courtesy of www.cainer.com
I know my life is in a state of profound uncertainty when I start checking horoscopes with increasing urgency and reading them with a lot more serious attention than they deserve. Fortunately I only follow a few select astrologers and they are more about providing responsible spiritual and psychological advice applicable in just about any situation than predicting specific events I will then anxiously await. But in desperate times, afloat in the sea of life, any flotsam and jetsam will do, and I will reach out and grab whatever I can, even though what looked like a raft approaching was just a piece of driftwood unable to bear the full weight of my unfulfilled and utterly undirected desires.
autumn around the corner
Granted, I have just survived the shipwreck of a relationship, and relocation to a new home, and for things to be less than settled in all ways is a perfectly natural albeit uncomfortable circumstance. But I am not the most patient person on the planet, and now that I have spent the entire summer of 2013 in the process of mentally, emotionally and physically dismantling the life I was leading the past 18 months, a life that itself required dismantling to exist, and actually, for the past 4 years, putting so much effort into understanding, attempting to improve, accommodating and then extricating myself from a situation that was unhappy and unhealthy, and finally installing myself in a new life designed specifically to contain and cultivate only happy and healthy things, part of me now wants to just get on with it. And having been in my new place for a month now, and autumn around the corner, I feel I am still treading water and getting nowhere.
two weeks in France, September 1995
The price you pay for a life in which amazing things happen out of the blue, and you often do more living in one intense life altering week than most people experience in whole decades, is you have to put up with the dead times in between. I am accustomed to the unexpected and incredible, the intense and the exhilarating. So many times, in so many areas of my life, just when it seemed all was lost, something, or someone, amazing arrived and changed everything. Maybe I was built for and attract moments of wonder, or maybe I have grown into it, but in so many cases I have looked back at those magic crossroads and humbly, gratefully acknowledged that it could have been otherwise, that the smallest of circumstances could have pushed me into oblivion. It’s an extreme pattern to be sure, but after decades of being on this rollercoaster, I have faith that the terrifying descents are always followed by exhilarating ascents. The only trouble I have is with the seemingly endless flat stretches, because I never know until the last second whether I am headed for a rise or fall.
the ride of my life
By the way, I hate amusement parks. Love the atmosphere and appearance but hate the rides. I live those rides in my everyday life, why pay to simulate them? And I hate those flat stretches, because for all my adaptation to a life of the unexpected, I also hate surprises. In general, I would rather know what’s coming and prepare for it. If I am to play a waiting game for the rest of 2013, until my destiny is revealed to me, at least let me know what I am waiting for and I can work towards it, or let me know that this is it, that there will be no more ups and downs to this particular ride, and I can adjust accordingly. It might actually be nice for nothing amazing to happen, just roll along secure in my modest routines and engagements. A girl could get used to that.
Henry when he was Rascal waiting for me before he met me
Perfect apartment, check. Perfect cat companion, check. Both came into my life by means fully within the patterns of incredible timing and coincidence and luck and fate that my life follows, as if both were already waiting for me. But job I have none. Man in my life I have none. Historically, I have done a lot better finding good places to live and good cats to live with than I ever have finding jobs or relationships. Most of the places I’ve lived, I had no quarrel with and left only because the relationship with the man I shared them with ended. My longest happy cohabiting relationship was with my cat Marlowe, who shared my life for 14 years, most of those when it was just us two. He saw me through 2 jobs, 3 apartments, 2 cities of residence, and a lot of men who didn’t last long enough for him to bother to befriend or defend against them, in all that time, my one constant. The only thing he ever did to hurt me was to get old and sick and leave a hole in my heart by dying.
Marlowe and Me in NYC, ca. 1998 (look ma, no tattoos!)
Jobs and men also come into my life in encouragingly fated ways, but unlike apartments and cats, they tend to reveal all sorts of hidden liabilities over time and what once seemed a perfect match turns out to be something I can only tolerate by secretly plotting my escape. It is a cycle that goes from wondering what is wrong with me that everything good always goes bad, then wondering what is wrong with this place or person, and then wondering what is wrong with me for sticking around so long. By the time I have decided to leave, I am over the disappointment, and over the self-blame, but no wiser as to why this cycle persists.
Better choices perhaps? And yet all my choices have been based on available, promising information and a great deal of reinforcement from the man or the job in question. And of course, when one is in need of income or companionship, waiting forever for the perfect situation is not an option, so maybe you start altering your standards and overlooking whatever wisdom you have acquired. Which brings me to now. There are two big missing pieces in my life. A steady means of income which will not only not suppress, depress or interfere with but actually encourage and enrich and reward who I am and what makes me happy, and a man that pretty much answers that same description.
in the wonderfully fake land of Las Vegas, 2009
I guess a modern woman is not supposed to admit that she places a good man right up there with, maybe even higher than, a good job on her list of priorities. I am supposed to be complete as long as I have fulfilling pursuits, friends, a cat, a nice place to live, and my health. Having lived without a man in my life way longer than I have lived with one, I can tell you, it is possible to lead a full and fulfilling existence alone. I have had some of my best adventures, discoveries, triumphs and joys not only in spite of being alone, but because of it. There are many liberating factors to argue for a life alone; there are many limiting factors to argue against a life shared. I’ve lived both, I know.
Mystic, with bird friends, ca. 2007
But it comes down to love. I love being in love. I love giving and receiving and thereby increasing the general universal levels of love. I love meeting someone I feel I already know and having a first conversation that feels like it’s been going on like a brilliant crackling fire for centuries, and flirting irrepressibly and shamelessly with everything to gain and nothing to lose, and observing someone from across a room knowing that I have knowledge of them no one else recognizes or imagines, and sharing a glance that speaks without words, and the electricity that travels my whole body when he first takes my hand and I finally know for certain what the very air around us, and probably everybody we know already knew, that we are more than just friends. Maybe this isn’t how everyone is made, but I am and will ever be thus. Blame it on my Mediterranean blood. Blame it on too many 19th century novels. There is no lukewarm love for me, only lukewarm lovers.
creating a stir
I love my friends and family, and my perfect cat Henry, and making beautiful creations that make people happy, and crossing the finish line of a marathon, and taking a train to a new city, and music that stirs the soul, and the kindness of strangers, and the gift of having the senses and intellect to appreciate all the natural and manmade awesomeness that life has to offer. But I am the first to admit, unapologetically, that I am fifty years old, deeply cynical, fiercely self-reliant, and nobody’s fool, and still nothing compares to a show of interest from a man I like so much I am actually enjoying the sweet torment of not knowing how he feels because it is just so good even to know him at all. I might as well be a kid again. It’s like a fresh start for the heart, every time. Decades of disappointment and hurt erased with one “I was just thinking of you.”
I just read a horoscope today that said all that I am seeking is also seeking me, that it has been waiting for me for a long time, and if I sit still it will find me. I am not good at sitting still, but here I sit. Find me.