Totally, Absolutely 100% There

What do you wish others would take with them after meeting with you?

I think my greatest wish is that following time spent with me, people would leave feeling like I listened to what they had to say and share with me.

That they had 100% of me while they were with me and that I made them feel I was listening to what they said and also all the small things that they couldn’t quite get out and verbalise.

I find I do my best listening and understanding when there is no noise or distractions.

No clutter to shield what is really going on inside someone.

I want to observe and feel intuitively what is churning inside of them. I have always used my intuitive emotional tools far better than I ever did my basic senses.

I am not the friend you go to with your every day problems with your husband, as I will tell you up front that is not my area of expertise, and will likely just listen and let you go off to do whatever it is you have already decided to do anyway; long before you ever came to ask me for my opinion about it.

I have had some unbelievable experiences and have spent time with some eclectic characters during my life. To paraphrase Rudyard Kipling, I have walked with Kings but never lost my common touch.

Frequently I go walking in a park nearby. There is a reservoir where folks take out their sailboats, a playground for the kids and a great walking trail. There are also times that I go just to sit and watch the water. Not once have I ever sat there by myself without someone joining me on the bench and engaging me in conversation of some sort.

I think I am just “that lady” to the world. Safe-looking, unassuming, usually in yoga pants and a baggy old sweatshirt or flannel shirt belonging to one of my sons or an ex, my hair up in a messy ponytail.

Strangers tell me the most personal stories you can imagine and so much so, that my family laughs about how I am always accosted in malls or discount stores, parking lots, line ups in the pharmacy and yes- just sitting in the park. My older son that looks so much like me has this same phenomenon, so we joke with each other that it must be something about our faces.

What is a bit jarring is that much of what they spontaneously share with me is something  I have personally experienced. I am able to give them a name or a number or a referral to an agency that I know can help them.

Sometimes I just listen and watch what their eyes say or how their hands move or twist at each other in the telling.

I was brought up to look someone in the eyes when they are interacting with me and it is one of the rules that has stuck. I don’t sigh or move around impatiently and keep glancing over their shoulders or downward when someone is speaking to me. Anyone  talking to me knows I am listening and there.

Humans need to be heard and listened to.

Not to be fixed.

Acknowledged.

Hearing is a physical ability, but listening is an emotional skill.

I hope that when people have spent time with me, they knew they had all of me.

100% of everything I had, for whatever moments in time we spent together.

That would be enough.

 

 

 

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The Last of the Bad Boys

What door have you closed in your life, and why?
Will you ever open it again?

I almost recall writing something for a prompt like this one time, and should go see what I responded then, but in reality, it was likely something completely different, and that would make perfect sense to me at this point in my journey.

I have been in 3 relationships in my life that I would classify as serious.

One I married and two I didn’t. To add to the confusion, I am still legally married to the 1st and likely will be for the rest of my life, as I took a stand and refused to pay the paltry $ 230.00 to file for the divorce, insisting he do it, and I am rather afraid that after years of towing the line with that stubborn man, I decided that refusing to suck it up and pay would be my hill to die on – my last hurrah- my middle finger adios to that man.

That first relationship started when I was 17 and ended when I was 34. In all honesty, it likely should have ended 10 years before that, but there were children to feed, and thoughts that boys needed their father, and a definite dread of the unknown. My wings had not even started to bud yet, so stay I did.

For awhile. Physically.

The second , who we will refer to as Rebound – began when I was still tied up in the first and the third – let’s call him Broken Billy – began while I was untangling, not so graciously from the second.

I understand my part in the breakdown of these relationship and take full responsibility for my lack of communication in at least two of them. There is only one of them that I allowed to see the whole me – the saviour, the sinner, the grotesque, and the reprehensible.

Broken Billy is my last relationship, which took place from 35-52, and in the most literal sense, almost finished me, in every way possible.

I really should back up a bit, though, and talk about Rebound for at least a paragraph. He was an American that I met through work. He had a contract with the software company I worked for and used to frequently be at my office for weeks at a time. Due to the sad state I was in at the end of my marriage, it was so easy for my eyes to see him as my knight on a white horse. He was handsome, charming, very witty, and so, so smooth, compared to what I was used to in men. He was educated. He dressed really well and smelled even better. We had a mutual love of music, which I had never experienced during my marriage. Anytime I put on music, my ex husband would yell to turn it off. I know this sounds crazy, but if you are a music lover, you will understand this on such a deep level.

So, as these things usually go, I allowed myself to be swept up by Rebound and when he wasn’t in Canada, I was down in California with him. I must have known he was only with me for a season, as my children never met him, and he asked me many times to arrange that. I will always be eternally thankful to him for building me back up, after the years of wilting on the vine I had done with my husband. He made me feel beautiful and desirable and pampered me in ways I wasn’t aware were even possible. He was very financially secure and took me to restaurants and bought me clothing and flowers and it was like living in a dream state. He eventually wanted me to move to California and live with him, but I couldn’t take my sons so far away from their Dad, so sadly, I ended it with him. Not in a nice clean way, either.

In the way I always do.

Drift, drift, drift away until I have disappeared without you even knowing I am gone.

Don’t feel badly for him – he is married now and retired to Phoenix and apparently raising his wife’s granddaughters with her, which is nice, as he never had children of his own.

During the time I was with Rebound, I saw a well-known psychic in California and not one of the hucksters. One that was very successful for many years and built quite the empire with books, media, and appearances. I asked her one question and it was if Rebound loved me. She looked me right in the eyes and said ” yes, he loves you, but the next one will love you more than anyone ever has or ever will for the rest of your life.”

Broken Billy showed up in my life thanks to my ex husband. We used to laugh about how he introduced us, actually. How ironic life could be sometimes. I think about that sometimes now, looking back and it makes even more sense now that, of course he showed up that way.

My brother was couch surfing at my place at the time, and had left my phone number with BB, as the last time he saw him, he didn’t know where he would be, but his sister would always know, so gave him my phone number at the house I no longer lived at- hubby refused to leave, so I moved out with the kids.

So, BB shows up at my place, looking for my brother, and finds him. I just happened to be having friends over that evening, and he stayed, as he hadn’t seen my brother in a year or so. It was a beautiful summer night, and some of us were outside and some of us inside, and at one point I walked back inside to refill a drink or grab more chips for the bowl and came upon the sight of BB sitting with my older son, who was about 13, in a corner, looking through his sketchbook with him. My son looked so happy to have the attention and I felt a profound overwhelming love in my heart, that he dragged that sketchbook everywhere with him, and someone was showing interest in his talent. His own Dad had shown little of that, and it hurt us both.

I had just sort of bookmarked BB into the “brother’s friends” category, and they were mostly a motley crew, so I was surprised to see one of them choosing to spend time talking with a teenager at a party where there were plenty of adults to socialize with. It saddens me now, that I would be struck so deeply at the time by a simple act of kindness towards my child.

It made me look at him differently.

I had always been with big men, tall men, loud men.

BB was only an inch or so taller than me. Soft spoken. Slight.

He almost looked like an accountant, which is hilarious if you knew the types of men I usually go for.

He made no sense to my friends and even less sense to me, but he was persistent!

I now know that a lot of what occurred should have been red flags , but I was too stupid and naïve to see any of them.

He moved in with me 2 months later. It made sense. He was there all the time anyway and when he wasn’t there, he was on the phone to me constantly. Checking up on me and the kids.

Asking if I needed anything.

Making himself indispensable.

Weaving himself seamlessly into my life.

He shared so many secrets with me about his childhood. Horrific tales of insane, abusive stepfathers, and molestation and neglect. I held him while he cried, and my maternal, nurturing, codependent self just inhaled all that pain and suffering like it was oxygen and I needed it to survive. I engulfed his agony in all its glory and made it my own.

He checked himself into Casa Shannon and totally absorbed me in every way.

I asked him one pitch black night to just go slowly. I begged him to not make me fall in love with him. I was terrified. I had never experienced a symbiotic relationship like this before and must have had some precognition that I would not survive it if I allowed myself to fall.

The highs were so high with him….oh, but those lows…they were absolutely death-defying in every way.

Broken Billy had found his parasitic twin soul in me, with my dysfunctional childhood and lack of attention my entire life. Grown up in chaos and unpredictability and now madly pin-wheeling backwards right into the womb of uncertainty and danger with a partner by my side.

He will always be the love of my life and I don’t have the energy to tell that entire tale today, but it wasn’t pretty and it ended very, very, very badly.

Hurt people hurt people.

Broken people reach for things that will numb them from the memories that will not give them a moment’s peace, playing over and over and over again in their minds.

They steal goodness, and hope, and dreams and love, and they feed and they feed and they feed over and over like piranhas on anything pure and honest and full of light, trying to fill themselves in all the places they are empty.

Even when you give them everything you have, and are, and eventually turn into someone you don’t even recognize.

When you disappear totally from the inside out and fear you will never find yourself again.

They never let go.

Not because they love you more than anyone ever has or ever will, but because you are their last branch to hold onto when the river is rising and it is human instinct to pull someone under to drown with you, even when they are trying to keep you alive.

The door that is closing for me and never opening again is loving anyone more than I love myself.