outcome: pending

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sometimes fear is all there is. fear that the new life is too fragile or somehow unsustainable. fear that dirty dishes, unfolded piles of laundry, a messy office and a ransacked closet mean the ex is right: households suffer under my watch. i find myself joking, is it any wonder i can’t keep a husband? in reference to lacking culinary skills, in reference to failing to reassure lovers, in reference to being overwhelmed by basic things like the grocery store and the gas pump.

fear sometimes. fear of being lonely. fear of being loved too much. fear of becoming irrelevant. fear of being relied on too heavily. fear of other people’s motives. fear of my own motives.

i had a really good weekend and yet this evening, nothing remains of it but fear. there is nothing concrete to blame. it seems out of the blue. an excellent therapist once told me emotions aren’t always caused by specific events or obvious influences. when we have an emotion that seems random, the brain can go out seeking things to pin it on. and so here are my suspects: my back is threatening to spasm, i had to take my car to the shop today (unplanned) and yesterday, i stood alone on my stoop and failed to measure up to the family of four i greeted as they passed.

the back / a pain like no other. a reminder that my body doesn’t always belong to me. the frightening realization that i can’t do everything for myself. outcome: pending.

the car / a warning light: stop! check engine coolant. i don’t know how to do that, of course. panic: if something’s terribly wrong, i won’t be able to afford to fix it. and without transportation, my world implodes. outcome: a visit to the shop where they top off coolant and run $20 a system check. all’s well. peace of mind for $20.

the family of four / there’s a family in the neighborhood that i know only casually. they’ve become iconic for me: healthy, wholesome, honest, content. i have no idea if any of that’s true, of course, but they either give off that aura or i’ve assigned it to them. they practically glow. if you were to tell me their feet don’t actually touch the ground, i’d believe you. last night, i bumped into them on my way back from the wine store on the corner. a soon-to-be divorced woman, dressed for a date (translation: cleavage), carrying a black bag with three bottles of red (restocking the cabinet). i got it in my head that in comparison with the family, i was the example of someone gone wrong, someone who’s strayed. outcome: feeling silly and setting myself straight.

and so there’s nothing fatal in any of it. but i am still stuck with fear tonight. and guess what? it’s a dark, stormy night. the sky keeps opening up and pouring rain on our heads. it’s been a pattern for days. right before this latest shower, i heard geese moving quickly overhead. no sirens tonight downtown to warn us to steer clear,  just loud honks of a flock trying to stay out in front of the storm. i bet they managed it, too. stupid birds could at least tell me what they know.


    1. ooh, thank you! i will check it out. and re: the photos — i’m having fun taking them & i’ve been thinking about putting them altogether someday to see if there are themes i can build on & then submit somewhere. eek!

  1. Sometimes. And Alan Watts used to tell the story of a crab sunning itself on a rock in the bay. All is good (and that’s not sentimental, just the truth of that moment) (with no thoughts about the unseen gull eyeing a tasty bit). But when the gull swoops down, pecks open the shell, the crab just hates that moment with all he is (and that’s not pessimistic, just another truth of the moment) (equally real) (and a genuine pain in the shell).

    Some suggest we’re more than our thoughts, more than our emotions too (the part I honestly usually think is so, but I’m probably wrong). So we get to wonder what or who is the truth of experience? When I’m not whistling past the late night graveyard, I wonder which truth or lie I’d like to tell myself, what stance to take?

    Then again heaven arrives in small bites too. Like a mediocre strawberry cheesecake, which when enhanced with fresh blackberries – means life is good. My mouth told me so!

    So if (and it does) life seems to flip and flop, what’s the flipping and flopping attached to then? What root?

    All said while I too have a pile of food gone bad in the fridge and I’m always behind in tending the backyard. Weeds must think well of me.

    And I’m glad you’re doing what you’re doing with this new blog.

    1. hi, neil! i’ve missed you! it feels good to be attempting to blog regularly again & hearing from the ol’ gang. you’re right in what you say in your story about the crab. whether things are all good or all bad is a matter of our perceptions in that moment.

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