Just Call Me Alice

What do you do, once you’ve fallen down the rabbit hole, dusted yourself off, and realized you’ve followed that white-furred thing into a place you don’t recognize?

How do you get yourself back to a place of sanity, to some semblance of normalcy when everything around you seems to be running amok?

There’s a part of me right now that’s running on fear.

And I don’t know which way to turn.

But, there’s another part of me that fiercely screams out – We will NOT run away! We will stand firm & defend our ground! We will come out the other side of this stronger & better than we went in, even if the fire burns us, we will rise from the ashes as the phoenix! Get up, bitch!”

I like her better than the coward.

But, still, at times, I find my hands shaking, my stomach queasy, unable to eat, or think clearly. Anxiety sets in, and the panic attacks are coming more frequently.

It’s getting a little frayed around the edges, and I’m afraid that July is going to be a really rough month.

He’s coming here in July- or so he claims.

He was subtle, convinced me of so many sweet things, showed me such a bright future…Kept me dangling on such a long string with the pretty treats always just out of reach for so long.

Then came the manipulation. And the emotional blackmail. The secrets & the lies. The broken promises, the plausible excuses, piling up, until it was hard to crawl out from underneath them.

And now, he says he’s finally going to live up to every single word he ever spoke, all at once.

After I told him I was Done – I’m out. Finished. Full stop.  

He insists that he’s got to come, and nothing I say will stop him. 

He says he will right the wrongs, win me back, fix everything.

I said No.

But what the fuck do I know, right?

There is no going back for me.

I’m O.U.T.

Full STOP.

Go home.

Jen doesn’t live here anymore.

Call me Alice.


I Am Not… I Am…

I am not a hand-covered giggle…

I am a low, husky, evil-coated chuckle.

I am not a soft-petaled rose, dainty & fragrant.

I am a dandelion, feral, rugged, considered by some a weed, by some a flower, & by some just a pest. But I am nearly impossible to eradicate, have a zillion purposes & manage to find ways to pop up everywhere I want to, & some places that seem impossible. I am ninja that way.

I am not a 4-star restaurant, catering to the rich & famous, with French cuisine, linen napkins & tiny servings of impossible to pronounce foods.

I am a Mom&Pop diner, serving comfort food, barely making ends meet, serving meals to homeless folks on a picnic table out back when I get a free minute, because I can’t stand to see hungry faces.

I am not an average day at the beach. (ha-ask around, the laughter will tell you)

I am a slow wander through a darkened forest, with a very high chance of getting lost, because there is no path to follow. But then…there are all those interesting places to find, too…

I am not a light beer to be chugged, because you want to finally get to second base with that blonde…

I am that dark, smoky bourbon you’ve been dying to sip, slowly, decadently, all evening, next to the fire.

I am not a coy, flirtatious sidelong glance, eyes lowered quickly away…

I am the frank appraisal, genuine appreciation and eyebrow lifted. 

I am not water-cooler small talk, or office gossip.

I am the thoughtful pause before the insight.

I am not a young thing, any longer, but that does not preclude me from being vital.

I am deeper, richer, far more now than I ever was back then.

I contain multitudes, universes, infinities, within me now, that did not exist then.

I am so much more than I was…

You should see me now…..

But you won’t

Because you have your eyes closed.

Selfie

I am self-reliant.

It’s something I pride myself on, my independence, my ability to stand on my own two. It’s seen me through a lot of tough times, & shown me that I can do a lot more than I ever thought I was capable of.

But that’s also how I was raised.

My parents are strong, independent people. Born in the mid-40s, they were raised by parents who taught them that hard work was its own reward; that success was not about making millions, but was about achieving personal goals, while being a good, caring person at the same time. I’ve strived to emulate that same strength of character. 

Over the years, I’ve learned a lot about myself while getting my hands dirty, too. As my dad has always said, “Shit washes off”, so I dig into a job, getting filthy in the process, waiting till it’s finished before I clean up. Then I can sit back & enjoy the results of my labors. 

Of course, there are some things that are sacrificed in the process. 

My clothes, for example…

I have some that are permanently stained, torn & stretched, frayed & ruined beyond redemption due to wearing them while doing this type of work. 

*sigh*

My hands…

Although skin replaces itself & heals, the scratches & calluses are there, temporarily, & the arthritis- well, that is there permanently, & vehemently objects, but I insist right back just as obstinately.  And I win. For now, anyway.

I’ll pay for it later.  I know. 

But, the benefits I’ll reap from this are good enough for me. 

I’ll have the satisfaction of knowing that I took care of my mowing myself. I trimmed the bushes in the backyard. I raked & cleaned up the trash by the fence. I was the one who started cutting down the trees by the fence with the chainsaw. (got stopped by the rain – can’t use an electric chainsaw in the rain…Right?)

It’s enough for me to know that – I am the one who can do these things.

I – don’t need anyone to do these things for me. 

I might want someone to share my life with…

But I don’t need them to breathe.

I am my own selfie.

Breathe In

Breathe In…

Realizing that I am stronger now than I ever have been, I can do anything, go anywhere, be anyone I choose.

Breathe out…

Let go of those who want me to be someone I’m not, the ones who say one thing to my face, yet something else behind my back, the ones who tell me “I’m only saying this for your own good”, as if they know me better than I know myself.

Breathe in…

Remember that I don’t have to follow anyone, I can make my own path through the forest.  

Breathe out…

I answer to no one. My choices are my own, my actions are my responsibility, and I will take whatever the consequences may be.

Breathe in…

I may be alone right now, but I am strong enough to be. I AM ENOUGH, ALL BY MYSELF.

Breathe out…

If they aren’t willing to commit, why would I want them here, anyway? If it’s so easy to walk away…keep walking, and don’t come back this time, because I won’t be here, waiting. 

Breathe in……….

The Seeker

For most of my life, at least what I can remember of it, I’ve been a Seeker.

A Seeker of knowledge, in that I love to always learn new things. I have a gift for remembering seemingly useless trivia, earning me one of my many nicknames. “The Queen of Useless Knowledge”. But, I also constantly search for new wisdom to fill my brain, of all sorts, be it historical, medical, scientific, supernatural, esoteric, you name it.

I used to seek for affirmation and approbation, as well. Other people’s opinions of me were almost more real than my own, and would color how I viewed everything, from how I acted, to how I felt about myself, and the world around me. I don’t do that anymore, because I discovered that I was never going to receive what I needed in life that way – SELF acceptance and love. I had to learn, over and over, that no one else’s opinions of me mattered, only my own. It took me a long time to realize that, but I’m better now for it. 

And, I’ve always been a Seeker of love. Love of family and friends, as well as that of romantic love from someone else.

That’s…been a lot harder to find.

I thought I had it in both of my marriages, only to be proven wrong. The first one, well, I’m not sure he knows what loving someone else means, that you have to give up a part of yourself to the other person, and that it’s about being there for each other, not just when things are easy, but most importantly, when things are bad. He never seemed to get that, so I had to walk away. Twice. It took me over 20 years, and 2 attempts at a relationship with him to get that through my head, but it finally stuck.

The second ex-husband…well, he hoarded all his love for our son, thinking that, well, since he married me, he didn’t have to actually love me anymore, since marriage says forever, right? All the hard work was done while we dated, so now he could sit back & watch me do all the work in the relationship. No. Just – no.  

And, I’ve had other relationships since, which have all fallen apart, for one reason or another. 

So, I’ve been doing some hard contemplation, lately. 

About what I truly want.

About how I’m going to get it.

And about what I’ve been doing up until now, that’s prevented me from truly Finding what I’ve been Seeking.

I settle.

Because there’s still a part of me that feels as though I’m not worth it. That…if all these men can leave me, that the fault must be in me, somewhere.

And, to a certain extent, that’s correct.

The fault does lie in me.

Because I settle.

If I’m truly going to find Love – yes, with a capital letter – then I have to make some changes.

First – no more settling for less than what I want.

If I want real love, the kind that will stay, will fight for a relationship with me, the kind that will work with me to keep the relationship a good one…I HAVE to act, and believe, that I deserve it.

No more “hanging out and hooking up”.

No more accepting relationships that have no future.

If I want Love, Marriage and Forever, and I do, (no pun intended), then I have to stop letting myself settle for anything less.

I will find Love again, someday. Maybe not today, or tomorrow, next week, or even within the next year.

But I will stop settling for its pale cousin.

Because I am a Seeker.

And I will Find another, someday.