Flashback V: Fantasies

Around the time of that last haircut this piece was written.  This numbness persisted until the fight to the surface began on the Singlestream.

Morning walks with Julius and Lola are becoming a little haven in my day. The evening walks are different – a part of my routine of chores – and I’m begging Lola pleasepleasePLEASE just pop a squat. But in the mornings the sun has been rising early and by the time I’m out there with them hell bent and arrow straight on their taut little leashes the cool of night is a whispering ghost and the air is moist with the breath of summer. In the shade of the odd little tree on the walking circle the smell of rain lingers and the dew lines are cut clearly by the bright sun spots. The dogs focus on the task at hand – Julius smelling and then obliterating every marking of every other stud with yellow streams and Lola’s special mission of pulling till she chokes with the odd burst of speed after a wild chicken.
In between the poop stops I wake up in increments. I wave at the neighbor who seems to have the same dog walk programmed into his smart phone. The dreams of the night before shake out with each sleep-heavy step like dust. I fight the creaking knees to bend and pick up the odd spot and my mind wonders.

It is on these walks in recent days that I have come to realize that I have no fantasies.

From my experience and in the experience of every woman who has shared pieces of her life with me I have concluded that a woman is driven by love. As a child she dreams of Cinderella dresses and glows at the thought that a handsome someone will think her beautiful and want her for his princess. As a teenager she struggles with the fight between her innocence and fear and the messages of society that tell her that with inch of skin she reveals she shall be repaid in love. As a young woman she will go to sleep at night re-living the attentive conversation of a nice man looking for clues and snuggle warm into her fantasies of what could happen if he were to turn out to be “the one”.

And so it is easy to feel myself somewhere in the neighborhood of the shadow of death to feel no thrill and to find no fantasy waiting at the end of the day to rock me to sleep…

Have I finally taken the bullet square in the chest by my last heartbreak that I have been taken off the battlefield entirely? Has the last healthy nerve ending been soldered off so completely that nothing and no one has the power to move me? Is this God’s answer to my prayers that “if it is not Your will for me Father please take away the desire”?

If so, it has come with more pain than I imagined. I imagined a clean break and inner peace. Now not only do I feel the void created by loves lost but by the loss of the ability to love itself. The death of the idea, if this is in fact what it really is, is infinitely worse.

Perhaps it is more like a coma. I think I would prefer to believe that. It must be! Death would leave a ghostless void wouldn’t it? Not an echoing chamber of voices and photographs of loving moments frozen in time. The heart still has its ears. Isn’t hearing the last sense to go? Isn’t that why families hold on to hands with desperate grip and pour out their souls’ secrets to their loved ones laying white in hospital bed and gown with the only sign of life the beeping of a monitor?

The heart hears still. It is frozen, waiting, listening for words warm enough to melt, real enough to slice, and strong enough to last forever. The lock on it’s casing has a code that only one other soul should know and many thieves may attempt to simulate. Many will speak to it, beg it, cajole it to no avail. Like Excalibur it waits for one hand – the right hand – to dip into the icy stone and pry it free.

I much prefer this to the thought of a death of a piece of me. I suppose the preference is in itself evidence of some truth to it.

Meanwhile the empty moments before sleep are not filled with fantasies. They are not hopeful and trembling, not listless and lusting. They have no images of smiling faces and quiet moments and beating hearts. No sounds of sweet nothings. Memories have been completely banished from these moments – they are even more painful. The minutes passing are simply… empty. For a few days now they have weighed heavy and empty – so heavy in fact that I am moved to fill them with wine and company or stories of “How I Met Your Mother” and “Two and a Half Men”.

Is this what you would have me do?

Deep down, after passing through the flailing of a despairing brain short now of balance from its emotional counterpart, after passing through the stress barrier of the demands of my work and of my life obligations, past the frozen silence of my nighttime moments and the dew spots of my morning walks, under all that sits the knowledge that this is a time with a purpose. It has to be.

Every moment of despair in my years has been used by my Father to prepare me. He has used childhood grief to bring reason to my life even if from the strange starting point as a vehicle through which my dying friend could live vicariously. He has used failure to open doors that success would have persuaded me to ignore. He has used heartbreak as an earthquake to move me from a place of danger into safety. Illness has been the medicine used to bring me back to spiritual health. Loss has brought me moments of intangible and incalculable wealth. This knowledge is my foundation, my rock bottom, a low past which he will not have me go. It is the hand in which my world rests and as deep as I dig I will only go this low and no lower than his hand. This emptiness too must have a purpose…

Today, with a cup of coffee in one hand, the sheen of the morning’s walk on my brow and the dogs sat by my feet still panting after coolness, I am praying for guidance. I cannot see the map but I will take instructions from Your satellite navigation system. Turn me right, bear me left, teach me, stretch me, trim me, make me. Serve through me. I will trust You to fill my emptiness.

Be my Fantasy.

To see the other Flashbacks in this series, visit the links below:

Breakup Checklist

Every single woman needs one.  In fact, every single human being needs one.  Because if you are operating in today’s world you will come across false starts.  And they will hurt.

A friend of mine going through a heart-rending divorce shared with me in a facebook conversation some years ago what he calls his Breakup Checklist.  I have asked his permission to share his insights.

THE CHECKLIST

“#1. Pull together your “support team” of family and friends who can help you deal with this crisis. These are the insiders who know you, know your Ex and can talk you through everything.  These are the people who will pick up the phone at all hours of the day to allow you to express your sorrow, remind you of your self worth. Put your team together and get their support.

#2 Find a counselor.  Your friends can be there for you, but they have lives of their own and they are not professionals. Hire a professional who can talk to you about the situation and help you sort things out clinically. Help you to understand yourself, your inner demons, and why the relationship fell apart. They can asses whether you are just sad or clinically “depressed” and in need of temporary medication (nothing wrong with that).  Note: counselors are great! But do your homework. find one that is highly recommended.  Sometimes the most expensive ones are the best. They can afford to charge those prices. The cheaper ones are desperate for clients.

#2b -Face your new reality – Part of the problem with not having these written down is that you forget some things.  Right around the time you are meeting with a counselor, that counselor should be helping you face your new reality. This bad situation is happening! Your worst fear is real. You can’t go back. you can’t change it. You have to face it head on and deal with it.  Stare the dragon in eye and let him know you are not afraid. For me, this was realizing that my wife IS cheating on me. It wasnt a one time thing. She made a conscious decision. There is no going back. It can’t be undone. Why am I hiding the truth from people? In hopes that I can keep it quiet and take her back after she is done with the other guy? Get real. “When someone takes an opportunity to show you who they really are….BELIEVE THEM!!!!!”

#3 Get Busy – Start filling your days with activities that will distract you from what is going on with you. You should “pre-schedule” these events.  Start planning trips, vacations, classes (art, martial arts, athletic related, etc), visits to friends, shopping trips. Fill up your schedule. Consider this the equivalent of a cast on a broken arm.  Distract yourself while your heart is healing.

Take care of YOU!!!! You will heal by LOVING YOURSELF and NOT HATING the other person.

#4 – Have you phoned God? – get your spiritual life together. Maybe all of this happened because God has been trying to get your attention and you haven’t been listening. Start spending more time in church, prayer, and meditation.

#5 – Do some emotional housecleaning. You need to conduct an emotional assessment of where you are. Are you angry? Hurt? Depressed?  There is a time for anger in the healing process, but Anger will only take you so far and it WON’T get you to the finish line. You need to start focusing on more positive emotions – FORGIVENESS, peace, calm, happiness (step #3 activities should bring smiles and happiness into your life). Ask God to help you release your anger. Ask God to help you forgive. You would be surprised how much forgiveness and releasing anger will help YOU feel better. Holding a grudge is like drinking poison and waiting for the other person to die…… (think that will work?).

#6 Start Taking Care of Yourself – Focus on your new life – ALONE. And do what you need to do to move forward. Have you been talking about finding a new job? do it. Thinking about moving to a new country/state? do it.  Do it for yourself.  Treat yourself to the things you like. Spa day. Exercise. (Note: keep it healthy and positive. Don’t soothe yourself with sweets and dessert. You will only hate yourself later when you get fat) That flight to see your friends? Buy yourself an upgrade. Take care of YOU!!!! You will heal by LOVING YOURSELF and NOT HATING the other person.”

How do you handle breakups?  What would you add to this list?

You’re sorry… uh huh

© Brent Mclennon, Donkey otherwise known as…

After months spent crying and clearing my head

Erasing photo memories of moments now dead

You feel the obnoxious need arise

To message me and apologise.

You’ve flicked through your album of time spent fooling me

And in your own image dislike what you see.

My forgiveness you crave to clean off yourself

It’s not about me, it’s for your own health.

Please don’t come apologising to me!

It will only succeed in setting you free

And I am not ready to free you yet, so

Go live a little longer with your regret.

Skipping Stars

Today she found out who she was
and what a fool you are
to waste the dream you chanced upon
when you stumbled on a star.
You picked it up with awe
figured… nah… it couldn’t be
and like a common pebble
you skipped it out to sea.

Out on the open ocean
the ball of flame still burned
shining further from your reach
you felt your stomach turn.
The damage is now done-
too late you realize
the best thing ever in your hand
just vanished from your eyes.

But the star burns on and brightly
as it floats out on the sea
and shores and boundaries give way to
endless possibility…
The star inside her thanks you
for throwing her away
to a place where she could grow
to the SUN she is today.

Found some of my scribbles that I’d tucked away somewhere.  Will probably post them here and there as they come to me.  Not to worry, I have not gone back on The Resolution!  Just a few reminders here and there why I made it in the first place. 

The Hair

And so I found myself in a chair with my eyes closed and my face in a silent scream as a piece of me died. Or pieces rather. Thousands of long fine brunette pieces. Denis, the dainty Filipino hairdresser flitted and tittered about how “AmAA-zinG” (hard G) it was. All the time severing cords that tied me to old lies and memories. Courage tightened in my chest and I could scarcely breathe as the chains dropped feather-light in dying screaming clumps to the growing darkness on the floor. Blow dry. Flat iron. Spray this, rub that. It was only when I opened my eyes that I realized how much of me I had let them kill.
Yup a future can be killed. And a future is such a painful thing to lose. The loss of it can knock you to the mat, jaw slackened, sweat soaked and brain shaken like Rocky. Losing sight of tomorrow can keep the strongest woman turning feverishly with no hope of relief in nightmare soaked sheets. Even the taste of food becomes synthetic and rubbery and salty with… grief.
The future is our own personal myth, tainted by our identities and perceptions of our purpose. A glorious picture that the little girls inside us all sit and color in our daydreams then project like a mirage that we walk toward one stiletto in front of the other. And then it disappears. In the time it takes for him to close the space between his vile disloyal hand and her unwitting (and worse willing) body. Our hard work at being perfect irreplaceable partner couldn’t prevent it. Our forgiveness and ladylike behavior couldn’t fix it.
And then we weep and mourn, call our girlfriends and go into therapy…
SCREW THAT. Enough is enough. My girlfriends need a break. I have a lost a future every few months for the last two or four years. It is time to set practical goals. The first one was to take matters into my own hands. Or, more correctly, into Denis’ hands. So deep breath, it’s over, let’s do this. I need to erase the images that my photographic memory replay in unguarded moments. Images of long brown hair splayed out on his shoulder. Or his hand, the one that later would do treason, sifting its way through the mess of my morning hair, or my shower hair, or my evening hair, or my swimming pool hair… it had to go. Cut the tainted strands off.
The hair is now somewhere between Halle Berry and Nancy Grace. Time for a new goal before I end up with a fade!
And here I am at the making of this resolution – I will not become romantically involved with a man until my hair touches my shoulders again. And here in this blog I will record my journey through trims and relapses (inevitable), adventures and discoveries, and the construction of my new future.
Until my hair reaches my shoulders…

Somewhere between Halle Berry and Nancy Grace