Who *is* this woman?

I saw a quote today from someone named Azra T. – who I think, from my brief Internet searches, is a student and a poet in the UK. I was going to post it on Twitter, but then I found more quotes (maybe they’re full poems; it’s hard to tell), and now I’m a little overwhelmed because they’re tear-inducingly beautiful.

I’ll show you:

“I will only let you touch me if your hands are so full of intention that every brush of your palms feels like you’re writing a novel on my skin.”

And this one, which might be my favorite:

“I’ve stopped being sorry for all my soft. I won’t apologise because I miss you, or because I said it, or because I text you first, or again. I think everyone spends too much time trying to close themselves off. I don’t want to be cool or indifferent, I want to be honest. If I love you at 5AM, I’d damn well rather that you know I felt it. If I love you two hours later, I’ll tell you then too. Listen, I won’t wait double the time it takes for you to text me back because I don’t want to. I don’t care enough to be patient with you. I’m happy, you made me feel that way, don’t you want to know? So that’s how it’s going to be. I’m going to leave myself as open as a church door. And I’m going to wake you up before the crack of dawn to tell you that I’m fucking joyful, no pretending, not from me, not ever. Would you like some coffee, would you please kiss me? Here, these are my hands, this is my mouth, it is all yours.”

And then this one:

“I’m always soft for you, that’s the problem. You could come knocking on my door five years from now and I would open my arms wider and say ‘come here, it’s been too long, it felt like home with you.’”

Aren’t they beautiful? This is how people should love – intensely, but without expectation. Respectful of each other’s autonomy, but without fear.

And then there’s this one, which I also love:

“I will teach my daughter not to wear her skin like a drunken apology. I will tell her ‘make a home out of your body, live in yourself, do not let people turn you into a regret, do not justify yourself. If you are a disaster it is not forever, if you are a disaster you are the most beautiful one I’ve ever seen. Do not deconstruct from the inside out, you belong here, you belong here, not because you are lovely, but because you are more than that.'”

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Here she comes to wreck the day!

I started counseling for two related reasons:

1) I’m too dependent on romance to make me happy. The whole “life partner” thing has always been a huge priority for me, which is largely responsible for my entering into what I now look back on as an unhealthy marriage. Without that, I have little in my life that makes me excited to be among the breathing. And the irony is that unless I find satisfaction on my own, I’ll never have a successful partnership with a man. It’s a self-defeating need.

And that’s because …

2) I’m codependent. I have all the classic signs, including the role model growing up. My mother is the quintessential poster child of codependence. My entire upbringing and my marriage could be used in a psychology textbook. I have a desperate need to take on other people’s problems, make them my own, and almost aggressively not allow them responsibility, because in my life that’s always what love looked like. And it is the most painful thing to watch because post-marriage my efforts to take care of others just drive them away. I don’t want to be in a relationship with someone who needs me to take care of them. But people who don’t need taking care of don’t want to put up with my bullshit. Understandably so.

It’s a terrible position to be in. I don’t want a codependent relationship. But I want to be loved – and not by just anyone. By someone intelligent and witty and passionate and hard working and good. Someone I can respect. A partner. People like that aren’t easy to find, not at the level I’m talking about. And when I do find them, I drive them crazy because they don’t (and shouldn’t) need me.

So now I’m alone. And hoping this counseling will help me figure out how to fix what’s wrong with me so that I’m not alone forever. And also help me be content independent of a relationship. And stop getting into relationships with people who can’t and won’t commit. Because I think that’s also a pattern I fall into in my effort to save other people. “Oh, your marriage is falling apart and you’re in pain? Oh, you don’t feel like your spouse appreciates you? Well, I think you’re the most wonderful human in the world, and I hardly ever think people are wonderful so, ahem, allow me to don my codependent superhero cape and attempt to be everything you need.”

Abject failure. I can’t fucking save anyone. Except maybe myself. Maybe.

I’m running with this whole bumbling superhero metaphor. I posted on Twitter this morning: “I picture my codependence as a sort of blundering superhero who means well but only makes things worse. ‘Here she comes to wreck the day!'”

Shortly after that a slew of ideas for a cartoon series came into my head. So I’m going to devote some time to that because I think it could be a project both cathartic for me and entertaining to others. Possibly even helpful to others.

Humor is always my best defense mechanism.

I am such a mess.

I’m a witty, intelligent, loving mess though. So I have hope that I can work my way through. Hope is what keeps me moving. I have to keep moving.

Real people matter, not unreal arguments

I keep seeing this apologetic “I’m proud of being from the South but not proud of its history” thing among my acquaintances on social media.

First of all, never feel apologetic about not taking pride in a history of racial oppression.

And secondly, I just don’t get the regional pride thing. I don’t feel any particular emotion about growing up in the South.

I’m proud of my personal upbringing and the lessons instilled by that – which may or may not have some basis in “Southern hospitality.” I don’t know. I think I would be proud of it regardless of where in the U.S. I grew up.

I’m proud of being from a family that often struggled financially but still produced three children who went to college on hard-won scholarships. I’m proud of my parents and siblings. I’m proud of the great memories I have hiking and camping with my family in the Appalachian Mountains where we lived. I’m proud of my military service.

I’m proud of the fact that I basically spent my childhood running wild and largely barefoot through the woods and of that fucking unnaturally large crawfish that scared the bejesus out of me when I found it under a rock in the creek.

I’m proud that somewhere along the line I became someone who always challenges herself to be better.

But the accident of my birth and growth being in a particular region of the country doesn’t mean much except that I have a fondness for BBQ, sweet tea, whiskey and Carolina basketball (and a slight trepidation around crawfish. Also possums.) None of which negates or diminishes the deep love I have for the founding principles of my country and equal treatment and opportunity for all of its citizens – and, in fact, all human beings across the planet.

I’m entirely happy to see the removal of monuments lionizing men who were willing to watch the democratic experiment fail so that some white people could continue to own black people. But then I don’t care that much about monuments or any other object when compared to the lives and comfort and self respect of actual people, regardless of the color of their skin.

Take them all down. Who gives a fuck as long as we all have the same opportunities – assuming we’re equally willing to work hard and be considerate?

Don’t get me wrong – if you’re proud of a place, be proud of a place. But don’t be apologetic for not being proud of a place at the expense of human life and dignity.

And if you care more about a hunk of stone representing a dead guy than human life and dignity, you have serious mental issues. I’m headed to therapy tomorrow. Come with.

Wavering resolve

… and then sometimes I just lie here thinking: I am so broken, and I don’t know how to fix me. 

And no one really gives a fuck. 

And maybe I really should just go jump out of a plane. (With a parachute I mean. I’m a bit nihilistic, not suicidal.)

Resolve


‪I will not – in the face of loneliness or angry, ego-driven people or the jadedness of others or the feeling that it is all passing by too fast – give in to rage or despair. ‬

‪I will be lovely and understanding and calm and hopeful and generous and elegant and nice to everyone I meet, because that is, above all, who I am. ‬

‪My job is to enhance others, not drag them down. I will work hard and love with everything I have and give myself up to hope and be grateful for whatever is given to me.‬ 

Seeking a sense of direction


I have several ideas for projects that I think would be fun and interesting and potentially lead to something sellable or publishable … and I have absolutely no motivation to make them happen. I just daydream about them.

I don’t know if I need a life coach or a counselor, but I’m starting with counseling. Because I also think I have issues managing personal relationships. I’m far too dependent on other people (and possibly bourbon) to make my life fun and interesting and lovable. And I think both my upbringing and my former marriage have made it both difficult for me to communicate emotions and led me to expect derision when I finally do.

My behavior is making the people I care about most unhappy, and that’s not acceptable.

I found out from a colleague I get six free counseling sessions through my workplace. You can gain a lot of insight in six conversations with an impartial stranger.

So yeah, I’m gonna get a little help finding my sense of direction and purpose.

Correspondence & Beryl Markham


I wrote an e-mail to an old friend today and decided to share part of it as a blog post:

If I could afford it, I’d buy some sort of rustic vehicle that could house two dogs and me for a year or so, dump most of my belongings at Goodwill, and drive across America, stopping and talking to people as I went. I’d visit every state. I’d take countless photographs. And I’d write about it, in the (possibly vain) hope that people might be interested in reading it. 

And then I’d go to Paris. And do the same thing. 

And then Ireland. And Scotland. And New Zealand. And the Czech Republic. And Kenya. And South Africa. And Zanzibar. And any place. Any place other than where I am. 

But I can’t. Well, maybe. I should think about it. Maybe there’s a way. I could sell everything I own instead of dumping it at Goodwill. I could trade in my car (though I’m not sure it’s worth much.) Maybe I could get creative. 

I’m observing a weekend of radio silence. Starting when I go to work this evening at 5, I’m placing my phone in airplane mode and I’m spending the weekend (the time that I’m not working, which isn’t all that much, really) reading and writing and not talking to anyone. And not web surfing or scrolling through social media. 

That was the e-mail. I am indeed – shortly after posting this – taking a 48-or-so-hour hiatus from the Internet.

I’ve been reading a memoir written by a mid-20th-century pilot named Beryl Markham. I’m now rereading I because once wasn’t enough. But I took these things away from the first reading:

1) A cowardly life is not a well-lived one, and I must be braver if I’m going to look back on my life without regret in the future.

2) I wish we all still wrote letters. I hate e-mail, and I hate texting even more. Texting in particular has made me weaker, more concerned with instant gratification and a general pest to those I love.

3) There is no substitute for elegant prose.

4) It’s possible to love both another human being and one’s independence, but I think we’ve made it very hard.

5) Beryl was always alone. I’d rather not do any of the above adventures alone, but the only person I’ve ever met who is worthy of all that isn’t entirely available. So maybe I’ll just have to suck it up. See #1.