to me. I don’t want it to be, but I’m who I have, so I’m who I’m going to have to be happy with. Get your shit together, Nova. And find a therapist, for fuck’s sake.