Confrontation

I don’t mean a simple disagreement when I use the title word. This isn’t something like, Damn, she left the top off the tomato paste tube and it dried out so now I can’t make sauce, type of discussion. It’s not even the desire to leave a nasty note on the windshield of the car parked just a bit too close to your driver’s side door when you come out of the Target store. It definitely isn’t the passing thought that it might be more powerful to hang around and actually confront the driver of that vehicle. God knows what might happen if you choose that option.

I am speaking of a confrontation whereby I had The Power and whereby I Spoke Out over stupidity and childish anger, and cowardice. I am speaking of a confrontation where only I spoke and where I would not tolerate words from the other side, because this was NOT a discussion. It was not a mutual give and take of ideas and thoughts and problem solving methods. This short moment, all 45 seconds of it, was all about my need to win, to call out the other person, to show that I didn’t give a flying f**k how they felt, just as they didn’t stop to think how their actions and words would feel to someone innocent and standing on the fringes – inside, but wanting to be outside this ridiculous place called home.

I don’t often set out to be so bold, to speak with such clear, calm precise words and fully ignore how and where those words will land. There is no benefit to that act. The time for words and understanding has long passed in this case.

Today however, the words were absolute. The words were imperative. The words were voiced directly from a mother who would kill to protect a child; her child, even when that child is an adult. Nothing, and no person, will ever come between my instinct to stand up and be heard when it involves one of my children.

Today, for the first time in such a very long time, I felt empowered. I felt like the woman who has been lost for so very long. Today, the strength that has been hidden away emerged when I needed it.

Today was a first step and I feel alive.

Nuanced.

We have approached the point that a comment is bubbling up on marriage once again. Spurred on by the current set of changes within the house as Alison prepares to leave and live her life, I am closer still to confronting me, myself, and I on the state of my future.

Her stability can be checked off of my ‘reasons to hang on’ list. I know…staying for the children (even adult children) is not a good reason to live a lie or to force oneself to muddle through in misery. I did find plenty of ways to justify using her still living at home not to face these issues, but now that ship will sail.

I went outside to toss some garbage into the bins yesterday morning. My neighbor was out gardening. She’s a friendly woman, opinionated and perhaps a bit pushy, but well-meaning. Conversations rolled around to the soon-to-be new roof as preparation for selling our house. 

“Where do you want to go once the house is sold?” 

My overused line about “oh, just someplace smaller without a yard” popped out of my mouth, but this time I added the caveat, “although I’m not sure if going means just myself or both of us…” which allowed the door to swing wide and her opinions to be unleashed. This lady knows bits and pieces of my life. She knows I am not happy. She, like other friends, is supportive and loyal and has her own lived experience with unhappiness and marriage failure. 

“If it was me I would just go up to the property and live. I know that I can get by on $1000 a month. That’s all I need.” As she told me that she would have packed up long ago had she been in my place (and this wasn’t a surprise considering what I know of her past) I mentioned what I believe to be the last remaining hang-up in this holding back phase.

“I’m not working,” I said. “Knowing what I know about myself right now, I can’t imagine being totally dependent on some sort of alimony as my sole means of income. I also don’t want to take everything he has, or screw him over. Just because we shouldn’t be married doesn’t mean that I want to be vindictive. We both worked hard for what we have right now. That also doesn’t mean I want to take everything earmarked for retirement and try to figure out how to live off of that just to get by.”

“Couldn’t you get a position teaching dental classes? After all the experience you have there must be some way to step into an academic position.”

Without getting into a long explanation of the qualifications required for this sort of position, why I no longer have those qualifications and the time/money that it would take to get them, and without telling her that I’ve already explored so many likely options over the years, I simply noted that my preference wouldn’t be the dental field anymore.

“Just get your resume out there. Post it on as many job websites as you can and you’ll get contacted. I’ve found my last two employees that way. They can answer a phone and they have computer skills. The rest is all teachable anyway.”

Here’s where that nuanced difference in both our experience and outlook comes into play. She left a verbally abusive marriage with small children. He was a cop who wanted nothing but total control. Given the same situation, I might be inclined to take what I could get and go. My conflict lies in the fact that I began marriage with a skewed viewpoint of myself and my own self worth. I lacked confidence and took on the roll of wife while never giving myself a chance to live just for myself. I have come to realize that very likely he and I really never wanted the same things to begin with.

She also seemed to forget that she is a business owner. She would likely not be looking for a job where she to be moving on at this point. Simply having experience, while now being five years out of the workforce and starting a new search at 57 years of age isn’t likely to be as easy as ‘just putting your resume out there…’ and waiting for the calls to roll in. She also has another place to live should she need to. I do not, which also increases the financial needs and burden.

I know that she means well. I know that she means to be supportive and encouraging and to remind me that I have a lot to offer as an employee. I am less optimistic than she is though, on the sorts of jobs that I might find. I also have that little fact that my reality for the last few years as been to care for my granddaughter(s). Of course, I made that commitment at another time, but it is a commitment I respect and would never back out of suddenly or without a great deal of thought and planning. Childcare is a huge expense and one that I find difficult to simply dump onto my daughter and her spouse. They have counted on me, and yes…I know that many will say this is just another excuse. It likely is that, in some ways, but I have this very real issue with my children’s needs taking precedence over my own. And yes, it is likely time that I get over that and perhaps begin to think of myself for once.

See, I know all the logic and I do know what I should do. I listened to my neighbor and agreed with her because she was right.

It’s that damn reality of actually ‘doing’ that hangs me up every time.

 

Share Your World 2016 Week 19

I am, with decided intent, taking a break from Share Your World this week. To be totally honest, I felt completely unmotivated by the questions, and even after waiting a few days upon returning to them I just can’t find any inspiration in their content, rather I seek to answer them truthfully or even frivolously.

I will however, link the site as I always do because I think it’s important to acknowledge the effort Cee puts into this challenge each week.

So as not to simply end this post now, I will share some news. The reality of what I am about to share is both joyous and, if I allow it to be – which I am trying not to do – also sad. The news is also clearly life-changing.

My last adult child is moving out and into the world.

With the good news a few weeks ago that she finally has an (almost) permanent position at her current job she felt that it was possible to cut the last few strings in the child-parent cord and be on her way. I don’t want to imply that she has been lolling around here for years, or not contributing, or not eager to move on. Alison moved through college quickly by completing the first two years during high school. That allowed her to graduate with her degrees just after turning twenty-one. She just turned twenty-three in March. Two years out of college and still hanging around home is nothing.

She’s found a small apartment in a renovated house just minutes from her office. There are only two other apartments in the house. For an introvert, who prefers her world to be quiet and orderly and predictable, she’s found the perfect place. They allow pets so guess who’s going with her! Senile Snowflake, the yowling kitty of indeterminate age, will be packing up her litter box, her water fountain, and her pee pads and moving to a new home as well. Alison couldn’t stand the thought of not taking her, and I think Snowflake would miss her too much as well.

Move in day is June 1st.

Clearly this will not be the last mention of this change, although right now I am trying to embrace the fun of helping her shop for needed items rather than curl up in a corner and focus on selfish negativity over the loss of my last child.

When her soon to be landlord called her with approval of her application Alison’s first words were, “I’m an adult now!” When I heard that I tried to remember just when it was that I felt like an adult. I couldn’t truly pinpoint a moment.

What about you? Did you have a significant life event that made you say to yourself, “So this is what it means to be an adult…”

 

Share Your World 2016 Week 18

Challenging one this week on Share Your World

Who was your best friend in elementary school? Initially I would have responded that I didn’t have a best friend during elementary school because, given the decade, I would have wrongly assumed that a girl would likely have another girl as a best friend. Then I had a ‘moment’ and realized that perhaps some early hints at my equality for all/feminist ideals shown through even then. I had many girl friends, but they were more school friends and not hangout and play friends. I played with boys. We played cars, and army, and war, and built forts, and hunted things in the little creek near our homes, and shot at each other with stick guns. Unequivocally my best friend was Patrick Meyer. I would love to see him again.

What things could people do for you on a really bad day that would really help you? Listen to me whine and bitch, make me dinner, tell me that no matter what I will figure it all out eventually, give me a flower.

If you could make a 15 second speech to the entire world, what would you say? I’m sure people would expect something profound but 15 seconds isn’t long enough for me to do that. How about:

Bonjour, mon nom est Debbie. Je suis une femme. Un, deux, trois, quatre, cinq, six, sept, huit, neuf, dix. Au revoir!

The above is about the only thing I remember from French class, but I would really love to say it to the entire world.

Would you rather be an amazing dancer or an amazing singer? Oh, an amazing dancer. I want to be graceful and strong, and I want to know what it feels like to move my body with complete freedom. I want to leap, and shimmy, and have flawless rhythm, and not give a flying f*** about how my body moves.

Bonus question:  What are you grateful for from last week, and what are you looking forward to in the week coming up? 

Absolutely grateful for my trip to the coast. Coming up…quite likely that will be the sleepover with my granddaughter. She’s been hinting, then full on asking for some time now, to spend the night again. Apple pancakes and a trip to the park will be just some of the fun we have.

Notations on beach life…

Things I have seen, or heard, while pondering life at the coast, or life in general, these last few days –

*Dogs. More dogs than I’ve counted in my own neighborhood in years. Folks love to bring their dogs to the beach, and quite frankly, I think the dogs love it too.

*Pajama clad neighboring cabin dwellers, up at 6:30 AM, barefoot and walking on oyster shell pathways trying to find their version of a dog who is not leashed, (as required) and who has scampered off into the underbrush.

*Construction. So much change is happening in this (no longer)  little community. Empty lots are no longer empty. Green space is quickly becoming a town center. Trees are coming down and million dollar homes are going up on the last remaining cliff overlooking the sea. That bluff you see used to be dense forest.

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An entire new district, more farmish than coastal, is being cleared of old-growth timber to the north of this picture. It will contain more of those million dollar homes and even a farm-house inspired inn. I could never afford a home here. I suspect many others cannot as well, which is why most of the houses are rentals year round. Feeling nostalgic while seeing all this change led me to the realization that I liked this place better when it was small and unknown.

*Overpriced merchandise. Because everyone needs a $25 glitter-encrusted starfish, and a $35 “Coastal Breeze” reed diffuser, and a $64 distressed look box filled with pure white sand holding pillar candles that aren’t really for burning for their $299,000 beach cabin. Okay, I know I sound snarky, and maybe even a bit jealous, with these last two comments. I don’t care what your home costs actually, or where it may be located even. Sixty-four dollars for a wooden box you could likely find in your garage is pretty ridiculous.

*Wind. Everything from a gentle breeze that makes the leaves on the saplings flutter, to lofting currents that carry all manner of bird life through the sky, to gusts so strong I wonder about the stability of the timber behind my cabin.

*Conversations. I have my windows open, or I sit out front in the Adirondack chair and listen. Snippets float by from nearby cabins and even from the roadway, carried on the wind.

  • A group with their dogs, talking to a newcomer -“We’re at 10, no actually 13 right now but come over…”
  • “Do you have any outside seating, or a fire pit”
  • From a mom “I bet the beach will be beautiful today,” to her rather disinterested daughter. “Uh huh,” comes the only reply.
  • “The store is closed right now.” The whine of a child who may not have had enough sleep complaining, “But Franklin needs that toy…”
  • “I told you to sit on the bench and wait…” from the frustrated mom who is trying to wrangle kids into and out of the toy store.

*Steps away I see sand, and ocean waves that I hear roar. The sound carries all the way to my cabin and is as constant as each breath that I take.

*Bikes. Some brought in with families, but most rented here. Not mountain bikes, but oldie-timey Schwinn bikes like these that clank and rattle and are painted in rainbow sherbet colors. Many of the rental homes provide them as amenities.

Schwinn_0108
vintagebicyclerestoration.com

*Neighbors. Clearly unconcerned neighbors, silent at 10:30 PM, marking quiet time for the community, but uncaring that their bathroom window is directly opposite one of my windows. I begin to see consistent lights go on and off every few minutes. The lights are on for 30 seconds to a minute, then there’s a break, then the light illuminates my window again. I know what’s on the other side of my window, yet I decide to peep out through the closed slats of my blinds. The top 2/3 of a head clearly visible. Wearing a knit cap, this person is seated on their toilet. Two more times the light turns on and off. The fourth time I peep again. A male, standing facing what I know to be the wall because their cabin is exactly like mine. His head bent down. One can only assume from this point on what he may be contemplating as he empties his bladder before bed. The lights stop. Their cabin finally dark. I chuckle and go to bed.

*Silence. This may seem impossible with some of the sounds I have described already, however this silence is the type that comes with no traffic noise. No car engines speeding a car past. Just long moments of silence broken only by the call of a bird or the wind rustling my blinds. Even the tick of the clock on my wall doesn’t interfere with the silence, but only settles into the comfortable background noise of life.

This place that I am calling home for a few days is not grand. In fact, it smelled a bit like a wet dog when I arrived as it is one of the pet friendly homes here. It is different though. These are not my regular walls. The furnishings here are not what I would pick. They are comfortable, even slightly worn as this cabin has been here for five years. It isn’t my home, but that is what I need and why, I believe, I have lived relatively pain free since Thursday when I arrived. Perhaps coincidence…perhaps a clear message that I keep choosing to ignore, but all that neck pain always blamed on arthritis just disappeared as I drove west toward this place.

I have sat in positions that would bring me to tears if I was home. I have hopped easily from hard chairs to soft couches, used pillows or not, slouched or sat erect. I have worn my glasses and put my head in both bent or upward facing positions over and over. I can’t do this at home. There is always ‘that spot’ that my head must find to see with my bifocals if I want to read. At home it is almost impossible to remain in that position for long. Here, I think I could stand on my head and acknowledge clearly that something has changed. 

I have a pretty good idea what that change is about and I suppose the real test will come when I return home tomorrow. For now, I plan to enjoy the rest of this day, and evening and my last few hours in the morning. Anything after that will just have to be dealt with in time.

 

Share Your World 2016 – Week 17

Cee gave us a fairly easy one for Share Your World Week 17

I have to admit that most of the time the questions are light and answers come to mind rather quickly, but there have been a few since I started participating in this challenge that have stumped me, or caused me to feel like I have to think way too much. That fact has nothing to do with what Cee asks, but reflects my own, very often irrelevant need to read more into something than is necessary.

When writing by hand do you prefer to use a pencil or pen? I’m not a very neat writer. At least I think so even though I had to take penmanship and learn cursive in school. I balked when I learned that kids are likely not to officially learn cursive anymore as part of their curriculum, then I realized learning it didn’t help me much… so… With all that, I prefer using pen, as pencil seems to add to my sense of sloppiness. It must be a big, fat pen that is easy to grasp, not those skinny little Bic things. My fingers cramp up after just a few words, which also might be why I don’t like pencils.

What’s your choice: jigsaw, word, maze or numeric puzzles? First choice would be jigsaw, although (and yes I sound like a broken record) those little pieces are hard to grasp anymore. Mazes can be fun, and a crossword every so often provides a challenge, and also makes me feel woefully inadequate in my use of the English language at the same time.

Do you prefer long hair or short hair for yourself? Short. No doubt it is short. I wore a pixie cut for years both straight as a board and also finally with a lot of styling product that allowed for some curl. I was told once that short hair as a woman ages can seem harsh (? really) and so now keep things about or around a bobbed sort of ear-level bowlish cut, only not with the straight, too short bangs across my forehead. Side part on the left, consistent color to hide the gray and those bangs reach mid-ear right now. Give me a few years and I’ll likely be ready for all over curls and a nice blueish-silver tint.

List five of some of your favorite blogs. So, not really fair to only list five cause there’s a whole boatload of others, which – when I remember to update – I have compiled into a list that can be found here.

the kitchens garden

the dancing professor

coffee and a blank page

heart to heart

behind the white coat

Bonus question:  What are you grateful for from last week, and what are you looking forward to in the week coming up?  

Since I forgot about writing this post until later in the week, which to me makes it almost ‘last week,’ lets just say that I’m grateful I remembered to check out the prompt before the week was completely over.

As to looking forward – I look forward to finishing out this week in my little cabin by the sea. Yes, I made it here without incident and even took some optional routes for a change of pace. This little community isn’t so little anymore and continues to grow by leaps and bounds. I look forward to hearing how our savings is going to be drained when we get our roofing estimate, and best of all…I look forward to giving Alison (my youngest) a big hug when I return home. She learned earlier today at work that she will have a new, longer-term position with greater pay at her current workplace. This means, much to her delight, and my true sadness, that she will be moving out in the near future.