Wednesday, December 7, 2016

Single Love

"It's okay to fall in love, you know." He said this with the hint of a playful smile gracing the outer tips of his bright blue eyes. She stared at him, his eyes, his nose, his chin, then finally his lips, as his smile faded and he slowly turned to leave.

"Prove it," she said in haste as she watched him turn her doorknob and walk out her front door into the cold, dark night.

She stood there watching his shadow cross her stone walkway, now a memory of another late night spent alone. She closed the door behind him and watched as he started his car and sat there for a few minutes, phone in hand, answering texts. She wondered who they were to, but never dared to ask. Another "booty call?" Another "friend in need?" His son? His daughter? His ex?

She turned to face the emptiness of her house, too big for a single woman alone, too small for her emotions and pain, but just right for all the accumulated shit from years of a broken marriage and subsequent relationships. She examined her hands. The hands that touched him. The hands that explored. She smelled him on her clothes and in her hair. She breathed him in.One.Last.Time. That night.

The path to emotional openness is not an easy one. Years of building a wall around your heart, only to have them torn down in a single moment, then crushed and built again. Only this time sturdier. Thicker. No small pockets of hints and tiny openings where someone can peak through and start whittling away at it. No small offerings of escape. Or hope. Walls. Nothing but walls.

She contemplated texting him. Thanking him for a night well spent. Is that what people do? Thank their friends-with-benefits for sex? Possible hints at something more? Or wait at least a week, before the next text of, "hey, wanna come over?" Is there mutual respect?

In the moments of raw passion, yes, there are moments of mutual respect. Respect that the two of you can keep it on this level. That's what makes the sex more passionate. It's all a secret. It's all hidden. No one else knows. You respect each other on that level.

She checked her phone. Of course, there were no texts. Nothing indicating he'd arrived home safely. No one texting her, "good night." She undressed herself, yet again, and stepped into the shower. The warm water cleansed her being of the emotions that ran through her body. They washed down the drain and she, once again, regained her own respect. She stood up straight and planned her schedule for the next day. As she stepped out of the shower, she checked her phone, a habit and yet a need. No texts from him, but she did receive something. From another friend-with-benefits. "When can I see you?"

She set her phone down. Pulled the towel from her wet body and stared at herself in the mirror. "Is this really me?" she asked. Successful. Beautiful. Powerful. Wanted.

She dried her hair and slowly applied lotion to her drying skin. She looked at her gracefully sagging boobs and that waist that she can't quite perfect. She picked up her phone, "tonight?"

Tuesday, October 25, 2016

Starting over... Again

The thing they don't tell you about breakups is that you have to learn to be okay with yourself again. A breakup is a huge blow to the heart, the ego, and the self. Back in April of this year, I broke up with my boyfriend of almost a year - we started dating a few months after my divorce. After five months apart this past summer, discovering ourselves and really questioning what we wanted, we decided to give it another try. Less than a month later, it was over again. I won't go into the why's as that is a very private matter. I still love him deeply and we're going to remain friends. Not only because we're really good together, but we also have commitments to each other outside of our romantic relationship that we can't throw away. We're tethered to each other for a long time. All of that aside, however, it still hurts.

Over the summer, while we were apart, I learned how to be alone. I went through some major self-discovery that involved a lot of really shitty nights, a lot of crying, and a lot of drinking. I made it out okay in the end and by the end of September (when we got back together) I was a new person. Someone who could be alone. Live alone. Survive alone. I put me first for the first time in my life and it was refreshing. I finally learned to love ME. And I made a LOT of films! My goodness did I work my ass off this year. I kept myself incredibly busy, it was nice.

We broke up this past Wednesday. I'm still recovering. This time, however, my recovery is different. There's crying, but not all out bawling. I'm not drinking (not tonight, anyway). HA! And I'm surrounding myself with friends more than I did the last time. My friends even said that I could eat dinner over their sink instead of over my sink if it means I don't have to eat alone. My friends love me. The part that I'm struggling with this time is relearning to be alone. It's easier, but it's still tough. There are no goodnight texts. No good morning texts. There's no one to hold me while I heal through this time in my life. The house feels empty again. Quiet. Cold.

You have to be okay with yourself again. Think about that. Process that. For those going through their own recovery after a breakup, or divorce, or death, know that you're going to be okay. You'll find yourself once more. This isn't the end.

Tuesday, August 2, 2016

Still Divorced

As most people know, because I haven't been terribly quiet about it over the last year-and-a-half, I am divorced. I divorced my husband of 11 years (partner of 16) last March. Signed and finalized papers came through in early April. I'm reminded of this fact every day when I step into my empty house and wake up in my empty bed. It's been a lonely struggle. It was necessary that it be lonely. I've had dear friends who have been there for me at the drop of a text or phone call. I've had friends show up unexpectedly with a bottle of wine because they just felt like I needed a human connection. My friends have kept me grounded, but the internal struggle has been mine and it has been necessarily lonely.

I've been doing really well with being divorced then going through a breakup with the man I dated post-divorce. I'm happy. I'm strong. I'm not lonely because I've finally gotten to the point of realizing just how much fun I am. Dance parties in my living room with my dog and cats at 1AM after working and doing homework all day. We have fun. We are all finally okay with me being single.

What started me on this particular post, however, was a reminder of the distance I've traveled since last March/April. It is time once again to fill out my FAFSA information as I start my third year of school at the end of August. My goodness how this time has flown by. Granted, I'm in an accelerated program where I earn a bachelor's degree in two years, eight months, but still, I've been in school now for over a year. And I haven't quit!! And I don't plan on quitting!

While filling out my information it asked me of my marital status, to which I replied "divorced." Then it asked me to fill out the date of that divorce. It was like a slap in the face that I was not prepared for. Tell us, dear student, when was it that you broke your marriage vows? When was it that you decided you wanted to walk the path of not being married? When was it that you chose to walk away from your marriage?

The decision to get a divorce was not made lightly. It took days, months, years. This is not to say that I was in a bad marriage. It's just that the decision didn't happen over night. Once you get a divorce, however, it feels like there is this stigma placed upon you. These forms, whether for FAFSA or opening a bank account, asks for your birthdate and the date you got a divorce. I understand that it is because your financial situation changes after a divorce, but still. There's a mark on you now. I usually feel like I wear it out in the open, on my sleeve. Don't touch me. I'm divorced. I'm scarred. There's something in me that is broken.

This hinders all relationships moving forward. It shouldn't, but it does. Those of us who have been through major heartbreak (which is everyone, don't lie) seal ourselves up. We lock that shit away. We keep our hearts hidden and safe from future heartbreak. I'm not opposed to falling in love again, but damn it, FAFSA, I don't want to tell you when I got a divorce. And on falling in love again... That is a touchy subject. I love many people, but to allow another person to break that seal around my heart is a big decision. I'm going to keep that key hidden under the rock next to my front door until someone finds it after meticulously looking and understanding what type of rock I hid it under. Is it the plain looking rock? Or the fancy one? Is it the one that looks like a skull? Or a heart?

All of this to say: I think I've finally made it. I understand myself. I know who I am as an individual. Not a wife. Not a partner. Not an appendage. I am me. A woman. A filmmaker. A person at peace. Someone who dances in her living room at one in the morning with her dog and cats, because she can.

Sunday, July 10, 2016

A Week of Summer

It is after 10pm on a Sunday night. This ends my week of summer vacation. As a college student in an accelerated program to get my bachelor's degree in 2 years 8 months, I only get one week off for summer and then it's back to the intensities of school. Since I only get one week off of school, I decided to take the entire week off of work as well. And it was worth it. I did not check any of my emails. So, if I have a 7am meeting tomorrow, I have no clue! And I will not be in attendance. So, there. That's not the professional way to handle things, but really, I do not even want to check my email at this point. I should be in bed. And it has been a long week of "vacation."

Let me start by saying that everything that happened this week, was instigated by me. How? I make the choices in my life. I choose what to say, who to say it to, what to do, and who to do it with. I started it. I have not yet finished it. That's the beauty and the disaster of only having one week off. I need more time.

My original plan was to drive to Oregon for a day and soak up the ocean. Renew my being with the energy of the waves and the fresh salt air. Instead, I agreed to work on a local film project. I.HAD.A.BLAST. And I am very happy with the decision that I made. Film is my life. So, starting my week off with film was perfect. I also ended it with film. I just got home from a meeting of great minds for another film project that is in the works and prepping to take off any day now. It's in my blood.

I don't know what I had hoped to accomplish this week. I had my ideas, but I really couldn't depend on anything. While I do make my own choices, they don't all just depend on me. Some choices involve other people.

I am on a journey. A journey to find myself. A journey to know who I am and to deal with who I am. There are so many aspects of myself that I dislike. So many aspects that I wish I could change, but in reality, that's who I am. These journeys we take ourselves on are not for the weak of heart. At the same time, there are aspects of myself that I LOVE. I'm pretty awesome. And I'm not ashamed to be my own cheerleader.

So... My week...

Sunday started with a bang. You know, the day before 4th of July. I had homework. I also had a short film shoot. It was fantastic and I got to work with some amazing people. We have good filmmakers in this town. Hollywood needs to pay attention. I also stayed up until the sun rose. Because I could. And I did. I haven't done that in a long time.

Monday was Independence Day. I took my dog to Swan Falls Dam to be near water. To sit. Think. And love. That afternoon I had drinks with one of my Besties and her boyfriend. And my ex-husband. It was not like old times when we all hung out together when we were married. But it was good times. New times. And we laughed. I spent the night at home. I passed out on the couch with my dog in my arms. He's afraid of fireworks.

Tuesday, I started unpacking boxes. Instead of buying a new house, I have decided to buy the other half of my current house from my ex-husband. It will be a month-long process. I just hope I don't have to repack everything again and attempt to move. Tuesday night was dinner with filmmaking friends, planning a short film, and location scouting. Film: Always prevalent in my life.

Wednesday, was the same with the boxes. I also met a dear friend for lunch and we talked about life. We both needed it. It was good. That evening, I went to an event in Boise called Alive After Five. I watched a local children's band play covers of 90's songs and enjoyed a couple of beers. I ran into a coworker and we talked. I then spent the evening sharing dinner with friends. Sushi. It is great for bringing people together.

Thursday I woke up late, because I stayed up late, and I think I unpacked more boxes. I also worked on some film stuff. Then Thursday night I went to see KISS live with a very good friend of mine. It was EPIC!!! I've never seen them perform and I was blown away. I was never a fan before, but they just gained a new one. Seriously. Awesome. Concert.

Friday morning was a big life changer. Banks. Loans. Life. It'll all come together eventually, I'm sure. Breakfast with my ex-husband. That night, I shot a short film with some fantastic friends who are also incredible actors and crew. We had a TON of fun. And I can't wait to edit this film together.

Saturday, I got a massage. My mind, body, and spirit were replenished. I needed this. I spent the rest of the day at home. Unpacking boxes and working on film stuff. Then a new friend called me to hang out until the bars close. So, I did.

Sunday, started as every Sunday does, with a hike with my beloved pup. We talked about life - I talked, he chased critters - and we enjoyed the peace of the empty trails due to rain. As I was writing a new script for an upcoming project, a friend contacted me and told me to show up at this time at this place to work on another film. So, I did. Because: FILM. After the meeting, we hung out at a book store. I didn't even think those existed any more!!! There were people there! And books! And then I came home. And instead of doing my chores, I chose to write in my blog and chat with a friend about life.

Life.

I need more time to figure shit out. It has been said by some random people that after a breakup, you need time. Time to figure shit out. Time to understand yourself. Time to learn who you are. I feel like I've only scratched the surface. This week off of braining for work and school was necessary, but I don't feel like it was long enough. I'm reinventing myself. I'm understanding who I am, but I need more time. I'm just going to have to fit this in among the work and the school and the personal film projects. I can do this. I make things work. Maybe my healing comes shoved between everything else I'm trying to accomplish in life. Healing. Between work. And school. And film. And friends.

Tuesday, July 5, 2016

On Relationships

This post comes not on the heels of a date, nor after spending the night with someone, nor after hanging out with friends, or a hike alone with my dog. This post comes on the heels of multiple conversations with friends who are all in the same boat I'm in. This boat just keeps getting bigger, stopping to pick people up along the way.

We are all on our separate journeys. To assume that anyone is on the same journey we are on, is egotistical and unfair to the other people involved. We can be on similar paths. I have a ton of friends who are on a similar path as I, but those paths aren't the same. Some of us are on similar spiritual paths, but very different relationship paths. Some of us are on the same artistic paths, but very different political paths. Some of us are on similar movie-taste paths and vastly different musical-taste paths (no thank you, country music). Not one of us is, or should be, on the same path. There's enough room for all of us.

The journey I'm on involves a lot of people, but I walk it alone. I need to. You need to. This is how we grow. Every single person we meet on this path teaches us something about ourselves and in return we teach them something about them. I'm being taught how to love differently than I've ever loved before. I'm being taught that focusing on me opens doors to other opportunities. I'm being taught that broken hearts take a long time to heal and any relationship (friendship, lovers, business partners, or other) takes time to cultivate. Because we are all walking our own paths. When we meet someone and think, "I want to have a relationship with them (of any sort)," we have to realize that they too are walking and contemplating the direction that this relationship is headed. Our paths cross and sometimes they run parallel to each other, and sometimes (most of the time, I think) they keep going in opposite directions. Maybe those paths will cross again and this time, years later, they run parallel, because now, you've both grown. You've become the person you are today, who is different than the person you were yesterday, and you're able to make that relationship work differently and be more in sync with your life, and their life, today.

These crisscrossing of paths needs to happen naturally and not be forced. As we walk down a trail in the mountains, or on the beach, we can't force a path to cross another path. It's impossible, those paths are already packed into the ground, or the sand. We have to work toward reaching that path. We may veer off to pick a flower, or admire the sunset, but we eventually get back on that path and come to an intersection, followed by another, followed by another. At that point, we can decide to turn down a new path, keep going, or walk a path with someone else. And these paths are happening everywhere at every moment of every day. The kid that bags my groceries (although I go to Winco and bag my own, but that's beside the point) just crossed my path. Do I engage in conversation? Ask him how school is going? And if I do talk to him, we just made a connection, our paths crossed for a brief moment and maybe something I said will keep him motivated to stay in school. Or maybe something he said will make me cry in my car because it hit too close to home that day.

I am lucky enough to have crossed paths with many people. And I am blessed to walk different paths with different people. I think of my group of supportive friends who understand that I'm on a different path than they are. I choose working and school over taking a week to go backpacking in the wilderness. Because that's who I am. That's who they are. And we still love each other. And we are still able to sit together and enjoy the successes that each of us has. We walk similar paths, but we're all on our own separate journey.

Once we can accept that we are different in any relationship, even those of the family type, we have the ability to recognize that we can survive in this world. We may never see eye-to-eye on everything, but that's okay, we are all on our own journey. How we choose to interact with people is on us, how they choose to interact with us is on them. Compassion and understanding go a long way to accepting just how diverse we all are and how we are all walking our own paths. Once we stop forcing the outcome, we can live happier and more free, and enjoy this journey instead of fighting against it every step of the way.

Life changes. Relationships ebb and flow. We have the choice to treat each of these with the care and consideration that they all deserve. Letting things naturally unfold enables growth and prevents us from going mad at the prospect of starting something new with someone. Or rekindling a friendship. I am rekindling. I am starting something new. I am enabling growth in my current relationships. I am growing and becoming me with the aid of the people I know. I hope you do the same. Cross those paths and let whatever happens with them happen. Connections are a beautiful thing.