October 24, 2006


I've got a cold again, that achy, stuffy head, feel miserable thing that's going around. It's not fatal, it'll go away in a few days, but meanwhile I feel sick and isolated and kinda pathetic, like I'm alone in the world. Makes me think how sometimes what we do is based on what we feel and how what we feel can change with the wind. How my view of the world is usually optimistic and upbeat but when I'm sick, I'm thinking really negatively and, although I hate to admit it, I'm feeling kinda sorry for myself.

And, in all this quiet and aloneness, I remembered something I had heard, that we should make decisions of the heart with our head. Makes sense, since our feelings come and go and waver and change, often depending on the weather or our hormones or if we're eating well or if we had a bad day at work or if we had an unpleasant encounter with someone. But it's amazing how real feelings seem, like they're an indisputable truth, rather than just some passing emotion.

So how many times do we proceed with some action that is based on an emotion and is that emotion based on the truth or not? Should we base our actions on our feelings or should we rise above them and use our heads? And when should we throw caution to the wind and just roll with the feeling regardless of what we think?

Can we ever really trust how we feel?

October 15, 2006

The empty nest...

Several of my female friends have seen their grown children leave home recently and they go on and on about how they are enjoying having their house to themselves. You know, how they can walk around the house naked or wearing really sloppy clothes and eat whatever and whenever they please and not have to listen to music they don't like and how they just love the quiet. They miss their kids and sometimes the kids come home for weekends and that's OK, but the women really are basking in their new-found privacy. There's that mother guilt thing, of course, but overall the women feel like some weight has been lifted, that they finally can stop taking care of others for a while and be selfish for a change.

Until this house, I never lived as an adult more than five years in one place. I've really nested here for the past nine years and I feel like my house is my coccoon, my safe harbor from the troubles "out there." I am comfortable and happy here, lucky me, as I know that the majority of the world's population might not have a roof over their heads tonight. I'm very grateful for this peace and quiet and safety, my private sanctuary.

But we look for a man to love and to love us and we have to think that some day he might want to share a living situation and we realize that it might be rather difficult to give up our space, share our nest with anyone else day after day. I hear how we get set in our ways, like that's just a mandatory part of growing older, this being less hospitable to a mate, compared to our younger days when we yearned for this togetherness. Is that all it is?

Does this have to do with space or emotional baggage? Like when we're together for a day and they say something they think is innocent and we feel that painful churning in our gut and we can't begin to figure why or what caused it. Like when we react to something with anger or hurt and we really can't explain what we're feeling or why. If we lived together, where would we go to run and hide? Where could we coccoon and pretend that no one else exists? If we lived together, where would we hide from ourselves? With a lifetime of painful experiences with men, would we ever feel safe and comfortable if they are around us all the time?

After all we've been through, are we really capable of being this close?

October 8, 2006

What I am learning......

That sometimes old wounds affect my current relationship.
That I have to learn to walk through fear.
That there is a difference between being wounded and being damaged and that the damaged don't easily heal.
That sometimes our lover asks us to give more than we want and that sometimes it is good for us to give it.
That talking to our lover about who we are and what we feel and where we hurt is essential.
That good sex isn't enough.
That I still have places in me that I hide.
That esposing my insides to a loved one might help me heal.
That I have ways to keep people away.

That it feels good to be loved.
That I don't always trust words.
That my current lover isn't a former lover or my father.
That getting close to someone may not be as painful as I thought.
That being loved helps me love myself.
That love requires risk.

That love can be healing.
That some people can change and learn from their mistakes.
That being close to someone brings out my fears and insecurities.
That it is never too late to find love.
That love is a gift that requires great care.

That we all deserve to be loved.
That when we get that painful feeling in our gut, it is that something from our past is being resurrected and it isn't that someone is trying to cause us pain.
That relationships require attention and effort.
That appreciating a relationship is essential to its continued success.

That the pain of love is really just the healing of old wounds.

October 4, 2006

What do men want?

I don’t really know what men want. Like other weighty subjects, I used to think that I’d know it all by the time I was thirty. Now I’m in my fifties, and I sometimes just don’t get it, like I still don’t have much of a clue.

So I ask around. Many years ago, I was told that men just need the “2 F’s.” F..k ‘em and Feed ‘em. I heard recently, from what I think is a reliable source, that men just want three things – sex, toys, and to be left alone. These guys must be joking – there has to be more than that, doesn’t there?

But I come from a women’s view. We hear from relationship coaches and therapists and friends that we need to make a list of what we want in a man, divide it into what we must have and what would be nice to have, and then make a list of relationship breakers, that even if the guy has a ton of the things on our list, one thing, like being rude to waiters, means that we can’t keep them. So we have the lists that go on and on of the things we want, like they must be kind and gentle and like kids and be responsible and make a good living and make us laugh. And then we meet the guy that fits the list, doesn’t appear to have any deal-breakers, and we like him but we’re not attacted to him so we move on to meet the next one and do the evaluation all over again. And, from what I’ve heard from my poll, guys really do have short lists, mainly that the woman has to be good in bed and nice to them and not be critical of them. A short list, but maybe that really sums it all up in a nutshell.

But is there some commonality in what we men and women want in a mate? We could say that we really just want to be loved, but does that say it all and could that look different for each of us? For me, it’s finding someone who knows me, the bad and the good, the silly and the profound, the wounded places and the healthy places, and thinks I’m someone really special anyway. It’s someone who knows my insides and thinks it’s important to treat that knowledge respectfully and with kindness. It’s someone who is willing to share their insides with me, letting me see who they really are and allowing me the privilege of that knowledge, knowing that I, too, will treat them with tenderness when they are most vulnerable. It’s someone who sometimes will provide me with a safe place to fall when life is difficult and who will allow me to provide him with the same soft place, too.

So maybe the bottom line is that we can have feelings for a person, probably based on their look and how they make us feel, but that love is really a verb, it’s something we do for someone we care about. It’s our actions, like listening to them complain about their day when our day has been awful. Like rubbing their back when it's our shoulders that ache. Like cooking their favorite dish when we’d like to get take-out. Like trying to make them feel important even when we’re feeling low. Like loving them even when they forget to put down the toilet seat or when they don’t notice that we need some attention.

I still don’t know the answers to what a man wants. But maybe it’s really that simple, that we all want someone who sometimes can make us feel like we’re the most important person in the world. And someone we are willing to treat like a queen or a king, even when all we really want is to be left alone.