Nine Lives

I’m a lion, I’m a cat, and I’m a fire dragon. I credit these things for my ability to mostly bounce back from whatever life might toss in my direction. I’m good with things like hope, most of the time.

Today, I feel like I’m on the precipice again. Looking up, and looking way, way down. If I step off, I’m sure to plummet, but there’s always the possibility that somewhere down there, through the fog and haze, is a fluffy clearing where I will land softly and beautifully, and triumphant.

How does one gather the nerve to step off the ledge, over and over again? Even with a perfect record of brilliantly executed landings, or just a few minor bumps and scrapes, there is always the possibility that the next plunge might be your last. It’s possible that the fall will be so bad, there’s no bouncing back, and you’ll never again get the chance to consider pushing off with your toes.

I’m so tired. Deeply tired, down to my very core. I look into the mirror, into the eyes of a woman I know very well, and neither one of us can tell me how much strength is left there.

Ask my mom – if I am not good at something, I get overwhelmed with frustration and anger. I didn’t know this, but as a child, she’d have to intercept and cease activities so that I wouldn’t spiral into the pit of despair. All this time I’d thought she was just really impatient with me. Now, as an adult, if I can’t do something well I lose interest, shut down, or just get angry with myself. I’m eyeballing affairs of the heart right now with the same wary look I give to mathematical equations.

This time I’ve given it my all. I’ve emptied all my pockets and laid everything out on the table. I’ve opened up my heart wider than I even imagined it’s rusty hinges would allow. I’ve loved with every cell in my body.

The desire to jump off the cliff is not enough. Love is not enough. You need trust, and faith, and communication, and security. I need to know that if I’m going to jump, there’s a safe landing at the bottom. That there will always be a safe landing. My helmet and my knee pads are completely useless if there is not.

In fact, it’s probably smarter to just walk away from the ledge if you have no idea what’s at the bottom.

Will all these hands catch me?

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No! Vember

Picture 1

I had a bad day at work. Here’s one thing to know about Leos; we’re great at success and terrible at failure.

I had a bad sleep last night. Three people DO NOT fit in a Queen sized bed, no matter how much they like each other. I’m getting night sweats like you wouldn’t believe, and I’m in the middle so there’s no place to go. This was the second night in a row of bad sleep.

I’ve had the blahs for about a week, which is so unusual with a full moon. Usually I’m bubbly and creative and filled with energy.

This morning I packed my overnight things and my computer, deciding that my bad mood and I were going to seek refuge at the Fortress of Solitude where I have not slept since August. I don’t have words to talk about what I’m feeling, and my new family does not need an Eyore moping around our apartment. My poor partners were surprised by this, but made a real effort to give me space.

As the bad day at work wore on I started to imagine myself alone in my former apartment, now piled with boxes and costumes that desperately need sorting, and this began to feel pathetic.

My family headed to their old suburb today to get the girls their H1N1 vaccine, and are having dinner with their old neighbours. This only added to my misery, and I began to feel sorry for myself for being left out. I’m not sure what kind of crazy person feels left out of getting a giant needle, but there you have it.

Then, at 1:45 I had a reality check.

I’m allowed to have growing pains, and I’m allowed to be under the weather sometimes. Even if it’s an extended period like the month of November. (I hate you November).  I can accept that, and since my moodiness mostly manifests in a more somber Schnoo, I think my partners are fine with this too. What I can’t deal with is not understanding exactly what’s wrong with me, and so I attempted to figure this out on my crisp bike ride home:

1.)    Residual pain and anxiety surrounding fertility and the trauma of a miscarriage

2.)    Displacement – although my partners make an effort every day to make me feel at home in their apartment, which though currently a bit cluttered is actually really gorgeous, it is not my home. More importantly, it is not OUR home. In “conventional” relationships it’s hard enough to move into someone else’s space. Try to imagine, if you will, living in a space where you have no room for most of your personal possessions, and where you are surrounded by larger-than-life reminders of a whole world that happened before you were around.  I don’t know exactly why this should bother me, but it does. Maybe because this seriously unique relationship is so new I sometimes feel threatened by the strength of all of the history my partners have together. They share over a decade together and two gorgeous children. I’ve arrived with some feathers and sequins. And some serious baggage. When I’m in a funk, I think of the one and only time I got fired from a job – they had to make cutbacks and I was the new girl, so I was the first to go.

3.)    Fear. Wow. I said it. Another thing to know about Leos; we don’t admit to this very often. I’m afraid of EVERYTHING that isn’t related to work right now. My recent relationship history has taught me many lessons – many lasting life lessons. I cannot settle into a comfortable groove that lasts more than a week or so because I am terrified. Of what, you ask? Let’s see; betrayal, imbalance between the three of us creating a world of heartache, not giving enough, my own feelings of jealousy that sometimes arise, that I will be left behind, that something horrible will happen when my boyfriend talks to his parents about us, that these two beautiful little girls will grow to resent me because adding me into their family will come with some stigma, that I’ll always feel like I’ve latched on to someone else’s fully-realized life, that one or both of my partners will no longer find me attractive, that one or both of my partners will get tired of me, or tired of our circumstances. Wait. That’s it. I’m afraid that someone is going to decide this whole thing is a bad idea. Oh my god. I have abandonment fear. I’m afraid of being left behind, and so I am examining every single fissure with a fine lens to find excuses to be unsettled, because settling in means that I am vulnerable to shock and surprise when the bottom drops out of my nest. Holy god, I’ve become one of those people.

4.)    I don’t have a four right now. I think that numbers 1 through 3 are more than enough.

When I was a little girl, my mother used to always tell me how impatient I was. This hasn’t gone away, and in fact, might be one of my biggest issues. I don’t trust process, or time, but I think I’d better resolve this because ONLY with process and time will I be able to see that I have little to fear from this relationship. I mean. we’re talking about finding OUR place together in the New Year. That’s only months away! And grumbling about missing my old apartment is only a reflection of my control issues. I don’t feel like I’m in control of my home environment. I realize it should be a shared control, but I also realize I’m subject to the occasional foible. Since I’ve started working from home, I’ve dealt with a broken dryer and a mountain of laundry, and have now started taking on organizing the place one room at a time. When I walked my bike into this place tonight, and turned on the lights, loaded the dishwasher, grabbed a perfectly crisp McIntosh apple and sat down to write this, I felt completely at home. What’s more, I also felt loved, and like there will continue to be light at the end of the tunnel, as long as I’m choosing to look ahead towards it, rather than down, or backwards from where I came.

Backwards from where I came. That’s it too. I know on some unconscious level choosing a relationship that is ENTIRELY different from any that has come before in my life was a way to protect myself on some levels. I also believe it’s a product of my own personal evolution. This is a classic case of easier said than done, but I have to make a promise to myself to start each and every day recognizing that these two people are new, and are in no way, shape, or form comparable to the people who have caused me pain in the past.  We three are all making huge compromises to make this work because WE LOVE EACH OTHER. Loving people should be so much simpler, no?

And so, here is a list of things that will buoy me up and get me over this late autumn hump:

Crafts with the girls in preparation for our home made Christmas tree
McIntosh apples
Crisp bike rides
My girlfriends and their babies
Weekend farmer’s markets and then cooking dinner with my family
Creating the Les Coquettes holiday show
Bubble baths!
Organizing OUR home
TV – renting a stellar HBO series and watching it curled up on the sofa with my tribe and a glass of red wine. I’m craving Deadwood, which neither of them have seen
The winter fair at the girls’ school. I’m actually making crafts for this!
Dinner with my family – my bio family AND my new family all under one roof
Letters to and from Alexandra
Pumpkin curry
The gym (I don’t know how I came to like this, but I really, really do)
Writing, writing, writing (I feel better already!)

I think that’s a good start. I’m sure there’s more, and feel free to send suggestions. I refuse to let a month on the calendar overcome me. I’m a lion for heaven’s sake.

If you’re reading this, it’s because I’ve had a long, lovely talk with my partners. I think I owe it to them to explain why I attempted to run away from home before I share it with the rest of the cyber universe.