Tuesday, October 03, 2006

Forcing myself to feel joy

In an interview once, Sinead O'Connor was asked why most of her songs were so sad and/or angry. Her reply stuck with me. She said that when you're happy, you're too busy going around being happy to write anything, and you don't wish to stop and reflect. It's when you're sad that you have plenty of time to write; it's when you're angry that you need to stop and reflect. It stuck with me because it made perfect sense. I think that idea goes for blog entries, too.

I'm pretty much over how bad I felt last Wednesday. I wasn't being "brave" or trying to perform a "public service." I just couldn't talk about it in real life, any of it, and I desperately needed to say something somewhere. Also, well, my father was a mechanic, and I remember how irritated he'd get when male customers (and it was always males) would act like they knew a lot about cars, and he'd say something like, "It's real generous of you to pay me when you know so much." If I don't get my thoughts sorted out before I go to the therapist, I end up acting a lot like those customers when I go.

Thanks to everyone who read it, and triple-ripple thank yous if you commented. I really do appreciate it, more than you can possibly guess.

I shouldn't really pity myself. L'Ailee and I both are the kind of women who are destined to be awesome aunties, but not so great as mothers. (We love kids, but what we love more is being able to give them back!) Ex-Boy and I were too alike in some ways and too different in other ways to make things work, and I always knew that if I was ever forced to choose, the choice wouldn't have been him. We enjoyed each other's company for a while there, and he taught me about Wicca (I was dithering over conversion when I met him; he had been Wiccan for two years), and I taught him how to type and use the internet. After years of having to explain my cultural references to L'Ailee, it was nice to date someone who had also grown up on the Smurfs and Bugs Bunny, climbed grapefruit trees and thrown the fruit at other kids, stomped on a snake's neck, and revered Richard Petty. We were both shocked at how easy mixed-sex love was after years of same-sex loving, but even without the world's sudden approval of us, our relationship seemed very easy at first, almost too easy.

Since I was young when I met L'Ailee and since I was never, despite the rumors in my high school and youth group, an easy date, I had never had intercourse before meeting Ex-Boy. I don't think I could have been happy in an arrangement like the one I have now without having that really glaring and obvious question answered. Even though I don't think I'm missing very much, at least I *know* what I'm missing and have made an informed decision about what I would and wouldn't miss. And though I'm nervous as hell about the idea of a hysterectomy, even a partial one, at least keeping my ovaries means I won't have to choose between artificial hormones or early menopause symptoms just yet. Very few of the women in my maternal family made it out of their thirties with all their factory-issued parts anyhow.

Damn, how do I say this? I have to think about this surgery and carefully consider scheduling it, while he's got the boy-and-girl twins with his DNA that he always wanted. He couldn't love someone else's kids like they needed, he said, which was why adoption was no option. While anger and self-pity are places I try to get myself out of, I'm all too familiar with those places. I think what I was really feeling were jealousy and resentment. Those aren't so familiar to me, and I truly mean that. I was taught all my life that jealousy means you need to work harder. I live by that African proverb about how you don't become any taller by knocking another person down. I believe in getting what I want for myself, not trying to take things from anyone else. Yet I resented that he got what he wanted. I had to remind myself that I have many things I wanted, too--L'Ailee, first and foremost--and a few blessings I'd never have thought to ask for back then besides. I had to really, consciously force myself feel the joy that was, and is, available to me. (And now I'm sounding like a New Age self-help book, but there it is.)

So L'Ailee and I went to see Open Season and watch the cute woodland animals take revenge on hunters last Friday night. On Saturday, we went to the Chili Pepper Fiesta at the Botanic Garden, then the New York Aquarium. And then....y'all knew this was coming...there was that amazing, ridiculous, awesome, hilarious win by my man Tony Stewart at Kansas on Sunday!!!! I have never seen anything like that before, and probably never will again. Everyone was running out of gas. They were taking chances, gambling on the idea that it might last. Problem is, a "DNF" (Did Not Finish) costs a driver in the top ten eligible to win the championship points, and that makes Chasers for the Championship (and their pit crews) conservative. They had more to lose from a DNF than to gain from a win. So they got gas with eight to ten laps to go. Stewart had barely enough gas, and limped across the finish line, ahead enough of everyone else to win. The #20 team doesn't do fuel-mileage strategy, usually--Stewart has long been vocal about how much he hates it, and how much he'd rather just drive really fast and really smart. Well, he'd done *that* all day, but this time, fuel-mileage strategy helped him when it counted. Of course I needed to chase everyone else out of the house, grab L'Ailee, and go celebrate.

Some of the joyful stuff I've encountered these past few days was culinary. We discovered *the* cause of weight gain for 2007, Philadelphia Ready to Eat Cheesecake Filling. In a tub like Cool Whip. For me, the best parts are that it's light and fluffy in texture (unlike what's called the "New York-style cheesecake", which is just too heavy and tangy for me), not very sweet (so it makes a nice neutral base to mix in flavors or top), and egg-free (unlike most cheesecake recipes I've seen.) I've already delighted L'Ailee by swirling in raspberry jam and chocolate chips and spooning it into a chocolate cookie crust to make a quick and dirty cheesecake. It's got so many possibilities!

Also, we found muscadine grapes. They are so damn good. I'm not a grape person, but I make an exception for muscadines. They have seeds and make a big purple mess all over, and that's okay. You don't need to do anything to them but eat them, they're so sweet and juicy. I jokingly suggested to L'Ailee that I could try mixing them into the cheesecake filling, and she hugged the pint container to herself protectively.

And then there are other joyous things to link to. No, really!

Nine squirmy baby pandas from China's Chengdu reserve. The cubs are all one or two months old, floppy, squeaky, and active. The video's commentary is in Chinese, but all you need to understand is "cute".

Speaking of pandas, Pandas International is selling the holiday cards I'll be using this year. Pandas are even cuter in snow, the way kittens are even cuter in baskets. I am not responsible if you begin to crave cookies and cream ice cream. :-)

Mark Foley, in his selfishness and disregard for real morality, may have inadvertently done a favor for the LGBT community after all. (By the way, David Letterman's joke last night: "Congress acted quickly and moved Mark Foley to another parish.")

An out gay Democrat's trying to take a Republican stronghold...Staten Oiland, um, I mean, "Island." :-)

Kids against Halloween "tract homes". Good satire from LarkNews.com--if you grew up anywhere near the "Bible Belt," you'll laugh.


LeLo in NoPo said...

Oh wow. I just went back and read the post, and then all of this post, and wow. Hugs to you sweety. I'm sorry.

Power to the aunties!

cats said...

sending you great big panda hugs. did you get the email link of the panda pics i sent you?