catelin: (cowgirl)
( Apr. 8th, 2008 07:59 am)
In a not surprising synchronicity with the sun, [personal profile] notwolf , I am trying to grasp the crazy-quilt universal weave of good/bad/ugly that life can sometimes be.  Biopsy today, needles in my left breast and holding my breath for two days to see what comes next.  Otherwise, my life if full of sunflowers, gardening, work, my beautiful children and my beloved.  He's here, for the most part, with some loose ends to tie up but we are laying our heads down together each night and smiling at one another each morning.  So this time, I'm refusing to give in to my fear of the other shoe...you know, the one with dog shit on the sole that drops as you merrily roll along?  I worked too hard to come to this happiness and I will not let it go without a bloody fight.  I am living proof that love can make a person fearless--not because of him but because of the journey and experiences that brought me to him.  He made sense of those.  He made sense of everything, even what I could not.  So I may hold his hand a little tighter when I close my eyes for the next couple of days, but I will not let go of the certainty that I am finally and exactly where I need to be.
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I'll be forty-four years old next Sunday. I don't know why, but every time I think of this birthday and its number I picture 44 blackbirds flying out of a pie. It's an odd age, 44...so close to 45 and 45 being almost fifty. Weird. I don't feel old. I do feel wise, after a fashion. And happy. Not even happy, so much more than happy. I am blissful.

I got a big promotion at work that came with a fancy schmancy new title. I have a new attorney working with me. Everyone is very happy with the change and feels like the cases are now being handled better. I think I did the right thing in accepting the position. I'm the Chief of the Family Justice Division. See? I told you it was fancy! It's still all the same Creeps & Perverts cases, but the name sounds so much more civilized.

In other news, my man gave me the best Valentine's day gift ever last month--a beautiful new sewing machine. It wasn't anything I was expecting, but it was more perfect than he could have ever imagined. It was the ultimate gift for a holiday marking love. Sewing, for me, is so connected to both of my grandmothers, how they loved me and how much they taught me. When I sit at a sewing machine and work, I can picture both of them sitting there next to me, heads nodding, both of them smiling at how much I can do now. It may seem silly that sitting at a sewing machine binds me to that wonderful universal light--call it love, grace, god, whatnot--but it does. It conjures every good thing I ever had in my life that is related to being loved and loving without reserve. I'd never talked about this with him, so it wasn't anything intentional. But whether happy accident or intuition, it was one of those sublime acts that struck such a heart chord in me that I wanted to melt. I sure do love him.

Last week we drove in a borrowed pick-up to the boonies south of San Antonio and picked up some wrought iron patio furniture. Next week we're heading out on a road trip to the bayou country of southern Louisiana for my birthday. Spring is going to be a season of all sorts of movement and travel, but home for both of us is becoming the little house here at the lake and that makes me grin like a kid.
catelin: (glasses)
( Dec. 31st, 2007 03:04 pm)
Expect nothing. Live frugally on surprise.—Alice Walker

I have been thinking a lot the last few days about expectations and the nature of desire. I have long struggled with both concepts and sitting here on the edge of one year looking to another seems a good time to shake a few things out of my head.

I have always lived, as I guess most others have, fueled by varying mixtures of cynicism and hope. Even as I made my peace with what I could not or would not have in my life, I still always kept some secret little seeds of hope to myself. I could never bring myself to truly expect nothing. I did the next best thing. I learned to expect, for myself, very little. Note that I say for myself, not from myself. From myself, I expected everything. From myself, I expected the super human. From myself, I expected to never fail or be afraid. From myself, I expected to never be weak or let anything hurt me. From myself, I expected to be everything that those I loved ever needed or wanted me to be, with seamless perfection. This was my nature, cultivated from being one of those little Lebowski overachievers, performing feats of daring-do and wonder so the people I loved would not stop loving me.

I found my peace in learning to expect next to nothing from anyone or anything. It freed me from the disappointment of being let down by people or circumstances that were not what I’d happily but blindly perceived them to be. I had to do this because I took on each of these disappointments as my fault—as proof that I hadn’t been smart enough, pretty enough, or whatever enough in some way. The dulling of my desire for things made my day-to-day life much easier. I did manage quite well to live frugally on surprise. In fact, I was the frugal gourmet of surprise. My life has been, in so many ways, a lovely banquet crafted from all sorts of unexpected delicacies.

Still, I never brought the secret seeds to the table. I never showed those tiny bits and pieces of desires I had for myself, the things that I felt selfish for even daring to want at all. The crumbs were what I’d done without, what I’d never complained of missing—each full of such terrible wanting and fierce hopefulness. After I met my man the secret seeds grew into all sorts of unruly blossoms and vines. They escaped the confines of my inner heart and sprouted out of my mouth, swirling around my head and being given voice. He built a garden for me, from his own heart, and let all the things that I’d never had much of a place for in myself grow. I began to think that maybe it wasn’t such a bad thing…wanting. The first tentative steps I took toward believing that I could let myself desire something out loud transformed into joyful leaps and bounds of naming everything I wanted to have and do.

I’m sure the more experienced among you probably know what came next. While I was blissfully floating around giving voice to my desires, life intervened. People and circumstances turned out to be different than what I had blindly perceived them to be. I felt a little like Wiley E. Coyote hitting the bottom of the canyon. It hurt as much as I remember anything ever hurting. I cried and cried. I felt stupid. I told myself that I was such an idiot to ever think that I could have anything. I knew better than to expect anything. What could I have been thinking?

Everything that had taken root and bloomed in me over the last few months quickly began to wither. I prepared to collect the husks of my secret seeds so I could put them away again, probably for the last time. The keeper of the garden, however, held on to me. He refused to let me take my secret seeds back and he whispered to me at night to keep everything I’d grown alive. He whispered until I finally quit poisoning the garden and I began to contemplate the possibility that my hopes, even the most secret and delicate ones, might be able to survive outside of my own heart.

I am struggling to find a way to balance the things I have wanted for so long with the realities of the world. I am going to take small tentative steps again, and he’ll hold my hand as he has from the first time I knew I loved him, reminding me that I’m never far from my secret garden and he’ll be there to tend to things when I cannot.

I am going into a new year trying to be as brave as I’ve ever been. I will expect to be beloved and happy, I will expect to be disappointed and hurt, and I will expect to find my legs each and every time so I can brush myself off and move on to the next wondrous thing. I wish you all a brave new year and a crazy quilt garden grown from your own secret seeds.
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.
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