Letter to a Future Love (In Hopes That He Exists)

I’ve been looking for you for years. I often wondered if you were right under my nose and I just wasn’t seeing you, or if I wasn’t looking in the right place.  More than once I thought I saw you, and you just couldn’t or wouldn’t see me. I always wondered if you were reading my blog, which was the only way I knew how to show myself to the world.

Did we pass each other on the street without recognizing each other? I’d look into the faces of strangers, hoping they’d see me, really see me, and consider me worth the effort. I’m sure I looked like every other face in the crowd, but inside my head I was screaming, “Where are you?”

It’s been a long, lonely, painful slog. I know you’ve been looking for me, too. If you’re reading this, I’m just glad you’re finally here. All during the search, precious time was passing; this was time I could have been spending with you. It felt like such a missed opportunity.

Every time I saw something new, I wanted to share it with you. Every time I got good news, I wanted to tell you. Every time I hit a rough patch, I wished you were there to comfort me. And there were a lot of amazing experiences I passed up, simply because I didn’t want to go it alone. I hope we still have time to do those things. I hope you’ll want to.

All I’ve ever wanted, really, was someone to travel with, and take naps with, and be playful with and have intelligent conversations with. I’ve wanted someone brave enough to win over and love my psycho dog as much as I do (that alone will weed out the vast majority). I’ve wanted someone who looks forward to seeing me as much as I look forward to seeing him.

I wasn’t looking for glamor or perfection, just mutual acceptance. I want us both to be able to be ourselves. I want someone who gets me. I want us to be able to count on each other. I had that once, and it was abruptly taken away. (I just hate mortality, sometimes.) I miss it.

I want to create a safe and peaceful harbor, together. So if you’re reading this, thank you for showing up. I’m sorry for almost having given up on you. I should have had more faith. But having said that, what took you so long?

Love

By reading my book, you’ll know me. http://amzn.to/2mlPVh5

Me at My Most Politically Incorrect

I probably shouldn’t be writing this, but hell, I’m thinking it, so why not? I have to say I love working with men. Well, I do now, anyway.

For most of my working life I’ve been in male-dominated jobs; the lone female in the pack, so to speak. At first it can be awkward. Some people, no matter how hard you try, are never going to accept you.

When an entire group of men are uncomfortable with your presence, it can feel pretty awful. They’ll be tense and formal with you, and you’ll get a very strong sense that there’s a lot going on behind the scenes that isn’t being shared with you. There’s nothing like a group of disapproving men to make you feel isolated.

But man, when they do accept you, it’s so much fun! They treat you like one of the guys. You get teased and picked on, but that is just further evidence that you’re liked. Once I figured that out, I was golden.

So today when a group of guys came to do the biweekly pumping of our septic tank, rather than knocking on the door and stiffly notifying me that they were on the bridge, one of them unlocked the door and shouted up the stairs, “Hey! Your shitter’s full!” And I responded, “I didn’t do it!”

Oh, yeah. I’ve arrived.

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[Image credit: theodysseyonline.com]

Accepting the Things I Cannot Change

I think my dog is dying. I feel so helpless. All I can do is fidget and pace, and that changes nothing. This morning I cuddled him and said, “There are tears in my future.” I take him to the vet this afternoon. I suspect it won’t go well.

One of the downsides to owning a pet is the difference in life spans. Even if, by some miracle, there’s an easy fix for my dog’s situation, there will be tears in my future. Unless I get hit by a crosstown bus, I’m going to outlive him, and there’s not a thing I can do about it.

Discussing this with a friend, she reminded me of the Serenity Prayer.

Serenity

This is sage advice. There really is no point in getting worked up about the things I cannot change. But dammit, no, I don’t accept this. I just don’t. So I guess I have the “courage” and “wisdom” parts down, but Serenity… ah, Serenity… she eludes me.

The Danish Girl

I had a very unique, delightful and emotionally fraught experience on my birthday recently. I invited a friend of mine who just happens to be transgender to go with me to see The Danish Girl, a movie about one of the very first people to go through gender reassignment surgery.

First of all, if you deprive yourself of this movie, it will be a tragedy. Not since Doctor Zhivago have I seen such epic cinematography that sweeps you up and places you right in the time and place, in this case Copenhagen, Paris, and Dresden in the late 1920’s. Every single frame of this film is a work of art.

And the costumes are luscious, the color vivid, the music spectacular. And the acting? If this movie doesn’t bring home a boatload of Oscars, especially for Eddie Redmayne, then there is something wrong in the universe.

So now let’s address the elephant in the room: the controversial subject matter. I can’t pretend to understand what it must be like to be transgender. I can’t imagine the struggle for acceptance, the feeling that you’re being forced by society to be someone that you really aren’t and never were, the utter confusion as you try to make it to selfhood despite the resistance of pretty much everyone around you. But this movie helped me imagine it more clearly than ever before.

And then try making this type of transition in the 1920’s, when many women weren’t even allowed to vote. Talk about piling on. It must have felt like trying to embrace being a sub-species. No doubt about it—Lili Elbe was very brave. And I just discovered, thanks to Wikipedia, that she shared my birthday! That makes me proud. While I watched that movie, celebrating my birthday, I was unknowingly celebrating hers, too.

The experience was all the more intense because of the friend sitting next to me. Every tear shed on screen, every physical blow endured, every yearning moment, seemed to be radiating outward from the seat beside me. It made me want to cry. And all I could do was hold her hand. In the face of such brave struggle, that gesture seemed pretty darned pathetic.

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Looking for a Miracle Worker

I just watched a remake of the movie The Miracle Worker, about Helen Keller and her teacher, Anne Sullivan. Whenever I watch this movie, I am reminded of one of the many reasons I am not a parent. If I had to deal with such an out of control child, if my kid ever bit me, smashed crockery, or had tantrums that lasted for hours, that child would not survive to adulthood. I’m sure of it. I have zero tolerance for some things, and incorrigible, bratty behavior tops that list.

There’s not a doubt in my mind that Anne Sullivan should be considered for sainthood. She was a much better woman than I will ever be. Because of her unflinching faith in Helen, because she believed in her so thoroughly and refused to give up under the harshest, most challenging of circumstances, the world got to benefit from the existence of an amazing human being. You have only to read Helen Keller’s Wikipedia Page to see just how much she contributed to society.

Even though most of us don’t face the challenges that Helen did on a daily basis, we all could use someone in our lives who believes in us, who accepts our weaknesses and yet wants to bring out the best of our personalities. I long for that.

I’m particularly conscious of this desire at this point in my life, when I’m swimming through the harsh and ominous waters of the dating world. I’m constantly told that my hair isn’t long enough, my waist isn’t thin enough, my style isn’t girly enough to be “good enough” for various and sundry men in this world.

It’s hard to maintain your self-confidence in the face of such criticism. And it’s frustrating to know deep down that I am a worthy person, and am not even being given a chance to prove it. I’m not going to try to become someone I’m not just to attract someone who doesn’t want the person I am now.

I have to keep the faith that somewhere out there is the male equivalent of an Anne Sullivan for me. Come out, come out, wherever you are. I promise I won’t throw any crockery.

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Helen Keller with Anne Sullivan, 1888.

On Being Judged

Recently I made a new friend, Bob, and he makes me feel different than anyone ever has. For a while there I couldn’t figure out what the difference was, exactly. I only knew it was there. And it was significant enough to cause me to give the situation a great deal of thought.

Finally one day it dawned on me. The man is completely devoid of judgment. He accepts people for who they are, completely and without hesitation. He makes it quite clear that he’s inherently flawed, and therefore accepts the flaws in others.

I’ve known many people who pay lip service to these qualities (including myself), but until now, I’ve never known anyone who pulls it off. But this guy is genuine. I don’t even think he’s aware that he is that way. He’s just… wide open. Accepting.

I suspect that Bob could meet the devil himself, and he’d say, “Oh, so you’re an evil entity? That’s really interesting. How does that work?”

And yet that doesn’t mean he’s overly trusting. He’s not easily taken advantage of. I don’t know how he manages to have both qualities simultaneously, but there you have it. He’s a delightful enigma.

What does this mean for me? It means that when in his presence, I can lay down a burden that I didn’t even know I had been carrying all my life. I can just be completely and utterly myself, warts and all. I don’t have to worry about what he’ll think. I don’t have to fear disapproval or criticism of any kind. I can just… be. What a gift.

I do worry about Bob a little, though, because sometimes he’ll say things that could very well shock the socks off the average person. I suspect he thinks the world is as non-judgmental as he is. I fear that this will hurt him in some way, eventually. But then again, he’s made it this far. Good on you, Bob!

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I’m Dating Myself

I’ve been in high stress mode for a while now, between the death of my boyfriend, a horrific financial situation, and having to find and then move to another house. I am on the ragged edge. I need a break.

It would be really nice if someone would bring me flowers, take me out to dinner, and then give me a nice foot massage (among other things). I want to be pampered, cared for, and cuddled. I want to be appreciated and accepted and feel special.

Unfortunately I’m fat and 49 and I work the graveyard shift, so my field of potential suitors is, well, nonexistent. But hold on. I care about me. I appreciate and accept me most of the time. Why can’t I pamper myself? Why can’t I do something special by myself? And why does it never occur to most of us to entertain that option?

So as soon as the dust settles from this move, I intend to take myself out on a date. (I’ve already asked myself, and I told myself yes.) I’m going to buy myself some flowers. I’m going to splurge on something extravagant to eat. Then I’m going to take myself home, play some smooth jazz, light a candle, turn the lights out, and take a nice bath. Yeah, that’s what I’m gonna do. If I play my cards right, I may even take myself to bed. Because I think I’m quite a catch.

dinner for one

[Image credit: iszlschoolnewspaper.com]