Ahhh, being in one’s own space. It can be horribly lonely or colorfully magical. It depends on one’s own mind. My mind is a wild place. I think of a maze of mirrors where the mirrors are all distorted, have you been in one? In each mirror is a different story and somehow all the stories are connected. You can’t be sure what’s real. What’s garbage? What’s treasure? You shouldn’t judge anything, because you just can’t know. How does one train one’s mind to hold no judgment? How is survival possible without judgment? These are the questions that I enjoy the flavor of most. I want to hear them asked a billion times and I want to see and hear the billions of answers but I’d have to be in a place where time doesn’t matter. That’s the place I want to be. Time is not something to hoard, it’s free and endless; where all possibilities exist, and there are no limits.
I am Laurie McGill in form. My auditory input right now is a chant of OM nature, it’s new-agey, soothing, freeing. I am 48 years old and am employed as an office manager at an independent living facility. I call the residents elders sometimes. I call them old folks other times. I call them love, honey, and sugar. I love them each in my own special way as deep as I can possibly go without hurting them or my “selves”; I find it impossible not to love. Impossible. I danced with the elders today. Looked them in their eyes and gave them my freest, sweetest, most adoring love and I meant it with all of my heart. We had a live entertainer come in to perform and he sang old-timey songs that set the elderly at ease. As they sat watching and smiling, I approached each elder and danced with them all. I held their hands and smiled so nerdy! I gave of myself, 100%. I was physically, mentally, emotionally, and spiritually giving; a tremendous blessing.
I need work that allows me that. It’s necessary that all parts of me be engaged in the work I do, or I can’t function. Before I left Phoenix, I had a near breakdown from neglecting my own physical and spiritual needs.
I’m trying today. I’m trying now to establish some sort of pattern for meeting my own needs, physically, emotionally, and spiritually. I need yoga. I need meditation. I need healthy foods. I need teachings. I need an outlet for affection, and to occasionally get affection back.
I was thinking about Hank the other day because I remembered us hanging out together and him telling me that his picker is broken. He picks the wrong ones for relationships. I don’t remember if I argued with him at the time but it’d be like me to say, “There are no mistakes.” But this last Wednesday night it occurred to me that my picker might be broken too.
I wrote him on Wednesday night around 6:03pm.
“Hi Hank. I just randomly remembered you. Wondering how you are and if you figured out how to fix your picker yet. I’m Laurie. Don’t know if you remember. I left Phoenix for Denver hoping to either go permanently celibate or that my picker might work better in harsher environs.”
Hank responded promptly.
For the record, Hank and I went on a few dates in Phoenix – probably in 2015 before I was devastated by the failed affair I had with my boss. I met Hank online – through a free dating website. We met in person at the World of Beers in Tempe, I believe. We rode our bikes together to see a movie. We never had any affection. I got the impression that he was not sure that I was real. He didn’t know what to make of me, and didn’t act like he knew how to handle me. At the time, I was only interested in men who were very obviously interested in me. He didn’t fit the criteria.
His response this past Wednesday: “How funny. I have thought about you a few times lately. Miss biking to the movies. I feel faith in my picker. It feels quite functional but unused.”
I really liked that Hank is a bike rider. I also liked that he’s a teacher.
My response: “Yay for you! I can’t get over how different biking is here in this air.”
Hank: I grew up singletracking in very many parts of CO. skiing and snowboarding there too.
Me: Very sexy. I just ditched my car.
Him: You are super attractive and fun I hope that your picker has harvested something special for you.
Me: Need a man who thinks like you did then but who is sober and a safe driver. I’m fine tuning my picker as we text. Thank you.
Him: Whoa. Those seem simple requirements.
Me: LOL – I’ve always been too easy.
Him: Wait you live in a weed state. Nvm. That has got to be weird. What? Too easy?
Me: Yes. Promiscuous child. Horrible life curse. But I had lots of fun. Now I’m just broke and lonely.
Him: Lol. I missed out. How sad for me. Wait what. Seriously?
Me: And beginning to comprehend what it means to be humble.
Him: I’m gonna have to request backstory. How did you get there. Assuming you are still there. What’s your situation.
Me: Denver in an 18 month lease. Ghetto style. Costs 920 a month. Scary for me. I earn 16 an hour. Can’t afford a car or the insurance. And the rent. My future most certainly is unsustainable. I came here to find my next teacher. To get grounded in the Shambhala lineage. I tried to live/work at the Shambhala mountain center but didn’t get in. Not ready for it. I aimed to become a nun. Now I’m seeing the total impracticality of my existence. I wrote to see how you are doing, not to dump my fear and anxiety on you.
Him: That is a crisis. Doesn’t feel like a dump. It feels like a major crisis of faith.
Me: Hmmm. I realize my physical relationships bring much pain. Not sure if my desire to be a nun is fueled by the right energy. May be more about protecting myself from more pain. Myself and others. Ahimsa. Part of yoga. That’s what the fuel is. Thanks. Helps to text about it.
Him: What do you perceive as the most common source of your pain? Just the physical relationships? And what kind of pain are they bringing?
Me: Good questions. I could write an essay. In fact, I will and after I’ve analyzed it down to an executive sentence, I’ll share it with you.
Him: No need to pare. I’m interested in a lot of different parts of the thought process that took you there. But it sounds like you are not happy there.
Me: “Happy” is not what I seek. Not going to write tonight but will on day off. Timely exercise. I met a bicyclist on Tuesday and we made a date for coffee on Friday. Have no expectations but would be wise to be asking myself these questions.
Him: I’m really curious about what it means when you say happy isn’t what I seek. Well, I hope it isn’t months before I hear from you. Your insights into your own condition might have some impact for me.
That was the end of Wednesday’s texts. I fell asleep. When I woke Thursday, I saw my first real snow fall in Denver. I sent Hank a photo. I also sent photos to my mother, my son, and a couple others.
Thursday morning to Hank: “Fell asleep. Woke up to First snow!”
Hank: Wow looks so Eastern bloc.
Me: Bus not bike today
Me: Slice o life – on it now – the faces all tell me stories of difficult lives and adversity
H: Yep. Pubtrans.
M: My special life journey
H: Is this the journey you are trying to take? And you never told me about the happy thing.
M: I’m going to start writing tonight based on our texting and the questions that arose. I’ll email you tomorrow from the library. No net connection at home. What’s your email address? And what did you mean by Eastern bloc? I’m curious. I love that courtyard. It’s full of squirrels and I imagine will be even more delightful in the spring and summer
H: The courtyard struck me in not a positive way. It seems so rectilinear and austere. Summer there really is spectacular though.
M: Wow. How visually pleasing it is to me! I have lived in ghetto places in my time.
H: Well that’s what’s important
M: This is high class ghetto for me
H: Do you look the same? High class ghetto. Ha. Well the thing about rectilinear is that all the spaces are usable.
M: Very practical design?
M: I love that the floors are all concrete. It’s well soundproofed. (I attached a selfie I took on the spot) Do I look the same? I think not.
H: Oh my goodness
M: But there isn’t an elder at work who wouldn’t die to have me in their bed, lol.
H: Ah still those huge eyes. Lol I do remember your physical charisma was kind of astounding
M: I don’t understand that. I see a nerdy old woman. But sometimes, when I enter a room, I am royalty.
H: Lol. You’re nerdy hot.
M: People look at me like I’m famous or something.
H: More hot than nerdy. With a dash of earth. Royalty. Do you mean that you feel magnetic?
M: But then they get to know me and hate me.
H: Well, you have sharp striking features whut – that was unexpected. So is that what I would have known had you not disappeared? I would have grown to hate you?
M: I wish I could send you the amazing smell of this. It is heavenly (I sent a photo of the stew I was cooking as I texted). Or disapprove or feel uncomfortable and not know how to deal with me. You’d become evasive and I would feel abandoned and leave you.
H: What is it?
M: Lentils, celery, carrots, onions, garlic and tomatoes.
H: That knits the brow. Feel uncomfortable about what? What makes me uneasy? Mm lentils. Ooh and warm too.
M: Tarragon, my favorite spice. Would be nice with a crusty loaf of bread. Stews are a must have for winter – I make healthy hobbit food. The taste is wow. But the canned tomatoes were a mistake, maybe.
H: Yeah, you sold me. Fax me some please.
M: lol Fax!!!
H: I’d say text but soup and phones.
M: I talked somebody out of fax into email the other day. It felt like a small victory. I made a difference. It’s the little things lol… bring joy.
H: Right. So true. I’m still curious what makes me uncomfortable.
M: If I can just remember that 100% of the time I’d create nothing but delightful karma
M: Ok example from last relationship. It lasted 6 months. We started living together from date 2.
H: Ok. What happened?
M: I’d have dark thoughts about our relationship and would need to talk about them. However I’d approach it, it made him uncomfortable. He had only a high school education. I think that made it super fucking difficult for me.
H: Dark thoughts? Did you not really share any context?
M: Yes, probably pertaining to my inability to keep up with him. He wanted me to use testosterone with him.
H: Keep up sexually? Or generally?
M: I nearly had a total breakdown after six months – sexually and physically
H: Jesus – a breakdown?
M: I was so overwrung – is that word? Over run.
M: I exhausted myself completely. By trying to make his life wonderful and neglecting myself.
H: Wrung out lol. Are you a fixer?
M: Now I’m doing it for the elders that I work for. Yup. A fixer. And a fixer-upper. Lol.
H: Is it something that you need or do you feel like you keep falling into the same situation? Wait.
H: You? Are a fixer upper? That puzzles me.
M: Yes. I think I’m a mess. Between the overwhelming student loan debt and the damaged personality…
H: We’re all fucking broken dear
M: If I get involved with someone and don’t disclose all my shit up front, I don’t feel like I can be myself in the relationship and I can’t stay. So, I’m honest about everything. And let people judge me if they need to. The last ex just couldn’t handle that honesty. He got evasive and blamed work. And outside influences. I think he knew he was pushing my limits.
H: Ah, I can understand that.
M: And I was pushing his. He really needed a woman who had money to invest. He said I broke his heart with that one. But it’s true. I was an idiot for getting involved! Duh! Hindsight is so clear!
H: Well, didn’t sound that closely knit. What was the quick attraction about?
M: So this is where I see my sex causing much pain in my life and the others’ – I lack judgment and discernment in the face of my sexual attraction. It’s men’s problem too.
H: Hm. So why are you disclosing to me, you trust me?
M: Because you expressed a need to understand. I tell my truth to anyone who asks and sometimes to those who don’t.
H: I do want to. Plus I’m safe. Being distant.
M: Yes, safer.
H: Ok I’m in.
M: In for what?
H: To understand
H: I’m still curious about where this twisted road is taking you
M: I worked on Bob today. Preparing him to go in peace rather than anxiety. I think that’s where this road is taking me. Be in adversity, but be the peace. I’ve been taking on the energy around me instead of putting mine out there like I did today. It felt good to share my heart with the elders today. They’re bitter but understanding. And they shine the light back.
H: Are you working in hospice?
M: And it feels good to be the recipient of love. How blessed am I?? Not a nun, but blessed to love so many. It’s an independent living facility. But a lot of our residents are in need of so much more love and kindness than they’re getting. Their pain is great and I can get totally overwhelmed by the negativity.
H: The whole world
M: Yes true. I have more compassion for elderly. So it’s good I am where I am at. Those high schoolers rubbed me the wrong way at first.
H: High schoolers?
M: I saw the disengagement of the group. Yes, we had a group of them come in today. With handmade Christmas Cards. They sat with the elders as they ate lunch and made conversation. I was just telling my mom how very blessed I felt from that visit. It filled my heart. To see the old folks light up. Lovely! My heart was so full I danced with them… all the grumpy old ladies who normally irritate me. And I felt nothing but joy and bliss. A blessed day. Helped shift my perspective of youth.
H: You sound happy
M: Good and bad days but I need to rest now. Good night for now?
H: Good night Laurie. Sleep safe.
Hank and I texted again yesterday, but much more superficially. This part of writing out the conversation between Hank and I took me a whole hour to do. Now, to address his questions in essay format. Clearly, Hank has a curious mind and a deep intellect. He demonstrates patience for those who are faulty in expressing their meaning clearly (I am certain that this quality must make him an exceptional high school teacher). As I typed out this conversation I realized how poor my expressions are. Confusing, at best. So, here’s to clarity and finding of the fundamental truths that influence the actions we take.
Outline for Essay on Laurie’s Relationship Musings
- What’s the back story on your sudden departure for Denver?
- You said that your relationships cause you pain. What do you perceive as the most common source of your pain? Just the physical relationships? And what kind of pain are they bringing?
- If it isn’t happiness you seek, what is it?
- Is this the journey you are trying to take?
- You indicated that at times when you walk into a room, you are royalty. Do you mean that you feel magnetic?
- Why do you assume that I would have grown to hate you had we tried to be in a relationship together?
- Feel uncomfortable about what? What do you assume would make me uneasy?
- Is being a fixer something that you need or do you feel like you keep falling into the same situation?
- What was the quick attraction about?
- Living in a weed state – is it weird?
I plan to tackle this essay this evening after I go to see the art gallery with Clark, the handy man.