Surfacing or Going Under

I have surfaced, or else I have gone under. From rainy London town to sunny Florida. A flock of cranes soared, calling out over the backyard copse of sky-stretched pines and live oaks and the sun is bright between the sparse cotton of clouds. It took something like 15 hours of travel to make it to Tampa, through Dallas-Fort Worth – my least favorite airport in the country and perhaps the world. I nearly lost it on the last leg of the journey yesterday, having to go through security a second time, and then crunched in a middle seat for the trip from Dallas to Tampa. I came pretty close to having a panic attack – but once I made it to my sister’s house, I was in pajamas and asleep in bed in two shakes.

This morning I awoke to a fluffy white arctic fox dog at my door, ready to climb in bed and cuddle me, energetically.


Me and Elsa, my sister’s doggie

Then my sister was up and then my nephew and finally my niece. I got some time to chat with each before they were off to school – my sister is an elementary teacher. And now I have the morning and a working computer and sunshine on my shoulder.

This morning is the anniversary of the Sandy Hook massacre of children and the radio was playing a touching tribute to each of the victims – descriptions of their personalities and proclivities, when they were still vital. Such short lives, and it takes me back five years to when it was the second Christmas since my sister Erika’s death. I was working at Elysian Fields, as I did over the holidays for several years, and a woman who came into the shop that morning first told me there had been an attack.

She was shaky and slightly panicked and she needed something comforting. I found her a nice chunk of black tourmaline and she clutched it gratefully and didn’t want to release it. It wasn’t till my lunch break that I heard the full story about how many children had been killed.

Elysian Fields has changed enough that it no longer feels like home to me, though I still like to pop in and shop there. I no longer have the studio at my grandmother’s house to make my home for the holidays – where I would lay out my crystals on the roof for full and new moons, where I would play music late at night and make my altar around an alabaster carving of a reclining woman – one of the few figurative pieces in my grandmother’s oeuvre.  Now those days are gone, as David, my grandmother’s friend and roommate lives up there, and I stay in the second bedroom in the line of four rooms where my grandmother is in the master, my parents in the guest room, and I am in the middle room, since Erika is no longer with us. It is a room big enough for a couple to share, and when my aunt and her husband are in Sarasota, they get the the guest room and mom and dad take the middle room.

The last time I had a partner home for Christmas was 2009. Jesus that’s a long time. I’ve been thinking about that relationship lately: I met him before I moved to India in 2006 – got tangled up before I took off and carried the torch for several years after, till I was living in New York and he was in Portland.

We spent Christmas together with my folks in Florida, making our little love nest in the studio. He brought nice presents, mostly from the store where he worked, and we spent a night camping at an Everglades State Park one night, hiking, cooking veggie gumbo, playing music. But that was the last time we saw each other. I drove him to Tampa  to drop him off at the airport and that was the last I ever saw of him. We broke up not too many months later and I told him that that was his last chance, and he blew it.

Though I normally try to keep friendships with ex-boyfriends, that was the start of a  habit of cutting off communications entirely with some exes. Those who I felt had betrayed my trust in some crucial way – cheating, lying, ghosting.

I didn’t even consider contacting him during my year in the Pacific Northwest. I don’t mind the absence. He was someone I’d loved because of how I believed he felt about me. I honestly believed that our feelings had always been mutual, but in the end it clearly wasn’t. There was more he wasn’t telling, I’m sure. I’m not interested anymore.

But, it has taken years of practice to become so disinterested. I am such a loyal-hearted lover that it just doesn’t occur to me that people (esp lovers) can act so unlovingly at times. To me, that feels so pointless. I would never welcome someone back into my life only for momentary gratification, but it seems that others don’t share those simple standards. I can’t believe that all men are so inclined, so I must admit the liklihood that I am drawn to men who are emotionally incapable of requiting my affections. Perhaps the amount I care is directly proportional to their incapability to return my feelings. Since I can’t stop loving, I must therefore build a higher threshold of behavior to be met before I open those floodgates. Here is my opportunity, again.

Despite  the lessons I’ve learned over the past ten years, I still haven’t figured out how to protect myself from falling into the same traps again and again. I create unwinable situations a plunk myself right in the middle of them, hinging my happiness on the capricious affections of those who are, for whatever reason, unable to meet me halfway. I can’t blame the other: the issue must clearly be mine to deal with.

I must focus on feeling secure and loved without needing confirmation or affirmation from others. Especially those who have shown me again and again that my feelings and happiness are unimportant to them. I can’t bank on the idea that others will change, so as much as old habits die hard, it is time to remind myself that I can’t change the past with hoping and wishing. But I can change the future with my decisions in the present.

Tis the season for going into the depths and reemerging with new insights, new passion, new love in my heart, and new faith in the future to sustain me.


Celebrating my arrival in Tampa with a wine spritzer and a bikini!

Love and miss,