Posts Tagged ‘relationships’
“See Me” it read, once it was finished. I hated how it looked aesthetically so it later went in the garbage. The process had been the important part ….
It was a mixed media piece that I created Christmas Eve 2011, naked in the loft, candles burning a circle around me, canvas stretched out underneath my feet. Paint dripped down my leg and glue bits dotted my bangs. The cat pushed paws around ripped up pieces of printed photos – muted memories clinging to tomorrow.
I conjured up this particular desire, the desire to be seen as I worked on the painting. Not as a woman whose marriage was failing, whose Christmas Eve was the first she’d spent alone. Not as a blogger who had for years sought attention from whomever might pay it by divulging intimacies generally reserved for close friends. I wanted not to be seen for what a google search would turn up or a rushed conversation after a BedPost show might indicate about who I am … or who I am not. Perception is a squirrely area, a place within whose walls we hover with calculated trepidation. Social media asks us to present ourselves. And we do, while continuing to hide who we really are. We want to control those perceptions.
And as a woman who writes about sex, speaks about sex, produces a storytelling show about sex and sexuality, I understand that assumptions and perceptions don’t always match the person being perceived. And I have come to terms with this. Mostly. Until that Christmas Eve when the craving was white-hot and the need to be understood was deep as black night. It was so intense a desire that I mistook the advance of a lover the very next night as witness of the Sadie who is. I was certain that the many hours of sheet-swimming that had ensued meant my asking to be affirmed, seen, had been answered – and so quickly! But I was too mired in denial to be astonished at such a serendipitous Universal turnaround.
Because, in truth, he hadn’t really seen me. No, not at all. He didn’t see the Sadie who feels so deeply that the pain often transcends the physical, leaving a cold quiet nothing in its place. Or the Sadie who cries often – because she has to – the release of it bordering on orgasmic. Or the Sadie who is still capable of feeling the sting of rejection just as she did when she was 13 and every last one of her friends ostracized her the entire summer. Or the Sadie who likes nothing more than to curl up on a comfy couch and watch really bad television with someone she loves, who likes to nap there, nuzzled in sweaty cotton and warmth. Or the Sadie who is quite afraid to go on a roller coaster but will do it anyway, just because her kid wants to. He didn’t see these pieces of me.
Because he wasn’t supposed to.
And, it seems, I didn’t know how to be seen. Until now.
Now …. I am being seen, bit by bit, piece by piece, by someone entirely new. By someone entirely different from (yet strikingly similar to) me.
By someone entirely awesome.
And even more importantly, I am seeing. Seeing him for who he is, seeing me for who I am, and seeing how we can fit together while remaining separate, individual pieces.
Because that is ultimately how we see people, isn’t it?
When we are just far enough apart to be able to look their way.
If you really love me, then let’s make a vow…right here, together… right now. Okay? Okay. All right. Repeat after me—I’m gonna be free. I’m gonna be free. And I’m gonna be brave. I’m gonna be brave. Good. And the next one is— I’m gonna live each day as if it were my last. Oh, that’s good. You like that? Yeah. Say it. I’m gonna live each day as if it were my last. Fantastically. Fantastically. Courageously. Courageously. With grace.
And so begins Miranda July’s movie, Me and You and Everyone we Know, based on her book of the same name.
Grace. It’s something I have been practicing for, I dunno, years now? How does one successfully embrace and embody grace continually? I haven’t figured out the formula for that. Grace and I are touch and go these days. She shows up when she feels like it but has abandoned me during those times when it seems I needed her the most.
I cried all the way through July’s movie last night while I sat alone on my couch with my cat and ordered-in garlic shrimp, pork egg-roll dangling out of my mouth while tears streamed down my face. The movie was described by Netflix as an examination of people’s idiosyncrasies. I think they should have called it Hey you, yeah you, crazy, gettin’ divorced lady, you are gonna cry your heart out tonight while you sit alone in your home and eat Chinese food that you paid way too much for. See, if they had just said something along those lines, maybe, just maybe I would have been somewhat prepared for the heart-bruising about to be inflicted upon me. But I wasn’t. I kept watching anyway.
Sometimes a girl just needs to sit home alone on a Friday night and weep over wontons.
Alone. I am learning to be alone. It hurts sometimes – being alone – because it’s so damned confronting. There are these expectations that we should be doing something, anything, with another person; fill the voids of time when we aren’t at work, or doing homework or housework or other worky work. Those expectations especially apply to a newly single person who is unencumbered for the weekend – no kid, just a couple of cats and some shitty Chinese food, including cheese wontons. I mean, what is up with cheese wontons?
There is just nothing right about cheese wontons. Nothing.
But back to confronting the empty, the lonely, the void. I have never done much of it before, so this has been somewhat … challenging to approach. I am an expert void-filler. I even wrote a book about how I filled the void – with plenty of booze, with drugs to some extent, with relationships that were toxic, with sex and with people. Using people (and sex with those people) as void fillers is the worst of such transgressions, I think, because it pulls them into your subconscious misery, invites them to dance around with you on your shit-stained floor and kick it up with you. The whole, I may be sad, but at least I am not sad alone, stuff. Everyone does it. I am trying not to do it these days.
Mainly because it’s not very graceful.
So, yeah, I am attempting to practice that grace thing. Figure out how to fill the void that exists inside of myself, by myself. Alone. Does it make me lonely, being alone? It’s diaphanous, that line between lonely and alone – I almost miss it. But, yes, I feel lonely sometimes. Not always, but enough so that my inclination to reach out to people just to make myself feel better is almost uncontrollable, defiant even. But one thing I’ve noticed? The desire to do so is proving to be -like that line between lonely and alone- just transparent enough so that I can see it.
And when I can see the inclination? I can cut it the fuck out. Stop the urge to void-fill in its shit-kicking tracks.
So I guess this is me learning how to be gracefully alone. It will take practice, of that I am certain. Hopefully I will achieve it at some point before I die.
If not, I will at least go understanding one very important thing - I never, ever needed to have another cheese wonton.