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memory I miss you. As I say it, a multitude of people run through my head. I can see faces frozen from moments in time that our souls touched. I feel the emotions of that moment for an instant. I can latch onto them, but it feels like grabbing a cloud. Trying to hold them makes me feel their absence even more. The people that trapse through my memory are in tiers. The first round are those I miss more acutely. I see my kids. I remember the moments of tension and separation. I see moments in time of intense love. I feel the love despite the hostility. I see the love in good times and bad. I can feel it. I long for it, and I mourn its loss. I try and grasp it and I grasp at the giggle, like trying to hold color. I see lost loves. There are distant ones and recent ones. I can feel the connections and the laughter. I can feel it all over again and I hear the voice that explains why we couldn’t stay together. The soft echo of the inner critic whispers that I will never find a lasting love. I hope it isn’t true, but part of me is resigned to capturing the fleeting moments. I see old friends. Friends that stayed, friends that left. I see a journey of friends, some for a reason, some for a season, and a few for a lifetime. I long for those moments of kindred spirit. I don’t know how to make friends like that anymore. When I was a kid, you just asked if you could play whatever game and suddenly you had a new best friend. I tried that a few times as an adult. “Hey, I see you are doing that thing you do, want to be friends?” Heck, there are internet groups that try and foster that very thing. Meetup groups all over the world beckon the adult to make friends based solely on a common activity. I’ve joined several and soon I will go to an event, perhaps. The adventure after divorce is a fascinating one. I spent a long time being deliberately single. I heard the advice that I needed to like myself. I declared I was dating myself for a while and set out to understand and enjoy myself. It worked pretty well. I could be alone without being lonely, for the most part. I came close to living with a few women. I freaked out. I liked my routine. I wanted to be with someone and I wanted to not be with someone. I didn’t know how to be with someone and not completely sacrifice and forget who I was. I wanted to not stagnate again. I wanted to continue to grow and thrive in the newness of each day. I wanted to rejoice at this new day. I just don’t know how to do that. I’ve never had it. Heck, I’ve never seen it. How do you capture a Unicorn? I miss true relationship and I’ve never had it.
That is so odd to say. I frankly never thought I’d ever be 50. When my older brother turned 35, he said that was the age he thought of as old. I didn’t have a number chosen at the time, but 50 feels very old.
I’ve been sober 10 years. I have 2 kids under 20. I was married for 20 years and divorced for 4 years now. I have worn glasses for 32 years. I have friends that I have known for 35 years or more. I have been mountain biking for 28 years. I have lived in 14 different places, 10 in the last 5 years. I drink 3 or 4 cups of coffee a day.
I have been very pensive about this birthday. That isn’t really because of the number, but rather the circumstances of my life right now. I am 50, sure. But I am single. I have seen my kids sparingly over the last several years (not by my choice). I have moved, yet again, and started a new job, yet again. I don’t know many people here and am feeling pretty lonely as of late. I stumbled pretty hard 5 years ago. I was out of work, out of the house, and beat up pretty bad. I have clamored back to a stand over and over again. I have a job. I have a little cash in my pocket. I have a roof over my head and food in the fridge. Don’t get me wrong, I am so very grateful for what I do have. I just miss being part of a partnership. That ended for my 15 years ago or so. I haven’t lived in a partnership, a true dynamic relationship. Now is that because I don’t know how or it doesn’t exist? I read books and listen to experts talk and they seem to think it exists. If it doesn’t, what a cruel trick to play.
Anyways, I am alone and isolated. I am 50. I feel sad, but not because of the number.
What I do have is 10+ years of sobriety, despite the stumblings. I have Hope despite the darkness. I have had to learn to like myself and I can be alone most of the time without being lonely. I have perseverance. I trust myself now. I know that I will get back up. I know that I can survive and be content with next to nothing. I know that I can climb back up. I know that when Lady Luck grinds her heel into my chest as I lay floundering on my back, I will rise again. I know that when I am beaten and tormented I will heal. I know that I have the capacity to love unconditionally in the face of contempt and despise. I know that I crave dynamic relationship and don’t have to settle.
I am 50 and have just begun to grow, yet again
I have a new question I am going to ask. “When?” or maybe, “How often?” I used to ask “what kind?” or “what does that mean to you?” But it has served to burn me. I will admit, it is because I have assumed and expected more out of people when they pronounce themselves “Christian. ” What I think that means has no baring on what they think it means. I have tried to understand what that means to them. I have spent time studying and considering. I have prayed, meditated, thought good thoughts, delivered to the wind, offered a sacrifice (no animals were harmed in the making of this blog,) and still I have been unable to understand the inner workings of the soul or mind of another individual.
I have been amazed at the vindictive, child like behavior of professional people I have been around. They profess to follow Christ and it seems to be an after thought in dealing with the outside world. I know I sound judgmental, but I have been blindsided more than once. My question will change. From now on, when people speak about a spiritual journey, I am going to ask, “When?” Is this a journey that you carry on for an hour every Sunday and Wednesday? Is this a journey that you carry on only at work, and then kick the dog at home? Is this a fair weather Faith journey? When things are good, there is a God and when bad, God hates you? Is this a journey that feels foreign when you are trudging it or when you aren’t? I am not seeking to condemn you, but rather to understand.
I also understand I can never see someone else’s True Self. I know we are born with a God Spark, a light all our own. We are born beloved children of God. We are a reflection of God who dwells in all of us. We shine through with God from within. However, our False self develops. It hides. It hurts. It protects. It survives. IT is the image we show. It is the smile that cracks, the laugh that strains. It is the tears un-shed. It is the wall. Most don’t ever expose their True self, even to themselves. Most don’t ever have the opportunity to be vulnerable with another individual and deeply trust. We don’t share our light un-filtered. We use our defenses as a lamp shade to shield the glaring light.
My question has changed. When? When will you be free? When do you share your light? When are you on your spiritual journey. When?
I want, I need, Im doing the work, Im baby stepping.
I want a participation trophy. I want an honorable mention, I want a pat on the back, an “atta boy”.
You see, I have been tying my own shoes for nearly 45 years. I have even taught other people this magnificent talent. I have passed on the dexterity and desire to have a bow on the shoes. I would like some admiration for this. And then there is this learning to walk thing. I remember clapping and cheering when each of my daughters learned to walk. With my youngest daughter, she has some motor delay and I teared up when she walked with her braces in place. They are teenagers now and it has been years since I cheered about them walking. I cannot remember once being told that I was doing a good job strolling.
And what is the deal with underwear? When I kept my big boy underwear dry for a full day, there was much rejoicing. I am sure that I have kept them dry for many days and not a single celebration has commenced. When I learned to use the potty, my mom would give me little colored marsh mellows if I pooped on the potty. I cant even find colored marsh mellows anymore.
I spent a lifetime wanting to hear the applause. I needed to hear I was ok, admirable, appreciated, attractive. I longed for the external feedback. Who I was and my worth were completely based on the marsh mellows that I would be rewarded with. If I couldn’t find them or see them in my hand, I deflated.
I lived this way through a marriage, through addiction, through childhood and into adulthood. There came a moment in time that the Universe echoed my mom when I protested not getting my sugary treat at age 12, “Sometimes pooping is its own reward.” I had to learn that I wasnt passing on knowledge or skills or talents to get applause, but because it was its own reward. I had related to someone, I had shared myself. I had to learn not lying around in the muck and waste of difficulties of the past allowed me to flourish, to grow. I had to see that cheering on those I loved was much more rewarding then begging for reinforcement. I had to learn that the gift was to feel the reward and to cherish the insides. I had to live into self and let the God within me to shine out.
I still miss colored marshmellows
She doesn’t wear a cape. Well, I don’t think she wears a cape. She might wear a cape. Lets go with she might wear a cape. She has always had my affection and admiration. I was always a fan of hers. I cheered at the victories, mourned at the tragedies. However, I was always a fan, with or without a cape.
My response was simple, even inadequate. I said that it was the hero story we all wished we had.
She was on a date. Her first date with this gentleman caller. They went to the trampoline park. Going to a trampoline park on a first date is grounds for hero status independently. However, that is not what did it for me. There was another guy there. He was picking on the younger kids. He said lewd and inappropriate things. She approached him. She stood tall, all 5 foot 2 inches of her. She coiled her frame, all 110 pounds of it. She calmly said, “Please leave those kids alone.”
The insecure and lost boy echoed poor parenting and generations of hate. He barked sexual slurs. He railed against the coming of the light.
She spoke firmly and advised him that he had one chance to change what he was saying. He didn’t. Like a spring, like a warrior, like a protector, like a fierce woman, she broke his nose, like a hero.
I have made mistakes in my life. Its true. I also have learned to accept the consequences and take responsibility. It sounds easier than it is, but it seemed necessary and important. I have been on a growth journey learning to be completely honest. IT has been rewarding, albeit painful. I was about 7 years sober when I moved to Idaho. I had applied for a medical license here after having trouble in Colorado. It is a long story that can be gleened from my other posts. I met with the board here and they offered me a stipulated license. I commented that if that was going to be, please just dont give me one as it is pretty useless when stipulated. I had applied for 500 jobs and couldnt get one because of the stipulation. The board understood and awarded me an unrestricted license if I would voluntarily submit to random urinalysis tests. I agreed.
The way it works is every morning you call into the screener. I have an image of the banks of computers like in the 70’s evil genius movies. The computer then identifies you and whirls its wheels to determine if you should submit your liquid gold that day. In an even tone, the computer voice then tells you that you have not been chosen or you are chosen. I was never chosen for teams in grade school, so this confuses me a little. I want to be chosen, to vindicate my 8 year old chubby self. But I dont want to be chosen because of the hassle that will follow. This day I was chosen. I am elated and bummed.
The preparations for leaving liquid gold is complex. There are rules of no caffeine three hours before testing, no more than 100cc of water 30 minutes prior. It has to meet criteria on having at least some color. I generally would drink my morning coffee and water. I would hold it until about 10 am. Then I would pee and chase it with a glass of water. This way I would have the required amount of concentrated urine at noon. Generally, things go much better if you are proactive enough to fill out the paperwork ahead of time. The machine alerted you to the secret test that was to be done. You have checked the box and filled out the paper. You approach the building. I know it is sanitary and well cleaned, but for some reason whenever I remember it, it smells like urine in my head. You hand over the triplicate form that says, “This person has urine and we need it.”
After they know you, they will get you in quickly. This is good, because generally you present needing to pee badly. The program changed after I started and all the urine collections had to be observed. This never really bothered me, but many people talked about having a shy bladder. I cant imagine exposing yourself to some stranger and then not being able to pee. It would prolong the discomfort. What do you say at that point? “Sorry, it was working earlier”?
One of the guys who watched us pee was a very large guy. He had the shape of the guy in Green Mile. His teeth were not as straight nor his voice as deep. His fingers were at least 2 feet long. If I stand up very straight, I can be 5 foot 7. My fingers are average and my voice is also not as deep as the Green Mile guy. There is no guy I have ever met that doesn’t wonder if he is long enough below the waist. The average size has decreased from 6.3 inches to 5.5, reportidly. A popular wives tale about the size of hands reflecting the size of genitalia has never been proven clinically. As the Green Mile stand in leads me to the bathroom, these are not the facts that cross my mind. I can feel my testicles hiding in my abdominal cavity. I wonder if I will ever be able to pee. I have a thought that as I prepare, this massive guy is going to giggle and pat me on the head and say, “Good for you, little fella.” I was able to pee and two days later my testicles emerged.
I have not had to pee for points in a few weeks, having completed the requirement. I still get up, drink my coffee and water and about 10 am need to pee. I consider holding it at noon every day and have often wondered if I will ever be able to spontaneously urinate without Green Mile watching me.
It rides me like a dark passenger.
I was unencumbered. I strode with cocky assurance. I was unaware and feeling on top of the world. IT happened in a flash. I almost didn’t recognize it. Actually, I didn’t recognize it. I didn’t feel my shoulders slump with the weight. I was unaware of his voice in my ear. It was familiar and strangely comfortable. He whispered posing questions of my deserving to feel happy. He tormented me with thoughts of arguments lost, disappointments gained, and opportunities unattained. He reminded me of history, blotting out successes and highlighting failures. I stooped. I buckled under the weight of the stories and the pain. The sky darkened and my mood followed.
I could barely move one foot in front of the other. I lumbered on like Charlie Brown, full of hope but eyes to the ground. I tried to keep going. I tried to put on a brave face. It was a lie. The voice rumbled, echoing in my subconscious. It reminded my of hopes dashed in the past. It reminded me of love lost and pain present. The voice urged me to stop moving, to turn and flee. It beckoned me to return to the past, the known, the familiar. It cautioned against risk. It pointed to the scars on my heart and soul. It giggled as I cried.
My eyes rose and rested on a stranger. I cant even recall if it was man or female. It seemed unimportant at the time and even less important now. The clothing was casual and nondescript. The face seemed to glow. It radiated. IT was blinding and yet I could see clearly. It was magnetic. The eyes, the smile seemed to pull me in. It would not let me go. It would not let my eyes sink again. The stranger said, “Ask.” I knew exactly what the stranger meant. I couldnt form the words. The stranger waited patiently, stood there lovingly. The eye, the wonderful star on the strangers face, winked.
“Take away my Fear, take away the Dark Passenger,” I blubbered. At once, I commenced to outgrow Fear.