confessions of pretty pink unicorn toes

confession: i bought myself my favorite flowers a week and a half ago. the last blooms are in their final fullness before the petal edges brown and wilt. once upon a time in my life i remained in a relationship with someone who hurt me because he brought me my favorite flowers at irregular intervals. i knew then i’d be better off buying my own flowers but i wasn’t ready to act on that knowing. i’ve been playing a quantum-time-space game for a few weeks going back in time and shifting small things in the past, adjusting some of my minor actions, saying things i held back, remaking memories. memory is malleable, neuroplasticity yields to intentional re-wiring, and i am creating a new past that empowers me then and now.

confession: i live across the street from a school chartered in 1690. the main hall has a steeple and church-like bell announcing every hour. that bell has been marking time for lifetimes. i think about students who waited hourly for that bell to ring that now lie in cemeteries. i think about the students that will mark time by that bell who haven’t yet been born.

confession: the poetess and i are currently engaged in a continuous conversation of “isn’t it crazy that….” the opening crazy fact is that our planet has a moon, but only one. yesterday’s fact–humans get two sets of teeth in a lifetime, but only two. (sharks get endlessly replacing teeth.)

confession: two years after moving from austin to philadelphia, i’m moving from austin again via his move to nashville. my closet at his place is empty. this time, this move, two years later, my heart feels fragmented. i understand better the loss of leaving home for real, leaving home for good, knowing i can’t go back home because home isn’t there anymore, understanding that i’ll never have another home like the one i left even if someday i find a new home in another place.

confession: i rarely drink alcohol anymore due to a compromised immune system. when i drink, i drink less and it affects me more. when i drink, i’m in love with everybody…like when i’m sober…only gushier and slurring-er.

confession: i painted my toenails for the first time in two years. i painted them prismatic opalescent baby girl unicorn pale pink and i think they are very pretty, prettier even than the flowers i bought for myself. self-care has been scarce in my world for the past few years. it’s making a comeback.

confession: i read an article advising how to get one’s book published. the realest and best suggestion (although unhelpful) was to become famous first.

confession: i don’t want fame. i prefer anonymity. lately i’ve observed an increasing intrinsic desire to put my writing into the world, to let it be read in hopes that the writing i’ve written to keep me alive might help someone else struggling to stay alive.

confession: i didn’t know middle age was still-young-not-old until i arrived here. when i commented to my favorite aunt and uncle (who are 69 and 70) about being middle aged they laughed at me…because they think of me as young. they think of themselves as young…and they are…and so am i. i am surrounded by role models who age without getting old. from them i’m learning that aging gracefully means you don’t have to get old, act old, believe in oldness; aging and oldness aren’t definitively connected.

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confessions of spiraling

confession: our fridge is always full, spilling over with seltzer, reduced-fat cheeses, three kinds of nut butters and three kinds of jam (because each of the three of us has a different preference), all varieties of leafy greens (that papi makes into green smoothies for him and me every day), pounds of fruit, and beer (depending on who is and isn’t drinking beer in the household at any given time). currently no one is drinking beer in our household but i bought a six-pack of the champagne of beers (a union beer) as a gift for wizard’s office manager because her partner is a union guy and therefore only union beer is allowed into their house (even though the champagne of beers is definitely misleading when using the word “champagne”). papi is on an all-natural food-as-medicine diet for himself (and for me, but i fail before noon each day) which means he is also chronically hungry because veggies don’t fill up a man who works out every day. (yeah, yeah, i know about vegan weightlifters but they are drinking a gallon of whey protein each day and whey protein is pretty yuk, especially at those quantities.) at midnight last night papi was too hungry to sleep (which happens every night), came into the kitchen, opened the fridge door, and immediately desired the champagne of beers, the only thing in the fridge he isn’t allowed to consume because it was purchased as a gift for someone else. papi doesn’t even like the champagne of beers. when papi drinks beer he chooses a pils with a belgian name that americans can’t pronounce correctly, but because it was the only thing in the fridge he couldn’t have, miller high life was the only thing he wanted. papi and i are very alike. i know that can’t-have-it-so-i-want-it feeling. i’ve depleted significant segments of my life slipping into and out of that feeling regarding food.

confession: i spent 25 perfect hours in minnesota with cousins and godchildren this past weekend. i zip in quick and zip out faster because every situation triggers my eating disorder in minnesota, but everybody who loves me in that state knows how to make each moment count and my capacity to love multiplies when loving up the lovies there.

confession: the mall of america in bloomington, minnesota is a perfect destination for drunk shopping.

confession: saturday night drunk shopping was accomplished within budget and without regret.

confession: sitting in the back of the minivan with four of the godchildren on sunday afternoon i asked  if they had any superpowers. my favorite response (offered by the four-year-old)—“i can dance.” we are a dancing family. the oldest godchild taught me a new dance move called the “shoot dance.” he keeps me current because he’s a hip teenager and he knows if he teaches me a new move that i’m committed to learning it. yes, dancing is a superpower in our family.

confession: in a brief-and-meaningful exchange on sunday afternoon in the basement that is his creative workshop, i had the privilege of mentoring my favorite uncle (father of the minnesota cousins, grandfather to the godchildren). he was my first mentor, the first adult to affirm and encourage my creative spirit when i was a young kid. i reminded him of basic zen principles i learned from him (and he learned in japan)–beginner’s mind, be present for process without attachment to outcome, letting possibilities lead us into deeper practice. it was the first time i (as student) reminded my teacher of the teachings. life’s lessons spiral around and around.

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confessions of younger

confession: do you wanna know why i’m not a vegetarian? it ain’t because i looooovvve meat. i mean, meat is okay(ish) and i eat chicken most days but the reason i’m not a vegetarian is that i’d get fat on all the nut butters—peanut butter, cashew butter, almond butter. i looooooooovvve the nut butters. i’d binge on the nut butters if i *had* to eat them as a source of protein.  (i binge on them anyway but less since i don’t nutritionally depend on them.) also, about vegetarianism, i’d get bored with beans and lentils. (i get bored with them already without being a vegetarian.) vegetarianism aligns with my ethics…but in the end, my eating disordered limitations around nut butters sway my choice because addicts usually choose their addictions even when the addiction conflicts with their values. thank you to all the vegetarians honoring the earth (and my own values) while i keep eating chicken (and trying to avoid bingeing on the perfection of nut butters).

confession:  i was eating peanut butter on toast while typing that last confession. if you think i ate a single piece of toast smeared with peanut butter, you’re wrong. i ate three pieces. see? i would’ve been able to eat one piece of toast with peanut butter if i had eaten three ounces of chicken first. the chicken is already shredded in a sealed container on the top shelf of the fridge, but noooooo, i went for the peanut butter, two times, three times.

confession: i get self-conscious about typing food confessions to y’all because a) my food struggles bore me and therefore i assume they bore you and b) this shit is shameful for me. whether i post or delete the food confessions derives from a need to either puncture the shame by speaking it or protect the shame be keeping it secret.

confession: if i weren’t confessing to you about nut butters and bingeing, i’d be left confessing about lasers searing wrinkles and my conflicts about “aging gracefully” versus voluntarily burning deep layers of dermis to promote collagen growth.

confession: women my age ubiquitously comment on my “beautiful skin.” i respond to every comment honestly with three words, “lasers and botox.” if my best friend is standing nearby, she adds, “and she doesn’t go out in the sun.”

confession: i have two friends much younger than i am. for the next year, i am exactly 50% older than their age. i adore them. they are smarter, wiser, and kinder than i was at their age. they listen when i preview what the next 15 years of living will universally bring. i had friends 50% older when i was their age. i did my best to listen when my older friends previewed what the next 15 years would bring. some of those older friends of mine have died since…which adds weight to my daily pondering of death. i wrote to one of my young friends who was attending his grandmother’s funeral this week, “i’m glad you’ll most likely outlive me.” what i meant and didn’t say is that my heart breaks every day from loving and grieving and that i don’t want to have to survive the loss of every friend. i want to live long enough to love everybody well and i want to die in time that i can skip the grieving of some friends’ deaths. (note to self, keep making younger and younger friends.)

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confessions of twos

confession: i have an internal debate about which is better or worse to experience–depression or anxiety. i asked a friend familiar with both and she responded, “depression is more relaxing.” i agree.

confession: i booked two tickets departing austin, three days apart, not sure which i’d take until i arrived at the airport for the earlier flight (scheduled for yesterday) and didn’t board the plane. i’ll fly out saturday. i have more love and work and love and sweetness and love and hugs to give before then.

confession: i’m playing with quantum time and space inside right-brained meditations to lengthen my telomeres and repair my dna. if it works, why not? if it doesn’t work, i’m gonna meditate with a focus anyway so i might as well strive high with quantum healing.

confession: he mentioned to me two nights ago that he recently walked his first labyrinth. in our decades of friendship i never thought to mention to him that the head grandmother who is one of my spiritual mentors designs most of the labyrinths in central texas and that i walk the labyrinth near my apartment in philadelphia every day i’m there.

confession: when asked how long i’ll live in philadelphia i hear myself answer, “one to fifteen more years.”

confession: i never forget my soul purpose for this incarnation. i often forget to devote the most challenging minutes, hours, and days to its practice.

confession: she helps me become a better writer by sharing relevant information she encounters along her writing path. i’m grateful for every link, suggestion, and author recommendation from her. i cherish her emails, her writing, her vulnerability, her humor, and her company in her cozy home.

confession: the ex-wife and i spent three hours walking and talking one night earlier this week. i told her everything i had been withholding since our last two meetings. she listened attentively. she wanted to understand. i want to be understood. but…the but that is the but that negates the thing that comes before every but is that we are approaching our relationship and its demise and its renewal from askew perspectives. words fail to communicate our present worldviews. although we are doing our best to understand one another, we are not capable of knowing what we can’t know because we haven’t experienced what the other has. our hearts have navigated the loss, pain, and grief between us with incompatible coping strategies and conclusions.

confession: from this now point in life until death, i assume that most things, people, places, and events that will shape and change me are unknown unknowns.

confession: my favorite days are spent alone with a book. my favorite hours are spent hiking gentle tree-canopied trails alone or with someone i love. i’ve done both this week. i hope you’ve lived your favorite kind of day and/or favorite kind of hours this week. if not, get to it…the week ain’t over yet and the weekend is almost here.

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streaming confessions without deleting

confession: the critical voice in my head (mentored by my mother) comments on my doing-nothingness and unworthiness to inhale oxygen since i’m not doing anything with the oxygen to sustain any meaningful contribution to the world and sure, go ahead and go back to bed, because with my white privilege and health insurance and stock portfolio i can financially afford to go to back to bed but what about all the people who work three jobs and have hungry kids and are trying to take care of themselves and other people and yeah, i know their lives are harder than mine, duh, that’s why i feel unworthy to breathe, then the voice says “why don’t you DO something about it, help someone, make a difference,” and because i want to shut the voice up and punish myself i walk to the kitchen and stuff myself with peanuts and chocolate until i feel physically ill and consider making myself puke but purging by vomiting always sparks the self-hatred that leads to the desire to off myself and i can’t off myself because i don’t want to disappoint the people who love me even though i suck and they want me alive not dead because i usually make them laugh and i’m a good listener when they want to talk because listening to others is a reprieve to being chased by my own thoughts so i bargain with myself to walk seven miles and not eat for the rest of the day to balance out the peanut-and-chocolate caloric binge and then i make myself get dressed, leave the apartment, go to the store, buy milk and bread, smile at people, say hello and thank you, hold the door for someone, stop and talk to the old lady waiting outside the store with her groceries for her ride to drive her home because her license got taken away and i compliment her for something, for anything. i look in her eyes and express gratitude for everything blooming and i help her feel less lonely because for all the ugh i feel about myself, the one thing i don’t feel is lonely, which means i can help someone who does feel it. fuck, this living thing is hard.

confession: i’d delete the above confession but it accurately describes my current version of depression and the effort to record it is the most measurably productive thing i’ve done today, so deleting it seems self-defeating and i’ve already fulfilled my self-defeating quota for the day.

confession: chronic low-grade-but-supposedly-high-functioning depression has become my new normal the past couple years. depression is so sad. so sad i have to make fun of it. but i make fun of everything. because almost everything feels sad to me.

confession: you wanna know what isn’t sad? Jenny Lawson’s book Furiously Happy. lawson writes hilariously about her mental illness. trust me, it’s funny, not sad.

confession: wanna know what i hate? name-dropping. i hate when i do it and i hate when other people do it but i didn’t just do it with jenny lawson because i don’t know her, i just read her books.

confession: i have a favorite friend who is famous-y but she doesn’t know she is famous-y because she comes from generations-of-music-royalty and her famous-y relatives and associates are her normal and she has all the inherited and acquired skill to back up her own position in the music world so she doesn’t know people give her special treatment because of her famous-y stature since she’s been treated with that specialness her entire life and because she’s innocent of that knowing, her pure heart is open to people and the goodness they’ve extended to her. her innocence, openness, and purity astound and inspire me. i love her all-the-way-to-bursting-heart-that-loves-even-more. she loves me, too. being loved is the reason i never feel lonely.

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confessions of trains, nyc, and flower deliveries

confession: new york city is an easy hour and twenty minute train ride from philadelphia. in the two years i’ve lived in philadelphia, i’ve taken the train into nyc twice, both times for the same person. the first time i made the journey to see her last performance. the second time i attended her memorial celebration. both times i laughed and cried with her and for her. both times i hugged love into everyone i knew in attendance. both times i reminded myself to follow her role modeling and live bigger, fearlessly, more creatively. it might be a long while before i train into nyc again. she was my reason.

confession: i saw people at last sunday’s memorial that i haven’t hugged enough in this lifetime. i gave long hugs, multiple hugs, crying hugs, laughing hugs, heart hugs to all of them, but i have more hugs to give, more hugs to receive, more love to transmit with my heart pressed against theirs. maybe i ought to train into nyc more often in honor of the hugs waiting for me there. alternatively, the train ride from nyc to philadephia is an equally easy hour and twenty minutes and it is good for new yorkers to get out of the city and immerse themselves in nature with a trail head that begins in my backyard and connects more than 1,000 miles of trails.

confession: i’d be more enlightened if i quit arguing with the incarnation of my mother that resides inside my mind.

confession: i want to send flowers to my mother’s older sister for mother’s day, because my favorite aunt is the person my heart leans toward as my substitute mother. i hesitate because i don’t want to hurt my mother’s feelings if she were to find out that my heart appreciates her sisterly rival more than her. acting from pure love, i know to do whatever my heart directs. send the flowers, express the appreciation, give the love wherever and whenever and to whomever the love naturally flows. don’t block the love. don’t stifle the love. don’t hold back the love. not ever.

confession: mother’s day stirs up guilt for me weeks in advance. my mother and i haven’t been able to constructively communicate about the unhealthy dynamic between us. she prefers to ignore and deny the fissures in our relationship and the reasons why. her dismissal of my feelings and her denial of what has happened triggers the trembling child in me. mom isn’t a safe place for me. i know plenty of others have a similar experience or feeling about their mothers. i send a peace-making prayer of forgiveness to the mothers who couldn’t mother us the ways we needed to feel safe, loved, and protected. forgiveness isn’t forgetting. forgiveness isn’t pretending that everything is okay. forgiveness accepts people as they are, accepts what has occurred, accepts what is now, and releases the anger we have used to protect our hurt and fear. i’m not angry with my mother. i’m still afraid of her and her ability to wound me. i can forgive her and avoid her. i can forgive her and love her safely from across the country without visiting her, without talking with her, without sending flowers to her on mother’s day.

confession: i’ve heard my best friend call a few others “best friend” and every time i hear it, my heart smiles. i want her to have as many best friends as her heart can hold. i know that loving others as her best friends increases her capacity to love me as her best friend. more best friends means more love, more laughter, more sharing, more joy.

confession: i had no idea that live band karaoke made one feel like a real life rock star until two days ago.

confession: i look forward to other unexpected discoveries in the days, weeks, and years ahead.

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confessions of unknowns about the ex-wife

confession: i’ve been socializing for the past week and i wonder at the paradox for those who read the oft-mentioned suicidal contemplations in my blog confessions relative to the bursting lightbeam bebopping around town in a pink tutu who gushes about the lifespan of donkeys (it’s longer than you’re guessing). 23 hours ago i expressed to a wise person who reflects someone i’ll likely become (with luck and resiliency on my side) that i bring my brightest self out to engage with people and i sit with my darkest self alone.

confession: i saw the ex-wife a few nights ago. (for those keeping tabs, this is the fourth meeting since november). our togetherness proceeded exactly as i predicted it would. we were easy with one another, laughed a lot, felt joyful and relieved to be  in each other’s presence. we didn’t talk about big heavy shit from the past but didn’t avoid talking about any subject either…except i didn’t say things i’m holding back because i’m unsure of my motives if i were to say them. am i trying to be right? am i overexplaining? am i pushing her for an admission that may not be true for her…or if it is true that she may not be ready to acknowledge? those questions direct me into thought explorations i can manage solo for now and discuss with her later when i have more clarity. as i’m confessing here i realize that my holding back means i’m breaking the only two rules the ex-wife and i have set for our current relating. rule #1—we tell each other everything, no holding back. rule #2—if we’re gonna break the first rule, acknowledge that we’re breaking it and talk about the thing as soon as possible. i’m breaking rule #1 and the first half of rule #2 with the intention of admitting the rule-breaking as soon as i’m ready to confront her with the recurring theme that caused our original break-up. fuck.

confession: the ex-wife said she loves the unknowns in the life, the unexpected never-saw-it-coming events. she said it with more excitement and enthusiasm than she displayed about any other topic we discussed that evening. in my experience the never-saw-it-coming life events are more often tragic than happy-making. i conscientiously intend all my effort to create as much positivity, helpfulness, and love that i can build each day. the things i most often don’t see coming are the bulldozing situations that flatten me, hurt others, and reflect injustices greater than the ones i’ve normalized for myself to expect and accept. i don’t love or hate the unknowns. i know the unknowns will arise indefinitely. i do my best to prepare for the known variables, to make the good and bad as better as possible, and to keep getting up when i’m struck down, sucked down, or fall. the most never-saw-it-coming unknown in my adult life was the end of my relationship with my ex-wife and the reasons for its end. i wonder what she means when she says she loves the unknowns. i wonder which unknowns-now-known that inspire her excitement and enthusiasm. i’ll ask her next time i see her.

confession: re-establishing a connection with the ex-wife might take a terrible turn. it is currently unknown.

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