Thursday, September 29, 2011

Instead of the Other 461 Things I Should Be Doing

I'm procrastinating.


I have a super duper important big 10-page report due Friday.  And it really needed to be to my boss today so she could look over it first.  But it wasn't.

But tonight a friend sent me a poem he'd written and I realized how long it'd been since I'd written something for ME.

And it's one of those of those nights where I'm feeling very wordy.  It's great when I'm writing this report that I should have sent to my boss yesterday but couldn't force myself to stay awake, focus, and WRITE.  It's 5:00am.  I've been up all night, mostly working on this report.  It's coming along.  But I'm taking lots of detours.  Detours spent on long emails (to the aforementioned poet, to old friends who come back into my life at the right time, to lost, confused, gorgeous younger gay guys whom I love like little brothers, to people who touch my life), on the luxury of thought, on conversation and reading. 

And always lurking is the frustration and self-hatred that just comes along with this intense level of procrastination.  WHY DO I DO THIS TO MYSELF?  Don't I know how much EASIER my life would be if I did things earlier, if I made lists and crossed them off, if I forced myself to sit down and just WRITE THE DAMN REPORT, ALREADY.  Oh, the things I could accomplish if I didn't procrastinate and then hate myself for it....

This new house is going to be great for Stella and me.  It's small.  It's closer to everything (work, school, downtown, other people). It's much more ME.  That was something I wasn't prepared for when D. and I moved in together - that he would have a different aesthetic and want a different sort of home. He wanted the security and space of the suburbs.  I could never shake the feeling that it just wasn't ME. 

I'm 36 years old and have never owned a house.  I've cycled through different feelings about this. Sometimes I feel like I'm not a "real" grown-up because of it. But I'm mostly relieved not to have that responsibility hanging over me. I could give a rat's ass about equity or what having it or not having it says about me as a person.  I don't know if this is where I want to stay and I'm sure glad I won't have to factor in home ownership into my eventual decision to stay here or move on after Stella graduates. 

I hate that I abandoned this blog for so long.  A lot went on.  A lot that I'll probably never take the time to explain in detail. A chunk is missing from my reflective life!  I can't let that happen again, where I'm not writing anywhere. I guess I could cut and paste from emails and Facebook messages.  That would be stupid and confusing. I'll just have to accept that I failed and move on and not do it again.

It sure does feel good to be back.

Friday, September 16, 2011

The Summer That Changed Everything

I realize I haven't been around here since March. I wanted to lay low while I was being considered for a job that would've brought with it a fairly high profile, regionally speaking. But I DIDN'T get the job (thank god, in hindsight). And yet I still didn't write. Certainly not for lack of thinking. I've thought several novel's worth of emotional turmoil, plot twists, dramatic tension, exhausting dialogue, and overused tropes. I've thought it because I've lived it.

Back in February NW Arkansas was encrusted in a foothigh late snow, Egypt was struggling for freedom, and D. and I were on a perilous relationship tightrope. We bickered, slipped, lost footing, and to keep from tumbling we grabbed at each other, nearly pulling the other down in the process. The Banksy documentary played an unwitting role in one of the loudest, dumbest, ugliest arguments we'd ever had. But NO! I said - I know I've had a rotten attitude at times. I know I've brought it home. I know I shouldn't do that. I know my energy spreads to others. I don't want it to be this way. So I vowed to improve - anything in my power. I vowed to be more conscious. I vowed to bring more loving into our relationship.

I asked for nothing in return. My secret hope was that I would be right - that love begets love, that he'd be inspired to also make changes and be conscious. I secretly hoped that my deep love for him would transcend the bullshit we'd found ourselves waylaid in. And that we could just make it through the fucking summer!

Then something happened in early June that really tested the boundaries of my trust - my trust in him, trust in our methods for figuring things out. No, not THAT bad thing, but heartbreaking nonetheless. And I knew the tsunami of summer programs were gathering speed and power....just around the corner.

By the time I was in the middle of what would turn out to be the busiest, craziest, most professionally demanding summer ever, I had already started to understand that we....just didn't have what it takes to face all our challenges, use them to grow stronger, and, above all, love each other unconditionally.

There was also SO MUCH ELSE going on underneath, in between, and over to the side of this intentionally vague description. Things like (justified) teenage rage, tornado hitting too close to home, terminal cancer, inexplicable body ailments, fender benders, floods, bill collectors, lost dogs, the hottest summer on record, people we love in Syria and Libya, and a garden I refused to let die.

July 17 D. moved out, taking both dogs, Rocket the cat, and nearly all the furniture.

I had no choice but to call upon my friends, who should all be knighted in my imaginary empire. Within two days I had couches and chairs and a dining room table again. Whew.

Meanwhile the tsunami of the summer programs I oversee hit hard. 24 undergrads from Iraq (proud, whipsmart, demanding, high energy, awesome), 24 English teachers from Mexico & Vietnam (easy-going, rewarding, smart, fulfilling), 19 undergraduate women from Afghanistan (inspiring, strong, primitive, exhausting), 15 graduate students from nine countries (passionate, emotional, driven, needy), and finally 22 pre-service English teachers from Turkey (energetic, entitled, draining, young).

I put the last program on a plane last Friday. By Saturday, my shoulders ached constantly. I got a massage but it seemed to hurt more than ever. Monday the pain was so acute I stopped in at an urgent care clinic. The next day I got acupuncture. Nothing was alleviating the pain from the entire Summer From Hell. All signs point to Bulging Disc. It's now 2:43am on a Thursday night. Tomorrow will be yet another long day that I'm ill-prepared for. Not enough host families. I don't know when I'll ever truly be well-rested or satisfied with my personal life. But I'll keep trying! For all you readers who thought we had what it takes to make it work - I thought so too. I really did.