Friday, September 26, 2014


My life is divided into before and after.

Before I went to college. (after)

Before I got married. (after)

Before I turned 30. (after).

We live in this culture steeped in a heavy time addiction, surrounded by watches and calendars, and Apps for That. Thanks to the wonder of data and (my) time obsession, I can definitively tell you where I had dinner on July 1st, 2007, exactly how many miles I've flown on United, and when my last 78 menstrual cycles started.

Just in case anyone is keeping score at home.

I was raised by scientists. Mathematicians. People who respect when someone attempts the same thing over and over again and gets the same results. This is my latest bridge, I'm afraid, and it's probably going to piss you right off.

Before I fell out of love with science (after).

Before I lost hope in ever getting pregnant (after).

It's a sticky situation, forced by this artificial concept that time is real and that somehow I should kneel before the altar of the great and mighty timepiece. The thing I didn't realize (or that maybe I forgot) is that spirit doesn't stick to a schedule, and she doesn't know the rules of science.

Spirit does her own thing, each time, sans prediction. Sans time.

So this is my afterlife. After I turned 30, got divorced, gave up on Western Medicine. I'm settling into a wild new way of thinking that doesn't necessarily operate by the rules and has no penalty box. My calendar makes me want to scream, and so I'm chucking it into the wind.

In two months, I set sail (in the Biblical sense) for the Bahamas. I'm literally escaping from the drudgery that is December. The constant (wonderful, I swear) news that someone else is pregnant again, or for the first time, or after trying xyz/giving up/adopting a slew of Latvian orphans. I put this off every year in the hopes that I'll be pregnant, and I never am. So I'm going.

I'm going to a place where everything is provided (including the white pants). Classes, lodging, two meals a day, and two outfits. One of my yoga students said to me yesterday, "My, that sure sounds like prison!"

Perhaps it does. Maybe I'm committing myself to a two-month-long prison stay and I've lost my ever loving mind.

But I'll be on a beach, wearing (formerly) white pants, in a space that ignores shorter days and shoveling. A place that skips the "first Christmas (and birthday) AFTER my divorce." A place that celebrates Tuesday the same way it observes Friday: sunrises, two meals, and a distinct lack of social media.

A place between Before and After.

Sunday, September 21, 2014

How Far I Got

Seven years ago this minute I was frantically running through the aisles at King Soopers in search of something. I can't remember what it was, but I do remember my friends running along with me as I loaded my cart with all of the wrong things… seven different Annie's dressings (because they were on sale), a few boxes of cereal, and a number of scratch-and-dent items that I'm certain weren't destined for use on the honeymoon.

We had finished playing charades with an apartment full of friends, and I was on a mission. No one seems to be able to remember what it was (which was the name of the game in those days). I was always running. Perpetually frantic.

I was in self-escape mode.

This is not the space in which one should consider getting married, and despite thinking that several times (and sometimes writing it down and saying it out loud), I allowed my body to ride one conveyer belt while my mind rode another. My heart? It was in a blender. Still contained but in no way intact.

We never really celebrated our anniversary. We wrote our vows on the spot. We went separate ways  after the wedding.

We had a different kind of love, and were the best of friends. We "made it" through a year in Iraq, through nursing school and admission office travel and file reading season. We almost made it through two years of night shift.

We almost made it to seven.

Three months after I got married, a friend made a Facebook account for me. I loaded in an album of my wedding pictures, and I titled it, "Let's See How Far I Get." At the time I told myself it was in reference to how long I was willing to sit around and painstakingly upload one photo at a time.

It has new meaning now.

His things are either out or packed up, save for the wedding stuff. My bouquet. The pictures. The empty photo albums we never filled. Where there used to be a pile of his papers there is a small stack of our papers with my signature and a notary stamp, and they're staring at me. The house feels both gargantuan and stifling. And whatever home-ness was once here has blown away. It is simply a space filled with memories, history, and a bunch of things that feel foreign.

A life I used to live.

Tomorrow would be seven years from that inane Seal song, the reception music by Schindler's List, the Time Warp. Nine years from the day I proposed on the top of Pikes Peak. One year from, "oh, well, we don't need to spend every anniversary together."

I've learned a lot over this time, and I don't regret it for a second. In some ways, there's a lot of pride in making it seven years. Wonderful things that might improve your relationship, like walking around the lake each New Years to talk about our upcoming dreams and goals for the year. Like finding a way to manage finances that never involved a moment of fighting, disagreement, or even mild irritation. Never going to bed angry.

There are probably reasons we didn't make it further, and perhaps it isn't appropriate to broadcast those on the internet. And maybe we had simply walked as far as we could hand-in-hand, and now it's time to break stride like we're crossing a bridge. If I figure them out, I'll be sure to let you know.

So now, atop a very tall glass of grief, is a thin layer of gratitude. Thank you, My Ben, for walking in and walking out with me. Thank you for never making me fearful, for listening and trying to keep me calm despite my inner tempest. Thank you for doing your best, always. Nine years ago you said you would call whenever you could, and I would always answer. I get that things will be different now, and that you may not call very often.

But I will always answer.

Friday, September 19, 2014

Indecision Sandwich

I've spent the last few weeks (months?) in an indecision sandwich. You know the kind? Where you've got an equal number of good and bad things on each hand, so you squash them together with some avocado slices?

(It's messy in here)

Before you start to lose your breath or pick up the popcorn and tissues, let me reassure you, this sandwich has nothing to do with men.

(or women)

Romantically speaking.

This is a deeper, more personal question. Do I subject myself to medical tests that I fundamentally disagree with? Even if they are THE only way to answer this one question (and ironically, the only way to treat the bad answer to the question)? Or do I stick to my gut, my heart, the tiny sliver of faith that I've kept tucked away behind my left ear for just these circumstances?

My sense of intuition is very strong. I would say it's stronger than yours, but then I also have no idea. I know that I listen to my intuition far more frequently than most people (tell me they) do AND that it is never wrong. My problem, is that here in the middle of this sandwich, there's too much worry and fear and "WHAT IF" amid the roasted red peppers. Intuition has no space. There's no air, no tiny cracks for light to seep in.

Or faith.

This is so good for me. I hate it, but it is such an excellent reminder of what we subject women to with anything related to their lady parts. My prenatal clients come to me with the look I now see in the mirror, and for the first time I really, truly understand them.

What if something is wrong with me?

What if this horrible test is the only way to know?

What if I don't get it, and then something is wrong?

What if I do, and this worry was for nothing? And I've subjected myself to all sorts of unknowns that my ancestors would never have dreamed of?

What if I just made this worse?

I know two things:

1. Worry is never good for you.
2. I just started five sentences (in a row) with "what if?"

To me, this says I'm in no place to make a decision. Fear is never the right place. The path makes itself known when the time is right, when the moon is in the right place in the sky, when the water is clear.

The answer never comes from outside. That's the trick with the sandwich! You think that the right side or the left side is truth, and you can't shake that something is missing in the middle. I don't know about you, but I've never made a good decision from the perspective of a leaf of spinach.

When neither choice is right, it's because there's a third option. I can literally hear myself saying this to dozens of people in the past year. There's more than one right way. There are more than two options.

Find the third option.

Never settle.
Thanks for the pix, Abby from LoveRoots Photography

Wednesday, September 3, 2014


I know you're used to grand, sweeping confessions here on the blog-o, but this one is the biggest yet (and possibly ever).

(wait for it)


For the last ten days I've thrashed wildly against the perils of being alone. The negative self-talk, the cookie monster, and The Darkness. Instead of throwing my usual weapons into the mix (distracting podcasts, season two of Orange is the New Black, margaritas, salted carmel things), I've faced these demons with only the cunning use of meditation, tears, and an unending well of desperation.

There was a lot of thrashing.

I'm not on the other side right now. Most people write and publish these things once they're safely on the distant shore from crazy, but I'm still swimming.

Well, I'm dead-man's floating. Mostly underwater with occasional surfacing to breathe a bit, and then turning inwards yet again to face my navel.

This is reason number one why I hate EPL. She had a pretty good life (as did I), and then had a year of crazy wandering, and then was fine. And she wrote from the space of being fine, after having made it through. This is not helpful to read when your eyes are filled with saltwater.

Reason number two is also my sweeping confession. She ended her journey with love. She stopped denying herself, found herself, and then came to resolution when she found a man. I'm noticing this sickening compulsion I have to "make it through" until someone on a white, shining horse can come sweep me away from my muck and my problems.

This makes me yell at myself the way I yell at Rapunzel,

You have to learn how to save yourself.

Eat. Pray. Eat again. Pray again. Love unabashedly and with total abandon, but do not write love as the end of the story. Love requires prayer. And eating.

The dead man's float is about resting and saving up your energy until you're ready to lift your head out of the water and get your bearings again.

I've stolen some peeks out through soggy eyelashes, and sometimes I get really scared by how far away the land is. Most times, I'm grateful to still be floating.

Monday, September 1, 2014

Instruction Manuals

No matter how calm, cool, and collected you are, how yogafied and blissed out, it is categorically weird to see your husband and his girlfriend at a party (please note, I'm not looking for pity, as I'm also dating). But despite me being cool on the outside and the inside, there's something strange about this part of saying goodbye. It's easy to fall into the, "He never did that for me!" or "I'm glad I never have to deal with that anymore," because I think it's quite painful to actually feel the sadness.

This sort of ending is very sad.

(Just ask the peanut butter jar and spatula next to me).

For some reason today I had the thought that I should pass along an instruction manual to the new girlfriend. Like I should give her a boost, a fighting chance, an opportunity to predict and subvert any difficulties I had to learn about from the start. Maybe I should include a family tree, along with the relatives to focus on (and those to be wary of)? Some hints about travel woes or favorite recipes? Highlight his best assets… he has amazingly beautiful hands- as in - he should be a hand model, if that's a thing. Keep pushing on that one, I'm pretty sure it's a gold mine.

Except that this isn't fair, is it? This is me intruding where I no longer belong. Trying to shine a light through a door that I closed. And what's the fun in that? Maybe there are other endearing things that I missed, and maybe there are habits I beat out of him (like PENS in the DRYER).

Apparently, this is not a concept I cooked up on my own. This idea of passing forwards with the torch must be intimately tied to the phase of the moon, or some fragrance floating through the nearly fall breeze, because the same thing happened to me this evening. A piece of his past handed me a note with whispers of foreboding. Foretelling things I may have discovered, and perhaps things I didn't want to know. Even though her intentions were more than honorable - kind and even friendly - they helped me decide that my husband's future partner(s) are on their own. Untainted by the lens through which I saw him.

I'll sit here, out in the outfield, a shadow of me with a shadow of who he was, fading into the history books.

And look forward to reading the next chapter.

"I am not what happened to me, I am what I choose to become." ~ Carl Jung