I recently realized that I am grateful to be at an age where I have only 20 or 30 more years to be in body on this plane, maybe less if there is some surprise around the corner that I don’t foresee.

This is in no way brought on by depression or a non-love of life. My life is the best it’s ever been. It’s peaceful and abundant. At the moment I am typing this on the terrace of my dream apartment with the exact dog and cat I want sitting next to me. I have no personal beefs going with anyone, the villains seem to be ruining their own lives lately, and everyone in my close orbit is lovely and supportive. I have a job I genuinely enjoy. I’m healthier than I’ve ever been, barring being at the end of recuperating from my first case of covid, which even that was mild.

But a yearning is growing, a yearning for the peace and ease of a different kind of existence free of guns and maga and sadness and illness and bad religion, maybe free of gravity and body, something bigger, grander. Not this minute, or this year, or this decade. I still have things I want to do in this life that I love. But I can feel a pressing of sorts, like I’m pushing at a membrane of consciousness that wants to break free. Maybe it’s not death at all, maybe just a readiness for a deeper kind of existence?

I don’t know. As I wonder if our country is in the middle of a fall of what might turn out to have been a very short empire, I can feel myself becoming disconnected. Not in a bad way, more in an oversaturated, I can’t foam at the mouth about it anymore. I haven’t given up the fight, I’m just internally quiet somehow. Like I can feel how temporary everything is, including me.

I get a lot of information from dreams. I have never been especially gifted psychically, but I travel a lot in my sleep and all kinds of magic can and does happen. I once accidentally flew to an alien planet and crash landed into a meeting of sorts. Happily the surprised aliens seemed amused and very gently flew me back to my body, like putting someone’s escaped dog back in their yard. Then after my father died unexpectedly I was able to process a lot of sadness and unfinished business in my sleep. We had long, meaningful conversations that I believe really happened. But even if it wasn’t real, only my subconscious talking back to me, it helped. I have come to believe that we can, and do, get important inner work done when our conscious mind is shut down.

I don’t like to write about my most recent ex (six years ago now) too much because he has a new life and deserves privacy, and because it’s in the past. And honestly he probably doesn’t deserve the airtime. But he brought me some real awareness in a dream last night that I think could be helpful to share.

He visits me in dreams regularly. I believe this is because he stopped speaking to me and moved onto his new relationship at lightning speed while there was still a lot left to process after our own thirteen years. At least on my end, as it was a devastating loss for me. And I took on all of the blame and felt like a genuinely vile person. I lost my mind during that period and completely self-destructed while I put him on a pedestal as the Good One.

I was raised in an atmosphere of Catholic self-loathing and a denial of intuition. I was herded into behaviors and thoughts that didn’t resonate with my inner voice and actual needs and personality. And because of that I had to relearn how to trust that intuition and sometimes have a hard time seeing my own desires and behaviors clearly. So I have always assumed deep down that I am irreversibly flawed and undeserving and that’s why I make such a mess of relationships.

There are SO many moments and events in my life that I wish I could do differently. I am not a no regrets person. I regret saying something shitty to a kid at a teen party in 1979. I still think about the look on his face and wish I could take it back. I have all kinds of self-blaming little anecdotes like this categorized and filed away in my brain. So you can imagine the internal dialogue that goes on with the big stuff. It’s exhausting.

Anyway, at some point I got irritated with these regular nighttime visits from this person who doesn’t care a whit about me during waking hours, and I said to myself, as I am a big believer in stating intentions out loud: “Enough! I choose to stop these stupid dream meet ups that lead nowhere and just make me feel sad. You are UNINVITED.”

It’s been great for a time, no visits. Until last night, when this fucker called me on the phone in my dream. Called me on my dream phone! Even in my sleep I knew this was a pretty clever way to get in. I looked at the dream phone as a truly comical and unflattering photo of him came up, and rolled my dream eyes and after a moment of internal debate I answered.

I said impatiently, “What??” And as soon as I said that he was in front of me in person and we were talking again.

After some of the usual jokes he said, “I couldn’t be alone. I needed someone.”

I responded lovingly, with no heat or sadness: “I know. But I had to go. I couldn’t do what I needed to do within that. It had nothing to do with how much I loved you. Because I did, and I miss you every day.” He smiled and nodded.

I woke up right after that, fully awake and blown away. Because I finally, finally felt clear. This entire time I have been operating under the belief that my simple badness made me destroy that one chance at growing old with someone. That I am and will always be too broken and this is simply the great tragedy of who I am. Which is, stamped with a big label: 100% Damaged Goods.

This is in no way a slight on Sam, btw, for anyone who is wondering what the hell I’m talking about because I have him. Our relationship is equally important to me. He, and it, have been instrumental in helping both of us heal from past trauma, and it has been an incredible gift after a lifetime of dysfunction to get a do-over with someone worthy, where I finally do and say the right things without creating more regret. And he is steadfast in a way that has taught me how to trust. We are always kind to each other and there is a lot of love and support. It’s just not a traditional partnership and we live apart and it remains very free.

Back to the dream train of thought – I have always considered myself a nontraditional person. I never wanted kids or a house, I never really cared about having a big wedding. I just wanted to move to the big city and live a rock and roll life. Which I did and continue to do, albeit with a much earlier bedtime these days. But underneath the rebel outerwear, I continued to carry judgment about myself and relationships that were very traditional.

I always assumed that after a period of wild oat sowing I would find “the one” and that would be it. But I kept choosing the wrong people well past that phase and if they weren’t terrible then I would take on the role of the terrible one and destroy it myself. So when I did finally find the one, despite my best efforts I still managed to smash it into a million pieces just like all the others.

What I hadn’t considered was the idea that our soul, or higher self, or whatever you want to label it, has plans for us that don’t necessarily have anything to do with what our brain tells us we should have or do. Right after that break up happened I saw a fantastic tarot reader who told me that I was doing inner work and that’s why it had to be this way, that I hadn’t run into the ditch but was on course. I wanted to believe her but I also secretly believed that maybe she just didn’t know how royally I had fucked things up.

Now I’m realizing that there was a reason I was pushed in the deepest way to break from my ideas of who and where I was supposed to be. And who all of us are supposed to be, which is attached or at least desirous of attachment. And that maybe those assumptions actually had very little to do with what I truly needed or wanted, just like when I was a kid.

This seems pretty basic looking at it written down, but to me it’s not. Because it means that I am not broken, which is something I never even dared to consider. It means that although I definitely careened through those events like a monkey on a motorcycle, I was on my path. It means that my soul simply had another plan for me (and maybe his did too) that I only thought was flawed because I viewed it through eyes clouded by upbringing, society, expectation, fear of loneliness and pain, fear of hurting people, all of that. And that maybe, instead of just being chaotic devastation, it was meant to be a graduation of sorts.

Essentially, I couldn’t trust in my own goodness.

So on a more global, or at least friends-who-are-reading-this scale, I am telling you some embarrassingly personal stuff because I know from writing experience that if it’s happening to me, it’s happening to someone else. What if some of those things that you and I are inexplicably driven to do, that land you in foreign, often uncomfortable territory, are a step toward something deeper and more spirit enriching?

And what if we forgive ourselves for not being who we thought we should be – richer, prettier, in a happy marriage, admired by our peers, whatever. What if we’re supposed to have all these horrible and wonderful twists and turns and if we open up to or at least forgive ourselves for change we didn’t ask for, we will have an easier time processing the sadness and loss that inevitably comes with that change? What if we let go of all of these expectations and just try to be our best selves no matter where we land? And what if, if we are trying hard to be our best selves, we simply trust in our own innate goodness and allow life to unfold with a few less regrets?

Epic, for me at least. So I guess I’m grateful this asshole found a way to get in last night.

Love to you my friends. Please be safe and kind to each other in this bananas world we live in right now.


Sam and I have decided to change the parameters of our relationship. Which I suppose is another way of saying we’ve broken up. But our situation has been so unusual from the get that to call it a standard breakup would be misleading.

If it were a bit more normal I probably wouldn’t put out this open blog entry. Breakups are always too complicated and painful and personal to sum up well in words. But people have been so fascinated by our connection–some creating distorted rumors and suppositions, some just understandably curious, that the story might as well come from the horse’s mouth. And it’s easier for me to put it down here than have to explain and re-explain to everyone in my social media orbit.

Despite this, 2018 has been pretty great so far and I am clearer than ever on who I am and where I’m going. This is a welcome change from the confusion, self-hatred, and sorrow I experienced during 2016 and 2017 that Sam helped me navigate through. I feel infinitely lighter and more optimistic in general.

He and I came together at a time when we needed each other but didn’t know it. It made no sense to me in the moment. Why would a 24 year old (at the time) be interested in spending quality hours with a woman as old as his mother?  And vice versa. Why would I damage the comfortable, partnered existence that I had and had loved to enter into something so clearly unwise? I had fully intended to spend the rest of my life with my ex. It’s still difficult to wrap my brain around it sometimes. Looking back I can see that I was in denial about some aspects of him and about some aspects of our life together.

Many people in the orbit assumed that hormonal changes had driven me out of my mind. And it is partially true–there was an element of uncontrollable madness that took over steering the ship. I was so confused about what was happening inside of me that I coped by partying and running from silence. In quiet moments my brain never stopped racing. In my retrospective mind’s eye the images from that time period are midnight blue tinged and spinning, like a drunken polar night that goes on for months into years.

That murky phase is done, not to be repeated. My wise mother says that once we learn something fully it becomes a tool we add to our personal toolbox, then it’s unnecessary to have to purchase it again. Now I understand that my soul insisted upon change that my brain and heart didn’t want or understand. There was a rhino-sized weight of baggage that needed release and I couldn’t do it in the relationship I was in. I had to burn myself down to bitter ash to make that happen. It was excruciating, devastating. But at the end of the tunnel I found some self-forgiveness and let go of crap I’ve carried since childhood, maybe from other lifetimes.

Throughout all of this soul-searching chaos, there has been this stalwart kid who is not in any way equipped to handle the midlife crisis of a woman who is high-pitched on a good day. He hung in nonetheless. He still hangs in, with patience and acceptance of who I am at any given moment. And he has taught me some things. That I can trust some people. That life doesn’t always behave in predictable ways but that I can trust my inner voice, no matter how far from the beaten path it sends me. That sometimes our spirit might be ahead of our thought process. That love doesn’t always follow the rules.

I have also learned quite a bit about societal perceptions about aging which is my mind are often erroneous and imprisoning–serving to delude us into thinking that sickness and decrepitude are inevitable, and that people automatically become undesirable and uninteresting after the first blush of youth fades. This mentality is outdated and I refuse to adhere to it.

Most of Sam’s male friends are unbothered by the age difference between him and me. I have noticed that his buddies see women as people more than men my age. Which is not to denigrate my peers, just to say that there is an ease between the sexes that we didn’t have growing up. Some of my male friends in my age group initially found Sam’s presence somehow personally threatening and took it out on him by treating us and/or him like a joke. I still have near-strangers on facebook adding snide comments under photos, as if by denigrating him they can somehow take the sting out of it for themselves.

Women in all age groups veer wildly on opinion. Some women I know, and some that I don’t, have sent me facebook messages with enthusiastic variations on “You go girl!” I’ve been extended fist bumps at parties. Then at other times Sam and I have experienced women’s anger toward me when they figure out what’s up. Young women sulk at my thievery. Women my age are much more straightforward. We overheard one growl, after groping him, mind you, “Why is he so interested in HER? She’s one of US.” Another time a woman standing next to us in a bar angrily and repeatedly demanded to know my age, with no pretense of civility. To which I finally responded, “Old enough to know that I don’t have to tell you my fucking age.”

But both my closest male and female friends have always remained supportive and understanding, despite whatever misgivings they may have or had. And in the end, after being forced to examine my insecurities about myself and the effects of time, I arrived at a place where I don’t care so much. I would love to look 25; I have every beauty gadget available for purchase. But for the most part I’m comfortable in my skin. I feel loved and lovable, and Sam helped and helps with that. He is a conscientious and caring soul and there are deep reasons that we came together.

But we have always known that our connection would have to be fluid. He has things to learn that he can’t do with a hybrid girlfriend/mom padding every fall. He needs to make his own stupid mistakes on his own. He needs to practice on some little girls before he commits to a lifetime with a woman. I love him and I want him to have everything in the world without being held back. And while I don’t know whether I’ll ever go back to a “normal” relationship with someone closer to my own age, I do occasionally enjoy the company of an adult who can pick up the tab and do their own laundry. I want to wake up early and meditate and go to the gym. He wants to stay up til 5 am every night and close the bars. It’s natural that we would be in different places in life.

So we’ve both come to the conclusion that while we wish to remain partners in crime as much as possible, we are not going to call one another girlfriend or boyfriend anymore. We are committed to remaining close and being gentle and communicative with one another if/when other people show up in our lives.

Which of course is easier said than done and this weekend, right about the time I was twisting my arm patting myself on the back for being the most mature human being to ever walk the planet, I had an emotional meltdown that involved much weeping and irrational panic. Separation and change, no matter how small or necessary, feel like death to me. I hate it. I want everything to stay the same and everyone to belong to me and me only. But Sam was there to talk me down and assure me that he wasn’t going anywhere.

So that is another gift of this connection, the very fact that it isn’t a linear march into retirement means that it can roll with the punches. When I was young I thought the only real love was romantic, and that romantic love was all about drama and insanity and passion and great Wuthering Heights highs and lows. That was draining and terrible and bad for my health. Then I thought I would find that one person to stay with for the rest of my life. Which I did. Then I crashed that car into a tree where it exploded and burned my eyebrows off. Now I value all the love in my life equally. My friends, my family, my animals–they’re all pieces of the puzzle that make me whole. There is so much love in the world to be had if our hearts are open to it. I’m not attached to form anymore.

Thank you friends, for reading, and for your constant support.

With Sam smaller

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