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They were kids that I once knew.

11 Mar

I suppose that spring will always remind me.

If a marriage is a bloom, is a growing, breathing creature of change, winter is it’s anathema, spring it’s mother. A marriage develops in similar ways-the new green of yawning trees, the blinding naiveté like that of the lilacs growing in the ditch. (Of course, it also includes the thawing stench of secrets and hidden poos. It just wouldn’t be that certain shade of new without those hidden minefields.)  Then rushes in the burning warmth of late July, with the sweat and the late nights spent staring at the ceiling, too tempered to touch, too tempted to not.

If we’re lucky our marriage falls into autumn, glowing with the flames, cocooned in the comfort of drawing in, drowning in the scents that welcome us home.

If we’re unlucky, we fall prey to winter, and remain frozen in it, immobile and vacant.

My winter is past me now, a year out my limbs are new and wet, glimmering in the brightening light, and I feel renewed, validated and whole. But the memories of that winter, that long, interminable winter linger and drag, a vapour trail of pinched lips and leaking, bitter anger. 

But summer is near. I can smell it. I can feel it.


No one starts out that way. I imagine once we mattered to each other, that there was love, something more than teenage lust between us. I always felt that he was a memory I had forgotten, sprung to flesh. Perhaps at 20 or 23 he was, but closer to 30, it was more of a dream turned to nightmare as my mind and body morphed to the left and his roots grew closer to himself. Growth can be value but sometimes, it’s just cancer.

If I’m honest I loved him best as I could, but trapped in my own sadness, my unreasonable anger, my belief that my brokenness defined me. I loved him as a child, I loved him as a half grown feral. But that’s not real love, and that couldn’t break the cold walls. Often I wonder if we wanted it to, content instead to lobby back and forth the barbs and wires, afraid of life outside. Afraid of spring.

It’s easier with what you know, and on dark nights, it can be missed, that person who saw you every day for years and years and years. The strings that tie, not tight but tenuous. A whisper of connection. But not the real one. Not the connection that understands implicitly why tomatoes are so horribly icky outside of those sweet summer weeks when they taste only of the sun and the sweat from your hands.

It was never the connection that understood why my winter anger had to be let loose in silence instead of anger. It was never the connection that understood my strength was in allowing myself weakness. It was never a connection that said “you can, if you want.”

Spring brought me that. And I cannot be angry at the one who couldn’t give it to me, not anymore. He couldn’t. And I never would have let him.

It’s taken a year, a hard winter, and a love I never saw coming to admit that to myself.

It’s my spring gift, my Lenten contribution, my budding flower, this honesty.


We were just babies, the spring of our lives, new and blinded, terrified in some ways, excited. The world beckoned and we shrugged. Why not?

I smell spring and I think of our wedding, of the faces saying no, of the hope we had, the throw away faith that somehow it would work.

And like benevolent neglect in my garden each year it did. Until it finally didn’t.

“If you don’t create change, change will create you”

25 May

I want to be alone. I want the gloriousness of a bed to myself, hogging all the pillows. Picking all the paint colors, never having to share the ice cream with another adult. The joy of wandering off somewhere on a Saturday afternoon, just to see where I end up.

I want to be loved. I want someone’s arms around me, their breath hot on my neck. I want to see myself reflected, want to share my world with them, my bookshelves, my dreams. Learn to run together, learn to cook, learn to love. Wake up lazy weekend mornings in the sun, like cats.

I want to share. I find myself intrigued and pulled towards a world where love doesn’t end with two, where my thoughts and dreams and wants are tied to two, where all my little hippie dreams play out, and each little part of me is warmed and full. I envision a life full of the green of this earth, the blackness of it’s dirt and the swelling of my own heart.

I have to pick just one?


I’m so not good at this. One day to the next, I don’t know what I want.  A partner maybe. Or just someone to play with. Or a situation far removed from what’s considered normal. Or no one, just me. Then I miss arms to hold me at 2 in the afternoon on a bad day or someone to share a inside joke with or just spend the night talking with and I realize I feel like I’m missing an arm, but have absolutely no idea how to figure out how to find one.

I’m socially inept. I’ve been broken inside in a multitude of ways, and am only now realizing how fucking less than zero I have felt, how hideous I believed myself, and still find myself believing if I’m not careful. I had come to believe I was ugly, an worthless, and unfit to be loved. And who wants that? Who wants to be near anyone who believes these things? Who wants to talk to someone who spent years believing no one really wanted to hear what she had to say, that no one cared enough to hear what she actually thought and believed?

I feel as if a lion has taken up residence in my throat, and is finally learning how to speak.

But I still feel so bloody hideous some days, so unworthy. I cast my eyes down if someone looks my way, and don’t wish to burden them with a visage so revolting.

This is why marriage scares me so, the thought of commitment again. Because it has scarred me in ways I never would have seen, and somedays I wonder if I can ever scrape off the scab to let the new skin grow. Because I have come out the other side feeling so horrendously minimized, made to believe that my desire for a life beyond the now, my desire for dreams and love and togetherness were wrong, naggy and bitchy. And sometimes I feel so weighted down with it all, the staggering size of it, and how tiny I feel compared to it.

I am not perfect. But I know I am not the waste of time and space and love that some would let me believe. I am not her. I have never been her.

But how do I convince myself of this?


I can’t imagine telling a guy I like them, not without clear input on their end. I can’t imagine having the nerve to just ask a guy to dinner, my mind’s eye telling me, showing me how they’d laugh with their friends, call me fat and ugly and stupid behind their hands, needy and wasted. How I would again be unworthy.

I want to love again. I want to actually BE loved.

But where do I start?

-Have you started over again? What’s the secret? Extra points to answers from people who aren’t already blessed by the gene pool. My fat ass works against me….

You look like a perfect fit for a girl in need of a tourniquet

18 Jan

I haven’t taken my pills in almost a month. A scratchy voice in my head nods and whispers maybe you should. But I feel no different. I feel honest. I stick my tongue out back, daring it to come and get me.

I feel sad and I for once embrace it, this feeling of blending with the rest of the humans. I feel happy and it’s just a peaceful feeling, born of a wild exhilarated joy and wonder. I feel tired, and ache with loss, and know this too will pass, in the wind, through my fingers, until my life is reborn as I wish.

I won’t not take them forever. But give me this, give me this now to feel. Give me a few precious weeks to just have what you all have-emotion with reason, feeling with need. Let me taste this treasure again.


I am so fucking worn down I broke down in front of my boss today, holding it in until he clearly knew what scab he was picking at, eyes boring into my face, relentless. I have been so solid through this-so focused on the girls, on a new life, and potential, that I had begun stuffing the pain inside me, the only side effects the razor blades in my throat and the heaviness of a new normal. I have been doing what I do best-focusing on everything and everyone but me.

And it’s left me tearful, and angry, and just a little lost, spun round and round until I really am pulsating, like some star ready to collapse. I grieve. I grieve my marriage. I grieve my lost future. I grieve the love I gave so willingly and easily. I grieve being loved. I grieve being scorned.

But I broke down in front of what basically amounts to a stranger. And he reached out, and asked what he could do, and here I am, with a week off to try and find my footing.  I have it, mostly, but I’m thrown by navigating those waters where you both care for and despise someone, where suddenly mama bear comes roaring out of the gate, blinded by the need to protect her babies. Waters where I realize I’m not the problem, that my being mad has nothing to do with how crazy I may or may not be.

I have a right to my fucking anger, and have denied myself this for far too long. I have done much of this to myself.

I just want it all to be over, this sticky web of miscommunication, anger, glossy hurt. I stare wistful at couples in hardware stores and think, that’s all I ever wanted, to be happy deciding together.  I stare at confident women in coffee shops and think, i could be her, save that lovely hair and glowing eyes.  I just want the aftermath, the 6 months later like in the movies where it’s all solved itself and I can crow into the summer morning light my lust for tomorrow and I have fabulous toned arms and I walk into the sunset, drinking wine.

For now, a week off, a rock show, many beers and a bath. It’s a start.


A compass is useless; also

trying to take directions

from the movements of the sun,

which are erratic;

and words here are as pointless

as calling in a vacant


Whatever I do I must

keep my head. I know

it is easier for me to lose my way

forever here, than in other landscapes.

(M. Atwood, Journey to the Interior)


7 Dec

I tell them they need to come to our my bedroom, that we, their father and I, need to talk to them. Vivian bounces around the room oblivious, Rosalyn continues to chatter to herself, her world made up of straws and markers and people only she can see, tucked away inside her head as Vivian sings to Rudolph.

We sit them between us. My eyes start to fill but I beat them back by lashes.

I tell them that no matter what, NO MATTER WHAT, we will always love them, their father and I. Vivian looks up at me with her big brown eyes, wide and glistening. And stares into me.

I stumble, but continue as her father’s arm tightens around her shoulder. Daddy isn’t going to live with us anymore. Daddy is going to have his own house. As reality hits, as the words flutter down her chest like dying moths, her face crushes itself and the tears come, the tears you shouldn’t have to shed until you’re 17 and some boy just broke your heart. The tears I should not be staring at while my 6 year old freezes in her father’s arms.

I can’t stop it. My chest wraps itself inside out and a snake slithers around my heart, watching her. Rosalyn squirms in my arms, twisting and still nattering, but Vivian has a crashing realization of what this means, and she sobs a death call for us, and I await the requisite banshee outside my window.

Never. Never ever ever do I wish to do this to my child again. I am her mother. I should be protecting her, not wounding her, not shifting her world ten paces to the left, a little out of the sun.

I hold her hands tightly as she cries, and mutter all the pithy words I’ve read she needs to hear. We still love you-we still love each other, just not like a mommy and daddy should together. Two houses will be fun! You’ll see me all week and Daddy on the weekend and we can do stuff together now and again. If you need one of us, you just call.

But no, we won’t live together here. Daddy is leaving after Christmas.

Rosalyn asks where we’ll live. It’s the only sign that she’s been listening after all, her sunny side up disposition unaltered by the conversation. She’s young enough, immature enough to likely not be bothered.

Once Vivian’s tears have subsided, once she’s swallowed I remind her of how Mommy and Daddy haven’t been getting along, and how this way, we’re happier. She looks me in the eye and sees that I believe it. A weight goes off her shoulders much as one went off mine weeks ago.

We flip through the Sears catalogue to look at little beds for his house. We tell them that just this once, they get to pick which one they want.

I bend, remembering to whisper in their ears. This is not your fault. This is us. You have done, and can do nothing to fix it.

And we love you, more than you can ever know.


I refused to insult either child by telling them this is best. I still don’t believe that. I don’t believe that we’ve worked, TRULY worked on making this marriage work, and I will likely be resentful about that until the end of time. Maybe it’s because my parent’s had a good marriage, and Cancer stole it, and I wanted a real chance to have what they had-a home, a loving marriage, a family.

I have never thought Divorce to be the best option in cases where there is no violence. Not without trying to work stuff through.

But it’s not totally up to me. And if we can’t or won’t work through it, then this is best. Even if it crushes my heart, and makes me realize how I truly am a mother since only a mother would hurt herself this way to make it better in the long run.

I don’t know if we’re doing the right thing.

We took them to dinner, mostly to underscore the “we will still do things as a unit” point, and to give them a break from that tension. We walked to see where he’ll live, just a few blocks away, and smack dab between the walking trail, two parks and the corner store. A quiet, dead end street. Walking home, Vivian asked to play outside for awhile, the new snow too much to ignore. She asked her father to play with her.

She decided to play house with Rosalyn.

I’ll be the mother. You be the daughter. There is no father here.

How many times exactly, can a heart break in one day?