” I just miss you, and I just wish you were a better man” Little Big Town

I’m so lonely, I’m combustible. My emotions aren’t raw, I am a live wire. Always have been. Passionate, honest. Eight days flew by.

Miles of abandoned beach means “clothing optional”. Tons of sand dollars and washed up jellyfish that look like breast implants but still no sea glass. Pushed myself pretty hard the first few days in Yosemite. Climbed a no-shit mountain and developed a stress fracture in my foot. Followed by a sinus infection because It snowed the 3rd day and all I had was open toed Tevas and a light windbreaker. When I was packing, the forecast called for 85 degrees in the day, not 34.
Sadly, there is no way to escape the crowds in Yosemite. There is always someone in front of you or riding your ass, chattering away loudly in a foreign language. But it was beautiful and wonderous at moments in a way that the Scottish Highlands were not. Except for the Sequoias. The grove was a graveyard of burned up and dead. The living were centuries away from being awe-inspiring.

Although with every trip off the grid, I think I should have done something else with my life, career-wise. Been a botanist or environmental scientist. I wouldn’t have gotten rich but probably would have had a stable job for the rest of my life that may have been more rewarding than my attempts to save humanity

Napa/Sonoma was a like Disney: overpriced bougie boredom. The Flake’s new home is a paradise. Although I still think SoCal suits me better, being part lizard n’ all.

After Yosemite, I decided to “take it easy” hiking around Point Reyes National Seashore. The oasis amidst soul-sucking San Francisco, one trVwler called it. Limping along mile after mile of California coastline, leaning heavily on a piece of sequoia from Yosemite. The foot slows me down but doesnt stop me. What stopped me was a herd of Tule elk in the path, less than a mile away from the tip of Tomales Point. I considered walking around them but the stags began yelling at me “Dont even think about it, lady”.

Im a big fan of the hostel though and their slogans “for travelers, not tourists”. I met a dutch woman who confided that she worked the same job for 17 years, then after a misssion to South Africa, decided “I cant do this anymore”, put everything she didn’t want to part with in storage and began traveling the world. But

But i still didnt engage with anyone, not for long. The only romantic encounter i had was with myself, nude on a deserted beach, fantasizing about an attractive single man coming along and asking if he could help.

I walked for miles on a deserted beach until after dark and didnt bother to mark the narrow entrance to the foot path. I know better! Mild panic set in when after a few false starts, i realized i couldn’t simply plow my way through the growing wall of seagrass and 9 foot high brush. Iraise my eyes to the mountains shuffled my feet and sang to warn off the nightlife that chittered and howled around me. Then turning back toward twin lights on the beach, it was a couple of Japanese guys night fishing, wearing headlamps. Thank g-d, they led me back to the path.

I sent him a picture on a nude beach. Tit for his repeated tat. He said it was sexy and turned him on. He asked where i was. He knew exactly how close i was and for how long but never said “I want to see you”. I admitted to him that i teared up driving past his house on the way to the airport. He said “That makes me sad too”. I doubt that. After all, he could have had me with a word.

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“I just wanna be somebody to someone” – Banners

The booty call, I don’t even think I can call him that since we only hooked up twice and it was several months ago, went swing dancing for 5 hours last night followed by an additional 2 hours of salsa at another club. I had considered going to both dances and ultimately went to neither. I was so anxious to get back from Montana to dance and return to a “routine” and yet I’ve been back for 3 days and have done Jack and Shit.

I purchased books in the airport, one on Winston Churchill (I’m a history buff and a closet fan of that complicated man and the era he led in) and another book of recently published scraps of stories and plots from F Scott Fitzgerald ( and it may forever remain unbeknownst us how much is plagiarized from his wife). I remember a time when I devoured books and now I can’t remember the last one I made through its entirety. It’s not that I’m disinterested, it’s that I struggle to focus. It doesn’t matter the content, my attention Trails off after a few pages and then I can’t recall what I read. As if I can’t even comprehend the words on the page. What is wrong with my brain? How will I ever find another decent job if my mind is mush? And I’m pretty sure I blew both interviews this week. One for saying the wrong thing out right and the other, the dreaded brain fog or hiccup, words escaping me all together. I used to be unfailingly articulate. Now, its as if English were a second language.

A Eulogy

My Trusted Agent closed down his blog over a year ago because instead of catharsis, it fed a dark, destructive need. But sometimes he needs to get it off his chest. So I offered to ghost-publish his e-message in a bottle…

 

I drove by a familiar spot in my past. (It’s been awhile)
Just a random restaurant with a private parking lot.
What made this place special
that I would meet “Marti” there from time to time.
We were like two teenagers in heat. Kissing, grabbing at each other and when possible,
fucking like crazed rabbits.
I met Marti while on a business trip a 1,000 miles from home. I was still recovering from a recent death  of a close family member.
We were both in a dry spell in our marriages.  We filled a basic need for each other.
No promises, drama, plans or chains.
We made sure each one finished, at least once.
When it rained was the best.
The droning on the windshield, and the extra layer of privacy made it even better.
We would meet at my office after hours, at each other’s house when everyone was away for several days.
We were a perfect “fit”.
Our rhythm was always spot-on.
Whispers and moans, encouraging each other to do this and that.
Complimenting on how something felt or how long it had been.
When she was on her knees, she was shaped like an elegant musical instrument.
Her hips and back were a thing of feminine artwork.
The line of her spine and dimples on her lower back were burned into my mind.
She tasted sweet.
She always loved it on top.
I mention this not out of cheap sensationalism, but in the fact she would hit her perfect spot and would come several times. She would roll her head back with her eyes closed and had a half smile on her face. Sometimes her face would contort and she would gasp from the tremors and convulsions in her body. She would always tighten up. Her wetness was always just right.
She knew exactly what felt good and how to get there. It was a goal and she was determined.
She was one of the few women with whom I could go twice around with without stopping.
It was like fucking the Sun at times.  The warmth and danger always present.
We drifted apart as life got in the way. We had our own lives to focus on.
A few years later we managed to catch up. (Years before that these calls/texts would lead to on-the-fly hookups)
She told me she had major heart issues and surgeries.
I wished her well and said goodbye.
Today as I drove by that parking lot, I looked her up online to see if she still worked at the same office (I just wanted to say Hi) and that’s when I found her obituary.
How do I grieve for someone I should have never knew or touched?
I’m empty.
These days I’m trying to be a good person…husband…
But this is such a sudden hole in my past. Like a page ripped out.
I feel ashamed at the same time.  A familiar guilt of not deserving certain people in
my selfish life.

But enough about me, let’s talk about what you think of me

I re-blocked The Flake yesterday. Did I tell you he took a job in Monterey, CA? My dream (our dream) to live on the Pacific Coast and he got there before I did. Last month when he was going through the interview process, I took his calls and texts, to offer encouragement and advice, to be the “better” person. But it’s always about him, only him. He called again today and when it went straight to voicemail, he was compelled to leave a message to say “Either you blocked me again or your phone is off…” Fine. Here is my next letter to him:

“I encourage you to re-read those letters I sent you last year explaining why I cut off contact. The one-sided fact of our “relationship” (I can’t say ‘friendship’) and me wanting (and deserving) better, than you were willing to give meant that I could not be “just” your friend. Now, I don’t want that from you but the one-sidedness remains. You only reach out when you need something, when it’s convenient to you. You never look at MY pictures when I travel or ask how school or treatment is going or ask about my dancing or ask to see the video of me singing or how my mother is doing…it doesn’t even occur to you because my life simply doesn’t interest you. If it doesn’t affect you, it doesn’t matter to you. You’re so wrapped up in trying to impress others that I wonder if you know what real friendship is?

My phone is often off or on DND because I am usually in a class or otherwise busy. I return your calls and texts if they genuinely important because I care about you. But I am not here to entertain you and fill the silence when no one else is available. I have neither time nor interest in investing extra effort in someone who only thinks to reach out to scratch his own itches.

I also don’t appreciate the manipulation. A picture of you wearing my shirt NINE months after you took it off me, coyly asking “Is this yours?” You damned well know it’s mine. Followed by the Google Earth picture with a circle around your new home on the Pacific Coast… I don’t know, and you may not even be self-aware enough to know, truthfully if you are gloating or sharing. But frankly, your intent doesn’t matter at this point. All that matters is how it makes me feel, which is like crap.

Nothing has changed except that I no longer have any hopes or expectations with regards to you. Not as a friend or anything else. You are still not good to or for me. And every time you contact me, it picks open a scab. Or perhaps you are not the man I thought you were.

I hope your mother is doing as well as can be expected. And congratulations again and good luck on the new job and fulfilling the dream of living on the Pacific Coast. Hopefully I’m not far behind but you won’t know if and when I am. Mainly, because you lack the interest to ask.

Please do not reply. At all.”

 

In other “news”, I aced my law final. Maybe the difference is I was engaged and interested in this class so I grasped the concepts better. Or maybe I tried harder because I was starved for approval from my professor, a federal judge teaching for the hell of it. When he said my work was “among the best I have seen in many years of teaching…I am very impressed. I commend you on your effort and skills”, I ate it up. My friend “S” reminded me that he thinks I’m incredible too and I said “Thanks but that’s a bit like my mommy telling me I’m pretty”. Of course it counts but we also crave external validation. Not exactly Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs but my emotional pyramid of Love/Acceptance needs includes, from most to least important, from close friends and family, then from respected peers/authority figures, and then the least important but still registers like a pebble thrown into the lake, love/acceptance from strangers.

And my inner voice asks “Can’t you just say ‘thank you’…?”

“You know the sun is gonna shine in my back door some day” Aretha Franklin

Went to a West Coast meets country dance. Country in one room, West Coast swing in the other. Truly, I went for the country room to brush up on my 2 Step which is horrendous. Don’t use it for 20 years, you definitely lose it. Well, at least I did. The leads had to “insist” rather than “suggest”. By 11:30pm all that was left were the Regional West Coast Pros. I guess everyone else didn’t feel like dancing around them so they left. I hung around a little longer watching but frankly, I was not feeling the music or the dancing. It was like spoonful after spoonful of icing with little cake. All styling and tricks and no Foundation.

My friend “S”, the one I have Frank conversations with on a near-daily basis. I met him in the Army. He’s one of the reasons why I say joining the Army was not a mistake no matter how much I joke about it. When he was telling me about his latest would-be romantic encounter and the reason he’s going to die alone, I reminded him that we should at the very least, make sure we end up in the same nursing home together. Provided we both live to a ripe old age which as a matter aside I never intended on. But just in case I do we should be roommates. “I’m a quiet masturbator. Hell, I’ll even let you have the top bunk” (John Lyshitski). Let’s Go to Prison, one of the best, underrated comedies since John Candy took funny to the grave with him. Although between Deadpool and Just Friends, I have found renewed comedic hope in Ryan Reynolds.
I finished a law assignment in the 11th hour and felt pretty good about it. This instructor (retired military JAG and current federal judge) is engaged and I respect him, which motivates me to make an effort to give him something worth reading (looking at, listening to). I want to give as good as I get. I’m celebrating with homemade pizza with a cauliflower crust (in hind-taste, I do NOT recommend it), some wine (okay, a vat of wine), Rain, Candlelight, and Aretha Franklin. I was feeling so good (and a little tipsy) that I flipped my phone the bird rather than answer it when my The Flake called.

I’m going to paraphrase something I saw on a church billboard that struck me. No, not that “worry is a mild form of atheism” although that has lingered in my brain for years. This one is less profound but still struck me: Either you are in a storm, coming out of a storm or heading into a storm. The point is, there is always a storm…

“Don’t get me wet because the bandages will all come off” ~ Dresden Dolls

Maybe it’s the rain that smells like ocean and keeps the heat at bay. Maybe it’s the caffeine as I allowed myself Mountain Dew for the first time in half a year. Maybe it Grouplove, Band of Horses, The XX and Modest Mouse mixing through my stereo. Maybe it’s the comfort of a well-fitting bra after finally admitting to being a 40D and no longer a 38C. But I think it’s the people.
Hospitable human interaction. From the friendly folks at the car dealership where I mooched Wi-Fi and fresh coffee and worked on a laptop with my dog beside me as my car was getting serviced. To popping over to the dog park where the guys playing tennis next door tossed over fresh yellow balls for my pup to chase. And down to a new gourmet sandwich shop curated by a couple of cheesemongers from Detroit and Brooklyn respectively. I was content to sit outside under the awning until the drizzle turned into a torrent flying sideways. Even my dog was looking at me like “What the fuck?” until the owner came out and invited us inside, saying “Don’t worry, everyone here is dog friendly and the health inspector isn’t due for five months”.

Heterosexual men and women cannot be “just” friends according to my mother. She said there is always a sexual tension between them and at the time, I argued, using my best friend “Dirty” as an example. He’s like a brother to me. An asshole Big Brother. And there is zero chemistry between us. Or so I thought until two years ago when he proposed us having children together since both of us were feeling that biological clock chipping away at our fertile years. I thought he was proposing IVF but no, he wanted old-fashioned sex. Perhaps in his loneliness and desperation, he even entertained the idea that the two of us could be something more than friends or even co-parents. We always joked that When Harry Met Sally was us, minus the sex and happy ending. But now I realized wasn’t opposed to that. So maybe my mother is right and I’m just clueless as another one of my closest friends admitted to me in a frank conversation, as our conversations always are, that if I was itching for intimacy on our upcoming trip that he was all for it. I told him I valued our friendship as is, entirely too much to muddy it with sex. Which is partly true but the other half of the equation is I am not sexually attracted to him. Or to my best friend either.
And yet I wanted Amanda and Brian from the Dresden Dolls to hook up. Or Suzanne and Ben from HoneyHoney to live happily ever after. I encouraged it even, as they both laughed and looked away during an radio interview ten years ago. You’re telling me “Lets Get Wrecked” wasn’t about hooking up with your best friend and bandmate out of convenience and loneliness? “Pulling at our jeans now, honey, and biting at our necks…”
“I am the girl anachronism…” Kat von D bad girl looks with a June Cleaver sentimentality. A freak in the bed who wants to meet your parents. But I’ll drive you crazy like the rest of them. I ride with the windows down and air conditioning on. I steer with my knees not because I’m multi-tasking with lipstick and the cell phone (although I might be doing that too) but just because I can, curling my arms behind my head rest flaunting it to passing traffic. “You can tell from the scars on my arms, and the cracks in my hips, and the dents in my car, and the blisters on my lips that I’m not the carefullest of girls…”

“You just want attention, you don’t want my heart” ~ Charlie Puth

Last night was a waste of false eyelashes. I felt like the orphan on stage at a school play. When performing, I like to make eye contact with someone in the audience but there was no one to make eye contact with because no one was looking at me. They were focused on whoever they were there to support. Which is why I prefer to dance for an impartial audience because then they are looking at everyone, taking it all in. It didn’t help that I felt disgusting compared to the other girls in the troupe. When I tried on my full costume last week, I felt fabulous, “Look at my feathers! Sparkle sparkle sparkle!” But then I saw a photo of myself taken with the other girls and that childhood rhyme taunted me “Which one of these is not like the other…?”  Full on body shame. I hid from further pictures and those that I couldnt hide from, I frantically sought them out on social media to “un-tag” myself before they could populate on my page. At least my makeup looked good.

It was a long night, odd girl out in the corner for hours pretending to stretch or do homework while waiting for that 2 minute performance. As soon as it was over, I shed the feathers and bolted for home where I took an Ambien and made the mistake of picking up the phone when the Flake called. I hadn’t talked to him since before Bill died and I kept thinking “Bill would advise against this”. In the course of a 2 hour low-self esteem, depressed, vulnerable Ambien haze, I watched him masterbate via live chat and took “comfort” in the breadcrumbs of “affection” he tossed casually, just like ol’ times. It felt good for the moment but then I woke up alone and missing him afresh. I looked back on my text messages: yep, I told him I still loved him. Even though there is nothing to miss or love, I remind myself.

Apparently in that haze, I also upset one of the only friends I have left. I apologized but can’t shake this feeling that I want to go to sleep and not wake up. The winds of change are swift. I woke at a relatively reasonable hour this morning (the fact that it was still morning makes it reasonable), made coffee, did my makeup and hair but didn’t get dressed. Two hours later, I am back in bed. Tired but wide awake and thinking how much I dislike this Masters program and don’t want to work on the assignments that are due this weekend. I want to do something but like being beyond hungry, nothing sounds appealing so I lie here in a mild state of panic at each passing minute and listen to my soul rumble hungrily.

I’ve lost my perspective (to which my pissed off friend agreed) and under these circumstances, volunteering for another possible suicide deployment back to Hell sounds like a “good” idea. What is stopping me? My dog.

“I can cope any way I choose and I have not cried in three whole days” ~ Violents

Hey how’s this for a pickup line? My doctor gave me a new brand of birth control pill. Want to come over and test its effectiveness?

I’m back with my vibrator. I’ve been blowing off the booty call following Bill’s death so his hints at needing a backrub or “to do laundry” are getting fewer and further between. Not that I wanted to make a habit of it. And it was a 3 on a scale to 10 ( but I give him an extra point for being a good kisser). 

I volunteered to be a lab rat. It’s what you do when you’re desperate. The VA is conducting studies on transcranial magnetic stimulation to treat depression. It feels like a giant woodpecker furiously attacking my skull for 37 and a half minutes. Not painful, just odd. I first learned about it from my family and I’m pretty sure they wouldn’t deliberately try to kill me. I volunteered late last year when the Wellbutrin made me suicidal. I feel better without pills. Sometimes I even feel normal but normal is not the same as good and Good is relative. Still, I was surprised to be accepted as a “rat” following thorough evaluation. I was added to the waiting list and so I waited. More than three months went by and I heard nothing. I even called once to make sure I was still on the list but after the new year, shaking off the Flake, brief but enjoyable travel and being a dance dance dancing machine, feeling, dare I say “good”… Bill died and a week later I got a call asking if I was ready to start treatment for 4-6 weeks. I explained to the doctor that I was concerned my results would be skewed. After all I just lost someone very dear to me and who wouldn’t be depressed? Naturally, gradually, I should feel “better” in 4-6 weeks anyway, right? I said “Before Bill died, I wasn’t depressed. I was perfectly normal”. The moment I said it, I knew it wasn’t true and the doctor was quick to point out “I screened you before your friend passed and you were not ‘ perfectly normal’, as you put it. But I take your present circumstances into account in the study results”.

I forced myself to go to a pool party Saturday, and be thankful that I got an invitation at all. It started out ok but after a few hours drinking, I looked around and found myself the odd man out again, the 7th wheel as people paired off and it became clear who the couples were (or at least the special friends). That’s when I left and got lonely enough that I text the booty call. Not to invite him over, which he fished for, but just to vent. I told him about the pool party and about being unhappy with the arrangement at home. I told him all about how my roommate asked if his girlfriend was welcome to stay the night. I said yes and a week later he had.a house key made for her without asking me and she’s lived here every day and night for the last 2 months. Individually they may be the best roommates I could hope for but my resentment is growing. Ive been taken advantage of, the water bill has doubled, but the worst part is I am living with a married couple in their honeymoon period: they cook together, dance around the kitchen, kiss, eat on the patio, fuck constantly and forget to shut the door… and it’s in my face! I begrudgingly accept my chronic single fate of the last 13 years but Im often lonely and I HATE being a spectator to a couple playing house in MY house. HATE IT! Surprisingly the booty call gave me advice that I would have expected from Bill if he were still alive “It doesn’t matter your reasons for being uncomfortable. All that matters is you are uncomfortable.”

May your past be the sound of your feet upon the ground. Carry on. ~ Fun

A friend posted on social media today that it was painful to live in a world that no longer needed her. I responded, “What about your needs?” But martyrdom is a hard habit to break. I’m still working on it. And I may not be a Buddhist like my recently passed friend Bill but even the mindfulness therapy championed by Dr. Hayes is based in eastern thought. Modern Buddhist practitioners are a source of inspiration and stability. One ACT/Buddhist theory that Bill shared with me before he passed was that the reason people are so unhappy is because we cling to what we want: not just material things but circumstances and relationships. Rather than accepting that everything changes and comes to an end, we mourn for its passing rather than celebrating that we had it at all, rather than giving thanks and moving on. Well, Bill, I’m sorry but I miss you. And he would say “Stop saying sorry. Say ‘oops’.”

Bill’s best friend got back to me with details for the memorial service and confirmed my gut suspicion, that he took his own life. It’s hard to fathom this world getting “the best” of someone so enlightened and loved. It shakes what little faith I have left. Local swing dancers are hosting a “Dance like Bill” contest Friday night. They made it a “strictly” instead of a “jack and jill”. Not to insult your dance intelligence but in a competition, “strictly” means you have a designated partner. For “jack and Jill”, partners are chosen at random. I posted on the event page asking them to change it to a J&J since Bill WAS my partner and I don’t have anyone else to dance with for that competition or any other. Although the idea of showing up to an event with those Scenesters that never gave me the time of day as a dancer to begin with, and watching them all try to imitate my partner, especially when Bill and I would have been dancing together in Vegas this week…I’d better not go. I’ll just get angry. 

Time for my biannual four hour round trip to the VA hospital in Orlando. The flagship of VA hospitals. Clean and efficient; where lab techs are all sharp-shooting former combat medics and never have to fish for my veins; and where I don’t have to fight the toilet paper roll in the bathrooms. But fatigue is still a bastard and driving back I nearly fell asleep at the wheel again. Maybe it was the sun through the sunroof pressing down on my shoulders while my memory fantasized about them being pressed into a pillow. I’d like a pair of hands on me but the fact is I don’t have 7 hours to spare for a booty call. A friend pointed out that when your booty call hangs out for that long, that counts as a relationship. But the B.C. doesn’t love animals and that’s a deal-breaker. Although I want to point out that ruling out psychopathy strictly based on someone’s affection for animals is faulty. The Sociopath rescued a cat. Still, I can’t seriously consider someone who pushes my dog way when he comes looking for a pat.

Speaking of the B.C., he has been wanting to come over. First he said he needed to do laundry. A few days later, he said he needed a back rub. But I’ve been struggling with Bill’s passing and I don’t need a friendly poke, I need a friendly ear. So instead I sit outside alone on my back patio holding a water hose stiffer than the B.C., burning brush under the light of a full moon. Leaving the sliding door open to Let the Smoke in.  If asked, I will say it is for cleansing but the simple fact is the house smells bad. My roommate slow cooks black beans and ham which sometimes smells delicious, other times it smells like rotting pork. Tonight is the latter. Plus he burned rice. Again. Wine sounded like a good idea but it clings to my burning throat so I let it go flat in my glass.

The Flake is sniffing ‘round again. Via email since I won’t pick up the phone. I told him about Bill, briefly, and he offered to be that friendly ear. My inner voice felt so loud as it yelled “BUUUUULLSHIT!” that I’m almost surprised he didn’t hear it.

“You don’t get me high anymore” – Phantogram

Is it any wonder I can’t get a rush Anymore?

I have flown with the Navy Blue Angels, broken the sound barrier and nearly blacked out from G-Force (and didn’t puke). I traveled the world for a year on tour singing and dancing onstage in front of tens of thousands of people. I’ve met and interviewed most of my favorite musicians and songwriters. I even gave many of those bands their Big commercial radio Break. I flew Slow and Low while we lit up Baghdad in 2003. I’ve crashed cars at high speed while shooting through a windshield.

How can I not believe that my best days are behind me? 

I didn’t ask for a picture of you in bed. I sure as hell didn’t ask for a picture of your cock. Whenever a text conversation devolves into a request for Cleavage shots, I wonder what did I do or say to invite that kind of attention? Whatever happened to a man who appreciating my Sharp wit as much as my phenomenal tits? Whatever happened to admiring my duality of kindness and badassery?
Yeah, you, I’m talking to you. You ruin my day with your “compliments”.

But no one can hurt me without my permission, right?

My lipstick application is a meditative practice in patience and precision.

I’m flat lining again. I just want to drink and sleep. Focus eludes me, I panic at the hundreds of pages of research in front of me while the hound Im watching whines like a bored toddler. I have a reason to put on pants, Samba rehearsal in an hour but I don’t want to go. I want to close my eyes and dream to escape. Can I make a living sleeping? My bed was the best investment I ever made. Too good, it would seem.