Category: love

A Fallow State

fallow: (adj) A crop field left uncultivated for a period of time, so as to regain its productive capacity.

In Margaret Atwood’s Year of the Flood, which is a spin on post apocalyptic world – minus zombies or nuclear fallout. There’s a crazy semi-religious sect called the Gardeners, who have some insightful perspectives irrespective of their hypocrisy and questionable hygiene. There’s a passage about how they describe depression that resonated with me. Naturally, I can’t actually copy and paste the section but you can read the page on Google Reads. Oh, wait, I can do the old fashioned thing and just retype it:

“The Gardeners would never say depressed. The Gardeners believed that people who acted like Veena were in a Fallow state – resting, retreating into themselves to gain spiritual insight, gathering their energy for the moment they would burst out again like buds in the Spring.

I’m feeling in a bit of a fallow state of late. Not bad, not amazing, just quiet, introspective, with limited expectations; attempting to renew my energies and goals, wrap my head around a few issues; and just sit with all the feelings knowing that I am okay.

10 Very Good Reasons You’re Not Married

Ah, I do love me some Jezebel. Here’s a great piece highlighting 10 realistic, legitimate and totally sane reasons for why you are probably not married:

1. You are focused on your career.

And you are not going to apologize for it. Some people call this being a “bitch,” because you are a lady and you have a job that you might be more focused on than smiling pretty and making sure you don’t intimidate Mr. Right. Most of us just call this being alive in 2012 (you know the time the economy tanked and we had to work to eat).

2. You have standards.

You know you could have settled for Mr. “I just don’t like your friends,” or, “I just don’t think women have ever done anything important,” or, “so, about that Ron Paul,” or even, “I only cheated on you once,” but you realized you could do better. And frankly, being alone is just more manageable and makes you happier than being in a relationship that’s the pits. So you didn’t marry him, even though you probably could have.

3. You can’t afford it.

According to the Brookings Institute marriage rates are down for people that don’t have money. It’s not even that women don’t want to get married, as much as men don’t feel ready to propose until they have the cash to support a family. There is no special Spanx you can buy that will bolster a man’s self-esteem to convince him that you don’t care he is broke. Many people are still tired to the idea that men have to out earn women, even though you have a job (remember that you are mega-focused on) and could probably support the both of you. Plus, the average cost of a wedding is 27, 000 dollars. Yes, you read that right.

4. You are waiting until all people can get married.

Yup, that’s right, your personal life is a fucking statement about love in America. (Good job Obama and states that passed same-sex marriage legislation).

5. You don’t need or want a symbolic public ceremony to celebrate something you already have.

You already know you and boo are ride or die, why spend the money on a wedding when you can do that Spanish immersion program you have been planning for the entire time you’ve known each other? You two are an adventurous lot, committed to each other and show it in more genuine ways than the most traditional and played out way ever known to civilization.

6. You’ve got a life and friends that you are happy with.

If a dude shows up that’s cool, but you are not sweating it because every day is an awesome new adventure full of phone calls from loved ones, cupcakes, yoga classes and dance parties. You enjoy each minute, focus on the positive and when you are down (a symptom of life, not just single life) you have 500 friends to call, because you have spent time on all types of relationships, not just the kind that will lead to marriage. Friendship-the realest investment a lady can make.

7. Monogamy just doesn’t work for you.

You tried it and it didn’t work. It’s better to know now then put unrealistic expectations on yourself and your partner only to have a crappy break-up where it is revealed you are an infidel. We don’t have “respectable” models of these characters (because often cheaters are assholes), so we assume they are all sex crazed home wreckers, but some are genuinely just born this way.

8. You are sexually liberated.

See also: sexually adventurous, referred to as “slut” by people from the olden days, religious leaders, people that think vaginas are gross and Tracy McMillan. Right now, you just wanna get down, and that’s not a lie, that’s libido #realtalk.

9. You have “issues.”

And you fully realize this and want to deal with them before you get into a serious relationship. Instead of being irresponsible and shoveling them under a rug to save face and look like Mrs. Right, you are dealing with your shit and getting ready to be in a serious long-term relationship. That does not happen overnight and you shouldn’t rush yourself because of some invented standard age by which you should be married.

10. You legitimately just don’t want to get married.

No, you are not lying to yourself; you actually just don’t want to get married. You’ve been to lots of weddings, you appreciated some of the sentiments, you were happy for everyone, but you didn’t walk out wishing it were you that got married. In fact, the idea of a wedding dress makes you break out into hives and you don’t want a blood diamond, you think forever is bullshit and you have no interest in feeding into the romantic industrial complex. You have a hard time reconciling your politics with what you see as a deeply problematic institution.

 


{Pause} May 22

Eight years ago, I was sitting in a sunroom with 4 of my dearest girlfriends. We were all in button down shirts, giggling and joking as two stylists transformed us into better versions of ourselves.

Eight years ago today, I got married. It was a beautiful outdoor ceremony under a canopy of blooming magnolia trees, with lights strung over the dance floor and the music of summer cicadas. The pictures are lovely and I am smiling from ear to ear; I couldn’t even feel my feet.

Next week marks the two-year anniversary of my divorce: May 29. I have a lot of thoughts and feelings about the marriage and its dissolution (and HOURS of therapy under my belt for the processing.) But I’m not here to recount; I just want to pause for a few minutes and remember. 

nunc scio quid sit amor

Fire and Ice

When life feels full of extremes, and dreams consist of the apocalypse.

Some say the world will end in fire,
Some say in ice.
From what I’ve tasted of desire
I hold with those who favor fire.
But if it had to perish twice,
I think I know enough of hate
To say that for destruction ice
Is also great
And would suffice.
– Robert Frost

The song stuck in my head to accompany the mood: Glee cast performing “We Are Young.”

On Marriage and Its (Lack of) Trending

Today, people no longer feel the pressure to marry that their forebears felt. They can choose what makes them happier — singleness or coupledom — without fear of social opprobrium or poverty.” TIME Magazine  

First things first. Yes, I had to look up the word “opprobrium” –
Definition of OPPROBRIUM

1: something that brings disgrace
2 a : public disgrace or ill fame that follows from conduct considered grossly wrong or vicious b : contempt, reproach
 
Now that my Scrabble/Words with Friends research is complete for the day, I have to say that this conclusion of an article focusing on the decline or marriage rubs me the wrong way.  Not because I disagree that there are differences between singledom and coupledom, but that this dichotomy suggests those are the only two options. The modern reality is not be single or get married; there are live-in partners, serial monogamy, long-term significant others and non-homosexual life partners, to name a few. And don’t get me started on how marriage isn’t an option for most same-sex partners anyway. Are they then single for life?
 
I’m in the 27% of previously married who are not anxious to jump back on that bandwagon, but I don’t equate not getting married with perpetual singledom. I have a live-in boyfriend and would never introduce myself as single. I don’t know if I’ll remarry – who has a Magic 8 ball that could answer that question for anyone? I’m not yet convinced that I can evolve into the person I want to be alongside someone else.
 
So I say let the number of marriages decline without fretting. The labels aren’t important and fewer marriages means fewer divorces (hopefully), which is a positive in my book. It’s not the end of the world or of society. “Th[e decline of marriages] doesn’t mean that we’re pessimistic about the future of the American family; we have more faith in the family than we do in the nation’s education system or its economy. We’re just more flexible about how family gets defined.”  I’ll raise a glass of champagne to toast evolving social norms any day.
 
Since my head is spinning on relationships, my two cents on finding happiness in a relationship (which is not to say I’ve mastered these, merely that I am most happy as a person when I observe these, which then makes me a better partner):
  • Worry more about finding yourself than finding someone else.
  • Delve in and develop your own opinions and goals without worrying about who you’re offending or holding back.
  • Do plenty of stupid things in love – so long as you learn from them.
  • Trust your gut and follow its lead, even if it’s inconvenient or painful or has serious ramifications.
  • Keep asking questions of yourself, your friends, your love interests, your political views, your world. Life gets stale when you stop learning, and relationships need curiosity.
  • Think of the advice you’d give a friend if her relationship was yours, and then take your own advice. You are not the exception. Sorry.
  • It’s okay to not know if someone is ‘the one.’ I don’t think there is ONE – that’s pure Hallmark.
  • Even if you snag a keeper, no one person can meet all your needs. Stay connected to friends, colleagues, sage mentors, family and parents.

Enough ranting.

Thank you, Carl Jung

You know how when you get a new car, suddenly you see that car everywhere? Or your friend is thinking about purchasing [insert car], so you find yourself noticing them in parking lots and driveways. Is it because suddenly the roads are more populated with exactly [insert car model] or is it just that you’re now more attuned?

I think the universe is made up of themes that we tune into periodically. (Thanks, Carl Jung). When we pay attention, the themes jump out like getting hit over the head with a 2×4. Sometimes the themes are deep and meaningful, thought-induction and action inspiring. And sometimes they’re just a reflection of pop culture.

Two themes in my orbit this week:

1. Marriage and Relationships

2. Zombies

Parenthood

When I was dating a boy, his parents suggested that everyone considering marriage and children must watch “Parenthood,” the comedy with Steve Martin and a shining cast of stars. It’s funny on the surface, and full of true-to-life moments of angst, chagrin, frustration and attempts at success in relationships.  In a word, it’s a rollercoaster.

This past weekend I had the great fortune of hanging out with two dear girlfriends, one of which as an 18-month old toddler with her husband. Now, I have plenty of friends with babies and friends with toddlers. My dad remarried and I got a sister when I was 16. I worked in the church nursery and babysit. I’m not a newbie to children.

But I had not yet spent a solid 72 hours in the land of parenting. (And I bailed a couple times: a long run, a shopping spree, and I didn’t put the wee one to bed).  My takeaway: Wow. Full on amazement. The insanity. The laughter and joys. The new words. The smiles, the cuddles, the edible cuteness! The sheer exhaustion of the parents. The lack of sleep. The night terrors leading to long nights. The number of diapers. The amount of ‘stuff’ required for a trip to the grocery store. The constant sonar beacon of alertness. My god!  

And these are educated parents who are laid back, both equally involved in parenting (and I don’t say that lightly), whose daughter was an angel who listened and knew words and ate everything put in front of her. They tag-teammed for bedtime, they have family close by, a great daycare provider mere miles from the house at a reasonable price. It is ideal parenting with an ideal child in many ways and yet…it was so HARD. Every decision they make puts someone else ahead of themselves.

No wonder we can find books like “Go the F** to Sleep” and baby clothes that say, “I only cry when ugly people hold me.” There has to be something to release the tension and keep the sanity. I am just amazed – at the selflessness, the humor, the diplomacy with which my friends managed the weekend – and their lives as parents.  Wow.

Monday was not a Funday

H Street NE DC with a Harvest Moon

How do I say this nicely? Yesterday sucked. Hard. I ate fistfuls of M&Ms, drank copious amounts of coffee, left at 7pm then worked until 1am at home. I even tried to improve my mood with some levity of posting on here, only to be rebuffed – TWICE – by my own site telling me access was forbidden. Harumph.

 
Today I woke up on a better side of the bed, and apparently so did the rest of Washington, D.C. Perhaps it was this harvest moon that sprinkled a bit of warmth into us as we slept.
 
Or it could have been the fall flowers and wine my dearheart brought home to cheer me up as I sat on the floor listlessly eating Stacy’s Pita Chips.Regardless, I’ll take my improved mood, the sun shining and the reminder that I can create beauty, find beauty and recognize the beauty in gifts others give me. To quote Adele, “Count your blessings to find what you look for.”

What is Your Comfort?


This question came up in a group last night, and folks took their responses in all directions: chocolate, sex, a martini, destructive behaviors, feeling known by another.

Which made me think about the types of comfort in my world. The blissed out, giggly feeling of too many drinks where no trouble can touch the mind; the warmth and safety of being held closely by someone who cares; the satisfying and salty mouthfeel and flavor of homemade macaroni and cheese; the lightness of spirit following a meaningful conversation that ends in accepting silence; the cool smoothness of crisp cotton sheets on a lazy weekend morning.   

I’ll raise a glass of hot coffee to this, the discovery of comforts in life.

“Research tells us that 14 out of any 10 individuals like chocolate.” ― Sandra Boynton