Quiet a Spectacle

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I will hold you, quietly. I can be still long enough to listen to your pain. I’m not good at being still. You know this. You know. I think that’s why my embracing still moments mean so much to you … because you know.

I had an epiphany about myself yesterday. A realization. And it was such a simple answer, I was certain I must have realized it some time in the past. I thought about the times I’d been embraced by somebody, only for them to get close long enough to see my utter humaneness, and then walk away. I thought this meant I was bad at love. Now I realize it’s more about the ideal of me not matching up with the reality of me. And you never did that to me. You always understood. It’s amazing to be truly seen that way.

The essence of it all? You understand why the things that matter to me–matter to me. You also understand that I am an embodiment of celebration. Even my quietness can be a spectacle. I think that comes off like obsession, or possessiveness, to some people. And in all truth, I was possessive in my first marriage. I was jealous in that life I once led. I was a teenager when we met. And that was a difficult twenty years. I grew in that time, particularly starting around my early thirties. I know the difference between excitement and jealousy, between celebration and possession. I know it for myself, even if others don’t. And you know, maybe that’s why I can appreciate the abundant trust I am now the recipient of, because I know how rare it is.

I’m trying to get over that fear of being misunderstood. You really help with that, did you know? Because even though I’ve read that Anaïs Nin quote a million times, it really sunk in yesterday. It isn’t that my love is wrong, it’s that my love is viewed through the filter of others. It’s about the way they experience my love that makes it work, or not work. Its about their past relationships and what they learned.

Maybe at some point I can stop writing and vlogging about being afraid to be misunderstood, and that will be the measure of when I am cured of that concern.

 

Little Tsunami

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“I’m a good swimmer,” he says.

He can take it. All of it. Ripples, waves, crashing, roiling.

I’m so full of words. I could write all day from the moment I wake until I pass out asleep, and it would never be enough to get it all out.

“Why am I like this?” I ask him.

“Why can’t I stop being too much?”

He says likes me that way. He says I have a need to connect.

“Quiet people need to connect.” I say.

But in the questioning comes answers.

I think back to how he dived into my waves. I would come in, all words. Full of thoughts and questions. It could be the moon, or plastic soldiers, or the tender sense of domesticity I thought we’d never have. Our conversations ranged from childhood homes, ex-lovers, and Star Trek, to body image. From a song that made our hearts ache, and movies that made us cry.

If there’s one thing I’ve learned, it’s that I can never truly know how relationships are going to turn out. It seems some people have ideas about that kind of thing. And it works out! They make their five and ten year plans. Bless them.

To the lovers who thought me too much, thank you for your grace, and for helping me learn lessons about myself. And for coming back after the awkwardness faded.

To the lovers who misunderstood what they saw in me … I recognize your curiosity was pure. I’m more careful about who I let in now, it keeps my heart safer that way. I still feel the warm of embarrassment on my neck and flush my cheeks. I recognize that I wasn’t what you thought, but that doesn’t mean I’m not good. It just means we weren’t a good fit.

To the lovers who lied–I maybe learned the most from you. Hopefully, never again.

So here I am, the Little Tsunami of feelings and words. I think of it as neurotic needs to be understood because I spent so much of my life before him with people who invalidated me daily. Who asked me to be quiet. And who didn’t want my words. So, I stayed quiet. I kept my words locked away, for decades.

So now, I will sip wine and try to keep from drowning everything in sight. But like with all powers of nature, sometimes it flows out of me in a torrent. I will write the words pouring out of my wild heart–because it cannot be tamed, and he doesn’t try to tame it. He likes me wild and he likes my muchness.

 

Whisper to the Wind

Sometimes I say it here, whatever it is. It’s a whisper into the wind that maybe catches an ear or two. It’s of no real consequence. Ok, maybe it’s of little consequence, but only to me. But I need to…well, at least I find it helpful to, write things down. Helps me work it all out, ya know?

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I wonder about words like “whore” and “wrong.” About what the measure of success is. Where the concepts of grief and jealousy came from. Is grief learned? Or is it born into the ancient parts of our brains? Jealousy feels so primal, like it’s hardwired into our DNA, unless you’re one of those miraculous people who does not suffer at the gaping maw of jealousy. People who don’t watch themselves aging and wondering if it matters enough to try and recapture youth, or just let things happen naturally. If you do fight it, what exactly are you fighting? Being seen as old? Losing your sex appeal? Sex and love is for everybody – not just for the young and thin among us.

It was an up-down sort of night. Emotions were observed, like cards in  a deck. Choir singing, lost friends, found adventures. Smiles and stories from the young and old alike.  Laughing friends. Storytellers. Moments my heart listened to – either for the better, or the funny little hurts that inform it.

I’m so sleepy. Going to try and go to bed now. Off you go, whispers–see if you can find an ear.

 

Love Letters – Epistles of Love and Longing in a Modern Age – 2

I am going to try and make the Love Letters thing on Fridays. I am going to write up a Sensual Sunday today, it will drop on Sunday, so come back and check it out!

It’s hard to figure out how much to share of something as personal as love letters. Things are out of context a bit. There is little clue as to how things between the texts and emails transpired, other than what is written.

One thing people might not realize is that I was married when I met Will. I embarked on a relationship with him two days after meeting him, with the knowledge and consent of my husband. Love is complicated, folks. Anyway, I will begin, as they say, at the beginning. Will emailed me and I emailed him back. Are these love letters? Maybe not. Not yet, anyway. But they are flirt letters. The beginning of a wonderful, and terrible, overwhelmingly beautiful and hurtful decade in my life. These letters are the cornerstone of a foundation he and I built together and holds us up today.

These are slightly abridged versions of the conversations, but mostly they are a copy and paste. Other than that, this is how it began. With words.

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**********************************

From: William Hardy
Sent: Monday, July 15, 2002 2:43 PM
To: goddess@
Subject: Thanks for your address – I’m trying it out

Greetings, fair lady.

It was a real pleasure meeting you Saturday night. I’m looking forward to
seeing you again – before too long, I hope. Yes I thought about you quite a
bit that night. That was the most delicious kiss I’ve had in a looong time.

I’ve been to your site but couldn’t look at *all* of it because [redacted]. From what
I’ve seen (not much yet) I’m really struck by how strong your color sense
is. I wonder who some of your favorite artists are? Well, if you need a
model sometime, I’d be happy to work with you. I used to be good at
charcoal – I haven’t done any sketches since school, but I always enjoyed
working with live subjects. I’m hoping to get back into it, now that I have
all this “free time.” That, and learn to play violin, and write the great
American novel.

What, you don’t believe me?

More to come. Ciao fer now.

-Bill

P.S. Contact info:

[redacted]

********************************

TO: William Hardy
From: Heather Bartlett

Mon 7/15/2002 4:04 PM

Sub: Hi yourself 😉

William,

It was a pleasure making your acquaintance as well…glad I could help you out with [redacted]. You must have been awful tired for moving day.

I kept thinking that you reminded me of an actor that I’d seen in movies, but I particularly remembered him from Veronica’s Closet, so after poking around on a Veronica’s Closet Website I figured out that you, with the beard, remind me of Ron Silver, I’m sure you know who he is. What particularly struck me was your smile…I think that was what sealed it, he has a great smile and a great aura, like you.

Some parts of the night are very dreamlike, because I’d been drinking in spurts, shots of bourbon and stuff, but other parts are clear. I was never totally fall-down smashed though. I did get to swim in the pool sometime after midnight, and I think I shocked the hell out of two of the twenty-something frat fellas because I decided to go topless…[redacted]

Thanks for the offer to pose, I’m always looking for subjects, usually I photograph, because I can’t force the art. I get tense when I think about live models because I worry that the artistic ability won’t be there at that moment, and I’ll be wasting the model’s time (I don’t like inconveniencing folks) I can’t force it for some reason, so I keep photos for when the urge strikes me and I use them for inspiration. I have female friends offer to pose for me, so they can help me get used to working with live models, but schedules haven’t allowed that yet. I suppose I’d be less concerned about it if I’d gone to college art classes and gotten used to using live models. Usually I just REMEMBER a moment…and THAT inspires me, curves, shadow, a person’s aura, a feeling. I am particularly inspired by intimacy. I have creative ups and downs. I’m in a creative UP right now. It makes me more flirtatious, more energetic and gives me the ability to see beauty in so many things, it’s overwhelming sometimes.

I wished you would start up charcoal again, I’d love to pose for you if you ever got back into it. 🙂

My favorite artists are Klimt, VanGough, Matisse,
Amy Brown (fairies), and Heinz Guth http://www.gutart.rit.se/framehome/frame.html there are LOTS more but those are the first ones that come to my mind. Actually I have more flooding in, but you get the idea.

Tell me about the play you’re working on, and where it’s at and stuff. I remember that it was an original…what theatre do you do work at? I have a production meeting tonight for “All My Sons”, Sweetie and I are doing costumes and props…when Sweetie, John , Julianna and I work on a show they call us the “Dream Team”…heh. Isn’t that funny?

I also belong to a Shakespeare Club called Chamberlain’s Men, http://www.chamberlainsmen.org and we JUST finished Hamlet, I *think* we’re studying “Taming of the Shrew” next. One of MY all time favorites.

Anyhoo, I’ve babbled on a while…I’ll send future emails to your “Super Secret Personal Account”, I giggled when I saw that. You’re too funny. 🙂

I’ll see you sometime soon.

Hugs,

Heather

Juicy Peach

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“They had apples. Honeycrisp. Some other kind, too…I forget what–well, they’re all new apples.”

I smiled. “Thanks.” It was the closest I would get to the market that day. I love choosing my fruit and veggies from the farmers who grew them. The dried mud on a mound of small potatoes, flaking off around the little crate that contained them. The weight of a fat tomato in my hand. The smell of a bundle of herbs. Feeling like a Duchess as I peer at each package, choosing which would serve me best. But I wasn’t feeling my best that day, so he went alone. He delivered, though–Honeycrisp is my favorite. Pink Lady, second.

“I got some peaches, too.”

“Ohhhh.” I tiptoed to the kitchen to peer inside the bag. There they were, three perfect peaches.

I selected my favorite, though they all looked lovely. I turned around and let water run over it, washing the fuzzy skin gently. I gave her a little rub with the dishtowel on the counter, to dry her off. I put the fruit to my nose and inhaled, to my satisfaction it was delightfully fragrant. I bit into the fruit, grabbing  a paper towel to catch the juices. Sweet, wet, divine–the last taste of summer.

“This peach is perfect. Come have a bite.”

He poked his head into the hallway, peering at me standing near the sink. Eyebrows up, “Well, alright.”

I watched him take the four paces to me. His light brown hair in want of a trim. His green tee making his eyes more green than ever. His eyes are magic that way, pulling green, light brown, or hazel–depending on the shirt.

I held the peach up, about breast high. He stood in front of me for a beat and looked at the peach, put both of his hands around my hand, cupping it from beneath and raised the peach to his mouth. He looked me in the eye as he bit into the flesh, I was transfixed. Any words that had begun their journey to my mouth were halted in their tracks as I watched him take another bite, his eyes locked with mine. Juice running down our hands. I forgot the paper towel in my other hand. I forgot that I could look away, if I wanted to.

He released my hand, smiled and chewed, still looking me in the eyes. I felt a chain of electrical tingles run down my spine, then back up again. He made a sound that indicated the peach was, indeed, as perfect as reported. He then turned and walked back into the bedroom to sort books, and fold laundry. I enjoyed watching the back of him as he went. I stared at the space where he stood as I finished the peach in four bites, then made my way to the bedroom as well.

The Choice You Make – Sensual Sunday

I don’t know if I would undo it if I could. Your shirts are here. And your toothbrush with the fancy nubby side. I actually folded socks today (not my specialty). They weren’t mine. That’s how you know I care.

When you lift your head and put your feet on the cold hard floor, I swoop in and grab your favorite pillow, hook my arm around it and pull it in tight. I watch your naked back bend forward, the valley of your spine is perfect and I reach out and run a finger down.

You wipe the sleep and look over your shoulder, peeking through a mop of messy hair.

“I wish you didn’t have to go.”

“Me too.”

It doesn’t matter who said which, because we trade off these sentences, depending on what day it is.

I don’t know what force on this earth got to decide what love is or how it manifests, but I know what it is for me. Love is in the Don McLean song that crackles out the same line every morning, “The auctioneer saaaaaaaaid, I’m not through yet…” from your alarm clock. Love is around the edges of your iris, where light brown gives way to hazel. Love is in scrambled eggs and toast next to the window, on a single plate with two forks.

“I like ketchup on mine, do you?”

And now, even after what happened, we’re still here and maybe a little less sorry about it than the two years that followed, because love can also be an opportunity to choose somebody every day. We keep making that choice. I can’t undo it, so I will take solace in this.

 

 

The Heart Tapestry

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I don’t know what motivates other people to do things–or not to do them. Nor do I pretend to believe that all hearts work the same way. I’m not here to judge why or how somebody does or doesn’t respond to me. How somebody does or doesn’t connect to me. I put it out into the universe, and if a thread comes back and weaves into the tapestry of my life, it will be all the more rich and colorful. All the more complex and beautiful.

What I don’t really have time for at this point in my life are those who can’t be bothered to connect, or worse, pick at the tapestry, snagging, leaving tears and frayed ends. My life is full of wonderful, beautiful, talented, insightful, caring people. If I never made another friend for the rest of my life, many beautiful connections would remain and sustain me.

Why am I writing about this? I saw a Timehop that reminded me of this topic. I had had a couple of really big hurts in my life, starting with a teen pregnancy, but 2009-2011 were the worst by far. I was reminded of how hard it was to recover from that kind of damage. It reminded me how much I had turned in on myself – for almost three years. I decided I didn’t want or need any new friends. It felt to vulnerable to open up to that. I closed up. Put up a wall. That is something I had never done before. Sure, I had some short-term hurts that made me withdraw for a bit, but being an optimist at heart, I always bounced back pretty quickly. I felt the risk was worth the payoff of a connection and a friend – before.

For the new friendships I’ve formed–I’m glad I dismantled the wall a bit – brick by brick, leaving a small space for people who really wanted to squeeze through. For those who chose the other side of the wall, or who I walled out, our time has passed, I guess. For my part, I’ve always been as authentic as I could. And I trusted–until I couldn’t–for reasons.

I didn’t always respond or behave the way I wish I would have–but I’m human. I’ve hopefully learned and evolved over the time with each bump and boulder in my path. Whatever mistakes I made, you got me honestly, and my honesty, and the sincerest bits of my heart.

My Worth

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There is a place. I am better there. Golden, and moonbeams shoot from my fingertips. I am right, but not the way you think I mean. Right like ocean waves. Right like an old book that hasn’t been opened in years. Right like ink-stained fingertips gripping and rubbing the linen until it’s right. There are truths in me that reveal themselves before I know their value. In anger, perhaps. Or fear. Today somebody wise said to me, “Pain is instructional.” And he is the center of that thought. He is the place I am right. From a pink hair on top of my head … or a grey one, to my heel, standing on a hard cold floor, waiting. And I will wait until the answers come. Until I know my worth. Until my voice is as loud as I need it to be to know that what I have done matters.