Life is not a dress rehearsal

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Two to the Power of Fifty Thousand Against and Falling

Someone has turned on the Infinite Improbability Drive. Eddie the Shipboard Computer has apparently taken over the management of my love life. I have no other explanation to offer for a whirlwind online romance which was put on hold 27 years ago and suddenly came blasting into my life. Any moment now I am expecting an infinite number of monkeys to appear at the door with their script for "Hamlet".

Some well-meaning friends have often, in response to my tedious bitching about the woes of online dating, assured me that just when I least expect it, I would meet the right man in the grocery store or some such. He would drop out of the sky (and, apparently, be picked up in open space by the Starship Heart of Gold). My response to this has generally been unprintable in polite society; but, since none of THOSE types are likely to be reading this blog, I'll share it with you lucky folks.

"The fuck he will," says Valerie, and goes back to industriously resigning herself to a life of solitude and battery-powered lovers.

One thing was quickly becoming clear--it ain't happening on Yahoo Personals, or any of the other sites where people attempt to find their perfect match in the same way they might order a custom sandwich at the deli. If it's delivered with more mustard than you wanted, you send it back--it must be ordered to spec. Most of the men I met seemed to be searching for that perfect replica of some past relationship, and I very definitely do NOT play that game. All the same, the continuous rejection got extremely disheartening, and all the more so because the most interest I could feel for any of these guys was based on a decent conversational rapport and the possibility of some companionship.

The real kicker came when I was rejected by some would-be poet because I am "not creative." He wanted a poet or filmmaker, not someone who is a mere performer. Hmmm. The only response, of course, was to immediately write him a poem. Its opening line refers to a book he gave me, "The Baron in the Trees," a fable-esque novel of a nobleman who eschews life on the ground and refuses to ever come down from his lofty perch. I thought the metaphor summed up this intellectually snobbish moron's attitude marvelously.

I Will Stay on the Earth

Stay in the trees, Baron
It was fun to swing from a reaching branch
But I drop to the ground
Snatch a purple plum on my way down
Sink my teeth in deep.
Vibrant juice uncontrolled
Trickles down my chin
Rivulets hidden

I will stay on the Earth, thank you,
Dirty feet dancing.
This mere performer
Stomping up the seedlings from the frozen depths.
Earth is of running and sweat and drums and riotous wildflowers and pizza joints and making love and chocolate bars.
Recognizing Kali in a reinvented woman.
And I laugh aloud.

Well now, I've never heard of TREE-shattering ecstasy, have you?

I'd rather lay back my head in the tall sweet meadow grass
Rhythm pounding
Oh, ohhh yes, I am alive.
Taking root.

Stay in the trees, Baron
Pygmalion mirage among the leaves
So difficult to grasp.
December's pretty pretty icicles--
Don't touch, they'll plunge
Down, down, pulled to the sun-warmed stone
Shards of lonely poetry
Shattered on marble, onyx
Creamy smooth under my hands.
Stone welcomes my touch.

As this poem took shape, in the way that poetry does (building little bits of itself while I'm merely looking sideways at it), it clearly became not only a proud rebuke of my lack of creativity but also an affirmation of real emotion, real passion, the need to leave my rational mind tucked safely away on a shelf and prowl across the dark forest floor, eyes closed, sniffing for the scent of my true mate.

Oh, worked. That plus that good ol' Infinite Improbability Drive. Zaphod Beeblebrox to the rescue.

No, no, I have not fallen in love with the Galactic President. Much more improbable than that. Through the miracle of Facebook I have reconnected with an adorably cute boy I'd had a wicked huge crush on in high school when we were drummers in the band. He, in turn, had been looking for me. Guess 27 years was long enough for him to decide to say yes after I asked him out (apparently on a Sunday night while he was listening to Jeff Beck's "Rough and Ready" album--I, on the other hand, have entirely blocked the whole teen-trauma-inducing incident and only remember finagling rides home from band practice in his screamingly bright orange '73 Chevy Vega).

In the short space of ten days there have followed an entire chain reaction of Improbability Events:
1. The realization that ANYONE actually LIKED me in high school or, at least, some years beyond it after recovering from the shock of my "wicked aggressiveness" (and here I'm stealing a direct quote) (AND let me remind the reader that this was Connecticut--EVERYTHING was "wicked").
2. The realization that the friendly flirtatious banter was actually serious.
3. A long-distance electronic blitz of courtship, the tempo of which would leave Speed Dating in the dust.
4. A return to high school giddiness and falling suddenly, mutually, thoroughly and of course quite irrationally in love and planning for our future together.

Holy shit, has it only been ten days?!? Half a lifetime has been compressed into this time frame.

I can't tell you whether I'm inspired or insane. Perhaps there never is a difference. This story will certainly continue; but first I must write a note, fold it up into a triangular football and flick it across the bandroom....

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Meanwhile, Back at the Beltaine Festival...

...there are any number of guys just waiting to pay me a bit of attention. It's time for me to have the party phase I never had as an ugly-duckling teen. Spending my life looking for love has led to a hell of a lot of lonely nights. I can't see myself loving anyone else--time to forget about the whole idea of love and have some amusement. And when one guy gets bored with me, there's half a dozen more waiting in the wings. Why did I have to wait til 44 to figure this out?

Rock 'n' roll!

Sunday, April 27, 2008

Letting Go, Take Three Hundred and One

And now, to clear my head of Brad. Actually my head can do rather a nice job of it; my head knows the red flags are waving high in the air. Alcoholism, generally addictive behavior, a seemingly thorough inability for real intimacy......the heart, well that's always a bit more difficult to clear out. And the lower chakras speak pretty loudly too. The physical chemistry has certainly been a factor, oh Lawdy yes. Even when I've told myself to back off, just be friends, spend time together, hang out, go slowly...those big brown eyes gaze into mine and he leans in and kisses me and then my head is NO match for those low chakras. And I have made the deliberate choice to follow my heart instead of keeping myself safely tucked away in plastic. But, this whole thing is a lost cause. He's, well, BROKEN. Another mess, like Whitney. Same as it ever was, same as it ever was....

[German-accented voice offstage] "So tell me, Ms Turner: vhy do you alvays choose addictive, emotionally unavailable men just like yourrr fazzer??? Vhat, zey all haf to be meshuggenah?! Oy."

Yes yes, I see the pattern. I'm not completely blind. But I like the guy. A lot. OK, foolish or no, I fell in love with him. Oy. Give me a little credit--I do see the tenderness, humanitarianism, spirituality, the sense of the divine absurdity of life, the elusive quality which I think of as the female side. The musician. The nice, delightfully silly guy who I've been friends with all these years. But, he's unable/unwilling to meet me even a quarter of the way, even to remain friends, do stuff together, keep in contact, take that baby step toward a possible future deepening of the relationship.

I let him come over (my head was told to go take a hike). He wanted to see my new house. Yeah, yeah, yeah. I'll buy that bridge in Brooklyn. He made love to me after promising, promising, not to run away again, not to freak out, not going to be like that anymore, and of course, those eyes, that hair brushing over my thighs, sweet hot sensual playful sexy oh yeah SURE I'm going to say much for that bridge???

Then, of course, he promptly freaked out and shut me out completely. Will not call, will not answer the phone for three weeks. When a mutual friend gave him some serious shit about this he mumbled something defensive about having told me he's like this, told me he needs his space. Interesting. Especially when I also know he's doing jello shots and screwing around with Rebecca whom he repeatedly breaks it off with as he tells both of us he doesn't want ANY woman in his life. I have not asked him for monogamy; but what I DO require is honesty and communication. You promise me something, I expect to see an effort. A phone call telling me you're scared to death and need some more space. Fine. I'm more than willing to go very slowly but meet me halfway. A quarter of the way.

Lost cause. I have to let him go.

I don't believe he's so thoroughly callous as to plan to fuck me and walk out. If he were going to do that, he'd fuck me a dozen more times first. In the heat of the moment, I think he's quite wrapped up in me and genuinely wants to keep me in his life. Something just disconnects, somewhere, and apparently he's always been like this, including in his marriage, although now it has intensified. (It's good to have a spy--er, mutual friend.) Get close and then run. Rinse, repeat. Erik the Informant commented that he just doesn't understand how Brad's brain is wired regarding women. It's not a pattern he's likely to ever change unless he commits himself to some intense therapy, which he desperately needs.

So I still--stubbornly, perhaps--believe I haven't been mistaken about the emotion between us, the love I saw in his eyes when he let his guard down on the beach under the magical full moon, the delight that's more than pure sexual pleasure. He's simply unable to integrate that emotion and give anything more than sporadic moments of intimacy. He's deep in his own nightmare of depression and the pain of two miscarriages and then the divorce, and my heart really goes out to him. I hope the bit of time we've shared together will leave some positive ripple of good in his psyche and that we'll reconnect as friends in time. Hell, it's not even impossible a more-healed Brad years from now will whack himself upside the head for tossing me aside and decide to PICK UP THE FREAKING PHONE and, oh, who knows. It's a marvelously serendipitous world, anything is possible. At this moment, it's time yet again to let go of someone I love. It is, indeed, getting a bit easier with so much practice, a bit more awareness and a great Buddhist book given by Adamus. I may be unpartnered but never unloved.

Friday, February 08, 2008

Watch that first step--it's a doozy

And giggle over Chitty Chitty Bang Bang we did... when we paused enough to pay attention to it. My, what a bit of prophecy I wrote in that last post....childhood movies take on quite a new dimension when they become the backdrop for wild passionate sex, don’t they. Now, I really do have to re-ask myself that last question. And I believe I will choose Adam's answer--both. A bit out of my mind, and feeling that I really have found the great love of my life. Yeah, yeah, yeah, sounds overdramatic—but this is ME, remember??? Sue me. I live by my heart. And my heart tells me that there’s a connection between us that’s worth the risk of emotional pain. A sexual attraction, certainly—and by his own admission, it’s been there for a few years—but, and I know I’ve been wrong about these things before, it feels like more than just Your Average Run-of-the-Mill Lust.

Nothing against lust, mind you. It had been a long time, as usually happens in my life, since I’d been touched; and when Brad started snuggling up to me, and then kissing me, oh there was just no holding back. Floodgates open. I know myself—I suspect that even if I were told I’d never see him again I probably still would’ve done exactly what I did and lapped up every sweet erotic minute of it. I’ve jumped over that cliff and really have no idea what kind of a landing I’m about to have. But that first step of the journey—WOO-HOO!!!!!!! It was passionate, intense, at times delightfully silly, and an incredible electric flow of energy between us. No wonder it’s scaring the living shit out of him. Frightening horrible woman, with big sharp teeth (think Killer Rabbit. Everybody make the hand motion... Run away, run away!!!)

For all my post-orgasmic giddy high, I knew he’d pull back, whether immediately or later. And it happened to be immediately. I had expressed the concern, before events got too heavy, that this might just be one good time and then he’d disappear, and told him I really couldn’t stand that; he answered, “I’m not going anywhere.” Good enough for me, full steam ahead—yeah, like I would’ve been able to stop. I was already absolutely melting into kissing him. But his inevitable panic set in. When I next spoke to him he was vague about getting together again, and I fought back my own moment of panic, a lifelong pattern of shutting down defensively, so sure that I’m being used and hurt that I have to block it all out and even be the first one doing the hurting, in order to protect myself. Nope, not gonna do that anymore. The only way I can have love in my life is to remain open, which is both exhilarating and terrifying. I could be hurt again. But I’m alive and in love and every cell in my body is ON.

So I did what a younger me could not possibly have done. I directed the conversation on my own rational yet emotional terms. I asked him to give us a chance. I laid out my feelings, though I won’t use the Dreaded L Word this early on, and outlined what I want—awfully simple, really: I want to continue to see each other to explore where the relationship will go; and while I would prefer a monogamous relationship, if that’s not where he is right now I’ll accept that. So we keep using condoms. Or we can back off of the sex for a while. I do suspect he was expecting much more demandedness and drama. Surprise—I’m not much like most other women. I only have two demands:

1. Always be honest with me.
2. Pay me a bit of attention. [ie, call me sometimes! Tonight, for example, when we’d made loose plans to get together tomorrow…]

Ah, yes. Patience, Grasshopper.

Number 1A becomes valid once a commitment of exclusivity is made: never cheat on me. But, again departing from my younger self, I realize that I’d rather leave him free while he explores his emotions than make a demand that he is psychologically unready for and will drive him further away.

Of course he doesn’t know where his life is going, he only got divorced a year ago. That soon after my split with Whitney, I was also convinced I could never love or be loved again. I too have made the statement that I’ll never get married again. Maybe it was because I recognized these emotions in him instead of beating him into submission over it that there was a sudden turning point in the conversation. He stopped himself and admitted that RIGHT NOW he doesn’t think he’ll ever get married again, but who knows how he might feel in another year or more. My point exactly. And I don’t even want to think of marriage anywhere near this early! Let’s just see where this goes. How does he know that as time goes on he won’t find that I’m just the most wonderful fabulous woman and the great love of his life?

He giggled a little. “You’re right,” he said. “I don’t know. But I’ll have to take baby steps.”

HUGE silent sigh of relief. That’s what I wanted. The door opened just a crack. Him not going anywhere. Baby steps are just wonderful.

He hasn’t called; those loose plans were suggested by him, a baby step, spending time together, but it could be that even that is too much for him right now.

I don’t believe he’s simply walking away from me. He’s as afraid as I have been. I have to accept and love him as he is, nurture this connection between us and not go to pieces over not seeing him. Tricky. But I have to follow my heart. May my courage and/or sheer bloody-mindedness hold out.

Sunday, January 06, 2008

Birthday Eve

Ah, Birthday Eve.

It's convenient being born right at the beginning of the year. Really makes me stop and take stock of my life and look at the year ahead. What do I want to do this year? Be Mom. Dance. Sing. Cook. Stop and smell the roses. Stay connected to friends. And this is the year I will bring love into my life.

It's been proven that I will not die without a man. The fish does not NEED a bicycle. And so far, I've had a history of choosing the most malfunctioning bicycles I could find. But no more bullshit for me. Now I want a best-friend-and-lover to walk the path with. To cook for, to smell the roses with, to dance with, to quote oddball movie lines and laugh with. It would be convenient if this guy dropped out of the sky, ready-made mate, just add water. But life rarely gives us convenience. Or perhaps I just don't want to do it the easy way!

"I'm going to Bombay, India to become a movie star."

So I've got my sights set on somebody who, as of this writing, I can't even get to return a phone call. I may or may not be crazy. But I am, at the very least, stubborn.

I've known him a number of years now, since the days when we all used to hang out as couples. My marriage was the first to self-destruct; he's only just emerging from his wreckage, licking his wounds. I didn't even know he'd gotten divorced til I heard an offhand comment, and I must admit it didn't take long to start having "hmmmm...." thoughts. The checklist adds up: someone I always hit it off with, a UU pagan, sweet, sensitive, liberal, humanitarian, same wacky Python/Mel Brooks/Johnny Dangerously sense of humor, a musician, and the added bonus of long hair and beautiful deep dark brown eyes doesn't hurt either. He even loves Chitty Chitty Bang Bang, for gods' sake! And oh yes, HE'S STRAIGHT! Brad was always one of those few guys I'd have in mind when I would comment that all the good ones were married or gay. Suddenly he's neither--so I let my thoughts wander but then filed him away at the back of my mind, interested but too afraid to attempt to actually do anything about the idea; until I ran into him unexpectedly and realized the pheromones were running rampant. When I'm remembering the scent of someone days or even weeks later, I'm in trouble.

Glad there's no Reality TV cameras in my house. I was a real riot getting up the chutzpah to call and ask him out. A regular scream. I cracked myself up. Why on earth would a 40-plus but fabulous, wicked hot (:-)) woman be afraid to make the first move? The hell with fear!

I am here to testify that I have survived the asking, the lack of return call, the asking again, the plans, the last-minute panicked cancellations and the subsequent sporadic-at-best conversations and his periodic disappearance off the face of the earth. Wow----rejection doesn't kill me! Perhaps I should amend that: lack of instant gratification doesn't kill me. Rejection is not the issue--fear is.

I'm not telling you no, he said--the chemistry is there. Just give me some time. Of course you KNOW my psyche wants to say OK--NOW? NOW are you ready? OK, how 'bout ten minutes from now??? [tick tick tick tick...] NOW???

Patience, Grasshopper.

Patience plus a good dose of Capricorn stubbornness. Or to use Douglas Adams' term, sheer bloody-mindedness. Pure and simple, I like Brad. I haven't met anyone else who can evoke anything more than sex-deprived curiosity in me. I haven't yet figured out if I'm in love with him--my past experience has been more obsessive. This time, I'm able to eat, sleep and carry on with the daily routine without going to pieces, though the thought of him is kind of a quiet undertone. I rarely burst into tears, not counting at movies. I'm generally feeling pretty good about my life, though moments such as New Year's and, now, my birthday spent alone have been rather sad. Maybe I've finally learned NORMAL love, the way I'm learning to eat one cookie.

Here, then, is my goal for my 44th year: The hell with fear, let go of it. Open my heart. Allow myself to love again even if I don't get my way. Take one step at a time without worrying about the results. (Tricky, said Deep Thought.) Make the moves. Pick up the phone without rehearsing a script. Just be me. Reach out to Brad because I feel the energy is there--first we're friends, let's see where it goes from here. It'll be an adventure. It'll be fun. By the end of the year, let's see if I'll be proven to be either out of my mind or blissfully content with the great love of my life as we giggle over Chitty Chitty Bang Bang together.

Let's see where it goes.

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

As We Drive in the Yellow Submarine

Raising a child on classic rock and roll has its rewards. It's gratifying having a six-year-old ask to watch A Hard Day's Night, again, and sing along as she jumps madly around the room with a broom-guitar. She knows who all four Beatles are. She doesn't know Britney Spears from a hole in the ground. YESSSS!!!!!!

Yet there are those inevitable challenges, as well.

Why don't we do WHAT in the road, Mommy?

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

We Rock

A good friend, with whom I go back a few hundred years to high school days, asked for my thoughts on why we older women rock. After a night of relieving my anticipating-the-first-date butterflies by dancing naked in my living room to some incredibly loud music from back in the day, inspiration hit me. Upside the head, as it usually does.


Older women rock because we've learned how to separate the kernel from the chaff.

Younger, all you could see was the chaff. Chaff clogs your vision, it's everywhere you look, and oh, it comes in such pretty packages--tight jeans, brooding rock-star looks, five-star restaurants, delicious lies in your ear, needy lips at your breast, offers of intensity and attention and passion and devotion and forever and sweat. Often the kernel was rotten or just plain MIA by the time you managed to get down to it.

Older women take the passion without the narcissism.
We take the sweat without the tears.
We take the dialogue without the props.
We take the adulation but remain free to exit the pedestal.
We take the money, honey, and never mind the apologies.
We take the sacrament of homemade tiramisu without stepping on the scale.
We take the imperfection without the compulsion to fix it.
We take the kiss without the hollow promise.
We take the mirror without the self-loathing.
We take the change of heart without the despair.
We take the stage today without a script for tomorrow.
We take the satisfaction without the expectations.
We get the sweet melting anticipatory jitters all over again without the agonizing deconstruction of everything he did and did not say.
We take the softly burning gaze the touches the soul with no thought for the signs of wear and tear that disguise it.
We take the quietly offered heart without the bells and whistles.
We ask the question without betting our soul on the answer.
We give without leaving a hole.
We bide our time without hanging on.
We leap without a safety net.
We dive deep without drowning.
We laugh without ridicule.
We speak without editing.
We love without disappearing.
We walk away without leaving a trail of crumbs.
We've seen it all and still keep our eyes wide open.
We see the tree growing from the crack in the sidewalk.
We see within.

And we still crank up Van Halen, louder than ever, without needing anyone to offend.

Rock on, sisters.