catelin: (greenwoman)
( Sep. 15th, 2007 09:54 am)
Your feet will bring you to where your heart is. –Irish proverb of which my grandmother was particularly fond.


I have been guarded about writing in specifics about my personal life for quite some time, as keeping a journal over several years will eventually embarrass the shit out of you when you look back at how earnest you were every time you thought something was a certain way only to find out you were mistaken. I’m not one for deleting or privatizing entries. I always leave them. Whether this is from a sense of duty to live my life as openly and honestly as I can or simply a way to secretly punish myself for the stupidities of my past, I cannot say. I like to think it’s the former, though. Still, I have learned to write about things in less concrete ways, so as not to risk committing myself to yet another publicly documented blunder. It's taken me a while to decide what I've wanted to say about this. Even when I decided I should say something, I wasn't sure how to express it in a way that would do it justice. But here goes...I’m going to write about this beautiful place to which my feet have brought me because I can't imagine not documenting the one time I've finally gotten it right.

Movement has been a theme in my life, in ways both big and small, since I was born. I come from a family of nomadic people, immigrants of both choice and necessity. I moved around a lot as a child, and I kept that movement going even as an adult. I would light in a place for a few years and then pick up and begin following the trail to something better again and again. Something better. I was always looking for that. I had love in my life, my two beautiful children, my friends, my family, my funky little house in the hill country. Even with all that, I was lonely. It sounds awful and selfish to say that, but it’s the truth. I had always grown up believing that there was a mate to my soul out there. The whole corny enchilada of lover/best friend/meant-to-be…I held tenaciously to my faith in his existence for years and years. And then, after years of “close but not quite” and especially after my divorce, I gave up on that notion for the most part and put it away.

I figured that maybe I was wrong, maybe there wasn’t really anything or anyone out there that could make a person feel universally answered and justified just by showing up and opening their arms. Even if there were such a thing, I thought, I’d missed it somehow. I was too old. I was simply going to have to be grateful for all the gifts I had in my life, which were no small thing by anyone’s estimation, and get on with living the best way that I knew how. I hated whiners, so I didn't want to be one. I would have to make my peace with being by myself. I knew I was up to the task. I’d always been a loner, from the time I was a child. Being by myself was a skill that the movement in my life had taught me. I was good at it. I was proficient at not needing anyone but myself, and it was something that I did even when I had lovers. I never let myself forget for a second that I was alone. I never felt “not alone” even when I was in love, and the movement drove me away from those loves because it was fed by that tiny but persistent desire for the silly, impossibly romantic enchilada.

Then, when I least expected it, he showed up and he opened his arms. I won’t write about him in specifics, as he is a much more private person than I am in all sorts of ways; but I will tell you that he is the person I was missing. What I have ever thought or written about love has suddenly become so small. Because it’s so much bigger than what I ever thought it could possibly be, and it makes so much more sense than I could have ever previously imagined. And I knew it from the second I looked at him and he looked at me. It was just like that. As goofy as it sounds, it was exactly like that. I knew that I would never leave him and that I would love him for the rest of my life. My dad asked me how I knew. I told him that, from the first time he’d held my hand, I’d never felt like I was by myself. It’s as simple and wonderful as that; the whole corny enchilada is real and infinite. So the movement in my life makes sense to me now, because it was always to this place where my heart is, to this place where his arms are open and he is smiling at me, to this place where he holds my hand and we always move together.
catelin: (Default)
( Jan. 11th, 2006 10:52 am)
I’ve been making my peace lately with something so profoundly difficult and painful that it’s taken over a year to even be able to talk about it. I finally have had to let go of the idea that I will be going back to my old job. When I left Texas, I left behind a career as a senior felony prosecutor at an office that I loved. One of my best friends took over my position, and I was happy to know that my cases were being looked after by someone I trusted to do a good job. Even after I left, I still had people calling me for advice on cases. I still worked on appeals when they needed me. I still talked to everyone and knew what was going on from day to day. I still was connected, even from over a thousand miles away.

I came back and went into private practice out of necessity. I had a house payment to make, children to provide for, and no other real choice for a way to make a living and still have something that looked like my former life. I have done well enough. Still, I have spent the last year or so with one foot in my old world. I suppose that was to be expected. Most of my best friends still work at the D.A.’s office and my own cases take me there at least a few times a week. I walk by my old office and see my things still there—my old Persian rug, my silly Saturday Night Fever light switch on the wall, all the various odds and ends that I left to mark my place in some way. I still go out to lunch with everyone just like when I worked there, I still banter with my old boss, I go to the conferences with all of my old friends. It’s like I never left. Except I am not there.

So I’ve lived and worked every day with this awful yearning to be part of my past. I’ve watched people move up and around, knowing that if I’d stayed I would have likely been at the top of the small county ladder. I have felt stupid for leaving and too proud to ever admit to anyone how much I missed it, how much I missed the work and the rhythm of it all. There are only a couple of people who know how much I’ve wished things could go back to the way they were. There hasn’t been a day when I didn’t think about it. I really was making myself sick about it—resenting each new hire, trying their cases in my head like a sad little armchair quarterback.

But the truth is, you can’t go back…not to any place that you’ve already been. Even if I got a call tomorrow offering me my old job, it wouldn’t be my old job. It would be something entirely different from what it was, something entirely different from what I remember. The reality of it would probably be a bitter disappointment compared to the version of the job that I’ve held in my head all these months.

I realize now that it’s time to let go of my past and move ahead. What I’ve been doing to myself isn’t healthy or fair…it’s been very much like sleeping with an ex-lover just often enough to keep old wounds from healing. It’s time to put my whole heart into what I’m doing now. It’s hard to let go of something that I loved so much, but it’s time. I’m more than a little disappointed with myself that it’s taken me so long to move on from all this. I have been so blind to the benefits of what I have now that I’m ashamed to have not appreciated it more. I don’t have to stop loving what I did, but I have to put it where it belongs—in the past—so I can get on with the present. I’m lucky to have so many beloved old lives to look back on. I’m blessed to have the opportunity for new lives ahead of me that I can’t even yet imagine. I don't have to let go of the people, but I have to let go of that place in my memory where we were all together in a certain way. I have to let all of us find our new ways to be with one another. Spring will be here soon as a physical reminder that things begin again and again. And so will I, begin again, with who I was in better perspective with who it is I am becoming.
catelin: (pallasathena)
( Oct. 21st, 2005 10:26 am)
I drink my morning coffee in the cool morning air and mull over all of my failures, large and small. It is the season of ghosts and this is what I do. It is a time when I regret not having the necessary language to describe what it is that I secretly wish for, even for myself. October's moon for me is the Riddle Moon. It is the time when I feel the need to figure something out, to name the secret name, to find the answer to a question I cannot articulate. How can I ever hope to find something so abstract that there is no word I know for it? This is always the difficulty I wrestle as the first hints of fall creep up to my doorstep each year. I miss my grandmothers and I prepare for the loss of my only living grandparent. He'll go soon. He told me as much the last time I spoke to him. I tell him there are still things left to do and he gently reminds me that some things will have to be done without him. My mother is the one I worry about most. She minimizes her connections to people so the losing them won't be so hard. I know this about her because it is in this that we are most alike.

October makes me lonely. It is the month when I am acutely aware of the consequences of my solitary nature. Whether it is a person, place, or particular state of mind that would fulfill me, I am at a loss for it in October. In October, I pay the price for being who I am. It is the month where I have to admit to myself that, in spite of the lovely glimmers of understanding here and there, I have yet to find another person who sees all of me. Is it only a matter of language? Is it a matter of recognizing the right sound or inflection? Is it a particular smell or feeling? Or a particular chain of events that will open my eyes to whatever it is I feel has eluded me? The only thing that does not change is my obstinate determination to be watchful for something that I'm not sure even exists. The only thing that has changed is that I am even more impatient with the false starts and missteps to which I have subjected myself and others in my efforts to put a name to what it is I secretly want to find...or what it is I want to find me.

At the same time, this is the month where I am at my best and most connected with everything I love. I never fail to recognize the fullness of this life I am living, even with all its ghosts. I suppose I am no different than anyone else. Our lives are complex and bittersweet chimeras, pieced together from everything that we have and everything we don't. We probably all try, in one way or another, to search out that Rumplestiltskin moment, where we whisper just the right words to make everything finally fall into place.
I'm cleaning tonight. My house is a wreck most of the time. One of the drawbacks of being a single mom....I get to do ALL of the housecleaning without any help or cheering on. It's when I'm cleaning that I sometimes wonder if I've missed out by turning down offers of marriage and otherwise. I think of how nice it would be to, just once in a blue moon, have someone else take out the trash or fold the laundry. Someone to help me put the sheets on the bed, someone to cook breakfast with on Sunday mornings. I look around my house some nights and just want to burst into tears from how much I have to do. It would be nice to have someone that would tell me, "Hey, don't worry. We'll do it together." So that's what I think of...and then, when I'm done feeling sorry for myself, I move on to other things---like:

--Am I the only woman my age who still wears an apron around the house?

--The Remains of the Day is probably one of the saddest movies I've ever seen...that part where she moves to see what he's reading...it breaks my heart.

--I need to paint my toenails. Poor upkeep of the pedicure is a sign I'm falling apart here.

--Should I call him? Should I not call him? Or should I wait for him to call me? Keeerrrrist! I am such a dork!

--Is that another grey hair???

--I've got the perfect ending for that short story that's been languishing for the last few weeks.

--I'm going to take a nice long walk across the dam with my kids tomorrow.

--And I'm going to figure out where I hid that plane ticket from myself!! I hate when I do that!!

--I'm going to Seattle to visit Shae. Emergency Friend First-Aid, you know. : ) I'm completing a circle in a lot of ways...someone reached out and helped me years back when I was caving in on myself. Now it's my turn to repay the kindness that saved me so long ago. Gotta call my mom and figure out how soon I can get out there.

--Trial coming up in a couple of weeks.

--They took a biopsy from a spot near my collar bone yesterday. I won't find out anything until next week. I'm not that worried....no point in worrying. So I won't.

--The boys are being so good tonight. It's too quiet...which means I probably need to see what they're up to!!!

And now I must go scrub the toilets! I don't need a husband. I need a maid!! ; )
catelin: (Default)
( Mar. 15th, 2001 01:16 pm)


The Street
A long silent street.
I walk in blackness and I stumble and fall
and rise, and I walk blind, my feet
stepping on silent stones and dry leaves.
Someone behind me also stepping on stones, leaves:
if I slow down, he slows;
if I run, he runs. I turn: nobody.
Everything dark and doorless.
Turning and turning these corners
which lead forever to the street
where nobody waits for, nobody follows me,
where I pursue a man who stumbles
and rises and says when he sees me: nobody.
---Octavio Paz
catelin: (Default)
( Feb. 28th, 2001 07:05 pm)
It may be the season...the waiting for spring...but I find myself full of desires lately. I am longing to:

--grow violets on my windowsill
--take long baths in the middle of the day
--write a novella
--rollerskate on my lunch break
--kiss someone until the sun comes up on our swollen lips
--have a secret to keep
--wear dangerous lipstick
--start a lifelong correspondence with someone so that when we are gone our letters will be left for others to gasp and wonder over
--cut my hair
--dance in the moonlight
--catch some rainwater
--languish on a divan
--buy some reeeeeally high heels
--drink mead and tell stories
--meet a tall dark stranger

For now I'll have to be satisfied with buying a new pair of glasses...fucking compromises.
catelin: (Default)
( Feb. 8th, 2001 07:50 pm)
Probably spurred on by the approaching holiday, a friend of mine who believes herself to be the consumate matchmaker of all time told me that I needed to send her my laundry list of 20 "ideal man for me" traits. (I suspect she's been reading some sort of go-out-and-git-yerself-a-man book.) So, for the sake of getting her off my back for a while, this is what I sent:

1. Someone as smart or smarter than me. Someone who likes to read more than just the newspaper.

2. Age group: Five years on either side of my own.

3. Someone who is not raising children, who does not want any more children, but who has no problem with mine. (That's usually the dealbreaker.)

4. Someone with no freaky ex's, hang-ups about ex's, or ex's who are not really ex's.

5. No drug users, alcoholics, or men with criminal histories.

6. Someone with an expansive sense of humor.

7. Someone who likes to travel.

8. Someone who is spiritual, but not dogmatically religious. (Pagan tendencies are a definite plus.)

9. Someone who is not in therapy...of any kind.

10. Someone who has a semi-normal relationship with their parents, or who is an amazingly well-adjusted orphan.

11. Someone who likes to be outdoors and do outdoorsy things: e.g. gardening, camping, fishing, swimming, etc.

12. Someone with all their teeth or reasonable facsimiles thereof.

13. Someone who would be willing to relocate. I've moved enough...I'm staying here.

14. Someone who wants to buy an old barn and convert it into a house.

15. Someone who likes to ride horses.

16. Someone who is kind to animals and people.

17. Someone who loves living in the country but likes to visit the city.

18. Some liberal arts background would be nice, but not absolutely necessary.

19. Someone who earns about the same or more than me.

20. Someone who is optimistic and good-natured.

So I'll let her do the looking for me...most days I'd be happy just to find a man to take the trash out every other day...but a gal's gotta have standards. ; )
catelin: (Default)
( Jan. 28th, 2001 02:09 pm)
Last night at dinner a man said this about his wife
(who wasn't there) to his friends:

"You know, we've been married over thirty years and sometimes
at night I wake up wanting to turn her over so I can check
for wings, because I think that she must be an angel."

It made me want to cry in my soup.
.

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