I got the last order of halibut tacos: ten for today

July 19, 2016
 
I’m having trouble. I stayed up too late and ruined my sleep. Those sleep-deprived days hit hardest, most difficult to bear. The world seems scary, like one giant acid trip gone wrong that I cannot come down from, no matter how much I talk myself through it. My feet feel as if I am walking in the bounce house.
 
Morning came too quickly, the doors opening and closing to my bedroom. Communal showers suck. I worked late into the night fixing my article for the new French client, only to awaken to stern reprimand from someone half my age, probably. I did not follow directions, too worried about meeting deadline and not the specifics. Certainly my fault but can we just treat each other kindly? Even editors?
 
Hard pressed to inhabit the Zen of it all, I fought all morning with myself. “This is the life of a writer. This is life. Don’t be afraid of rejection, judgment and criticism.” I had to keep myself from diving over the cliff of “I fucked up.” Forgiveness.
 
My nerves still sore, I taught class, guilty that I wasn’t fresh, alert and sharp, but that turned out to be a lie I told myself. The class discussion meandered through colonialism, prejudice, Black Lives Matter, censorship, profanity, the sub-prime mortgage debacle, the abc’s of finance, medicine, medico-legal ethics, euthanasia, and stories, lots of anecdotes, for a breezy four and a half hours. At least it seemed that way. Summer school. Beautiful students.
 
Rounding out nicely with a particularly grapefruit citrus-tinged IPA and halibut tacos ordered at my local hangout–family members all working (except for dad glued to the t.v.)–this day wanes okay, citing my own research on French proverbs (my maybe rejected assignment)–apres la pluie, le beau temps (Every cloud has a silver lining). I’m about to chomp down on my halibut tacos silver lining. Cheers and Bon appetit! 

Women Masturbating: “Cat on Cat Crime”

 

The Huffington Post featured four women confessing masturbation misshaps in delightfully amusing stories of cringing embarassment, shock and humiliation. The real treat, however, lies in the frank delivery of the details by these clearly bold, tickled yet slightly discomposed young women relating early masturbation experiences. A study in rich human expression, the video reveals not just fodder for the prurient interests of some ill-intent viewers nor merely a sensationalism meant to draw readership, but a display of complex emotion evoked by the age old pastime–storytelling.

To boot, this video joins the growing dissemination of women’s sexuality imagery in the media, a necessary deployment in the continuing project of feminism’s de-sculpting (a chip at a time) the sedimented profile of and attitudes toward women in American society–all the while Huffpost gets points for edginess and the interviewees for bravery. It’s a win-win for all (except for those cynical ones who chalk it all up to exhibitionist tendencies of a selfie population and the marketing ploy of a savvy for-profit journalistic enterprise).

Derek Walcott ‘ s “Love on Love”

LOVE AFTER LOVE

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The time will come
when, with elation,
you will greet yourself arriving
at your own door, in your own mirror,
and each will smile at the other’s welcome,
and say, sit here. Eat.
You will love again the stranger who was your self.
Give wine. Give bread. Give back your heart
to itself, to the stranger who has loved you

all your life, whom you ignored
for another, who knows you by heart.
Take down the love letters from the bookshelf,

the photographs, the desperate notes,
peel your own image from the mirror.
Sit. Feast on your life

“55 Rules for Love”

credit:  http://markhanlin.com


I appreciate this list so much I am re-printing all 55 of the 55 Rules for Love in elephantjournal.com gifted by Alex Sandra Myles. I especially love how the list is framed by 1 and 55, cherish love and don’t take it for granted or risk it for mind games, power plays and other gambles to chase love away.

Some of these rules confirm the successful moments of my own daily practices and disposition toward not only loving another or others but self, such as being grateful, aiming for open communication, disagreement as healthy for cherishing and appreciating difference, forgiving easily, admitting fault and accepting criticism.

So many of them, however, are challenges, ones I know I must practice daily but forget, struggle with or get lazy, like 5, 8, 13, 16, 22, 23, 26, 30, 37, 41, 43 and 45. The rest are either instinctual or hard earned by practice or subsumed in other rules: cherishing love is also being grateful and appreciative.

I hope you enjoy this list as much as I do as gentle reminders how to love yourself too.



1. When it arrives, cherish it.

2. Whatever you accept, you will get

3. Understand that love is a mirror—it will show us who we are if we allow it to.

4. Only we can make ourselves happy, it is not the other person’s responsibility.

5. Don’t say words with the intent to hurt.

6. Accept and forgive easily.

7. Don’t be scared to disagree, it is healthy.

8. Never be too busy for each other.

9. Do not punish.

10. Accept honest criticism, it is good for us.

11. Admit when you are wrong, quickly.

12. Support each other when the going gets tough.

13. Live in the moment—be present.

14. Leave the past where it belongs.

15. Leave drama out of it.

16. Don’t try to control.

17. Allow a small amount of jealousy.

18. Don’t use comparisons.

19. Celebrate differences.

20. Communicate openly and honestly.

21. Listen very carefully.

22. Don’t judge.

23. Don’t manipulate to get results.

24. Learn and grow.

25. Don’t try to change each other.

26. Don’t condemn each other’s family and friends.

27. Lines, flaws and imperfections are beautiful.

28. Trust your instincts, but don’t be paranoid.

29. Don’t compromise your morals and values and don’t expect them to either.

30. Instead of power, aim for balance.

31. Space is needed to breathe and to grow.

32. Accept that you are both unique—never compare.

33. Have fun, laugh and play—a lot.

34. Be each other’s best friend.

35. Don’t play mind games.

36. Do not carelessly throw away love.

37. Don’t waste energy with negative thoughts.

38. Compliment often.

39. Discover each other.

40. Be attentive and understand what’s not said.

41. Do at least one romantic and thoughtful thing every day.

42. Take picnics and sleep under the stars.

43. Don’t just speak about it, show love.

44. Walk together, cook together, bathe together, read together.

45. Do not be afraid, love requires surrender.

46. Be loyal and faithful.

47. Trust.

48. Be grateful.

49. Fluidity is good, accept change.

50. Don’t sleep on a fight.

51. Don’t cling to it, know when to let go.

52. Discover what turns you both on and explore it.

53. Make love, but also f*ck (regularly).

54. Give and receive without measure.

55. Never gamble with what you can’t afford to lose.

Happy Anniversary! Now Let’s Break Up.

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Today is the first anniversary of this blog. I embarked on the WordPress train a year ago on a whim, an undeveloped plan and foggy urge to write in hopes of something undefined. Having never blogged or even read blogs much before, I plunged in, posted a few portraits, a poem or two, and left it for six months, life having ramped up ridiculously like a nightmare on steroids. Some of the hardship of the last year–my world upturned in too many ways to list–inspirited and compelled me to pick up the strand I left six months prior for this endeavor, consciously choosing to capitalize on the lessons learned and the beauty that is born from horror sometimes.

Like anything, even getting up each day, it takes faith and courage to believe all will be all right, so long as I conduct myself with open heart and mind sprinkled with a little savvy. To illustrate more concretely, I was approached by a woman at the gas station adjacent to a Motel 6 today. She was a fairly well dressed young woman who asked me with polite but firm insistence for a ride to a mall 20 minutes from there. I knee-jerk declined, pretending to another appointment destination in the opposite direction, but she persisted–not with tears or sympathy, as she gave no reason for her request, but with sheer calm insistence.

She forced me to that place of challenging my beliefs. She needed help, I had time and means to provide it, but I had an in-built reaction of mistrust. After a quick assessment of my motives and her size (I thought I could take her in a fight), I leapt in faith that helping another human being in need (or even no need) was worth the assessed small risk of harm befalling me, and that my instinct was correct in her sincerity.

The choices we make tell our story to ourselves and others. Some might tell the story of picking up a stranger as a lucky escape from potential danger, one that would be terribly lopsided in risk to benefit. My children could have been orphaned over something terribly easy to avoid, had she robbed or killed me. Others might tell the story of picking up a stranger as a good deed, one performed in calculated risk, which is contributive to the larger world–mine and others’.

If I live in mistrust, my world is less free. If I help others when I am able, those I help may teeter over the edge of consideration, airing on the side of helping too, expanding rather than contracting connection. My choice reflects who I am, and knowing who I am determines the choices I make.

Reflecting on yesterday’s question of befriending an ex lover, the adage of knowing self, having faith in and love for the self, is requisite to loving another. Sometimes the same gut instinct, knowledge of a sort, that agrees to chauffeur a stranger in faith chooses to end a relationship in faith. Breakups are called breakups and not pauses or hiatuses when it is time for a relationship to end. Whether amicable or not, breakups are painful, making friendship nearly impossible.

How many people are strong, logical, self-aware, honest and forthright about their own shortcomings and strengths as well as others’? How many know the difference between self-delusion and following true desire, loving the self like no other? How many would live lonely rather than enjoy the comfort of the familiar company and intimacy regardless of the potential for danger, justifying it as compassion?

I read an article about breaking up first thing this morning on my daily journey through the Internet.

Rebekah McClaskey, an intuitive relationship counselor specializing in breakups, according to her bio on elephantjournal.com says breakups are hard in The Laws of Breaking Up & Getting Over It. No shit.

She says more, however, offering intuitive advice, which appears to be a combination of homegrown knowledge, common lore, and researched Internet offerings. Of 29 points, 14 interest me, in particular:

1. The grief you now feel due to the separation has less to do with the past and more to do with grieving over what could have been, which makes moving forward seem near impossible. Also known as: Break-ups kill the future dead.

Fantasy is a powerful motivator and critical component to our pleasure and pain, and I don’t mean just sexually. To make things work, whether we are poring over in our mind the prospect of a new job or a new lover, we imagine ourselves happily or at least contentedly in that imaginary place in order to choose that position or partner. And once we choose, we continue to construct the relationship by filling in what’s not there, pushing some things to the shadows and others to the forefront. In other words, we craft our world to fit our needs. That makes for prettier pictures but hard letdowns when the painting turns out to be a poor imitation of reality.

We try to make things work especially if we see shiny objects that attract our attention and desire. I have loved men who read poetry or debated philosophy, deeply affecting my heart and desire, while I sublimated those other traits I saw but didn’t measure as highly, like their propensity to fuck other people, or their lack of ambition or care for my safety. I closed my eyes until they were forced open, and the relationships eventually ended.

2. You did your best. No, really you did and continue to do your best. Your personal best can also look way different than choosing wisely.

This speaks to forgiving the self for being human. Yes, we do fool ourselves often despite our best effort to make the best choice with as much information possible. I have stayed with partners who could not give me what I needed by rationalizing that there were so many other good things the person brought to my life, have allowed myself to be fooled into believing I could overlook another’s crucial incompatibilities, even as I knew better, and had suffered hurt because of the selective blindness. It’s easy to self-flagellate for the sins of loving the wrong people, but accepting our own imperfection, that we are all just trying to make things work the best way we can, is much more difficult.

3. ….we are all just faking it.

Yep. We think we have the answers, got it together, but in braver moments, sit down and face that we are all frauds to a large extent. We don’t know shit. All we do is try to figure things out as we go along to get what we need.

6. Unconditional love is just letting go of what could be or could have been by appreciating what you have now.

Acceptance is hard–not just word dedication, real acceptance. This is self-love. It alleviates the crazy making of she will change or I will change or learn to live with this or that because it is a worthwhile trade off to something else. We bargain when we should just open our eyes and see, to accept.

7. There is no cure for pain. It is just a part of living.

Enough said.

10. He is not coming back. She is not coming back. And if they do it is just part of a cycle and not actually a new beginning. (That is a hard one to admit out loud.)

AKA the extended breakup. The scales tip for or against staying with someone, and at some point the liabilities outweigh the benefits. When it’s time, the breakup should be fast but is too often prolonged for that most evil of betrayers–hope. And some people love to pick scabs until they bleed. At least they can control the pain, as opposed to one that overtakes and overwhelms uncontrollably, like loneliness.

12. A friendship that occurs within the first year after separation is not going to be functional. It just won’t be. I’m not joking about this. What I am saying is that a full year must go by before a healthy friendship can take place.

I have known this to be true and untrue. Some people just didn’t bring me anything more than they already had and so had to disappear from my life.

15. There is no replacement for sex or intimacy or intimate sex. It is okay to miss these things.

It can be borne. Hold out for more than a quick fix.

16. We learn by being in relationship (even after it ends).

Yes, we do. So long as we keep our eyes and ears open.

18. Having sex with your ex is like sticking a fully loaded heroin needle in your arm. It will kill your soul.

Ahhhhh, yes, it will kill you slowly but surely. Only, heroin is a real physical need, sex with an ex is imagined. But the analogy hits home hard.

20. At some point, everyone is immature; not just your ex.

It’s not true (stomping my feet)!!!! 😉

25. It could take your whole life to learn to love yourself. The best time to do it is now.

To repeat, knowing the self is foundational to knowing what to expect in others. Since life is lived in our heads telling ourselves lies we believe, knowing the self takes work, a tremendous vigilance and attentiveness that is exhausting for its subtlety and dividends paid in agonizingly barely perceptible increments. It takes a life-long practice to unfold yourself from what has been socially constructed to find the real you, your voice. You are your relationships.

27. Contrast is our greatest teacher and similarities are what bond us together. Everyone is both all the time to different degrees (brain warp!). A.K.A Right person + wrong time = wrong person.

But what’s logic got to do with it? We’re talking love.