Post #21 – Dirt

I feel most alive, most beautiful, most authentically me, when I have my hands in dirt. I love growing veggies in my garden and growing beautiful flowers. I feel so earthy, so connected, so right, when I’ve got a sheen of sweat and grit on my brown and fingernails so dirty that I look like a mechanic.

dirt

There’s something healing about tending the soil. I inspect my “babies” every day, checking the meristems for new growth, monitoring the soil pH, pulling weeds, pruning as necessary, and nurturing my little creations. I definitely need to move back to a warm weather climate. Summers are too short here. Winter ruins me. Spring is when I come alive.

Gardening is cathartic. Just viewing my garden gives me pleasure. Growing food for my family is an added bonus, but that’s not why I garden. I marvel at nature’s wisdom. There’s a certain magic that comes from helping a seed grow into a plant, watching it arc it’s head toward the sunlight. I take pleasure in learning the rhythms of each plant species, and I love tending them as they mature. My lilacs and peonies bring sweet smells and the fragrant promise of summer into the house. I love the butterflies and the bees that visit my flowers in perfect symbiosis. I set out extra pots of parsley for the swallowtails, and I plant milkweed for the monarchs. My dahlias, marigolds, alyssum, lavender, and zinnias are the bees’ delight.

swallow

Spring and Summer are the best times. I don’t think I could live in a place that didn’t have dirt.

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Post #20 – Employed At Last

When it rains, it pours. Right?

I got two job offers this week, and I accepted one of them. I start May 11th. I’m very excited! The long drought of unemployment has finally come to an end. It felt like 40 years wandering in the desert, but now I have something awesome to look forward to!

I don’t whether to thank Jesus, Allah, the Flying Spaghetti Monster, or simply fate, luck, and chance, but hot damn, this girl got herself a job!

I love this feeling. Can’t wait to do my kickass-best as my new job.

Grateful. Thank you. More please.

yay

Post #19 – The Beautiful People

I saw a facebook post come through my feed today, one of those “Person A has commented on Person B’s photo” or something of that nature. The Person B happened to be someone I haven’t thought of in a long time – the guy I had a huge crush on for a good portion of my teens. So I did it. I clicked. I had to see how Mr. OohLaLa turned out.

He’s even more handsome than I remember. Tall, fit, strong jaw, kind eyes. He married a girl from high school who is also stunningly attractive. Their children look like they’re carved from cream cheese. Lovely family all around. Successful careers, photos of their vacations in Europe, family events, kid milestones, etc. You can tell they’re still head over heels in love. The pics made me smile.

They also made me a little wistful. I was never one of the beautiful people. I didn’t have a third eye or a beard or anything unusual. I was just average. So the handsome fellas didn’t notice me. Neither did the average ones. The only attention I got was from the weirdos. Mr. OohLaLa was kind and friendly toward me, but I never had a chance with him. I knew it then, and I know it would be the same situation if we crossed paths today.

See, attractive people date other attractive people. And the average-looking men do nothing but chase the attractive women and spend a lot of time, effort, and money trying to get their attention. All the YA lit and teen chick flicks are bullshit – the nerdy girl never gets the hottie. John Hughes, YOU LIED TO ME.

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While there are certainly outliers, it’s basically true that people date and partner with others who are of approximate equal attractiveness. 10’s marry 10’s, 7’s marry 7’s, 4’s marry 4’s… you get it. Of course, looks aren’t everything, and you have to have much more in common to make a relationship last, but I always wondered what it would be like to be part of the inner circle, part of the beautiful people.

My son is one of the beautiful people. He is tall, dark, and handsome, fit, and has a million dollar smile. The girls call nonstop. He knows he’s attractive, but he’s not vain about it. Mostly it’s something he gives very little thought to. He can have his choice of girls to date. He’s never been dumped. Everyone wants to be his friend. His social calendar is ridiculous. He’s also a kind, friendly person toward others, and he does things like making sure to invite the handicapped kids to his lunch table. He’s not some popular douchebag that everyone loves to hate. He’s a good person, and he’s also physically attractive.

So, by watching what goes on in his life, I get it. I get how the attractive guys don’t date average girls. Their circle of opportunity is simply bigger.

Part of me wants to have a talk with him about his privilege. He’s lucky to look the way he does in a world that values beauty. Life isn’t always so easy for people who are average. I want to explain to him how he shouldn’t take it for granted, that his looks and charisma will open doors for him that might not open so easily for others. That he should be humbly grateful for winning the genetic lottery. And that good looks don’t make a good person, they’re just the wrapping paper.

Another part of me just wants to leave it alone. He doesn’t have any hangups or issues with himself, so if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.

Regardless, I always wondered what it would be like to go through life as a physically attractive person. I wonder what it would have been like not to cry at every school dance because the boy I liked wouldn’t dance with me. What would my life have been like if I didn’t feel like I had to lower my standards to get a date. I said yes to dates with losers and not-so-nice men because the alternative was no dates at all. Yeah yeah I get it, don’t try the “I’d rather be single than…” thing. I’m talking about my teenage self.

But I still wonder.

Do you ever wonder? Or are you one of the beautiful people?

Note: This post is incredibly heteronormative, and for that I apologize. I wrote from the perspective of my teenage self.

Post #18 – Greatest Fear

We all have fears. Some are large, some are small. Some are real, and some are imagined.

What’s your greatest fear? What has the potential and occasion to keep you up at night?

Mine is dying and leaving my children.

I went down the internet rabbit hole again tonight, reading various articles, memoirs, and pieces by and about dying mothers. Trust me, you don’t want to go there. It’s nothing but tears.

However, I did find one useful note. It’s a list, actually. A woman named Annmarie James-Thomas wrote it for her children before she passed away from cancer. I like it. It’s good advice.

She called it her 20 Point Plan, and I’m sharing it here.

  • What you put out comes back all the time – no matter what.
  • You define your own script. Don’t let others write your script for you.
  • Whatever someone did to you in the past has no power over the present. Only if you give it power.
  • When people show you who they are, believe them the first time.
  • Worrying is wasted time. Use the same energy for doing something about whatever worries you.
  • Whatever you believe has more power than what you dream or wish or hope for. You become what you believe.
  • If the only prayer you ever say is ‘Thank you’ then that will be enough.
  • The happiness you feel is in direct proportion to the love you give.
  • Failure is a signpost to turn you in another direction.
  • If you make a choice that goes against what everyone else thinks, the world will not fall apart.
  • Trust your instincts. Intuition doesn’t lie.
  • Love yourself and then learn to extend that love to others in every encounter.
  • Let passion drive your profession.
  • Love doesn’t hurt. It feels really good.
  • Every day brings a chance to start over.
  • Doubt means “don’t”. Don’t answer. Don’t rush forward.
  • When you don’t know what to do, be still. The answer will come.
  • Trouble doesn’t last always.
  • This too shall pass.
  • I will act with the intent to be true to myself.

All good things to remember as we proceed through this thing called life.

To-live-is-the-rarest-thing-in-the-world.-Most-people-exist-that-is-all.

Post #17 – Crazy Dreams

I’m a vivid dreamer. My dreams aren’t fuzzy images or fragmented thoughts. My dreams are like Imax movies. Full sound, full color, lots of action. They always have been, for as long as I can remember.

Do you ever have weird dreams?

I had a dream the other night that my teeth fell out, all bloody and gross. I wasn’t injured – they just started falling out of my gums and the doctor couldn’t stop them. I’m not into dream journaling or finding hidden meaning in dreams, but it was so vivid and gross, like I could FEEL them actually detaching and falling out. I suppose I should look up what that means.

——-pause for internet break——-

OK I just looked up what that means. Apparently having your teeth fall out is a very common dream. There were several sites devoted to explaining it.

One theory is that dreams about your teeth reflect your anxieties about your appearance and how others perceive you. Such dreams may stem from a fear of rejection, sexual impotence, feeling unattractive, powerlessness, lack of self-confidence, or the consequences of getting old. They went on to list negative and positive interpretations.

Negative meanings
  • Insecurities, especially about a personal loss
  • Anxiety about sexual experience
  • A compromise that is costly to you
  • Life changes and “growing pains”
  • Fear of becoming older
Positive meanings
  • Signs of personal expansion
  • Wish or need to nurture yourself more carefully
  • An invitation to explore feelings of loss and personal growth
  • A call to look at your support system
  • The Jungian interpretation: Times of renewal and “rebirth”

So there that is.

teteth

Ever have any recurring dreams?

Ever since I was about 15, I’ve had a dream that I’m leading a small band of rebels through enemy territory, and we have to fight the bad guys and save people, mostly children. It’s like a weird “Red Dawn” type of paramilitary scenario, as if our country was invaded and I’m working for the resistance. Sometimes it’s in my neighborhood or city, sometimes it’s in more rural or war-torn areas, but the basics are always the same. I’m the leader. I have a team relying on me. We have to be stealthy and cunning. There’s a lot of hand-to-hand combat in my dreams. Not much boom-explosion stuff, but more like killing people with knives and my bare hands. Lots of running, being chased, hiding, ambushing, escaping…

One time, in particular, I was trying to rescue a little boy from three evil women, and I was sneaking into the house to get him when I got caught. I knew they were going to kill me, so I killed them with my bare hands, grabbing their faces and digging my thumbnails into their eyes and pushing with all my might until blood streamed out, tearing their faces off, choking them. Eyeballs and brains and blood and pieces of flesh and ears were everywhere. It was so realistic and violent that I woke up from the surge of adrenaline.

nightmare

I also have a dream from time to time that I’ve fallen. Like off a high cliff, the Grand Canyon, a very tall building, or losing my grip on a rope strung across two mountains. And it’s like time slows down and there’s a hyper-awareness that I’m about to fall, and there’s nothing I can do about it. I realize that I’m going to die soon, and my intellectual self is processing all that I’m seeing and thinking and feeling on the way down. As if I’m sitting outside my actual self, setting aside the primal fear of imminent death in order to curiously observe.

Conversely, I’ve had many dreams where I can fly. I just hold my arms out sideways, like playing “airplane” and whoosh, off I go. I can fly really tight circles like going up stairwells in big buildings, and I fly very fast if I want. But I never have the ability to fly in the dreams where I’m falling.

When I sleep, I sleep very deeply, and I’m hard to rouse. In fact, my husband swears he’s married to two women – Asleep Me and Awake Me. Asleep Me will sit up in bed in the morning, recount my dreams in detail for 10-15 minutes and have complete conversations with my husband and children without remembering any of it. If my husband needs to tell me anything important in the morning, he leaves me a note because Asleep Me never recalls any of our communication. Sometimes Awake Me thinks that my husband exaggerates about Asleep Me, so he’s videotaped me a few times to prove that my eyes are open and I’m carrying on coherent, intelligent conversations.

I wonder if my vivid dreams prevent me from getting good sleep? I know the part of the sleep cycle where dreams occur only occupies a fraction of my night, but I’ve been a heavy sleeper since my teenage years. Perhaps there’s a connection? Many times I wake and feel totally exhausted and unrested. Probably more often than not.

Do you think dreams are meaningful, or are they just the byproduct of processing and dumping all the extra thoughts from the day?

Post #16 – More Than a Dead Bedroom

If you’re a redditor, you may have browsed a subreddit called DeadBedrooms. It’s a forum where those who are involved in sexless marriages can share their feelings, experiences, or ask for advice.

When my husband and I started dating, we were insatiable. 3x a day or more! Even as our relationship progressed through the first few years, we were always tearing each other’s clothes off. Sure, we cooled off a little because really, who can keep up 3x a day?!?! But we were still getting nekkid at least once every other day, sometimes daily.

Our relationship has always been one of closeness, hand-holding, cuddling, touching, kissing, and other non-bedroom physical behaviors. Taken together with our bedroom activities, our sex life has always been very, very satisfying for both of us.

Until the past few years.

I’ve gained a lot of weight. Whether the weight gain precipitated the depression or the depression led to the weight gain is up for debate. Regardless, I don’t much care for the looks of my body right now. I’m almost 50+ pounds from when we started dating. My husband also has gained weight since we married. He’s almost 100+ pounds. We’re both fat.

I can’t speak for anyone else, but I can tell you my own opinion, and it’s that fat sex sucks. I don’t like seeing myself naked, and I don’t find his body visually appealing anymore. Our bellies are always in the way. Also, we don’t have the stamina we once had, and neither of us are acrobats or gymnasts, so we’re limited in our movements and positioning. Sex has become a chore.

Take that problem, and couple it with my depression and disengagement, and my desire for sex is pretty much zero.

We haven’t had sex for almost 2 months, and before that, it was a month. Before that, it was probably 3 months. We go in fits and starts. We’ll have sexytime for like 2 days straight, and then nothing for 2 months. It’s either feast or famine. This has been a pattern for about 3 years now.

It’s not that my libido has totally disappeared. I still masturbate a few times a week, but I have to sneak and do it secretly so he doesn’t know. It’s not an invitation or signal for sex. I just need the release.

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I used to get excited to give him surprise oral sex after work. I used to wear sexy panties or lingerie under my work clothes and send him alluring pics during the day. We used to enjoy exploring fantasies together. I have literally ripped his shirt off in my sexual desire for him. Now we don’t talk about anything related to sex. Thinking about having sex with him kind of repels me. Thinking about me having sex repels me. When we do have sex, I just kind of close my eyes and fantasize about something else. Intercourse itself is a bore, and I always hope he’ll go fast and be done.

Admitting all of that makes me feel like a shitty person.

My husband is a good man, and he’s always nice to me. He doesn’t deserve to be friend-zoned by his wife. We still hug and hold hands, but I do things like stay up late in order to avoid going to bed while he’s awake.

When I think about things from his point of view, I can’t understand why he doesn’t leave. I’m fat, gross, depressed, weak, unemployed, a fail parent, and a financial train wreck. I’m not an equal partner anymore. I feel like a useless, purposeless blob of nothing.

You always hear things like this:

It’s what’s on the inside that matters.
Inner beauty is more important than outer beauty.
You are not your condition.
You’re a good person going through a tough time.

You get the point.

But I’ve got this feeling creeping up on me that maybe I’m NOT a good person on the inside. Maybe my outside is finally manifesting what’s been on the inside all along? Actions speak louder than words, and you only get so many chances to apologize before the other person gets sick of forgiving the same behavior over and over again. I can’t understand how I haven’t used up all my chances yet.