the soundtrack to life

 

I tend to obsess about music. Not in a “I know a shit ton about music and let me share my incredible wisdom and insight,” kind of way.

No, it’s all feeling.

When I obsess, then whatever the object of the obsession is gets airtime, basically 24/7. I am one of those people who can play a CD on repeat for a month.

I can even play one particular song on repeat for a month. Especially if I am going through something challenging.

These are a few of my shit show go-to bands:

Zoe Muth and the Lost Highrollers – she always manages to put a little sass in my step. I wear my cowboy boots when I listen to her.

Ryan Adams – sad, depressing, agonizing, put me in a dark room, I’m never going to feel better, music.

The Blackberry Bushes – the first song on one CD begins with a vocal intro, not musical. When I hear the very first word, I am transported back to the doom and gloom. But they sure helped me then.

So the theme of this era…

A return to the very essence of who I am…

A return to the time in my life when I was filled with joy. A return to a life that fulfilled me, nurtured life-long friendships, and had me traveling all around the country.

The Grateful Dead.

It’s safe music. No lyrics that are going to toss me over the edge (like a sad country song) or remind me of something incredibly painful or beautiful in the ending relationship.

Joy. Fun. Excitement. Community. Silliness. Love.

Don’t get me wrong – it’s not like I’ve ever NOT listened to them, but less so when surrounded with people, my family, who don’t like, appreciate, or understand the genius behind this “Rock Group.”

For example, my ex-husband hated them because they represented a culture of drug use.

Okay, yes, sure, they did, but there was so. much. more.

Many of my friends, the majority actually, are not enraptured by the Dead. That’s okay. But when I meet a fellow Dead Head, there is an immediate affinity, a knowing look exchanged

I’ve gone the roads of classic country, 90’s gangsta rap, Elvis, Dolly, and many other detours, but the GD foundation has never been shaken.

One time, back in Boulder, I made the fatal error of letting a friend borrow a LOT of my bootlegs tapes to copy. I never saw them again.

Thief.

So then I’ve relied on studio albums – CDs that I could purchase – which is fine and well, but not like a good ole live show.

And then, years behind the rest of the world, I have just discovered youtube. There are actually hundreds, maybe even thousands of live shows, right at my fingertips.

I am beyond obsessed. I constantly have a show playing on my laptop. It’s the biggest treat in the world to open my computer to deal with something painful and daunting like auto insurance, and suddenly I’m hearing Jerry singing Stella Blue and I smile.

And let’s talk about watching the shows, basically from onstage, instead of the floor (because I never sat in seats.) It brings a whole new perspective on the whole thing.

If you don’t care about the Dead, then watching a bunch of middle-aged men basically stand still in muted colors, playing guitars, probably won’t do much for you.

But if you do care about and love these boys, then you can understand the thrill of seeing them up close and personal.

And the very best thing right now is watching Shows that I attended. Seeing those, from the insider’s angle of the stage, brings so much more feeling to my experience of a Dead Show.

It give me chills.

And brings me peace.

And clarity.

I miss that era of my life. It really was fantastic. It shaped who I am today.

I feel so much love for those with whom I shared the beauty of road tripping and falafel in the parking lots and spinning in the hallways, and connection – with myself, with my comrades, with the other Dead Heads, and with the world at large.

It’s hard to explain, unless you lived it.

I lived it.

I listen and watch and memories flood in, many of them sort of “insider” snapshots like, “Oh that’s right, Bobby went through that barefoot phase. Jerry’s wearing a sweater?!? Micky Hart is just fucking weird looking.”

I gaze adoringly at Phil’s red, white, and blue wristbands.

I love to play Guess This Song when the first cords are played.

When Bobby starts his screaming, I laugh – like it’s an inside joke.

When Jerry speaks, I notice. I am stunned. Because I toured through the era of him, them, never speaking onstage.

I understand the significance of The Greek Theater. I can say that I’ve been to New Year’s shows.

I’ve had miracles.

So when I start to get sad, or spin out, or feel despair, I imagine myself in the parking lot running around with a shit eating grin and more ecstatic anticipation of the night to come than even the very best date in the world.

When I put on a Show, I think about my connection with other humans, I remember that there is an entire world of other beings feeling the same love and goodness that I do.

I get my feet back under me.

And I get to listen to some fucking bad ass music.

 

 

Dating

I’ve been asked out a couple of times since the breakup. Extremely nice men.

No women.

Yet.

I gently reply, “Just coming out of a long-term relationship. I’m grieving. My family is grieving. I need to go through this without distractions.”

Meaning, “I am crazy as fuck at the moment and…just no.”

I said to one man, “My life is full of too much drama at the moment.”

His response… “Life is dramatic.”

He said that as support, not flippant, not as pressure to go out with him.

It was the perfect response.

Would it be nice to have someone to go to, lean on, provide a distraction, make me feel attractive and desirable?

Would it be great to get laid?

Yes to all of the above.

And yet, if any of these men who have expressed interest in providing all of the above, actually took me up on it if I said yes, I’d run for the hills.

Because, who actually wants to be the Rebound?

No one in their right mind. So a yes from him would be a big NO for me.

Anyone willing to be the rebound is crazier than I am.

I rebounded last time. Of course I was sure that it wasn’t a rebound – it was true love; a love that had been waiting in the wings during the years that I was with the wrong person.

We both believed that he was the right one.

And….that lasted for a hot second.

Then exploded.

Actually, to be perfectly honest, it drizzled out…I’m the one that exploded.

Either way, it was disastrous on so many levels.

It destroyed me. It hurt my children. They hated him for taking my attention from them when they needed me most.

They hated him for hurting me.

They probably hated me too, but they’re too nice to tell me that.

They hated him because he was an asshole; something that they saw from the first moment and I didn’t’ catch until two years after the explosion.

See…thinking is NOT clear in the immediate aftermath of a split.

And if the person (me) who is in the middle of that aftermath doesn’t see that a train wreck would be inevitable, then the person coming in from the outside should have enough sense to see it.

So far, my potential “dates” have nodded their heads in agreement.

One man has offered support, in a quiet, “if you ever need to talk” way.

But I know that if I begin to lean on him, he will either love being the hero or he will be scrambling to escape my shit show.

I know that if I lean on him, I will fall for him. He will become my go-to. I will believe myself in love with him, or at least believe that I have a major crush on him.

Then, I will loosen my boundaries, get involved, probably end up having sex, which I will then believe is love, and never deal with my own shit and end up in a heap, yet again, with KK and KB spoon-feeding me in my bed because I can’t take care of myself.

No one needs that.

My children, even though they are technically adults, need me. They also need the chance to show up for me. This is their moment to be men.

For me to get involved with someone would be dishonoring the fact that their home, their lives, also imploded. They have a lot of change to accustom themselves to.

They need to learn that you don’t just hop from person to person – that it’s important to honor what was, not just rush in to what might be.

If I brought a new man home right now, they would not like him. At all. Ever. No matter how nice he might be.

And I would either get hurt, or worse, hurt someone else, someone nice.

Am I lonely? Yes.

Am I frightened? Yes.

Would I love to have big strong arms around me? Absolutely.

But,

I am also excited. I am feeling strong. I am open to whatever the world presents to me (which, as we know, has been a monstrous amount of shit, but I have faith that it’s going to change – hopefully soon.)

 

 

 

change of plans

So I was moving.

To Utah.

To be in the desert.

For a much-needed change of scenery.

To begin anew.

Or as least begin a new chapter.

As I searched for jobs and housing, as I contacted friends of friends and others who I don’t know, I was slowly making the shift from “running away” to “running towards.”

I was beginning to feel possibility rearing it’s pretty little head.

I didn’t realize how excited I was until things changed and I had to cancel, or at least postpone.

It really hit me when my brother called from his new life in Bozeman and said, “I’m watching it snow.”

I had a visceral reaction – an all over body shudder. I realized at that moment that I was looking at another winter at 7000 feet.

Nonononononononononononononononono!!!!!!!!

My friends seem to think that cross-country skiing will cure me of my resistance to the cold. Maybe, but first I have to get out the door and I’m not sure I’m willing to do that.

I was ready for fresh faces, a fresh start, and to get away from middle school.

I don’t need to watch the aftermath of our breakup  – I’ve seen enough and it’s been quite unpleasant.

I do want to clarify that not going is a no brainer and I couldn’t possibly leave town at this point in our lives.

The accident changed everything. As I sat in the waiting room of the ER – it came as a natural thought, “I’m not moving.”

I didn’t have to think about it, debate, deliberate, even make a decision.

My family needs me, so here I will be: willingly, happily, lovingly.

We have a long road ahead of us and I will be the rock in their lives.

I will spend another winter crawling through the snow and the dark to make burritos for people who get to sleep until 6am.

I will get to worry about whether or not my car will start. I get to fall down a few more times on the ice. I get to stress out about other drivers on the road who came from places like South Texas where they don’t have hazardous mountain road conditions.

A dream put on hold.

I’d like to latch onto the vision of it still happening – maybe just not as soon as I had hoped. But there have been so many game changers in the last month and a half that I have finally learned what they mean when they say, “If you want to make God laugh, just tell him your plans.”

 

 

 

I just tried to take this quiz and couldn’t get past the first question

  • Can We Guess Your Zodiac Sign Based On Your Personality?

    Astrology has endured throughout the ages and its just as strong and popular today as it ever was before. People love reading their horoscopes and seeing what the future may hold in store for them! Overall, our zodiac signs offer us some very powerful information but it’s up to us to deduce and make sense of it all.

    Can we guess what your zodiac sign is, based on these 12 questions? There’s only one way to find out!

    QUESTION #1:

    You’ve been invited to a party where you won’t know anyone — how do you handle it?

    a: Introduce myself to everyone and make new friends

    b: Ask someone I know to please come with me

    c: Hang out in the corner and worry that no one will talk to me

    d: I find someone hot to flirt with

     

    They didn’t offer:

    e: I wouldn’t go. Duh.

    So I quit the game.

returning to the fold

Guess what I’m finding out…

There is a huge difference between 30-somethings and 50-somethings.

It’s a fact that I lost track of for a very long time.

From this 52-year-old, it’s not a judgment. It’s an observation built from experience.

I have surrounded myself with younger folks for years, almost believing that I fit right on in.

Things like “Is this your son?” “Are you mother and daughter?” and “You’re the crone in the group,” were gentle reminders that I may look and act a little more middle-aged than I wanted to believe.

I managed to laugh those comments off, yet they still hit home just a little bit.

It was okay, because when I was at home, I didn’t feel the gap.

But, besides the wrinkles and saggy breasts and grey hair, 15 years makes a huge difference.

It shows up in how others show up.

A friend and I were talking yesterday – he’s closer to my age and has experienced something recently that has brought this age-gap thing to the forefront of his awareness.

“When you’re in your 30’s you just haven’t had as much life experience as when you’re our age. You can’t possibly. All of these years of being battered by life and having experienced so many more highs and perfect moments, make a difference in how we approach life and other people.”

18-year-olds believe that they are invincible. At 35 you think you know everything about the world, community, relationships. At 50 you realize that you know nothing. At 80, you actually do know something. An 80 year old has seen so much that 50 year olds look like babies.

Now I’m not saying that I am doing anything well these days – I am hanging by a thread and the crazy is barely below the surface – but I am trying to be conscious of my actions and take responsibility when I behave in ways that aren’t up to my own standards.

I am making a lot of apologies. Eating a lot of crow.

It’s rough.

But good.

Yesterday I put on my big girl panties and reached out to the one person with whom I didn’t want to speak. I did it because I felt that I  might have been unfair and harsh. I have judged and, in my mind, vilified, and I don’t like doing that.

I went way out on a limb, hoping to find out that maybe I’ve been, at least, partially wrong. And also hoping to make things right from my end as best as I could.

I was basically told to fuck off.

Oh.

Okay.

Clarity achieved.

Another friend said, “Come back to the old people.”

I want to. I want to go home. I want to be with other middle-agers.

I want to stop pretending that I’m not a woman in her 50’s. I want to laugh about aging, not feel self-conscious about it.

I want to surround myself with people who have the grace and wisdom of the ages.

I want to be with people who see the world through more experienced eyes, people who are gentler in their approach to others, people who have a deeper understanding of their place in the world, the impact of their actions on others, and what it means to show up.

I feel like, having been hovering in a world that wasn’t quite mine, I have a lot of growing up to do, a lot to learn – from my peers.

I want to be brought up to speed, so to speak.

In the meantime, I will continue to try to be the person that I expect others to be. I do have extremely high standards, maybe even unfairly high at times, and I too need live up to those standards.

I believe I have a head start in that department, I am 52 after all. I have been through serious shit in those 52 years.

I have experienced a vast amount of joy in those years – more joy, more shit, more lessons learned.

I feel like I’ve been hanging around the middle school playground when I am supposed to be an adult.

 

 

My dear old friends

Recently, on Facebook, I posted this: 

I was cleaning up my desk and there it was.

These are my two oldest friends.

George was also my first boyfriend.

George always sat behind me because his name came right after my name- for all of our years in school beginning with Kindergarten.

In second grade, Cara, the new girl, showed up and was told to sit next to me. That was the last time the teachers let us sit next to each other – for all of years in school together.

Apparently we were “talkers.”

When we were in 6th grade and I was going out with George and Cara was going out with his best friend Michael, we went to the Kiwanis fair together and the boys held our hands on the ferris wheel and then Michael kissed Cara and when George tried to kiss me…I discovered that I was a prude.

Thank god that was just a phase.

George and I went to my first concert together: Boston, The Outlaws, Poco, and Todd Rundgren and Utopia, at Meadowlands, the home of the Jersey Giants.

Cara and I went to Dead shows together. Often.

And, we spent a lot of time in Freddy’s, the restaurant in town that turns into a bar, often with live music, after 9:00 pm, when we were in our mid teens: 15? 16? 17?

This photo was taken in one of the booths in Freddy’s.

We certainly don’t look 21? But apparently everyone that worked there pretended we did.

Some nights, my all-girls high school history teacher would come in, purchase a pitcher, and sit down with us.

Sometimes my fellow student with whom he was sleeping would also hang out.

 

This seemed totally normal.

So weird.

So happy I found this picture.

 

drips and drabs

For some reason, I still feel the need to not shit talk the people around me who have recently shown their true colors.

I think I’m doing it out of integrity, but who knows. Maybe I’m doing it out of fear – fear that these people won’t like me?

That would be stupid given the circumstances.

And not out of the realm of possibility

I do know, and I used to tell my ex-husband this all of the time, if you don’t want people to know what you are doing, maybe you shouldn’t be doing it.

Or, “Don’t give me so much to write about.”

All I know is that there is a major storm raining down and if I am to be honest about my life, I have to share a few little bits – drips and drabs so to speak – primarily for my readers’ understanding.

So here goes:

The person who said, “I’m not your person,” when I called from the hospital.

The friend that dropped me like a hot potato to pursue MXB so immediately after the breakup that he and I were still sharing a bed.

The friend who comes in to my work and instead of saying hi, skulks out without making eye contact.

Or the friend, whose first words upon hearing of my son’s accident were “He’d better have learned his lesson,” not “Holy shit, poor kid, I can’t imagine what he’s going through right now.”

As if my son doesn’t care one whit about what happened and how fortunate they all are.

And let’s not forget the good friends from whom I have not heard one single word since all of this began.

One might say to me, “This is about them, not you.”

A person might also say, “Get over it, you’ve got much bigger things to deal with.”

Or, “Those people don’t matter, you know who your real friends are.”

Or, “You are so loved, don’t let any of that shit get in your way.”

Or my kids might (did) say, “Those people are not your community, Mom. You’re a real member of the real Mancos. We know how to treat our neighbors.”

And yes, I can hear all of those things, and on a good day, I can see all of those truths.

But those people and their actions have hurt me so deeply; have made this breakup, loss of a life built together, loss of stability, giardia starvation, and accident thing a whole lot more difficult.

Needlessly.

I have felt pain in my very core.

And the worst part is that all of the comments, actions, and inactions, have also hurt my children; they too are being shut out and unsupported.

And, it’s given them yet another reason, like they needed more, to worry about their mother.

I know that festering and harboring resentments and taking everything personally isn’t helping the situation. I am trying my damnedest to find compassion and forgiveness; it’s hard.

I can also admit that probably no one has done anything to intentionally hurt me or the boys, but there is a careless, insensitive, lack of integrity that abounds here that just doesn’t work for me or my family.

So, now that that little bit is out there, I feel like I will be able to share, more openly and honestly, a little more of who I am at this moment.