Life on life’s terms

My life has changed tremendously since I last blogged. I married my lovely wife in May, and I’ve moved to a different part of the country so that we can live together. The hardest part has been quitting a job, a job I loved, that was in a toxic place. So here I sit in Starbucks in a new city with no job. Of my own accord I quit my job to be with my wife. It’s wonderful sharing daily life with her, rather than one of us getting on an airplane every month, sometimes twice a month, to be together.

Though it is stunning to voluntarily place myself among the unemployed. I didn’t plan it this way. I’ve been actively applying for jobs since May, yet this is where I am. It’s rather humbling, and scary. For many years, my identity was wrapped up in my career. I stayed at terrible places for a multitude of reasons: too scared to leave, cared too much about my cases or people I worked with, resignation that nothing out there was better, etc. It was sobering to realize that my place of employment was not worth the suffering.

Even with the disastrous workplace that it was, it was still hard to leave. In any work environment, there are always good people to be found. I will miss the gals I worked with, and the accidental mentors that materialized for me.

Who knows what comes next for me. It could be something completely different. I’ll try to be open to it, and not let my trauma history take over my actions and mind-set. Sending out a prayer to the universe that work will come my way when my bank account needs it.

a little hope

I woke up this morning to a message from a friend who asked if I was still blogging. And to my further stunned surprise, she said she missed it. It was another one of those many life moments for me where my perception of myself and what others may perceive do not match. I am infinitely stunned by moments where my presence in this universe is not something to avoid, like ticks on a hike.

After countless months I still feel the cold fear of writing. But I want to move through it.

Life has taken a turn for hope and slivers of sunshine. And the bizarre thing is that though I’ve always wanted these blessings, a job that won’t destroy my soul and a partner I adore, they feel fleeting. It’s as if they will slip out of my hands if I allow myself to be too happy, let my guard down in the laughter and serenity. I used to think if I could just have one of these things, a job that wasn’t toxic or a loving partner, my life would even out, the bumpy roads would be fewer, and my swaths of time spent in dire sadness and anxiety would largely cease. There are fewer bumpy roads, and life has shown me lovely peeks of sunshine; however, the sadness and anxiety have a trigger that’s a different side of the same coin -fear of loss.

I freeze and get stuck in moments that are genuinely happy, like the time my partner and I danced to Lady of the Harbor by Brother Sun. That is so not a dancing song, but it felt so right to dance and sing to the hope and love for humanity in that song with my favorite human being on the planet. And in that moment, all I can think is, “I do not deserve this beautiful, kind soul who can gently hear me out when I get upset, and will say to me, “You’re entitled to your feelings.” She will say this to me,  grouchy me with my too-hard-on-people ways. In that beautiful moment we shared that song, the prominent thought in my brain was, “Will I mess this up? Don’t mess this up. Don’t be a jerk, drop that stupid defense mechanism.

Before we admitted our feelings to each other my now partner asked me, “How did we get to our age and not find people we could be our true selves with?” I said to her, “The DID was a wall for me with people.” And then we both got teary after that.

And here’s the moment when I thought that maybe, just maybe, she also had feelings for me, she said this to me one night via text before we were together, “You’re a whole messy human who’s willing to let us in. I’ll take the bad with the good. It makes you you.” She won my heart in that moment.

And when I find myself losing hope I think back to our text conversation about me sleeping on the back of my family’s gold Montego when I was a kid, with my blanket in the desert night, the long back of the Montego was perfect for sleeping under the stars. The stars gave me hope for a better tomorrow. I said to her, “The stars are full of hope.” And she replied, “They are – they burn bright for millions of years. Beacons of hope.”

The Kitchen

I ate the entire box of pierogies.

That’s not how it was supposed to happen, but then isn’t that what we would say about us?

Since our parting on Saturday I’ve just flitted in and out of the kitchen. I can’t linger there too long because you’re everywhere in that space … the two kinds of cocoa, the velcro cake pan straps, the cast iron lodge pan, the cleaned out pantry …

Here I sit listening to the Dixie Chicks “Hello Mr. Heartache” while I polish off the pierogies with the damn cherry lemon seltzers you convinced me to buy. I did not want to buy them. I insisted that lime goes with cherry, not lemon. Besides, I didn’t want to carry a case of them all the way to my 3rd floor apartment. You were convinced that lemon did go with cherry, they were on sale with a coupon on top of that, and you offered to carry the case into my apartment. And now it’s my favorite drink. I never did tell you that you were right. Lemon does go with cherry. It was a good buy, and thank you for carrying the case into my apartment. There are only two cans of cherry lemon seltzer remaining. I keep telling myself to stop drinking them, make them last. But I drink them anyway. I like them, and I like remembering the first time I drank it. You gave me the first sip from your can, and I looked at you after I drank it and said, “Oh my god, that’s good! Wow. New favorite drink!” I raised the drink in the air, and you did that thing with your eyebrows when you’re right about something. You move them up and down. You’re all proud of yourself that you were right, and I’m going ape shit over a new favorite drink. Couple of weirdos if you ask me.

The pierogies were meant for two people. We would usually saute some onions and put sour cream on top. I dispensed with all that, and just ate them plain over an entire evening tonight. The pierogies have mashed potatoes in them, and I found myself recalling you there in my kitchen making mashed potato casserole for thanksgiving. I see you there making that crazy fatty dijon mustard, half and half concoction that went into the mashed potato casserole. It was strangely good. You were all mashed potato casserole, and you hit that one out of the park.

I’m eating out tomorrow night.