“Like a heart-broke Desperado, headin’ right back to my roots…” ~ Morgan Waller

So, I’m having a crummy day. Actually, I’m having a very shitty day and I’m hoping it won’t go anymore downhill from here. I cried about ma in my office before class and then during an exercise in my Intro to Socio course, a student started to cry herself because the exercise hit home for her. THEN, a student of mine gave me a wonderful t-shirt she bought from a college student who is working hard for suicide prevention: It’s pink and says “Stay Another Day”…that made me cry too! Sheesh.

Anyhoot, I’m finding out that death is handled a lot like cancer by many people: apparently talking about it makes it catching. When some colleagues pass me in the hall and ask how I am, I say “I’m ok.” Then they walk away…uncomfortable with that honest response. Actually, a truly honest response would be: “I’m fucking horrible. My ma died and she was my foundation…half of my entire world…and loved me more than anyone on the face of this earth ever has.” And obviously, if ma has computer access in heaven, I need to apologize for saying ‘fuck’ – sorry I said fuck, ma. I know you hate the word fuck. 🙄

When ma was diagnosed with breast cancer, many of her ‘friends’ and even some family alienated themselves from her…at a time when she needed them most! I know some of that is fear…feeling uncomfortable…being faced with the understanding that anyone can get cancer. I also think we shy away from cancer, and death, because it’s hard to know what to say. I get that…it’s so difficult to know what words to use. What will comfort or what will hurt. It’s a balancing act and I know I haven’t walked it well in the past.

It’s been 6 weeks since ma died and the tidal wave of grief has started to wash over me…it’s almost like I actually felt the water hit. It’s getting much more difficult to deny that she died and is truly gone…but I’m trying. I talk to her all the time (not out loud in public!) and Terri actually texts her old phone. I think it’s our way of still feeling that connection as we muddle through this time.

Being at school has been a mixed blessing. My students motivate me to be ‘on’ everyday and knowing I have to get up and get going is something I need right now. Rolling out of bed on the weekends is a process.

But the flip side is this: putting on my “Professor K” mask gives me something to hide behind. You know when you were little…and you thought that if you covered your eyes everything…including you…would ‘go away?’ That’s my mask right now. Plus, school started days after ma died and I had to work on my classes fervently since I didn’t while ma was in the hospital, so I’ve had that mask on for this entire time. Then, I’ve been keeping it on at home too. I know Edward and Mally understand I’m sad but I don’t want to burden others, i.e. humans, with it. My neighbors are totally wonderful and I have gotten in the habit of using their yard swing to meditate on, but I don’t want to vent to Terri or O. Terri is in the same boat I am…she’s mourning and sad and confused and still denying that this could have happened. She’s burdened enough with her own feelings. And O lost his grandma; plus, he has 2 businesses he runs and a girlfriend. He’s busy and I only see him about once a week. All of this means that I’m pretty much by myself unless I’m at school. For someone who craves hugs and affection and cuddles, this is so so hard! I’d give about anything for someone I could do this with. Confide in. Vent too. Keeping this in and being so fucking (sorry again, ma) lonely is horrid.

Hmmmm…

It’s funny because I thought I knew what lonely was. As usual, I was mistaken (big shocker, huh?). Even when I was lonely because of not having a partner (hopefully ma is working on that now – a cowboy with Levi’s and a great singing voice like Morgan Wallers, tall, weathered, and funny…not a lot of expectations there 😐) I still had ma. We talked every morning and every night and texted throughout the day. When anything would happen, I’d call and share it with her…she was just always there. Terri said this yesterday and it’s so so true: “I just want to talk to mom about my mom dying.”

Anyways, I have some answers to this: first, I’m starting to allow myself to be sad…to not feel like I always have to be my usual effervescent self 😳. I also know I have to start reaching out more; I’m getting involved in a really great church that’s small, friendly, and so relatable; Terri has gone with me a couple of times and it’s nice to share that together. I’m also trying to eat better since it’s always hard for me to eat when I’m upset and am proud to say I’ve been snitching Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups from our secretaries desk. Finally, O has encouraged me to see a grief counselor and I’m going to call for an appointment this week.

I know reading this is probably depressing but honestly, I need the outlet. Writing has always been therapeutic for me and I truly appreciate you all listening and many of you have reached out to me…thank you so so much! I’m actually going to do my best to get Terri to guest blog later this week. I think it would be good for her, and would also let her express things she might need to face which could be cathartic for her as well.

Thanks for listening, peeps…you’re all the best.

Love you ma. Love you more.

Kristi xoxo

“…cause that’s a hugging good.” ~ Bonnie Tyler

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So, my son grew up with a girl who lost her mama and gramma when she was a teen and she has no relationship with her dad.  I adore her completely and she’s like a daughter to me.  Actually, let me rephrase that:  she IS a daughter to me.

Anyhoot, we were supposed to have a movie night yesterday with another one of my sweeties but storms made driving dicey and we decided to postpone.  When we were messaging though, we both realized the other had a crappy day so she came over later just for a hug.  As per our custom, we ended up having a good natter for at least an hour.  I know…I know…it’s so hard to believe I can yack more than I intend too 🙄.

We are both single and have been feeling pretty lonely lately, and as we were talking we realized that we both have very strong needs for affection.  S asked me if there was something wrong with her for wanting and needing affection so badly.  I told her no because I have the exact same needs.  We were both also realizing that we’re the oddballs in our families.  There’s only 1 family member that S sees on a regular basis and she’s…well…pretty much a bitch to her (don’t get mad at me for saying that ma…it’s true …she’s not a sweetiepie like you!  And, by the way, I think I lost that tupperware you loaned me 😲).

My family is wonderful but I’m really the only touchy-feely one in the bunch…they just aren’t huge huggers but my grandma and grandpa took care of a lot of that when I was growing up.  A few years ago I finally said to ma:  “Ma…I need more hugs and more affection.  And if you aren’t willing to give it to me, I’m going to find another ma who will!”  She replied:  “Well…what the hell…even an old dog can learn new tricks.”  Ma has such a great way of putting things.  Even my son isn’t affectionate (outside of his girlfriend and chihuahua 😐).  Here are his rules for me:  I get to kiss him on top of the head for no more than 1.34 seconds, hug him for no more than 12.9 seconds, and if I touch his face because he’s just so doggone yummy to me, I get a scathing look as he jerks away as if I used a stun gun on his ass.  And believe me, this is monitored.

So, here’s what I told S:  I believe we all have an ‘affection reservoir’ © that’s different for everyone.  Mine is as deep as the fucking ocean.  The deepest part of the fucking ocean.  Just sayin’.  And…did you notice my copyright symbol?  I think that phrase could be turned into a book.  🙂

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I’ll be honest, it takes a lot to fill the damn thing up and I know that can be hard on people I have had relationships with.  Hubby 3 (shutty) once said that he could never give me enough affection…I’d always want more.  Ya think?  Duh.  It’s not like you fill up a reservoir and that’s it.  The water evaporates and leaks out and then it needs to be filled up again.  It’s like saying why do you need to eat everyday?  You just filled up your belly yesterday.  Okey dokey.  Let’s see how that works for ya.

Maybe people who have puddles for reservoirs have a hard time understanding this.  Sometimes I have a tough time getting it myself.  I like living alone for a lot of things:  eating when I want…sleeping when I want…running around in boxers and Red Sox shirts (note to S.J. – Sorry) with strawberry stains and Edward’s fur on it…my mouth not seeing lipstick for weeks…etc.  But I miss the affection.  I get downright lonely not having that in my life.  Edward is a big cuddler…he’s the most affectionate and sweet dog I’ve ever had.  (Note:  Edward is part Rhodesian Ridgeback / part Coon Hound.  When my son and I looked up this mix, the site literally said these dogs were dumb but sweet.  That’s our Ed in a nutshell).  But Edward’s cuddles aren’t the same.  I love laying on him when I nap and having him doze by me when we’re watching another horror movie, but it ain’t enough.

My sis is the best grandma ever.  She really is.  Our grandma and grandpa (I’m referring to ma’s folks) were awesome grandparents.  They only had me, sissy, and our cousin and that was it.  So we all got a LOT of attention and never did they raise a voice to us, tell us anything negative, and not support us;  I know my sis learned to be a grandma from them.  Anyhoot, she gets her affection needs met by her grandkids.  Lots of lovies and huggies.  Ma gets her affection/social needs met by her besties (they are so adorbs…she calls them her ‘lady friends’ 🙄 ).  They go out to eat every week (and complain about the service 😐), have parties at each other’s houses, go shopping, make quilts together, etc.  It’s plenty for her.

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But my reservoir is running really really low.  Like a freaking drought.  I do need more and I think it’s OK to admit that.  But for those of you who aren’t 53, thrice divorced, bi-fucking-polar, not the prettiest by any stretch of the imagination?  The pickin’s are pretty slim.  Trust me on this.  And no, I will not online date again, so you don’t have to start filling out a profile for me.  That was the biggest nightmare of my life.  In fact, I’m going to try to get in touch with Stephen King to see if he wants my experiences for a new book.  I’m just worried it might too horrifying for him to write about though.

J’s kids really really really filled this need during our 3 year relationship.  They are both so affectionate themselves and they would literally wrap their bodies around mine while we talked or watched a movie or dozed.  I could give to them what my son never let me give to him and I loved it.  So so much.  I think it’s hard for some of my family to really get that I loved them as if they were my own.  Still do.

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You know, for a long time I thought something was wrong with me in terms of wanting affection.  I needed it so much more than anyone in my fam, and I’ve had family members tell me not to hug them because it makes them uncomfortable.  When I hear things like that…or feel my son pull away so quickly…or have to ask for a hug from my ma…it makes me wonder why I’m so un-huggable.  It actually makes me feel unloveable.  J’s kids changed all of that for me.  They made me feel so good…I could give and give and give…and they would give back and give back and give back.  Truth time:  not one night has gone by since J and I broke up that I haven’t cried over the kids when I’m laying in bed at night.  Not once.

I don’t know.  Maybe I’ll find someone to fill my reservoir.  To make me feel huggable and lovable.  To help me see that what I’m missing is OK to miss.  Maybe there’s someone out there looking for a 53 year old gal with glasses and mousy brown hair who doesn’t always shave her legs and uses deodorant sporadically since there was an article that said it could cause cancer.  Until then?  Edward…you’re it.

Kristi xoxo

 

 

Alone or Lonely?

So…I’m leaving for Florida tomorrow for my spring break.  I’ll be basking on the beaches and the ocean is my favorite place on earth!  It ‘centers’ me and I hope I’ll be able to really relax and de-stress!

But, here’s the thing.  This is my first trip ever traveling by myself, and I can’t believe how many people have told me they have never vacationed alone.  I’m feeling all sorts of things right now.  I’m excited to have this opportunity and really do love the sub-tropical climate.  I can take the heat really well and love being outside and in the sun.

I have other feelings going on too, though.  Part of me is scared to get on that plane tomorrow.  I won’t have anyone with me in case something happens with the flight…if I get turned around at O’Hare…if I get sick or sunburnt (!).  It’s just going to be me dealing with anything that might come up.  It sounds silly, but sometimes having that back-up with you helps.

I’m also feeling sad that I’m traveling alone.  I’m not doing it by choice…I’m doing it because I have too!  I don’t have a partner to vacation with anymore and I don’t want to not travel when I have the opportunity.  I’m using this trip as a type of experiment.  If I feel really comfortable and have fun with this experience, it will open me up to traveling more!  I want that!  There are so many things I want to see here in the states…and I do want to see Europe someday as well. 

I think being lonely is the last feeling I’m dealing with.  To me, alone and lonely are 2 different states of being.  I feel like being alone is a choice…a chance to be with yourself and reconnect with that person.  I did so much of that last summer.  I distanced myself from my partner (at that time) and spent a lot of time alone.  I walked, hiked, sunned, did yard work, napped, read.  All of the things you can easily put off when you are with someone.  But, the consequence of that was losing my partner.  I gave him way too much distance while I was reconnecting and he just couldn’t wait for me to get through what I needed too.

So now I feel lonely too.  I miss having him.  A partner.  Someone I can call and say “You aren’t going to believe this!”  Someone I can text and say “Get your ass over here!!  That new movie is on Netflix!!”  I drive through town and there’s very little I see that we didn’t do.  Restaurants, activities, stores.  So many memories that make me tear up.  How much I want someone to hug.  To hold hands with.  To cuddle and snuggle with.  I’m a toucher.  A feeler.  Having that void in my life is hard.

Being alone.  Experiencing loneliness.  I guess it’s all just parts of our life experience we have to deal with.  Get through.  Learn from.  Maybe even embrace.

Kristi xoxo

Too Much Pain :(

So, I’m watching “Rocketman” this morning and I just start crying.  You have this prodigy, who’s talent is incredibly rare, but whose life was full of pain for decades.

I hate all the pain I see in people.  And I see it everyday.

I have students who hug on me, follow me, confide in me and I wonder where their family is.  Their friends.  How did they get to this point in their life without the comfort, love, and support they so desperately need?

Then, I talk about horrible things in my classes:  rape, child sexual abuse, domestic violence, bullying.  And I NEVER, EVER give any of these lectures without at least 5 students reaching out to me afterwards to tell me they’d be a victim of the topic.  EVER.

How many students do this?

I hear stories from students about being sexually abused by a family member when they were as young as 3.  Or raped as a high schooler, but not being able to tell anyone because they felt the shame was theirs.  Or students who grew up with violent parents, and who tried to shield their siblings from the worst of it.  Or women who left an abuser after years because they realized it was either that, or facing the possibility that their next beating could be their last.  Or guys who have told me they are gay, but had to put on this ‘tough’ persona in front of family and friends, because they knew if they didn’t, they would be bullied and ostracized by those they cared for the most.

So many people out there are in pain.  So many have stories we can’t imagine.  And here’s the thing:  until we start really seeing people, and not shying away from actual connection; until we start asking the WHY behind behavior instead of just punishing it or judging it; until we ask people how they are and truly stop to listen;  until we look at a kid and see they need a hug instead of discipline;  until we drop our own masks and show that it’s ok to not be ok, things are never going to change.

How is it we live in what’s supposed to be this connected world, yet people are more lonely and disconnected than ever?  How can we let so many people suffer in silence?  And why can’t we say the simple words of  “I care?”

Maybe this needs to be reversed.

Kristi xoxo

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