28 September 2015

Is Inaction an Action?

“If you place your head in a lion's mouth, then you cannot complain one day if he happens to bite it off.” ~ Agatha Christie,  The Mysterious Affair At Styles
Do you sometimes take a step back on your life, try look at it from an outside perspective, and realize that you are not where you really want to be, or even should be, but that you feel powerless to change your course?

So many small changes have been happening, changes that seemingly do not feel so relevant, but all the changes added together are actually monumental.

I am in the midst of a very complicated situation.  I know it is complicated only because I refuse to make important decisions, and instead, am leaving everything to chance, to fate, to God's will...

Is inaction an action?  

15 June 2015

I Define Myself

“Forgiving isn't something you do for someone else. It's something you do for yourself. It's saying, 'You're not important enough to have a stranglehold on me.' It's saying, 'You don't get to trap me in the past. I am worthy of a future.” ~ Jodi Picoult, The Storyteller
It was not an easy road.  There are still moments when I experience extreme anger when I think of his infidelity. It is not as frequent as it once was, but sometimes the thoughts lash out at me, and I feel the stinging pain in my chest all over again.

But I'm tired of crying.  I'm tired of blaming myself for what happened, and I'm tired of blaming him for his actions.  I've analyzed ad nauseam all the events leading up to last summer and his act(s) of betrayal. I've dissected and examined every possible angle as to why he did what he did, and if I were to listen to my friends and all the self-help books, I will just accept that everything happened as it should have, and that this is how things are meant to be.

Maybe.  Maybe not.

But all I know is that I cannot hold onto the pain and anger anymore.  Maybe I don't agree with it, but I am learning to accept that things are just what they are, and that there is nothing I can do to change what happened.  I refuse to be defined as that girl -- you know, the one whose fianc√© cheated on her and got another woman pregnant.

So I am defining myself.  I am the strong woman who is moving onward and forward.  I am the one who still has a heart and a penchant for forgiveness.  I am the one who in the face of heartbreak can still muster enough sympathy for the same one who put a stake through her heart.

He has come to me, a broken man, seeking my assistance.  I being who I am, have been helping him wholeheartedly by caring for his three month old newborn.  The mother, the woman with whom he had an affair, had a personal family emergency, and he was unable to adjust his work schedule accordingly, leaving him in a bind with finding last minute suitable childcare options.

So who does he call?

He calls me, of course.  Old Ms. Reliable.  It's a strange situation, I know.  I thought I would be devastated when I first laid eyes on the baby.  After all, the baby is a product of his infidelity.  But to my surprise, I found myself falling in love with the baby.  I look at the baby's tiny hands, I hear the sweet baby sounds, I get a whiff of the sweet baby smell, and I am hopelessly in love.  G has also fallen in love.  Previously angry at the whole situation, she has been focusing her attention on being the older sister figure.  She insists on the baby sleeping in her room on those occasions when the baby has to sleep overnight.

I remember once hearing some old saying about how babies are miracles and how they can reconnect broken bridges.  I think it is a true saying.  In some strange way, being around the baby has been helping me to heal.  I feel stronger now and am coming to understand that my whole life and future does not revolve around him and what he did.  My life and future revolve around me, and the choices that I make for myself.  My choice is to forgive him.  And by forgiving him, I am allowing myself to move on to a better and brighter future.  

04 June 2015

Shine, But Let Me Shine a Little Bit Brighter

“Have you ever seen the stars in the night? See them closely, they will tell you, how to be open, how to love and how to shine and twinkle without any differences and jealousy of other stars.” ~ Santosh Kalwar, Quote Me Everyday
I do not really use Facebook, but on occasion, I do log on just to get updates on my friends' lives.  I saw today a picture of an old family friend, C.  She updated her profile photo with a picture of her, and presumably, her new boyfriend.

I was curious, so I clicked onto her new boyfriend's profile, and I saw that he had also updated his profile and he had pictures of the two of them scattered all over his page.

I was instantly hit with a pang of jealousy as I scanned all the photos of their smiling faces, and the dozens of photos of them in various locations, looking happy, embracing and holding hands.

C's father and my father were very good friends.  They worked in the same engineering firm many years ago, and she and I are about the same age.  We grew up together, and both of our parents were very happy that she and I got along.

And yes, we did get along, although I admit that I always felt a bit inferior to her.  She was taller, prettier, and she went to a better university than I did. Misfortune hit her family, however, when her father, twenty years ago now, became embroiled in gambling, and then tragically was diagnosed with fatal lung cancer.  

All my jealousy washed away when I saw how she and her family struggled from losing her father at such a young age.  Not many years later, she and her family would come back and help my family when we had to face losing my sister to cancer.

She and I were never the best of friends, but whenever tragedy would strike our families, we would join forces and pull one another out of the depths of despair.  It was one of the things that I always loved about C -- no matter what stupid envious or jealous feelings either one of us had (mostly on my part, I am sure), we would always be there for each other's families.

I went through my terrible marriage and divorce many years ago, and she went through hers just a few years ago.  So when I saw her updated profile photo today with her new boyfriend, I immediately thought of how quickly she rebounded back, and then naturally, I thought of how I have not

While she and her new love are headed towards planning a wedding, I am still coping with my last disastrous relationship.  While I am happy for her, I am left wondering why a happy relationship continues to elude me.  While she is creating happy memories with him, I am busy dodging questions from my daughter about why I can't ever seem to hold down a man.  

03 June 2015

In Her Eyes

“All parents damage their children. It cannot be helped. Youth, like pristine glass, absorbs the prints of its handlers. Some parents smudge, others crack, a few shatter childhoods completely into jagged little pieces, beyond repair.” ~ Mitch Albom, The Five People You Meet in Heaven
G asked me recently, "Why do you get divorced so much?"

Her question caught me off guard.  I answered with another question.

"What do you mean?"

"Well," she said.  "You are divorced from..." her voice trailed off.

We don't like talking about him.  She may be biologically connected to him, but except for that one little fact, there is not much else that connects them.

"... And now you are divorced from..." her voice trailed off again.  Although GP and I never married, we were, for all intents and purposes, married in her eyes, as we were engaged and living together as a family.  

Our lives were turned upside down last summer with the news of his affair.  It was not easy news for me to take.  

It was not easy for her, either.  When he broke the news to her, she was angry.  She cried and yelled at him.  "How could you do this to mama?" she wailed.  Big, chunky tears streaked her face.

Although she is aware of the circumstances of what he did, there is a part of her that seems to blame me for the breakup, that perhaps I had a part in making him do what he did.

"All my friends in school have a dad.  But I have no dad.  Because you get divorced all the time."

I really didn't know how to answer her.  I felt like she stabbed me.  I don't care so much about what others think of me.  But criticism from her - it hurts.

All I could say in response was that someday, when she is older, she will understand.  She didn't seem convinced.

I walked away before she could see that I was struggling to keep my tears from flowing down my face.

01 June 2015

Do We Spin Our Own Yarn?

“When it comes to life, we spin our own yarn, and where we end up is really, in fact, where we always intended to be.” ~ Julia Glass, Three Junes
I'm having a hard time understanding the concept of destiny, and the idea of being exactly "where we were meant to be."  What does that even mean, exactly?  So, if a totally innocent girl who goes out dancing at a club one night ends up getting hacked and murdered by a man she met that night, that means that that was her destiny, and where she was that night and the awful things that happened to her, that is what was always intended for her?  So no matter what she chose for that night, no matter where she decided to go clubbing, no matter what, she was just meant to be hacked up and murdered that night?

I have a hard time believing that.  I believe that in some ways, we can control what happens to us. Maybe we don't have full control, but I do believe that we do have some part in the chain of events that occur in our life.  Don't we?  

I guess I am feeling this way because I am having some major regrets about some of the choices I have made in my life.  I cannot shake this feeling that I am living some alternate life, and that my real life, the one that I am supposed to live, is in some other, alternate reality, and that where I am now, is not where I am supposed to or even am intended to be. 

29 May 2015

Small Victory

“I thought you called dibs on him."
"I did, but you can have him first. After he dumps you, imagine how good I'll look in comparison."
"Thanks, that's not insulting at all.” ~ Cecily White, Prophecy Girl
I saw a photo of her recently.  He sent me a photo of his now three-month old baby.  She was in the photo, holding her precious three month old bundle.

She looked so tired.  And so old.  Inside, I felt a rush of joy.  She looks like a grandmother, and here I am, going to the gym consistently and feeling as youthful as ever, and looking better than when he and I were together.

I looked through old photographs of myself, three months after I had given birth to G.  I looked like a teenager mother.  I smirked to myself that she is actually younger than I was when I gave birth to G. And now, although 8 years younger than I am, she looks about 20 years older.

I always felt like she beat me.  She got him, and she got the baby.  She was living my dream.

The joy of seeing the picture of her looking like a matronly and old mother was a small, shallow, and superficial victory, I know.  But damn it, it felt so good.

22 May 2015

Is My Phone Broken?

“Cherish your solitude. Take trains by yourself to places you have never been. Sleep out alone under the stars. Learn how to drive a stick shift. Go so far away that you stop being afraid of not coming back. Say no when you don’t want to do something. Say yes if your instincts are strong, even if everyone around you disagrees. Decide whether you want to be liked or admired. Decide if fitting in is more important than finding out what you’re doing here. Believe in kissing.” ~ Eve Ensler, I Am an Emotional Creature: The Secret Life of Girls Around the World 
I am going through a bit of a hermit phase. While I used to crave human interaction, I now feel bothered and annoyed by it. All I want to do after work is to go home, do chores around the house, converse with G, read books, or watch television. Whenever I feel the ringing of my mobile phone to alert me of an incoming call or text message, I start to feel the prickle of my hairs along my neckline, and I am instantly annoyed. I used to feel weighed down by the heavy silence of my non-ringing phone. I even wondered at times if my phone was actually broken since it never seemed to ring. But now, the opposite is true. Maybe my phone really is broken? Because it never seems to stop beeping or ringing. I cannot even seem to get in one chapter of reading without someone calling (texting really, because who even picks up the phone to call anymore?) to tell me about their horrible day, and I, being the good friend that I am, immediately respond, and together we brainstorm how to solve the dilemma of the moment. Or, it will be a barrage of text messages from someone who is simply bored and is using me to fill in the dead time in their evening.

Lather. Rinse. Repeat.

After all is said and done, it will be almost midnight, and I would have spent my valuable personal and alone time texting or on the phone with people who do not seem to care that I have a child to raise, meals to cook, a house to clean, or a brain that, on occasion, I need to nourish with a good book, and on some lesser occasions, destroy with meaningless television.  Maybe I could even be granted some time to sleep.  I feel as though I haven't slept in ages.

Maybe I stopped caring about people’s needs because no one seems to care about mine. Maybe my need is just to be left alone for a while – to think, to dream, to cry, to heal, and to find myself again.

06 February 2015

Batting for the Other Team?

"You would have to be half mad to dream me up.” ~ Lewis Carroll, Alice in Wonderland
I dreamt of you last night, although I do not even know you.  The only connection I have with you is that you were once married to J, who is a very close friend of mine.  Your relationship with J left very deep scars on him - scars so deep that the cuts are still very prominent on him.  I dreamt of you last night, and of your ethereal beauty.  I dreamt of your silky skin and your flawless features.  I touched you in my dream last night, my hand caressing your soft face.  I even kissed you, softly and fully on your cherry red lips, and as you pulled away from my kiss and walked away, I remember feeling lost and desperate.  I wanted you in my life, but you turned away from me, and you told me that you and I were never going to be.

I woke up feeling empty and depressed, and you had belonged to me only for a brief second in my dream.  I can now empathize how J must feel -- loving you but not having you.  His loss of you is very real.  Mine was just a dream.

Sometimes, love does hurt.

I have been frustrated recently.  In every aspect of my life.  Professionally, in my private life, in my thoughts, in my heart, and in my body.  I feel a huge influx of stresses, and I am looking for a way to release them.  Neither meditation nor exercise is enough anymore.  I was thinking of going to a bar one night, meeting a stranger, and just getting a good shagging.  I've never had a one night stand before.  I was thinking it might not be a bad time to start.  Who knows - it might even be liberating.

24 January 2015

Not Enough Snow

“Getting an inch of snow is like winning 10 cents in the lottery.” ~ Bill Watterson, Calvin & Hobbes
I knew it snowed last night when I woke up in the middle of the night to the sounds of the snow plows scraping the city streets.  I went back to sleep and dreamt of puffy white snow.  I was hoping to wake this morning and roll around in the snow with G, but Mother Nature just cannot seem to churn it out the way that she used to here in New York City.


Only about two inches fell, and looking out of my window now, it looks like it is turning into freezing rain.  I hate days like this.  It's not solid snow where you can go outside and play, and to go outside in freezing rain simply is not fun. We might venture out later if it stops snowing/raining, but for the moment, we are housebound.

Last night, we did manage to make it out to Jackson Heights in Queens where we met a friend for dinner at Black Thai.

I had the garlic shrimp, which was very, very good, but it was just a little too spicy for my tolerance.  After a few bites, I couldn't stop from sweating and my mouth felt like it was literally on fire.


G, however, thoroughly enjoyed her beer-braised crispy ribs.


So today will be a good day to lay around, watch television, read books, and do some light cleaning around the house.  It won't be a complete day though without my [decaffeinated] coffee.  I've become quite the master at making pumpkin spice lattes.

21 January 2015

Beside Me

“Time that withers you will wither me. We will fall like ripe fruit and roll down the grass together. Dear friend, let me lie beside you watching the clouds until the earth covers us and we are gone.” ~ Jeanette Winterson, Written on the Body
I dreamt that I was walking on the street with my friend, H. It was a stifling, hot day. The heat was making me very dizzy. I felt myself straining to take the next steps. Sure enough, as I took the next step, I fell down, face first into the pavement. I could not move. My legs and arms were like lead, and I could not even move my face. Fortunately, I had fallen onto the side of my face. H saw me fall, and she immediately got onto the ground and planted herself onto the pavement next to me. She positioned yourself so that she was facing me, and she was smiling, saying that it was a good idea to take a little break from walking in the heat. She did that, so that I would not be embarrassed because people were just standing there staring at me on the ground, and after a little while, I was finally able to get up, stand, walk away, and she and I went along on our merry way.



20 January 2015

Whatever

“Sometimes you make choices in life and sometimes choices make you.” ~ Gayle Forman, If I Stay

(photo source: Unknown)

I saw this quote the other day and I thought it made so much sense. But then I started to think about it, and I realized that life and the choices we think we are making – it is not that simple.

I can choose to let whatever stays to stay, for whatever comes to come, and for whatever leaves to leave, but what if what comes is not good for me, or that which needs to go, stays, and it is detrimental to me? I realize that most of my life, I have been trying to hang on to those very same people that eventually left me, whether they be lovers, friends, or even family, and those that I have tried to push out of my life, such as the drunken ex, at one time or another, refused to leave. Do we really have a choice? Or do we just think we do? I think that we do not really have a choice as to who God (or whatever powerful entity you deem superior) brings into our life, and that the only thing we can control is how we react to whatever comes our way.

But this way of thinking has made me very non-reactive. I am almost nonchalant whenever I meet someone new. “Eh, if they want to stay in my life, they will, and if they do not, well, then ‘sayonara!’”

Can I really continue like this, to be dispassionate about whatever and whomever comes and stays in my life? Is this really how we are supposed to live our lives?

I guess I’ve been doing it all wrong all along.

16 January 2015

"No" is a Complete Sentence

“When we begin to set boundaries with people we love, a really hard thing happens: they hurt. They may feel a hole where you used to plug up their aloneness, their disorganization, or their financial irresponsibility. Whatever it is, they will feel a loss. If you love them, this will be difficult for you to watch. But, when you are dealing with someone who is hurting, remember that your boundaries are both necessary for you and helpful for them. If you have been enabling them to be irresponsible, your limit setting may nudge them toward responsibility.” ~ Henry Cloud, Boundaries: When to Say Yes, How to Say No
I have a friend, JC, who is constantly in financial trouble.  The thing about financial problems is that they have a domino effect.  For her, it all started when she erred in the amount of exemptions she was claiming on her income taxes.  She was not aware of the repercussions until she was hit one year with an exorbitant tax liability.  It was a liability so heavy that she had to borrow money to get herself out of the financial hole.  From whom did she borrow money?  Me, of course, and our friend, M.

She managed to pay back the monies she owed to us, but then she got herself into another hole.  In her defense, she is the only breadwinner in a family full of deadbeats who somehow manage to get pregnant every year, and so she supports her family members, along with their poor offspring. Feeling sorry for her at the time, I lent her ten thousand dollars by taking out a cash advance on my credit card, as well as fifteen hundred cash from my own personal savings.  Again, she was able topay me back, albeit after two years, but she only paid back the principal amount, and left me with the interest amount, which I have been paying every month, and the fifteen hundred to eat and never see again.

Now, she is once again in another black hole.  The biggest hole yet.  Eviction proceedings have been instituted against her, and she must come up with about ten thousand dollars within thirty days or she will be evicted.  She came crying to me the other day asking me for help.  I feel sick about her situation, but I also feel angry.  I am angry that she gets herself in these situations, and then turns around and expects me and M to fish her out of her drowning waters.  She came to me to ask if I could pitch in and help her.  She was very close to having the full ten thousand, having borrowed another four thousand from M, and she wanted to know if I could come up with the rest.

I told her that I would lend her another two thousand dollars, but it did not come without a tongue lashing.  I feel angry that I felt as though I had to say yes, lest she be evicted.  I feel very put on the spot.  If I say no, she will get evicted, making me a terrible person.  If I say yes, it will be a never-ending cycle of M and I bailing her out from her financial ruin.

14 January 2015

Pura Vida

“What good is the warmth of summer, without the cold of winter to give it sweetness.” ~ John Steinbeck, Travels with Charley: In Search of America


It feels as though this winter is harsher than last year.  It could just be that as I get older, my tolerance level for colder temperatures decreases exponentially as my years in age increase.

I did manage to escape New York for a few days a few months ago by taking a trip to Costa Rica.  It was beautiful there.  I even got up close and personal with a crocodile.



I stayed at this fabulous resort, Los Suenos, near Jaco.


I saw a beautiful sunset from the cliffs of Zephyr Place in Herradura.


Pura Vida.  Pure Life.  It's their main expression there in Costa Rica and is used in many forms, from a greeting to a synonym for "excellent."  It felt good hearing it, and it felt good saying it.  It is their way of life.  See you later, Costa Rica.  I will be back.  Pura Vida!

12 January 2015

Shameless

“It's funny, but have you ever noticed that the more special something is, the more people seem to take it for granted? It's like they think it won't ever change. Just like this house here. All it ever needed was a little attention, and it would never have ended up like this in the first place." ~ Nicholas Sparks, The Wedding
I've been talking to a few men lately.  Nothing serious.  It has all just been a lot of talking and text messaging.  I am definitely in no good mental state to be talking to anyone in any capacity, but I have to admit it has lifted my busted ego to be chased and complimented.  I realized that ever since he cheated on me, I have gone back to my old, insecure ways and have felt very undesirable and unwanted.  I post numerous self-portraits of myself on social media sites, in the hopes of getting compliments.  It has worked, and I have been receiving many messages from men complimenting my looks, and while it momentarily gives me a sense of happiness, the long term effects have not been so positive. I am left feeling cheap and low, having resorted to shameless ways to receive attention.

As of late, young men have been approaching me.  Within the last two weeks, every bloke that has approached me has been under the age of thirty.  One was even under the age of twenty-five.  We both calculated that he was born one year after I started university.  It got me thinking: why when I was twenty-four, no one my age ever appreciated me?  And more importantly, why didn't he appreciate me, when so many others now, some younger and more virile than he, are giving me the attention he stopped giving me, and appreciating me in the way he no longer felt?