Lunch with Mom

December 7, 2011

I love my mother dearly, I truly do, but sometimes the woman drives me batty. And makes me worry that one day that will be me, telling the waiter at Denny’s exactly how to prepare a BLT (“Very lightly toasted, bacon very, very crisp, and none of that wilted lettuce, young man.”) “Mom,” I wanted to say, this is Denny’s.”

But I’m getting ahead of myself.

We weren’t even supposed to be at Denny’s. Actually, it started even before my Mom and Dad pulled up at my workplace and called to let me know they’d arrived. “Great, come on in,” I’d said. “I’m just wrapping up a conference call.”

They couldn’t do that. Apparently Mom’s latest “thing” is that she “is terrified” to go into anyplace where there are strangers. I guess not being able to drive at night, if it’s raining, if it might snow and on the highways, being afraid of heights and closed spaces and crowds, being too “clumsy” to step off a curb, being unable to use anything of higher technology than a dial phone and being sure that she has every bizarre illness known to man is not enough oddness.  Now she has decided to make herself agoraphobic.

Sigh.  She’s 74. I guess if she wants to be the crazy old lady, she can do so.

At Thanksgiving we talked about the baby items we are making for my soon-to-be-born granddaughter. She had decided to make a quilt, I crocheted a baby bag and a couple little hats for her. “I need to mail them by the 1st, ” I said, since the baby is due the 15th. I told them I would call them to arrange for me to come out and pick up the quilt so I could mail them all together.  As time went on we realized we weren’t going to make the deadline, so I told her that was fine, if I got them out by this week we’d be okay, and I would call her when I could make it out.

Friday she called. “So what time will you be out tomorrow?”

I hadn’t made plans to go out there (and hour drive) Saturday. I had made other plans for Saturday (which involved having lots of sex with Ad and then going to a play party that night.)

“Huh?” I said.

“We made plans,” she insisted.

I “rescheduled” for Sunday. Now, given that she insisted that we had had plans for Saturday, and that those plans included me picking up the quilt, I assumed it would be done when I got there Sunday.

Assume and you make an ass–

Yeah, whatever.

So we had to schedule lunch for today so they could bring the finished quilt to be mailed. They agreed to come to my work and we would go from there to a nice little restaurant close by. Nothing fancy, but I knew it would be decorated for the holidays, it has a beautiful fireplace, and is right on a lake. Today was so beautiful and clear it would have been perfect.

Mom: “Can’t we go to Denny’s?”

Me: “Seriously? Denny’s?

Mom: “Yes, they have such a nice lunch there. Don’t they have a good lunch there, dear?” (to my dad.) “Our Denny’s is so nice, they have a sunken garden!”

So we went to Denny’s. Where she proceeded to return the utensils (sticky), instruct the waiter on her BLT and then drop her utensils on the floor, and even though she wouldn’t need her knife or spoon for a sandwich and fries, and I offered her mine if she did, she requested yet another set.

I asked her about meeting up with the local quilting group in her area that we had found online for her.  She has always had difficulty making friends, and when my father retired, was very jealous of any time that he spent with his friends, his family, or doing hobbies that didn’t include her–which is just about everything, because she can barely move, due to various mysterious ailments that the doctor (a “quack”) can never diagnose. “You need to make your own friends, Ma,” I said. “You have hobbies you enjoy. Then you won’t feel bad when dad goes bowling or hangs out with his brothers.”

“Oh no,” she said, about the quilting group. Then she divulged her fear of “walking into rooms with strangers.”

I had also advised that they find things to do together. My dad was a workaholic, and now…they needed to find something they could share as well as things that mom could do on her own.  She said she would like to get some exercise, and dad always liked to run and walk, so I suggested the Silver Sneakers program that a local hospital offers.  Her doctor agreed that it would be great for her.  That’s when she started having a “balance” issue. Suddenly she can’t maintain her balance and walks into walls and doorjambs.

“Did you look into the Silver Sneakers program for her, Dad?” I asked when she went to the restroom. “The doctor said so many of her physical issues could be alleviated if she got a little bit of exercise. Every little bit helps. Also, she will get to make friends and get to know some people her own age, see that she’s not alone in dealing with some of them.”

“You’re mom will never do it,” he said dismissively. “I had a gym membership for two years and she never went.”

“Oh really?” I’d never heard about that. “Where at?”

“Gold’s Gym,” he said.

GOLD’S GYM. For my then-72-year old mother. GOLD’S GYM. Christ. I’d be intimidated to go in there.

So. Other than that, and Mom being very awestruck at our “fancy Target,” here in the city, with its new-fangled parking garage, and staring at the houses as we drove by as if she’s never seen houses in a city before (“Look at what little yards they have! And how close together they are!”) lunch went well. Mom is sweet, and has a loving, generous heart. The quilt she made the baby is darling, and it was touching how proud she is of it.

I just have to never let them come to “the city” again.

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Michigan – Endings and Beginnings

December 2, 2011

So here they are, the last of the snaps I took while we were on our mother/daughter retreat.

A bit about that, first. Ever since my Ex and I split, my daughter, who I refer to interchangeably as The Missy and The Girl,  and I have taken a yearly vacation together, just she and I. Usually it’s sometime in the summer, but this year it ended up being over Thanksgiving, which is perhaps apropos, since I am profoundly grateful to have had these times with her and to have been able to have this relationship with her. Not all mothers have such a close relationship with their teen-to-adult daughters.  Although my relationship with my own mother is wonderful now, close and loving, we had our struggles when I was growing up. So I know firsthand how unusual, and precious, my relationship is with her.

This time with my daughter was especially poignant, in that as she moves into true independence and adulthood, I can see that our yearly trips together may now become her yearly trips with girlfriends of hers (she is already planning her first girlfriend-vacation for next year.) I’m a little sad (and still hopeful that she and I can continue to do this, too) but also…it feels right for her to be making these plans without me.  Making her own plans, for her own life. I’m proud of her, excited for her, and proud of myself, too, in a small way, for having raised a girl that is as fearless, open and loving as she is.

We spent a lot of time talking this time around. In the past we have had a lot more pool/beach/hiking/activity time, but the beach was cold (as you’ll see) and mostly we just holed up, relaxing, writing and talking. It was more enforced relaxation than I’ve had in a long time, but it was really, really good.  For us both.

And the topics we covered…whew!…that’s a post all in and of itself. And of course (as mentioned in PoJ) there was her discovery of this blog…

But that’s another post.  Here, for now, are the last of the pictures.

The last two days were cold and blustery.

I have no idea what I was doing here.

But I know it was damn cold here.

And windy.

I love how the dunes take back the beaches when the summer folk go home.

And I loved the crash of the waves.

Monday it was clear again. Cold and windy, but sunny.

I was so glad to get my shot of the canoes on the beach.

And Tuesday, we were on the road again, headed back home.

All in all, a successful trip. “One of the best mother-and-daughter trips we have ever had,” the Missy wrote in the guest book at our place. And I have to agree. I hope that there will be many more to come.


e[lust] #29 (Oops)

September 28, 2011

Welcome to e[lust] – Your source for sexual intelligence and inspirations of lust from the smartest & sexiest bloggers! Whether you’re looking for hot steamy smut, thought-provoking opinions or expert information, you’re going to find it here. Want to be included in e[lust] #30? Start with the rules, check out the schedule and subscribe to the RSS feed for updates!

~ This Week’s Top Three Posts ~

Evidence To The ContraryIf anyone out there ever tries to tell you that internet relationships and friendships are not real, point them in my direction and I will happily set them straight on the matter because I have proof, in fact I am proof, that they know not what they speak of.

Open Marriages Don’t Work….The only way I would agree with that statement is if you add: …..if you’re marriage already has problems. But even that part is not universally true.

Love in the Age of Broadband What happened to our ability to keep it casual? Why would we attach ourselves to someone who is (often) hundreds, if not thousands, of miles away? And, more to the point, why would we attach ourselves to someone we have never met?

~ e[lust] Editress ~

Ask Lilly – Open and Polyamorous: Why be married at all?

~ Featured Post (Lilly’s Pick) ~

My apologies, everyone, since submissions closed I’ve been 100% consumed with personal family tragedy (the flooding in Central PA) so I didn’t have time to read most of the entries this time or find a photo. The html code might contain a lot of blank lines for some of you, I didn’t have time to “clean” it up, either, just throw up what I have.

All blogs that have a submission in this edition must re-post this digest from tip-to-toe on their blogs within 7 days. Re-posting the photo is optional and the use of the “read more…” tag is allowable after this point. Thank you, and enjoy!

Thoughts & Advice on Sex & Relationships

Ask Aunty Dee: Dental Dams
born this way…
Clit Truth
Condoms and Size
Lies & Infidelities
Misguided Dominance
Poly Language
Return to Decadence
Step Inside My Head
Who was the first person you told..
When Bad Things Happen To Good People – Warning Bells

Sex News, Interviews, Politics & Humor

To Be Out Or Not To Be Out
Want Sado-Erotic Horror Movies? Yes please! Films by Matthew Saliba
What I’ve Learned From E[Lust]

Kink & Fetish

A Much Needed Distraction
Another drink?
Caged
Facing Fear
Negotiation Win

Erotic Writing

As Long As It Lasts
Asking For It
Anticipation
Blow Job
Campfire
Debra’s Gift
Feral
Fantasy
June’s Caning
Please, Please, Please, Sir
Showers and Strawberries
slick
The Visitor
The Play Fight


Playing Martha Stewart

August 16, 2011

I can do this.

After my morning temper tantrum, and a somewhat drama-laden email to W in which I decided I wanted to quit everything, my hormones settled down to a dull roar and I was able to see things a bit clearer.  You know, able to see that though my wings have been clipped a bit, tho I don’t have the freedom to do what I want, when I want and how I want, it’s not the end of the world.

And benefits like I described in my previous post might even make up for it.

Maybe it was reading W’s emails throughout the day as he described the process of replacing his hundred-year-old bathroom sink that made me stop and remember to take pleasure in the satisfaction of doing my work well; maybe it was Carrie’s post over on A View from the Floor that reminded me to be grateful for small things; maybe it was my dear friend Julian Arancia‘s comment on my post on PoJ that reminded me that in the grand scheme of things, this is only a minor bump.

I actually enjoyed being a little domestic tonight. The Boychild and I stopped at the grocery store on the way home and shopped for dinner groceries, something I don’t think he and I have done but maybe a handful of times in the past.  On the way home from there, he and I went over his list of vocabulary words, testing me to see how many of the 50 I knew (all but 3) and competing to see who could make up the best sentence for each.  A voracious reader, he has developed a vocabulary almost as good as mine, and just as large a love for words, something I would didn’t realize.  For supper, I baked potatoes, made a green salad with candied pecans, dried cranberries, diced apples and croutons, and set out crumbly Stilton cheese with crackers–all while still wearing my heels. There was no one to see, no one to care, except me.  I thought about cooking for W in heels and chains, and smiled a bit.

I’ll see W on Thursday, when I work from his house, and hopefully stay over Friday and Saturday with him.  The Friday-to-Saturday morning thing will be different.  We’ve done it a couple times, but far more often I am either home Friday nights or he stays here occasionally. In all my pissing and moaning I sort of forgot that this change means getting to spend the whole weekend with him.  And next week I start classes again.  Just a Tues/Thurs gym class, but that will be good for me, and I won’t feel like I’m vegging out every night on the couch.  I plan to add an additional workout class on my own at my gym as well, or perhaps a walk or hike during the week. Maybe I can get the boys to accompany me, who knows.  I’ll get back into a schedule.  It won’t be the same schedule, but I’ll make it work.

So, looks like things will be okay. Hormonal fluctuations aside.


Lies & Infidelities

August 14, 2011

I just got back from staying over at my mom’s house.  I love hanging with my mom. She’s getting more and more…addled…finally, at 75, beginning to show her age, but she is sweet, and kind, and loving, and every time I am there I wish she lived right here in our condo complex so I could see her more often.

Instead, she lives in the subdivision where my sister, T, lives, one block away from her, her husband and their little boy. My mom is lucky if she sees T once a month, and usually it is only an obviously obligatory visit.

My sister is not kind, or sweet, or loving.

Lately when I talk to my parents, I have been deliberate in bringing up W in the conversation. Not in an “in your face” way, but just as I do in every day conversation with anyone else. I don’t insert him into the conversation, but if it is natural to mention him or something he and I have done, I don’t circle around it, I don’t equivocate.  I say his name, I mention whatever-it-is and I move on. I want them to get used to hearing about him, and to begin seeing him as a part of my life.

This weekend, while out with my mom, I finally came clean on who this “W” fella really is to me.

My mom knows I am poly, and has known since I told her during my split with my Ex.  I knew that she had a lot of admiration for the Ex and liked him a lot, and I didn’t want our breaking up to destroy that. It’s too easy to want to attach all blame for a break-up on the partner that isn’t your family, and, especially as it was me that precipitated the split, I didn’t want my mom to think badly of him. So she knew that Ad and I have an open relationship, but she never met any of my other partners, or even heard about them. Why should she? I didn’t have any committed partners before W.

But it’s been three years now with W, and, frankly, I just wanted to not to have to mince around who exactly this “W” person is in my life. I wasn’t committed to telling her this weekend, I didn’t head out to visit her intending to come clean, but, when the opportunity accidentally presented itself, I took it.

Here’s the deal. My sister’s marriage is falling apart. Or has already, and the only reason they stay together is because they “can’t afford” to split up. Meanwhile, they buy cars, go on separate vacations, presumably drive up their credit card debt–and live in a  state of barely-concealed warfare, sniping and biting at each other, visiting petty cruelties upon the other and crowing about it behind each other’s backs, all the while acting like they are being “civilized” and doing it all “for their son’s sake.”  It’s enough to make me sick. It makes me so sad to see my sister so bitter and unhappy and to see that same resignation and joylessness reflected on her husband’s face.

And yet.

This is the sister that, when my marriage was ending and I told her about me being poly said to me, “Why do you always have to do things your way, Jade? Can’t you just be like normal people? Can’t you just have an affair??”

She truly thought that having an affair was morally superior to being in an open marriage or relationship. She also thought it was a lot smarter, since everyone knows an open relationship can’t work–and wasn’t I proof, as my marriage was a failure because of it?  (I could never convince her of the wrongness of that statement: I never considered my marriage a failure.  But that is perhaps for a different post.) Stay married and have an affair, and you don’t have to give up your big house, your fancy cars, your credit cards–your things.  But what about your soul? What about love and joy and morality and ethics and your sense of decency?

Uh-huh.  I see how well that worked for her.  Because that is why she and her husband are in the place they are.  She had affairs, he found out. She went to “counseling,” confessed her sins, swore never to do it again…and smirked about pulling the wool over his eyes as she headed out to another of her trysts. Well, it didn’t stay pulled, and now they are in the situation they are in.

What a sad, ugly life.

But what really bothered me was my mother going on and on about what a bastard my sister’s husband is for “throwing her out of the bedroom,” for “cutting her off” financially (he split the bills and she has to pay her own bills and he his) and for treating her “unkindly.”

Look, the guy is no peach. I couldn’t live with him. But I didn’t choose him. He never lied to her or cheated on her.  He may be as slow and dumb as a box of rocks, but he took care of her, he bought her ever-increasingly larger houses and nicer cars, he moved clear across the country, away from a hometown he had loved and never wanted to leave to be with her.  He gave what he had to give.  And she chose to lie and cheat and laugh at him behind his back when he didn’t see it.  And when he did see it, and he still wanted to be with her, to work it out, instead of either a) owning up and changing her behavior, or b) letting him go so that maybe he could find happiness with someone else that could be happy with him, she lied again and started it all over. Only this time she despises him for taking her back, as well; for allowing himself to be used.

She deserves every bit of contempt he levels at her.  And he doesn’t deserve my parent’s contempt.

But they only see what my sister has shown them; they can only believe the sob story my sister tells them. It’s repugnant, and…I finally got fed up with it.  I did something I am sure I will regret: I told my mother the real reason their marriage is on the rocks. Oh, not the fullness of my sister’s lies and infidelities. In fact I made no mention of her continued affairs. I only said that perhaps B had a reason to be “unkind.”  That she had had an affair (“an” affair? try dozens) and he had found out. That maybe my sister was skewing the story a bit.

I’m not sure how the conversation went from my sister’s infidelities to W, but it did. Maybe I was trying to juxtapose what a farce her “arrangement” was with something healthy, and vital, and good. Whatever my original motivation was (okay yeah, my motives may not have been pure, maybe I did want to show her up a little) by spotlighting a lifestyle that, for a 75 yr old woman, would have to seem untenable at best, immoral at worst. But she took it all in stride (she’s something else, my mama.) I guess having softened her up 5 years or so ago with the confession of being in an open relationship in the first place made it not such a shock to her. The fact that it has lasted 3 years was a bit of a shock: “You’ve been with someone for three years and never told me, never introduced me?!?” So I had to take my lumps for that.  But for the most part, since I’m happy, Ad’s happy, my kids are happy and she assumes W is happy–it’s all good.

Oh, except for one more thing. When I told her W’s name, she said, “This is a man?”

I’d forgotten I had also confessed to being bisexual at some point a couple years ago.  Oops.


Outsider

June 15, 2011

Sometimes I still feel like the outsider on the sidelines, always looking in, never one of the “in” crowd, never invited to “play in any reindeer games.” I watch as people interact around me, form their groups, their cliques, their friendships, at times tentatively, hesitantly, reaching out, only to feel rebuffed or ignored once again.  I know this isn’t the case, and I have heard so many times that you just have to be a part and join in, but…these feelings don’t live in the rational part of my brain.  They’re hardcoded in somewhere else, somewhere that my rational thoughts have little access to.

I do keep trying to untangle the coding though.

It’s a leftover from my childhood, I’m sure, from having been one of those kids that never quite fit in and was too shy to try-and so afraid of rejection if she did that it was just better not to, to claim that she didn’t want to be invited, didn’t want to be a part, was fine on her own.

I have read that this is a common reaction/trait of people that move around a lot as children. Being the child of a railroad worker, we moved every year or so, and although I have lived in St. Louis for more than 20 years now, I still feel unrooted.  When people talk about having a “hometown,” or “going home,” I can’t relate. The last home I lived in with my parents they’ve long since moved out of, and I was only there for three years of my life anyway. What kind of roots can grow in that amount of time?  Still, when I watched a video recently of a locomotive taking the tracks near where I spent those years, I did feel a sense of…something. Homesickness?  Loss? Nostalgia, maybe.  It was hard to define.  But even as I felt it I wondered if they were manufactured feelings.  I’d never felt I was leaving my home when I left, never felt a part of that small, tight-knit mountain community when I was there, and didn’t miss it in the years since.  As with many small towns, I could have lived there for twenty years and still been considered the “outsider,” and was never fully embraced or taken in by the locals.  Perhaps that sharp bite of longing I’d felt as I watched the video, as I walked around the railyard where W and I looked at the steam locomotive, was merely wishful longing on my part–a wish that I did feel homesickness. That I had a place that I could be homesick for.

I married a man for his roots, thinking they’d reach out and entangle me–and that I’d be happy that way: rooted down, captured.  I wasn’t, though perhaps if his family had treated me as more than an outsider, if they had welcomed me, I might have been.  It’s hard to say, now, although knowing myself as well as I do, and if I am looking back with honesty and not with wishful “might-have-beens,” I know that I would not have been happy no matter how they treated me. Wanderlust and rootlessness, that restless gene, is too deeply seated in me, too much a part of my psyche, as is my fear of rejection.

And perhaps, because of that, I caused my own ostracization. Perhaps I held myself aloof, just as I did as a child, withdrawing rather than risking rejection.

Perhaps I do so even now.

All these petty fears and insecurities.  How to shed them, how to throw off the shackles that they bind me with?  I admit it, I am not “fine on my own.”  I don’t want to spend my life feeling like an outsider.  I want to be accepted and loved and welcomed, I want to be a part of something greater than myself–I want to fit in.

Pitiful, ain’t it?


Acceptance

May 31, 2011

Woke this morning with a migraine trying to assert itself.  Sharp pinpoint of pain right above my left eye.  I think I caught it in time, though migraine meds on an empty stomach don’t sit too well either.

Sigh.  I had so many things I wanted to say! And now…my head is just a muddle between pain medication and migraine. (sad face)  I will try to persevere.

I had an awesome weekend, and in honor of it, I have begun a campaign to designate the Sunday before Memorial Day “National Bondage Day.”  Mark it on your calendars, folks!  I should have a post over on PoJ later today or tomorrow all about my playdate with Jessica Simpson, Steve Madden, my two guys–and a lot of rope. ;-)

I had some interesting insights and discoveries into myself this weekend as well. Nothing too deep or earth-shattering, but…interesting. One of them helps me understand some of the decisions I’ve made in my life. The other is more of a “growth” thing.  The growing part I think I’ll address over in my PoJ post, but the other is more suitable to this space, I think.

So the deal is this. W and I were discussing relationship dynamics. Specifically, 24/7 M/s or O/p relationships, as opposed to our own dynamic. I am sexually submissive to W, and that bleeds over, because of my personal mental/emotional makeup, into other areas of our relationship, and I do consider the relationship of the Owner/property category–he owns and controls my sex life. This dynamic is much deeper and more internalized for me than him, I think, again because of my particular emotional makeup, but he totally gets it.  He said something very perceptive the other day. “I think if I’d been the kind of Top that wanted to control your life more, you would have responded to that and become more of a submissive in everyday life as well.” He’s exactly correct, I think–and in an interesting dichotomy, I think it is precisely because I am a submissive at heart that, rather than seeking out another relationship that would satisfy that need in me, instead I molded myself and my own desires to my Dominant’s. It is a testament both to my own self-awareness and to W’s relationship skills that we were able to recognize that I do need some balance between the two extremes, and he was able (and willing) to explore that dynamic on at least some levels more with me, in order to assure that those needs are met as well.

But I digress a bit. To continue on with my original point (see, I DO have lots in my head this morning!)

The reason that W and I aren’t in a more “traditional” M/s style relationship boils down, essentially, to one simple fact: neither of us wants to work that hard. We do this because it brings us pleasure, it makes us hot and it leads to some crazy hot sex.

Now, I understand that for many people, it is in the act of self-sacrifice, it is in doing something difficult, and doing it well, that they derive pleasure. For many people, it is the hard work that makes a thing worthwhile.  I get that and respect that–immensely.

But that’s just not me.  Furthermore, that trait informs not only my BDSM-relationship style, but also many, many other areas of my life, if not all of them.  It wasn’t until W and I were talking about it that I put it all together tho, and made the connection.

It came about because we were trying to draw an analogy from vanilla life to WIITWD and the different dynamics. What we came up with is the comparison between an athlete that runs marathons and one that does 5k’s.  Or, to personalize it, someone like me, that runs ~3 miles, max, and has no desire to run further, because after that, it gets hard, and I just don’t want to work that hard. I run because it is a pleasure, a joy, but once it starts hurting and getting to be a chore, once it becomes work–forget it.  That’s why it is so hard to get myself to restart running consistently, because that first mile of every run sucks.  I hate every minute of it. But if I can just get past that to the other side, the pure pleasure of feeling my body move, of feeling it do what it’s meant to do, of feeling, for that tiny amount of time, “athletic,” well, then it is no longer work. Or if it is, the cost/benefit ratio tilts heavily in favor of benefit, and I am willing to pay the cost.

But honestly, it takes a lot to tip the scales in that analysis, and to be blunt, most things that are hard or difficult or make me miserable in the doing of them just don’t have that big a benefit to warrant me doing them.

It’s easy to see how not living an M/s relationship 24/7 fits into that.  Being a slave is hard, and more about sacrificing one’s own wants to another than engaging in it for one’s pleasure. But it wasn’t until I turned the idea over in my head that I recognized how many other places in my life this has had an impact.

For instance, school.  I love to take classes. If I could afford it, I’d probably take a class every semester. But as deep as my love of learning goes, and as many college credits as I have, I’ve NEVER completed a degree.  Not because I can’t, nor even because I don’t want to, but because, frankly, it’s a lot of work! There are classes I have to take that I just don’t want to. And frankly, sometimes even classes I enjoy get to be a drag after 3 months, so I stop going. But given the appropriate cost/benefit ratio, and yes…I’ll do it. For instance, that fucking math class. The benefit–a feeling of accomplishment in the face of adversity, the knowledge that W and Ad would be proud of me, and the knowledge that I would be setting a good example for my kids–became a huge benefit, enough, finally, to force me past my fear of failure, past my desire to take the easy way, and on to finally finishing the class.

That feeling of accomplishment–of forcing myself to do something I am afraid of–is actually quite a strong motivator on the “benefit” side of things, btw. It made me take a job as a waitress when I was so shy I could barely walk into a room alone. It made me hike to the bottom of the Grand Canyon, knowing that at the bottom was a scary-ass suspension bridge over the Colorado River that I’d have to walk over. It made me take a bus with 50 other women I didn’t know to Washington DC for the march for freedom of choice, and to stand up on that same bus and tell the story of the abortion I had chosen to have, something I had never told anyone else.  It’s what made me start running in the first place, what made me climb the rock wall and to the top of the High Temple on our cruise.  It led me to offer to take on countless jobs, including the one I am in now, without knowing I actually had the skills to cut it.  It’s what drives me to explore the intersection between pain and pleasure, and why I seek out some of the more extreme corners of that kind of play at times.

On the other hand, the desire for pleasure, for experiencing joy, led me to choosing to end my marriage of 15 years. It led me to conquer my fear of being rejected and made me reach out to a stranger–W–on Fetlife. It’s led me to cut toxic people from my life and to choose to take my children on trips rather than to buy a new car. It’s allowed me to accept that maybe I won’t finish that novel (just too hard to do) but to accept the joy I find in writing here and on PoJ and in writing short stories.

On the other hand, this very trait has cost me at times as well. There is no amount of benefit that will ever make me a good wife, housekeeper or cook. I’m a loving partner and a great girlfriend, but domesticity just doesn’t do it for me.

I will probably never be able to afford to retire, because I spend money too freely on transient pleasures.

I will probably never really accomplish anything of true, lasting value or worth. That novel? Ain’t gonna happen. The half-marathon I want to do? Nope. Get a degree and get an important job? Not so much.  I probably won’t become a world-famous blogger or be asked to speak at events or change the world in any large, lasting way.

But…

I’m okay with all this. I am okay with the bad and the good.

I can accept these things about myself.  I can live with–and love–me. Just as I am.