Taking a peek inside Part 4. – When you listen to your heart.

“I’m going to get my groove back.” I tossed the catch phrase from Terry McMillan’s “How Stella Got Her Groove Back” at my boss as I waved good-bye and headed out the door. In the book the main character heads off to the Caribbean to find herself again. Me too. The Tween-let and I were on our way to Turks & Caicos for snorkeling and diving, sand and sun and finding my mojo again.

“Don’t get too groovy,” he snapped back.

My current relationship was at the delicate impasse of, ‘this isn’t really what I want but I’m too ____________ (insert choice word here) to move on’. I was hoping that this get-a-way would provide the foot in the *ss needed to reboot my love life. My own five-day “Eat, Pray, Love” is what I was calling it, though unlike Elizabeth, I didn’t have a bunch of time to burn. I am single mom with obligations, and a relationship where I fit my emotions underneath my tongue.

As a believer in God, Spirit, love, magic, thought, prayer, light, hope and intention I took every moment of this trip to reach inside myself and ask what I needed to feel whole again… So I took these steps.

Step 1: I asked my heart to get naked and speak of its desires.
It wanted unconditional love and emotional connection.
It wanted to be cherished and adored, it wanted to be valued and respected.
My heart desired the ritual of family, its own posse of folks to love and call its own.
It desired appreciation for the passionate intellectual spiritual playful love muffin
that I am.

Step 2: I listened to my heart. I didn’t challenge or call it crazy. I treated each desire as
authentic as what needed to feel whole.

Step 3: On my best stationary and with my most flourishing hand, I captured those desires,
recording each longing respectfully, as though spoken from a burning bush.

I felt happy, just knowing what I wanted and giving it some breathing room outside my heart. It’s okay to want to feel cherished and loved, adored and appreciated. Knowing the desires of our own heart is an intimate is an act of love for ourselves, what is more precious?

What are the desires of your heart?

– Aunt B

Taking a peek inside part 3. When you wonder who you are?

Who are you?

Who are you to be annoyed?

Who are you to doubt?

Who are you to fear?

You are wonderfully human and prone to disappointment and heartache, loss and suffering. That is what this life is. It’s not so much a walk on the wild side, rather a saunter, a carousel of saints and sinners, winners and losers. The motion is nonstop.

You are annoyed when things change, when the fact is that nothing is permanent. You doubt that change was part of the bargain you made. No need to doubt, it is what life is all about. Make it is a goal to be okay with change.

You want to write the script, to know what’s coming next. You fear the unknown. You fear lack of control. Resisting this feels right somehow. You resist the wrinkle and the sag, the shifting moods and the crazy uncertainty, the success and the failure. Stop resisting.

Somehow you know that the satisfaction you crave comes with a certain curiosity.

You ask:
How do I stay open to change?
How do I stay flexible?
How do I become okay with not knowing?

You get all tingly with the questions and answers. And that’s how you know you got it right. You become playful, you bend easily. You only need to be reminded that you don’t have to figure it all out. You don’t have to figure out who you are or anyone else is for that matter. Relax in the motion of change.

You know that you are limitless, beyond category and definition. You know that discomfort is a part of game. You know when you’re feeling edgy there really is no cure. You know you really have to just go along for the ride. It’s a bumpy one, but that’s what makes it fun. Hold on and smile.

– Aunt B

The Peek Inside Pt.2 When something is stuck in your craw.

Little did I know I would be taking a peek inside my craw. You know your craw. It’s the place where you keep your dance moves from Thriller, it’s where you store your swag it’s where your darker memories are stacked in a corner. It’s the silky part of you… with fangs.

Something is stuck in mine and it feels like elbows and knees in there, I don’t take lightly to moving stuff around ‘cause I don’t want to disturb what’s in the corner. So I approach softly, my inquiry barely above whisper.

I don’t know about you, but when I am resistant I find it hard to laugh or smile. When people ask me how I am, I lie. And I know that every day that I resist, I feel a tightening, a worry that something bad is going to happen and the more uncomfortable my craw becomes.

My craw is telling me that maybe my intuition is right, that the object of my affection doesn’t deserve my love. My craw is saying that my job is a good fit, but there are other goals I need to pursue. My craw reminds me that being invisible; makes it harder to lead. My craw moves me toward the truth of being me.

When something is stuck in my craw I find it hard to dance. When something is stuck in my craw I can’t see my swag, I only see the darker memories in the corner and I doubt and wonder and am annoyed and bored with all of it.

So I have to get unstuck. Softly. Easily. Remembering that this is softest part of me… and it has fangs.

– Aunt B

Do Children Ruin Relationships?

All around me, my married friends are splitting as if their significant others have been exposed to an incurable virus.

“Oh my! Is that a rash or is that long term commitment?”

Though, what I hear most is, “we were okay, before the kids.” Say what?

While the actual making of the blessed event is pretty fun, once that little bugger takes center stage things tend to change. No longer is your honey the apple of your eye, it’s the little bean that steals your self-maintenance time, deprives you of sleep and keeps you working overtime in the decision making, laundry and housework departments. And then there is the other half of the parenting team that just might be feeling a little more pressure to support the family, wants a little leg and a night out with friends. I mean hey, what happened to Dick and Jane?

I wonder.

What people say is that things change after kids. See Dick and Jane. See self-centered Dick. See self-sacrificing Jane. My ex and I fell into these roles easily. It’s what our parents did (before they divorced) and all that I knew. The child came first, I was reluctant to get a sitter, and I was uncomfortable with my after-baby-body. My ex threw himself into work and made little or no effort in the romance department. That baby was driving bus and we were heading toward a cliff. I saw it coming and tried to phone in “I love yous” and send flowers to his job. I asked for a date night. He asked me not to touch him unless we were going to have sex. I began to exercise, but instead of muscles, the only thing that seemed to build was resentment. He planned outings. I didn’t appreciate his efforts because I still had to arrange for a sitter and afterwards tend to the baby. I refused to meet his physical needs and he refused to meet my emotional needs. See self-sacrificing Jane. See self-centered Dick.

I love my child. Don’t get me wrong here.

We both got lazy about meeting each other’s needs and resentment is a hard mother*cker to get rid of. Resentment keeps score and loves a good game of tit-for-tat and we were two competitive fools.

I love my child, but I would do it differently now.

Now, I understand how important it is for her to see affection between two adults, how good it would be for her to learn that the world doesn’t revolve around her. I wish she could’ve seen us treating each other like we did in the beginning, the thoughtfulness, and the niceties. She would actually have a model to follow had either of us been a bit more mature, or our parents had modeld that for us.

Do children ruin relationships? What say you?

– Aunt B

Stay! Stay! Ahhh… That’s a Good Girl

Learning not to run away.

“Sit Bell!” I held my two fingers up then brought them down slowly on top of the two fingers of my opposite hand until they resembled legs hanging over the seat of a chair. When I gave the command, my dog sat, her pink tongue lolling out the side of her mouth. I stood right in front of her. “Now staa—aayy.” My voice rolled on this command, and I began to back away. Her bottom started to wiggle the further away I got. I saw her getting anxious, shifting the weight of her two front paws, one to the other. There were sharp yelps as I moved further and further away.

“Staa—aayy.” I said again.

Like most of us, she didn’t believe she was going to be all right. She was waiting for the trick, the pull of the rug that bowls us over, the bucket of no-so-funny that sits atop a doorway ready to spill just as we pull the knob toward us.

The real trick is the ability to simply witness the chaos, the disappointment, the suffering and the pain and not drink, or drug or shop or sex our way through it, it is the ability to bear witness to the ache and splendor that’s life.

Bell breaks as soon as I reach the doorway, her paws skittering over the wood floor. She jumps on my legs, wanting and needing to be petted, reassured that everything would be okay. I reassure her, take her back to the place where started and begin again.

“Take a breath Bell, everything is okay.” I said while I smoothed my hands over her coat.
At one time or another we are all scared or nervous, angry or anxious. We don’t want to stay because we don’t know what the next moment might bring. And then the next moment comes, sometimes bringing death or regret or hurt. Yes, those feelings are large and unwieldy and that’s when you have to pause and admit to yourself what you’re feeling. And yes it is uncomfortable and yes you will want to have a drink or smoke or shop or sex.
Just like Bell, you’ll go skittering towards what will make you feel better.

That’s okay. Those feelings didn’t go anywhere. Now take yourself back to them. Take a breath and sit with them a moment. Those feelings just want to be acknowledged.

Staa—aay. Good.

– Aunt B

Back-to-School. The most wonderful time of the year or not

The Tweenlet can practically look at me in the eye. I can’t stop the physical changes. Her body is crouching toward womanhood and she is ready to spring into this upcoming school year.

What I love and hate about back-to-school

I love the silent discipline of structure to our day

I hate the “registration round-up,” the annual production of various and sundry bills and documents to prove that I live in this town and that my daughter can go to this school, what a pain in the *ss

I love her nervous smile and how she reaches for my hand on the walk to school

I hate how each year her ‘good-byes’ are quicker once we arrive

I love knowing some of her friends since they were in kindergarten and watching them grow

I hate that every year, I think will be the last time we sing the “good-morning song”

I love the smell of sun and sweat in her hair when I pick her up from school

I hate how quickly the years are going by

This is the Tweenlet’s last year of elementary school, the training wheels came off this summer, with sleep-a-way camp and letting her do more things on her own. My daughter is growing up and I’m feeling a bit of the ‘½ empty nest syndrome’.

I moved to this suburb of Los Angeles just so that she could attend one of California’s Distinguished Schools. An honor given “to public schools within the state that best represent exemplary and quality educational programs.” I looked at private schools first, drooling at the fancy curriculums and shiny afterschool programs. The tuition was the brass ring just out of reach. So I moved where I could afford the rent (barely) but the public schools were great. I didn’t know the time would pass so quickly.

How do you feel about back-to-school? Happy the summer is over or kind of melancholy? Did you opt out of public education? Do you home school? Why?

– Aunt B

Why I’m Rooting for Bethenny and Jason

Untangling herself from all the new fangled ‘Stepford Wifery’ happening on Bravo’s “The Real Housewives…” franchise, Bethenny Frankles’ rapid fire delivery of one-liners bounced off of her fellow housewives like rubber bullets, most times leaving them stinging, bruised and backing away, while leaving Bethenny with her own spin-off show, “Bethenny Getting Married?” Whom does she have tucked away in those cheeks, Lenny Bruce and Jerry Seinfeld? Her brand of humor is observational, penetrating, and sometimes caustic and makes me laugh out loud. I couldn’t wait for the spin-off.

For the uninitiated Bethenny Frankel is a woman who writes, stars in her own exercise DVDs, hawks Skinny Girl Margaritas and makes the most excruciatingly healthy food. She is also wife to Jason Hoppy whom I think must be the most adorable man on TV and her latest accomplishment, mom to Bryn.

But this is Mama’s Health and why am I writing about reality TV? And why am I rooting for Bethenny and Jason? Because just as often as Bethenny turns that penetrating eye on those around her, she is just as quick to turn it on herself. What I find healthy is Bethenny’s ability to be herself, even when she is anxious, angry, tearful or hurt. She names what she feels. It isn’t always the right time or place or even directed at the right person, but what you get is exactly what Bethenny is feeling. How refreshing that is compared to the stifled posturing of most of the housewives on the various shows. I’m rooting for Bethenny and Jason because he adores her and it shows, because he gets her drive, her sometimes shrewishness and doesn’t let that intimidate him. I’m rooting for them because even though with all the cameras around it seems as if it’s her train and he’s along for the ride when actually it’s the other way around. She needs his steadiness, his ability to cut through the noise and really hear her. That’s an ‘A’ in communication with your spouse Mr.Hoppy. I’m rooting for Bethenny and Jason because I’m rooting for love.

Love deeply, love well, love long.

– Aunt B

“Negotiated Infidelity” Sounds Like Cheatin’ To Me

“It’s better to walk the dog on a leash than let it escape through an unseen hole in the back fence.”

So says Holly Hill, not her real name of course, a one-time mistress turned author of “Sugarbabe” a memoir that details her life after she was dumped by a boyfriend and posted an online ad offering her company, conversation, cooking, massages and of course sex all for $1000 per week.

*cough*

Sounds like prostitution.

*cough*

To that Holly Hill says, “I thought that because I was a 24/7 exclusive mistress that I wasn’t part of the world’s oldest profession, but with hindsight I was, because what I was doing … I was charging men for services, part of which included sex,” says Hill.

Yes of course she had takers! Most of them older wealthy men that were attracted to “Holly’s” pixie face and bright smile and according to her, conversation was what most of the men wanted. In the age of Viagra, I’m a bit surprised.

These books about “open relationships” and being an “Ethical Slut” crop up every so often. Surprisingly (or not) written by women who have been in relationships in which they’ve been jilted. The narrative in all of these books runs the same. Be open and honest about your extracurricular activities with your partner, feel free to sex someone else up, but come home afterwards.

There was a time when all I wanted was a lover (one year post-divorce and 2 years of celibacy!) The conversation on the first date would go like this.

“I’m looking for someone, just for sex. I don’t want to meet your kids, or your mother. I don’t want something heading towards something. I just have an itch that needs to be scratched and I need to be able to call you for that.”

I got a lot of weird looks after that spiel, with most backing out of the door and me never hearing from them again. Perhaps I should have asked for $1000 per week.

When I finally did enter into an agreement with someone, it was great for the first 9 months or so. After that I wanted something different. I wanted the emotional connection I’d eschewed before. I needed it.

So while this might work for Holly Hill, it doesn’t work for Aunt B. So all you ethical sluts and infidelity negotiators can have your sexy sex all over the place with whomever you choose. With all the fancy rules about “not spooning” when it’s just sex or coming home before 3am. Whatever.

I’m exclusive and hoping to find that one person who wants it that way. Or maybe I’m just old-fashioned.

Or maybe it’s okay to let the dog creep through the back fence. It couldn’t have been that great of a dog in the first place.

What say you?

– Aunt B

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