Going everywhere and nowhere at once.

With the awesome help of my sister, I finally found a place to live. It’s a room in a recently divorced dad’s house. Fairly large, private bath, all utilities included. I start moving today.

I should be more excited.

It’s not that I’m not relieved that this came up so serendipitously. I am. But. It’s all happening very fast. I emailed on Saturday. Saw it, agreed to take it, dropped off paint so my new roommate/landlord could paint it on Sunday. Picked up the key and dropped off the first month’s rent on Tuesday. Starting to move today.

As I said last night to my husband, this is the first time (save for a week and a half twelve years ago) I’ve ever lived with someone I don’t know. Ever. So there’s that.

There’s also the fact that I still don’t think I can be fully me there.

And then there’s the thing that hit me as I was packing up this morning.

This all is just a constant reminder of why I’m here in the first place. And it makes it hurt all over again, almost fresh. I had gotten to the point where talking about it didn’t hurt much anymore, and I could say her name without wanting to puke. But now, packing everything, it reminds me of the last time I put things in bags. Heart blown apart with betrayal, but functioning in numb auto pilot. Preparing to get the fuck away from it and not be hurt again. Anger simmering somewhere beneath the surface but too afraid to look at it.

Just keep moving forward. Just keep going. Just get out.

I was in the middle of doing laundry when I found out. Our laundry. The sheets from what had become our marital bed. I wanted to cut them into strips. Set them on fire. Leave them out on the lawn and uproot a tree and just set the dirt ball on top. Some kind of physical representation of what it felt like he’d done to my heart. Our marriage.

Instead, I folded them. I folded his clothes, too. I piled them on the bed and got my shit together and left.

It may be part of my PTSD kicking in, or hormones, or just the overwhelmingness of the whole damn situation, or maybe all of the above. All I know is it feels like I just found out all over again. Except this time, I’m letting myself feel it, sob about it, grieve.

When I found out in April, something in my brain shut off emotion. Yes, I had glimpses of anger and grief, but they continually got overrode by auto pilot. Don’t feel. Just do. I talked to my sister before she had an interview for a job she wanted. I couldn’t break down on the phone with her while she was going into the interview. So I auto piloted it. I called my brother-in-law to ask if I could come back and explained the situation. I couldn’t lose it on the phone with him; he was at work. I just kept it together. I just kept going. I felt numb and removed from myself talking to my husband that night. Piecing things together. Getting confirmation. Hearing the pain and anger in his voice.

And telling our girlfriend. Leaving her, too. Knowing I was too broken deal with any relationship. The lack of trust I felt in just about the entire world was staggering. I’ve never been like that. Well, that’s not entirely true. I haven’t been like that in decades. I have had what others have called a sunny personality, but when I was younger, it was an act. Even wrote a song about it. Now, I try to believe the best in people, not feed into the negative. I don’t watch the news. Yes, I know there are murders, kidnapping, pedophiles, rapists, and all manner of other sick, shitty people out there. I try to focus on the good. I spent too much time growing up being afraid. Shutting out the bad, you actually wind up shutting out the good as well. I learned that the hard way. So I gradually opened up. Accepting the light and dark in humanity, even myself. But when smacked directly with the dark, I had a lesson in the practical application of the light and dark we all carry. And I didn’t know how to process it besides self-preservation. Get to higher ground where you can be safe. So I headed to the place where I’d had the closest thing to stability I’ve had in years. And here I am now. Reminded that the place I came back to isn’t mine anymore. Because I chose to leave. Coming back, I knew my time here was limited. My sister says this will always be home if I need it, but…it can’t be. There’s no place for me anymore. So I’m moving out on my own. Except I don’t fucking want to be on my own, really. Yes, it’s nice to think about how to decorate a space that’s wholly mine, since I’ve never had that. Yes, it’s great that I’m getting some independence. Yes, it’s wonderful that I found what seems to be a clean, safe place to live.

Someone dear to me recently said that he found it surprising that I was able to talk about burlesque. Given that I’d put years of my life into it, and the way I left was wrapped up in complicated, he expected it to be complex, at best, to talk about. When really, it’s not. I miss the people. I miss the performing. I miss the preparation. But it’s not…I had already been gearing up to phase more towards becoming a mother. I was preparing for it long before it happened. When it did, it sucked that it was at the same time as finding out about my husband, but it wasn’t really that which made me make the decision. It contributed, don’t get me wrong. I wasn’t planning to leave until I seriously was planning to get or actually got pregnant.

Why do I bring this up in the middle of everything?

Because yes, decorating, independence, and clean, safe places to live are things worthy of celebration. But that independence? Sure, it’s great to push out on my own and all…but I just…don’t want it. I want to be married, dammit. I want children. A family. A unit. To be part of, belong to, feel connected to. This is what I’ve been working towards. What I’ve been hoping and praying for.

I know I can’t have it now. I know this is, though it may not feel like it now, moving forward. I know and have been told that that there is time for children, a house, a solid marriage. It’s entirely possible that my husband and I will come through this and be more solid for it. As evidenced by referencing talking to him above, we are talking regularly now. There are seeds of hope. I don’t know what that means for the future, but it’s where we are now. Seems to be a theme. I don’t know what this means for the future, but it’s where I am now. Since that’s really all I can control, I guess I have to work with what I’ve got and go pack summore stuff.

Advertisements

Another book the whole damn world needs to read

Raising-My-Rainbow-Adventures-in-Raising-a-Fabulous-Gender-Creative-Son-Lori-Duron

When I was in my mid-twenties, my dad told me that Ellen Degeneres coming out of the closet and my gay best friend being gay/having a boyfriend were “what was wrong with this world.”  It made me incredibly sad and angry to hear him say this (not the least of which was because he still didn’t know I was bisexual.)  In my opinion, Ellen and my best friend were two shining examples of what was right with the world. After finishing Raising My Rainbow: Adventures in Raising a Fabulous, Gender Creative Son* by Lori Duron (and foreward by the ever-amazing Neil Patrick Harris and his partner David Burtka)  I can say without hesitation that Lori Duron is now added to my list of “what is So Very Right with the world.”  Granted, she’s a “who” not a “what”, but this book and the open, loving, giving, accepting, nurturing way she and her family are raising her children transcends how awesome she is as a person.  (Though she is quite kickass all on her own.)

The book centers around the titular “fabulous, gender creative” C.J., who discovers Barbie when he’s just two and a half years old and sets off running down the gender creative road, leaving his family in a glittery, pink wake.  As Duron describes, “It was like watching somebody come alive, watching a flower bloom, watching a rainbow cross the sky.”  From that moment on, C.J. began to discover the world of “girl”, resplendent with long, silky hair, Disney Princesses, sparkles, Monster High, skirts, Hello Kitty, heels, and the sheer awesomeness that is the color pink.  His response of pure, unadulterated glee to it All Things Girly concerned his mom and dad.  C.J. is, after all, a boy.  Boys are supposed to like “boy things: trucks, dinosaurs, the color blue, to name a few.  Right?
Continue reading

Quotable guidance.

This started as a short post on my Spark People account, because a quote inspired me.  But it apparently opened Pandora’s box in my brain, which flowed out through my fingers.  I’m profoundly grateful for that.  Since it touched on so much of what I’m struggling with and finally beginning to see my way through, I thought it was good to repost with some minor changes here.

“What screws us up most is the picture in our head of how it was supposed to be.”

Well…if that don’t just sum up much of the pain I’m in right now, I don’t know what does.

My niece just shared that quote with me from a friend of hers and it just…settled somewhere in a still-broken, hard-healing place.

Most of the time, I put forth a great front of acceptance – with my body, with my relationships (ebbing as they mostly are right now), with where my life in general is, with my eating habits. “Don’t look back; you’re not going that way” is one of my favorite quotes that I recently came across. I try to live it. I try to keep on truckin’. But there’s still this part of my brain, my heart that’s all “but it wasn’t supposed to be this way…”

And then the quote from “Despereaux” comes back to me: “Nevertheless. It is.”

It is. This is what I have. This is what has happened. In some shape and form, this is what I’ve helped create my life to be. And by constantly, sometimes subconsciously, falling back on the “but…” I’m hampering my own damn efforts to move forward and live a fulfilling, happy life. This limiting line of thinking pushes the locus of control outside of me and onto some external flaw in fate. Really, it’s my own damn hamartia and I need to fix it.

On a related note, a friend recently posted another quote on FB that hit home:

“The difference between dreams and reality is discipline.”

Pinterest agrees, but with different, though still poignant words:

“Discipline is just choosing between what you want now and what you want most.”

Personal discipline has long been a struggle for me. Ever since I was a child, I had trouble limiting myself and my parents didn’t set a good example, nor did they use any method of consistent discipline. Eventually, my babysitter realized I wasn’t washing my face or brushing my teeth at all so she taught me to do that. I was probably seven or so. I didn’t learn manners until I was in my teens and by then it was a battle. Food was such a weird thing. I had the quintessential grandparents who forced food in our mouths from the second we walked in the door to visit, no matter if we were hungry or not, but I also had family who was constantly worried about my “baby fat” becoming real fat. I was never shown what good eating and exercising habits were; I only knew I was doing something wrong when I was told I was doing it “too much/little.” However, I was never told where the line was between “too much/little” and “just right.”

And my role models were less than stellar: my father still exists on a diet of (per day, 10-20 cups of) tea, 3-4 Entenmenn’s donuts, a burger or friend chicken, and peppermint hard candies. After work, he used to add LOTS of liquid bread.

My mother was gone by the time I have most of my formative memories, and by the time I moved back in with her in my mid-teens, the damage was already done. And the term “comfort food” became a staple in our house to heal the pain we were both trying to heal from, thus adding to the damage.

Truly, I’m not trying to blame all this on my parents. But as I watch my great nieces on a regular basis and am actively involved in teaching them manners, healthy eating habits, exercising, hydration, pronunciation, the pitfalls of consumerism…I realize how involved and important parenting is, and right from the start. I’ve also read a few articles lately talking about how addictions are learned very early on, as is self-esteem, self-respect, and so many important traits that we NEED to grow up well adjusted and above all healthy.

So, instead of saying that it was my parent’s fault that I’m fat or that I lack discipline, I acknowledge that I wasn’t given good foundation to build a healthy, stable home in myself. That doesn’t mean all is lost. But it does mean I’ve got to stop whining that the foundation is cracked beyond repair and how unfair that is.  It’s time to tear the fucker down and start over.

In my brain, in pretty much all of our brains and hearts, I think, there’s a voice that says: I was supposed to have the perfect, loving, helpful parents. My marriage was supposed to be amazing, stable, sexy, loving, and last forever. I’m not supposed to be this fat. I should’ve “made something” out of myself. Add your own; I’m almost certain we all fight this voice at one time or another.

The work begins now where I have to erase that tape that keeps playing in my head and deal with the reality of Here and Now.

Reality tells me many negative things:
I’m overweight. Yes, I have medical issues at work, but in reality, it’s also the fact that I think somehow eating a slice of cake AND a cupcake bigger than my head is a good life choice. Because I’m depressed. This is not disciplined.

I’m out of shape. Prior to joining the Y and starting to work my ass off, I hadn’t seriously danced or been active on a regular basis in 15 years. Yes, I danced with my burlesque troupe fairly a few times a month, but that so does not make a disciplined and healthy exercise routine. The past two weeks or so, I fell off the wagon HARD.

I’m getting divorced. The divorce papers came and all the momentum and positive self worth I’d been building up crashed to hell around me. My marriage wasn’t “supposed to” end like this. It wasn’t supposed to end at all. And it was made clear to me that my personality was no longer liked, nor was my body. So what did it matter? Clearly I’m not to be cared about so why not just go for quick, easy fixes to the pain. Because the pain? It hurts a whole lot more than I was ready for.

I’m unemployed. Social worth is very often derived from your value and accomplishments as a worker. Why else would my sister be literally working herself to possible death at a job that is making her very sick? Why else would we choose to spend so much time away from our families at jobs that keep demanding more and more and giving us less and less? Why is what we make and what we do the mark of who we are? Why is being a workaholic touted as not only acceptable, but a goal worth reaching for?

I don’t have children yet. Even though I really, really want them and thought I was going to start having them this year.

What’s happening now is my brain and my heart are mourning what was “supposed to” have been. The “dream I dreamed in time gone by” that life killed. That is a pretty depressing thought to get stuck on. Which means I have to work my ass off to not stop there. As John Lennon and other people said (attribution is muddy) “life is what happens when you’re making other plans.”

It’s time to work for some new dreams. Which is scary…both to let go of the old and also to try and figure out what to do next. But I’m supremely fortunate and I really MUST continue to remember that.

I live in a beautiful house on a freakin’ lake. I’m surrounded by family that loves and supports me. Though I’m further from them now, I still have a bevvy of friends who also love and support me. I may not have children, but I get to exercise my maternal muscles taking care of my nieces on a fairly regular basis. I’m making new friends and connections and will find a new job and purpose in life. Getting divorced has opened me up to bring healthier, happier love into my life.  I’m a member of a wonderful church and YMCA to exercise both my spirit and body. My sister helped make it possible for both of us to partake in the new Loser Takes It All challenge at the Y. 8 weeks of exercising, personal training, and seminars on how to make your life healthier. With prizes!

Now I need to go forth and tackle some things that I’ve been avoiding because they didn’t turn out the way I wanted them to. It’s gonna suck a bit, but it’s going to be worth it. Feel free to quote me.

Small victories are still victories.

Today, in deep water aerobics class, I was able to reverse soccer kick and touch my left hand to my right foot.  It may not seem like much, but it means a lot to me.  I don’t have the flexibility I want to have in my hamstrings and quads.  My quads are pretty strong, but they’re not loose.  But it was awesome when I finally was able to touch my foot!

I’ve been eating more consciously, and making better decisions.  I bought and roasted three zucchinis and 1 huge parsnip this week.  DELICIOUS.  I’m down 1.4lbs from last week.  Just about to break a major milestone and I couldn’t be happier about that. I’ve also returned to healthier lunches during the week instead of frozen pizza or grilled cheese.  It’s easy to make my own bangin’ honey mustard, so I do that, cut up an avocado and tomato and slap that and some turkey on white bread or make lettuce wraps.  So good.

This week, I’ve exercised 5 days in a row.  And tomorrow will be 6!  I’m very proud of myself for hitting it this hard.  It’s helped that I’m now babysitting for my great-nieces.  They’ve helped give me a routine that makes me get my ass to the Y and then, when I’m done working out, we all swim together.  They’re happy, I’m getting fitter, and we’re in the water.  All good things.

Yesterday, I had a doctor’s appointment with my new doctor.  She diagnosed me with a sinus infection, which sucks, but she’s also putting in my refills for my antidepressants and thyroid meds.  I discussed coming off my a/d meds and I’m currently on a half dose from where I was and feeling fine.  I really hope I’m able to get off of them for good.  And that I can have me some healthy, happy children.

Adventures in solitude, indeed.

There are times when life hands you some unexpected shit.  Take me, for example.  Last year, I thought I was fairly happily married, would be trying to have a child this year, and was actively directing a play by a dear friend while maintaining co-directorship of the burlesque troupe I founded.  My health was fairly good; I was on the paleo diet and loosing weight.  By all accounts, things were good.

Reality, when faced with honesty instead of blind hope, paints an much more mercilessly fucked up picture.  The marriage(s) had been failing possibly even before they begun, as my husband and wife were a better match for each other than I was to them.  I tried.  Dear god, did I try.  And they, in their own ways, tried, too.  Sometimes, I think we might’ve nearly killed each other in the process.  Towards the end, things were calmer, but that’s probably because in hindsight we emotionally separated before we actually talked about doing it. It’s over now.  The divorce papers should be in the mail to me.  My life needed to and is in the process of starting over.  As I left New Jersey for Mississippi, I wasn’t sure about much of anything except needing to get away.  Polyamory left a bitter taste in my mouth, but I didn’t know if it was circumstances or that I couldn’t do it anymore.

I’m not quite ready to have a child yet since I’m still on my anti-anxiety/depression meds.  I’ve been thinking long and hard about whether I should go off them or not to have a child.  If I really need them, it might be more selfish to go off them to subject myself and anyone around me to the hormonal imbalances and subsequent mood swings plain, old pregnancy brings, let alone what might still be my grab bag of emotional and brain chemistry issues.  On the other hand, I might could soon not need the meds.  I’ll only know once I try.  But clearly…not ready to have a baby from my womb meats yet.

Thankfully, the play went off brilliantly and was received quite well by most I spoke to.  The thanks go to Jeff for a great script and to the amazing cast I had the privilege to work with.  A few of the people in the production are now very close friends and it also helped me re-establish a friendship with someone very dear to me.

Burlesque…I don’t know what to do about burlesque.  The troupe is in extremely capable hands and is thriving from what I can see.  My future with it is uncertain.  I don’t know how much time and effort I can dedicate to it, and it deserves so much love and energy.  Plus, last year was harder on me than I realized.  Putting on a character as I was losing touch with myself took it’s toll.  Right now, the pendulum has swung wildly away from glamor spells of my old religion, of the multitude of characters I’ve created for stage or work or my relationships, and is now seeking out who the hell Genevieve is, what she wants, and where she’s going.

In the process of that, I’ve done a lot of food self-medication to get me through the dark times of separation, losing my job, and moving halfway across the country away from almost everyone I’ve ever known.  It was time for me to take a giant step back, examine my life, and figure out the next part of.  In short, I needed to have some “adventures in solitude.”  Turns out, that’s the name of a New Pornagraphers song.  My friend Jamie posted it to my FB when I wrote about how finally, my passion was back.  Great song, and very fitting to where I am and where I’ve been.  It’s also great to have my passion back.

Revelations can come at such unexpected times.  As I I was emailing a dear friend about polyamory, and the simple reply I intended was nonchalantly pushed out the window by something…alive, breathing, invigorating.  Passion took over.  I got out my poly bible, “The Ethical Slut.”  I found my copy of “Opening Up.”  As I explained why it made sense to me, what the pioneers of the ethical slutdom had to say, I realized that the question of whether I was polyamorous or not anymore was really being answered in what I wrote.  It wasn’t “this is what I used to believe.”  It was very strongly, clearly “this is what I believe, this is what works for me, and just because my first primary poly relationship didn’t work doesn’t mean I shouldn’t try for it in the future.  Along the same lines, I recently pointed out to the same friend that poly shouldn’t be blamed for the demise of my marriage(s) any more than monogamy or heterosexuality should be blamed for the demise of his previous relationships.  It’s not the style that’s the problem.  As long as it’s practiced honestly, actively, and happily it makes a lot of damn sense and works really well.

Writing about it really put it in perspective for me, and I’m profoundly grateful for that clarity.  When I was finished with the email, I also realizing how much passion I have in advocating for polyamory and also for sexual freedom.  I need to do something with this, but I don’t fully know what yet.  My sister and I have talked about collaborating on an erotica series.  I have some unfinished manuscripts floating around that desperately need attention.  I’m near a major city, so I think I should check out if there are any organizations I can join. It’s so fucking wonderful to feel invigorated, to find an important piece of my own puzzle.

6 Steps, part 1

In the article from the Buried Life guys that has stayed with me, Tim Ferriss writes about the “6 Steps to Crossing Anything Off Your Bucket List.”

They are:

  1. Stop and think about it.  Really think about it.
  2. Write it down.
  3. Talk about it.
  4. Be persistent.
  5. Be ballsy.
  6. Help others.

Right now, I’m in the thinking and writing phases.  The very beginning.

What do I want to do?  Ever since I was a little girl, I’ve wanted to be a singer.  Later, I added actress, writer, and mother to that list.

Motherhood is fairly straight forward, but what kind of singer would I want to be?  Coffee houses?  Touring arenas? The same goes with actress and writer.  Broadway, community theater, something else entirely? Bestseller, blogger, copywriter?  All of these things are possible, but now is the time to Really Think About It.

Now that I come to think about it, is motherhood all that straight forward?  Would I just be happy putting down “become a mother”?  My preference is to give birth to my own child.  However, if that doesn’t work out, I would be open to adoption.  So then, yes, “become a mother” is definitely on the list.  With singing (and acting, and writing), though, I think it’s better to have different goals.  Things like relearn to play the guitar.  Record a CD of my own songs.  Get an agent. Publish at least one best selling book.  (Hey, if the Buried Life guys can put it on their list, why the hell can’t I put it on mine.

Sing with Crystal Bowersox is a definite.  And Jennifer Nettles.

Travel to Europe, more specifically Ireland, England, and France.

Buy my own new car (bonus: drive it off the lot).

Although I’m wary, I do hope to find a wonderful person, fall in love again, and remarry.

Buying a house has been on the list for a while. Renovating it to my liking is also on there.  Demo looks like such fun!

Dance with a partner, especially ballroom/Latin dance.  Rhumba, quickstep, waltz, and jive are my favorite.

Learn to knit and/or crochet.

Get to a healthy weight and lifestyle of eating and activity.

This may seem absolutely ridiculous, given the fact that I’m overweight and 35, but I’ve always wanted to learn ballet en pointe.  It would take a lot of dedication and work.  I don’t know if I can dedicate myself to that, but right now is the thinking and dreaming stage.  I don’t need to jete, all I want is to be able to go up en pointe.

I’ve always wanted to be able to do a split.

Go to California.

Make love outside during a thunderstorm.

Swim in an infinity pool.

Become a voice over artist.

Have more than the recommended amount of savings in the bank.

Invest wisely in the stock market.

Ride a mechanical bull.

Totally stealing these from the Buried Life list:

Get a song I’ve written on the radio.

Win at bingo and yell “Bingo!”

Write an article for a major publication.

Take someone on a shopping spree.

Make a music video.

Act alongside (and dance with) Darren Criss and Ellen Degeneres. (Dancing with Ellen was on their list; I added acting and Darren Criss)

Go four wheeling.

Hang-gliding?

Jet skiing.

Snow mobiling.

Downhill skiing.

Ride a horse.

Pay off my mortgage.

Help someone build a house.

Go to the Olympics. As a spectator.

Oh, yeah…go to City Museum.

That was on my list for close to five years.  I totally achieved it a few months ago.

Karaoke. Did that just this week.

Rock on.

I’m gonna sleep on this now and see what else I can come up with.  By the end of June, I will have my list of 100 things.