My heart is made of sweet words: whispered, giggled and shouted;
with soggy bits where tears seeped in and found the cracks and crevices.
My heart is made of fur: long and silken, short and coarse, baby fine and bunny soft;
with purrs that run ragged, silver, rumble and holes of black and white.
My heart is made of memories: rioting with laughter and curses;
scented with coffee, tea, flowers and balsam; and held tight in a squeeze.
My heart is full, and yet broken;
because of all that it has, and all that is gone.
Recently, I shared an article that an “angry dad” wrote about how the bathroom bills are pointless, and there were scarier things to be afraid of than people who were different than what we might be used to. In fact, the monsters often look Just Like Anyone Else, because that’s how they survive (and frighteningly, often thrive) at being monsters.
An old friend, who is still a cop, took issue with the article, because he felt it was better to have one more law in the arsenal to stop sex offenders than to cater to the 1% that would be harmed. I said that the article was talking about exactly those sex offenders, and how they didn’t have anything to do with transgendered people. He said something flippant about how I’d lost touch with common sense (again) and goodbye, and then blocked me.
It was upsetting. I’d hoped a) that he wanted to protect everyone, and b) that he cared more about hearing my side than just cutting me short after a quick exchange on Facebook. I’d hoped our friendship meant more, I guess. And then, of course, I was mad at myself. I’d already unfollowed (but remained “friends” with) several of our co-workers, for similar reasons. I didn’t like the racism, the misogyny, and the paranoia they were displaying. The rights they were worried about “losing” weren’t rights per se, and often had more to do with having to share them with others. So I knew that, much as it hurt, it was better to have the abrupt break (I can’t call it a clean one). And, in the hopes of not having to deal with more, I made the choice to cull my friend list a bit more.
I realize that’s weak of me. I stand up for my transgender friends. I stand up for all LGBTQA friends. Some of those friends are more like family to me. If someone jokes about something and it’s beyond the pale, I call them on it … most of the time. I’m still weak and will avoid things if I worry it will cost me my job. Any more though, that’s the only thing stopping me. I don’t always call bosses out on their prejudices. I’m trying to be braver. I’m white, and even though I’m a woman and sometimes wonder about my orientation, I’m always assumed to be straight because I’m married to a straight man. And I’ve always been with straight men. So, I have a set of privileges others don’t that I can use to be brave with as a starting point they can’t.
I’m trying. I still have room for improvement, and it’s sad and scary to discover people I love… loved… are close-minded and willing to trample other people’s rights because those other people are a minority. I will probably lose someone again, to this.
Just like it happens for gay, lesbian, bi, transgender, asexual, and gender queer people every day.
I am extremely good at being extremely hard on myself.
This can drive close friends and family crazy.
The good news is, I’m getting better at noticing when I’m doing it to myself. I’m also getting better at noticing when I’m getting snappy with loved ones as a result of being hard on myself.
For example: I often show love for my husband by cooking for him. Or baking for him. Or cleaning for him and otherwise doing household chores he’s completely capable of so he can relax when he gets home. I think, in part, I do it because it’s good to do things to help out and I like them done a certain way, so… it lessens arguments. I also do these things because my mom (and dad, sometimes) did them – an example was set. Also, I must admit I love the good feedback of compliments and gratitude. (This tastes good, sweetheart, thank you! The kitchen looks great! You worked really hard! Would you please make me X dessert soon?)
But. I also slowly start to resent it when good feedback doesn’t occur, or if the occasional turnabout doesn’t occur. And since I set up a sequence where I’m the one who does those things, it’s a jerk move to resent something when I haven’t communicated that I’d like a break in doing the things. (I think I missed the communication part between mom and dad, so in my head, partners just notice when the other person needs a break. And yeah, sometimes, but in real life it’s better if we communicate.) Now, luckily, doing a thing that sort of drives me crazy (scheduling the dinner menu for the week) has a nice side effect of being able to communicate that certain days might be more ripe for him to cook or us to go out to eat. It’s also better for budgeting for grocery items.
The thing is, I love that I can bake a consistently decent pumpkin pie. Even the one pumpkin pie I made in the last couple years that didn’t taste good had a perfect consistency. (Bad can of pumpkin. Didn’t taste like anything. Taught me to ALWAYS taste the pumpkin puree before I add anything else.) I love that Terry’s face dissolved into a big grin and I hear a woah-ho-ho! when he walks into the house to the smell of that or apple pie or molasses cookies. I don’t love that I get tired of doing it, and thus don’t want to. I don’t love that it adds to my waistline (and honestly, probably his).
So it’s complicated.
I have a similar love/hate with a very clean house. It doesn’t last long, will need redone quickly, and is a pointless exercise in those regards. But. Someone besides me can find things if they’re in their place (not everyone’s brain can handle organized chaos), it’s less anxiety-making to walk/live in a decluttered place, and it’s healthier for the cats.
I suspect everyone has things about the way they show love/caring for others they love and they hate. I don’t think it’s individual to me. But lately, when I really wish it was easier to lose weight and eat healthy – but comfort food is so reassuring after long stressful days, I really hate how I express love via food the most. And I blame myself for being stupid enough to express love that way, because in the end, I hate myself for being heavy.
What about you?
I am not a morning person. Shamefully not a morning person. If I became Queen of the World, I would institute a new work day that allowed 1pm til 9pm to be perfectly acceptable business hours in any time zone, thank you very much. I would not force everyone to do it, because then banking would still be a pain for most people, among other things.
But I’m serious: if I could sleep the way my body clock thinks it is supposed to sleep, I would not go to bed until about 1 or 2am, and I would probably wake up between 10am and 11am ready to get up. (I would still wake up at least once or twice in the mean time, because my REM sleep seems to cycle to all-the-way-awake lately, which allows for checking on other inhabitants of the house, so that’s fine.)
I try not to be horrible about this, but I’m not actually likely to say “good morning” until closer to noon. I will respond to greetings of “good morning” with a neutral “morning” so as not to be horribly rude, unless I know you and know you know me in which case I might say something snarky about proof required for adjective.
Sadly, coffee doesn’t help. Coffee is nice and gives me energy, and if properly treated (usually with creamy sweet chocolate or caramel flavored things), is even quite pleasant, but otherwise it’s just the hot thing with caffeine which makes me feel like I’m maybe focusing a bit better than I was before I started drinking coffee. A nice black tea is about the same, except incrementally more comforting.
My husband is a morning person. He knows I’m not. He knew it before we got married. He even knew it before we moved in together. (I thought it was important.) Sometimes though, he forgets.
This morning, he was particularly chipper and kept rattling off cheerfully about any number of things … but the final straw was when he made a joke. (I think it was really a pun, or just off-color, but I wasn’t awake enough to be more than horrified that he was joking and it was morning!) I looked at him, and I told him quite firmly, “You should leave. Because I want to smack you, and that’s not good. I love you.” He laughed, told me he loved me, and wandered out. This was before my shower, mind you.
Post shower, he came back in and got his goodbye kiss, and another love you. I’m very lucky that he doesn’t take anything I say too much to heart, when I’m at that stage of the day.
My 2014 opened with a proposal, which was wonderful.
There were moments of hope, when my sister applied for jobs in-state and a state nearby.
There was the excitement of getting a new car for the first time in 12 years.
There were moments of sadness, when my sister lost her cat, who was her baby, and my nephew.
There was a new life welcomed to the world, a new human niece to another sister.
There was the cool convenience of being able to help my sister apartment shop via Skype.
There was the joy of welcoming her here in advance of her belongings, and helping her shop for and find a car that works for her.
There was the joy of getting married to my sweetheart of many years.
There was the relief (and sadness) of having to admit that my secondary job, while useful for funds, was not useful enough and definitely not useful enough to offset the stress that was making me miserable.
There were moments of hope as my primary job seemed to experience a slight uptick in work and sales.
There have been good moments of reconnecting with past friends, strengthening bonds with current friends, and sadly realizing that a few friends are perhaps better suited as acquaintances.
There have been moments that were better for writing, baking, cooking, and drawing. Creativity has overall been good, even to starting a new game with friends.
There have been moments where I have not been all I would have hoped, health-wise, and in fact made no advancement but rather backslid in terms of exercise.
There have been moments where being socially aware and critical has been depressing, overwhelming, and frustrating in the extreme as I watch humans as a whole Not Do Well.
There have been a few shining exceptions to the nastiness as some things are more accepted in my corner of the world.
Still, being hopeful, I am declaring my personal 2014 to have been a good one. I hope that 2015 is as good and better, that I continue to improve as a person in my health, my creative self, my interactive self and my working self. I wish everyone the best year that they can have as well!
I mean, there is so much attributed to the emotion. Songs. Poetry. Bad songs and poetry. Movies. Books. Quotes from little kids that are insightful and kind of ridiculous all at once.
So what is it?
Obviously it’s various things to different people. To me it’s things that might mean nothing to someone else, but between the other being and I do mean something.
Love is recognizing that this article I’m reading might be of interest to my baby sister who is a grown up and teaches math to 10 and 11 year olds.
Love is coming downstairs and gathering things to leave the house for work to realize that my sweetheart took out the garbage because he noticed it was full.
Love is getting a box of chocolates and paper origami from a friend a country away, because she wanted to make me smile.
Love is a text from a friend a state away linking me to a cool art blog because she knew I would think it was cool and she wanted to share.
Love is knowing another friend looks forward to a yearly event as much as I do, because we like going together. It is also sending her small baubles from the event if she can’t make it.
Love is wanting to try lavender soda because a friend I care about loves it, even though I’m not sure I’m brave enough.
Love is a newish boyfriend eating a new (to him) veggie and learning to love it, even though he really doesn’t like veggies.
Love is trying soccer (even though it is scary and triggers all kinds of baggage from being a kid) because I want to spend time with my honey who loves it.
Love is being okay with hearing “I don’t want to do that thing. Please go ahead and do it with another friend.” and going ahead and doing it, and both people being the better for that.
Love is driving 90 miles to mostly hang out, run errands, and do nothing. Because.
Love is stopping to enjoy a cuddle when the cat flips over and outstretches a paw and shows you the underside of his chin and his belly.
Love is keeping the kitchen clean.
Love is when the first person in the shower shifts the towels so the other person’s towel is closest when they get in the shower.
Love is flowers for no reason other than you thought they needed flowers.
Love is pumpkin pie.
Basically, love is paying attention and trying very hard to help with little things to make life better. Love is active listening. Love is communicating your needs and clarifying others’ needs.
I have a few friends who post Thankful posts. One does it whenever she needs a pick-me-up, I think. Another sometimes tries to stick to a Thankful Thursday schedule, but I think really she does it to remind herself of good things in this world, too.
I have a complicated relationship with things I’m thankful for. Some of them make me sad, you see, so … they don’t really so much pick-me-up. On the other hand, they’re still good things, and I’m thankful for them. They’re just often more part-and-parcel of who I am, as opposed to immediate.
So, below, a few…