Friday, September 23, 2011

And Then One Day...

I woke up and realized I had come so far and didn't know how I got there.

And then I remembered...

It was because of all of you.

You've changed my life.

You've made me realize I can do it...whatever 'it' is.

So will you come with me to the next place? To help me figure out where I'm going next? Will you let me be a part of your next 'it'?

I hope so...

I'm going to start fresh. Like, new, all over again. But wiser, more ready to listen, better able to learn: Thank you for giving me the ideas to even start.

Friday, September 16, 2011

Look At All The Pretty Stars...

When I started blogging a few years ago I was just trying to figure out what was important to say and what wasn't.

There are times where I am still trying to figure that out, but I think I've gotten just a little bit better and the trick was to be honest.

Too often, as writers, people get in the habit of saying what they think the reader wants to hear. Me?

I am happy to report that I am a mess of emotions at any given time. I worry about A and my friends; I wonder if I am making the right career decisions, or education decisions, or even triathlon training decisions.

I wonder where the world will be in a few years and how we've gotten to where we are now.

And I wonder if people want to know the real story on any of us or are they happy to just go along with whatever illusion we paint.

Me? I just want to say that I don't always know what's next, only that I believe I am capable of accepting it and adjusting.

I'm moving, yet again.

Through luck, or kismet or sheer coincidence, I have two people in my life who expect me to get better at this writing stuff and it's time for a blog home change. It's okay because I've been working on the graphics here for so long that I'd like to see how the other half lives. The truly creative half.

So, ladies and gentleman, wordpress it is.

But I need some help:

Do I want to be Bubblevishious there or BubblesDeux? This is big. I took both names earlier because I am greedy.

But I'm branding, bitches, and need your help.

I mean, I'm branding, friends, and need some input. :)

So...what do you think?

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Ladies and Gentleman, Mr. Jimmy Ruffin...

As I walk this land of broken dreams,
I have visions of many things.
Love's happiness is just an illusion,
Filled with sadness and confusion.
What becomes of the broken hearted?

I wasn't going to write this, but then I woke up and realized I'm a little tired. I think part of it is that I am exhausted from Sunday and if that triathlon wore me out, then in 20 days, I might be put on bed rest.

Part of it is that I have grown weary of people spinning the public relations machines for other people and part of it is that I just don't care to pretend anymore.

I'm watching a good friend lose his marriage it makes me sad because he is sad.

No matter how many times I hear his wife say that I hate her, or that I spread lies about her or, or, or, it doesn't matter.

Why? Because people have a right to believe what they want. They also have a right to say what they want, as long as they keep it away from me.

I've chosen to stay away from her words because I want to be able to say, honestly, that I have no idea what she's talking about when she posts on AFF.

I've listened to her husband tell me how much he loves his wife and family and I feel for them both. I want to say it's going to be okay, but what does that really mean?

The truth is, I've tried to be completely unbiased and keep saying that his wife has a right to be happy and he should respect that. We aren't who we were at 18 or 19 or 20. And there is nothing wrong with that. It is empowering to admit that we change and that our needs become something we might not have imagined.

I have to respect someone who says: I am not happy, and this will be for the best.

Maybe right now it doesn't seem like the best for all, but honestly, who gets to decide that? Only the people making the decision.

So, while I'm told how I feel, or what I think or what I'm saying, the truth is, people have every right to be happy.

Sometimes, the balance between self and family can't be found. That's sad, but there are ways to make sure that promises kept aren't all broken.

But this is why the AFF-y is not for me, I've grown tired of reading too many stories about too many breakups or too many people who don't realize that you can read a person's 'intent' in their words. For years in some cases.

Even if they can't.

If therapy has taught me nothing else, it has taught me to be honest about how important it is to follow your heart.

And that goes for people I love and people who are just passing by in life.

Sunday, September 4, 2011

Bobby Womack Called And He Wants To Tell You Something...

I wanna dedicate this song to all the lovers tonight
And I expect that might be the whole world
Because everybody needs something or someone to love
....If You Think You're Lonely Now, 1981

I thought last year was about lessons.

It wasn't. It was about being prepared to grow.

Wait. Isn't that a lesson?

Yes, I guess it is.

About 20 years ago, I made a decision to spend every year learning something different. I don't know why, at 18, this seemed so important, but it did.

I have studied religions, languages, the Vietnam War, presidential elections, water rights in third world countries and architecture.

You name it, and I've either spent a year learning about it, or I want to.

My friends call me 'The Oracle', but in reality, I'm just a girl who thinks the world is inspirational.

I never want to be complacent in my own life.

Last year I went out and met people I might not have otherwise found a reason to engage.

Some I have loved, others I have not. But in all of the cases, I have learned.

I have had an opportunity to be a friend to some people and had them return the kindness and we've all grown from the experience.

I have watched people write about their feelings but not talk about them; I've seen people act out their feelings and not accept that they are not being fair to those around them.

And I have learned.

I have learned what it means to say you're someone's friend and actually live the words. It is life-changing.

There have been a couple of times recently where I have been asked to 'be there' and each time, I have surprised myself by how willing I was to do it.

Last year, I hesitated because I worried about how things would look. Now?

When you know the truth about something, maybe that makes it easier to act. Or maybe I just made that up.

I'm finishing off a series on love on AFF because it feels like my class there is about to graduate.

And I think that is amazingly wonderful.

Sunday, August 7, 2011

Here I Am, On A Cloud...

As I drift through the sky
Shooting cupid's arrow you just might try
So don't miss baby, take your time
.....Erykah Badu, 4 Leaf Clover

I went out to find the ever elusive 'North County Trail' today and found success!

I found the 1 mile mark on the south end of the trail and unpacked my bike for a ride. I got a few miles in before I hit some flooding so I took that as a sign that it was time to go home.

Or at least to the book store.

It's funny: When I ride my bike I prefer to have nothing going on around me but the sound of my breathing, birds and the cadence of my spokes turning. It's so very unlike when I go for a run. Maybe because I often want to pretend I'm not running, or running somewhere else, I find that it's better to have music playing, or at least a song in my head.

Lately, it's been 'Jesus of Suburbia' for some reason.

But the other day it was 'our song'.

I remember the day I was walking to work while on the phone with 'The One'. Erykah Badu had just finished playing on my iPod and it hit me that I was in love. That's probably the first time that I said 'I love you' even though I knew how he had felt for weeks, or maybe months.

Even now, I love him.

Yesterday I realized how angry I am at him. Because he thought I was hiding something, he set out to find someone else, then spent a year hiding it.

Yes...the man I call 'The One' had a girlfriend for a year, while saying to me that I didn't love him enough. While arguing with me that we needed time apart. While telling me we were meant to be together. Forever.

Sometimes I don't really know what I think about this. I have been married twice and both husbands found other loves while with me. Perhaps that is my role in life: To help people find what they need.

I thought I was over the affairs of my exes, but while I was supposed to be focused on my training, it hit me for a moment that all the while I had a feeling that something was off last year, I didn't think it was another woman. I thought it was me.

Now I know it was us. That's not any easier in many ways, but it is more balanced.

I've had a lot of dating, romance and love in my life, but as I was trying to remember which way to head downhill on my bike today, I got a little hit of fear in my head about what's next.

My girlfriends here want to set me up, but I'm not interested.

Even people that I like say that I don't seem to be all that into them and maybe it's true or maybe I'm much more cautious about relationships without even realizing it.

Sort of like riding downhill. I keep the breaks at the ready, just in case. I spend probably way too much time scanning between my front tire and the road ahead, waiting for something to happen: A rock, a bad road, a chipmunk or even another cyclist. With all this preparation, I'm still not enjoying the ride downhill, which sucks because I worked so hard to ride uphill and reach the crest.

I hear that to be a better cyclist takes practice...a lot like being a better partner in a relationship.

I'm starting to forget where Tri training starts and relationship building starts.

Thursday, July 28, 2011

I Read The Graffiti In The Bathroom Stall...

Like the holy scriptures of a shopping mall
And so it seemed to confess
It didn't say much but it only confirmed
That the center of the earth is the end of the world
.....Green Day, Jesus of Suburbia

I woke up this morning to a text from a friend.

Did I know what so and so said.  No.  I did not. not tell me.

But, but, but...

I hear that the blame game is being played yet again, by people I don't like anyway.  So why listen?  I gave their issues an ear before.  Big mistake.

I get it...people lose their minds before big events. 

The truth?  Aside from pockets of wonderful, I do have to accept blame for some things that have happened over the past year or so. 

Like...not paying enough attention to where my relationship with 'The One' was going.  Or not realizing that my instinct was right. And not trying to act.  Maybe I couldn't have done anything, but I didn't try so now I will never know.

What I do know is that it is true, I was a hypocrite.  I didn't stand by him.  I chose to stay mad about our fight and while I can say people need to try harder, I was busy being angry and hurt.

For the chance to have one moment with him now to doesn't matter, I will always have a place in my heart for you...

Yes, I am to blame because I didn't see the signs 6 months ago.  I just hoped things would work out.

What have these long months taught me?  

So much.

What would I do differently?  

I am not sure.  Fewer people would have gotten in, fewer distractions.  I am correcting this now. Slowly.

But do I accept blame for some of the relationship issues?  Yes.

And if I had that one moment, I would say 'I am sorry I didn't understand, fully.'

So, see, a person can accept blame when it is warranted...

Am I to blame for someone's actions?  No, only my own.

But can blame be assigned by people for any random reason? No.  

It still makes me wonder why people assume you live and breathe 'them'.

That has only ever held true for two people for me...

A and 'The One'.  Last year, I had to let them both go in different ways.

Honestly, that is all I ever wanted to worry about these past few months.

Sometimes, while I am out training, I think about how things have gone and how much more there still is to learn.

And I wonder how life goes by so fast.

Then I get distracted by things that don't matter.  Fortunately, there is always something in the distance to force focus.

Like now...a handful of people heard a story and ran with it?  That is why I am cautious about my circle.  I would rather decide how to train better, be a better employee, friend, mother, whatever...

Then get caught up with people I don't like or talk to anyway.

Funny how Tri life keeps one sane.  Bruises and all.

Maybe more people should try this.

Monday, July 25, 2011

And I'm Not Sorry...It's Human Nature...

I'm not your bitch, don't lay your shit on me.

It is so funny that as children we played lots of 'Truth or Dare.'

I'd like to think that we would have been better served playing 'Truth and Consequences.'

My AFF experience has been interesting. Thankfully, I have a fast learning curve.

I have seen a lot of people hold other people's hands while they do things that should probably cause embarassment or at least a self-inflicted time out of sorts.

What are consequences? A few years ago, I fell in love with someone other than my husband. The consequences were that I was forced to tell A, my friends, family and some co-workers. The story is more than one person being lonely or sad or any one thing. My husband hated me. I am sure of this because he told me. It still does not mean my actions were right.

My affair meant that I opened myself up to consequences...ultimatums.

If I wanted to stay married, I would have needed to agree to counseling; to give up my best friend because he supported me; to cut off contact with 'The One' and to guve up a lot of friends, my writing and ultimately, my freedom. Why? Well, because I no longer deserved the freedom. As my then husband said...I had abused it.

Instead, I chose to leave the marriage. He didn't love me and while we were together, I did not love myself. The consequence of that decision? I had to be willing to stand on my own.

The result? A and I are happier than ever. But I still paid the price of my action. Even the people who supported me reminded me that I should have, could have, etc. And they were right. I didn't always want to hear it, but I still listened.

Why? Well, I don't want friends who only tell me I am great. I am not always. I make mistakes. I own them and learn from them.

On the Internet, we can create a godliness like no other place would allow.

Recently, I was reminded of how even when one person steps up and says: there are consequences for your actions...someone else will fill the ass kissing void.

How sad. I know what people say about others behind the scenes and then I see what they say in public. Coddling is a terrible thing.

But I should thank the coddlers because when it is noticed, I can usually fill the time that would have been spent with the coddler with other, less passive aggressively supportive activities.

All because I believe that bitching about this shit isn't enough. You have to be willing to say that actions have to have consequences, an apology only counts when it is from the heart and not covering repetitive bad behavior, and your own role in the repeat offenses needs to be reviewed and, if needed, corrected.

'The One' once wrote a blog about what was happening with my marriage. My husband wanted out, but he waited for me to act. Suicide by cop. How unfair to make someone else miserable because you are unhappy. It is even more awful to watch the train wreck and not at least dial 911.

Hello, God, Are You There...

It's me. Bubbles.

Where have you been? What have you been doing?

Oh, you've been busy? Right, I know. The world is a crazy place, isn't it. Oh, yeah, you already know that.

What do I want? Oh, not much.

I'm just sort of checking in. Thanks for taking care of A this weekend while she was on time off from work.

Yes, I know that I forget to say 'thanks' to you. It's so hard, you know? I can't take communion at church, you know. Yes, I am quite aware that this isn't your fault. But they are doing it in your name.

So I don't really go to visit you there all that often. Well, aside from work. Does that count? I sort of hope so.

My friends can't get married in your house, either. Again, not your fault. But it's done in your name.

And we're still at war. In two countries. Still. In your name. Or your brother's. Whatever. Same difference.

Dear God, are you watching over 'The One'? Yeah, yeah, yeah. Get over the past few weeks. I am trying.

But I'm still worried. I worry about a lot of things. But right now I'm worried about him. He's stubborn. Never admits to being wrong, or even wronged.

And I hear the stories and I don't believe, but I do. So, if you think about it, check on him. Plus, Chicago has a new mayor and I hear he's doing a good job so it should be a nice trip for you.

Can you also watch over my sister? She's making a mistake. Again. But she's one of those people that must learn things the hard way.

Check in on my friends, please. And my family. And since you're at it, may as well check in on everyone else around the world.


You still want to know what I want? I don't know.

Maybe I'll just figure it out as I go along. Is that okay? It isn't so bad, you know, not waiting for someone else to come along and figure things out.

Besides, I know that when I want to come visit one of your houses, wherever they are, you'll be cool with it.

For now, training has been my 'religion' of sorts. Oh! I should say thanks for giving me a body that moves. There, I think I've gotten it all out.

But if you do visit Chicago, can you just let it know that it will always be in my heart? It's just that kind of city.


(an open letter to God, just in case she has internet access)

Sunday, July 10, 2011

The Road Has Got Me Hypnotized...

And I'm spinning into a new sunrise...
"Radar Love', Golden Earring.

I was showering this morning when it finally hit me:

I'm an athlete.

I'm not fast; or built in a traditional way; I don't come by running, biking or swimming easily; and sometimes I have no idea what I'm doing...

But I'm an athlete.

In coming to sports later in life, maybe there is just a bit more of an appreciation for just how much one has to juggle to fit it all in.

My schedule looks crazy. Everything that I eat has to play a role in giving me energy, or recovery or whatever. But it's making eating so much easier for some reason for the first time ever. The stress of regular life has to take a back seat because otherwise, it will affect training.

When I was running a few years ago, I always downplayed the work. Oh, sure, I'm a 'runner', but hey, anyone can do it.

Or so I kept saying. And on many levels it is true.

But this time around feels new. For the first time, this isn't about someone else's splits, it's about mine. It has little to do with someone else telling me I can do it. But it has everything to do with knowing, on my own, that I can. It's so very scary to be accountable to yourself, but it's also quite empowering. Today, I could feel the strut before I realized it was happening. Yeah, I just finished another 10 miles on the bike. And yes, I do have 6 days of training planned next week. Watch. Me. Work. It.

I have a friend who is training for one of the same triathlons I am doing. He says my enthusiasm is infectious. This from a 'real' Ironman.

Something tells me he'd say I'm the real deal, too. His coaching is a tremendous motivation. And I try to remember to tell him all the time. Hell, your motivation (yes you, out there) is even more inspiring. Thank you.

My heart broke this week in a way I never thought possible. The more I write about 'The One', the more I was missing him. And the more I continue where 'we' are at the moment, the more I just want to train. Am I training away a person or a thing? No, not at all. I’m training ‘in’ myself.

Train. Goodbye. Grow. Start all over until the goodbye part is gone.

Yeah, this can be done.

(image from

Friday, July 8, 2011

One. Awesome. Search.

It took me forever to decide what to title this blog.

Then it took even longer to figure out a tagline. My blurb. An intro.

What is awesome?

I still don't always know.

But I went with it anyway.

And then I began writing a cast of characters and people said...well, how did you find 'The One' and I realized...well, I didn't make it clear. How did he get his name? Uh, it wasn't always 'The One'. For the longest time it was 'Chato', but I didn't want to use that here.

I wanted to start from scratch.

But having someone called the one implies an end. Yet there isn't one. There is, as always, a cast of characters to work through. Real people. Real feelings. Real stories. Real joy. Real pain.

So yes, there is 'The One', and it is just part of the full story. One I didn't have a road map to tell until I realized that I get to make the map.

X marks the spot.

Oh, I Know Something About The Ways Of Love...

Goodbye, goodbye, goodbye.
.....Oingo Boingo

A is home for a one night only appearance. I was happy she was leaving for camp, now I am happy she is home. She is working with an older group of girls this year so her time spent at camp will be slightly different.

For one thing, the older girls say goodbye in different ways than the younger girls.

Older girls know camp will happen again next year and so goodbye is not forever. Younger girls think this is it. The last goodbye.

It usually isn't.

But A is smart because she knows sometimes it is.

It is funny how memories cloud goodbyes. Some people see a time of joy while others see pain and still others see a combination.

This week has become a week of goodbyes. Red says it means something else is opening. I feel like I have tried, on many levels, to let life be. Maybe I have simply over-estimated my role or non-role.

But here we are...

Smarty asked what I wanted. I want to train. I went swimming tonight and tomorrow is a long bike ride day. She asked how I do it. I made a joke.

The truth? I am training my way through goodbyes. I hadn't realized it until I was in the pool tonight. I have spent the last year asking people to be who they are, and accepting.

And it was wonderfully enlightening.

Goodbyes. It is how I first got started as a runner. I needed to say goodbye to my mother after she died, then a marriage, now...the past year.

And now it is time for a more iron-centered focus. And an apartment search. And to go back to letting life just 'be'. And, like the younger and older girls at camp, I will just be reminded that there is often more to come. Next year.

And working through all those goodbyes. Like at camp each year. Goodnight, A. Goodnight, blog. See you tomorrow.

Let's Do The Time Warp Again...

I've been wanting to use that title for a long time now. I almost 'wasted' it back in June, but this morning it dawned on me that now is the time to do a little dance. Get a little jiggy. Shake my bootie, etc.

You see, I woke up and saw my Facebook page looking like a reunion of the best kind.

After all of my time blogging at 'that other place' I am finally done. And that means I lose out on 'seeing' so many of my friends because they are still there, right?


Thanks to a lovely woman who will remain nameless...the best thing just happened: We're all partying on Facebook like it's 1999. Or 2007. Whichever you liked better.

And my heart sang because I had missed so many of these amazing people.

So, right at the moment when summer looked to be getting more difficult because of my training schedule, a little fun came barreling into me and made me smile. Made me a bit nostalgic, too, but mostly, it made me happy.

So...Thanks, MarkyZ. Why? For bringing FB users from all over the world together and not charging us....even when the rumors out there tell us otherwise.'ve asked about it a couple of 'The One' got his pseudonym. And how it impacts 'the search to end all searches'.

Thursday, July 7, 2011

'Cause Everyone's Heart Doesn't Beat The Same...

I just recently starting ramping up my triathlon training. I have been good about sticking to my schedule. Right now, I'm running about 25 miles a week; biking another 20 and doing daily strength training routines. Last night, I added swimming.

Or tried.

It seems that I have forgotten how to swim. Apparently, it's been enough years that my arms don't know what to do; my feet don't seem to want to kick; my heart rate never got down to a normal pattern during my laps and I have forgotten to breathe out while above water, not breathe in while I am under.

But I'm going back tonight. Yes, right after I do another round trip to drop off A at camp, and then a five mile run, I will be back in the pool for an hour. What will I accomplish? I am not sure yet. Perhaps it isn't always about accomplishments, but rather an effort. Sounds like a metaphor for my dating life this past year. It often feels like I have never gotten so much wrong all at once before, but maybe I am simply romanticizing some memory or another.

I went to see 'The Actor' over the weekend. He is in my favorite play right now and I made the trip down to cheer him on, and, on some level, to see what we felt after 10 months of not seeing each other.

Funny...ask anyone and they will say he adores me. He does. And I him. Total love. But sometimes, people live their lives doing what they want and they don't always remember there are other people in the universe.

Ask us why we stopped seeing each other and I will say that he did something that he knew would hurt me. He will say I held a grudge because of it. We would both be right.

On Saturday morning he told me the truth about his new girlfriend. She worships him. She believes he is perfect. His words, verbatim. And he doesn't like it. But he does accept it.

His issue with me? I don't. My feelings for him are based on knowing he is human. That's not the same. And I get it.

I left MD on Saturday and cried on the way home. Or at least until NJ. Why? Because this is me. The woman who loves people for their flaws and their perfections. How else can I be honest with anyone? I don't want a god. I want an equal.

'The Actor' is my friend, but on Saturday morning, even though I know he loves me...he made me remember why I was afraid to see him.  I was worried he would do or say what he knew would hurt the most, and I was afraid I wouldn't know how to feel.

Sadly, I felt just what I was supposed to, I guess.

I was reminded of the day my ex-husband told me that it wasn't that he didn't love me, it was that his mistress made him feel like a king.  I did not.  He told me he was torn between us.  I asked if he loved her and he said he wasn't sure.  So I told him to be with her.  To treat her well.  To be honest.  Why? I guess it is because I don't ever want to force a choice and have someone regret their decision. I have a lot of stories like this. One day, I won't have to say this to someone. I am sure of this.

But anyway, back to now. Even with someone you love, sometimes you just have to step back and be prepared to be a friend when, and if, they need you.

Even if you end up being the odd person out.  Or especially when.

I guess I am a far better friend than a lover. That's not such a tragedy, you know?

So tonight, I'm off to swim. I expect to be in the pool every night for the next four weeks. Why? Because I am all heart, even when I am very little skill.

Oh, wow, this does sound like a metaphor for my love life.

And that's not such a bad thing, either.

(image from

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Maybe You Will Always Be...Just A Little Bit Out Of Reach...

Usually, at this time of year, I am returning from my trip to Chicago. I love the city during "Taste of Chicago" because it was there that I truly knew what it meant to be falling in love with "The One".

This year...I went to DC for a day and saw "The Actor", but more on that later.

Now, I want to talk about what was happening around this time last year.

I had just seen 'The One' for a few days and we talked about all that had gone wrong and all that had gone right. I told him that when I left Chicago, I would be doing it as a single person. That I thought we should take time to think about what we wanted or needed, but that the only place I really wanted to be was with him. I also mentioned that I was still having the trust issues of him having left me in Austin and I needed time to work on this.

Meanwhile, back at home, both 'The Prince' and 'The Actor' were checking in on me. I think they knew how hard it was for me to be in Chicago.

While I was driving back to New York, my cell phone started going off like crazy. None of the texts were really to me, but rather, about 'The Prince'. Our hostess from Maryland was trying to figure out how she could find time alone with him in DC at our next blogger bash and people kept asking me how to answer. To be honest, I wasn't sure. No one realized that he and I had agreed to share a room with 'The Actor' and one other blogger, and I didn't want to be the one telling everyone so I just said: It will work out. I honestly believed it would be just fine.

And there it started...weeks of learning that regardless of if we called it a blogger bash or a swinger's party or a rodeo in the outback, people made plans to be with people and then hid the plans. People cried and they manipulated and they told strange stories to get others to do what they wanted.

One gentleman asked if I would be his birthday present...

Yeah...exactly. And that's all good, except, knock on wood, I didn't go to these parties to hook up. Ask Smarty, I was always upset because I was trying to get out of them. They weren't fun for me. They were work. And frustrations. And lots of other things. But I am a firm believer that no one else had to know about this, at least not the guests.

So, here we were, in the weeks leading up the DC Blogger Bash and all I wanted was to be far away from it. Now there is a weekend I wish I could un-do and never do again.

But, wait, that's a story for later. For the time being, 'The Actor' and I were having a blast doing the silliest of things like museums and making popcorn and sharing stories about our mis-spent youth. Ahh, what a start to summer it was...Oh, and I was quite sure ‘The Prince’ was in love, or something like it, with our hostess, and that she felt the same.

And there is the story you won’t hear in the Grease-edition.

Monday, July 4, 2011

A Year In A Blogger's Life...Part 1.

Just the other day, Smarty wrote a post about the night that we met.

I can't believe it has been over a year. And what a year it has been. I am so torn. Undo all of last year? Do it all over again exactly as it happened? Change some things and not others? Who the fuck knows at this point?

But last June that was all just a future memory. You see, I was off to Maryland to meet Red and Smarty and I couldn't have been more excited. Well, let me not exaggerate. I didn't want to go to Maryland. Not really. I had a bad feeling about the party. I wasn't sure why, except that having been on AFF for so long, I think I was pretty good about reading online 'people' there and I didn't want to meet our hostess, 'The Princess'. From her blog, which I only read because 'The Prince' said I should check it out, I thought that we had little in common and even less of a reason to meet than my friend Smarty thought.

Plus, I know I can be quite definite about people I spend time with, especially when I have to pay for things like hotels, etc., but hey, I was about to meet my girls! I remember calling 'The Actor' and after having said 'no' to him for almost a year, I said 'yes'.

And that's how we ended up going to 'The Hostess's' party together, but not really. You see, he had warned me that he would be busy playing party host that night so I shouldn't be too upset if we hardly saw each other. I laughed because clearly this guy didn't know me.

Then I called 'The Prince' and said...wanna? The truth is that he and our hostess had something going on that I couldn't explain. I'd seen some of the emails and texts and posts about each other and I sort of thought it was comical, or even not really real, until I saw it in person.

Before even arriving in Maryland, I learned that our hostess had lied to her husband about who our fair Prince was. That led to a nice chain of events, which is why so many of us don't speak anymore.

But on that night, I was out with a bunch of bloggers who had never done a 'blogger bash' before. Having done a ton of them, I was totally prepared to do very little. Oh, sure, I played kissing games, and drank, and collected business cards from the couples at the party, but for the most part, I watched.

I watched "Brother Dom", as Smarty calls him, and his wife try to decide what they were doing; I watched Red, the smartest of the bunch, sit in her chair on the lawn and watch the nuttiness. I watched 'The Prince' and 'Brother Dom's' wife come out of a room, clearly having hooked up, then I gasped as Mrs. Dom kissed me on the lips and said 'thanks' for the time with good old Prince. Uh, you’re welcome?

Then, later that night, as 'The Actor' and I stood in the kitchen together talking, 'The Prince' walked up to me, kissed me and told me that he and our hostess had gone 'swinging' as it were. Smarty says she doesn’t get why this happened (uh, because we’re dealing with swingers?) because Prince was my boyfriend. Nothing could have been further from the truth.

Congrats! The story can end here, right? Everyone is happy. Our Hostess is about to become very popular; Prince got what he wanted; I liked the Actor more than I had expected to and Smarty and Red were real life girls now and we could plan our world-wide takeover.

Nope, sillies. Nope. You see, by the middle of the night, Hostess’s husband was not in a good mood; her best friend was still upset over a fight they had before all of the guests arrived; The Actor was passed out on Scotch; Brother Dom was in a room, in tears, with me trying to cheer him up; Smarty’s husband had met someone who seemed to like him way, way, too much for later comfort and I was exhausted from driving through the entire state of MD, twice, lol.

Oh...and then the morning came. Our Hostess overheard someone say that Prince Charming had actually come with me, not with Red. Gasp! Now I have to listen to her tell our breakfast table, over and over again, how he knocked her nose ring out; then I got to hear her husband tell me how she lied to him about Prince's real deal. She had told her husband he was Red's date. Hubby was smart enough to know there was a lie, just not what to do about it. So I apologized because none of us wanted anything other than a fun weekend. He said I was being silly. I decided I liked him and wanted to be friends forever.

Oh...and while all was well in the world...Brother Dom was looking at bruises on his wife and allowing a new story to brew: That we had an angry black man in our circle who left marks on his wife. He later decided to admit that wasn't what happened, but not before he wrote a post about it accusing the Prince of some un-charming behavior. Recently, our Hostess said I demanded that the post be removed. Wrong-o. I asked Brother what really happened and he told me. Then he and Prince talked and Brother removed the post on his own. However, I think the re-telling of an angry, viscious Bubbles demanding blog retribution sounded better.

Princess has recently decided that none of the stories that counter her unicorns and bunnies fantasy are true. But they are. And they get worse. And I sometimes get mad at Smarty because she wants to tell these stories.

They all, every single one of them, made me cry. Want to know why? Because I spent my year in love with 'The One'. That's why. I only wanted to be with him. But I was in a perpetual time out and so I went off to parties to learn more about people. And I grew close to so many of them. They became my friends, people I love and respect and will/have/would go to the ends of the earth for, probably way too often.

And what I learned, repeatedly, is that we are exactly what we think we are, no more and no less. Even when we pretend to be something else.

Last year, I watched a wife in an open marriage lie to her husband, constantly. I watched a couple swing, then not, then swing again. I watched Prince engage women I was like: WHAT? I listened to the Actor through all of his bad days and good.

I made friends. I lost friends. I went places I wanted to go and to some places I hated even thinking of traveling to and I learned an awful lot.

For every 'fantastic' story, there is someone thinking...yeah, this isn't so fantastic, is it?

But wait...we didn't all implode until about six weeks later. That's when the real hurt and anger started. I guess I have to wait for Smarty to start writing about August before I can chime in. Hurry Smarty. Hurry.

Riff, baby, if you’re out there, wait until she tells you about DC, or STL, or Vegas…or, or, or...

Thursday, June 30, 2011

You Want What Lovers Have...

It feels like so many years ago that 'The One' and I were making plans to meet.

A friend of mine from AFF, 'Smurfette', was throwing a birthday party in Rhode Island. I was just understanding that my marriage was over and she invited me to get me of New York for a weekend. It seems that my time on AFF has been filled with girlfriends finding things for me to do to get over a broken heart.

Sidenote: I dare say I am not good at being in love. New blog topic for another day.

When 'Smurfette' asked me to join her and her swinger friends I didn't hesitate. Not because I was a swinger, but because I was going to ask 'The One' if he would fly to New York from Chicago and then drive to Rhode Island with me.

I asked. He didn't hesitate with his yes. And my life was changed forever.

When we met at LaGuardia airport I was still a bit in shock that we were doing this. However, the next three hours flew by while we laughed and told stories as though we had known each other forever. Maybe, in some way, we have. Or had. Whatever.

When we got to our hotel we ordered in and watched ESPN. In another time, on another site, we wrote about this night. Two perspectives but the same outcome. I woke up and could finally say that this was no crush, no joke, nothing but the real thing.

We took our new relationship to a swinger party that weekend and we didn't swing. I danced and drank and he observed and watched over me. A year later I learned what our attendance at that party had done.

You see, I was some random girl from NYC in a red silk strapless dress and silver stilettos and he was a random boy from Chicago in black. But apparently, when we kissed, or danced, or sat together just being, another woman, in another couple, asked her husband why he didn't look at her the way 'The One' looked at me. And their marriage was broken forever.

Years of her swinging, and his allowing it, had brought them to this...a stage of resentment. When the husband told me this during their divorce I didn't know what to say. His answer: We had done nothing but share a moment with a fantastic couple who thought swinging could save their marriage. Instead, two random people showed them that what they really wanted was to just be able to look at someone with passion and love.

Does swinging 'work'? That depends. But I do argue with my friends that it has a shelf-life and that at the end of the day, people want to be loved by someone they consider their partner. Complete love. You know, grow old love. Maybe not everyone. But lots more people than will admit this to themselves or others.

Swimming, Biking and Running Through...

Through what?

It isn't pain. And it isn't grief. Ever wake up and just feel a difference but you aren't sure what it is? It isn't necessarily a bad difference, just something that makes you stop for a minute.

Wait, I should bring you up to speed. You see, last night I had dinner with four friends. Mercedes *recently named in Smarty's blog*, Doc, Smarty and TallPrince, not to be confused with 'The Prince'.

We went to a diner and I thought we had a blast. Actually, Prince said he thought so, too. So did Doc. Mercedes just loved getting together with us, especially 'the girls' because she says we don't do it nearly enough. She's probably right. Smarty wasn't so high on the event. Or, perhaps because I was looking forward to seeing everyone, I didn't really process what she meant when she said it was both 'boring' and that she was done with 'this stuff'. I think she said 'stuff'. She may have said 'shit'.

What 'stuff' I wanted to know...the stuff of bloggers getting together. That's what she meant.

But, wait, aren't we all friends? I know Mercedes (and I really want to call her 'Pouncey' here so I think I will) and I are Smarty's friends. We've spent time at each other's homes; taken trips together; cried, laughed, cursed about life together. Hell, we've had lots of wine together. And Coke. So we are friends.

But what about TallPrince and Doc. Are they are friends? Well, I consider them to be my friends. We talk all the time, we've spent time laughing, trying to dance, eating, cheering on sports teams and now, in the case of TallPrince, listened to me worry about my upcoming triathlons. So, they are my friends. But are they Pouncey’s friends? Smarty’s friends? No, they aren’t. And last night, even though I met each of these guys because of Smarty and Pouncey in one way or another, I was reminded that not everyone is a ‘person’ to everyone else. Sometimes, you never lose your blog persona. You’re just two blog people getting together.

Are bloggers, by definition, too quick to use words like 'friendships' and 'relationships' because we think we know other people because of their words?


I tried to explain to Smarty yesterday that these 'great' stories we may have are dangerous. For those people who haven't been through some of these situations, they sound magical. Sexual freedom, hot mess behavior and the like? Awesome! But there is a downside. Sexual frustration, hurt feelings, STDs, you want me to go on? Right, I don't want to either.

But, hey, when you live a life outside of this stuff, you start to think it's fantastic.

The truth is that while the stories may need to be told, every single one of them needs a word of warning: 'Children, do not try this without supervision.' We are still talking about people at the end of the day. Real people with real problems or successes. And while I can’t verbalize it correctly, the story of ‘celebrity’ bloggers on sex-sites means little to the outside world. But there…Wow. It’s the universe’s center point. Will I write about this shit?

Sure, I'll write about it. I'll write about the feelings I have about poly vs monogamy; lying vs truth, fast vs fiction.

But I'll also write about training for the longest race distance I've ever tried. And how scared I am. But how I am now in love with Diana Nyad and I think she's inspiring me to say 'fuck it, it's possible'. Oh, she asked for quotes for her new blog. Maybe she'd like that one?

As for us, the people who write blogs. Who are we? Depending on where we write we are either noticed or not, popular or not, wanted or not.

But we are also just people.

I might be Bubbles, traveling party super hero looking for love...or I could be Bubbles, 1000 lb wonder dude in my mom's basement.

You can decided for yourself, I guess. Or, you can fill in the blanks.

Hell, that's what a lot of people on AFF did for each other. Why should Blogger be different?

Saturday, June 25, 2011

Soul Love...And This Love Won't Let Me Go...

Overheard at a diner yesterday:

"Just follow your heart and ask him. If he says yes, it's meant to be. If not, move on. There are plenty of other men out there."

Wise words from an 8-year old girl.

As adults, how often do we (women) remember how wise we were at 8 or 10 or 12? Not often enough.

We date, and then marry, men about whom we often have had our doubts and then we are confused about why it doesn't work out.

I have spent the last year waiting. Or so I thought. This was no one's fault but my own. I wouldn't let anyone in fully because I was waiting for a sign. A sign of what? Who knows.

"The One" predicted that year apart for us and maybe I believed it on some level. But what have I learned this past year? I learned that I would be okay sending off "The Girl" to college; I took myself to Paris and London and even had a stop-over in Geneva where I almost got lost; I started running again; I traveled to Chicago, Denver, DC, Las Vegas and Boston. I started learning French. I learned to knit. I dropped off of a sex-site, I remembered to write, I became an urban gardener and I re-discovered the joy of me.

"The One" might not recognize me now. I hardly recognize myself when compared to person he met three years ago.

So what is a year? A long time. Feelings change, decisions are made, plans are made and new paths are staked out. Can you love someone not near you? Absolutely. But without realizing it, life went on. And it did a pretty good job, if it does say so itself.

I said that I would undo a lot of last year, but at a diner, a random young girl made me think for a few minutes and the truth is: I own all of last year. And it was pretty amazing.

Image: Massiel Mancebo, Illustrator.

Friday, June 24, 2011

We Only Said Goodbye With Words…

I was thinking about the men who have come into my life over the past year. I don’t think I (or you, dear readers) need a cheat-sheet yet, but maybe one day I’ll write one anyway.

And what have they all taught me?

That love means many things to many people, but that friendship means even more things.

You see, friendship between men and women can be tricky.

And, because I have so many married male friends, friendship with them is even trickier sometimes.

I often joke that there needs to be a book written about the types of things married men look for, and it isn’t always sex. But no one would believe me. So, instead, I will tell you a little story.

I have a friend “The Libra” and we’ve been friends for four years now. I met him before I met “The One” and that was always a sore point for “The One” and I. He always thought Libra and I had been sexually intimate, which has never been true.

What we have been is emotionally intimate, which I can totally see is often just as bad, if not worse. We have listened to each other when family members have died; when our spouses (when I was married) have told us how much they don’t (or didn’t) love us and so on until the end of time of sad things spouses sometimes do.

Libra has had a number of affairs and yes, he did ask me out because he was interested. Then we started spending time telling jokes and watching movies and going to bars and we became friends.

Sometimes, married people want friends.

Libra has done many things for me, including being one of the first people to check on me after my surgery over a year ago. I consider him to be a great friend, but that means I sometimes have to tolerate some things I don’t like. For instance, we were supposed to have drinks yesterday. But, when I didn’t hear from him on Sunday or Monday, I figured he would get busy. Instead, he texted on Wednesday to say he would see me at 5:00 PM that night. That would have been great if I hadn’t already made plans because I thought Thursday was his preference.

We got into a nice discussion about timing and he decided that this was a great time to explain all of the ‘responsibilities’ he has and the ‘hoops’ he has to go through to get a night out.

And while I ‘hear’ what he is saying…I think that I have finally grown weary of the men I know assuming my job or responsibilities are less important than theirs.

Yes, I don’t have small children, but I still have a child. And as far as I can see, I am not aware of anyone who is a doctor, cop of firefighter in my life, therefore most jobs are as important (or not) as mine.

Isn’t it interesting that as we age, we lose sight of certain things. Things like: How to communicate. Libra and I won’t speak for a few days or weeks because he has to be mad at someone and I’m easier to be mad at because I require the least. I get that. But what has developed is that I’m starting to remove everything that doesn’t work from life just to make things simpler.

So…go figure. I just realized why people have affairs in many cases: They treat their spouses like they treat strangers, sometimes. Actually, sometimes it’s worse.

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Standing In Line To See The Show Tonight...

The thing about having an affair when you're a parent is that you doubt everything about yourself.

If I could go back in time, I would tell my 'pre-affair' self to run far from the relationship I was in at the time.

I would have told myself to listen to what I knew was the right, which was to focus on A and leave the rest of my life to grow like ivy, on its own.

Oh, fuck it. Who am I kidding?

No, I would not have done that. I would have simply told 'The One' that I loved him sooner than I did instead of waiting for the 'right' time.

And, for all I know, the end result of our breaking apart would still have happened. But the hindsight of knowing that I would have had those extra few weeks of 'love' would have been nice.

I started to look at cost of living indexes for Philadelphia today. I remember doing this for Chicago about two years ago. Could I make it there in a relationship and out of one? It's part of the issue of being in a relationship for me: I need to know that I can take care of myself if it ends.

Sometimes, I wonder if that dooms the relationship at the onset, but I don't know how to be any other way. I think men are given a pass for this because that's just how society works. Women are supposed to still know, on some level, that someone will be taking care of them.

It's the beauty of being independent. And the horror of it, too.

I can't always make a date because I have work or some other committment that comes up last minute, but that could come across as not giving enough.

I go through this with friends, too. I find that some of them are totally understaning. And those are usually the ones with jobs more intense than mine. Or children. Same difference I guess.

I spent last year learning a lot about myself. Some of it I truly did not like. Some of it was wonderful to know.

But all of it was what has brought me to this point...this place of being able to say that there was a point where all I did was smile on the outside and be sad on the inside.

I wouldn't go back and be 'that' Bubbles again because it really doesn't feel like it was all that long ago.

So Come On Give Me The Chance...

To prove I am the one who can
walk that mile.
...Adele, 'One and Only'.

Last night I learned that my boss is going to be leaving in a few months. Just over six, to be exact.

I'm a lot of things over this, but mainly annoyed at how it has been handled. However, he's the first to say that is business.

I knew this was coming because he has been kind enough to prepare me for the possibility of change.


So while I have had time to think about how this affects me (it doesn't affect my job), I have also had time to think about why I'm still in New York. The truth? I have used every 'but' excuse for the past few years:

But A needs to get through school;
But I need to get through the divorce;
But I need to recuperate from surgery;
But A needs me to be close to her campus;
But I like my boss.


A is out of high school
I'm divorced and recovered;
She doesn't need me to be close, in fact, she's already planning to live off campus next year and to be working part-time to establish PA residency.
My boss is leaving.

I've had four bosses in NYC in almost 20 years and loved each one. All four just told me to go. How funny. They were just waiting on me.

But, but, but.

For so long, I just assumed I would be in Chicago after A left for college that I didn't allow myself to think about where I wanted to live. Chicago was it.

Now that I have had a few weeks to think about this again, I realize the list was longer: Stay in NYC or go to DC, Chicago or Philadelphia.

That's where the major non-profit jobs are located. So, it was just decide to narrow down a location, right?

DC is a lot like NYC in terms of costs. So...I could just stay here.

Chicago? Well, I love that city so much. But, maybe it's not meant to be right now. And well, Paris is the 10 year plan and Chicago could very well slow that down.

So that narrows it down to Philadelphia. Hey, I love soul.

I could go on and on about how now is not the time, but it is.

I've stayed for far too long because of other people. I've held off because of other people. I've waited on other people.

My heart is always going to belong where it belongs so it's just time to take it to a new city while it hangs out and does its own thing.

Monday, June 20, 2011

The River's Wide, We'll Swim Across...

Yesterday I ran eight miles. I also biked another eight, just because.

That's the longest workout I have done in four years. You see, I used to love running and biking and swimming. And then I got divorced and I became afraid of going out and accidentally bumping into my ex-husband.

Not afraid because he's a menacing figure, but more afraid that running was his thing, not mine.

But yesterday I took a drive to Rockefeller State Park, mainly because a post by Iamkionda reminded me of how much I love trail running, and partly because I missed the smell of spearmint, the cows grazing and the swans.

Oh, and I missed the sun.

And, a long ninety-minutes later and I had eight miles under my belt. I also had swollen fingers, a dry mouth and a happy heart.

I bet if more people understood how much thinking you can get done on a run, then shoe stores would always be in demand.

I thought about "The One" and I thought about "The Prince" and then I thought a bit about "Renaissance" and "The Actor", but mostly I thought about me.

And I thought about why I prefer to run alone. You see, no one can really get you out there, it's something you have to do for yourself. Just like anything in life, you need to really want it. Your mind can't get in the way. You know, like what I have let the last year of ‘wanting’ or ‘finding’ or whatever do to me. Get in the way.

I remember when I finished the NYC Marathon six years ago. I was about 200 meters from the finish line and a New York City cop said 'congratulations, Marathoner' and I started crying.

No way did I believe I would have run that race a few years ago, yet there I was. Finishing…Medal and all.

I doubt most people who knew me thought I could do this. I wasn't a seasoned runner with years of experience, I was a semi-novice runner with drive. And a body built for distance, not speed. But that's the beauty of running...there is something for everyone.

Like yesterday. My body gave me a good solid few miles and my mind gave me a respite from thinking about things like life and love.

Maybe I'll never get the relationship stuff right when it comes to dating, but I get the rest of life pretty right. Like I was reminded a few years ago: I'm all heart.

Sometimes, that makes up for everything else.

(photo of Ash Loop at Rockefeller State Park, NY)

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

When You Were Young And Your Heart...

Was an open book...

Oh, wait, I hope to never see the phrase 'I'm an open book', ever again.

I am sure I will, but I bet I will always be traumatized by it to some extent. Nope, nevermind. Just annoyed. I don't traumatize easily.

I spent the weekend playing catch-up with my life. I really had no idea how much I was leaving undone until I had to focus on a number of things all at once.

You know...the sister with the assorted problems; my daughter's friend who is now living with us after her mother kicked her out over the weekend; 'The Prince'; writing, more writing.

My good friend, 'The Writer', and I talked on Sunday. I truly love this guy. He and I are in similar, yet different, places if that makes any sense.

I think that over the past year or so, we've told each other a million things and what's great about him is that he never hesitates to tell me when I am being foolish. What's even more interesting is that unlike most people, I actually listen to him.

He tells me I need to write. He also tells me that I have a talent. I hear him, yet I keep getting sidetracked between the present and the past in terms of what to write. What I want to do is take off three months and hide away in some little place and write by day and stalk the streets at night. However, the particular gig doesn't pay well. Go figure.

I bought 'Renaissance' a present this weekend. A book. Yes, I am so clever. It seemed like an easy purchase and yet he seems very hard to buy things for because his taste is impeccable and he probably just gets what he needs or wants when he feels like it.

I don't think this guy could lie if I paid him, so when he says he loves the gift....he must.

I've got a story to tell about running. Maybe that's where I'll start next.

Oh, and in the grand scheme of things, being a sex-site drop-out is fucking fantastic. That's right, not even Smarty's famous "Just one more thing" can get me to go back to AFF.

Sorry, Smarty. I still heart you.

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

A Funny Thing Happened...

On the road to staying away from dating...

I met men who made me laugh.  That is such a big thing, you know, to be able to laugh.

'Renassaince' is a perfect example of this.  He is funny.  And smart. And writes me wonderful poems and emails and he's also a bit 'definite' and not prone to silliness, not really.

But there is something about him that makes him just the right kind of different.

I have been trying to find a name for him, but nothing seems right.  So 'Renassaince' it is.  

Before I had an idea of who he 'was' I told him I wrote here.  I am sure he has read some, if not all, of what I have written so far.  Sometimes, I would have preferred that he had read my AFF posts instead.  I feel as though they are more cohesive in thought. This place, while 'home' now, isn't following any timeline or pattern.

I have been writing out of order, switching tenses, saving thoughts for other posts.  Perhaps being too vague for a new reader to know what I am.  Or what I am trying to do.

But, in fairness, only I know what story I am really writing.  

And I ask for patience.  For myself, from myself, for other...from others.

But this guy, who makes me smile and makes me laugh, well...we will all learn how new relationships take off or don't.  I just know that I like what I have seen so far.  

He's new. He's multifaceted.  He's like a renaissance.

I Told Her I'd Never Fall In Love...

But Now I Know Better.
.....New Edition.

What is my relationship with 'The Prince'? That is something I've asked myself since the moment we met.

What. Are. You?

To be honest, you're either a prince or you aren't, right?

Can you be both things at once? Neither? I guess so.

I have resentments that I have tried to explain a few times to him, but I also see in him the man he knows he is, not the one others believe him to be. Maybe that's unfair to him, me and them. After everything is said, this person is a friend.

Now, I'm not a savant or a psychic. I'm just brutally honest about people, at least to myself.

Over the past year I have watched 'The Prince' and his saga unfold and each step of the way I have asked 'why?'.

Why does he do certain things and not do others?

Why does he hold women to a different standard than the one he has for himself?

Why, especially back in August, was he not totally aware of what he had done and how that one action, not speaking up, has led us to where we are now?

Why. Why. Why. And how come?

My male friends think he is a douche, even though they know I hate the feminization of words to show disgust towards men, so they stick with: Asshole.

My female friends 'Friends?' split the difference between him being great or him sucking. It depends on the day and who they are.

What I learned is that I am happy to pull away from the women who put 'The Prince' ahead of their relationships with me, and yes, there were a few who did that.

I don't know if they will, or can, admit it, but it was easy enough to see. They worried more about his feelings than mine, they cared more about getting him to engage them than they did about maintaining friendships with me. To be honest, I got it. Hell, we all met on an adult site so why would I be hurt that women put a man ahead of their female friendships?

Why, indeed.

But I was hurt. No, nevermind, AM hurt. So now that we have that out of the way, back to the backlog of posts that I hand-wrote, but was too tired to type.

Friday, June 3, 2011

I Let My Melody Shine...

I am often curious about how others see 'love'. 

I have been wildly in love twice.  Once with A's dad and once with 'The One'.

I will always love A's dad because he is a part of me through her.

'The One'?  No one will ever be him. That is both wonderful and sad but I wouldn't change it for the world.

Last summer I spent time getting to know two men. One, 'The Prince' and the other 'The Actor'. They could not be more different from each other or 'The One'.  Not even if they tried.

Perhaps that is how I came to let them in to my life.  They each brought a different sense about life, friendship and love to me.

I hope I brought something to them.  Bring?  Is that the better word? They are both still in my life in different ways.

I love them both, but in that kind of love that defies traditions, logic or definition

They have each taken care of me in different ways; each listened to me; watched me cry or laugh or just left me alone to think.

Odd, these two.  Two people I did not want to meet.

And here we are, a year later, and they have each shaped me through their own behaviors. I learned to trust in some ways and become more guarded in others.  Or maybe it is just that I am guarded in new ways.  Or I just think I am.

They have each dated women I have either known, or known about, and I have grown from that as well.

To learn what drives people to some and not others is interesting.  And frightening.

30 days to write a story.  I can't do that without mentioning the people who have played a role in a year I often wish I could undo.  But without them, or this past year, I would not be changed.  And change is good.  So, here we are. A prince, an actor and a story.

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Tomorrow You'll Be Thinking To Yourself...

'Where did it all go wrong?'
....All American Rejects

Five years; 593 posts; countless hours spent writing, editing, posting and re-editing.

World's Largest Sex Site? Or World's Largest Collection of unhappy people?

Now that is a question for the ages.

I woke up the other day and realized that for many reasons, logging into AFF disgusts me in many ways. I can fool myself and say that being on the site that long didn't change me, but it did. Did I affect the site in any way? Perhaps.

Okay, maybe. I have met some of the most amazing people there. And I've met nut jobs. No, honestly, they are insane in ways I could have never imagined.

But, because the site encourages its members to go beyond the 'lighter shade of pale' in how we interact with people, all sorts of things happen.


People lie to themselves about what they want; but, if they use the site for sex and blogging, they can lie all the way to the top of the popular lists;

People hate their families for allowing their bad behavior. And they write about it;

People don't like themselves. And they write about it without even realizing it;

People want to re-live their version of "16 Candles" without the quality acting. No Long Dong Duck for them. Just lots of nuts.

People are not having sex. Not me. Them. We know this because they write about it. A lot. I honestly believe if they used the site for dating or even just casual sex more often, some of them would be happier. Or at least less hateful.

How to explain this to the average reader? I just don't even know where to start.

I met the love of my life there. In that place. No one will ever be 'The One' and that is both good and bad.

I asked Smarty the other day if I could write a book of love letters to a man I'm no longer with just because I still feel the same way. She said I could. So I will.

But at the same time, I want to understand a place that helped shaped my life in many ways.

So...Love. Learning. Fulfillment. Disgust.

Oh, wait, that sounds like being in love and being on AFF. Yeah, I guess I can do this writing stuff.

Who knew?

Sunday, May 22, 2011

I Was A Willow Last Night In My Dreams...

I bent down over a clear running stream...

....'Crazy on You', Heart

I picked up a new yellow journal this week. It is the same PacMan Moleskin that I have been using for a few weeks now, but I needed to start from scratch.

I wanted to give myself a do-over of sorts.

You see, it's been a rough few weeks.

My friend lost a sister;

My best friend is finally having to admit that he's not in the relationship he wants;

Another friend lost his mother;

A new friend is mourning the anniversary of losing not just one, but two mothers;

"The Girl" is home from college and feeling very stressed.

And my faith in others has been bruised a bit in the most insane of ways. You know how something unexpected takes the wind of out your sails? Well, there. Then you know how I feel.

Or felt.

Putting it behind me, right? Getting over it. Learning that sometimes, people care more about those who leave than those who stay.

Writing about this whole sex in the city existence I have (as my therapist has called it because I wouldn't have thought of it).

It's all a lot to work out at once. I kept telling myself that I would focus, and I haven't.

That I would stick to a theme here, and I have, but at the same time I have traveled off of my own path.

Write a book. Train for triathlons. Open my heart. Forget that it is hurting in the first place.

Right now, I'd rather fly to the sun on wings made of paper than do one of those things.

And that's exactly why I'm trying so hard to remind myself that the hardest things to do are the most necessary.

So, today, A is home and we are setting our schedule for the week. I will run, and swim, and bike through whatever is ailing me.

And lucky for this space, I'll fill it with details of how one moves on from what they allow to hold them back.

Friday, May 20, 2011

I Know, Nobody's Perfect...

There are times when I wonder if the memories I have will just fade to black.

Poof. Be gone.

Or, is it possible that because I feel them so strongly now, long after the moments, that they will just always be with me because for a moment in time, the love felt between two people was just that strong.

There were times that I used to sit up at night and doubt what was happening. How could this man, this stranger, love me as much as he did? Why?

I miss waking up and knowing we would talk. I miss learning more about my favorite adopted city knowing that we would one day live there and explore everything together.

I miss knowing that he could look at me and tell what I was feeling.

It was my decision, you know. To separate.

I wanted us to have a chance to get ourselves right before we made any commitments to each other. It had to be thought-out. I needed that. I thought, no, think, he did, too.

He said it meant I didn't love him enough. I said it meant I would love him until the day I died. Even if we couldn't be together.

...dramatic? Yes. But true.

It's been almost a year since that conversation and 8 months since we last saw each other; 5 months since we last spoke.

I wake up, look around my apartment and see him.

Every day I put on my 'signature' necklace and think of him.

I just think of him differently as time goes on and we don't speak.

And then I think...we deserve to do what I said we should.

Live. See. Understand.

So I am trying. Even when it requires a reminder.

Monday, May 16, 2011

Or Have You Completely Erased Me From Your Memories...

I woke up the other day and realized that for the first time in years, thoughts of "The One" were not my part of my first few images of the day and it made me sad.

There are days like today, when I miss him more than any words can express.

I want to curl up next to him and tell him that I love him and that I feel safest with him. Then I stop and realize that wouldn't be completely true.

I do love him, but I know that the directions we have traveled have brought us 'apart' not 'near'. So the burden of having the memories is just that: a burden.

There was a time when I could just put my head on "The One's" shoulder and it felt like the whole world actually stopped for a few moments while I caught up.

Maybe that's too much pressure to ask anyone else in the universe to be a part of, or maybe it's too much to ask me to forget what it felt like. Either way, the loss still hurts as much today as it did when my heart first felt the cracks.

And maybe that's what makes me the most sad. I'm not sure at this point.

What I do know is that it's hard to have people placed in front of you who are awesome in so many ways, while you're trying to mend a broken heart. Yes, I can't stay inside, hidden, for the rest of my life. Even though that's really what I want to do right now.

Just sort of hide out.

I feel like now is the right time to do it, before I do some kind of damage that I can't repair. Like say something I don't mean or worse, don't say something that I do.

A lot of this is because I know I am tired of walking with my sister's weight on my shoulders. I want her to figure out her own next steps, but then I wonder if it is fair to ask that from her since she is so clearly damaged in all the ways that really count.

And I want to be able to release a lot of the things that are bothering me, but then what? Burden someone else with them? No, can't do that. So I write. And I plan. And I write some more.

And today...I just happen to miss someone so much that my heart feels heavier than usual.

Friday, May 13, 2011

Sweet Things You Say To Me...

I'm just not 'feeling' it anymore.

If you were to ask me what happened, I couldn't tell you with a straight face.

I just know the feeling is gone.

Maybe it was 'The Prince's' last two posts. Each one explaining how he's not seen as the hot, hip, happening thing in his chosen city.

I read the words and didn't reply because I didn't want to throw off whatever vibe he was giving out.

What I took in was: 'Why, yes, I do have a pretty awesome girlfriend in a pretty awesome city, but that's just one girl in one city.'

'It's not really enough.' Then I remembered: It isn't.

Have I explained this to him? Yes, I have. I know that deep down, he hears me. If I thought otherwise, I'd have run, screaming, long ago.

But with all that knowing, I am only sure of one thing: My faith and devotion have been tested and on many levels, it's what I know I deserve for taking this chance in the first place.

Yes, I took a step down a path I wasn't sure about and learned a most valuable lesson:

My instincts are smarter than I am. Thanks, instincts, for the reminder.

Alpha. Omega. Beta. Zeta. Whatever.

The people and places shown in front of me only make one thing clear: Perhaps there is a need to remove all of the old. Not just some.

I'm not even sure if I am feeling sad or something else at this point.

Relief? Resignation? Surely not resolution, but I'll get there

Sadly, (or not) I always do.

Saturday, May 7, 2011

I Could Never See Tomorrow...

But I was never told about the sorrow.
.....'How can you mend a broken heart', Al Green

Sometimes, when I can't sleep, I think back to February of last year.

Waiting in an airport in Houston, and then finally landing in Austin...

Realizing 'The One' wasn't going to be there to meet me and walking through the airport trying not to make eye contact with anyone.

I could feel the tears streaming down my face so I wrapped my scarf up just a little higher.

When I checked into my hotel I was grateful that they had given me a room facing away from the sun. As soon as I closed the door I climbed into bed and stayed there for two days. While my girlfriends called and begged me to eat, I stayed under the covers and tried not to exist.

I cried because I played my own starring role in damaging our relationship and then I cried because I had never felt so alone, then I cried some more because the answer to what felt like all of the world's ills lay in one direction and I couldn't figure out how to get there.

On day three I went outside and looked around at a city that is both beautiful, and on many levels, will always terrify me.

I have been through heartache before, but in Austin, I learned what it feels like to fall from the greatest height, with no net.

And, still, a year has gone by and you still won't find me saying bad things about 'The One'. I take the responsibility of not paying attention to where our relationship was going, or maybe it is more that I did not fully understand how we got to where we were.

The ending is the same. The feelings are the same. The emotions just as relevant today as they were 14 months ago.

The difference is that I am trying something I have never done before: learning to embrace the parts of life that make me happy and being ok with believing there is something just for me, whatever it is. Is it moving on? No. Yes. I don't know. We haven't spoken since Christmas. I am trying to get this all right. To do what is needed amd expected.

Of course, in no way do I get this right all the time, but just having the ability to discuss so many feelings has been eye opening. Or is is it heart opening?

Either way, insomnia makes it worse in so many ways. Relationship hindsight is the universe's big joke on all of us.

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

The Line Between Love And Obsession...

Is drawn by only circumstance.
.....Anonymous Quote

Sometimes, when I look back at my time with "The One", I realize that we were in a constant state of flux. Or, maybe it was just me.

An affair can become like a drug. You need your fix. And yet, it was the times when we were alone, sitting at a cafe, or reading together in bed, that we were the happiest.

I remember one museum trip early in our relationship. I had always wanted to visit the Chicago Museum of Art and the day we picked for this trip was perfect. Of all of the things that I saw that day, one exhibit stood out:

"Untitled" was a masterpiece in its simplicity.

Per the exhibit:

Felix Gonzalez-Torres produced work of uncompromising beauty and simplicity, transforming the everyday into profound meditations on love and loss. “Untitled” (Portrait of Ross in L.A.) is an allegorical representation of the artist’s partner, Ross Laycock, who died of an AIDS-related illness in 1991. The installation is comprised of 175 pounds of candy, corresponding to Ross’s ideal body weight. Viewers are encouraged to take a piece of candy, and the diminishing amount parallels Ross’s weight loss and suffering prior to his death. Gonzalez-Torres stipulated that the pile should be continuously replenished, thus metaphorically granting perpetual life.

I can remember walking over to the exhibit and taking 2 pieces of candy. One for me and one for the love of my life.

3 years later and I still have that piece of candy in my jewelry box. Maybe that was the best part of being in love. While the chaos of the world was moving around us, when we were together, the simplicity of just 'being' kept all fears and doubts away. Together, we always felt safe.

An affair is not a cause for a celebration on any level. It requires a lot of bad behavior to protect those few moments of good. Again, the burden of being in love at the wrong time is just sometimes too much to understand.

But each time I open my jewelry box I look at that simple gold-wrapped piece of candy and I know, without a doubt, that for a moment in time, my heart was safe.

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Let This Be My Last Word, That I Trust In Your Love...

Rabindranath Tagore
...Scholar, Poet, Teacher

I just spent the day talking with two of my girlfriends about trust.

It started innocently enough. Two of us watch Mob Wives and we were having a discussion about friendships. That sort of transitioned into how women treat each other.

Anyone who has spent time with me knows that I put my female friendships above other things. Yes, I can get mad at my girlfriends, but there are some women who will always be 'in' because I trust them to always be as honest with me as possible.

Maybe that is an odd way to phrase it, but I am sure that people have different levels of friendships or different things you expect out of people. I don't know, maybe that's just my issue.

What I know is that I am feeling a little more vulnerable lately than usual and I'm not enjoying this.

I feel like things I believed were either not true, or not totally true. People all have 'tells' and when you learn what someone's is, it is painful to watch or listen to them hedge on things.

There is vulnerability in trusting. You are allowing another person to help shape the course of your life.

I knew I trusted 'The One' the moment I met him. To be honest, the only other person I knew this about instantly on my old site was Red. Just from the second we spoke I knew that her intentions were to have the best interests of others in her heart. Usually, it takes me a while to warm up to other people on a more intimate level. I sort of hold back while we get to know each other. Maybe it's because Red is from Atlanta? Who knows.

I trust my daughter and my best friend, R. They both know me better than I know myself sometimes and they are brutally honest at all times just because they love me in a way that needs little except a return of love in kind.

But lately, as the walls I've put up around me have been tested, I am finding that my trust is fractured in places I didn't expect. It's probably not a good time for this on many levels. Or, really, is it ever a good time?

I've been clinging to things like friends, yoga and reading to get me through this time, which I know will end soon enough. The sun just came out here in New York, so I expect that as the life returns to my city, that the trust I've had shell-shocked will right itself. Or not.

All I ever know is that I miss what and who I miss and that's just the way life is sometimes.

Monday, May 2, 2011

You Broke The Bonds...

And you loosed the chains;
Carried the cross of my shame.

I have often wondered if I ever really told 'The One' how much I appreciated him in addition to how much I loved him.

No, 'love him'. It's eternal, the feeling, when you've done it right.

My regrets in life have been few, and perhaps it is because I have not ventured out enough, or perhaps I have been lucky. But the major regret I have about the time spent with him was that I never allowed him to carry the burden of our relationship. He tried to offer; he asked; he demanded.

I kept it all a secret from him about just how scared I was at times that it was either not real or too real.

Funny, the one person I should have been able to talk to was the one person I wanted to protect the most from whatever 'things' are out there that destroy relationships.

I thought of this over the weekend as I was visiting girlfriends in Canada. I thought of all of the ways I didn't get things right or got them more right than I expected. And all of this thinking was brought to the surface because a new friend sent me an email that made it clear he was willing and able to be a shoulder if ever I need it.

A few months ago, another friend of mine was 'there' when I needed it most. He's got one of those great broad sets of shoulders but I always hedge a bit because he has a more complicated life than I do on some levels. I can remember him asking if he was 'doing it right' (the shoulder offering) and I realized at that moment that I want to be his friend forever.

I'm not good at accepting shoulders. I feel like I should do one of two things: Warn him or try to learn to be able to receive help when I need it. I've already done things with him that I usually don't. It started when a girlfriend of mine asked what was wrong with me. She meant it in the best way possible. She looked at this friend and said: From the sound of it, you should really try something new with him.

She had her doubts about "The One" and "The Prince" from the start of each relationship. She asked me a question after my Austin trip last year. She said 'don't you just want to be single for a little while?'

I heard her loud and clear. And that's what I did. I took a look at myself and decided single would be better while I went through the painful process of thinking.

Then a girlfriend set me up with 'The Prince' and we did whatever it is we are doing. Dating? I'm not sure, although that is what he has called it at times.

It has never felt like it to me. I just didn't put in enough effort, I guess, to express it adequately.

See, I am willing to admit when I am at fault.

So, back to the new friend who has said I could write about him here, but who is still without a pseudonym. For now, he will be 'The Writer' because it is something he does extremely well.

He has me pegged in a way no one has pegged me in a long time. He quickly expressed that I say nothing while saying a lot. Smart guy.

I do my best to listen to what others say, and also to what they mean through their actions.

It's how I got to Paris, you know. I listened to words and actions on my trip to Denver and when I boarded my flight home, I sat down and wrote something just for me. Then I got home to New York and immediately booked my trip.

I had forgotten about my post until I was flying to Geneva. I opened my iPad and read the words:

Do. Not. Wait.

That's how I feel now. Like life is going and I've chosen to wait for things or moments when I know better. For months I was happily just doing then I got stuck somewhere. Confused? Lost? Ambivalent? I'm not sure.

I just know that the sun came out this weekend. Inside, where it needs to shine the brightest.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

No Thanks, I'm Not Lost...I'm Just Wandering...

Sometimes, I truly do not know how the time between April 2008 and January 2010 didn't kill me.

Maybe it's a testament to just how much stress I live under on a daily basis, or maybe it's something else.

I do know that waking up each day was a miracle in many ways. I died when I was at home.

Maybe that sounds dramatic, but it is true. At that point, I had been sleeping on the couch for a few months and "The Runner" and I had stopped having sex months before. We stopped shortly after the third or fourth time that he told me that falling asleep with me was uncomfortable for him. I only happened to move out to the couch because I fractured my hand and had to sleep with it elevated. I always look back at that time and wonder just how much happiness he was hiding when he fell asleep at night.

Finally, his words and his actions didn't matter. I was forced to sleep apart from him because of a medical reason, not because I couldn't take a hint.

I remember a trip I took with "The One" that October to Chicago. We had planned on spending the weekend doing random things, but then heading to a party with one of our friends.

It was extremely cold and windy that weekend and that became our excuse to stay indoors. The truth is that we had already gotten to a point where we didn't want to be apart for more than a few hours and we definitely didn't want to spend what little time we had with other people.

I can go back into my memory banks and tell you everything about our time together. I know exactly what we did; what I wore; how he looked; what we laughed about and I can also tell you when the tears started during each trip.

Each time we saw each other it was a Friday through Sunday. I would never be able to sleep on the Saturdays before it was time for one of us to go home. So I would wake up and either sit in bed next to him and watch him sleep, or, more often, I would curl up with a blanket near a window and look outside.

If "The One" woke up and asked why I was awake, I'd always have some excuse ready. The truth was that I never grew comfortable being in love with him as much as I honestly was in love.

I could never forgive myself for having those 72 hours of happiness. And yet, I never felt the guilt that I told myself had to be there.

Having an affair is not something I ever imagined myself getting involved in and I wanted to be devastated. Sometimes, I believe growing up Catholic did me a great disservice.

And then there are other times when I realize it is just me: I need to be the martyr, even if only to myself. That has to be it.

How do I know this? It is easy: I had never felt the type of love or connection that I felt to "The One". Never.

And to be honest, I won't ever feel it again. Oh, I will (and do) love. But never will I find my match in the same way. Yes, that is an extreme statement, but I am okay saying it because there is only one him and there is only one me.

That's a fair statement that any of us can understand.

Sometimes, I have a fleeting image of us together and I wonder which of us sabotaged the relationship. Then I realize, no, that's not what happened. We fell in love, we loved, we faced adversity and our timing was off.

But before it was off...we had our first Christmas together. And it was like a movie with all of its perfection. Even though it was in Atlantic City in the most ridiculous hotel ever. But we had Denny's. And presents.

And lots of love.

(Heart caption info: Lyons Township High School art teacher Jamie Rey's acrylic heart, located in downtown Chicago)

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

The Science Of Loving Yourself Way Too Much...

Trust me, you aren't that interesting.

Actually, neither am I.

A few days ago I linked a HuffingtonPost article onto my Facebook page.
The article, Do Narcissists Know They Are Narcissists?, was a big hit as a status update.

Of course it was. First, we all know at least one narcissist, right?

I know I do. I love the ones who refer to themselves as 'empathetic' towards others. Grade school psych majors can tell you those two words can not go together. I remember saying that once. I was told I didn't know what I was talking about. Where is the 'that's so ironic' emoticon when you need it?

My favorite sentence from the article was:

Perhaps narcissists assume that others are just failing to realize how bitchin' they really are. They may think that people are just too dim to recognize their brilliance. Another possibility is that narcissists may think critics are just envious of them. Narcissists may take negative feedback and think to themselves, "Those haters are just jealous!"

Ha. Haha. Ha. See, I believe this sums up the whole study. Actually, it sums up all three studies. Prefection.

I had a long talk with "The Prince" last night and we went through the usual talking points of 'what's new, etc' and we started talking about narcissitic behavior.

He has a lot more patience for it than I do. I wish I could learn from him, but that would be a long learning process.

See, I don't find anything appealing abour the behavior. At all. I find it sad and annoying. I think a lot could be written about the stories "The Prince" and I could tell.

In fact, I have a friend, "The Writer" who wants to have dinner this weekend so we can talk about these books we all keep talking about writing.

My time on "The World's Largest Sex Site" should come in handy, right?

I mean, look at all of the stories I can now tell. No, no one will ever believe me. It is impossible for anyone to imagine some of the things adults do and say to each other all for the sake of being liked.

And yet, it is not only possible, but it is happening every day. And, for those of us who can read, it is also a wonderful study on human behavior.

Yeah, I may need to re-think my major. It isn't too late for med school is it?

For more on the science of self-love...

If You Look At My Life You'll See What I See...

"I hate you and I wish we had never gotten married."
....May 15, 2008; then husband's last words before leaving our apartment.

It stared small. A simple argument over one of us wanting to mop our hardwoood floors while asking the other to watch the Yankees game in another room. It escalated, quickly.

For years I said that while I knew "The Runner" had a lot of issues with anger and passive aggressiveness, he never took those issues out on me or "The Girl, A". See how foolish some of us can be at times?

"The Runner" asked me to marry him three times before I said yes. What changed my mind? 9/11. It feels like a long time ago, but it is really only about 10 years.

I never learned to listen to my doubts until about two years ago when I started seeing the world's best therapist.

Until that point, if something was wrong I simply found excuses for why I was the issue - not anyone else and never the actual issue.

"The Runner" was funny, smart, brilliant and gorgeous. How could I find fault with those things? Yes, I had all of the doubts firmly rushing through my head: The 'First Love" who questioned me constantly about why now, why this guy; the best friend who said I was being silly; the best girlfriend who pulled me aside and said she would get me through the wedding, but then would be done because she wasn't on board. All of it. I chalked it up to them not seeing the 'real person' that I saw.

Well...looks like they were the brightest bulbs.

Do you know how someone who is independent views quiet, behind the scenes abuse? Yeah, I didn't either until it happened to me. While I would have picked up on it if it had been directed anywhere else, when it was sent my way, I made up reasons like: He's the youngest and this is how he was socialized; or he's just got to lighten up; or, or, or. And then some more or.

I will always have "The One" in my heart because we were both aware that our timing was terrible.

But on May 15, 2008, when I called my best friend and then "The One" and cried on the phone for hours to both of them, I knew I was going to start packing away the emotional baggage of living in a marriage that was honestly making me sick. I also knew that "A" was well-aware of how unhappy I had been, regardless of how much I tried to hide it.

Six weeks after that night of the great 'angry outburst', I was in Chicago and pretending that time didn't exist. "A" was at camp and "The One" was showing me his city so that I would be able to navigate it like a native. I thank him every day for this gift.

When I returned to NYC July 4th weekend, I was ready to concentrate on all of these real-life things, then I got a call to start traveling with the Obama campaign as an advance-pollster. I sometimes wonder if that is really what did in my marriage. While "A" and I only grew closer during this time, "The Runner" thought my work (both paid and non-paid) was insignificant in comparison to what he was doing. I was 'just' this or 'just' that. And as much as I tried to engage him, I knew it was only on the surface.

September of 2008 was a true turning point for me, "A" and the campaign. Everything seemed to be moving at warp-speed. Right down to "The One" offering to move to New York to be closer to me.

I wonder what would have happened if I had said 'yes'...

(photo by CarbonNYC; Mosaic Heart near Grant's Tomb, NYC)