Sunday, December 7, 2014

of dirty clothes, of laundry, of love and relationship

Some months ago, when I still lived alone on my own, on laundry day Sunday I would occasionally find a pair of male socks, sometimes a shirt, maybe a watch left behind by the man that was not just entering my home, but was earning a place in my heart. Its laundry Sunday today and I just took out a load of clothes with more than just his socks. Its a laundry load full of two people's clothes. And as I choose the load of clothes that we will fold, I smile at the memory of the time, some months ago, when I found his socks with my clothes. 


His clothes are nice...I check the labels, they might be dry clean only. He dresses well, he does for work. He has variety, he has options and quality. My clothes can most definitely be washed and dried at home. I dress well, but I lack variety, options and quality. I gave those up when I chose to travel. Remember? His wardrobe says he has stability. My wardrobe speaks of being gypsy.

This story is not about our wardrobe.

I remember when Noe and I started dating. I remember going out and buying new outfits for our dates....I remember exfoliating my skin, butter lotion. I remember presenting my best self, the best me...the woman I am at my best. I remember when he saw that and how he liked it. I remember new shoes among the many “new”. So much of it new.

And then things changed. He stayed, he hung around long enough to want to get to know more and more of me. For the first time, I wanted to stay, to hang around him long enough to get to know more and more of him. I was hooked, so was he. We wanted more of each other. In the spin of new love, I failed to realize that more of each other would mean the revelation of the my whole self. No longer just the new, but the old, dirty laundry too. Because how else is one truly intimate? I want true intimacy.

My whole self includes the best of me and the worst of me, the happy of me, the sad of me, the healthy of me, the unhealthy of me, the strong of me, the weak of me, the pretty of me, and the ugly of me. The stains on my clothes. I failed to realize that what had been holding me back all these years in being able to be in true intimate relationship was the fear of my inadequacies exposed to another. In my single-hood, I faced my shadows and I learned to live with them. I thought I was done.

But here I am exposing my gypsy laundry, washing a load with his soft quality. Noe came into my life just at the right moment when I was ready for him. I knew my shadows, I knew how to take care of them by myself, I knew how to reveal them to myself, and how to get past them by myself. I was intimate with myself. I thought I was done.

In entering an intimate relationship with another, the kind where walls are destroyed and not created, the kind where laundry is washed and not disposed of re-worn, I didn't know how to share myself. I didn't know how to seek him, I didn't know how to use my words to let him in. I didn't know how to shift my body in our bed to tuck myself in his arms when I am scared, when I am sad. I didn't know to hold his gaze when I'm unsure and afraid. I knew how to share my best self, I didn't know how to share the other self.

I'm learning that with him. His love reaches out for me on the other side of the bed and pulls me in to his arms, he shifts his body and I find the place tucked in his arms where I am not afraid. He takes his hands and moves my gaze and I meet his eyes and I find my way. And when I am not my best, I don't impose on him to make me feel my best again. I know the job is mine to do, my best is mine to give. But I didn't know that he would stand next to me, or away from me if I needed that, if without imposing I invited him in.

So here I am today, in the middle of our pile of clothes. I am not hiding in new outfits, not re-wearing clothes with dirty stains. We both do the dirty laundry, we fold and put away clean clothes that every Sunday will need to be washed again. Because living will cause stains.

Happy Sunday! Happy Laundry!

Monday, November 3, 2014

Once upon a time, and there was a new dream



Once upon a time, it was so easy to feel my “gypsyness” come and overtake parts of me…to come and steal me way in my imagination to a new place where I could start new again. It was so easy for me to feel the rushing energy of wanting to leave the places I had been, in search for a new place to be, a place that would feel like what “home” feels like, a place that felt like quiet settled comfort. A place you didn’t feel so foreign in, that no longer belonged to you, a way of being that you, ultimately, did not belong to anymore. Because life will do that to us, it will drop us off and drag us through places we could not have imagined even on our worst of days. 

Yeah. I remember standing on the edge of a life story that no longer was mine. If I looked behind me, I saw the 27 year-old, fresh out of college, newly married woman still beaming from the light of Bride. If I looked at the edge where I stood, I was a late twenties widow stuck, and I do mean stuck, in a life she did not see coming: unemployed widow with trauma induced onset of her genetic mental make-up. The light of Bride quickly faded in the dark of Death.  But I won’t go there anymore, because leaving that place was the hardest thing I have ever done. 

Standing at the edge I felt only two things, I stay stuck or I look back...there was nothing else in my experience that I could reach to, that I could see to build a future on. I stood alone, for the first time, to invent a future. And then I met the Gypsy, the name I gave my creativity and imagination. The place where I go to invent and open possibilities of what feels like limiting experiences, like DSM labels, like fear of being alone, like fear of being with another, like fear of not being good enough, like fear of being too much...with my work, with my family, with friends, with a man. You know, like reinventing the string of incessant mental chatter into a calm word that matters.  

Once upon a time, standing at that edge, it was so easy to feel Gypsy. There was something to be left behind. But that is not my struggle. What is behind is behind. And how do I engage with my creativity and imagination when the life I finally arrived to feels so right and so home and so sweet and so fulfilling even in the mess of cancer? When my love for my work is everything I hoped it might be, when my home is painted with the color and decorated with the art that belongs to two and not just one, when I wake up to and go to bed with “I love you” in English and in Spanish…what do I invent and create now that I live in all the emotions and places that I once dreamed? It’s time for a new dream…and I have a sneaking suspicion that this dream I won’t dream alone. He stands with me at my edges, the man I love.

A new dream for a new era...where will the Gypsy take me?  I heard her whisper Freedom…

Con Amor


Friday, October 10, 2014

of loving with a man

“To be fully seen by somebody, then, and be loved anyhow - this is a human offering that can border on miraculous.”

“I think I deserve something beautiful.”

“People always fall in love with the most perfect aspects of each others personalities. Who wouldn’t? Anybody can love the most wonderful parts of another person. But that’s not the clever trick. The really clever trick is this: Can you accept the flaws? Can you look at your partner’s faults honestly and say, ‘I can work around that. I can make something out of it"

I remember a few months ago making the crazy request to Life that one day I might be brave enough to have love become real again. And I don't mean the capital L love, like Love for Life. I don't mean that. I mean Lover love.

of Loving with a man...and I mean the real kind of loving of present person, the kind of loving that is actually with you in the arena of true intimacy, loving a present man, a man that stays long enough to really “see you” without a drive to change you, or skip over you, to look over you or look past you...of that kind of loving with a man, I made the insane request of loving with that man. And it happened. I'm loving with that man.

I didn't know that fully knowing myself, that journeying into the depths of my very soul, would show me the parts of me that I most appreciate. The ones I rely on to get through when I need strength to carry the pain of what it means to be a human living in a world where mom's get sick and need our strength, where kids get hurt and need our strength, where our own souls get beat up and need our own strength. I didn't know I would find Love there. And I didn't know that finding that place inside of me would show me the things of me that I am most scared of, that makes me hide from the Magic I stop seeing, that makes me doubt the Grace that always is, that makes me run from the Beauty that surrounds me. I didn't know I would also find Love there. I didn't know that the journey of discovering this Soul would make the standing in the true intimacy of being fully seen by the man that is looking at me, the bravest act of loving with a man.

I am loving with that man that stays long enough to fully see all of me.

I didn't know that loving with a man would be so scary and so sweet.

I guess I didn't know a lot of things until I let him in. And then I moved in with him.








Friday, September 5, 2014

Sleeping with Hope

Last night I went on a date to Tower Theater to see a movie. The movie touched on subjects like the experience of psychics and mediums, of logic and reason, and about the human drive towards and away from these in the adventure of Hope. It spoke about deluded optimism and rational pessimism. It talked about reason in love and unreasonable love. He was a magician using the trick of illusion to alter reality, she was a fake psychic doing the same thing. I left the theater with a sense of the forever existing human tension between what is real and what is not and that heavy feeling that Hope is much too often tucked-in bed with delusional optimism; like a desperate, torrid love affair. 

The movie's subjects would not have been as interesting to me be it not for a conversation I had with my sister hours prior. Something in particular, this in essence:

--Gabby, I would hate to see you hurt again.

--I will definitely be hurt again, but it won't be because of my past anymore.

--What? Don't say that.

I was looking up definitions of these words that seem to hold more than my small mind can really untangle. Merriam-Webster gives good words for big words. Hope: to desire, to cherish a desire....with anticipation of obtainment. How could someone not feel that...Hope. Is Hope always cradled in delusional optimism? I'm sure there is some movie out there that talks about rational optimism? Delusional pessimism? I'm sure there are...but last night I did not see those. Last night I saw delusional optimist and rational pessimism. And in my last conversation with my sister I felt like a rational pessimist bordering on delusional, and yet there was Hope.

Merrriam-Webster gives hard words for big words. Delusion: belief held with strong conviction despite superior evidence to the contrary...superior evidence to the contrary....superior evidence to the contrary. Reason: based on facts, optimal for achieving goal. And Optimism? Hopefulness and confidence of a favorable outcome. Pessimism: a tendency to anticipate bad or undesirable outcomes. If its true or not, I'm not sure...if its real or not, I don't know, but do we tuck-in Hope in bed with a delusional optimism more often then not as the movie suggested?  Does Hope sleep with rational pessimism? Can Hope even exist in rational optimism, is it needed then?

People are full of delusions, they are full of reason, of optimism and of pessimism...we sleep with this, that, and the other. Sometimes I am a rational pessimist, sometimes I'm delusional and pessimistic. I am definitely prone to reason, but sometimes I am the quintessential delusional optimist. Always, I cherish my desire for obtainment...what I get, I make it up as I go.

I sleep with Hope.Just me and Hope.

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Love, Named



I didn't expect that fast could feel so slow and that slow could fit so much. A thing about Love. Love. Love. Love. The thing about Love. Love. Love. Love.

Its the story I haven't told yet. That I'm in Love. And he Loves me. 

And although just one letter changed, a new sweet sound my Love now names.  Meet Noe. 








Friday, July 25, 2014

Firefly

This summer in the east coast I crossed off a bucket list item, one that I possibly should have crossed off during previous trips to the east but had not paid enough attention to its discovery. If I did, I do not have memory of it. This summer I saw fireflies. California is not hospitable to these amazing little beetles so we, Californians, must take trips in pursuit of their blinking light.

On the evening of my return from the music festival called Firefly, I was sitting alone in the patio of an old Victorian home writing in my journal. It must have been at least an hour before I noticed neon lights blinking around me. How can my attention be so fickle that it misses the light, the blinking light? I stopped writing and allowed the 8 year old girl inside be swept by the Magic of Fireflies, albeit the 31 year-old woman that I am was slightly embarrassed by my childlike wonder...whatever.

I left for my Summer of Music adventure excited to leave again, excited to be somewhere new where everything would seem “upside down” in my mind. Where I could get lost in Unknown parts, where I could make up new stories in my mind that would give new depths to the experiences of my life. I left without knowing when I would return. I left wanting to be gone and disappearing into adventures. I left my cat, Gimena, with my parents. I left my refrigerator empty, my apartment cleaned, and my bills paid. I left like I left last summer when I really left everything behind, when I left nothing behind: no home, no pet, no city, no contracts. This summer, I left like I left last summer.

I landed in Savannah, Georgia late at night in hot, humid air that felt as sweet as it did sultry...a feeling that I'd wear on the curve of my hips that would be deepened with the yet-to-be-discovered touch of his hand. It didn't take long before I discovered the new terrain of my soul. It was as if the parts Unknown of the Georgia South crashed against the parts Known of the California North. And I realized that I was feeling something forgotten that I had never imagined my gypsy-soul would feel again: Homesick.

Homesick flooded my experienced this Summer of Music. It was like a magical potion called “longing to stay”. But unlike the longings of summer's past, this longing to stay was not about staying in a foreign place or searching for a new place or desiring “something other”...it was the consolidation of Home. And I don't mean just a city, or the contract that I signed, or the lease that I'm in, or the bed I do or don't sleep in...those where just the pieces of the puzzle called Reality that I invented or that were Given to me (I can't tell the difference) where I wrote the story that I wanted to write. And they feel like Home. But I was searching for something deeper than just the pieces of reality, I wanted the parts outside to be a reflection of the parts inside. I wanted Consolidation of Inner and Outer, Imagination and Reality...I wanted my outer world, the things you see, to be a reflection of the things I see inside of me. I wanted my life to feel like a story you can know me by...I wanted it all.  And that turned out to be Home. I have all I want and I want all I have. And in recent weeks, there is so much more.

Like the Fireflies that evening in the patio, my attention again missed the blinking light of the feeling of Home in Sacramento. But upon its discovery, once again I gave myself to a childlike wonder of the Light.


I left without knowing that I had left a lot behind. And that was Music.

And then I returned.

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

As if by Gypsy Magic

As a school psychologist, I do my life's work in the school system. Among the many things that that means, it means that I have the summer off to play a different kind of daily life game for weeks and weeks at a time. It also means that I have endless hours to think of something other than children. That comes with a great deal of excitement and anticipation plus a series of questions that sound something like this: Where will my thinking wander off to when kids are not there to ground and frame my thinking?  Who/what will keep me up at night? Where will I go when children's instability won't be there to stabilize me? Where will I Wander to?

The week before summer vacation began, I was working on my end-of-the-year work checklist that needed to be completed before leaving for summer. On a warm Wednesday of the week before vacation, Wandering happened somewhere inside of me and it was time to go. Oh my restless gypsy soul, I still have a few more days of work to work, why did you show up so early?

I woke up, this Wednesday, and I wore a green dress.  The only dress, and I've got many, that makes me look at myself in the full length mirror more than once to double check the length.  One time, then once more...and one last time. Its always the same conclusion, its not too short, especially if I wear it with flats...maybe covered-toe flats...otherwise, too much skin?  I wore the green dress.

I don't know if it was the warmth of the day, the green dress and opened-toe shoes, my messy curly hair, or my nerves about dancing Salsa that night but I was ready...I was ready for Wandering: to capture something new, to see something different, to feel something more. But it's Wednesday and I still need to go to work.

And it happened that on that warm Wednesday morning, I rearranged my office and I captured something new. I moved my desk closer to the window and I saw something different. I organized my books, my photos, my things and I felt something more. My movement, my vision. Mine. My gypsy yearning felt  satisfied. I went along the rest of the day and did my work. And I did good work.

And then I really knew that the summer of music had begun before I even left.

One Republic and The Script



And then I left...