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From magnificent obsession to boulevard of broken dreams in one day, less than 24 hours. Let's hope today's events do not fortell the tone of 2003.
The man can accurately decipher my mood change from a single typed word via IM. And I'm not supposed to be disappointed? Eighteen years of believing there was nothing real between us, it was only my imagination, then a year knowing in fact something incredible existed, we are self-professed soul mates, and I'm not supposed to be disappointed that that he will let the strictures of antiquated tribalism keep us apart?
I think not.
Arbeit macht Frei. Or at least provide distraction until I achieve better equilibrium. Years of Zen practice and hours listening to Sara McLachlan also help.
There is little chance to salvage any hope from the current precipice. The reasons for his conversion are deeply rooted in my reasons for loving him. The Wizard has never taken the easy path, but staked his life on his beliefs.
I once said I would take anything I could get from him. The universe, in its usual capricious manner, has provided me the opportunity to prove just that, twisting my original intent inside out.
I slip back into routine, wearing it as easily as my favorite robe. It is armor of a sort, though, the links of its chain mail carefully constructed of deadlines, to-do lists, phone calls and memos, decisions to be made and those made for me. Yet routine cannot protect me from the occasional reflection upon the conversation. I cannot pretend any longer that I am as others. If the Wizard believes me to be a strange creature from his own not-the-norm vantage point, so be it. It is time to acknowledge my extreme differences and stop trying to minimize them.
A Traveler's advisory was issued today for Long Island and NYC. Today's test run into the city was frankly disappointing. The 8:26 train was FULL, old geezers headed into the city for some event. At Penn I filled up my metrocard and headed downtown for breakfast and shopping detail. After a cozy breakfast at Mercer Kitchen, on the way to the first store I realized my foot was already on the verge of pain with every step. My purchase was already bagged (dunno why I called ahead, but in retrospect, it was genius) then cabbed it back to Penn Station.
Utterly lacking energy today. Drained from several Saturday all-nighters, and a few other near misses, from months of prescription drugs filtered through my system, percolating like stale coffee creating a toxic brew, from fighting a body that no longer has control over every movement. Tired of staving off mental collapse from lack of stimulation, of waking up groggy late in the morning or being wide awake in discomfort late at night, unwilling to take more drugs. Tired of realizing I'm clenching my teeth yet again for no real reason as I am not in real pain at the moment.
Balance. Perspective. Give and take. Scratch my back and I'll scratch yours. Yin and yang. Spinning wheel. Do unto others as you would have them do unto you. Compromise. For every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction. What goes up, must come down. Into every garden a little rain must fall. Every cloud has a silver lining.
A seemingly endless list of sayings from different cultural milieus, all saying essentially the same thing. My favorite is a bit more blunt and pessimistic, although the connection may be hard for some to find: Life is uncertain; eat dessert first.
Morning routine for years was drudgery. Now it is what keeps me functioning day to day. Months without my normal habits have left me unfocussed. Unable to force myself from bed at a regular time without the necessity of being out of the house on time, my sleep cycle became disorganized and ragged as did I.
I must retrain myself to adhere to a schedule. Perhaps the 5:56 train would help. It would also make it easier to return home on an earlier train, give me something of an evening, as I'll never have time for myself in the morning.
wish?.. I had my own pool. Felt absolutely great after the class at the Y. I wish they had more classes at different times. Once a week is nice but twice a week would be grand. Wish they had bigger locker facilities, only three people can fit in either of the mini rooms. Wish I had a flexible work schedule. Then I might be able to schedule a morning class without fear that I'll have to drop it. Wish to only be in the office two days a week. Of course, that would require a new job.
Why isn't it The Agony of Victory? There are times when winning comes at a much dearer price than defeat. I won today. I was in charge of things today, went to the city, managed several hours in the office, came home while still walking easily, no pain, no limp.
Walked in the door, walked up the stairs and collapsed into a small, limp heap on the bed. Took a nap, two and a half hours, willingly, without reservations. I never, NEVER take naps.
Technically, today I won. But it sure doesn't feel like the Thrill of Victory. Not yet.
The theme of the day seems to be returning home to the familiar, yet not the same. Or rather, discovering we are not the same as we were then. Although we may see ourselves as the same person over time, essentially unchanged, change is inevitable. The smallest shifts add up and the longer time it is before the return home, the more apparent this is. There are millions of unrealized realities out there for all of us, regardless of whether we were shot out of a wormhole or not. And the possibility of being trapped somewhere undesirable just as real.
A day bathed in sunlight. Or at least, several hours of sunlit enjoyment. Good food, an entertaining novel and the luxurious enjoyment of an artist in the textures and colors of a good yarn shop. It is a fever, a lust that settles deep in the blood that compels me to buy yarn, my head filled with visions of sartorial splendour, the final creation evident from the moment my finger strokes the fibers or my eye the color. Half a lifetime ago in Germany it was the same. This inclination must be inherited; Grandmama did the same thing with cloth.
How is it I spent more than thirty years only really ever knowing two of the classic Yes albums? Even after Dad got the box set thing, I didn't catch on. The Wizard finally pushed me back on track. Last summer when I was driving myself to continue with work, ignore the pain, just get it done, the mad kinetic energy and perpetual motion of the music of King Crimson fit the bill for working on the long train rides. Now, the blistering trumpeting of Anderson, Howe, Squire and cohorts is the perfect partner to watch sunrise from the train.
For the multitudes, their job is something that occupies them Monday to Friday, from 9 to 5, or less if they can get away with it. They simply mark time for forty hours a week, there is no meaning in their work, no passion, no drive. There are others who feel a deeply ingrained responsibility to do their utmost, their very best every day, regardless of whether they actually like their work. At the far end are those few souls who hardly notice the hours flying by, they are so deeply enmeshed in the passion of their work, their vocation
As the pale fingers of dawn creep westward with me on the train, I contemplate the current state of affairs, my existence that passes for Life. Early morning, Gates of Delirium echoing between my ears, a small cuppa Joe in hand, these set the stage for introspection. Obsession seems a natural state for me. "One track mind" is kinder, but isn't accurate, it lacks a certain creativity and flexibility that seem inherent in obsession, and multiple, concurrent obsessions are my standby. I do not want to just replace one with another, but I wonder if I'm headed down that path.
I have surprised myself with the extent to which I have been able to extract myself from the reality of pain by judicious application of Zen. Or perhaps it is merely an adult understanding how rare it is for two people, soulmates, to find each other and to both be ready, willing and able to act on the knowledge. While still a cloaked deep romantic, I do not believe that Love Conquers All, or expect that Life will be Fair. The universe is far too quirky and insolent; the spirit of Aiken Drum runs the show from behind the curtain.
Fear, Uncertainty and Doubt, otherwise known as the FUD factor, is a dangerous combination, decidedly lethal when mixed with a native tendency not to trust others or believe in them except after they've proven themselves by Herculean challenges. Allowing past mistakes to dominate current reality and thereby influence the future will only perpetuate the history, the miserable cycle. Finding a way around the instinctive reaction - there's a challenge, one I have no idea how to approach. Yet if application of certain Zen thought patterns keeps one kind of misery at bay, perhaps it can help delay that learned response.
Morning sludge and grey cold are fractured by brilliant sunshine. After a trip to Glen Cove to see Anthony, Garrison is in top form, in better shape than I am. Cruising home on the parkway we are flying again. I think briefly of the Wizard, who hates cars, but has he ever felt this rush? Who needs a plane, or even the autobahn. I love the constant rolling hills and curves of the Northern State. I realize that brief thought of the Wizard didn't leave me breathless with heartache. The sun shines even brighter as we head east.
Needing diversion, distraction, I'm working my way though my music collection, in alphabetical order. Having gone through Bauhaus, Black47 and BST, I've approached Bowie. That will mean Heroes and Low, the soundtrack to that winter 19 years ago, sitting in the alcove on fourth floor Trow. Music was a conscious attempt at distraction then when it was too early for alcohol, and one that could be consumed in public. He was my own Thin White Duke.
The basic pattern has not changed. I try to drown the pain in waves of music. At least my liver is spared these days.
The phone rings, and without thinking, I pick it up, realizing the time of day is all wrong. When you only get phone calls from five different sources on a regular basis, the traffic patterns are quite distinct.
Of course, it is not good news. An ocean and five time zones away, there's not a damned thing I can do except listen and do my best to be the Voice of Reason. Forget my own situation, my incomplete understanding of Life as A Married, the degree to which I find the relationship incomprehensible, none of it matters. She needs me.
I waited too long; in my silence he thought I was angry at him. Realizing it was the anniversary of his first attempts to reach out to me while he was in the throes of his own internal struggles, I sat frozen by doubt again. What to say, what to say? Unsure if skirting the issue was wise or even possible, feeling that everything else was trivial by comparison, for the first time words seemed by turns dangerous and inadequate.
"You are the choice, forever trying." Words of Yes, from Dreamtime.
I must awaken and face the light of day.
Falling behind is so easy to do these days. I am not accustomed to worrying about the pace. But these days it seems I am constantly looking around me to discover that I have not kept up, that where I am and where I need to be to see it all done are not the same. I am not sure how to simplify anything without cutting out parts of my life entirely. Like this writing. I believe that working through some of the non-physical aspects of this recovery happens better and faster with concentration and reflection. And so I write.
Some people get it and others don't, even after you explain it. Or perhaps it simply defies explanation. It doesn't matter, I have no interest in trying to get to know those who don't understand the art of conversation or communication. There is no discernable human spirit behind the words, they have all the charm and character of an automaton (robots these days have some personality). Even giving voice to my extensive curiosity yields monosyllabic responses. It seems to be a young Joe Friday on the other side, "Just the facts, ma'am." What is the point of trying any more?
Flour. Yeast. Salt. Water. What wonderful possibilities can be spun from these simple ingredients, out of the complex chemical reactions that occur between them. I am still learning, yes, but the artisan loaves that come out of my Kenmore oven, baked on metal, have even the Dutchman exclaiming it looks like it came out of a stone oven. And the tang, not from an infusion of sourdough, but created from hours of slowly morphing chemical reactions, carbon dioxide bubbling up all day. Yet the prospect of producing on a mass scale is intimidating, even with the assistance of a Kitchen-Aid.
Plans made fall asunder and the wait continues. It is a fresh kind of hellish torment. And yet every day I wait is another day in which I become more balanced, stronger and more removed from the other torment, another step away from the smoking remains from New Year's. The anticipation is also being noted in my dreams, or rather, the little fantasies that my mind spins in between waking and sleeping, not true REM sleep dreams, yet distinctly more than daydreams. The possibilities and potential are tantalizing but I do not want them to build up to unrealistic expectations.
Dad jokes that I should open a micro-bakery, sell completely hand-made loaves for $7 and when I'm selling 50 loaves a day, quit the daily run into the city. I don't think he believes that I've been considering something very much along those lines. The problem is one of time and facilities - as long as I'm commuting into the city, I don't have time to start the Moonlight Baking Company. And there's no way for my kitchen (even the future renovated state) to handle the production of that much bread, as its more than a 24 hour process.
There will be good days and bad days, I remind myself. And I've had days that are much worse, this is just small stuff, aches and pains that come and go out of nowhere, and a general fatigue. The To Do list for this weekend is at a halt, today will be spent very quietly on the couch, reading and knitting. Whee-ha. Yeah.
At least this isn't a workday, I tell myself, trying to find positive thoughts before I sink into a morass of negativity. Then I take out of the oven two beautiful loaves of bread and I smile.
Did not want to haul my body out of bed this morning. Did not want to get in the car and drive to the Y even though it is little more than 5 minutes away. Did not want to contemplate moving my legs through the aerobic exercises, even in water. But I gritted my teeth and went anyway. A small group this Monday morning (not the usual overwhelming throng) splashed about for an hour in the blessed quiet of the natatorium. By the time class was over, I felt loose, even limber, with no more aches or pains ambushing me.
Through a series of bizarre and unfortunate turn of events, I didn't take a nap tonight when I got home even though it was well after 5:00 pm before the train pulled into the station, a time by which I've usually already been completely asleep. I scrounged up some cold pasta for dinner, spoke incoherently with Dad when he called, and watched the Gilmore Girls hoping the normal witty verbal bantering would keep me awake until 9:00 pm., which it thankfully did. Fell asleep immediately once I was upstairs in bed. Mark another Agony of Victory day on the scoreboard.
The roller coaster ride has begun; twenty four hours of massive ups and downs. Every signpost, indicator, marker and caution predicted at the beginning of the year by that Master of Pronoia, they all pass before my eyes, one by one. The universe is speaking, but so softly and quickly, I'm not sure I got it all. Yet at the end of the day, a few pinpricks of light - showing me the way out of the darkness?
It seems a perfect opportunity to recite my favorite Bette Davis line: "Fasten your seat belt, it's going to be a bumpy night."
Don't jump to conclusions. I must remind myself of this over and over. Don't jump to conclusions. While I often seem to immediately know the correct answer to a question or problem, that is not jumping to a conclusion, I simply allow my brain and instincts to react; when they are in agreement it is a wondrous thing. Listening to the first half of someone's sentence and believing I know the entirety of what they want to convey IS jumping to a conclusion; it is a bad habit that is going to cause a real problem. If it hasn't already.
Things are not always what they seem. Things are rarely what they seem to be. Don't jump to conclusions. Again. Repeat.
This little mantra is more difficult than I'd expected. And of course, given the nature of the universe, I am being granted ample opportunity to test my understanding and acceptance of it. Probably to continue until I get it right. I do hope that there is one exception to this current parade of possibilities - Aiken. May he turn out to be what he seems to be: a warm, funny, incredibly intelligent and educated sensitive guy. And interested in me.
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