Sunday Love Letter

Driving to Fremont this afternoon, the hills were beautiful; all tumble down gold like pennies from a giant’s pocket.  I felt the overpowering gratitude of mundane moments that has swooped me up over and over again in the last few years.

Lately however, I’ve been wanting to find a more indelible way to mark one of the most stunning eras in my life thus far.  I’ve thought about getting another tattoo, but the first hurt badly enough to make that highly unlikely.  I’ve even considered getting professional photos, but as my logical side pointed out, no matter how lovely those might be, I can’t see paying money to look at pictures of myself.  So, for now, that leaves me with words.

What is it that I want to remember so badly?

I want to remember that at 35, I finally agreed with my Dad and entered “the best years of my life,” giving by far the fewest fucks about anyone’s judgement that I had ever given.  I want to remember that some of my biggest illusions shattered, and it didn’t kill me.  I want to remember that I stopped letting fear keep me consistently small, and started asking for its wisdom on what else was about to grow.  I want to remember that at 37, I left a career of 13 years, something stable that I was good at, because the price of maintaining my comfort and my ego were too high.  I want to remember learning to speak my own languages, all of them.  I want to remember that I started spending time outside–in forests, in parks, in labyrinths, in cities I’d never been to before.  I want to remember that I stopped seeing friendships as legal contracts, and started seeing them as a constellation of stars, beautiful whether close or far from me.  I want to remember that I faux-hawked my hair, and that I finally understood the power of my own femininity because I chose it, not just submitted to whatever definition was in front of me.  I want to remember that my body, mind, and spirit started all showing up in the same place, more often than not.  I want to remember all the roads I walked to the middle of; still terrified by the mess but also intrigued by it.  I want to remember that I started saying ‘no’ and ‘I’ll think about it.’  I want to remember falling in love with poetry again–writing, speaking, reading.  I want to remember sleeping and waking at times that make sense for me.  I want to remember finally listening to the trees that had been trying so hard to get my attention.  I want to remember leading 8th graders in meditation, and how their faces looked when we had to leave that place.  I want to remember my cat snoring on the pillow next to me while I write.

While getting my toes painted today the lady breaks in from several minutes of silence and says, “I remember you from before, with long, long hair.  You don’t look so happy then as you do now.”  And words aren’t enough for this, the fact that this is true, but I use them to continue to graft this gratitude into my skin, to continue to bring the world something that does not destroy me in the process.

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“Mirror, mirror on the Internet…”

Like many of us, I keep online dating, even though it is clearly the seventh circle of hell.

I used to justify it by saying, “But my job keeps me from meeting people, so it’s really all I have at my disposal.  It’s better than nothing”  (Don’t get me started on how many stupid ideas keep running on the strength of that line).

However, since that’s not true anymore in the last year and change, and I do meet some intriguing men out and about, I’ve had to find another purpose for this system, or officially ditch it and thus risk falling asleep at late night jobs when I am not awake enough for anything else.  Plus, I have more than one single friend whose self esteem is in jeopardy if one more person gives up on the Internet.  My solution is brilliant–online dating as a mirror to self, almost a meditation of sorts.  Let me explain.

I have gotten to the point that I can tell what’s going on with me, based on how I react to men’s dating profiles.  Now, I’m decently self aware to begin with, but I find this to be a fabulous tap-tap-tap on the shoulder when I need it.  Examples, give us examples!  Okay, since you asked with such enthusiasm.

Some nights I will find myself staring at the dogs and cats in guys pictures.  I will notice which ones look trapped, and counsel them on how to run away and get to the nearest no-kill shelter.  Some nights, when I’m really feeling my duty, I’ll ask every dog or cat in every picture, “Are you sure about him?  I think you can do better.”  That’s when I stop and wonder, what part of me feels unguarded or unprotected lately?  Do I need to stand up and be my own advocate, and not the theoretical advocate to pictures of animals?  The answer is probably yes.

Other nights, I find myself staging whole conversations between the assorted buddies and family members in some of these fine gentleman’s photos.  I wonder how he made these friends, what his family is like, and before you know it, I’m shutting the computer down to call my Mom or check up on a friend I haven’t heard from in a while.  The brilliance of storytelling is that it is often easier to process your own web using stand ins.  The bummer of storytelling is when you never get to the self processing piece.

I’ve also been known to take on a defense attorney like conversation with some of the items in these men’s profiles.  “Alright, Jake of Menlo Park.  You say you are into hiking, so when was the last time you hiked?  Oh, you’re the strong silent type?  That won’t help you now Jake, you’re in my courtroom.  What is the closest hiking trail to your house?  What is the difference between a sneaker and a hiking boot?  ANSWER ME JACOB!!!!!”  This is usually when I look up to the cat/dog/goldfish I’ve just scared the shit out of–yes, I do have some of these conversations out loud–and wonder who I feel is lying to me right now.  What part of my life is currently out of integrity and trying to snap back into line?

Even tonight, as I plodded through profiles, I couldn’t help but notice how gorgeous everyone’s hair was.  Many of them also seemed one dimensional or douche-y, but other than that it was like Vidal Sassoon and Fabio had gotten together and built a master race of good haired robots.  I wanted to play with all the hair so badly!! Like life sized Ken dolls, boinging curls, bristling flattops, braiding long shiny manes like I used to with My Little Ponies in the bathtub.  “Why are you so pretty, goddamnit!!” was uttered more than once, I won’t lie (what would be the point at this juncture, I’ve already thrown all my weirdo cards at the Internet).  So, tomorrow, I will pick up my paints, or pick up some produce from the Mexican market that sells iguanas (even though I have never seen one), and give my fingers a chance to create and play.

In closing, if my next love, great or small, is somehow reading this, I know it sounds jaded as fuck.  It’s not really that as much as my frustration at how technology flattens and hides your story from me.  Get your ass in gear and let’s start this adventure!  My Romantic Smush Monster (RSM for short) has been sequestered too long 😉 Until then, the RSM and I will keep trying to tell me what I need, if I’ll listen.  Instead of beating myself up for not disconnecting from the technology deluge more often, what if I use it to listen differently?