One of the highlights of my recent overnight in NYC with my youngest son was a couple of hours spent touring the Intrepid aircraft carrier. We’ve visited this historic vessel before, but it’s been a long time and the Memorial Day holiday provided the perfect reason to go back again.
We arrived at about noon, after a leisurely walk following checkout from The Paul Hotel on 29th Street. The lines for admission were a bit daunting, but we decided to invest 20 minutes and then reevaluate our commitment. Fortunately, things moved pretty quickly and after a hiccup using the automated ticket ($33 per ticket) dispenser, we were boarding.
View from the bridge.
Quinn wanted to begin our self-guided tour on the ship’s bridge so we headed up the external stairs. As we rounded a turn, the sound of Taps caused us to pause. We had inadvertently placed ourselves in an ideal position to witness a commemorative ceremony. While the musicians played, I glanced around, taking in the uniformed service people standing at attention. When the last notes sounded, a great roar came from the sky as four military jets approached.
The noise was deafening – I could almost feel the vibrations in my belly, and, as a single plane diverted by flying east, the power of the display was incredibly moving. These people, I thought, these are the truest of Americans. The sacrifices made by our military are shamefully beyond any made by the current occupant of the highest office in our country and I’m so glad that my son and I were there to witness this display and honor them.
Think about it for next year. Fleet Week is a great opportunity to feel genuinely proud of being American.
When my marriage ended, I wrote a lot about how I felt. It helped me to clarify and deal with the end of the longest relationship of my life and I felt entitled to that process. It was what I needed to do.
Afterwards, though, I felt guilty about some of what I wrote. I questioned whether I had been fair and if I should have been so honest about the pain I was in. I attempted to compensate for my regret by expressing the positive things that had come from the relationship. I began to shift my thinking to consider the possibility that the end of my marriage came because of needs not being met, not as a result of actions directed at or by either of us. I learned.
Or so I hoped.
My life is pretty public. Secrets aren’t something I personally feel the need to own, preferring direct honesty above polite bullshit, but it really is unfair of me to share my own disappointments at the expense of another. It isn’t kind and doesn’t serve a positive purpose. I don’t believe it’s necessary to tear down someone who once brought you tremendous happiness to make yourself feel better. It’s wrong and I’m sorry about doing it.
Sometimes things just don’t work out the way we planned or hoped. Maybe we’re told things that may or may not be true. Perhaps there are struggles beyond the circle the two of you have created, issues that need to be addressed that simply can’t be resolved as a unit. It’s hard to say and I probably shouldn’t even attempt it.
Suffice it to say that having one’s needs met and being loved the way we want and need to be loved is ultimately the purpose, I think, in having a relationship. When that’s not happening, it’s time to accept the situation and move forward. No need for scarlet letters at all.
Somehow I’ve always thought that phrase was an invitation for someone to unburden themselves by being honest, but recently I’ve begun to interpret it in a new way – the truth can also release a person from a situation in which they’ve been lied to repeatedly and consistently. Learning the truth about something, or someone, can be the key to finally closing and locking a door that has remained open for far too long.
Relationships between two people are hard, but when there are more than two people involved that degree of difficulty increases exponentially. While I will never attempt to present myself as a 100% innocent person, I can say without reservation that I work really hard to express myself with honesty and integrity. To not have that courtesy reciprocated is painful, to say the least, but what it won’t be is devastating. My life is too precious to be destroyed and I’ve got too much good stuff in my life to allow any individual to drag me down permanently.
It’s a funny thing with this blog. When I’m sad and working through emotional stuff, my stats go through the roof. Maybe I’m wrong,* but I really don’t believe it’s due to the fact that readers love my misery. Instead I think the reason for increased readership during the exceptional times is because the things I share are universal – life and love are challenging experiences and sometimes they kick our ass.
But, life goes on.
I’ll continue to be proud of the partner I was to someone who apparently knew better than I did that he didn’t deserve me. My exterior will continue to reflect who I am on the inside – a woman who has lots of love, along with uncountable other positive and healthy attributes, and is perhaps willing to share all of that with a man who is worthy of those gifts. Freely.
*it obviously wouldn’t be the first time.
I’ve taken a lot of yoga classes over the years, both locally and while traveling. My favorite classes have been the ones which are a challenge and push me to a new place physically. Thanks to soccer being suspended for the holiday weekend on Saturday, I was able to make it for the first time in weeks to one of my favorite classes, Aaron’s 11:15 Vinyasa, at The Hot Yoga Spot’s Latham location.
Despite managing to get there early and the light attendance, “my” spot on the left side of the room was already taken when I entered the studio. I unrolled my mat as I close as I possibly could to my usual space for a moment before changing my mind. No, I decided, I wasn’t going to force my way to a place where there wasn’t room. I picked up my stuff and moved to the opposite side of the studio. The universe was telling me that I needed a new perspective.
Yoga instructors seem to each have their own philosophies and the language they use can vary quite a bit. One message I’ve heard repeatedly, though, is about how certain poses can stimulate an emotional response, something I had never before experienced. I mean, of course, I’ve felt frustrated or encouraged by my practice, but never before have I felt the way I did Saturday.
The class was hard with lots of core work as well as flows that I found difficult. My chaturanga always feel like it needs work and I couldn’t stick eagle on one side and it was hot and I hadn’t slept very much…and I felt so damn tired of having my time on my mat co-opted by situations outside of the room, outside of my control. We moved into pigeon on the right side and I went into the pose with surprising ease. I bowed low, and rested my forehead on my mat, breathing in and out through my nose, releasing.
The tears came so fast that I didn’t have time to even consider leaving the studio. All I could do was let the fuck go.
I’m not really a cryer, but those tears weren’t going to be denied. As I silently shed hot tears I was powerless to stop, my heart and soul surrendered to sadness. I couldn’t change the circumstances which had caused my sorrow, but I could accept the situation for what it was – a position that I entered willingly which had stretched me to a place I had never before been, but that I had the strength from which to move on. Class over.
I recently said that the characteristic I most needed in a companion was happiness – someone who simply was happy. While that’s still an important part of the whole package (and I’m not settling for less than the whole package), I’ve come to realize that the very most important thing that must be present is honesty. Hiding the truth only causes pain and wastes time – two things I’m committed to avoiding in my life. Eventually, the truth will be revealed and the hurt from the lies leaves far more damage than honesty, and way more heartache than deserved. Lies just might be the favorite instrument of people who aren’t capable of playing fairly.
I read something that has me thinking:
Three things can not hide for long: the moon, the sun, and the truth.
Yesterday the sun was blazing and my deck, complete with new cushions and plants, beckoned. I have a complicated relationship with the sun (go figure) and spend a lot of time and money protecting myself from its damaging rays, but it had been a really hard day and I just needed the comfort of home and the warmth of the sun to help get me into a better place. An hour spent lounging on chaise with a book can be a good investment in mental health.
Rather than taking a run, as I had planned, I changed things up and took a bike ride with a friend instead. It was a good choice. The company was welcome and the weather could not have been better. We rode along the river, where the air was wonderfully fragrant, in a positive way, and stopped by Nine-Pin for some tasty cider. As we rode back up the hill towards Center Square, with the half moon hanging in the sky, my calves burned but I felt better, more capable of looking forward, than I had before the ride. Again, getting outside improved my mood and helped me to feel more positive.
Not attempting to hide from the moon, the sun, and the truth but instead learning to live with each of them, is on the top of my list of goals for Summer 2018. I think it’s going to be a good one.
Yesterday I wore a sweater which definitely had seen better days. There were more than a couple of small, random holes (moths? burns?) that made it beyond repair. I almost took it off and discarded it, but instead made the decision to wear that sweater one last time, rationalizing that most of the damage would be difficult to detect without closer inspection. I didn’t expect anyone to be too near me anyway.
I paired my sweater with skinny jeans and a pair of flats with oversized bows that make me smile. It was a comfortable outfit that made me feel good and I garnered a couple of nice compliments from friends. When I caught a glimpse of myself in the mirror, I could see what others had remarked upon – I did look pretty, despite the less than perfect state of my sweater.
At the end of my day, I undressed and looked over the sweater. There was no hope of making the fabric whole again, a fact that I understood and accepted. On the last day that my sweater would ever be worn, it was worn with awareness and appreciation for the way I felt when I was within it. I knew that I would never again wear that particular garment, but was consoled by the knowledge that I had worn the sh*t out of that black sweater for many years. It had rewarded me with a last “hug,” along with a lesson to remember to be appreciative of the now.
Articles of clothing, time spent with loved ones, relationships – if you knew that it was the last time, would you do things differently? Is there a different level of honor that would be present if you were aware that you were never going to experience something ever again? Should there be?
Recently my middle son turned 19. You all may know me as an athletic sort prone to running challenging races, but birthing him was one of my greatest physical accomplishments following the Caesarian delivery I had with my first son. While I don’t clearly remember the pain of pushing out an 8+ lb baby sans medication, I do vividly recall the sense of power I felt when that 18 hour endurance test was over – I knew I was capable of meeting anything life threw my way.
While Liam had been a placid baby, Griffin was eager to get moving. He climbed out of his crib when he was 7 months old and was full out running by 9 months. His first word was “go,” yelled at the car in front of us after the light turned green and they hadn’t moved quickly enough. He was a dreadful liar as a young boy and the commitment he demonstrated to his untruths was remarkable – he stuck to his stories with a fierceness that was almost as impressive as his ability to take off and disappear in crowds and at public events. It was obvious that he had places to go.
I guess it shouldn’t be a surprise that this boy-man of mine has decided to head to an organic farm in Thailand as a volunteer through WWOOF. He leaves in early July and will be gone for three months and it all feels like too far and too long. I had hoped that he would maybe get his feet wet with a domestic trip first – maybe Oregon or California before heading all the way to the other side of the globe, but that’s not his way.
Of all my children, he’s the most like me, however, he has a distinct lack of caution which, perhaps, comes from knowing your parents have always been there to catch you if you should fall – a luxury unfamiliar to me. I admire his spirit of adventure, and am really proud of his interest in exploring an unknown part of the world, but I’m nervous. Will he remember to use sunscreen? Can he do farm work without injury? Is he going to be homesick?
I’ve got 6 weeks to get both of us ready. Maybe you’ve got some advice to share?