Well, That Went Fast!

2015twoIt feels like just a minute ago I was whining about being alone on Christmas, kissing off 2013, and gearing up for a stellar 2014. 

Christmas turned out just fine but my ambitious plans for 2014 were swiftly thwarted. The rest of the year, well, let’s just say it didn’t quite live up to my expectations. The entire planet seems to have gone berserk (too many examples to link to) and personally, I accomplished less than I’d hoped.

So, here we are, just days from Christmas 2104, and I suppose it’s progress that I’m not plagued with sadness over the state of my awkward family. I think I’ve arrived at a place of tolerable acceptance and that’s quite a relief.

I also became a certified mediator, was published on Huffington Post, and have finally designed a career plan for the coming year! My kids are doing well in school and are intelligent, thoughtful, funny humans of whom I am very proud.

Paying more attention to current world events has conjured much gratitude for my own peaceful existence and for the health and well-being of those closest to me. Now I can grieve for how fucked up the world is instead of harping on my own condition.

The past year sped by too quickly, however, I’m glad it is coming to a close. Aren’t we all?

A new year is a new opportunity to realign with our values and to dust off the muck from the prior year. While it may be symbolic, it can also be powerful.

My wish for 2015 is that beyond just focusing on our personal resolutions and goals, we collectively commit to the basic tenets of being a decent human. I can’t define “decent human” for others but for myself it entails practicing: kindness, patience, honesty, humility and generosity.

I promise to try harder in 2015 and I hope you will too.

Happy Holidays and Happy New Year!

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Standing in the Rain

Fall / Autumn concept - Rain boots in mud puddleThis afternoon, I got an impulse to stand in the pouring rain. It rarely rains here in drought stricken Southern California.

The air gets so nasty and dense with smog, sometimes visible, sometimes not, but always toxic.

So, when the rain comes, it’s such a gift. It washes away the muck, turns what is a rather drab city into a lush expanse surrounded by mountains touching a picturesque blue sky.

But, I’m getting ahead of myself.

It’s still raining. This is a long stretch for us (been a few days on and off now). Neither these streets nor the drivers who traverse them are prepared for rain. Intersections flood and cars hydroplane. Some people drive dangerously slow, while others’ accelerated speeds scream “death wish.”

These houses don’t have roofs constructed to withstand onslaughts that wouldn’t come close to being referred to as onslaughts in most other places.

This rain is such a big deal!

So, I got this impulse to go stand in the rain. I hoped the rain would wash away every morsel of dingy, lingering painful impressions left upon me from past experiences (some recent, some long ago and some probably pre-cognition).

I stepped out into the rain. Rain that beats down so hard when it hits the ground but is actually quite soft as it lands on my head, my torso and eventually my feet.

This rain isn’t strong enough to wash away my angst. But it feels so good anyway.

My dog is peering at me from inside my house. She glares in an expression I can only interpret as concern for my mental health. But she’s a loyal dog so after a few minutes, she takes a few tentative steps toward me. Then she barrels into a full force crazy run and bucks her body about with apparent joy.

I can’t help but smile.

Lighten Up And Laugh

Kid with the screwed-up eyes

Seriousness is the only refuge of the shallow. – Oscar Wilde

Things have been pretty heavy around here (on earth) lately.

The planet is in peril. Politics is corrupt. The middle class is dwindling. Racism is rampant. Wars are ensuing. Hunger and disease abound. There’s a lot to be upset about.

I, and everyone I know is struggling to get by, to stay optimistic, to balance our ideals of what the world should be against the reality that there’s so much we can’t fix or control.

Confession:

The other night, in an effort to lure my children away from electronics and compel them to spend some family time, I agreed to play Cards Against Humanity with them. The game is patently inappropriate and not intended for those under 17. I perused the cards and decided that a) in light of all the violent shit they’re exposed to in movies, video games and even literature, this was pretty palatable. b) this is probably how they converse with their friends and I could get a glimpse into what they know and don’t know.

Well, hilarity ensued and within minutes I found myself laughing to the point of tears and  nausea. My kids were equally amused, having free rein to use profanities and observing my overt discomfort. As I struggled to catch my breath, it occurred to me, I don’t laugh enough.  

When my kids were little, there was so much play and laughter in our home. Everyday moments cracked me up and I found myself dressed up, hiding in forts or chasing someone through a sprinkler.

As the kids have aged, with their dad gone most of the time, me stressed out and dealing with “serious” grown up concerns, and their individual responsibilities mounting (homework, social pressures, puberty etc), there’s been a void where joy and enthusiasm used to be plentiful.

It’s not to say we never have fun. We do. It’s just, I’m charged with so much hustling and haranguing, I’ve kind of become a bit of a sour pill a lot of the time.

I’m upset about world events and passionate about so many issues. But, life is short and it’s definitely time to lighten up.

I absolutely CANNOT recommend playing Cards Against Humanity with kids under 17. I doubt we’ll do it again anytime soon. However, I do recommend—with the holidays approaching and amidst all the stress on us grown ups to make everything just “so” for those we love—don’t forget to have fun! Play! Laugh! Put on some music and dance your heart out. Find something to smile about.

Thanksgiving is the time of year to express our gratitude. For many of us, it is also riddled with challenges in the form of family dynamics. Of the many things I have to be grateful for, humor is moving up to the top of the list. I intend to laugh my way through Thanksgiving dinner and hopefully find some creative and age appropriate ways to have more fun both with my kids and without.

Here’s to a happy, hearty, humorous Thanksgiving (and beyond)! 

Sometimes it Hurts

I don’t have to tell you that sometimes it hurts. You know that.

But I want to tell you. Because it’s easy to forget that everyone struggles. It’s easy to take it personally when things fall apart. It’s easy to surmise that we are each so uniquely flawed and alone in our doubts, insecurities and suffering.

I wonder how we make this mistake, allow this delusion to disguise itself as realty—that somehow others have it easier, are loved more, feel better more often. It’s really a crock of shit. Continue reading

Divorce, Shame and What Century Are We In?

I have these bouts of feeling back in my skin. Thinking I’ve found my new normal and having regained my confidence, I put myself out there in one way or another — professionally, socially, romantically. Before long, I find myself cowering in my cave, wanting to shelter myself from the inevitable slings and arrows of real life.

I’m in the cave stage at the moment. Continue reading

There’s Something About a Wedding …

Beautiful flower wedding decoration
Since my husband and I split up, I’ve become a bit cynical about love, monogamy and marriage. But, yesterday as I sat under the ornate high pitched ceiling of an old Catholic Church awaiting the entrance of the bride, the anticipation summoned a youthful optimism and simple delight that only weddings can conjure. Continue reading

Death, Divorce and “The War of Art” …

It’s been over five years now since my husband and I split up and about three and a half since I gave up any hope for reconciliation.

Looking back, what fascinates me most is how I could have possibly sunk so low, how my identity and sanity could have been so rattled by the unilateral move of another human being. It’s not that I don’t understand intellectually—my family is everything to me. But, how could I have forgotten the inevitability of loss and suffering in some form? How could I have deemed myself immune from having my reality shattered in one way or another? Continue reading

People Who Stay Married … Stay Married

On it’s face that makes no sense, but let me explain.

Recently, I met a happily married friend for lunch. We were sitting at a communal table in a café when we struck up a conversation with a friendly woman. At some point the conversation turned to marriage and she revealed that she was in the midst of divorce. We exchanged war stories and regrets and eventually, I blurted out, “Look, people who stay married … stay married.” She guffawed, indicating that she knew what I meant.

Most people don’t know what I mean. Continue reading

Adventures in Anonymous (and Non-Anonymous) Blogging

I started this blog with the intention of writing about my circumstances at that time, which entailed sharing a house with my estranged husband (and our two kids). I kept myself anonymous so I could go to town and share all of the nitty gritty, heart-breaking and hilarious details. Continue reading