Tuesday, December 22, 2015

You should be dancing

So, yeah.  Yesterday.

Shitty day.

I did a lot of weepy crying (as opposed to ugly crying), much of it sitting in my office at work.  I missed my kids and missed my family and missed my friends and felt adrift and unmoored and sorry for myself.

Days like that happen from time to time.

And in a previous iteration of myself, I would have struggled to figure out how to pull myself out of the mire.  But now, I know the drill.

Part of it is to just let myself feel what I was feeling  Given that there were concrete reasons for my mood, rather than the amorphous free-floating anxiety and despondency that accompanies a depressive cycle, I knew that I wasn't in any serious mental or emotional distress.  When it's something definable that's making you sad, sometimes you just need to feel shitty until you don't feel shitty anymore.

Part of it is connecting with friends near and far.  And man, do I have some wonderful people in my life - people who love me and care about me and who hold me up when I'm struggling to do it on my own.  It's humbling and gratifying.

Part of it is calling my mother, who always manages to talk me off the ledge and make me laugh, even when the thing we're laughing about is her bewilderment at how she managed to raise such a crazy daughter.

Part of it is getting off my ass and getting some really strenuous exercise in.  The day before the Shitty Day, I sat around and napped and watched sports and did nothing physical of note, and it left me feeling grumpy and gross.  So when I came home from work yesterday, I did a super hard weightlifting session that required so much focus - and resulted in such a lovely release of seratonin and endorphins - that I immediately felt a million times better.

Today was a good day.  I had a great lunch with friends.  I got a massage.  I bought myself a new personal journal, for non-bloggy writing - stuff that is either too intensely personal or too intensely boring (to anyone but me) to publish here.

My new journal. I'm in love with it.
And then I came home and put away laundry while dancing around my room in my underwear.

Which got me thinking about how much dancing I used to do, and how little I do now.

Throughout high school, college, law school, and my 20s living in Atlanta, I danced on the regular.  In India, it was at the Ghungroo, the night club in the Maurya Sheraton in New Delhi.  In college, it was fraternity mixers and bars and formals and Bahamas parties and every other kind of party we attended.  Same with law school.  And in Atlanta, it was most weekends, at clubs in Buckhead and Midtown and downtown.

I love to dance, and I used to do it all the time.  It's fun and it's great exercise and it's expressive and cathartic. And now I barely do it ever.

Occasionally I'll dance around with the kids, but they're already at the age when they're rolling their eyes with an exasperated "Mama! Stop!"

So tonight, I put my exercise playlist on, broadcast it through the house via Bluetooth, and boogied my ass off.  It felt kind of fabulous.

Monday, December 21, 2015

You can hear the whistle blow a hundred miles

I've written quite a bit about my sense of what home is, or rather, my difficulty with the concept of home as a particular place.  I tend to feel most at home with certain people, like my India friends, or my UVa friends, or my family, than I do in any given location.

And of course, home is my children.  Who I now only see half of the time.  And having alone time to recharge after single-parenting can be a godsend.  But when I think about the reality of what the custody schedule means - that I will be there to raise them and enjoy their company and bear witness to their development for only half of their lives - it overwhelms me with sadness and regret.  It is one of the few things that can reduce me to a puddle of tears in an instant.  As typing that sentence has now done.

Thank goodness for waterproof mascara.

The custody agreement provides that I will get them for a week every Thanksgiving, and dad will get them for a week every Christmas.  It makes sense - Thanksgiving is the major holiday that my family celebrates every year, whereas we don't get together or do anything for Christmas, it not being our Tribe's gig.

But they are gone right now for nine days, through Christmas.  And I'm by myself, and my friends here all have families and obligations and plans for the holidays, whereas my family and good friends are far away, scattered around the country (and the world).  I do have some family here, but I don't see them often.

I generally don't have a hard time being by myself.  Solitude can be peaceful and wonderful, and there are always things to do around here - I can go skiing, or go for a walk, or go to the art museum, or read.  I really do love Denver, and I have a hard time imagining another place that I would enjoy as much.  And my children and their dad are here, so I couldn't leave if I wanted to.

But right now, it's feeling very lonely, and far from any home I know or understand.

Wednesday, December 16, 2015

But now, I'm taking the game up, and the ace of hearts is high

We are conditioned to play hard to get, to act as if we are a prize to be won, to be unattainable and in doing so, make our attainment that much more desirable.  It's an age-old lesson, handed down from grandmother to mother to daughter, distilled and condensed in books like The Rules (which came out when I was in my mid 20s), and probably every other advice article in magazines like Teen Temptress.*

Play your cards close to the vest.

Don't call him; make him call you.

Be aloof; don't act like you like him, or he'll lose interest.  If you ignore him, he'll come running.

Make him jump through hoops to land you.

It's actually an awful way of thinking - it takes the humanity out of the equation. It ignores that what's involved, on both sides, is people who have feelings and desires and hopes. People who want to both love and be loved, to admire and be admired, to value and feel valued.  Instead, it boils things down to strategy and cunning, like an emotional game of Risk.

But nonetheless, it gets hammered home from an early age, through high school, through being in a sorority in college, through the post-college craziness of figuring out how to be a functioning adult in the world.

It gets exacerbated by disappointments and heartbreak.  When you've had your heart broken, there's a natural hesitation, a natural reticence, a natural caution that sets in - if you don't put yourself out there, then you're not at risk.  

And when you've spent years in a relationship feeling ignored and invisible and unworthy of love or admiration, a part of you starts to believe it, to internalize those feelings of unworthiness, even as your intellect says, "don't be ridiculous - of course you're worthy, of course you are desirable."  

It takes time, and some serious soul searching, and some cheerleading from your family and your close girlfriends, to start to feel deserving of love and affection again.  

And it takes wisdom, and experience, and maybe some suffering, to reject all of the conditioned attitudes about how you have to be, how you have to act, in order for someone to want you again.  To throw off the bullshit and embrace honesty and be open and plain about who you are and what you want.

Even though it has terrified me, I have broken every Rule.  I have been more straightforward, at this point in the dance, about my interest and desires than I have ever been in my life.  Partly because I don't have the energy or patience anymore to be coy or equivocal, and partly because I know that it's not just about me.  I'm not the only one who was in a relationship that made me feel ignored and invisible and unloved.  I'm not the only one who wants to feel desired and worthy.  I'm not the only one who doesn't want to be rejected.

I have to be willing to give as much, or more, than I get.

It's so fucking scary.  

*not an actual magazine