Jodi Pineapple

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Homepage: http://www.eyeonthediscoball.com


Posts by Jodi Pineapple

Insecurity.

I am in a familiar spot.  The dreams come and they are disturbing.  I know there are layers.
I don’t want to look at them. 

I am looking at my insecurity.
These things that should be told to Father Tony in my confession. 

I like when others share their thoughts with me.  Jarek sates he is a better person when he is in a loving relationship.  I can identify with that.  I like to think that am also a better person, for myself and for this world, when I know I have someone I can truly trust and rely on. 

I want to feel safe, connected and close to someone. 

But that is also my fear.  To be close–I have to trust and to open up. 

I have to trust that the person will be truly kind, safe and good. 

I tell myself that I have to re-learn how to trust. 
I know deep down this is nearly impossible.
I can’t even trust myself to figure out whom to trust.

I am afraid to leave plan B at the door.  I have learned to always have a back-up plan.  You should always have an escape route. 

I am doing my mental check list to make sure: Do I have my money, my wallet and my keys?

He says he is going to be at the airport. 
But after hours and two pay-phone calls later—he is still not here. 

I know the truth.  A realization that formulates in the back of my brain.  It’s like warm running tap water. 
He is not coming despite his assurances that he would.  That was the entire plan.

***************************************************
We are now officially dating.  He wants sex.  We have that private and close discussion.  Disclosures are made.  My husband has been the only man I have ever sexually known.  He knows vital, biological and personal information.  For me this is a delicious prospect—I haven’t felt loved or appreciated in forever.  How long has it been?  I tell myself it has been months, (no wait), years.  

In return he promises, if we have sex, he won’t ejaculate inside of me. 

He knows I don’t want a baby now.  This is not the place and/or time to bring a child into this world.  I don’t want to be a mother in this state–in this way.   He knows full well I am Catholic.  He knows I think of promises, the church, sacrament and rings.  At this time I believe in the essence of a husband, a wife and a nuclear family. 
He tells me in these discussions that he doesn’t know if he wants a family or if he wants to buy a boat.  I am not asking him, nor do I demand, that he make any decisions.
**********************************************

When they change their mind they fail to inform me. 
I am left in a very bad spot.  There are no warning shots.  I don’t get three steps to any door.  No one is counting to ten.
 
I could have lined up a cab.  I could have stashed away extra needed cash.
I would have waited until I renewed my birth control prescription.

In this bed there is a great show.  It’s a Broadway play.
He takes great pains to go get a towel from his bathroom to wipe away non-existent sperm. 

I am in a panic.  He is telling me by his actions he didn’t do what I think he just did. 
I do not forget his look. I do not forget his words.  I do not forget lips that form a weird small smile.

It is not long after that I am facing his truth.  I nearly faint in my bathtub.
I am back at that airport.  It’s another splash of warm tap water.

Over those weeks I inform him several times that I am sick.  I am.  I think of my work.  I think of my girls.  I think of my physical and mental state.  I am secretly desperate.  I ask him to tell me how much he loves me.  I ask him to write it down in a letter.  I want to read it.  I want to read and re-read sweet words.  I think this would be some sort of redemption.  It would help me in making or formulating a decision.  I ask him many things.  I ask him to give up some of his evenings so we can spend more time together.

He ignores all these requests. 
He is too busy with his work.  He is acting very distant and very strange.  He won’t respond to any of my requests. 

What kind of man does this?  I ask myself this very question. 

Answers are found in research. There are publications on this issue.  There are men who try and trap a woman into a relationship.  They do this by deceiving her.  They mess with her birth control.  They put holes in their condoms.  They also promise to withdraw and intentionally do not.

My heart is telling me —this is not who this man really is. 
My mind is telling me— this man is exactly what this is.

(There was a time when our yellow lab got loose and killed a fawn.  I couldn’t stop the dog.  The lab was too quick and fast.  In one minute the fawn was desperately bleating and the next it was so very quite, warm and still)

I am so messed up.   I am so lost and alone.
I do not sleep for many nights.  I think of that lab and that fawn. 
 
I am not going to mast any child to this deception.  I won’t mast myself to this kind, nature or type of man.

In past centuries women could drink a potion. 
Today we can swallow two pills.

I am left with a cavity so deep, treacherous and dark.

I know all the devils and angels in this universe could not fill it.

And that redemption does not exist.

 

The Mechanical Bull

I did it.  I finally rode one.  It was crazy fun.  Of course I got bucked off. 

To my credit it was a great exit.  I landed squarely on my feet.

It was another girls night out.  Amy and I went to meet up with my best friend from high school.  In that we made more friends.

We met a new gal named Val.  Val squarely states:  “I love to laugh until my cheeks hurt.”

The Twisted Bull was Amy’s idea.  She found it on the internet.  Trish already had a women’s group getting together.  When we first arrived at the Twisted Bull I found Trish and her group.  I took one look and thought “Oh no.”  Trish is so much fun but these women looked lost, uncomfortable, unhappy and so very out of place.  One was a college dean.  The others were mothers and staunch church goers.  I wondered if they were Baptists or Seventh Day Adventists.  It was their hair, their clothes, their dress.  No one even tried to look country.

At this point I am glad I decided to wear my cowboy boots.

Their arms remain crossed against their chest.  They are drinking wine coolers and water.

This trashy bar is full of tattooed and beer gutted men.  The women look worn.  Everyone, (except the church group), has on hats, boots and some sort of dazzling rhinestones. 

These pristine women look like they are afraid they might be spotted by the internet police.  They look like they just got splashed with red wine wearing a white pantsuit.  I find myself wondering if they carry their own travel bottle of hand sanitizer.  I am waiting for one of them to pull it out.

When cameras appear I feel them twitch—that someone might take a picture and upload them to face book. 
They look–well–quite frankly mortified.

Because Amy and I seem to like this bar they distance themselves.  We do not partake in their gossip about teenaged girls dressing inappropriately.  I supposed this is further indication that we shouldn’t be trusted.  This group becomes weary of me.  The dean pulls her chair a little bit further away from mine.  I have three teenaged girls—I think they should be able to wear anything they want.  I don’t feel it’s right to define my girls. 

We were saved the minute Val arrived.  She wants to get it on.  So we have no problem when she starts ordering shots.  We get beads.  We shoot more shots.  We talk and laugh.  I make it known I am going to ride the bull.

It is amazing what one person can add to the mix.  It is amazing how Val’s humor and acceptance of our situation made this night so much more—-well—fun.

We danced.  The others wouldn’t dance.  We drank beers out of pitchers.  The others wouldn’t drink beer out of pitchers.  We talked about what we want to do.  Where we want to go.  What we want to see. 

Finally, I give up trying to talk to the others.  They are clearly not happy.  They are just plain boring.  They are not fun.  I think they should just pack it in and go home.  Not much long after they finally do.

We talked to our waitress.  This girl dressed in skimpy underwear wearing chaps and a cowgirl hat.  She is nice and kind.  I talked to the mechanical bull operator.  I talked to some cowboys and even danced with a farmer.

These women didn’t approve.  But they weren’t getting it.  To take this experience in.  To enjoy the differences of these people.  To listen to this music.  To look at well worn weathered hands and tattooed arms.

A man comes up.  He wants to dance with Sue.  You see them all pull away from him and shake their heads.  I see all their 10K wedding bands. 

This guy doesn’t stand a chance.

Trish shouts out—“Jodi—Jodi will dance.”

Yes.  Yes I love to dance.

I see them judge him.  I already have.

I don’t have anything in common with most of the people in this bar.  I work in a nice clean office.  I use a computer, paper, and pens as tools.  I wear Calvin Kline.  I tote a briefcase.  My employment hazards consist of too much coffee and paper cuts.  I have over $200,000.00 of education under my belt.

I know what he is by looking at him.  He sports a John Deere hat.  His body is calloused.  His hands are worn and hard.  He looks weathered like thick tree bark.   

I am not one that is going to be rude to him.  This one harmless dance.  The college dean is cringing.  

This man is a perfect gentleman.  He alreadly knows nothing is going past this dance.

Amy and I are the last of our group to leave.  We end up having a Grand Coney breakfast.  I need my breakfast burrito fix.  We discuss the nights events.  Their apparent stiffness and disapproval.  How Val changed the game.  How someone can be a lighted sparkler.

We both agreed we shouldn’t have drank so much beer.  I contemplate going to the Y.  I feel beer guilt for a moment.

I think about this life and what we take from it.  I think how we affect others and how they feel by what we say and how we say it. 

Disapproval and distaste has it’s own form of contamination.  It can be like soil soaked in crude oil.

Ride the bull.  Drink the shot.  Wear the beads. Dance with a farmer wearing plaid and a John Deere cap. 

I think of lines drawn in the sand and how we all have our own lines.  I see where my lines are drawn and how sometimes I erase them pushing myself further across them.   I was judging the other women for having their lines drawn miles back.  I justify my reaction because I believe they are missing out on a part of life.  They are happy to miss out.  So rigid in their definitions. 

 

O.K.—-That is their path and their way.

We all draw our own lines. We are free to choose our thoughts.  Thoughts at times, become our actions, which in turn define our character.

I know who I am.  I know who I want to become.  I know what I want to accomplish.  I know with whom I want to spend my time with.   I want to be like Val a person who dares to show up and then sparkles up our night.

I like the person I see in the mirror.  She is a good person.  She likes to laugh and have fun.  She is a good friend and a confidant. She is a good hardworking mother.  She cares about what she does and genuinely likes life and the people in it.

And she is kind to that farmer and she has the moxie to get in and ride a mechanical bull.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Point, set, match.

I loved tennis.  I got to be pretty good at it.  Good enough to walk on and play the last slot on the  local junior college women’s tennis team. I really had no tennis club membership or training.  Just a few sports camps and a few lessons here and there.  I played in high school and my extra forced practices consisted of hitting a ball against our garage door or against a tennis wall. 

It was my mother who discovered the junior college women’s team and suggested I continue to play.  She set up an interview.  The coach allowed me to try out. 

I filled in the last slot securing my place.  I was the worst player on our team. 

In those two years of play I traveled all over the state of Michigan.  Our team won nearly all of our meets.  We were now going to Nationals in Tempe. 

Most of my teammates liked me well enough.  They tolerated my oddness.  I was the smartest on the team and was appointed our official tutor.  My job was to keep our number one and sometimes number two singles player, Kelly, eligible to play.  Coach Nelson pulled me aside and told me he needed me to keep her academically eligible.  Would I help? 

Of course I would. 

I fit this in on top of my part-time job, my studies, and of course, our daily tennis practice. 

My thoughts of Kelly were unkind in this sense: I thought she was unfortunately dumb.  I found myself struggling to give her my respect.  For the most part I did like her.  She was very athletic and pretty.  She was a great tennis star.  But I pitied her.  How could someone be that unbelievably stupid?  On our weekly academic meetings I would assist her with her papers, editing, and asking her questions.  She was truly grateful for my help.  When she gushed and admired me for my smartness —I would feel guilty for all those thoughts I held about her.  I was conflicted. 

After our meetings I often muttered prayers to the Divine: Thank you for not making me stupid.

I wouldn’t have exchanged my academic talents to be better on the court.  I loved tennis more as a social bonding activity.  I also liked the feel of that ball hitting my sweet spot and nailing the back corner of the court.  It felt good when my opponent was unable return it.  Every hit was a mental challenge to see if I could control the ball and put it where I wanted to.  I knew of my limitations.  I had no Wimbledon desires. 

On the team I had created an enemy.  Colleen was slotted number one.  She had a full ride pending at Ferris.  One day coach called her and I up.

“You two are going to match up.”
The whole team was we gotta see this:  This is the biggest joke. 

Coach had full team attention. 

“This is going to be a complete waste of Colleen’s practice time.”  Colleen was talking about herself in the third person.

I am like, “Aww really coach this isn’t necessary.”  But you didn’t talk back to coach. 

I guess I wasn’t as easy to defeat as she or the team thought.   Maybe coach knew this.  In the end she was stronger and more powerful in her strokes and the match ended as predicted.  But my teammates saw parts of our match.  I, in part, had humiliated her.

Her shots were fast and powerful. My returns were calculated and placed.  My serves were extra soft and she couldn’t adjust—she belted them past the back line.  I had her running to the front of the net and placed the ball barely over it–again her power was her weakness.

She wasn’t so quick to adjust.

Eyes become darker and hard–you can see a glint in them when someone becomes pissed.  My apparent smiling did not help the situation.

After the practice session I learned to steer clear of Colleen.  Her verbal jabs were pointed and continual.  I continued to keep my mouth shut.

We made it to Nationals and the school flew us to Tempe, Arizona.  I was slotted to play the last position and I was the only one at the end of the tournament up for a trophy in the finals round.  Coach had promised everyone a trip into Mexico if we finished early (i.e. everyone lost) but I was holding us up.  I pulled coach aside.  “Look I will stay and play—- take them to Mexico.” 

Colleen had never been.  That’s all she talked about.

Coach said “No. you play we stay.”

His reasoning made no sense to me.  I felt my hand was being forced.  I had been to Mexico so many times in my childhood.  I had been to Mexico City and Acapulco in high school.  I really wanted to stay and play. 

My team wanted to go to Mexico.

I was not going to play tennis as a career.  I was going to the University of Michigan.  I had some academic scholarships.  Tennis was a diversion.

The answer was apparent.  My wants were less important.

Many of the girls on my team had never even traveled out of state and if they had it was Florida.

If this is how coach is calling it—- I was throwing the match.

It’s another one of my life’s —“what ifs—why wouldn’t coach give me the space to just be?”

That night it was a full blown bar party. A celebration of the week and season end.  We were going to leave for the border at 9 a.m.  I had never been out this late in the States.  It was dancing and drinks.   

There he was.  Sitting at the bar in the form of a Delta Airline Pilot.  Colleen points him out.  Shouts something his way.

He was game show host handsome.  After a minute of introductions he takes us all in.  He sits across from me.  He wants to know my story.

Colleen’s face turns dark.

Handsome has it’s own form of intoxication.  It’s deceiving, enticing, luring.  I am finding my worth in this man’s attention.   Flattery has it’s own form of currency.  I have never met anyone in real life as handsome as this man.

My experience was limited to boys ranging from eighteen to twenty-two.  I am not really sure what to do.  I don’t know what to do when he is buying us all drinks.  Cool beers loosen inhibitions and tied up tongues.

The reality of a situation becomes real when you find yourself in a hotel room half naked.  He is crooning all sorts of things into my ear.  His words are sickly sweet.  I am feeling this is off—this is way too much sugar. 

True to form, I find myself asking questions: What am I really doing?  Why am I really here?  Isn’t this going on a little far?  I know this is really not what I want.”

I wasn’t afraid of him.  I wasn’t afraid for myself.
(my future self would learn to know this fear)

Funny how such an instantaneous desire lasts as long as a flaming match.  How his words were falling empty and flat.  My thoughts dampen my physical fire.  There are real feelings and repercussions. I was now thinking things through.  I am speaking out loud. 

Then that awkward conversation takes place.

There is that moment I feel guilty, foolish and small. 
There is a moment of his frustration.  There is his apparent resignation to my current stance on this situation. 

Now he tells me about a child and wife in California.
His reaction to my silly rejection. 

It was a sound sigh and click of a light switch. I am putting on my cowboy boots and slipping though that hotel door.

***********************
It’s cool outside and the sky is grey.  In a few hours it will be a ride across the border in a rented team van.  It will be lunch in Mexico.  We will be eating at an out door café. 

I am filling up on tortillas, rice and beans.  I am drinking beers with Kelly and Nikki. 
Colleen continues to shoot me her evil glares. 

For the most part the team is having a wonderful day.

I decide I am really O.K.

I am glad I didn’t play that final match.  I am glad I decided not to stay.

 

 

 

 

Signs.

I was asked at the FBA Christmas gathering if I believed in destiny or in random acts. 
The meeting of a person.  The happening of a thing.

I said, “I am an attorney.  I can skillfully argue both sides.”

But I really think it’s both.  That white floating, Forest Gump, feather.

The predestined plan holds out milestone markers (people, places, events) but it’s hundreds upon thousands of random acts that package and surround them.

I could name events in my life: turtles, dolphins, dreams, a moment in a law library, Sevilla, El Prado, Real Madrid, and Pamplona.  People, places, events all given to me like a necklace of pearls.

Even the horrible and evil moments have a predestined place.  I am filled with an understanding of things that propel me toward other unseen objects.

************************************************

Friday I had a horrible morning.  I had to deal with an attorney I truly dislike.  He is vile and self-serving.  He is everything I think an attorney should not be.  I was choking down tears of frustration.  All the while hating him and what he stands for.  I hate what he is. 
Thinking this has been a real shitty morning and <viola> my parking is suddenly free.

Saturday morning I have breakfast by myself.  The girls are out doing their own thing.  I hate to eat alone.  I am at the Grand Coney thinking how shitty it is that I have to eat breakfast alone.  I am too young to be alone.  I find myself wondering about age.  I wonder how many of these breakfasts I am going to have alone. <Viola> someone pays for my breakfast leaving me with a Merry Christmas note.

I think of the night I met Amy.  I am barely holding on to reasons.  I am hating humanity.  I am not finding any good in anyone.  It doesn’t exist.  On this evening I have a horrible date. <Viola> there stands Amy.

*************************************************    

These perfectly timed moments just when it knew I needed them. 
I am drawing an ice cream float card and we are kids playing candy land.

“Come on, really?”  You ask.

All I know is I am talking in my head and explaining how shitty this all is.  I am not happy here.  This cosmic being is letting me know “Come on, I really am letting you know….”

It is taunting me, pushing me forward, daring me to show it what I’ve got.  I am running a marathon.  I am at mile marker 12.  It decides to give me a small drink of water.

My mouth feels like it’s full of southern cotton.  I hate humanity.  I hate all this worry.  I hate all this responsibility.  I think death would be enticingly peaceful.

It knows I could really use a good night’s sleep. 

But for some stupid reason I know I got something terribly important to do.

And it’s there holding the brass ring. The mega millions lotto sign reads:  202.

He says It’s there, it’s obtainable, it is totally an act that is within my grasp.

O.K. so I will get naked in the back seat of his car. 

Come on then.  Let’s do this. 

I am sticking my tongue out at it.  Give it to me.  Let’s see what is it you’ve got.

I am earning it’s respect. 

It suggests mile markers log persistence. 

Random acts are all in the timing.

The rest of it?  You tell me.

Which is it?

Destiny or random acts

 

 

 

 

The Australian on the elevator.

My mind has wrapped itself around this concept.  It’s a delicious one.  I tell Amy about it.  I talk to my girls about it.  It is a formulation of all my thoughts to present.  I embody these thoughts and experiences into a mental creation.

I know life and I have been a disappointment to my girls.  We don’t have a Christmas tree.  We didn’t send out any cards.  My reasons for this are numerous.  I don’t want to look at all the reasons right now.  I don’t have to. 

I simply find no joy in putting up decorations–it is clutter and work.  Something to put up and then to shortly take down.  I cannot fake it or go through the motions. 

I find my joy at Thanksgiving, Valentine’s day, St. Patrick’s day, Easter and Halloween.  For me, Christmas has too many negative memories.  

I believe my job is to guide these three children into this world the best way I know how.  I am flawed.  I know at times my compass is off.  My perceptions, experiences, moral code, vices, and virtues are pushed upon these kids without their choice or input.  They know I value intelligence, creativity, hard work, and adventure.  They know I value freedom.  At times I am a horrible parent.  I can be scattered, self-absorbed and unreliable.  I say or do things and do not follow though.  I forget and break simple promises.  I forget important events.  They find themselves reminding the parent.  My cooking and cleaning chores are on that back burner.  I am always late. 

They know I would rather read a book, go to the gym, work at the office, work on my projects, or enjoy an activity with them or my friends.  I don’t find any pleasure in domestic chores anymore.  It has disappeared.  I am not sure if and when this joy will ever come back. My girls miss this motherly attention.  They miss my good cooking and the meals.  They miss my domestic time.  They miss the mother I use to be.  I am not sure where she went. I am not sure when this person will come back.  I picture her sad, still sleeping in her bed, not wanting to get up.  She is spent and tired.  She has gained weight and has dark circles under her eyes.

Like all children they focus on what I don’t provide.  Humans have a tendency to fixate on the negative or what is lacking.  My research tells me negative experiences are filed more readily in our brains. 

I cannot be what they want me to be.  I cannot be what they think I should be.  I know parts of them blame me because their father is no longer in their lives.  Pieces of this fault floats through my veins.  It flows out in the normal course of my digestive system.  It’s last night’s alcoholic drink.

Katie has a melt down. I ask her to take on a task she sees as my own. She tells me I am a horrible mother.  She doesn’t know that this is an insecurity I felt the moment I discovered I was pregnant with her.  A fear that entered my soul and left me unable to sleep for four continuous nights.  Something I so desperately wanted became a horrible fear.  My thoughts went dark and they took me to places a Catholic girl is not supposed to go.

Her words confirmed what I knew after her conception. 
I would evoke my own damage on something I so desperately and innately loved.

On this night I sleep well.  I know for the most part I have given her the best that I have got.  Perhaps I have given her too much.  Her reaction is an ungrateful one.  I suppose we both feel unappreciated and non-important.  There is an empty spot in each of us.  I don’t want to guilt her.  I want her to look at herself and her reactions.  To show but not give lectures.  She can share her hate.  I won’t find her disloyal. 

She is speaking the truth as she sees it. In her negativity I see a presentment of an opportunity.  We don’t know what awaits us around that corner.  My solution is simple: work hard, move forward, be a gift to this world (in thought, looks and deed). 

I acknowledge that I am broken.  If I am part of the problem I cannot be her answer.
I can’t solve equations I myself don’t understand.  She has to begin to try and figure it out.

It is no secret that at times I am very lonely. The girls know I fight off my own demons and depression.  I have made difficult choices.  It appears I don’t like to take the easy way out. 

I am too real.  I cannot close my eyes.  I do not find joy in this type of conquest.  These near kisses (the passing of smooth lips near mine), his phone number thrust and then crumpled into my sweaty hand and suggestions of a breakfast are taunting.  His words do not lure me even when stirred and mixed with alcohol.  I can’t deny that these public moments are not fun.  On the surface they are flirtatious and exciting.  I know how this ends behind closed doors.  I would have nothing to say to him in the morning.  I would be groping for my bra and my boots.  I would be left feeling more distant and alone.  I would hate myself on my car ride home.

As a writer I know the idea of this flirtation is more delicious than an empty reality. Fiction is always more fun than non-fiction.

This is not the road to any opportunity.  These are diversions that take me off course and off of a focused path.  I am not going to chase a shiny ball or waste my time on empty conversation.

My thoughts will become deeds.  These deeds will be successes.  I know this like I know how to breathe.  My wants will be filled because I will keep searching until they are.  

When it is time opportunity will present himself.  I know he will be in some unknown building at some undisclosed hour.  There is no telling when.  Those elevator doors will open. He will be right there.  He will look up and our gazes will lock.  He is rugged and wears faded jeans.  He has that sexy stubble.  His hand grabs mine.  I know there will be morning laughter and conversation.  He won’t need space.  He has more than he needs.  There is no sacrificing of anything.  There is no need  for any forced or ritualistic offerings.  We don’t care what button to push or what floor we get off.  He would miss his plane.  Everyone knows I would pack my bags and get on one.

He is out there.  I just need to be positive and persistent.  It’s all in the timing.

Their eyes roll when I tell my girls this story.  Their messed up mother is telling them a story about opportunity.  I let them know you never know when and where it will be.  You can only work on yourselves and prepare for it.  You will want to be put together.  Focus on being smart and savvy.  Learn that second and third language.  Turn off that T.V.  Go, do and be.  Write, compose, and paint.  Travel, look and see.  Work hard and I don’t want excuses.  Figure out what it is you need to do.  Find what it is you love.  I tell them don’t settle.  Don’t be afraid to learn and fend for yourselves.  If you are unhappy figure out why.  Change it.  Do it.  Be what you have or need to be.

I am not your scapegoat.  I am not your fatted calf.

He will be worth it.  That Australian man is out there.  Go, search and find your elevator.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Presentation.

I love my parents. 

I try to analyze this paternal relationship.  When I do I lose myself.  I cannot dissect myself completely from it.  Even if I want to.

When I was young I tried everything in my power to please them. 

On one hand they are structured, kind, good, conservative and moral.  On the other hand they are racist, judgmental, non tolerant, and hard on their children. 

They are pull yourself up by your own boot straps kind of people. 

Hoe your own row kind of people. 

There are unwritten rules and codes.  Facial expressions and hand gestures.  Their words and certain tones have their own hidden meanings. 

As with anything, I am liked when I am agreeable or when I comport.  

**************************

The first time my husband hit me— it was in the face.  He knocked me to the floor. 

I learned people do see stars. 

In his defense he used an open hand.  (If it had been closed I am not so sure I would ever have gotten back up)

This was after he tried to throw me down the stairs.  This was after he dragged me through the living room.  This was after he tore off my sweater. 

The babies were both barely sleeping.  It was about 2 a.m.

We had gotten home from a long day visiting his family.  Baby Sarah was stressed from all the activity.  She threw up in her car seat.  It was too late for us to be out with them.

I was told to shut up about it.

I was told to go downstairs and to wash the car seat clean.

I told him, “No.”  It’s 2:00 a.m. it can wait until morning.”

*****************************

This is when I think about the “what ifs”.  What if I just respected my husband and did what I was told?  If I had just resigned myself to keep the peace.

But on this night I was tired of keeping peace.  I was tired of doing as told.

This wasn’t the first time he had been horribly mean to me. 

I snapped back: “You can’t make me.”

That night I called the police. He fled the home.  I called my parents.  I wanted to come home with my babies.

Their answer: “No.”
A few days after the incident they took us both out to dinner to discuss the situation.  He is your husband.  This is your bed.  You made it.  Our home is no longer your home.  You have no place here.  You two work it out.  You have your children.

I know them and I know their thoughts:  What would the family think?  What would our friends and neighbors think?  Jodi doesn’t have a decent job.  The children are both in diapers.  It will inconvenient.  It will be crowded.  This is an ugly situation, she created it, she needs to figure it out.

All this is and was complicated.  There is more to this story.  I don’t feel like looking at it.  I don’t want to write about it now.

I  understand things I don’t want my girls to understand.
******************************************************************************

Today I break down and I ask them for a small favor.  Our firm needs to get rid of 200 old client boxes.  I want to burn them out on their land.  It is private and safe.  It will save us a lot of money.  It’s a project I want to get done.

I ask again and again—“Are you sure it is going to be O.K.” 

Their response:  “Of course, come out it is fine.  It is more than O.K.”

But now they are saying that they didn’t think it through.  The job appears bigger than described. 

I see them.  They are worried about presentation.  The images.  No thoughts beyond their retirement world.  No thoughts beyond them.  No thoughts of me, my worries or my work load.  My father so angry and upset.  This pile of ash is making a huge mess.  He is going to have to clean it up.  This is unacceptable.   This is a big inconvenience.  This wind is going to blow the papers.  It is going to rain and it will be a cardboard and paper-mache mess.  I am not burning the boxes the right way.  I should have started this project hours ago.  I am doing it all wrong.  I am dumping this project onto him.  My mother seems to agree.
 
I am thinking:  Forget we were supposed to visit, drink beer and eat some brats.  I am here.  Love and spend time with me.  Who cares about this ugly mess.  These trivial worries.  I never asked you to do this.  This is mine.  I just needed your privacy and open space.  These are just boxes and we are just burning them.

An easy simple project turns into my father shaking with anger.  My mother defending my father.  It is an ugly family scene.

The harsh words were spoken and exchanged.  I am looking at trees and a lonely fire pit.  There is no one really around on this 17 acre site.  I cry hot tears of frustration.  I slap them from my cheek.  These tears are not just about a bunch of boxes.  They spring from a well deeper than any disappointment or hurt.

I tell my father, “Go into the house and leave me alone.  Be quite and don’t speak further to me.” 

I stay until 2:00 a.m. burning and cleaning up a mess that only racoons and birds will really see. 

I drink the beer by myself.  My arms and back ache from raking and turning the piles of ash.  Campfire smoke coats my sweater, my jeans, my hair.  I smell of crushed oak, paper and pine.  I am dirty and filthy.  My nose is caked with soot.  I feel it lined in my ears.  The cold wind whips up some flaming papers.  The wood pops and cracks. The burning carbon floats out and is filled with tiny red holes.   The blackened paper floats higher looking like hot red bugs or a new species of night butterflies.   The trees are so black against this dark hue of blue.  The moon and clouds are a chalky dull white.  The stars look like dots of shiny ice.

Coyotes howl. 

This is so quiet, beautiful and peaceful.

(I can only use my words to show it to you)

I think: Leave these old people to their simple worries of presentation.   

I would rather feel and be as deep and dark as this sky.  I want those hot red bugs to fly as far as they may into this night.   This cool air, as fresh and cold as any distant moon, is kissing those hot licking flames.

The night and I know things. 

Yes, I drink a toast to their silly and insignificant worries. 
 

 

Judgmental

I am a hypocrite and a snot. 

Last winter the girls and I gave a homeless man hot cider and a sandwich.  After he drank the cider he proceed to wet himself.  Then he cried.  The witnessing of this event was a raw and difficult one.  On the car ride home my sick and demented humor came out.  It was necessary for me to pop that balloon of tension.  An observer of our laughter would have been appalled.

I completely understood what was happening and why.

Today it was my 300 lb client who failed to shower, wore inappropriate tight fitting clothes (that  exposed her lower giblets) and had horrible breath.  Her ex, pierced and tattooed, was shortly thereafter escorted to jail.

The whole time all I could think about was their presentation.  There is no effort.  No outward physical pride.  No effort at bettering themselves educationally.  Poor, uneducated, and dirty.  I was judging them as individuals and as caretaker parents. 

I wouldn’t let them raise my cat.

Today I am clean, styled and manicured.

I don’t want her hand to touch mine.  I don’t want him too close to me up at that podium. But I took her money and am working for her.  I think I am better than she is.  I know I am better than she is.  On the outside I try to treat everyone with dignity and respect.  My thoughts are less than kind. 

She is a fat, lazy, idiot. 

There I wrote it.

I am so glad these people are not my people.  These people are my people. 

The rich and famous have to be guilty of this.  An immense ego of grandiosity.  Cars, money, looks, jewelry, things that define them.  Exceptional talents that set them apart from others. 

Judging on outward appearances, outward successes, and individual work effort and credentials.

I am sorry I have these thoughts.  I am not sorry I have these thoughts.  These thoughts intrigue me.  These random explorations.  I evaluate myself based upon them.  I see this ugly side.  I make myself promise that I will continue to do my best on every case regardless of the outward and inner qualities of my client.  I will let my thoughts run out and then down that drain.  I will continue to be critical of others and myself.  But my humor is mine and it gets me through.  I am not going to apologize for my choice of self-medication.

I wonder about these thoughts especially when I enter that back room at the water cooler and those $300.00 an hour attorneys look at my Kohl’s shoes and JCPenny slacks.  They won’t take my judgements because they are not drafted on water marked paper.  My Toyota doesn’t compare to their Porsche.  I don’t get to play golf with the judge or have lavish parties on the firm yacht  My conference room doesn’t support a glass coffee table with ten $500.00 chairs.  I am not invited to their homes or to their parties.

Nor would I go. 

They want to define me.  I see them look at me like I look at her giblet.

They are not better than me.  They are better than me.  No, wait, we are exactly the same. 

This life full or irony and satire.  We play our parts well.

It’s after days like these.  I just want to write and to be alone.  I don’t like humanity much.  It seems little tolerance and even less honor surrounds me. 

I don’t much like myself. 

I discover I like my fellow man even less.

But I go home and there is laughter.  My girls are waiting for me.  They are beautiful in every way.  They are my contribution to this messed up world.  Tokens of goodness, laughter and light. 

These creatures make up for all my faults. They are my motivation to try harder. 
I will do even better.

Like a work of art it’s all just progress.

I recognize it for exactly what it is.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Stupid like lists

This time of year I think it standard practice for most people to reflect on their blessings.  It is so easy to wallow in sadness.  It’s easy to obsess or contemplate on what one doesn’t have. 

I, too, am guilty of this behavior. 

I didn’t ask for my hardships (if you can even call them that) or these struggle laddened scrolls.  When I look at what I have compared to others around me I should be shamefully lashed.

It’s true—- I am that spoiled teenaged brat.

Maybe it is human behavior to focus and remember the negative.  To pick something apart leaving a near perfect experience flawed. 

Sometimes I wonder what it would be like to not exist.  To never have been.  To just not be.  There can be no worry or hardship in any of that.  To be off a hook I never asked to be on.

The if only, the only if, the I wish I hads, the I wants, and the I woulds —pop up and out— like evil green gremlins.

My unrest pushes me forward in positive directions most of the time.  I can obtain these things I desperately want though hard work and persistence (I do believe this).  I have been guilty of hitting the whiskey when I have been really lazy and low.  I allow myself these moments to slip up.  I am flawed and recognize it.  I am smart enough to know Motrin is always waiting for me the next morning.  It doesn’t happen often— and now— rarely ever at all.

I was rummaging through my writing.  I have projects that are taking shape.  I can see what they might become.  I am getting excited.  This weekend I ran across my list of “old likes”.  I drafted these when I was at my low.  I am amazed at how many of these items focus on my physical warmth and comfort.  I wonder if this is the same for mankind. 

To obsess and focus on how the outside world treats us.

I had a client in my office that was in such a bad state.  I remembered my “like assignment”  so I gave her the same one.  I tell her to go home and to write me a list.  I hope when she is done writing it she will see how ridiculous she is. 

I hope it will help her.

So in my moment of despair and stupid human condition this was it—this was my pathetic list: 

I like hot baths with lots of bubbles
I like day old lasagna and spaghetti
I like wine and tea lights
I like dinner with friends
I like high heels
I like being a mother and glad that I am
I like the sound of my children’s laughter
I liked my grandfather’s whiskers on my cheek
I like a good book
I like how I feel after running three miles
I like being in shape and thin
I like my Rockford office
I like ponchos and turtle necks
I like vacation adventures
I like children

I like a neat and orderly home
I like a legal challenge
I like to dance
I like flowers
I like that my loved ones spoil me on my birthday
I like most perfume
I like fine jewelry (even though I don’t have much)
I like my well worn shoes
I like my well worn jeans
I like my Picasso print
I like Katie’s art and her giggle
I like Jackie’s smile and sweet goodness
I like Sarah’s focus, drive and sensitivity
I like that my father is soft
I like that my mother is hard and predictable
I love my sister and her open home and heart
I love babies
I love the beach
I love warmth
I love feeling cherished and safe
I love sharing ideas and discussing all sorts of topics with my friends
I love live music
I love lots of good food at a cheap locale

I love the smell of a new car

I love Chicago

I love Vitale’s pizza

I love to flirt
I love butterflies and fireflies
I love when he opens the car door
I love a big soft and comfy bed
I like the silver rings I bought in Mexico
I like the necklace my friends bought me in Spain
I like my timeshare
I like my crappy little car
I love my friends
I like that unexpected good things come my way without my asking
I like that I am smart
I like soft blankets
I like helping people I don’t know
I like being a lawyer
I like my office staff
I like makeup
I love music
I love road trips
I love experiencing new people and things
I like the feeling of fear and the adrenalin rush that comes from jumping out of a plane 
I like a back rub with baby oil
I like spoiling the girls
I like learning about gardening
I like that I can speak Spanish
I like hot coffee with milk and sugar (even better with whipped cream and chocolate drizzle)
I like it when I can be just me
I like it when I am understood
I like the truth even if it is ugly
I like to laugh
I like smart and witty people

I love fall and hot cider

I like white rice swimming in salt and melted butter

I like nachos and cheese

I like the scar on my face

 

 

 

Thanksgiving

I woke up this morning exhausted.  My feet and back ache. 
I put 26 hours in at my second job.

I love this soreness.  I love this exhaustion.  I love my weird broken life. 
I like that extra paltry pay check.

I woke up thinking that I haven’t been this happy for a very long time. 
I feel peace and freedom.  I am surrounded by fun and laughter.
We are planning another adventure.

(The state of Colorado and it’s rapid rivers are calling)

It seems like eons ago.  Another lifetime perhaps.  It feels like that past life didn’t really belong to me.

I am awake and it’s quiet.  There is no shouting, there is no yelling, there is no throwing or the smashing of my things.  I can sleep all day if I want.

(I do it on purpose:  I can sprinkle all the sugar I want on top of our counter-tops).

I don’t have bruises from his nasty pinch marks on my arms.  I don’t have his hand prints on my legs or thighs.  I don’t have to worry about keeping his anger from my family or the girls.  I am not scrubbing mud (he purposely trapsed) out of our expensive white carpet.  I don’t have to paint, cook or iron at 2 a.m. to get “my” domestic chores done.  I don’t have to eat left overs.   I don’t have to worry about a male store clerk giving me too much attention or looking at an attractive man too long.  I don’t have that sick feeling in my stomach or any shortness of breath when I hear his tone.  I can bring office work home.  I can talk to whomever I want on my phone.

I am making slow and steady progress on paying down my personal debt.  It feels good.  I have this profound sense of accomplishment.  I am more than happy to pay. 

(I giggle.  He didn’t know I would have paid ten times ten)

 *****************************************************************************

I received an e-mail last week.  My parents are millionaires.  They are coming into more money.  They allude or suggest I that I will receive something. 

They want me to do some legal research and tax planning.   I am not sure if they promise something because they feel guilty about asking me for my legal help. 

I love them and would do it for free. 

I know my mother is thinking about death.  Her sister is now facing it.

I secretly fear their money.  I see their strings.  I am not a marionette.

I don’t want my newly freed spirit to be jarred, canned or trapped.  I don’t want contradictions.  I don’t want to be compromised.

******************************************************************************

I wouldn’t say “yes” to my Alec. 

(I too have buried my own sorrow) 

His gives glass beads and blankets full of small pox. 

******************************************************************************

For some strange reason I have to be true to this spirit.  
This inbred pride. (I like to think it comes from some Celtic clannish code).

This wind and strong breeze now send me westward. 

Colorado calls.

 

 

 

S. P. A. C. E.

My ex-husband would tell you that I am a very selfish person.  I am sure that he is right.  In this life I have been horribly selfish in many different ways.  I am not really into self-sacrificing.  I find that behavior leaves me emotionally unwell.  I would try my best at compromises letting him know what I would or wouldn’t do.  What I could and couldn’t do.

Friendships and love affairs are never altruistic.

I want to be happy and fulfilled.  This is such a complicated topic.  Happy and fulfilled can change on given days.  But I am really not that complex.  My existence is often validated when I solve client problems, get my hot bath, help my children with their homework, eat a good hot meal and receive an e-mail from a man I truly adore. 

These men are hard for me to find.  Maybe it’s my birth order, my zodiac sign, the waves, the moon or the tide.

I have no idea.  I don’t know what it is.  I don’t know why. 

I am hunting for rare finds.

********************************************

This one tells me he has this need for space. 

********************************************

I know what this usually means to others when I ask for it. 

1.  It’s an excuse for a conversation I don’t really want to have. 

or

2. It’s really just a request for something I really need.

If it’s an excuse it is usually because, in my soul, I believe the person is another toxic monkey. I am looking for something more evolved.   Someone I don’t want to shield from my family.  My body becomes tense.  They are too numerous to count:  Slackers, drug users, racists, sexists, non-tolerants, unethicals, and just plain liars.  I have no time or room for these kind of men in my life.  I am not physically attracted.  I am not intellectually attracted.  I don’t need much time with them to figure them out.  

My body and mind tell me “no.” 

But if this need is a pure one I can identify and respect it. 

I asked for space when I was at the University of Michigan.  That was simply arranged with a predetermined time for a late night phone call.  It was a date night every other weekend.  The rest I filled with massive amounts of studying, homework, term papers, working two jobs and going out with my girl-friends. 

I thought very little about his need to see me.  I mean, after all, I was very busy.  His need was not the same as mine.  I didn’t fully understand it.  I had things to accomplish.  I didn’t understand why he didn’t see there was just no time or desire for someone else.  He was it.  But I still had other things that I needed to do.
 
This marriage became a lock box.  I was slowly suffocating and didn’t even realize it.  Instead of granting me my need for space it was constantly being crammed full for his storage.  There were always his projects and demands.  I faced constant conflict and tension when I expressed my need or want of getting rid of his clutter.  Everything became a fight or heated argument.  I was just caving to maintain a simple family peace.  I had to kick and claw for everything and anything else.  My space was filled with his clutter and household crap.

I needed to be with other people.  I needed time with my parents.  I needed time with my girl friends.  I needed time with my sister.  I needed time to fill my mind with more knowledge.  I needed time to spend donating my resources to the needy.  I needed time to be by myself.  I needed time just to cuddle, hold and care for the babies.  I needed time to write and work on projects.

When I told him these things he became hurt and angry.  I was constantly reminded that “he” should be my focus.  My time was reworded and reworked into a definition of “his” time.  He was feeling unimportant.  I was feeling like his maid and his prostitute.

I would try to explain that he was my focus.  That he was important.  But that I just had these other things to do.  That I needed this time and space to be just me. 

I felt if he really cared and loved me he would understand. 

Unhappiness is as dark and empty as a lock box

I am fully aware that I am responsible for my emotional health, well being, and intellectual development.  I don’t look to others to shoulder that.  There are people I find I adore.  There are people that I find truly black and ugly.  I was tired of being responsible for his emotional well being.  I was tired of being the source of his unhappiness.

********************************************

Today, I am standing on life’s sidewalk.  I want to spend more time with the one I adore. 

Now he is requesting space.  I need to understand his reasons for it.  Is it an excuse?  Is it a true need?

I am closing my eyes.

He can fly his kite in the vast blue sky filled with puffy white clouds.  I want to watch unpinned butterflies.  There won’t be a field of fireflies to put in any jar.  It’s open beach.  It’s an open ocean. 

This vast need for a freedom to express.  This need to be surrounded by other forms and people.  This need to be exposed to other adventures and experiences.

I don’t want any locks.  I don’t want to hold any keys.  I know what it feels like to be in a lock box.

He shall have his needed space and I will become a better person for it.