3, 2, 1… #MeToo

I gave an interview a couple of days ago.

On camera.

Scared shitless and shaking, anxiety riding me like a cowboy strapped to an 8-second bull.

But I did it.

One of the local TV stations had posted to Facebook on Monday that they were looking for people willing to share their stories about sexual harassment and sexual assault, all in light of Alyssa Milano’s viral Twitter #metoo, where women and men could come forward about their experiences.

I messaged them about my story that night, and didn’t think much more about it.

Tuesday morning rolled around, & I received a message back, from a reporter at the studio, wanting to know if I’d be willing to talk, on camera about my experience, to possibly help others.

Before I could psyche myself out of it, I said yes.

It was awkward, and uncomfortable, being in front of the camera, and talking about it brought my anxiety back full force, & I’ve been having major issues with it ever since.

Especially since my mom caught just the tail end of the interview on the news…and texted me, wondering what it was for…

When I told her why I’d done it, all she said was “Got ya,” and immediately changed the subject.

Because to this day, we still don’t discuss it.

Another reason for my anxiety to flare.

I hate how I looked on camera, as though I was almost ready to burst into tears… I wasn’t, it was just my nerves were so taut, I was strung so tight I was surprised I didn’t make snapping noises when I walked.

But I did it.

I finally spoke publicly about my assault. 

And that counts for something.

#metoo

Advertisements

Something I’ve Never Been

Well, I got my down-time, in an unexpected way.

I ended up with pneumonia, & had to stay home for a couple of days. 

Not exactly what I was going for, but then again, is it ever?

I have, however, had a lot of time to think. Which could be good or bad, considering who’s doing the thinking, since I tend to overthink every-fucking-thing. 

I’m tired of being alone all the time. I’m tired of my days consisting of nothing more than work, working out, & working on the book & house. 

And while I adore my Beloved Nephew, having my only real adult conversations be on the phone with someone hundreds of miles away…well, sometimes it lacks a little something.

Ok, I’ll come right out and say it. 

I want to date again. I want to feel desirable and wanted, and I want someone to look in my eyes and see me again. I want someone to hold my hand, to push my hair back behind my ear as they lean in for a kiss, and to cuddle with me on cold evenings.

I want to walk through the park in the brisk fall air, crunching the leaves beneath my boots & breathing in the autumn scents. I want to sit & listen to another person talk about their day, tell me all about it. 

I want to feel them lying next to me in bed, heartbeat under my hand…falling asleep together, and waking up the next day to tangled limbs & avoiding each other’s morning breath.

I want the disagreements, because they’re fucking normal, and to be able to work through them and talk them out like the grownups we are, even if we both have to throw mini hissy-fits first. 

I want the long days where it seems like nothing’s gone right, and the long nights that you never want to end. I want the passion and the friendship and the affection and the laughter and the tears, yes, even the tears, as long as we can overcome them. 

I want to be normal, and be like those couples I see out at restaurants & in stores, laughing with each other, telling inside jokes – I want to have inside jokes with someone again. 

I want all of these things, but then…my heart stutters, my eyes well up, & I remember that everyone leaves me.

I don’t get to have normal.

I don’t know why…

But it’s something I’ve never been.

You never write, You never call…

I haven’t written here for a while, I know. I could make excuses, I could apologize and squirm and fall to my internet knees…

But I won’t.

Yeah, I’ve had things to do. Yeah, I’ve been working on writing my book, which means I haven’t really had the urge to write here too. Yeah, blah, blah, blah…

Truth is? I haven’t really felt all that inspired to write here, either. I’ve been a little under the weather, & in a depression.

My head is kind of a dark place right now, & I haven’t really felt like sharing.

What I really want to do is curl up in the center of my bed, pull the covers up, & stay there for the next few days…but

There are bills to pay, & guess who earns the checks ’round here? 

So, every morning, instead of curling back into myself like I want to, I crawl out into the world & do what I have to to survive.

I ain’t got time for this, I got shit to do.

But, I so badly want to stay in the dark…

In Between One Heartbeat

In between one heartbeat and the next, everything can change.

Las Vegas has taught us that.

The hurricanes that have been wreaking such devastation this year have taught us that.

All of the tragedies, the deaths of beloved musicians, actors, have taught us that.

I am not going to preach about gun laws, or about politics at all, because that’s not my way. 

What I’m going to say is this.

When my Youngerdaughter was born, she was as blue as a smurf, and lucky to take her first breath.

She came into this world with her umbilical cord wrapped around her neck twice, with a granny knot tied in it.

When she was a year & a half old, she fell from her crib & cracked her skull. Again, she was lucky to draw breath through the following night, & to survive.

In college, she survived a car wreck that the police don’t understand how she escaped with only a couple of small scrapes. The car was crushed, she was not.

She graduated from college magna cum laude.

Three times this young woman’s life hung in the balance, and could’ve swung either way. 

Everything could’ve changed – between one heartbeat and the next.

I cherish every breath she takes.

Just as I do for each of my children, & each member of my family, both blood & chosen.

I take nothing for granted.

And this is what I say to everyone out there, lighting up the media, both news and social.  Instead of screaming opinions (which, let’s be honest, you can’t change someone’s opinion when they’re really set on it, anyway), try to be a part of the change you wish to see.

Here is what I am going to do:

Pray for Peace

Give help where I can, to those I am able.

Vote my conscience

Hope for the best

Work for the rest

Love Hard

Take nothing for granted

Cherish the heartbeats.

Beloved Nephew

Today, I am going to attempt to define the indefinable – the relationship between myself and my Beloved Nephew.

I’ve had many people question me, as has he, on the type of relationship it is, because we don’t actually share familial genetic ties. And there are some things I’d like to set straight.

 First off, there is not now, there has never been, nor will there ever be, any type of romantic relationship between my nephew and me. This is not something that is even remotely possible, as we are family, even if we are not bound by blood. I am The Aunt, and he is The Nephew. Period. So anyone thinking anything of the sort, needs to immediately stop.

The Nephew and I originally met through his mom, Midnite, who became my heart’s sister. We met through a group that we both used to study in, & ended up best friends for many years, until she passed away from cancer in 2009. It was during our friendship that BN started calling me The Aunt. 

Since neither of them had any blood relatives in North Dakota, I adopted them into my family. They were truly the first of my Chosen Family, & came along with me & mine for holidays, whether to my house, or to my parents, it didn’t matter, as my parents always have said “With Love, there’s always room for more”.

When Midnite passed, BN and I held each other together. If not for each other, I’m not really sure either one of us would have made it through the grieving process sane. It was pretty rock bottom for both of us.

We spent a lot of time hanging out, listening to music, talking, crying & laughing. My kids starting referring to him as their brother. My ex-husband (who I was still married to at the time), didn’t even mind that he came over & hung out at the house all the time, & he hated pretty much everyone.

When I went through my divorce in 2011, BN was my rock, listening for hours on end while I cried about feeling like a failure, tortured myself about wondering whether I’d ever find love again, and bitched about all the reasons I knew the divorce was the right thing. He backed me up every step of the way, told me I was stupid for putting myself down, & comforted me with ice cream when necessary.

Beloved Nephew is my soul mate, in most senses of that word. 

He understands me in ways that most do not. I can talk to him about anything, and everything. And he can do the same with me. There is never any judgment on either side, only unconditional love.

There are nights when we sit on the phone and “game” – meaning, he plays his game, I play mine, & we talk over the phone. We’re not online, just on the phone, talking about whatever. Sometimes we’re playing the same game, sometimes not, but it doesn’t matter.

Other nights, we can be talking on the phone & doing completely mundane, household things. One night I was washing dishes & he was making himself supper – at 11:30 at night, because we always talk late at night after he gets off his shift at the nursing home where he works. There were moments of complete, comfortable silence, while we each went about our tasks. Silence that I broke to tell him that “You know, if I was doing this on the phone with anyone else, they’d hang up on me, thinking I was ignoring them”.

But it’s true, just knowing that he’s on the other end of the phone, even if we don’t speak, some nights – that’s enough. Strange, but true.

We discussed this on the phone last night (before I fell asleep on him, sorry ’bout that, Nephew!), and neither of us can ever remember a time that we’ve been angry at each other. 

Not ever in all the years we’ve known each other.

That’s just weird, even for me.

If Beloved Nephew were to fall in love tomorrow, I’d stand at his side & be his “Best Wo-Man” at the wedding, after, of course, making sure that the Significant Other was worthy of his magnificence.

If I were to fall in love tomorrow, I’d want him to be my Best Man. 

BN knows things about me that no one else does, simply because he’s been there, through hell and back, with me. Through some of the worst shit I’ve endured in my life, he was always there. 

He’s also helped me celebrate some of the best things to ever happen to me in my life, like being published – not once, not even twice, but three damn times. Once for poetry, once for a photograph, & once a whole blog post.

The same as I’ve done for him.

I’ve watched him grow since his mother’s passing, into a strong, confident, capable, compassionate & brilliant young man.

And even though he now lives across the country, we still talk at least 3 times a week, and sometimes more. He is my best friend, and an irreplaceable piece of my heart.

It is difficult, if not impossible, to put the totality of our relationship into words. People just don’t get it. 

BN is family.

He is Best Friend.

He is Soul Mate, without the romance.

He gets it.

So, in the end, I guess that’s what really matters. He gets it – just as he understands me, I understand him. 

And the rest…doesn’t really matter, does it?

Heartbeat

This evening was beautiful.

I spent some time outside, knowing it was probably going to be one of the few, really nice days left of the fall weather.

I mowed, & planted my lily bulbs for next spring.

I got back in touch with the heartbeat of the earth, and with my own.

And while I was working my hands in the dirt…I was thinking about “Things”.

How many “things” I have.

How many I care about.

Whether I care about “things” at all.

And I came to a conclusion.

The only things I truly Care about…

All have a heartbeat.

My family, chosen and blood, my friends, my 2 cats.

Everything else can be replaced.

But not the heartbeats.

Those are finite.

I’ve lost a few of those over the years, and a handful just within the last couple of years. They are irreplaceable. Gone forever, they exist now only in my memories, and in the memories of the others whose lives they touched.

And, sometimes it hurts, knowing that the only way I can connect to the heartbeats I love so much is through the phone.

This is why I’ve thought about moving closer to my Beloved Nephew.

At least being there, I know I’d be near someone who truly wanted me to be there. Someone who values my heartbeat as much as I value his. As Chosen Family, and my best friend, our friendship is one of those irreplaceable things I cherish.

And here… Well, after everything that’s happened here, I do have a couple of good friends, but no romantic life… and pretty much only painful reminders of heartbreak and rejection. Not exactly a rousing endorsement to stay.

So, I’m going to pack my heartbeat up in cotton, and pad it against breakage for the coming cold months. I’ll work on savoring the moments I get to have with those I cherish, even if it’s only over the phone, and get rid of a few “things” I no longer need.

There’s plenty I can do without.