Saturday, June 28, 2008

Shifting under my own feet

It's been a challenging day at home today. Felt out of sync with TGF on and off since getting home but we are working it out. Given our time apart and each of us having some epiphanies, it makes sense. We are working out new rhythms and it can be awkward.

The loose ends from NCDC are challenging me a great deal. There was a good deal of confusion and lack of clarity throughout - somewhat par for the course given we all were are on a steep learning curve. I am facing my perfectionism in that I know I did not do the best job I could have even with all tha
t. Or maybe I did but it doesn't meet my expectations. There was a lot trying to be careful of their culture but maybe I didn't do it enough, perhaps I didn't push where I should have to move some things in a different direction. In the end they will tell me either "thanks but we are doing something different next year", or "let's give it another go". I have no control over that beyond the communication I have done throughout, up through today.

There is a stack of things to do for DNE, which starts in less than two months. I am struggling to keep a good flow of work and breaks. I sit in front of the computer and ponder what to do besides work and am not that motivated to surf, play on Facebook, or any number of things. This is good, it really is, but how to use the time instead leaves me feeling a bit adrift. Actually I have read two books (quick fiction reads) in the last week, blogged, did a bit of yoga yesterday morning (finally!), been walking W
yatt with TGF a lot which is nice. A perk of her not working right now is that we have that time together. Today we went to the library and I took out three books that I hadn't read/finished a few weeks ago, plus two totally new ones.

But the awkwardness of what to do with myself with those in between times, searching new patterns, trying to figure out what I want to do now that my old habits aren't working is not an easy state. I wouldn't trade i
t for all the world but it's itchy, uncomfortable, but also exciting. Antsy state of being. I am trying to view it as akin to a silk moth breaking free - it takes work but the wings will be beautiful!

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Sitting in the in-between

Returning from camp is often an odd time. When on the east coast I always add some days before and after to hang out in Northampton. Before is pretty easy but the after is something else. An odd time of not being in the intensity of camp, not home, but somewhere that was home once. Just not any more.

This is my first time playing with this odd time on the west coast. During camp I connected deeply with a new friend, AKL, and we rode back the Bay Area together. From camp we went to Kings Canyon Park to experience the giant sequoias before heading to Alameda. They really are amazing, the colors and textures engaged me so much. On one hand I was glad to just be there, but the other hand craved a camera so badly. AKL wasn't ready to come back to home and the rest of her life, hence her volunteering to drive me even though she lives in Santa Cruz.

Yesterday she slept in while I wrote, read and just sat. We went to catch some breakfast and talked for about 5 hours straight. Crazy right? But really cool to talk so much, to "process" with someone new where it doesn't exactly feel new. But then it was time for her to head back to the rest of her world and I was alone with little option to be anything else, unlike camp where I could retreat and reengage almost at will.

I read before sleep, tossed and turned as usual and woke much earlier than I would have thought - 7:10am. It's been a really slow day, so slow that I just got dressed about 20 minutes ago. Just sat in Jennie's robe all day which was nice. Did laundry. Ignored all the straightening I could do in order to just be in this in between place until my pal Maria comes to pick me up in about two hours.

On and off all day I have felt randomly antsy, anxious to be home, nervous about reentering the rest of my life and how to integrate my experience, how to make the changes I know I need to make. Unreasonably feeling a bit hurried to connect with TGF. We both had such a good experience being apart with less communication - can we remember how to take space in this new way once back together? Can we reinvent our relationship in the ways we spoke about? I do think we can, I believe we have the commitment to make this work better. It's been such a hard journey the last year and some of the connection has been put aside in order to cope with the stresses. Now, with this time apart, both of us sitting with our shit it's like something incredible has opened up. But with that newness comes fear of remembering the state where we went deep and learning how to bring it forward while together.

It all feels on the verge. Everything. Connecting back to my work at DNE, needing to finish up NCDC work, working on building my doula business, feeling that with some more internal work I can figure out graduate school - though it may look very different than what I had thought. Still having lots of teary moments and learning to relax into them - trying not to think it's not deep enough, that's it's too small a motion to count, without thinking I should stop it since it's not a "real" cry. Like right now, the tears are back as I type and working though my feelings that it should look different. It just is. Just in the in between not crying and what I imagine is "real crying. Not really being in California because I'm waiting so hard to go home. That California is no longer home, that home is some mysterious place that has little to do with location and more with connection and how one chooses to experience where they are in the moment. A few days ago camp was home. Home is is so much about meshing with people, finding the specialness that exists right when you look at a street, a mountain, any vista that a space presents.

Home really is what you make it, not where. I am much more fluid about finding home in space and people than I think some are, and even more than I knew I was. The last two weeks have been such an incredible gift. Thanks Universe.

Monday, June 23, 2008

I believe I found the answer

To a question posed by a dear friend about a year ago, by reading a book on that same friend's shelf.

For those who are not familiar with this piece of my story (and I don't expect any of you to be) I moved from Massachusetts to California because my partner at the time got a job out there. Nine months ago I moved from the left coast to Ohio because of a pull of family, unfinished business, and most immediately a job (versus chronic unemployment in California) of TGF. While prepping for that move, and dealing with grief about leaving the coast and fears of the land of Ohio (much whining about these things was done on this blog, sorry about that), my friend expressed concern about this apparent pattern. (I don't see it as a pattern so much as the path I'm on.) She asked while we Google chatted, "where do you want to live?". I have pondered this question a lot (sorry I never told you Jennie) and have been sitting with it. It occurred to me that I don't have a particular drive to live in any part of the country because to me it's all filled with possibility. As soon as I rule out a region I may lose something incredible that was supposed to be part of my journey. Today I am at Jennie's house, wearing her bathrobe which is soft and lightweight which makes me realize I need an article of clothing like this of my own, sitting on the couch, reading Stephanie Pearl-McPhee's "Casts Off". All in all it's a very light hearted book and a bit silly but it has some great quotes. The that reached out to me this morning is this:

One's destination is never a place, but a new way of seeing things." - Henry Miller

I am not a particular fan of Henry Miller's work, having never sought it out however this sums up the answer that has been swirling in my head for a year. It is always about how you live a place, not as much where it is. Yes, yes, there are places that may be intrinsically better for us hippie, lesbian, alternative, witchy-jewish-buddhist types than others. Certainly Ohio was never on my list of places to visit for anything much at all let alone become a resident, yet that is where my path has led me and already it has offered me so much concretely and ethereally. It has challenged (some) of my assumptions about such place, it has been refreshingly friendly and accepting. I have made friends and almost a peace with my coastal biases and snobbery about the middle of the country. If I had not made a commitment to my partner, if I was not optimist and conscious, I would have never made this move. I would have never allowed myself to be open and trust my intuition that flowed through me when we happened on our neighborhood. The gratefulness I feel for that day when my body vibrated on something in the air in South Park that said "this is where I can feel at home", I would have lost something amazing, something I didn't think still existed - a true neighborhood, one that was not insular but accepting of new residents, eager to bring them into the fold and say "you belong here".

So Jennie, while there are places I have lived that I have loved and feel connected to, and in theory I could find a number of new places to make home in the decades I hope to have before me, there is no one place that has absolutely everything I want. There are still other places that I may harbor a desire to inhabit to deeply experience however I do not need to have a plan to find them, I do not need to be sad that I may never claim them as home. My mantra is that I hope and will work to always find what I need wherever my journey lands me.

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Where there is peace there is battle

It’s familiar feeling, it’s not comfortable, but it’s a known quality. The feeling is one of disturbance, of boundaries being pushed, old fears haunting, struggling to rise to a challenge that can’t be met in the moment. This feeling is one that always comes up for at dance camp, and it’s a bit of comfort to know that it doesn’t need to be in my usual community, that the places that hold my hurt, that my terrors can be mined in more than one place. There has been a welling up of tears that are more in my body than in my eyes that has come and gone since yesterday – this is physical/emotional place where that bottomless pit is uncovered and wants to rise like lava.

My lesson seems still and always has been how to release, but I learned to shut down tears so long ago and it’s so ingrained and feels almost innate not to cry and yet I long to be able to have it erupt naturally and ebb downward without the fear that I will dive into that it and never emerge. Even when crying I hold back much of the time because while the fear of never returning from a place that feels like it could verge into never ending hysteria; while not as strong as when I was younger the vestiges of it still exist like valve that only allows so much flow at any given time.

Crying just doesn’t feel safe; I think that’s what it comes down to for me. There are times when I have really tried to figure out how to make it safe. I suppose therapy could help, or maybe just making dates with myself to have feelings in silence, no tv not even in another room, no surfing the web or driving when the tears come. Allow myself times to just be with the feelings. There have been those moments but I still find myself saying okay that’s enough, or feeling like it’s not really a deep cry, only surface so it’s time to stop. Many years ago my uncle told me that my father used to tell me from another room to just stop crying if I woke up from a bad dream. I guess I really internalized the message to just stop regardless of whether I was done or I had received the comfort that was needed. It seems a really long time to still be in that place.

I am sitting on a rounded deck shaded by sequoia and California oak trees with a small body of water that we call Zen Lake. There is an outcropping of reeds and some exposed rocks just a bit from the land edge. Birds are singing, and occasionally a frog bellows a call, butterflies flit by. A camper is sitting here as well, playing his guitar. There are classes going on but any sound from them is muted. Every once in awhile the water moves as some creature stirs, but mostly the surface is very still, the faint breeze barely impacting. The location is remote, no cell service, it’s quite a drive down to main road, small as it is. The elevation is about 4000 ft after being at about 10 feet above sea level in the Bay Area. In many ways it’s the perfect place to let the tears fall but I am always caught between wanting to let it happen regardless of location and not wanting to attract attention. But then I am caught be a small bird landing on a reed and think how beautiful it is here and wonder how I can feel this type of peace, even with the swirl of emotions, more of the time in my “real” life.

Being somewhere like my camps it makes me think about what I want to refocus and how I would like to shape and mold myself. But once home I am more often swept up in the day to day of life and don’t take the time that is needed to do those things. It’s an ongoing struggle but as I get older the time is less and right now I am feeling more urgency to move forward the ways I am stuck and to heal those old wounds and keep evolving more actively to who I want to be instead of sitting on the sidelines wishing for something that I only think is beyond my reach.

Saturday, June 07, 2008

Better, worse, the same

Okay all my friends in California have not deserted me though damn it felt like it for a bit there. Ruthie is picking me up from the airport, which is too delightful, as getting Ruthie Time is never easy. Still staying at Jennie's until I get to camp. Which I have no idea how that is happening. Almost had a ride but Owlswan is heading down on Wednesday and my friends have put together a potluck (you know, the holy lesbian gathering for all occasions) that night. Would have been nice. Oh well.

My mood rises and falls like the frigging bouncing ball of song. I can't believe that I'm leaving in 2 days for the left coast. Seeing friends will be great. It's a little exciting and also nerve wrecking getting prepped for this camp. The location sounds lovely. The lack of technology access is cool and daunting at the same time. No cell service, minimal access to dial up, which will be tricky since our database is web based. Did I mention no cell so conversing with my database guru is gonna be hard! Stress much? Also TGF and I are used to talking everyday when apart. That may not be possible which is just odd, not bad, just odd.

Did I mention TGF gave notice at her job? Yeah, and I won't be here to celebrate her last day. Oh and then there is the little matter of her needing to job hunt. So there is that as well.

I'm going to miss my knit groups, especially Sundays since that's kind of my baby. I will miss three Tuesday nights, and two Sunday - that's a lot of knitting chicks time gone.

Better stuff. Got my hair really cut this time unlike two months ago. Really like it. Still not absolutely perfect but SO much better. It seems like a silly thing but having "good" hair does make things better. Does everyone feel that way? Probably not but I bet more folks feel better in general if they feel like their hair looks good.

It's been really hot for a few days which has been a tad hellish. I am not used to that sort of weather after six years in the Bay Area. Today is much cooler, a bit rainy, kind of a sweet early summer day. I'm sure the heat will be back but I am going to enjoy my trip to the other coast where it should be more temperate.

Need to do laundry, pack, decide what knitting to take with me, make lists, work on getting DNE under control before I disappear for two weeks. I always feel like I need to clean the house, change the cat litter, grocery shop, and do all the laundry in the house before I leave so TGF has little to do. It's just not practical though, but I always try and stress myself. Crazy huh? Especially since even if I did it all, she still would need to do those things several times before I get home. But today I am succeeding in doing very little excepting eating everything that isn't nailed down.

Monday, June 02, 2008

I keep forgetting to tell you

Some folks (okay like 4 out of my 7 readers) have told me that they are having problems reading some of my posts. Yes, yes I know you told me way back in mid-late April but I was distracted.

If you are still having problems the solution is to stop reading me in IE, which I think sucks anyway and switch to Firefox. Using both browsers recently I discovered the problem is with IE (shocker I know) because it reads just fine in my browser of choice.

I'll write again soon, maybe with knitting or neighborhood photos! But right now I have to eat something before I go work with my postpartum family.