Over 55– No more “Sexy?”

I’m packing for our upcoming 25th anniversary cruise.  And a sobering truth is sinking in.

I’m 59, and I don’t get to be sexy anymore.  Waaaa.

Dang, that sounds so sad, doesn’t it?

I’m ashamed to admit that so much of my adult life has been about my personal appearance, which makes me sound quite shallow. From the moment I knew that I was IMG_2397attractive to a male, I was all about strutting my stuff.  I loved dressing up, I loved wearing sexy outfits, I loved fixing my hair and makeup, and I wore heels because they made my long, lean, toned legs look great.

My heels haven’t been out for a strut in a while.  I love comfy flip flops, flats, boots and mocs. Lean and toned are not what they used to be.

Over the years, I loved turning heads.  I secretly liked guys flirting and coming on to me, even when they were somewhat sleazy or disgusting.

But what really is “sexy?”  Why are we so wooed by it?  Doesn’t it just mean that others covet sex with you?  I’d like to think those aren’t my motives now at nearly 60, but losing the young thing isn’t easy.

This is a hard “habit” to let go, the concern to appear young and sexy.  Face it, we’re not all Christy Brinkly.

IMG_0148I currently love yoga pants (and yes, I actually DO yoga 4-5 a week).  Especially the ones that hold you in and help your butt look good.  But yoga pants can only do so much, and I’ll keep working on the butt and fighting gravity.  Not everyone can or should wear yoga pants.  But that day I wore shorts to yoga and looked at my thighs in down-dog is burned into my eyes like acid.  59 year old thighs, no matter how muscular, don’t look smooth and taut. Not everyone can wear shorts either—I’m sad to admit.

 

So I am having to deal with reality here.  In spite of having lost (and gained and lost) weight in recent years, the old body is just that—old.  It’s withstood nearly 6 decades of wear and tear, and popped out 3 babies.  I stay fairly active, but could always do more.  I can still hike 6-7 miles in a day, but I will be feeling it.  As for 10,000 steps a day—let’s just say that is not my IMG_0966everyday.

Attractive is achievable.  I want to think that healthy is key goal, and as long as I can I’ll put the skis or hiking boots on.  I think I need my focus to be on achieving classy or “striking” or even “stunning” mature woman.  I’ve seen some of these.  They have bravely allowed their hair to go soft grey but wear it stylishly long (and not butch short).  They dress smartly, obviously taking care in their appearance and accessories.  Make up is tasteful and not overboard.  Faces are adorned with beautiful smiles and healthy teeth, amid the character lines boasting a life well-led.  The Audrey Hepburn-esque grace and poise.

 “The beauty in a woman is not in the clothes she wears, the figure that she carries, or the way she combs her hair. The beauty of a woman is seen in her eyes, because that is the doorway to her heart; the place where love resides. True beauty in a woman is reflected in her soul.”

Sure, I’ve read the Proverbs 31 wife, and really tried to take it to heart: charm is deceptive, and beauty is fleeting, but a woman who fears the Lord is to be praised.

Hmmmmm.  Easier said than done. Oh, I do fear the Lord.  And I shouldn’t worry about whether anyone else finds that attractive in me. I know my worth is far deeper than my character lines and wobbly bits. SJ does too.

I once saw a story about an aging sex-goddess, who had assiduously kept up her youthful appearance with exercise, plastic surgery, modern fashions, and long shiny hair, setting high store on looking good.  She related walking along the beach one evening, to have a young man who could have been a son or perhaps grandson, come up from behind her with a sexy pick up line.  When she turned and he saw her face, his grew shocked.  “I’m so sorry… I thought…” he stumbled.  “Excuse me ma’am.”  He beat a hasty retreat.  The woman suddenly realized that in spite of her best efforts to look “young,” her age showed—and she also wondered, why did it matter?  Did she think she would attract a young man half her age?  And for what reason?

I look at my packing pile and realize it’s replete with comfortable cottony dresses,  Bermuda shorts, cute tops, and probably the one-piece bathing suit, along with the Land’s End SPF long-sleeve top (I can’t tell you how many horrible burns I’ve had from snorkeling). Comfy flip flops and flats.  A wide-brimmed hat with Annie-Hall-esque flair. A lightweight tomato-red Marmot rain jacket, and possibly my jeans jacket.  Lots of colorful scarves collected during world travels. Clothing that is stylish, colorful, comfortable, complimentary to my long torso.  No “muumus” (large, voluminous, flowey, tent-like dresses, which are SJ’s bugaboo).   For a brief moment, I think about the short little black dress and high heels for “formal night.”

And I realize that I’ll be just as happy in my flip flops and cotton sundress.  Grey hairs, character lines, and all.

Sitting in the deck chair next to my old man who loves me just as I am for 25 years now.

couple at the beach

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Posted in On Being Imperfect Me | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | 5 Comments

So You Want Your Wife to Lose Weight?

This is for the men out there.  Of whom I probably have few following.  But for what it’s worth if you’ve stumbled into my blog… mwah ha ha…

Dear Husband–

So, you want your wife to lose weight?  Do you miss that little Miss you courted and married?  That active and slender gal who really turned you on?  Trust me, we want to be back there in 20-something firm boobs and ass territory.  No wobbly bits or tummies. IMG_2921It’s just that there are some little hiccups that come along the way.  Gravity is the big one, and we just can’t help that very much.  Pregnancy and kids for sure. If you want to truly mess up a body, get pregnant (and multiples is a true out-of-body experience.  My husband has scars on his eyes from seeing about 14 pounds of twins in my belly on my otherwise 148 lb frame; hey dude, you helped put them there!).  Being “Mom of the Year” and preparing all of those wonderful chocolate chip cookies, cakes, treats, and delicious dinners, the casseroles for the sick or grieving neighbors, enough left for our family of course. Crazy hormones at all times, but especially at THAT time of life which can set in from the mid 40s on.  That’s when the true body snatchers hit, and your body becomes a metabolic and hormonal mess.

Trying to be a true Proverbs 31 wife, we provide food for our families, we don’t eat the bread of idleness, but we will shrewdly make sure there is no waste and eat that last tater tot/fry/chicken nugget the kid left on his plate.  Food is love, food is family, food is fellowship. Food can be comforting when you aren’t hugging us or loving us.  Food nourishes us, food makes us fat.

And, well, we do fall into bad habits of not exercising regularly, or eating crap.  Many of us medicate with food.  I know I did: 95 pounds worth over a 20 year marriage. We take some of the blame.  Not planning out menus and defaulting to the fast food lane or the pizza delivery.  Everyone is happy, and Mom can take a breath.  There’s hardly a woman alive who hasn’t had at least a temporary fling (or a long-term affair) with a bag of chips, a sleeve of cookies, or a pint (quart) of ice cream.

Yes, most of us really do not like the weight we’ve put on over the years.  We want it gone.  I think that at least half of the women I know would say they are on a diet.  Many more probably are.  The really amazing superwomen might tell you they just “control” what they eat, keep a balance.  The ones who dare to say they can eat whatever they want and not gain an ounce should have a target painted on them.

And there are periods of time when we really, really mean that we are going to lose weight.  In 2012 I decided enough with being fat, and heading down a rabbit hole of health issues.  I lost 75 pounds in about 5 months.  I know, that’s fast, but it’s what I needed to do.  When we are going to get serious about losing pounds, getting closer to IMG_2760ideal weights, we are a force to be reckoned with.  Like please don’t bring that box of cookies home and in my line of sight (even if I brought it home last week)– I may have to divorce you.   

Thirty pounds have come back for me.  I want them gone.  And it’s not been easy, lots of yo yo dieting over the past 3 years hasn’t worked.  And I’m serious, with a plan and a goal. Nothing like an accidental selfie to spur you into action with renewed fervor. 

 

Here are some pointers for husbands who want to support a wife’s weight loss goals:  

  • First of all, husband, you are either already in decent shape for your age (no big bellies hanging over belts… dad guts are OK), or at least making some really good progress in that direction.  You can’t even utter the word diet or pounds without this prerequisite.
  • Don’t nag your wife to lose weight, that’s a dead end.  Listen to what she says to you.  If she says she wants to lose weight, smile encouragingly (I didn’t say maniacally), immediately tell her how proud you are, how her health and happiness is important to you, tell her you are there for her, and ask if there is anything you can do to support her. Be willing to accept an answer of “No.” And then just pray for her. Can’t hurt. 
  • Know what HER goals are.  If she says 10 pounds and you think 20 is better, keep that to yourself.  Know not only her ideal weight goals, but what her food plan is, her time frame (many women are working towards a goal: summer, that reunion, a IMG_2658wedding, a party).  Try not to get in and take over, or be tempted to tweak.  Chances are, she can figure out that 20 pounds is more what she needs.  Ask how you can support her goals.  DON’T NAG if she doesn’t exactly follow the stated plan to the letter.  Of course is she is telling you she’s on the potato-chip and cupcake diet, or wine and cheese diet,  she might need a little reality check.  But trust me, guys,  there are some crazy diets out there, which while perhaps impractical for the long-term at least get us moving in the right direction.  We are smart.  We know we can’t sustain eating 800 calories worth of shakes and protein bars forever.  We just need that incentive to keep going, and to fire up our metabolism burn.
  • You are not her coach.  You play a supporting role, only.  Don’t tell her how many calories, crackers or reps.  Just ask her how you can support her goals.  Unless it is to order her a Big Mac, every night.  Maybe then you can say, I don’t think I’d be supporting you well if I did that…
  • When she moans that her diet is not working while she’s stuffing a cookie into her mouth, take a deep breath.  Tell her everyone hits plateaus. We all mess up, that’s just human.  Ignore that cookie.  Don’t even look at it.  Tomorrow is a new day, honey.  What can I do to help? And then hug her.  Don’t try to wrestle the cookie out of her hand, but if you play your cards right, she might put it down if she feels loved and attractive to you. 
  • Don’t tell her what YOU think works for you.  Please.  We all know that men and women lose weight differently.  Support her plan. 
  • When she loses a pound… even a half a pound… whatever makes her seem a little excited… jump up and down, high five her, hug her, CELEBRATE!!  Tell her how you knew she would do it, how proud you are.  Be supportive of every little accomplishment, even if it is she didn’t eat the whole pizza this time.
  • If you (or she) proposes eating a meal out, ask her what works best for her.  IMG_2748Survey menus on line in advance  Anything with lots of soup, salad or small bite options are best.  Anyplace with deep fried, wok fried or any fried, big on the carbs (pizza, buns, pasta), or lacking in green vegetables, probably not so good.  I know that more and more, I am picking my meal long before I hit the restaurant, and plan my other food accordingly (yes, I know that at the Greek restaurant I WILL order the galaktouboureko dessert, even if only to have a couple bites.  I don’t get to have galaktouboureko often).  I also know that I am most tempted to be bad when eating out.  Occasional treats or cheats are OK, as long as you plan them.
  • Keep asking what you can do to help support her.  Please resist the urge to tell her what you think would work better!  My hubby loves to run on the track, and IMG_2734swim laps in a highly-chlorinated (and maybe urinated) public pool.  He can think of few better ways to exercise, and I’d have to agree these are good ones.  BUT,  I HATE dusty, dirty, crowded, sun-beating-down-on-you tracks. I’d much rather hike on a shady scenic path.  My long hair (which has some help staying blond, i.e., doesn’t like chlorine) takes about an hour to style, and I sometimes can get away with a week between wash and style.  Swimming doesn’t work for me.  Walking, yoga, hiking, biking, an occasional gym machine workout with my hair pulled up and a sweat band, I can do.
  • Women supporting women is an ideal way to have accountability with empathyIMG_2944(sorry, I do not think this a trait found in male DNA).   This is why the Weight Watcher’s model has worked for many (it stopped working for me a few decades ago, alas).  Encourage your wife to pair up with a female friend if she can.  Even churches run programs to provide diet support. At some point you are not going to make the right empathetic statements, and occasionally you are going to be the sole reason of her IMG_2943weight problems (she doesn’t really mean it, but it will come out that way).  You need a back-up cheerleader. My best friend is a wonderful cheerleader, a great support, a good listener; I know she gets what this is allIMG_2746about.  She makes the right sympathetic statements, and knows when to encourage, and when to gently admonish/motivate.  She’s the queen of positive spin. Of great emojis.   She’s the bestie who will cheat with you and say, “we’re starting the diet tomorrow.” She’s been here.
  • ASK HER WHAT WILL HELP HER, AND LISTEN.  It might not make sense to you, but it does to her.  I just asked my husband if instead of plopping his cookie package on the counter in plain view, if he could PLEASE hide it away.  I have even given him his own high cabinet for this purpose.  He looks at me like I’m a little crazy, and I admit to him that in desperate moments I might be tempted to raid his stash, but it provides me with a more controlled environment.  As for the Heath Klondike IMG_2914Bars that just “showed up” in the freezer… still trying to figure out how to disguise this-and resist it.

Don’t let her diet “punish” you.  This is the hardest thing for SJ and me, as we are with each other constantly. We both are on our own for breakfast, lunch, and between, but I usually plan our dinner together.  A healthy lean and green paleo-inspired dinner may not be what he wants all the time, I get that (I try to make appetizing dishes).  I’m a good sport and will make a pot of his favorite starchy white rice, or a baked potato for him.  There are days when he’s craving a box of southern fried chicken, a greasy food-truck plate, a Mexican plate, or a nice 610 calorie 57g carb pot-pie, and I don’t begrudge him these treats.  He is a fit man, he controls his intake and exercise over the long range.  I’m fine with that, but I won’t partake while trying to diet–I know my weaknesses, and yes, it is a little tempting.  He fries up bacon in the morning, and the lingering smell is irresistible.  He’ll ask if I want IMG_2834some, and often I’m strong enough to say no as I fix my protein shake.  More times than not, if he makes extra, I can slip it away to top a healthy salad later.  All I can say, is, for a period of time, maybe you guys can have your little treats in secret, and maybe not in our faces.  Don’t deprive yourself with her diet, but stop and ask yourself what is supportive for the short run? 

(Today, in honor of July 4, I suggested that I defrost a couple hamburger patties for us; they’d most likely be served bunless, on a bed of greens, with tomatoes and avocados.  Some cool watermelon with fresh mint and lime juice on the side.  He mentioned his favorite burger joint– would I want to walk over later?  I smiled and said, “sure, I’ll walk over with you.”  He realized what I was saying.  “But you won’t order one?”  “No, but it’s OK.  I’m fine cooking mine at home later, where I have more control over the calories and less temptation.” This seemed to devolve into a deprivation for him, despite my urgings for him to go indulge himself, he can afford it. I don’t know quite what happened after that… but our conversation spirals down.  Everything I requested he do to support me was met with what he thinks he’s been going above and beyond doing.  He seems guilty for proposing the “bad burger,” and resentful I am resisting.  I think he gets defensive that I’m judging his “treats” as “bad,” when all I’m trying to say is that they are bad for me in diet mode, could he please just put them out of sight to help me? He starts suggesting what I should do (and by inference, that what I am doing isn’t right).  He defends himself and claims to be supportive.  I ask him to listen to what I need, and not for him to tell me what I should do, or what he wants to do for me.  He asks if I want to go walking with him… I say sure, envisioning a nice shady walk in 90 degree weather.  He meant track. Sigh, apparently he hasn’t been listening.   We’ve been here before…  I silently–and not-so-silently– wonder why he doesn’t hear me. And angry words are IMG_2931exchanged).

And you know how this all started? Today I broke through a major weight hurdle, a crazy number on my scale that had been MIA for about 18 months.  My body stubbornly would not budge below that “magical”  number.  This is purely psychological, but 4/10 of a pound lower from yesterday was a real motivator to keep me going.  I still have a long way to go to my goal.  But today I was happy, relieved, vindicated, motivated, and a little proud.

And all I wanted was a hug and a “good job, babe, I’m proud of you.”

 

Posted in On "My Temple" (Health), On Being Imperfect Me | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Alive and Writing

I have been a writing beast, so forgive radio silence.IMG_2887

I love my new book.  I hope others will too.  131 pages down, maybe a bit more than half done?

SJ, wonderful husband that he is, has been most understanding about my writing obsession.

Made it through my wonderful Girls’ Weekend without writing DTs, I confess I had to pick it up a few times when everyone else was napping, already in bed, or watching a hockey game (who are you and what have you done to my girlfriends?).

I got back to yoga 4 times this week; day trip out of town with SJ for house exploration; have set up some social times with old friends; did laundry and sheets.  Otherwise I can usually be found glued to my computer, writing, researching, editing.  Like, hmmmm, when was the last time I washed my hair?  Forget taking that extra time to straighten it smooth, it’s been a crazy curly mess for the better IMG_2886part of a week.  Each morning it’s like:  hair, or write.  Write wins.

Started again in earnest on the diet to RE-lose the 25 (30?) I regained after the big 75.  Five pounds down.  So many to go for my goal of late summer wedding.  Pulling out all of the low-cal standbys: This Weight Watchers Key Lime pie is da bomb (43 calories a slice).  Who says dieting can’t be delicious?  Now to not eat the whole pie at one sitting.

But I am good.  SJ and I manage to stick with our Sunday talks.  We dislike the Love and Respect book so thoroughly that we have decided to move on to another, which SJ likes better (Why Marriages Succeed or Fail… and How You Can Make Yours Last). Will let you know what we think. Meanwhile, he’s been extremely proactive on suggesting bedroom dates.  I am currently the one who needs to be better at dropping my obsession and focusing back on him. IMG_2888 Again, he’s been supremely understanding, but I do believe I’m pushing his tolerance envelope, which is saying a lot (Mr. Hermit can be quite happy in his books, documentaries, news, and his own schedule).

A BIG anniversary is looming, right before the BIG wedding, so plans for that are still in the works.  I have gently suggested an alternative to his first suggestion (after asking him to think of things). Bad me, I know.  I REALLY appreciated he tried. It’s just that the wonderful location he researched is in a VERY HOT and rustic location for summertime, with no beaches, a rustic woodsy venue, and a better choice for cooler seasons when hiking isn’t so sweaty and buggy.  Campfires and s’mores will be so much nicer in October.  I don’t do well with HOT, and as SJ quips, Happy Wife, Happy Life.  So, it’s back on me to come up with a plan for a quick and cheap getaway somewhere cooler and perhaps less rustic?  Gotta put that at the top of the to-do list.

Marriage is work, folks–even in semi-retirement.  So easy to let things slide.  It’s at it’s best when you are at peace (for us, kid-free–this doesn’t mean 100% worry free about the kids); you both have passions that excite you (for me right now it’s the writing; I also have a few clients);  a purpose to make dedicated time for each other priority; and a plan (reconnaissance to look at locations and model homes together, and dreaming about the “Forever Home.”  SJ is a genius to have suggested last week’s recon, it makes me happy we are operating as a team,  looking and planning together, so that in a year from now we know where we are going. I’ve been sooooo good not to obsess

or nag about what I LOVE, a tactic that tends to push him in the opposite direction.  I state once, maybe twice, “Gee, that really seemed right for us;”  he gives a little non-committal grunt, points out it’s more than we can really afford; a week or two later, he’s suggesting we might be able to make it work…).

IMG_9220

This takes like an hour’s work…

OK, need to go wash hair and make it pretty.

IMG_9621

The best of a non-frizz day

Cheers!

Posted in On Life in General, On Marriage | Tagged , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Writing “Dilemma”

Image result for writer's muse good

It’s been a while since I posted. I’ve been experiencing a rare writing dilemma.

It’s a good dilemma, but a tricky one.

Image result for writer's muse goodMy muse has kicked back in, with a vengeance.  It is both exciting, and a little bit scary at the same time.  Scary because sometimes I feel I have no control over it. It just sort of grabs me by the hand and whisks me off at break-neck speed.

Deep breath here.

So, quick update from A Submitted Wife.

Hubby has had his nose in about 3 to 4 different Christian books on marriage.  He’s been in study mode.  He has invited me to join him.  I’ve been in study mode in the past, and sort of felt burned by it.  Lots of investment, and little return over the long run.  Lots of good knowledge, but poor follow through.  Hope, followed by disappointment.

Le sigh.

But, I will try again.  I love him.  We are worth fighting for.  Defeat is not an option.  We have re-instituted weekly talk times, right now centered around the book/study Love and Respect.  I’m finding this to be an annoyingly incipient book.  The so-called Pastor who wrote it and leads retreats on it has exactly the correct idea and “formula,” for arresting what he calls the “Crazy Cycle” between spouses… but he really lost me with anecdotes about forgetting his wife’s birthday, and leaving his wet towels on the bed/floor even after knowing this is something that annoys her (and which every normal-functioning  human being can remedy quite easily), and then suggesting she still can respect him. Perhaps that’s his goal, to prove that it could be worse, Virginia.  But we decided to muddle through the accompanying workbooks, since we bought them after all; and just use them as a general guide for our weekly talks.  I don’t mean to denigrate this book right out of chapter one, and maybe my views will change.  I’ll let you know.

Hubby has completed three books in full (have I mentioned he’s a rabid bibliophile?).  He really has good things to say about The Meaning of Marriage (Keller) which I’ll read next.  So the news on the marriage/relationship front is that we are committed to trying and I am really working on not protecting my heart for fear of disappointment.

09da7-writing_woman

Now, on to my “writing dilemma.”  I attempt to keep up with 3 different blogs: one on travel, another on education, and this one.  This one gets most of my attention; God seems to have placed in my heart to relate the good, bad, ugly, and beautiful of imperfect marriage, and share a hopeful story.   I’ve been long overdue on writing up posts for the travel blog; there is a ton of raw material ready to be crafted into posts, and I’ve managed to churn out two in the past couple of weeks.  Education blog gets the least attention, but as it does occasionally bring me clients, I need to tend to that one more.

Then there’s my novels.  Did you know I’m a “published author?” Over more than three decades I have worked on an epic novel, which I eventually broke into a 5-book series, and e-published on Kindle.  It was hard to let go of this baby, it sort of grew up with me. Editing and revising and polishing were my real bugaboos. In the end though,  I think it’s pretty good, no, REALLY good, but I’m lost on the marketing side to this process (I know, I need an agent).  It’s had a handful of readers, but I know it’s not everyone’s genre.  It’s even hard to describe the genre: a “Fifty Shades with a brain,” meets “search for traditional Christian marriage, with romance Image result for writer's museand pinches of international intrigue laced in.”  LOL, it’s a novel that wanted to be everything, but in the end, if you get to Book 5, there is a redemption story.  If you read FSOG, I promise my books are far superior; if you hated FSOG “because that kind of stuff is sick” or you have moral issues with explicit writing about non-vanilla love, I’m not your author. I published under a pen name because I’m not sure I want the world that knows me, to know I wrote what some might think of as “smut” (but let me know if you’d be interested; I can private email you links, the books are ridiculously cheap, and it’d be a good beach read).

I knew I had to cut the apron strings on that first novel series (Book Five just was uploaded about two months ago), before I could begin writing something new.  I’d have ideas, I’d jot them into my iPhone notes.  But nothing new was seriously motivating me.

Then a week ago I started to develop a character.  My writing process is pretty bad for someone who is an educator and has taught the “proper” writing process of outlines, characters, story arch, etc.  I claim I’m the “Hemingway brand” of writer, where “the story was writing itself and I was having a hard time keeping up with it”  (please note that I in no way compare myself to the great Hemingway).  Sometimes I’m just excited to find out where this story will go,  where it will take me, as my readers may one day be. I balk at coming up with instant and formulaic endings, and really tight structure.  Sometimes I have to immerse myself into my characters and my story before I can decide how it might end.

Image result for writer's museThis new story has taken hold of me and taken over my life.  I eat, drink, breath this story.  There’s rarely a time when it’s not on my mind.  I wake up with it and fall asleep with it (if I can fall asleep– there have been many a past-midnight session in the past week).  I can’t clear my head in yoga because the story won’t leave my mind.  I’m having to constantly write notes when I’m not in reach of my keyboard.  In a little less than a week’s time, I’ve written 41 pages of manuscript; copy and pasted countless pages of research; I’ve created a pretty comprehensive outline, and notes, something quite unlike me.  There is actually a direction for this writing, but it’s like drinking at a fire hose right now because I can’t keep up with it.  It’s a living, breathing thing that’s taken up residence inside me.

A thrilling and daunting feeling, all at once.  The control this has over me is at times frightening.

I’ve explained it to my husband, and I’ve asked for forgiveness in advance.  I’ve told him that I do not mean to ignore him, but I’ve just got to ride this muse while it’s here.  He’s been very understanding.  But I know pretty soon I will need to come up with a writing schedule.

Related imageI’m also about to take off on a fabulous girls’ weekend, where there will be EIGHT of us hanging out at a beach house for 4 lovely days.  En route, I get to have two lovely days with one of the besties.  These gatherings are just amazing, and I love them.  To miss one is agony. To not be “present” is inconceivable.

But now I feel like, “how can I put my writing on hold for nearly six full days??”  There’s no way to take it with me, I couldn’t possibly face a choice between the call of my muse, and my life-long friends.

The dilemma of writing.  Dry periods, periods when it feels forced and fake; periods whenImage result for writer's muse good it feels authentic and true (“all you have to do is write one true sentence.  Write the truest sentence that you know.”  Another Hemingway truism.)

So, I’m excited.

That is all.

The book is calling me.

 

 

Posted in On Life in General | Tagged , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

Be Completely Humble and Gentle…

Image result for forgivenessI’m a bit more active on the blogging in this season for several reasons: 1) to see how things progress in this difficult time; 2) to check in with my sanity; 3) and hopefully, to show some progress out of the dark valley.

First, it took me a full three days to finally be able to talk, without anger (and I mean FULL days of being constantly in each other’s presence in very small areas– like 2,000 miles in the car, hotel rooms, and around our kids). There still was plenty of sadness, dare I say it, depression… and lots of prayers… but I could finally talk without being angry and nasty, while still being honest.

Having wallowed through some pretty dire and depressing thoughts over the past few days, I was reduced to groans to God of, “I don’t know what to do… tell me.”

Oh yeah, He told me.  He kept giving me a verse I know well, one I used to teach students:

Be completely humble and gentle.  Be patient, bearing with one another in love.

Ack!  God, that’s NOT the verse I want right now!  I want something like, “Shame on the husband who makes his wife sad…” (there IS such a verse, isn’t there? The closest I can find is “May all who gloat over my distress be put to shame and confusion; may all who exalt themselves over me be clothed with shame and distress.”)  But yeah, he’s not gloating or exalting; he’s sad too…

I also listened to a TED talk podcast I’ve kept open on my browser for MONTHS.  It was Related imageabout The Power of Vulnerability, and it was spot on (more on this later).

Yesterday SJ coaxed me to go to church (we are away from “home” so we often just take a mini vacation from Sunday worship, often watching the stream from our home church). I wanted to say no, but reasoned that it couldn’t hurt me.  I still felt so distant from him, as ironically the verses from 1 Corinthians 7 were read and preached on (the ones about husbands and wives fulfilling their marital duties and yielding their bodies to each other).  Although most of the sermon focused in on the “ministry” or state of being single, I found myself actually quietly scoffing at Paul’s words, as I put as much of a distance in the pew between my spouse and I as I dare.  I think the apostle Paul is amazing, but in so many ways he does get under my skin (in good and bad ways).  I know that he really wasn’t a total chauvinist, yet I still can’t read some of his epistles without bristling a little. However, what he says is always convicting, and he has quite a bit to say about marriage, husbands and wives.

On the way home SJ asked me to “forgive him.” It just came out so… so… insincerely, to my ears.  Not “I acknowledge this behavior wasn’t right; do you forgive me for doing x, and I want to improve,” but sort of like a statement that expects a blanket absolution for “whatever the hell makes her mad,” and move on with a clear conscience.

Well of course as a Christian I am supposed to forgive.  And as a person who doesn’t want to be poisoned by unforgiveness, I know the need to forgive, if for nothing more than my own soul.  But I couldn’t say a word in response to his statement.  I did feel guilty that it seemed mean of me… but he didn’t actually seem to want an “answer” per se.  And of course, that made me angry again– to feel guilty for not responding with unconditional forgiveness.  Feeling guilty that what I wanted to say is “No! I don’t forgive you any more. Related image I’m out of forgiveness, you’ve used it all up!”

After another day of keeping quietly to ourselves, I realized what bugged me.  Wanting to fix things, and actually committing to fixing things, are two different things. Seeking forgiveness means I put the bad behavior/actions/sin behind me, and commit to actively changing.  To not do THAT again.

Later in the day, he also wanted me to watch our home church sermon.  Sheez, God is persistent.  The sermon series is about relationships and this one addressed the “need” for (healthy) conflict in marriages (versus sweeping things under the rug).

I prayed as I tried once again to find sleep last night, not daring to take another dose of Ambien (although I learned it would take 200 of these pills to actually overdose).

By this morning I had really had enough of the silence and impasse and inability to sleep.  I asked if he wanted to talk.  He readily agreed.

As an aside, he’s continuing to read the marriage books.  He has articulated that he’s starting to see that he may have married with the wrong expectations (to “acquire” a smart, interesting, and attractive wife, who would make him feel happy and complete, to assuage loneliness, and to not be that pathetic old single guy); and that he perhaps has guarded his heart (because of previous hurts).  These thoughts are breakthroughs, but not at all surprising to me.

I tried hard to stick to the “I feel… when you…” statements.  The number one for me is that I would feel loved to know he is there to defend me, to support me, and to show he expects respect towards his wife, his woman.  Since he doesn’t do this with our kids (I invoke the Biblical mandates about honor to parents), I don’t even trust him to do this at large, and this feels like such a betrayal.  He cares much more about his own need to not be embroiled in unpleasantness, or God forbid, that someone won’t like him.  That does not feel loving to me, nor protective.  I don’t ask him to endorse anything unreasonable, just that blanket expectation that he could firmly and with conviction say, “You can’t speak so disrespectfully to your mother, my wife.  It’s OK for you to disagree, but do so with honor and respect.”  I don’t particularly want my kids to honor me solely out of a sense of duty (as I’ve had to with my Dad); I most certainly prefer that they honor me out of love and devotion.

We both have things to work on.  It made my heart cheer a little to hear him say that he Image result for vulnerabilityis realizing that “Our marriage is supposed to glorify God;” and “I need to do and give without expectation of return.”

Amen.

I feel exactly the same way, but oh, it’s so, so, so hard to carry that off in a one-sided way. Because if you both don’t buy into this, it doesn’t really work.  We need to just keep praying and giving it to God.

I cried a lot.  I admitted to some really, really dark and dire thoughts.  These shocked him and made him a little upset (not my intention, I told him I wasn’t saying anything for purposes of manipulation or blackmail, just that I’ve even  been shocked to feel myself so hopeless). I reiterated my commitment to also read the books and renew the respect he needs (he pointed out a few moments where he felt disrespected, and I obviously have a lot of work on perceiving this better).

With our conversation, thoughts aired, and some of the pressing weight of this sadness relieved, I went out to run some errands and feel semi-normal.  By the time I returned home, I realized something in my heart.  Oooooo, I struggled so much to say it though!  What if… what if… I can’t risk my heart being trampled…

Image result for vulnerabilityAnd I went for it…

“Vulnerable.  I’m going to be vulnerable…” I muttered as I walked towards him.

“Huh?” he asked in confusion.

“I hate feeling apart from you,” I said.  Whoa.  That is hard to say.

He hugged me, and agreed.  He told me, “I’ve got you.”

Good answer.

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Weary

My amazing BFFL describes it as the mountains and valleys.  And she’s reconciled that inImage result for mountains and valleys her marriage.  She just keeps looking forward to those mountain moments.

Marriage isn’t smooth sailing for many people.  It certainly isn’t for us.

Most of us want to have those Facebook-perfect lives, and we want to portray the image of having it all together.  Frankly, I love believing in the fairy tale of it all, the happily-ever-after.  But maybe it’s this fantasy that bites me in the butt every time… the hope that things will be OK.  Reality sucks.

Some of the time things are good for us.  I want to say that this is the case most of the time, because in the whole scheme of things we have a pretty charmed life with few major problems.  There are no life-threatening illnesses, no kids on drugs or in prison, no horrendous family problems, no massive debt or money problems.  We have minor health issues, our kids are now all college graduates in various stages of getting their lives established, and we have yet to figure out what we want our future to look like and where we want to spend it… if we want to spend it together as a “we.”

Yet these valleys in our relationship seem capable of going to new and darker lows each time.  Sometimes it’s the same old issue again and again.  I lose hope. I want to give up.  I don’t see a way beyond it.  I suppose that sometimes I need to ask myself if “it’s me;” am I having unreasonable “bi-polar” reactions when things are bad?  Why is it so difficult to dredge up that positive that I spoke of in my last post?

Here’s the thing: I wrote previously about how marriage is hard work.  In that post I wrote (comparing our REALLY difficult years to the present): “The difference is, we acknowledge we don’t have all the answers and we don’t know everything.  We may be a bit wiser in our “old age,” but every new challenge or situation can torpedo us unlike any before, and throw us into a major tailspin.  Thing is, we have discovered some things that help us from descending into an irrecoverable flame-out.”

I’m trying to recall just what things we discovered to head off that flame-out.

We’re trying to pray more.

img_0301The recurring theme over and over for me is whether we both really want to do that hard work required by marriage.  It exhausts me.  And I have persistently felt like it’s too hard for him.  He will make promises to me to “step up” in this marriage, but he can’t sustain the efforts.  There is a tease of what he is capable of being as a husband, leader, lover, and best friend… and then it just fades away again.  Part of it is because he’s human and imperfect, just like me.  Part of it may be because I’m a lot to handle.  But I can’t escape the feeling that it’s just because it’s too hard for him.

I’m sure he thinks similar things… “She can’t sustain the things I need in a wife, help-meet, lover and best friend…” 

This dance is so hard.  The moment one of us isn’t living up, the other begins to falter, and it’s a vicious cycle, a whirling vortex,  that’s hard to pull out of.

…And it’s the weariness of trying, and having it go bad over and over.

So, some people will say, “Why do you stay if you aren’t happy?  Surely there are ways to be happier…”  Five years ago I was really buying into that theory.  I felt like anything would be better than staying in a miserable, sexless, and morose marriage.  Miraculously we fixed a few things.  We didn’t stay sexless.  We tried to be happier by being more patient and respectful (what he needs).  He attempted to be more loving and romantic (what I need).  It kinda sorta worked for a while.  You get a glimpse of the person you fell in love with, and the marriage that you always wanted.

And then it slips away.  Sometimes so gradually you don’t notice (except maybe when imagethree or four weeks slip by and there is no sex).  Sometimes it is represented in the moment your offspring treats you like shit, and your spouse does absolutely nothing to show his loyalty or support of his wife, maybe even throws you under the bus a little (a common issue our entire life together).  It’s so demoralizing.  It’s like getting shot in the heart again just as the previous wound is scabbing over.

Is that the way it’s supposed to be?

The “fix” began 5 years ago only because I was convincingly ready to leave, to chuck it all.  He had a choice, to give it up or try harder.  He chose the latter– but temporarily.  I also had to step up and try harder too.  I don’t know who starts flailing first… but of course I think it’s him.   I don’t want the threat of me leaving to be what causes him to work harder.  I sure as hell wouldn’t like that threat.

So you sit here and ask yourself– what IS good about us?  Will we ever find another person to even remotely care about the imperfect people we are?  Will we ever find someone we can trust as much… what, not to be totally disloyal?  Can we continue to survive the emotional disloyalty we seem to default to?  Will we ever find another who takes marriage vows seriously enough not to be gone at the first glimmer of inconvenience, sickness, or discord?

Can we survive the valleys and live off the mountain moments, however few and far between they become?

 

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I Have a Problem, Therefore I Matter

Image result for aging gracefully

There’s something about the aging process that seems to bring out the very negative in many people.  And it’s not without reason that many older folks feel negative.  The bloom of youth is gone and never to return; health is tenuous and our bodies cease to function optimally; the regrets of all the things you didn’t get to do when you could’ve; the regrets of all the things you didn’t have; the sadness of losing friends, family, spouses; the disappointment in offspring; the general sadness of life and in the world.  And of course, the loneliness.

Each time hubby and I have to deal with our sole surviving parents, we are presented with this reality.  Aging often is not a pleasant or fun prospect.  Along with it, there are so many things we can  regret later in life.  The key is to take a lesson and to the extent possible, avoid having so many regrets.

I’m always so inspired by positive people, and especially those who have endured great sadness and loss.  They don’t allow the circumstances of life steal their joy. I know that I want to be like that.

Image result for problemsOne key characteristic I’ve noticed about sad/depressed/negative people is the inherent belief that to “matter” you need to have a problem.  Sometimes the more problems you have, the more important you feel.  People with seemingly problem-free lives, aka, a positive outlook, seem to not be as… significant? “Luckier?”

Another characteristic I see with negative and sad people is lack of forgiveness: towards others; towards the hand dealt you in life; towards God.  Inability to forgive is indeed a poison.

I grew up with a Dad who worked hard, took life seriously, and didn’t seem to have a lot of fun.  He was often critical and grumpy, prone to a mean temper and regrettable actions/words.  The fruit of the spirit (love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control) were mostly absent from his personality. Forgiveness especially did not come easily for him.  Self-care and relaxation were viewed as selfish.  Even when he was attempting recreation like golf or fishing, there always were problems or anxieties involved in these happy pursuits.  There wasn’t a sense of relaxation.  I often recall how angry he’d be over a golf game and wonder why he even wanted to play.  When the time came for me to play golf, I recall thinking that while this can be a challenging and humbling sport, it usually involved incredibly beautiful outdoor scenery, and good company.  It never truly bothered me that I could rarely par a hole or that my handicap was huge.  Dad set high standards for himself and others, and he often struggled to forgive or extend patience and grace.

Mother-in-law thrives on negativity and controversy.  It’s amplified now that she’s in a senior living facility, and especially since her husband of 50+ years passed, but it was always there for as long as I’ve known her.  While she was the best mom and grandmom she knew how to be, and had many fine qualities, kind words are few and far between Image result for negativity vs positivityfor her. Regrets and grudges are many.  She will tell you stories of hardships growing up; she will tell you of people (including close family) for whom she still bears bitter animosity.  She will tell you of the horrible “old ladies” (she’s in her 90s) who flirt with the few older men, sit in “her spot” in the dining room, or who don’t share her passions for football. She bears grudges.  She complains a lot. She argues her political views without any thought that there could be another point of view.  When we visit, rather than feeling happy, she uses the opportunity to complain even more bitterly.  She is one of the most mobile and self-sufficient 92 year olds I know; she has few health issues; she lives in a nice place where all her needs are provided, including social.  She is blessed with two wonderful and caring children who make sure she’s well cared for; 5 happy, accomplished and successful grandchildren who keep in close touch; and 2 great-grandchildren.  Her son is patient and kind, but it even wears at his good nature to face her complaints and negativity.

One thing we notice about both of our elderly parents is that they do very little in service for others, or even to take notice of the needs of others.  What a lonely existence to be concerned only with yourself!  I get that it takes effort to get your aching old joints up out of bed in the morning, and go off to do something that may have no direct benefit to you.  It is much easier to dwell on your problems and the negatives, but oh so much more destructive.

I personally acknowledge that over my life time (and every now and then) I’ve bought into the belief that to “matter,” to seem important, I had to have a huge problem or problems in my life.  For some reason I didn’t feel vital unless I was battling something or someone.  And of course, I had to believe that MY problems where far worse than anyone else’s.

Image result for aging gracefullyWhenever I’m in full pursuit of my true purpose on earth (to love God), I am happier.  Problems don’t matter as much.  I more clearly see the many, many blessings I have.  I can more clearly see how the negatives of my past were either used by God in a positive way; or perhaps were important in testing me and refining me to become a better person.  No discipline is pleasant at the time, but painful.  Later on, however, it produces a harvest of righteousness and peace for those who have been trained by it.  

I also see that getting out of my selfish little complaints, and trying to devote myself to the needs of others, I can more clearly see the blessings that have been given to me.  Very few of us can claim not to have problems or difficulties.  And very few of us can claim to not have some blessings.  The trick is, to not allow the challenges to overshadow the joy and the blessings; to not become identified by our inevitable problems; and to not continue to be defined by the negatives of the past. A favorite quote sums this up:

This is the true joy in life, the being used for a purpose recognized by yourself as a mighty one; the being a force of nature instead of a feverish, selfish little clod of ailments and grievances complaining that the world will not devote itself to making you happy.

I am of the opinion that my life belongs to the whole community, and as long as I live it is my privilege to do for it whatever I can.

I want to be thoroughly used up when I die, for the harder I work the more I live.  I rejoice in life for its own sake.  Life is no “brief candle” for me.  It is a sort of splendid torch which I have got hold of for the moment, and I want to make it burn as brightly as possible before handing it on to future generations.

George Bernard Shaw

I ask myself today, and I encourage you to ask it of yourself, how are you living the privilege of your life, being used for a mighty purpose, with little concern for how you “deserve” to be made happy?

This is a question I need to ask daily.

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Why Is Communication in Marriage so Hard?

Image result for communication marriage quotes

We’ve made it through another few days.  I suppose that’s something.  I need to be grateful for that.

He has been diligently reading away, marriage books.  Love and Respect (The Love She Most Desires); The Respect He Most Needs); The Meaning of Marriage: Facing the Complexities of Commitment with the Wisdom of God.  We heard a quote this week that made us both smile.  “I’m an introvert.  My best friends are authors.”  This applies to SJ.  He is studious.  He loves to read.  He gains insights from books.  Books (authors) speak to him in ways others don’t.  He is also very disciplined when he chooses to be, which is most of the time.
Image result for depressedI, on the other hand, have been dragging myself up out of the abyss.  The one of
hopelessness, despair, frustration, and distrust.  Wearing yoga pants, no make up, not caring if I took a shower today.  Barely dragging myself to yoga or errands. I don’t trust myself, I don’t want to trust him.  But I know I can trust God, so that’s something. I’m not always thrilled to think this may be a time of pruning or purifying by fire in my life.   When I’m in this kind of despair/funk, I don’t talk or engage too much because I fear that I’ll speak angry or mean words and thoughts.  I still do despite my self-imposed silence.  I guess it’s safe to say I can be a wallower.

SJ’s approach was logical and proactive.  Mine was steeped in feelings, volatile emotions,Image result for depressed and irrationality.  I even sort of resented him a little for being so logical and proactive.  There’s a verse in scripture that says, “We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us through wordless groans.  And he who searches our hearts knows the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for God’s people in accordance with the will of God. ” (Romans 8:27-28)

Yep, for a normally articulate person, I become that wordless groans person. Thank God His Spirit is fluent in that language.

So the gratitude statement is this:  he seems willing to try to improve things.  Again.  And maybe that’s just what I need to expect.  We will try again, and again.  We may never get it perfect, but we try to get it the best we can.  And I can choose hurt or hope.  That seems a no-brainer.

Sunday we reinstated weekly “communication time,” long overdue.  I talked more in that hour (plus) than I had in the previous week. I actually asked him to talk first so that I didn’t co-opt the entire communication time.  I practiced my listening skills.  I begged his indulgence for me to have a notebook to jot down things he said that I wanted to respond to (otherwise I’m impatiently interrupting for fear I’ll lose my thought; or I get distracted from listening further as I try to retain the thought).  He has new insights from his readings, acknowledged and apologized for not getting it right, and that he would try to do better (corrected with a quote from that esteemed philosopher, Yoda, “Do, or do not. There is no try.”).  I apologized for being a basket case, and not having my heart in the right place to take constructive action to Image result for communication marriage hardwork on this.  I know he’s been anxious to have me join him in these readings.  My stubborn heart keeps telling me it’s pointless (I don’t tell him this; I tell him that my heart isn’t in the “right place”).  We discuss how the next several weeks involve travel, family events, and busy-ness, and I asked his indulgence for me to start up on the reading when we were back in town and have more time to focus on us.

Lest anyone think I’m a total wastoid, I am devoting time to daily devotions and re-reading The Purpose Driven Life.  I’m getting my head around that truth of “what on earth am I here for?”  Well, life not about me, it’s about God, and my relationship with Him.  I struggle with this, even as a Christian who understands the necessity of “God first.”  If I don’t seek God first, if I don’t place my trust in Him and his purposes for me, then I’m going to be persistently disappointed.  And I really, really do trust that God wants the best for me, He wants this marriage to work, He wants us to find joy with each other, He does not want us to end in divorce or bitterness.Image result for communication marriage hard

Weekly communication time.  Sounds so very simple but we mess this one up constantly.  It is so crucial.  Even for a couple of retirees who don’t have the pressures of a M-F, 9-5 work schedule, we totally fail on keeping this one commitment.  When things started to go better, we seem to mutually and silently agree we don’t need to hold a communication session.  And before we know it, we are out of the habit and sliding down that inevitable slippery slope of misunderstandings and frustration and distancing.  Couples who go to counseling commit to a regular appointment; those who take care of their health commit to a regular exercise schedule.  Why can’t we commit to a weekly time to Image result for communication marriage hardtake care of our relationship?

So we’re talking.  It’s possibly the start of the re- re- renewal.

Gotta have hope.  The alternative isn’t an option.

How do you commit to regular communications with your spouse?

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Marriage to Glorify God

 

I’ll start this out with a hallelujah for church.

I know that sounds weird, but at midnight last night, I was feeling pretty depressed and hopeless.  Apathetic about my life.  Negative.

Church this morning made me look at things in a different way.

Yes, just for me (LOL), God sent a sermon on marriage and relationships.

Image result for marriage glorifies godActually our church is doing a sermon series on relationships, and I’m sure it could be said that everyone thought the sermon was for them.  Who doesn’t have some sort of relationship?  And all relationships have something.  Something to deal with.

Bottom line, as Christians, we are to love one another. We are to do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves.  We are, like Christ, to empty ourselves.

True love puts off self-interest.

It’s the 1 Corinthians 13 definition, which is the definition of selflessness.

Nothing I don’t already know.

BUT GOD… IT IS SO HARD!!!  God, I know what I’m supposed to do.  I just don’t have that kind of strength. Image result for I can do all things through christ marriage

 I KNOW you don’t have that strength on your own… but you CAN do all things through me. 

Bleh.  I need the instruction manual.  The blow-by-blow.  TELL me how to do this??

Love. Just love.

What??  But he…

Love.  Just love.  It’s simple.  I didn’t say it was easy, but it’s pretty simple.  Just go back and
read the instruction manual… 1 Corinthians 13; Colossians 3… well, just read that whole chapter. There are lots of other places in my manual.  Just keep reading.  Keep praying.  And stop with the expectations.  I’ve got a plan, and it is awesome. Trust me.

 I’m hurt.  I don’t want to hurt anymore.  I just don’t want to risk more hurt..

 What did I do for you?  I risked it all, I gave it all.  Just love.  Trust me. 

 Alright… so love.  I’m supposed to die to myself, and put others before me.  Isn’t that what I’ve been trying to do?  I’m supposed to have patience and forbearance… How long?  What’s the difference between that and just stuffing down all these hurts?

 It’s because I first loved you. 

 I know, Lord.  But at this point, it feels so fake to affirm him and say nice things.  It feels so fImage result for marriage glorifies godake for him to suddenly be affectionate.

 Why are you here on earth? (Come on, you’ve been reading The Purpose Driven Life… think hard!)

 To glorify you, God.

 How can you do that in your current circumstances?

 Through my marriage. So hard, Lord…

 Just do it. I know it’s not easy, but you’ve got to trust me, it’s the only way.  I’ve got your back.

 Image result for I can do all things through christ marriage

 

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Apathy

I love world rhythms, I love international cultures.  Today I was around these things, and the joy I normally feel did not bubble up in me.  And the irony made me really sad.

How does this happen?Image result for apathy marriage

Where does apathy come from?

How does it infect every aspect of one’s life?

Where does passion go?

Did I just use it all up? Maybe that’s it.  I used to be one of the most passionate people I knew: passionate about my life, passionate about my friendships, passionate about my family, my interests… and oh yes, passionate about love and sex.

And now– it just feels like a huge vacuum has sucked the passion completely out of me.  Is it completely gone?  Or is just temporarily missing?  Will this pass?  Will it get swept under the rug?

A year ago I really thought we’d successfully cracked the code, we’d figured out how to be happily married.

Image result for apathy marriageNow I’m wondering what the hell I was thinking?  I was certainly delusional.  We can’t do “happily married.”  We can barely do dysfunctionally married.   We marginally co-exist.  Ironically, 4 years ago it was “let’s get them all in college before we end this, so as not to rock their words.” Now it’s “we’ve got graduations, a wedding, and launching them into careers– don’t want to rock their world now.”  Or sadly, “It could be worse…”

I don’t want to quit.  I don’t want to live apart, I don’t want to feel so distant.  (These are the things I tell myself…) Yet right now I feel powerless to “be” anything else…to try… to hope.

Powerless to feel hopeful.

“Resigned” is not a state with which I’m familiar.

But here I am: resigned to just make the best of it, but to not risk anything.  No feelings,Image result for walking away from love no passion, no love.  I seek no tenderness, no touch, no caresses– the girl for whom physical touch and closeness is was the number one love language.  At the moment these touches burn like acid, because they feel contrived and insincere.  Last ditch efforts, “I’ll temporarily do something so she won’t walk away.”  And my rejection feels like an invasion of the body snatchers.  This isn’t me.

It’s like someone who keeps edging you to the cliff… nudging you so close… then at the last moment grabbing you before you careen off, before you’re lost.  You’re temporarily restored to flat ground, only to begin that scrabbling feeling again of losing your footing as you get pushed and edged towards the cliff.  You begin to wonder when he is no longer going to grab for you.  Sadly, I honestly don’t think he deliberately pushes me away… yet I don’t know how after all this time he doesn’t recognize that he does nonetheless.

The hardest part for me, is here he is, once again, acting like he wants to tryOnce again.  There have been too many “once agains” for my heart.  My heart just doesn’t want to hope, doesn’t want to trust.  And my heart hurts for him too… I have to perhaps accept this is probably the best he can do, these actions of desperation.  They can’t be sustained, I know this too well.

I pray that I can change to be patient and accept whatever.  I pray to find the courage to just love him on his terms.  And, I pray that he can change and know how to love me.  But that last prayer is silly.

A week ago he asked if we could do this marriage study.  I told him I needed some time, my heart wasn’t in the right place.  My heart is still not getting in the right place.  My Related imageheart sort of just feels dead.  I’m so done, but I don’t want to feel this way.  And I am desperately drumming up some motivation to try.  To ignore the act of desperation it most likely is.

I fake kindness and patience.  I fake the smiles and cooperative attitude.  I realize it probably comes out as thinly veiled tolerance.  The fight is out of me, even the desire to fight for us; that scares the shit out of me.  I’ve always been a fighter. I am praying for answers.  What do I want?   Certainly not this passionless existence.  God made something from nothing.  Can He do that again?  Can I do that?

Are there diamonds to be found in these ashes?

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I’ve been walking away so slowly for so many years… and I’m starting to see that you really don’t want to come after me.  You won’t run after me.  You won’t fight for me.  It’s just not an investment you can make.  I’m not worth it to you.

(When I withdraw, he reads… and I’m sorry he has to read this; I know he’ll hate hearing it, and he’ll be mad I’m not counting the blessings).

Posted in On Being Imperfect Me, On Marriage | Tagged , , , , , , | 2 Comments