Archive for the ‘Lessons from the Past’ Category


I was drinking tonight and came back to write this. 

I met a woman on Facebook.

In fact, I was making a comment on a friend’s status that was talking about the island where J is at the moment.  This was a month or so ago. And a woman was responding to my comment, and we started responding back and forth and it turned out she knew the owners of the club where J is playing and we had some mutual local friends.

So we became instant friends through email.

Before Christmas we met in the shop where my work was showing, randomly. But I knew it was her and we hit it off immediately.

If we were lesbians it would have been perfect.

Anyway, tonight we met for drinks out a local bar and we were expecting another big snow storm. I was in my pajamas and she emailed me and said “hey, you want to meet for drinks?” And I was like, “why the hell not?” I changed out of my pajamas and brushed my hair and got in the car.

I had the most hysterical night ever.

We sat at the bar between about ten guys who were there eating pizza and drinking beer (and apparently some of them were smoking something) drinking wine and talking about shaving and waxing, bad marriages and sunbathing topless.

Imagine the guys around us, keeping one ear open, ordering more beer to stay longer to hear our conversation. A guy leaned over and said, “I’ve heard the words “boobs” and “naked” more than three times already”.

Oh, I needed this night, away from the isolation I’ve created with J away, I am so lonely for him.

NOT my usual style of writing, I know. 


And this is not exactly what should happen when I am up for an award like this.

I was thinking about closure recently. What is it exactly and how do we come to find it completely? Is it actually possible?

I think that I feel closure with alot of things in my life like my parents divorce when I was 18, being beaten or controlled or manipulated, getting a divorce or hey, whatever.

But then, something comes up that opens up the door in my head and heart and then I’m like, “why can’t I leave this behind?” 

I think that maybe closure is a place we come to where we can change our thought about something. It may not leave us but our perspective changes and we can handle it differently as an ongoing process, forever. 

What do you think?

When someone says goodbye to us abruptly, be it through death, a move, a conflict or self preservation, we wonder if that is really “it”, if we are closed off to feeling something about it from that point forward. Honestly, I don’t necessarily want or need those folks back in my life, even if they graced it briefly. And then I realize it’s selfish of me to go there.

You may remember that I wrote about someone one named “Ohio” back in the summer.

If you followed along a while back, you would remember him. If not, well, imagine someone breezing into town and gathering up my trust and my willingness to open up and connect and then have him bail out on that pretty quickly. I thought we’d at least be friends. I know now, we couldn’t be, because of J. It wouldn’t be okay because I could have ended up somewhere in between.

You won’t find Ohio here on my blog anymore because I took it all out.

He was a brief moment in my life where I felt he cared and understood and then he decided it wasn’t worth it. He had too many things going on in his life to really care. And that was fine. It is what it is. But it still pisses me off that he told me to get lost, even if it was the best thing to do for him. And ultimately, it was the best thing for me. I knew it and within that I felt closure. I just wish I knew he was okay, could hear something sometimes.

I know he was nearby recently, more than once. I wrote a short note when his dad died and although I didn’t expect a response, I wanted a response…which to might mean to me that I don’t have closure. And that sucks for me. I don’t want anything still “back there” while I am so far ahead, finally.

Back in November when I changed my url to this blog, I changed it because someone local to my town found my blog and posted it on the town’s online forum. I realized they might put two and two together and figure out who Ohio was. And to protect him, I deleted what I wrote and changed my url. Because I didn’t want anyone to know how in such a brief few days he affected me and I wanted to protect him from anyone knowing he was here. The hilarious part is that I think I came across him on the town online forum, even though he doesn’t live here anymore. I recognize his writing. If not, it’s someone who’s alot like him, who sounds alot like him.

In essence and in the end, what I learned from him gave me the courage to accept J in my life, to take a risk and open it all up for J. And for that I am grateful. I met J, ultimately, because of Ohio in a way. My world changed and is still changing. My world has changed with J in it.

So now, Ohio’s gone from this blog and I’m okay with it. (I guess I still sound mad, but that is the part about “do I really have closure with this?). Is wondering how is is doing, closure? I wonder how he is doing, going through his own stuff. 

Remember Steam? Drunk, abusive Steam? He’s been calling my phone and not leaving messages, late at night. I found out he’s drunk 99% of the time and acknowledges to a mutual friend that he sees my number on his call list, of people he has called….and he doesn’t remember he called. I don’t answer. He doesn’t leave messages. He doesn’t have closure. I have closure with him because I know he was poison to me.

All in all, I think of J and how blessed I am that he is who he is…what you see is what you get. No games. No excuses. Everything is right out there in the open. We were and are ready for each other.

If I were still hung up on Ohio, I’d be waiting for a man who writes poetry but doesn’t make a change, I’d be with a man who protects everyone but himself. If I were with Steam, I would likely be trying to protect my face from being beaten and my kids from exposure to his anger.

But I am with J. Sweet J, with whom I am not afraid.  He reminds me of who I am, because I can be who I am.

So, I’ve been slightly drinking and am going to bed without my guy and for the first time in over a week, I feel so so sad.

Perhaps I shouldn’t drink like this.

Today on Skype I looked at J and said “I miss normal things with you, like going up to bed.”

And he looked at me and nodded. “We’ll get through these last few gigs and then I’ll be home and we’ll figure it out. I want us to have a regular life together.” 

I laugh because I’m a painter, he’s a piano player, and I have these two precious girls…there is nothing regular about that.

Read Full Post »

After a great week of making and selling art, sleeping, eating lots of ice cream and Cheetos, sitting on the beach, visiting with friends, the girls come home in the morning. I am chomping at the bit to see them and hold them and smell them and talk to them. In talking to them over the course of the week, they were spending their time on a lake up north and I already know that when they come home to me, they will have grown just a little bit, be talking differently, reasoning differently, even eating differently. I know this because it happens alot. Little changes when they are away from me. Their excitement and pride in what they accomplished, making friends, the zipline, jumping from the dock, passing a float test…all add up to growth and courage and excitement.

In a week and a half, they start school. I did their shopping last week for a few things but wait until the weather actually changes before I buy them clothes. Last year, Red outgrew everything by Thanksgiving and she had barely worn the pants and sweaters. I figure I will find some deals by then too.

At any rate, the week proved to be productive and relaxing and full of insight. It is a shock to the system to go from being full time mom to “officially on vacation” from motherhood. But I did it. And I know I will do it again. 

The band that played on Thursday night was amazing. Meeting the piano man there was exciting. The next day, breakfast out was comforting. 

Sorry, that sounds so gushy but it is hard to explain how uncomplicated but interesting he is.  For once, there isn’t any drama. NO-DRAMA. I’ve seen him occasionally now for a little while in different venues, guitar lessons, which are coming along swimmingly. Breakfast out. Band nights. Piano bar nights. Mama Mia. Swimming at the cove. Walking.

And I am digging the things that are adding up to knowing him.

And the more I laugh.

There is a great familiarity I feel, in keeping it real.

It’s simple. It kind of reminds me on the other side of things, when I knew Ohio for such a short time and how closed in it all felt in such a short time. He used the word “dishonest” once, like things were being hid, and I know the feeling that was there, because I felt he hid from me at least. Yeah, it still hurts. I still hurt over that.  I understand the things like life situations and vulnerability we all share that close us in…breaking through is freedom. And it is awesome.

Saturday night, I went to the piano bar with D and Kat and the house was packed. Upon singing through the night, I found myself at 11:30 singing to a full but silent room, Elton John’s “Sacrifice”. Towards the end, as I was facing the door from the outside to the bar area of the room, two people kind of ran/stumbled through. One was this tiny drunk woman and behind her staggered in…a very familiar face…who lives half an hour away…who should it be, but Steam.

The last time I saw him there or knew him to go there, was over a year ago, and I recently wrote about it here

Fortunately, that mortifying night, my piano man was not playing. It was a substitute piano man.

So, Steam and date, enter the piano bar. Drunk and obnoxious. And in the middle of my song, I find myself face to face with him (and he stopped short and just stared at me, equally shocked, which is ridiculous, considering I was only merely a few blocks from my house, why the hell would he come all this way?)

How did I get through the rest of the song?

First, I looked down at my piano man and felt completely safe where I was.

Then I just closed my eyes and willed Steam and his date, to leave.

And then I turned around and faced the other way to finish the song.

By the time I sat down at the end of the song, he and his date staggered out, left, didn’t come back.

My greatest fear was that he would stay and make a fool of himself.

But alas, he didn’t. For this is my neighborhood. Not his. He is welcome to stay, but nobody’s gonna like it. (this is my hood!)

I let piano man know at the end of the night, what had happened.

After making sure I was okay, he looked me in the face and said “if he’d done anything obnoxious, I would have asked him to leave via the microphone, and after that, I would have stood up and made him leave.”

Regardless, it still shook me up. Having him enter that way, drunk and swaggering, with a girl in an equally compromising situation…and all I can think was “Oh girl (to the girl), you have no idea what you are in for.”

Read Full Post »

I have a friend and she and her husband had set me up with Steam over a year ago. If you read the “remember when” category, you will read about it. 

If you followed, you may remember that he was having trouble with anger and drinking. And that the final straw for me was feeling like my girls and I were in harm’s way on a boat, with him drinking so much he was a bit out of control.

The thing about his anger, which I saw when we were together, was that no matter what, he wasn’t  happy, nor was he able to let anything go. He spoke about things from his past as if it were yesterday, when in fact it was twenty years prior.  

Today she was up in my town visiting for a few days and when I was hanging out today, she told me he’d been down to visit her, way down South and had given her a painting I had given him when we were dating.

I am happy, I am happy she got a painting she always loved and happy he no longer has a painting I painted. Because as sad as his “stuff” is, he creeps me out. Did I really stay with him for almost a year?

It feels good to breathe and be free of that.

My friend went on to tell me about how he drank ten to twenty drinks every night when he was visiting her and her family. And how loud he got. And how when he first opened his mouth to start talking about me in anger, she put up her hand and said “If you are planning on talking about Stepping, don’t bother, I don’t want to hear it. She’s my friend.” 

It felt good that even without me there, she was sticking up for me.

Remember some of the emails he sent? I was getting about five a day in the end, some were angry, some were apologetic, some were poems, each line repeating the same thing over and over again, phrases like “where have you gone? I am alone now.” And things like that. It started to weird me out, as you read.

In the end, I sent him a three line email letting him know that I will not be responding and I didn’t expect anything productive to come from corresponding anymore, and could he please stop? 

So, I got another email that was slightly bi-polar but in essence, his final one. (I hoped and am glad it was, up until this point).

There were emails about bettering himself and how he was no longer drinking or eating flour or sugar and how he’s working out and things are great and grand (and it was slightly like an advertisement flier)? Well, apparently, none of that is true. The biggest thing that makes me grateful for the change I made is that she told me that every night, he went to the liquor store and stocked up on booze. And got drunk every night.

In her house. With his son, with she and her husband watching, with her three young children watching.

She was mortified. 

It makes me feel sad to hear this for many reasons.

Her parting comment before she left to go home was “I am glad you got away from that, it would have killed you.”

Read Full Post »

This is totally random. 

I was listening to Patti Smith on my iPod today when I was cleaning the house and she sings a great version of “Smells Like Teen Spirit”. I was reminded of the anger in a boyfriend I had in college. He was the one who used to “lead” me around by the arm and to direct me, dig his fingernails into my flesh. He also had a problem with drinking and chewing tobacco. He was a little, well, crazy.

I vividly remember him belting out “Smells Like Teen Spirit” on the stage of a nightclub down on The Landing in St Louis. It was amazing, the way he could carry through the song. Knowing the anger he carried, it also scared me.

When he moved to Boston and I stayed in the midwest to finish school, he never called. I visited him once and it was a horrid affair. I went back to school and promptly broke up with him on the phone. And then he went even crazier and quit his job, got out of a lease, rented a car and drove back to the midwest to stalk me for a while. Until I got him banished from the campus. And I never heard from him again.

Supposedly, Kurt Kobain wrote the “song of nonsense” as I call it, inspired by a girlfriend who used Teen Spirit deoderant…therefore, you get “Smells Like Teen Spirit”. And apparently, another friend of his painted on his wall one time “Kurt smells like Teen Spirit”.

So, then, you get the song.

A song that was always incoherent to me, not only for how it is sung, but in knowing the lyrics, just feeling anger and rebellion…feeling nothing other than the energy put into singing it and the nonsense of the words. Some say it is a song of “teen revolution” .

Regardless, I have always loved this song and still do.

I love how it rhymes. And some of the words and phrases just make me laugh. I mean, “Hello” is sung 16 times in the chorus…

And thinking about a teen with a libido…I would just say “a horny teen”, but in the song it is “my libido”.

Smells Like Teen Spirit

Load up on guns

Bring your friends
Its fun to lose
And to pretend
Shes overboard
Myself assured
I know I know
A dirty word

Hello (x 16)

With the lights out its less dangerous
Here we are now
Entertain us
I feel stupid and contagious
Here we are now
Entertain us
A mulatto
An albino
A mosquito
My libido

Im worse at what I do best
And for this gift I feel blessed
Our little group has always been
And always will until the end

Hello (x 16)

With the lights out its less dangerous
Here we are now
Entertain us
I feel stupid and contagious
Here we are now
Entertain us
A mulatto
An albino
A mosquito
My libido

And I forget
Just what it takes
And yet I guess it makes me smile
I found it hard
Its hard to find
Oh well, whatever, nevermind

Hello (x 16)

With the lights out its less dangerous
Here we are now
Entertain us
I feel stupid and contagious
Here we are now
Entertain us
A mulatto
An albino
A mosquito
My libido

Read Full Post »

Around Christmastime, Chef and I went to Buffalo and rented a car to get ourselves around, to and from the airport, to his family’s houses, the scurvy-ish hotel, the bowling ally, Anchor Bar for Buffalo Wings, a drive to his childhood home, and a big black tie dinner/dance with his mum and family.

After the fancy evening at “the club” with his siblings and respective spouses, companions, children, (which I believe added up to about 40 folks at the big long table), we made our way back to the little plastic rented car (you know the kind, the kind that costs $14 a day that you just need to get you from point A to point B and hope you can fit all your luggage in). These rented cars crack me up because Chef, at about 6’3, barely fits. His head skims the top. He pulls the seat back so far that the possibility of a backseat passenger is, well, not possible.

So, we get to the car and he unlocks my side of the car and I get in. I realize the doors are manual so I lean over like I am on a twelfth grade date to the movies and quickly unlock his door before he gets to it.

I had a sudden flashback of a college date. I’d been dating this guy, David (who is now dead) and we were coming home from a dinner at a horrible Mexican restaurant that he insisted on going to (Mexican food in the Midwest, well, pretty much entails dishes made with Velveeta cheese and alot of salt).

We got in the car and he had unlocked my side of the car and I got in. I don’t know what I was doing, probably fooling with my seatbelt or looking for a Chapstick in my handbag, but he suddenly got in on his side, FUMING. This was a common event. I usually figured it out later on, because he would SHOW me what I did wrong, to make him so mad. So we sat in silence from then on.

When we arrived about a mile or so from the college campus, he pulled over the car on a dark road (near the Mississippi River, which has always FREAKED me out, the whole catfish and strangers living in a shack on the side of the bluffs) and turned to stare at me.

“You didn’t unlock my door,” he said quietly.

I knew where this was going suddenly. I knew what I had done “wrong”.

He reached across my lap and opened my car door. As it swung open, I remember thinking “getting out may save me from getting hit.”

But it didn’t.

It saved me from getting hit MORE THAN ONCE.

He slapped my face and shoved me out the door. The door swung shut as I sat in the mud on the side of the road and he drove off. He had my handbag still in the car with him. These were the days when nobody had cell phones, at least not the kind the size of a brick that were hardwired to a Cadillac.

I started hiking the last mile or so to the campus. Going a back road so no other cars would drive up and see me. I remember going across a big grass area to avoid the gatehouse and car lights.

All because I didn’t reach over and unlock the manual locks.

I want to reiterate that yes, I know I didn’t “bring this on” myself. That I didn’t do anything wrong. But at the time, in relationships such as these, I would file away little bits like this to protect myself from being hurt. And in the end, you realize, there really isn’t anything you can do to get away from it. There is nothing you can do to protect yourself with someone who would slap you and leave you at the side of the road in the dark night, except to leave him.

It took me another month or so to do that. It was nearing Spring break and we were supposed to go home to his place for the few weeks. Two days before we were to leave, I told him I wouldn’t see him anymore (which was about the 100th time) and I called my dad in Los Angeles and didn’t tell him anything but asked to come home.

Without questions, he bought me a ticket and I flew home a few days later.

There I stayed on the beach with my dad and never talked about it.

This David guy called a few times. His mother even called. I wouldn’t talk to them.

I arrived back at school for the next quarter and he showed up in my room that first day and threatened to leave school permanently if I was really breaking up with him.

“I’m really breaking up with you”, I squeaked out.

He disappeared and I never heard from him or saw him again. But I saw him again in other guys I dated. And that was worse, I think.

Read Full Post »