Category Archives: getting even

The Sad Story of Christopher Toughill

I walked into my apartment and immediately locked the door. I did it before turning on the light, before slipping off my shoes, before looking around.

Locking the door is not something I’ve ever much bothered with. I’ve been scolded for years by friends and family but I didn’t want to be the person who locks my shit up and then decides I’m safe because my possessions are tucked tightly behind a lock. I didn’t want to let that paranoia creep in–not even a little.

But then today I heard in depth the story of Christopher Toughill exactly as he told me. He stopped often to cry. Sometimes he would dip his head and begin going through the photos on his phone of rainbows. “I just took a lot of rainbow pictures. I suppose it was a crime of opportunity,” he quipped.

Before October 18, 2016- Christopher describes himself as a person who believed in “…rainbows and Unicorns, I believed in the very best in people and I thought that’s what they gave me. If I was ever disappointed it was worth the price of believing in the good in people.”

He grew up in DC to a journalist mom and a speech writing dad. His father, also a union organizer, taught him every labor song and chant and he still recounts them without a prompt breaking into song across the lunch table. In those moments, he’s someone else.

After October 18, 2016- Christopher has nowhere to live, owns nothing but one change of clothes and his dog, Harmony, a 14 year old geriatric pup who fits her name. His hands are still recovering, his teeth never will and his heart, however expansive, is shattered.

I found Christopher after he posted something on Facebook that sounded suicidal. “I give up” it began. When my intrepid friend tracked him down she asked me to go to him–a total stranger–and help. I said yes. That lead me to an abandoned mobile home space and a tall man with a brown dog sitting in a gravel spot surrounded by trash in a broken chair. He was on his cell phone and by his posture and expression he could have been a business person closing a deal, yet his dirty clothes, his untrimmed toe nails poking from old sandals, a single backpack with a broken zipper and his entire lack of options told part of the story.

But only part.

Christopher had been a very successful business owner. He had an optical shop in the affluent art village of Ashland, Oregon where he sold high end, hand crafted glasses to the rich and famous including more than one movie star.

Now-after his attacker brutalized him- he is homeless and by outside appearances looks broken.

On October 18, 2016- he was held hostage–chained in fact–by his landlord who rented him a one bedroom shop behind his house. Christopher was beaten, his hands broken, his teeth knocked out, his feet battered and he was burned with hot oil and dowsed in gasoline. “I was humiliated, degraded and tortured,” he says of the experience. Unknown to him at the time he rented his place–his landlord belonged to a criminal gang and had a long, violent history.

Christopher managed to escape to safety and the man who held him hostage is now in prison.

But in some ways so is Christopher. He cannot understand how so much evil exists on one hand, on another he chose mercy for his attacker. He agreed to his plea bargain. “I couldn’t be responsible for depriving someone of their freedom for life–even though I couldn’t understand what he did to me. Still, sometimes I wonder if I shouldn’t have taken the deal. He is not fit to live free among people. He is a monster.”

Christopher considered taking his own life. “I was in my shell. I was non functional.” He came away from the experience with nothing. His health too fragile to work, his home gone because he could never go back there, he found himself deteriorating. He went into a diabetic coma due to stress and lack of food and crashed his last thing–his car.

Christopher was waiting for his old dog to die so he could take his own life. “I couldn’t let Harmony down.” But Harmony did not die. She kept living and so did Christopher. “Now I don’t want to do it anymore. There are still sunrises and sunsets…the world itself. I got touched by the dregs of society, but for all its sham and drudgery the world is still a beautiful place.”

His pain is noticeable and I could feel it when we talked. He cried often, reached out for my hand, sometimes needed to get up and walk it off.  He would speak of the crime and discuss the “incomprehensible.”  He says he is disappointed that there was not a safety net deep enough to hold him. He’s tried all the services, he shows me all the calls he’s made on his cell phone to no good effect. “They can’t really help me.”

I left him at a clean hotel for the night where he could get a shower and his dog could take rest. It’s not enough. Nothing I do for Christopher is enough.

One time a cop told me there are few real, innocent victims. He implied most people put themselves in bad spots. I tried to believe that because it makes life less scary. But Christopher did not invite his trouble. What happened to him could have happened to me–or you.

There are innocent victims. There are people who do evil to them.

But there are also people who forgive evil, people who get back up and try again. There is me and you. And those pictures of rainbows on Christopher’s phone did happen.

So tonight I’m behind the locked door. I’m thinking of Christopher and I may shed more tears. I don’t know the way forward for him and I don’t know how he overcomes but I know he does. I can see that he is still the hero of his story.

If you want to help Christopher he has a GoFundme:

https://www.gofundme.com/HelpChrisRecoverFromTortureMaiming

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Filed under #connection, #happiness, anxiety, depression, examinedlife, faith, freedom, getting even, God, Hiking, love, revenge, Uncategorized

The Rise of Hysteria and Obedient Women

He reminded me I have no voice–the young Mexican guy.

The singer songwriter from Austin, Texas, his state flag mounted behind him next to the candles, you know the ones in the jars with the Virgin Mary, yes, those, singing in a tiny club up the stairs and over to the left- incited revolution.  David Ramirez fired a shot through song for what is to come: rage, despair, and more deeply troubling— resignation.

Don’t get me wrong there are people raising voices-but so few are women. The ones who do speak, urge calm. That’s not the right message.

Ramirez sang of throwing out the baby, a depiction of white America forgetting how we all really got here, he shattered himself on the stage crooning and yelling, sweat pouring from his face, soaking his beard and stringy brown hair, his eyes filled with exhaustion. He was like Dylan, if Dylan could sing.

Why can’t we, us, women-those who stand to lose everything get the steam up to lay it on the line the way this guy does?

 

Girls obey. That’s the rule handed down by God and enforced by culture. You don’t obey and the penalties are steep. “Lock her up!” they yell. Burn her, she is a witch. Hysterectomy. Look up the origin of that word. Restless? How about a lobotomy? Don’t believe it? Ask Francis Farmer how it worked. This is all recent history, recurring history, persistent His-story.

You damned right my normal response is tepid. And terrified. Aren’t you?

 

I don’t need the faithless fundamentalist Christian pew anymore, nor the patriarchy, or belt or threat because I have become expert in keeping myself down.

The shame of shouting and possibly being told to “calm down” is apparently greater than the threat of losing our country, our work and our world.

How sad is that?

I am told to keep an open mind, told it is not yet time to be so concerned.

If it is not now-then it will it never be, the God damned time.

 

I am not trying to hurt your feelings because you disagree but frankly what we face is bigger than your feelings and mine. We’re reasonably discussing the rise of a fascist- old school style. The rest of the world sees it.

I may lose my mind, my friendships, my love–but we stand to lose quite realistically –everything. Our sacred Pacific Ocean has been under threat to drilling off the Northern California coast for decades-this president has no qualms with drilling, we may lose our Oregon trees to old school, largely unregulated milling. Can we talk about what we’re doing to face down this threat rather than “being calm and open minded?

 

Are you afraid, like me?

That’s what’s at the root of all this, you know. It’s not politics or losers and winners–it’s fear. It’s the fear for children and grandchildren, for friends and people we’ve never met.

It’s not about me or you–but us.

For people who, like my friend often says, will die and never know why. For those under threat of deportation or arrest or merely having their life’s work trampled to shit.

I’m a journalist. I’m aware of seeing my profession turn to a sideshow. But the part I don’t know scares me even more. The part where protected lands are drilled, fucked, broken and used up. Where girls die again in back alley abortions, where gay people are shoved into airless closets, where black lives do not matter and children are ripped from loving parents because someone says they are criminals for wanting a better life. Where Jews who have endured and endured have to somehow do it again. Where sick people will die because, yet again, they cannot afford treatment.

Silence is a kind of insanity.

 

 

 

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Ten Ways to Tell if Your Guy(partner) is a Grown Ass Man(person).

Let me be clear I stand on no high ground here. If there’s a way to make a poor choice–I’ve done it. But lately I’ve been hanging around with a grown ass man and despite the fact I’m a slow learner some things are coming into focus.

First: I had the good fortune of grown ass man friends. They were the ones helping me, letting me lean on them from time to time and being reliable while my boy was out playing. I’m so grateful to those grown up guys who showed up and showed me what a grown ass man really looks like. If you find yourself leaning on your friends rather than your partner–chances are he’s not grown.

Second: age has nothing to do with it. I wasted months of my life on an old guy who was damn near seventy still trying to be the captain of his high school football team surrounded by cheerleaders. His self-esteem was so low he couldn’t stop playing games. He was so desperate to be admired. I feel bad for him, but not too bad. If your partner can’t commit to a plan, a phone call and a relationship, no matter what else he says, he’s not a grown ass man.

What follows works for any gender and any pairing. I’ve just selected my own experience so I’m using man to fit the role since I’m a cisgender, heterosexual female. You can substitute woman or they and it still works.

So here are the ways you can tell if your guy is a grown ass man:

  1. He is not ambiguous. Having been successful in his life he knows what he wants and how to achieve it. He will be clear with you what his intentions are and check in early and often to see if you share those intentions.
  2. He budgets accordingly. There is no worse feeling than being with a guy who acts like you’ve taken him to the vet for neutering every time the check comes. A grown ass man sets his cash aside to accommodate his plans. That doesn’t mean he has to be rich to be grown but he does have to plan a date he can manage. If it needs to be a split check he tells you in advance so you can act like a grown ass woman and bring your money.
  3. He likes you. Grown ass men don’t treat their partners like a chore or some add-on to their fabulous lives. He will enjoy your company, like talking to you, share your interests and care about your people. He will be interested in you even when you have a headache.
  4. He will do what he says he’s going to do. A grown ass man has no trouble telling you when he will call and then call at that time. The same holds true for getting together, making plans and ultimately creating a life.
  5. Grown ass men don’t need to lie. He will tell the truth because he has nothing to hide. He’s made mistakes and moved on. He’ll tell you about the good and the bad without hesitation because he is confident in his ability to persevere. He does not do things he is ashamed of as a rule, but if he makes a mistake, he’ll tell you.
  6. He will listen to advice and seek counsel. Grown ass men are smart enough to trust collective wisdom. They don’t have all the answers nor do they have the need to know everything. They have learned that’s not realistic.
  7. Grown ass men are emotionally available. He will cry when it hurts, he will laugh when it tickles him and he will draw pictures of little hearts and flowers on a card if he is so moved. A grown ass man has no need to prove who he is and no need for credentials that make him seem more like a robot. He will respect your emotions as well, knowing that our emotions actually drive our actions, not just yours, but his too.
  8. Grown ass men enjoy sex–with you. They also enjoy talking, cuddling, going to movies and doing other things. Grown ass men are people who have many interests and enjoy exploring them. They are not out for a conquest and they don’t think it’s your job to worry about their sex drive.
  9. He will support you for who you are. Because he knows himself, he knows what sort of  characteristics he values. If you hold those characteristics and he’s decided to be with you then he won’t be out to change you or your priorities. In fact, a grown ass man is more likely to help you achieve your goals and deepen your other relationships.
  10. Finally, a grown ass man is seeking a grown ass partner. He is looking for someone who has done the work to be clear on what is important, who is not insecure, needy, clings or otherwise hoping to find a partner to complete them. A grown ass man wants a partner who is respectful to him and to themselves and does not look to see anyone subjugated or treated as a lesser partner.

I can’t speak for anyone else but I was enculturated to think the nice guy wasn’t as cool as the guy who thought he was too good for me and also to believe that the guy who made me feel insecure was exciting. When I finally moved past that, I couldn’t believe I ever thought that way.

Being loved by a grown ass man makes life better, easier and more meaningful. Being kept off balance makes life more difficult. Achieving your goals is like pushing that rock up a hill everyday and getting nowhere when you’re dealing with a boy who sucks your mental and emotional bank dry. We all need support. If your partner isn’t grown then chances are he’s throwing barriers in your path.

It’s better to be single than trying to make it work with someone who is not grown enough to know how or simply doesn’t want to. Be good to you. Cut them loose. Be who you are and your grown ass man will show up, or not. But either way you don’t have someone pulling you down. Either way you’re better off.

Oh and one final thought–a grown ass man is sexier and more attractive in every way. He has no need to prove anything so he is confident and loving. He is fun and also thoughtful.

Maybe, just maybe, if nice guys finish first and grown ass men are the ones in relationships these boys will figure out it’s time to grow up. It won’t help you, but it might help the next person who comes along.

 

 

 

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The Best Plan that Didn’t Happen–Letting Go

 

The crow could not decide which way to cross. She paced and fluffed her wings. She was annoyed. It radiated like the fading sunlight across her back as it tightened in her small body. She nodded her head, the light hit her eyes and she shook her head.

The crow was having a bad patch. It happens to everybody.

Sometimes our plans are mucked up and we’re stuck up to our ankles in their debris not knowing how to make a new plan. We are immobilized. Sometimes we are flat out hurt. Disappointed. Even pissed off.

We pace and struggle We try to get back on track but it will not be. Life does not always act like clay–it will not be molded.

Now what?

Acceptance. Before you can do anything else you have to accept this is where you are: your plans are shot, you’re sad and nothing will save you or your desires. I get to that path of acceptance by taking to my cushion and sitting for however long it takes in total silence. I breathe and with each breath, somehow, I let go a bit more. It’s the metaphor. If you hold your breath you will eventually die. You must take breath in and let go of it. The same with everything.

In the end we lose everything. Life is training for death.

The practice is in the taking in and letting go, gracefully. When we release the plan and its desire we release fear as well. We become supple and fluid. We roll on like the river.

This is also true of deep ache and desire. Letting them go a breath at a time makes us more alive and aware. More awake and willing. We become better at life and its purpose–love.

So when your best plans fall apart do not forget, hold anger or make any assumptions about what it means. All you have to do is breathe out and for the time- let go. Become weightless and fly off that median to your new location.

Sometimes the thing that didn’t happen is the gift.

 

 

 

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The Rant of an Enraged Professor

Relax, chill, calm down.

I will pray for you.

Mantras of the past several decades that have virtually no meaning except to say we should not get angry or buck that status quo which has brought our nation to the point of being among the worst places for children to grow up. It’s astonishing that we have the child poverty rates and imprisoning rates we do when there is plenty of space and money to go around–if only it actually went around.

Time to stop chillin’ and start getting pissed. Really pissed. Never, ever pray for me. Do something. If you believe in God, then believe you have the ability to act. Praying alone does nothing.

Being “calm and carrying on” has brought us precisely to this point. If we’re honest, we all know that’s true. None of us wanted to be the person who spoke out and looked unpleasant or wasn’t liked. But now we’re beyond that. Let’s hope we aren’t too late.

I work at Southern Oregon University. I teach a newspaper class and a broadcast news class. After 90 consecutive years of operating a paper, the school has withdrawn all support. Now they like to say it’s not like that, but it is exactly like that. The student fee committee defunded it, the university is no longer offering it as a for credit class and did not give enough notice for the students to raise money to keep it going.

A former writer for the newspaper who is now nationally recognized put it this way, what kind of half assed school doesn’t have a newspaper? What parent sends their kid to a school like that?

We started a gofundme [https://www.gofundme.com/vcxzcz8k] and the university finds this so humiliating they can’t bear it. We’ve been told in a polite, educated way that it is not appropriate fundraising. I agree. But what way is there but to draw public attention to the fact that a public university is pulling financial support from its student newspaper therefore causing it to be silenced?

We did the gofundme and we wrote stories about it. Still are. We also went to other news outlets. Still are.

We’re journalists. How can we not cover our own story? How can we not point out the value of transparency and real reporting on a university campus? How can we not value journalism as a cornerstone of a free society and an informed electorate? How can we chill and watch Netflix when the world is burning, literally?

We’ve raised a thousand bucks but need about 5 to keep going. It costs roughly 20,000.00 annually for the newspaper to be effective. But 5,000 can keep it running through fall term. I’m not going to be paid. I’ll volunteer if the students will have me.

Some things transcend personal interests. We’ve lost our way on that as a country. The so called “greatest generation” left a shit show for these young people to clean up. The jumble of nonsense that is the “system” of university funding is a big part of that shit show. It’s not the professors. These folks work hard to engage students and make small salaries despite huge debt themselves for their education. It’s not them. It is however the administration at a state level of universities. It is, in Oregon, the greed of the University of Oregon often called Nike U which wants to hoard its money and choke out smaller schools like mine.

It is also the refusal of educated people to get pissed about this.

Do university’s understand that raising tuition and cancelling classes while paying administrators six figure salaries is counter intuitive? If no one can afford school and there is not support for things like a student newspaper which is a basic indicator of a school’s seriousness then there is nothing to administer.

Are we this short sighted?

Do we not understand that educating young people is more important than a retiree having enough change to play golf every day? Do we get that if we suck up all the world’s resources today, there will be no golf courses or cars or life because that steak dinner and cheap clothes and golf course cost someone, somewhere everything and one day it will cost us all?

The greatest thing my dad ever said to me is that there is no free lunch. Everything costs something. The cost of ignoring our children’s education is a nation of unsustainable ignorance. The cost of greed is national poverty of the 99%. The cost of buying cheap stuff is the entire life of a political prisoner in China or a child dying in a factory fire in Bangladesh, the cost of eating that cheap burger is low wages, gallons and gallons of water and monoculture of corn as well as more co2 emissions than any car on the road could ever produce and the cost of not being informed is all of the above.

The value of rage is real. We are programmed to be angry when we are in jeopardy. That time is now. Do not “Keep calm and carry on” but demand change to policies that are killing our planet, you and our children. Fight for what you believe in. Raise your voice. Not your fists, not ignorance but your voice in an informed and real way. Be the Bernie you want to see in the world. (sorry I couldn’t resist) or more to the point be the you the world has been waiting for. Be the you that knows what’s fair and right and says so.

For me in this moment that is the me who teaches journalism to a hungry but small class of students who know the pen is mightier than the sword, who believe that education matters and that telling the verifiable truth is still a high calling and essential to a free nation.

Right now I stand with them and stand for The Siskiyou, The Voice of SOU Students to never be quiet! Stand with us.

When someone tells you to chill, tell them in no uncertain terms to get out of your way, off their couch and do something with themselves that matters.

 

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Why #Trump’s World is Wrong

When I pull into a parking space near my apartment, the little green house next door is dark. I no longer see its flowering Christmas Cactus in the shadow of my head lights. The ornate lamps are no longer on with their silk shades casting a yellow glow that seemed to tell me beauty exists, even here in a forgotten neighborhood of bad planning and poor views.

Now there are long shadows across empty carpet. The house is hunched in hollowness: its lavender plants by the front door gone, its deck furniture and sitting bench on the side patio have left only stains behind.

Nancy’s smile as she fiddles with her keys, mail in one hand and grocery bag in the other is a fading ghost. I still see her but I know she no longer looks through my kitchen window from her front porch. She has gone somewhere else yet her perfume lingers.

I keep looking for her. Some hope arises then drops, the elevator in my gut falls five stories.

I miss her. Everyday I miss her.

She raised a son and a daughter in that house, watched her husband die of Alzheimer’s disease, made it back to wanting to live after five years of dying a bit at a time and she collected little things which she lovingly placed on the shelves he hewed from hand and left behind. Japanese tea pots, style magazines, crystals, books-all pretty things.

She lived in the little house with its handsome wood shingles for nearly thirty years and she cared also for the tenants around her, like me. Living here was hard at first. Used to a house and a yard, a cat and a dog and a family gathered around the fireplace, moving into an apartment on my own on the wrong side of “The Boulevard” felt like failure and fatigue.

But she would say hello, ask me how I was and we talked in quick but deep terms. We knew each other. Sometimes we shared our grief and other times resilience. But whatever we shared got us through.

Then one day she came to me and said it was all ending. The owner was selling the place, turning it over to a property manager and she had thirty days to leave her life behind. I watched garage sales, estate sales and I felt like she seemed smaller, more quiet. I also felt her moving away from me. Then she was gone. I came home and the house was empty. The curtains left open with only shadows where a life had been.

But here’s the worst part: she was given just one month. That timing was not flexible. I have watched every day since she left and not one thing has happened there. Like most things, the date was a fiction. It was made up to make things easy for someone, somewhere I will probably never meet. Whoever moves into the little green house will be a good person or not, but they will not be Nancy with three decades of knowing, loving and fixing the pains of these old places.

The property manager will receive my check each month but will not ask how I am and eventually rents will rise and maybe, I too, will one day have thirty days to get out just because.

Everything that makes life bearable is about connection. Everything that makes it not bearable is a loss of that connection, especially when you have no choice.

No matter how many computers you own, no matter how much time you spend locked away alone in an office, car or house, we are connected like the web entwining the roots of trees, like the unspoken yet real language of butterflies.

Nothing can make us not want to be connected because nothing is quite like us breathing the same air as Aristotle and still asking his questions. We simply are connected and the loss of it is always painful.

A loss of a neighbor and friend is a profound loss. It’s felt daily in a hundred small routines. The loss of the leader of our apartment tribe has left us lonely. What was our home is now four rather poorly made walls. Nancy made this a community. A rich guy getting richer means nothing to those of us who send him checks.

This impersonal style of our culture is making us actually crazy. We are on pills, heading for a cliff of obesity and heart disease and our children are losing attention spans and empathy annually because video games don’t teach the value of watching rain and wondering how it really works. That takes time, nurturing and care. Television sets do not love you. They talk to you, they sell you things but they don’t care if you choke to death on the Carl’s Junior Hamburger they convinced you to buy.

This is what’s really behind the divisions and rage in our country–a lack of connection. The rich guy who bought our homes doesn’t care if we miss Nancy, doesn’t care that she had to shift 30 years into 30 days and doesn’t care if we leave. He’ll rent them to someone else with more money. He most likely hopes we’ll leave just like many wish homeless people would go to some kind of somewhere else. But we’ve run out of somewhere else and “others”. We are all here, all in this interconnected system.

It’s not until we recognize the value of Nancy, of talks that run a little too long at the store, of reading the whole story with its anguished author hoping she’s not alone that we will begin to mend. We may talk about our minds as if we are computers, we may describe personal growth as 2.0 but nothing about that is true. We are covered in soft tissue and exude emotion for a reason.

What is true is that I miss Nancy.  What is true is that a kind word of one person can change your reality for a day or more.  What is also true is that a house sitting empty that once held a family will never be anything but sad.

We do not need a perfect world. We need a world willing to be imperfect together. We do not need more money but more compassion. We do not need to be better at business but better at the business of being human.

 

 

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The Angry Onion Gets Cooked

I am made of colored glass, heated and blown into life, stretched thin and ready to crack.

Somewhere in the last week I’ve seen fissures and fractures brought about by a personals ad. It scared me to be so exposed, then I was flattered and now I’m frightened-again. It’s one thing to suspect your frailty-it’s another to see it for all it really is.

To the person, everyone I’ve spoken to who has done this has had this experience. It is a vulnerable position in an unsafe container.

Many men who responded were nice, kind and complimentary. It’s not that, it’s me. It’s wondering what made me do it, that has me so rattled.

I’ve been getting notes from Columbia, Dubai, Eastern Europe, Canada and a smattering of remote spots across the US. They speak often of longing and loss. Some are angry, many are sad. A few are working hard to be happy.

Any one of the people behind the notes could be me–are me–in so many ways.

I started this “Angry Onion” to release heart break. But I see now it’s something less grand, but more real: fear.  Two things happened in quick succession.

I think that’s how any form of wisdom comes, some kind of back to back experience that gets our attention.

In my case I took a horrible fall. I smashed my face up, bruised my knees and ribs to the bone and broke out a front tooth.

It happened on Christmas Eve.

I laid on the cold pavement as it got dark unable to move for some time. When I crawled my way to a mirror I saw my face, my tooth cracked off, a knot already forming on my chin and felt deep physical pain but more acute even, this whole body and mind ache, “Oh God. Look at my face. I am not okay”.

The knowledge that it is very possible I could be hurt, even die, totally alone kept sinking in with new depth through the long, painful night.

Christmas day was a dull ache. The days that followed left me rattled and afraid.

Then the Onion Guy was gone-again. I waited a year to be re-united with him. At night before sleep I would picture lighting a lantern in the dark for him to find his way back to me. It’s fair to say I loved him. I supported him. I believed he would return.

He did return. He brought poems and joy. We made it to two dates and that was it. Yes, I adored him. No it was not meant to be. But the one two combo is what I see now.

I was a glass vase knocked to the floor. The pieces scattered. I’ve been trying to pick them up ever since.

Since this combination of events I’ve been playing at this matchmaker scenario asking my daughter to find me a match. I became impatient, went against the advice of my love agent and took out a personals ad. She, the matchmaker, advised me to first know myself. She could not be more correct.

I have learned a lot. But sadly, much of it has been the hard way.

The responses to my ad most often start out breezy and kind with humor thrown in the mix. But if I correspond back it takes two or three e-mails in to see the frailty of being human. The mask comes off and I see deep scars, loneliness, fear and even anger.

I experience the results of not saying what’s wanted or expected and being struck with a verbal lashing. One person asked me why I’m asking questions and suggested I’m paranoid. Others still, angrily chastised me for not answering sooner, for not sending more pictures, you name it. I suppose once you step on that stage you are owned in a way. I exited left and kept walking. That seems to be my path right now.

Humans are fragile and frightened and terribly anxious. I am human. I am those things too.

I am starting to think finally this onion is getting peeled down to something meaningful. This searching for love may be more about seeking belonging and safety. It may be that I don’t want to take a horrible fall and have someone find my body because my apartment smells bad from the front door. It may be that life is more like hiking than I realized, a buddy system is advised.

I see.

But where does that leave me? Where does it leave anyone who is single?

Life still calls us, does it not?

So if I don’t have a hiking partner I am still getting out there. Up in the mountains with no one but all of life is not negotiable. I go to live. Having a full life without a partner is also not negotiable. If that’s how it plays out. I’m still all in.

I’d rather have hard truth than pretty lies any day. 

Besides, who am I kidding? I could never truly die alone. Because I am never really alone. I hear the heartbeat of the Earth, I feel the breeze as its breath and I am covered in the love of friends and family who are always gathered within me.

I am letting go of the Onion Guy and dreams of a new Onion Guy for now. I am taking my matchmaker daughter’s advice and getting to know myself better. I am to make pros and cons lists, gather up what I like about me and others and report back.

Meantime, I am cooking for one and it’s not so bad. I think tomorrow I’ll make a stir fry–and yes–I’ll start by sauteing an onion. Why not?

 

 

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