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my own fortress of solitude from the world outside my mind / the last refuge from the manitoban inquisition / a long way from tupelo / and a little fall of rain

Starring mojo shivers, male, single, CA
"It's only doubts that we're counting on fingers broken long ago"
co-starring breasier, female, married, GA
"More than a woman, more than a woman to me"
cameos by delftwaves, female, single, IN
"So faith hits me late, if at all"
with a cavalcade of guest stars

Saturday, September 01, 2012

I Know You Think That I Shouldn't Still Love You, Or Tell You That, But If I Didn't Say It, Well, I'D Still Have Felt It, Where's The Sense In That?

--"White Flag", Dido

From mojo's Facebook account:
The problem I believe is the whole concept of labels. With other people, like B., I never actually had to have "the talk". I don't know if we ever tried to label what we were or are to one another. I've always just assumed we'll fit in each other's lives one or the other to the point where I don't question forever with her. Friend, older brother figure, confidante--it doesn't matter. I never had an issue with what label I wore as long as the length of service wasn't questioned.

But this whole storm of what T's visit means and how far we should go into telling everybody she's my girlfriend, friend, or whatever has got me a little floopy even though it's still about three months away. I get the feeling that how long we remain close depends entirely on what label we deign to bestow upon this relationship. If I put the incorrect appellation upon it then some buzzer sound will go off and I'll lose one of the closest confidantes I've ever had in my life. Yet I don't want to apply a label just for a label's sake either. That'd be unfair to say what we are is "this" when my heart just isn't to living up to the description fully.

That's the problem with labels for me. Whenever you give something or someone a label, you can just as easily take it away. But when you know how you feel about someone and that feeling is fairly strong, it's harder to lose that feeling. It's more secure to say I love this person than to say she and I are a couple. Couples break up all the time and if that's all you are to one another then it's easy to lose one another.

But if you love a person regardless of what they are to you, you can go on being friends, become more serious, less serious, or totally serious and have no fear that whatever comes next will mean the end of everything the two of you share.

Or, to paraphrase, "Labels? We don't need no stinking labels." LOL

When my roommate read this her immediate question was if I was doing okay.  I don't question the motive behind her query, but I do question her expectation of my reply.  Not once have I ever shown her that I was prone to hysterics.  I'm a candle at the top of a staircase, you have to walk for a good while before you can get approach the point where you can directly affect me.  I may not be a stoic as I once was, even a few years ago, but it'll take more than one's man's opinion of how he foresees his future with me to dissuade me from my course of action, I can tell you that much.

As far as I read he's not disowning the idea that we belong together, he's disowning the theatrics that often accompany such announcements.  That in itself is nothing worth my scorn.  And as for his waffling on the issue about the direction his feelings have now taken?  Well, that's just Patrick.

I know many of you can't speak to his state of mind during the last six months, especially when it comes to his romantic affairs.  Many of you have only been exposed to such thoughts through the living documentary from which you are now reading.  What with the site being shut down for the last six months--maybe longer--and not in the best of shape in the months preceding that, I believe all our motives, our lives even, have been somewhat of a mystery.  Sufficed to say that in the intervening months between then and now there was a large part of him that resented me.  In much the same vein there was a large portion of my soul that was rent asunder when he informed that he was no longer in need of my friendship, my companionship, or my care.

That's not the kind of emotional turmoil that people can easily forget or forgive.  They icy waters of reconciliation doesn't always put out the fire completely.

One of my favorite sayings is "Don't postpone joy."  It's compact.  It's straight-to-the-point.  It speaks to my worldview of recent developments.  I can't control how he feels about me.  I can only control how I feel about him.  And the part of me that enjoys him in my life is enough to compensate for the part of me that experiences displeasure at his indecision.  At this moment it's enough to know that I care enough for the both of us while he takes the time to figure out how much he cares about me.

I was reading a book the other day that spoke of how everybody thinks they are the first to ever experience a particular set of circumstances.  It digressed how everything thinks they're the first to get laughed out, the first to lose their way in the midst of a tough decision, how they're the first to ever find true happiness.  What it also spoke of was how everyone thought they were the first to run into insurmountable obstacles in the pursuit of love's contentment.  Not me.  I know I'm not the pioneer when it comes to this area of expertise.  I don't ever claim to be the first one ever to hurt in the particular way I hurt.  Gosh.  If that were true then I would have to stop believing that there are as many people living on this planet as there are.

My head, my heart, and my spirit were cut to a thousand strips of paper when he told me that I was getting too old for him and that Notre Dame had changed me for the worst.  Neither of those aspects of my life I had any control over.  Asking me to stop growing up made as much sense as me not attending my one and only dream school.  You may well have asked me to stop breathing, or, worse yet, to stop writing.  I was left defenseless on the other end of the line, questioning if the stories I'd heard about his mercurial temperament were true.

Over the last six months, after his head had thought over the discourse his heart had provided it, while he had been making the first overtures to repairing the damage between us, I kept his earlier words in mind.  The way he had phrased his dissatisfaction hadn't been improvised; he had clearly been mulling over the matter beforehand, possibly for a few months by that point.  That led me to the conclusion that, even if he hadn't wanted to break up, he would've needed a break from us sooner rather than later.  He had crafted those words specifically to injure me in such a fashion I would have no other option but total abandonment.  I wanted him to die for I no saw other recourse to gaining my precious stability.

However, much like his own journey, I discovered that I missed the totality of what we had even if the finer points still proved to be malleable.  In other words, I didn't know what I wanted back; I just knew I wanted him back.  He was the ocean and I was once again the girl who dreamed of getting back to that wonderful place.  It wasn't the water, the blue sky, or the calm breezes that I specifically missed; it was the entire scene and how I felt when placed among the landmarks that I sorely required again.

And even though everything told me he was prone to aim his poisoned arrows at me once his restlessness pervaded his thoughts again, I found I couldn't hold onto the idea of his absence any longer.  I found myself caring about his attention more than I cared about my own bitterness.  I found myself wanting to give him another chance if only to prove that I could be the bigger person.  I started to decipher my own desires and found them contrary to the situation I found myself in.

That's never sat right with me.

I'm of the mindset that, once you're in a position to make yourself happy and have the inclination to do so, you should take it.  If you're mad stay mad.  But once you reach the point where you're capable of true happiness I don't much see the point in delaying that happiness.  Don't postpone joy, right?

That's why I'm here.  And that's why how he feels, aside from knowing he still feels a strong bond and/or attraction to me, is almost irrelevant to that state of my emotions.  People say I should tailor my expectations to that of his, that it's only going to pain me in the end if I put more into this relationship than I get out of it.  Yet I've never operated that way.  Gosh.  I've never even put one thought into holding back based on how someone else felt.  If I'm reserved it's because in my nature to be reserved and not overtly demonstrative, not because I'm tailoring how I'm feeling to suit someone else's needs.  My sisters, my friends, all tell me that he treated me horribly and that he deserves to dangle on the hook a bit longer.

But that's never been my way.  As my plans to attend to him in November when I visit him for a week or so, my ire is a condition of the past.  I'm not disavowing my anger or my sadness over our break-up.  But that time had its place in the sun; now it's time to let a day begin.  I experienced the death of something I believed to be the realest in my life at that moment.  I let it consume me to the point where I could focus on little else.  I gave into the grief for awhile.

And now it's time to live again.


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Thursday, August 23, 2012

Please Sway With Me, I Take Comfort In What Used To Be, Testing On Me, Making Lifeforms In The Dirt, Breaking Out In Bravery

--"Sway", Mates of State

Not for nothing I let the dime fly, releasing it from my fingers as delicately as I would that of a hummingbird. I watched as it bounced harmlessly aside the plastic bucket I had been aiming for. I took a step back to the blue electrician's tape on the floor marking the next spot I was to take aim from. Again, I tossed almost politely another dime, praying that this one would be received into the receptacle at the other end of the dorm floor. When this one missed its mark as well I began to feel the eyes upon me. Dozens of college-aged men and women with hundreds, maybe thousands, of their eyes trained upon me. I was failing at my endeavor and they all knew it. When I stepped back one more time, a cry came up from the back of the crowd. "Don't choke," the disembodied voice said in jest. I decided to pretend it was not directed towards me. Perhaps there was an individual chewing on a particularly dangerous piece of food, I thought. I heaved the dime the now looming distance of the floor at the four buckets, now mocking me with their inaccessibility. This dime managed to hit the rim before it fell out. My efforts were not entirely in vain, I can tell you that much, if not entirely productive either. A gust of wind in a stilted calm upon the ocean, I vowed that this moment would be where my fortunes would change for the better.  When the next dime went in there was a slight hush in the crowd as if one of their core beliefs had been shattered.  By then I had gained the confidence to make the last coin from even further back, knowing that impossibilities are an illusion.  Everything I can do is anything I can think of.

That's what this relationship is like, the ability to make a connection repeatedly, even while moving further away as time goes on.  Yet somehow the impossible becomes possible when we put in the effort and we don't let the inner naysayers of the past, the circumstances, and the unforeseen future enter in our calculations.  We win because we believe we can.  That's how that goes.


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Monday, August 20, 2012

She's Just One of Those Corners In My Mind, And I Just Put Her Right Back With The Rest, That's The Way It Goes, I Guess

--"Set Adrift On Memory Bliss", PM Dawn

I was watching The Newsroom last night when they utilized a poem I hadn't heard in ages.  Robert Herrick's "Gather Ye Rosebuds While Ye May (To the Virgins, to Make Much of Time)" was a poem I heard more than once in errant English classes throughout elementary school and high school.  While it was never one of my favorites, I never forget it either.  It was one of those poems that stuck in my craw for whatever reason when so many poems I read during that time in my life fell away.

I understood the poem's message.  The philosophy of striking while the iron is hot is a classic theme and one you can't go wrong in espousing.   What's the alternative?  Telling people to be lazy to accomplish everything they want in life?  That's not much of a message.  And therein lies my initial underestimation of the poem's virtues.  I thought the message was an obvious.  Have fun while you have the youth and energy to do so isn't exactly the poetic breakthrough that poets like Dickinson and Tennyson provided time after time.  There's no search for meaning.  There's no deciphering what the intent of the piece is.  It's just out there in plain words for all to see.

But as I sat listening to the poem last night I realized that I identified with the message more now, plain as it was, and that it didn't need to be couched in symbolism.  People tend to devalue writing when it seems too simple, too easy.  We like to feel like we're the only ones to sift the grain from the chaff.  We like to feel that we're the only ones who can find meaning in something.  The truth is that everyone has ideas that originate from something they read or see.  Whether it's intentional on the creator's part, mankind's lot in life is to ruminate about the questions they posses about life, the universe, and everything and to find answers wherever they can find it.

It's the same thing with memories.

People are always revisiting their past, trying to correct the memories in their head with the proper course of action.  If they didn't there wouldn't be a need for poems like Herrick's.  If people could just accomplish everything they set out for there wouldn't be much point in telling them that opportunities sometimes only come around the once.


My life isn't perfect.  I know that.  I've made a lot of mistakes, especially when it comes to people.  But I can honestly say that there were plenty of chances I took that other people might not have.  There are perks to being an impulsive creature of whimsy.  I've met people I probably should have never met.  I've been to places that many people never take the time to find.  And I possess some memories of some days and nights that no one can say they have anything close to resembling in their own chest full of memories.  I've learned from people like Breanne that you don't always remember the times you tried something new out and it fell flat on its face.  However, you always remember the times you never tried something at all when you really wanted to.

I don't know what the percentages are.  Maybe 80% of the time I said, fuck it, let's just go try it, it's worked out.  It may not have worked exactly as planned, it may not have worked out even close to perfectly, but 80% of the time I've been relatively happy with the results.  The other 20% of the time when my decisions have resulted in utter failure were just the universe's way of saying I can't be lucky all the time.  There's no pointing in making decisions if there wasn't the possibility of disappointment, humiliation, or utter failure, right?

That's why at this moment I'm content to say that in the field of rosebud gathering I've done the work.  I may not have taken them all home, but no one can accuse of me of sloughing off my duties either.

Just call me mojo, rosebud gatherer.

Yours Swimmingly,
mojo shivers

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Sunday, August 19, 2012

Honey, I've Been Really Struggling To Think Of You And I, And All The Mess, You've Often Bought And Sold, The Love You Gave Ebbs And Flows, So I Don't Think I Should See You Again

--"Careless Love", Camera Obscura

Toby Claire Frisson was fourteen when I realized I had real affection for her. I was thirty-one and not really looking for her, or anyone for that matter. But like all happy accidents she fell into my life with all the subtlety of a comet crashing into Earth. She was smart, funny, articulate, and, most importantly, full of this energy for expressing herself in her own way that I recognized immediately.


I remember the story she told me which pushed me over the edge from casual interest into full-blown affection. She had told me that as a kid, at around seven or eight, she had worn oven mitts due to her germ phobia, a phobia which persists even today. She had told me that the oven mitts were the only defense against her hands persistently getting dirtied. You see, it wasn't the germs that bothered her. It was the idea that she could get her hands as clean as possible, but there was no possible safeguard from them getting sullied again. Her bathroom, her own bedroom, and even her own desk at school she felt some semblance of control over. Her hands, though? Those she felt she could never get quite clean enough.

Thus, the oven mitts.

I forget what she told me about how she handled school since she obviously couldn't bring the mitts to school. I do remember, however, that she would place them on her hands whenever it came to walking outside her home or anything involving the possible contamination of her hands. That was her existence whenever she wasn't at school, being the girl who couldn't touch anything--not directly, at any rate. She was the girl who had to stifle her sense of exploration for fear of getting too close. Even now she agrees it was no way to live.

But one day she read a poem by Cecilia Woloch called "On Faith" that changed her life completely. She was eight-years-old and reading some of her sister Nora's English books.  She didn't understand every word.  She knew that there was more to the piece than she could possibly comprehend at her young age.  But she also knew that what she could decipher was something new and exciting to her.  She knew there was power in those particular set of words that other words she had been called upon to read did not possess.  She wanted to harness that power, tame it somehow.  That was when she decided that she wanted to be one of those people who could shape thoughts and ideas into something more than information.  She wanted to be one of those people who could chisel words into art, give soul to the page in her own special way.  In that effort she began to read every poetry book she could get her hands on.  She began requesting more novels, and short story collections, and literary journals.  She started keeping notes in class and at home every time an author or poet sounded interesting to her.  She began to construct her own sense of style when it came to writing.

For that the oven mitts had to come off.  She very well couldn't write with the blasted things on, now could she?  Sure, at first, it seemed unnatural to her to go hours at a time without the safety net of cloth around her delicate digits.  And, at first, she balked at leaving them off after she was done writing.  Slowly, but surely, though she stopped feeling the need to have them off when she wasn't writing.  Eventually, she stopped feeling the need to wear them altogether.  She said that inspiration could strike her at any moment.  It just wouldn't do to have the gossamer thread between thought and words unravel because she couldn't get her mitts off fast enough.

She essentially learned to overcome a slightly superstitious practice because of her love of writing.  Her passion for her art was that compelling to her.

That's the tale that did me in, because anyone who could overcome a phobia because of her love for the written word instantly gained my respect, my admiration, and, I suppose, a bit of my heart too.  After all, it's not like I ever cured my phobia of heights, ghosts, or aliens because I loved writing that much.


I also recognized another aspect of her character that made us kindred spirits.  She didn't have a lot of friends.  Not really.  Not at all.  She knew people and people knew of her, but she never solicited the popularity and attention that so many of her age seem to aspire too.  She was like me in that as long as she had a few close individuals of distinguishable merit she was find.  People like Jack and Fran├žoise she came to depend on and no one else.  No one else mattered, not when measured against the considerable bar set by her close friends and her two sisters.  It was exactly the same pattern of establishing a tight circle of friends and letting no one else in.  I mean--she wasn't anti-social.  Neither was I.  She just knew that the more people she let into her life the more her life felt a separate entity from the content of her character.  She didn't want her life devolving into a series of displays to keep up appearances.  She didn't want her life to overtake her life, and the less people you have to please the more you can concentrate on being who you really are.  That was my philosophy and I instantly recognized the same rationale to her lifestyle--like attracts like.

I don't know if I ever had the opportunity to fall in love with her.  To me it felt as inevitable as an ocean wave eventually crashing into shore.  There was no turning back the tide.  She was young, certainly pretty, and she cared about me and my life like no one had cared about them in quite a long time.  At first glance, it shouldn't have happened.  I shouldn't have let it happen.  But, as evidenced here, I don't know how to fight against how I'm feeling.  I've never been quite good at denying an impression, an impulse, or a gut instinct.  I wanted to get to know her more so I got to know her more.  I wanted to hear from her as often as possible so we talked up and down the whole week for years after we first met.  I wanted to like her so I liked her.  I wanted to find somebody to love again so I volunteered her for the spot.

To be clear, she was never an unwilling participant.  I never had to "convince" her.  I never her to cajole her.  She felt the way she felt.  And she said all her words without prompting.  There was no trickery involved.  What it was at the time and maybe what it continues to be is an understanding between two people that the two of them only work because they choose to involve themselves.  It was a meeting of two like-minded people who didn't see any particular need to leave one another.  I don't know how to explain it better than that.  We didn't have the ability to describe what we were; it just was.  And for a time it worked.

When I visited her in 2008 for a few days it wasn't like meeting her for the first time, not really.  We jumped into conversations we'd been having for eighteen months by that point.  We didn't have to tell each other our life stories, we both knew them.  We didn't even need to figure out what to call each other, we had our nicknames already picked out.  About the only thing I needed to do was get used to the manner in which her beguiling eyes functioned as a signpost to her emotions.  About the only thing that took my breath away was just how full and bright and starry her smile was in person.  About the only thing that I couldn't have imagined is the way her hand felt in mine in those first few instances she deigned to give it to me.

We never slept together.  That much is true.  We never as much stepped foot in my hotel room during those three days.  What we did, what we felt appropriate, was just go out.  We had dinner.  She took me on a tour of her hometown.  She took me to meet her sister Faye, the only person in her family who knew her secret.  We talked.  A lot.  It was as chaste as a couple of first few dates could be.  I was getting used to the idea that the two of us could be okay as a couple.  It was the same way it worked with Breanne when I visited her the first time.  It always takes me a few days to be okay with seeing someone that young, that sure of herself, as somebody capable of wanting me.  It always takes me a few tries to get past the crazy notion that somebody this desirable could actually want me back.  The only difference between my first meeting with Breanne in person and my first meeting with Toby in person, aside from the fact I met B.'s parents and it was Christmas at the time, was the fact that I had to leave just as I had reached that comfortable state with her.

The next time I visited her in 2009 we did sleep together.  Napping counts, right?  I learned from my mistake and spent six days in Louisville with both Toby and her sister Faye.  Not only that but Toby and I felt it appropriate to introduce me to her family.  For the most part we didn't lie... all that much.  I was Faye's friend from California, it being that much easier to explain how a thirty-three-year-old could be friends with a twenty-year-old rather than a sixteen-year-old.  I was also on good terms with Toby after speaking with her more than a few times in the last few years.  And I had had a keen desire to visit Kentucky all my life so when Nora, the eldest Frisson girl, had invited me to the wedding I had no choice but to accept.  We just didn't inform them that I was Toby's friend first and foremost, that Toby and I had spoken quite a bit in the last three years we had known each other, and that this trip to Louisville was not my first nor was it my first time visiting to see her.  You could call them white lies.  All I know was I got to go to the wedding as a friend of the family and I got to escort both Toby and Faye around Kentucky, Ohio, and parts of Indiana for almost a straight week.  And, more amazingly, those trips out of Louisville included overnight stays where nobody questioned the sleeping arrangements.  Naps, that's what we're calling them and that's all you'll ever hear me speak on the subject.

After that I fell hard.  And fast.  I know I'm an impulsive person.  It comes with the territory of being a romantic idealist.  Patterns abound when you basically have one overrunning motif in your life.  I couldn't stop thinking of her.  I couldn't stop wanting to fly over there to be with her.  I couldn't stop planning how to accomplish that.  It's extraordinary the depths I'll fall when I go crazy for a girl.  It's like I stop reviewing any plan of action, and just go.  I think that's how Breanne lives all her life, but for me it's rather situational.  It pretty much only happens when I think I can't live without a person.

That's the thing about feelings.  Like any idea no one knows where they come from.  They just appear. I got into my head that I had feelings for her and I went with it.  I didn't take time to assess where they might originate from.  I didn't take the effort to sort out what was genuine affection and what was impulsive whimsy.  I suppose I never actually sifted the sand from the the dirt to know the ideas I was planting would be in rooted in something solid.  I wanted to love her and so I did, or at least I fooled myself into thinking so.  As much as I wanted to compare it to the case with Breanne, the very notion that that relationship is entering its third decade is proof enough that we did our due diligence and made sure we had secure footing in our journey together.  There was no such vetting with Toby.  We went with our guts, moved along too quickly, and let ourselves into the trap of being enamored with the idea of one another.

I loved her.  I still do.  But I wanted to love her so much more.  I wanted to love her as much as I thought she deserved, as much as I thought I was capable of loving her.  I fell in love with the girl with the big words and even bigger eyes, the fairy-tale-colored glasses, and the heart that was as fine as a bee's wing, so transparent and fragile.  I wanted to love her to bits and pieces.  Sometimes that wanting is enough, but in this instance it wasn't.

It was a relationship built on a love that was never defined.  Did I see a future for the two of us?  Marriage and kids and all that accompanied that dream?  No.  Did I have any clue as to how the particulars of a long-distance relationship would work?  No.  Did my reach exceed my grasp?  Yes.  I was a boy longing for the cookie jar, not caring whether I'd break the jar in my overzealousness.  That's exactly what happened.  I pushed too fast for too long and found myself at the other end of a burnout.

I just one day reached a point when all my doubts and fears came flush with the notion that I didn't really know what I was doing.  One day I just called her to basically ask her who she was really.  I asked her what it was she thought we were doing, and how much we were fooling ourselves.  And when I didn't like her answer I shied away.  Suddenly I couldn't defend our relationship to myself.  I turned to her and asked her to defend it.  Naturally, her answers sounded as false as mine.  Naturally, I used that as an excuse to distance myself from her.  She didn't deserve that kind of treatment.  It wasn't her fault we failed as relationship planners.  It wasn't her fault she loved me more than I could love her. Somebody always has to play that part, right?  She was the right person at the wrong time or maybe the wrong person at the right time.  I kept playing the game even though I didn't what winning entailed, while she was playing a game she didn't it was impossible for her to win.

Her going to college was just an excuse.  Telling her she was getting too old was just the cowardly way of saying I had changed my mind.  I could have easily made her schooling work for us.  There's no huge difference to me in visiting her at Notre Dame or visiting her in Louisville.  They're both just as far.  And gently nudging her away from coming to USC?  That was selfishness.  I knew I wanted to end things between us and I didn't want her committing to California when I knew California was not where I wanted the two of us to be together in.  I didn't want the sequence of events to be her come to my state because of me, break up with her, and then her being stuck in California for at least a year because I had somehow misled her into coming in the first place.  I wanted a clean break.  I also didn't mean to tell her she gotten fat or ugly or old or whatever else I had yelled in frustration to her.  Sometimes I break under pressure, choosing to say the most hurtful thing I can rather than to tell the truth even if it would be less hurtful in the long run.  Honesty sometimes doesn't just elude me, sometimes it escapes from me entirely.

The truth is I never knew how to love her.  Not really.  Not ever.  After not talking to her for eight months I understand that now.  I tried to apply the same principles that I had employed in earlier relationships.  That's always a mistake.  Toby is not Breanne.  Toby is not Ilessa.  Toby is not DeAnn.  Toby is not Kerri Ray.  Hell, sixteen-year-old Toby isn't even nineteen-year-old Toby, the age she is now.  I should have looked upon her as the unique, truly special creature she is.  You can't box her in as being something you have a template for.  You shouldn't even want to.  I should have loved her on her own terms, as much or as little as I could honestly afford to give her.  That would have been the fair thing to do.


And now that she's back?  And now that she's willing to give us another chance after eight months of hating my guts?  I feel I can be honest with her.  It might not sound as sweet as it did before.  The reality of the situation isn't as pretty a picture as I portrayed earlier.  But there's a clarity to what we feel for each other now.  There's no bullshit.  There's no expectations for everything to come up rosy, but there's also no fear on my part that everything's going to end in fire and tears and venom.  There's just this calm that washes over everything when you know you're speaking to someone you connect so well with on so many different levels.  Because that's never changed.  Not one bit.  There's just this feeling of bliss that overrides the taste of betrayal or bitterness.  What we are is what we are.  And for now that's good enough.

I don't want any more.  I don't need any more.  I just want her as much or as little as it's in my power to do.  And, for her part, I think she believes in the same thing.

We don't need all the feelings to be in place right now.  We never did.  We were never one to have a large circle of friends and I guess it's appropriate that we don't need the full spectrum of emotions to be there either.  Whether you're in the first few steps of a new relationship or finding your footing again after stumbling for a bit, I think it's just nice to have that chance of something real, something happy.  Because the alternative is a life of loneliness, and wishing you had your chances to do over again.

So, yeah, Toby, this I can tell you is true.  I may not have loved you the most or known you the longest, but you still represent my best chance at something lasting.

Yours Swimmingly,
mojo shivers

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Tuesday, February 28, 2012

I Need You Like A Heart Needs A Beat, But It's Nothing New, I Loved You With A Fire Red, But Now It's Turning Blue

--"Apologize", Timbaland featuring One Republic

You remember listening to the noiseless fury outside, the calm collection of silence and anger that hearing bad news entails. This wasn't your husband. He wasn't your guy. Your husband wouldn't hurt you like this. Not like this. Not him. But the news was true. He wanted the two of you to seriously consider getting a divorce.

"How can you even be mad, Breanne?" he asked in that delicate patter of his, belying his own ire. "You're the one who cheated on me, remember? You're the one who started all of this."

That was all the reason he needed. That was all the reason he was going to give you. And it was true, you're the one who had strayed first in this marriage. You had placed your own impulsiveness before the health of your relationship. You had decided to tear down all the trust you had built up in the last five years for something ephemeral. You had struck the first blow. But to have him question your right to feel betrayed yourself was rather insulting. Just because you had cut out his heart first doesn't mean yours suddenly becomes invulnerable. You may have brought the wrath of Heaven down upon you, but that didn't mean it didn't hurt something fierce. When you decided to work it all out, after you had reconsidered, you thought that would be enough to get the two of you back on track. You thought all you had to do was show your penitence and that would be enough of a first step towards reconciling with your husband. You didn't expect that he would want to drag out the proceedings himself. That wasn't your husband. That wasn't your guy.

Yet here he was, asking for a pound of flesh. If you didn't know him better you would have thought he was raking you over the coals for retribution. No, this was something different entirely. This was your husband telling you in no uncertain terms that he had lost faith in you, in what you represented. This was him telling you he wanted out. You had caused him to suffer and he wasn't sure you weren't about to do it again.

"I'm trying here, honey. Can't you see that? I don't see why you have to decide this now, now that we're in the midst of finally working our way back..."

"Back to what? Back to what we once were? We'll never be that again."

"Back to something better than we once were," you said simply.

"And what do you think that is? Where do you think we have to go from here?"

The truth was you didn't know. You hadn't thought it out that far. You knew you wanted your husband back. In what capacity you had no clue. Your future was cloudy. Your future days were blurry at best. But planning for the future was never your strong suit. Breanne doesn't think; she just goes--that's what the saying was. And what your mind was telling you right now was that you had to be together with your husband. No more detail than that was necessary. To separate, to divorce, was not in your plans. You couldn't let that happen. You would never let something opposite to what you wanted happen. You always got your way. That's why it was called your way.

Maybe it was foolish to think that you could just come back and he would just take you back. You've always had an easier time dispensing forgiveness than asking for it. That probably stems from your sense of infallibility, your vanity, or maybe your sense of entitlement. But you weren't asking for much. You weren't asking him to forget what you'd done. All you were asking him was to forgive you. That didn't seem so difficult. Divorcing you wasn't forgiveness. That was quite the opposite, actually. Divorcing you meant that whatever your efforts to show contrition had been met with failure. You hadn't done enough, said enough to show just how sorry you were.

You would think this would prompt you to do more to earn his trust once more. That's not how you approached obstacles, though.

If he couldn't forgive you that was a failing on his part. You were always taught that all you had to do was show you were sorry, apologize earnestly, and then await the inevitable blessing of being forgiven. It had never occurred to you that if you went through the prior steps that the result would be any different than absolute forgiveness. You weren't even aware of there being any other consequence. From Church to your own business dealings to television and movies--you do wrong, you ask forgiveness, you were forgiven. That's how the progression worked.

"You can't just wish yourself out of this situation. I don't know if we can ever work around this. I don't know if I can ever trust you again. I'm thinking this would be the best solution for both of us."

"How can it be the best for both of us if I don't agree with it? For it to be the best for both of us we both have to want it, to see it. Right now I don't see it being the best solution at all."

"I do."

"I know you do. I just don't understand why, sugar."

And that's when he walked away, without any further explanation. At the time you thought you had won. He didn't mention any talk of divorce for the rest of the night. But it wasn't till a few weeks later, in therapy, that you realized he hadn't let go of the idea. He had just come to the realization that you weren't ready to see the truth yet. You weren't ready to see that asking forgiveness isn't the same as being deserving of it. You weren't ready to see that wanting to be cleansed of your sins wasn't the same as being clean. You weren't ready to see that wanting to be somebody's wife wasn't the same as somebody wanting you to be their wife.

It would take you a few more months to realize that in a marriage, more than any other relationship, was about giving what you want and what you thought you deserved, and putting in the effort to make sure your optimal outcome came to pass. You couldn't just expect your dreams to happen; you actually had to put in the spit and gristle to make sure that they did. It took you awhile to realize that being in love meant sacrificing being happy sometimes. Sometimes being in love meant making the other person happy in every way at the expense of your pride, your vanity, and, yes, even your stubbornness.


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Thursday, February 23, 2012

It's Sixteen Miles To The Promised Land, And I'm Doing The Best I Can

--"With Arms Outstretched", Rilo Kiley

I started a new blog:

Sixteen Miles

In my own words,

This is a site about you and all those memorable times that life thrust upon you in or around your car. This is about all those late-night drives, conversations in the pouring rain in the parking lot, and the pleasant surprises you had while on the 210. It's about a record of your life.

One mile at a time.

I felt it was time for something new. I haven't grown tired of this site yet, but sometimes I miss the interaction. That's what I hope 16 miles will be about, a place for people to send in the kind of stories I like to read. For some reason that always happens to me. I always get myself into stories involving sitting in a car somewhere with somebody I care about. Sometimes it isn't a huge deal. But other times the huge life-affirming or life-destroying events happen to me out of nowhere. I wanted a place to capture that.


Before I started driving I didn't think in terms of this happened on this day or this happened on that day. I remembered the experience more--first day of school, first kiss, first heartbreak, &c...--but I never bothered to pin down the day on a calendar. I never kept a journal before the internet. I hardly ever took pictures. I just remembered what happened for what it was.

When I started driving, though, I noticed that a lot of more times I could remember because I could look to my odometer and see how long ago something happened. It's like my car was keeping a silent record of the comings and goings of my life. It occurred to me that somebody could keep a kind of record of their days just by the miles they've put on their car. I certainly could. If I looked back at my blog I'd have to say 50% of my most memorable times involved a car somewhere. Whether I was driving somewhere in one, parked in one, or just sitting on the curb next to one, it's difficult to have a day go by where I'm not near my car when something pivotal happens.

So that's what I thought of when my car hit 34,839 miles the other day--a site where good folks could post all the happenings of their life and where they were when it happened. More importantly, they could post up at what mileage the golden moments of their life took place so that way any time they stepped into their car they could realize how long ago (or how recently) their world was changed.

The format's simple. I don't want anything too long. Five hundred words should do. And all you have to do is title the post with the mileage on your car and send me the idea through the twitter account Sixteen Miles. If I like the idea I'll reply back for a more in-depth article to post it here.

I only hope that sharing the experience here will remind them of the good times people had or maybe take the sting a bit out of the bad times.

Yours Swimmingly,
mojo shivers

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california is a recipe for a black hole by E. Patrick Taroc is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 3.0 United States License.

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