A Woman of a Certain Age

In July, up in Austin, I was highly offended when the police record over a minor parking dispute referred to me [the perpetrator in this isolated incident] as a “middle-aged woman.”

By the last week of October, for reasons as yet unknown to me, I’d started referring to myself as a “middle-aged woman.

At which point the person to whom I’d provided the reference said to me:

“What, do you expect to live to 102?”

At first, I was so relieved that he didn’t say “108” that it took me a week to ask myself the following question:

How did I go from outrage to gratitude in 3 months?

Or is it 4?

My Ideal Date: The Key to My Heart

Booking a private karaoke room so I can sing about 6 hours’ worth of songs in my shitty voice to ONE OTHER LIVING PERSON. And not freaking out if I cry in some of them. I’m talking about the kind of tears that come with some snot.

I know it will be hard to recover from the snot part, but should he find himself able:

It really bothers me that I can’t see the stars at night anymore. I used to see them every night when I parked my car in the driveway when I was a teenager in Atlanta, Georgia.

I just want to go see the stars in the sky again. That’s the key.

P.S. The Karaoke comes with lots of dancing. So there’s always that.

Journal, 10/13/21

I can’t tell anybody this, but…

I’m simultaneously the most insecure AND the most intelligent person I know.

No wonder I’m no good at Marriage.

But what are the alternatives for a woman, aged 54, who still desires connection and love? When I’m being serious, people think I’m interviewing for a husband. When I write “I’m not interviewing for a husband; I have no set agenda” on my online dating profile, I get NO responses (or if I do, I’m asked what I’m wearing).

I don’t mind admitting I’m very confused by the dating scene in 2021 for middle-aged people (God, am I going to have to call myself a “senior” next year?). I seem to be very attractive to WOMEN and COUPLES these days, which kind of freaks me out. I think these women want to be my friend, but they don’t: they want to be my friend. I don’t even know if they want me for themselves, their husbands, or both.

This really weirds me out because I’ve relied on my gut instinct my whole life, but it seems to be failing me these days.
I admit that, as a heterosexual who came of age when gender was a binary concept, I’ve become a clumsy reader of the signals and vibes I get “out there.” I’ve also been accused of being things I’ve never considered myself to be, like:
•a tease
•overly flirtatious
•too uptight
•too liberal, and [in the absence of closure, I’d have to go with]
•too damaged.

How does a person who religiously goes to therapy every week fix being “too damaged?”

I honestly don’t think I’m the problem. I’d love to go out with a male version of me. I think maybe the ones who think I’m too damaged are too damaged themselves to see my [inner] beauty?

I surely don’t want to have to fish for compliments and ‘status reports” all the time in my next relationship. In fact, let’s say it out loud together:

WE ARE DONE WITH THAT❣️

WE WANT AND DESERVE ONE GREAT BIG MESSY, DESPERATE PASSIONATE LOVE AFFAIR BEFORE WE RELOCATE PLANETS❣️

WE ARE FASCINATING – just think of all the boring first date conversations we’ve carried and made interesting. Not everyone can do that!

LET’S JUST TRY TO LOVE OURSELVES FOR A WHILE, because:

WE ATTRACT WHAT WE PUT OUT, and what WE put out is highly unique. It probably takes decades for huge Humpback whales to find their mates-for-life. I don’t imagine they have mixers and matchmakers. And they must be practically extinct or there wouldn’t be “Save the Whales” bumper stickers everywhere (maybe not everywhere NOW, but everywhere ONCE).

I think I’m comparing myself to a Humpback Whale now, which reminds me that I use metaphorical language a lot. I’m just not a typical, normal person.

And you know what? I’m so frigging glad❣️ The worst type of lonely is being anxiously attached and disconnected from the person lying next to you in bed. In a dry and dead marriage with someone you never should’ve married in the first place.

Been there, done that, paid my dues.

We’ll just hang out here with the Whales for a while, Thank You. 🐳

Keeping Low with the Kardashians

Journal, 10/07/21

https://youtu.be/srxia1lPsac

After 10 years of active avoidance of and determined disengagement from All Things Kardashian, this Family’s incessant ubiquity and unrelenting pursuit of my attention have me simultaneously crying “Uncle!” and “Enough!”

I was hoping by 2021 we could collectively agree that all women are beautiful just as they are: tall, short, curvy, hippy, short-legged, big-busted, waifish, dark, light, red, white… it’s all good because there’s Someone for Everyone.

In a culture where we proclaim to value the individual, we will still select Archetypes to emulate. I had [mistakenly] assumed these people represent the best of what we humans are capable; ordinary people who’ve found themselves in extraordinary circumstances and, to their surprise as well as our own, find themselves accomplishing extraordinary things. These heroes inspire us to forsake the comfort of Now for the anxiety of What’s Next; the status quo for a moving but more suitable target; what we know for what we’re willing to learn. Because that’s what our Role Models have done!

However, when the people we’ve elected as our Exemplars, our Paragons of Femininity, venerate vapidity, praise pretentiousness, celebrate superficiality, extoll egotism, and magnify manipulation, we need to replace them.

Or am I the only one suffering from Kardashian Fatigue?

What Is Love Anyway?

I’ll just let the Great Howard Jones speak for me today…

I love you whether or not you love me
I love you even if you think that I don't
Sometimes I find you doubt my love for you
But I don't mind
Why should I mind?
Why should I mind?


What is love anyway?
Does anybody love anybody anyway?
What is love anyway?
Does anybody love anybody anyway?

Can anybody love anyone so much that they will never fear?
Never worry never be sad?
The answer is they cannot love this much nobody can
This is why I don't mind you doubting


What is love anyway?
Does anybody love anybody anyway?
What is love anyway?
Does anybody love anybody anyway?

And maybe love is letting people be just what they want to be
The door always must be left unlocked
To love when circumstance may lead someone away from you
And not to spend the time just doubting


What is love anyway?
Does anybody love anybody anyway?
What is love anyway?
Does anybody love anybody anyway?
What is love anyway?
Does anybody love anybody anyway?
What is love anyway?
Does anybody love anybody anyway?
What is love anyway?
Does anybody love anybody anyway?
What is love anyway?
Does anybody love anybody anyway?

The Biggest Loser

First and foremost, I’m not looking to marry you, so PLEASE get over yourself.  
All I want is one last torrid, passionate love affair before I die - or at least while I can still enjoy it.

Should we meet, I won’t be auditioning for a role; I will be interviewing you for one.

I don’t really care if you think I’m beautiful. I’ve fought in many wars and have the scars to prove it. I happen to find them beautiful and unique (p.s. why aren’t we talking about your body here?).

I don’t need your help. C’mon, Dude, I’m a two-time breast cancer survivor. Do You honestly think I need your help??

I don’t need your money, I’m fine in that department, thank you very much.

I don’t need a supervisor, but I would enjoy spending time with (one or more) fellow travelers and/or adventurers.

I don’t need your advice, though I know you love to give it. I’m actually far more resourceful than you apparently think.

I’m not looking for Someone To Take Care of Me, thank you very much. I’ve pretty much done that my entire life. Do you honestly think I abandoned my sensibilities when I met you?

I never asked you to tell me I’m “an amazing woman” while breaking up with me by text. I only asked you to tell me over the phone. Was that really such an unreasonable request?

I never asked you to fix me. I only asked you to accept me as I am.
(Oh, and I almost completely forgot about this part and had to add it later)…
We are both broken people: if we haven’t made some horrible choices by this age, then we haven’t lived at all.

I never asked you to love me. I only asked for a temporary oasis; an emotionally safe place where Little Jennifer could occasionally come out and play. Loving her is all that matters to me, because she’s been hurt enough.

Last and most importantly, I NEVER asked you to pity me! I refuse to allow another human being to turn me into a victim again. So you go right ahead and pretend like WE never happened. I’m fulfilled by being alive enough to have made such a bad impression in the first place!

Let’s Change Topics Now and Take a Little Inventory of What I DO Have to Offer:

•I’ve got my own car and my own money.
•I’ve got a bucket list of sexual fantasies I’ve yet to fulfill.
•I’ve got an entire wardrobe of fluffy, frilly, and sexy lingerie.
•I’ve got a scary high IQ
•I have no small children, adolescent children, adult children, or grandchildren.
•I’ve got a dirty mind and
•Too much time on my hands.

So in the End,
Who was the Biggest Loser?

Nursery Rhymes & Fairy Tales

Humpty Dumpty sat on a wall
Humpty Dumpty had a great fall
And all the kings horses and all the kings men
Couldn’t put Humpty Dumpty together again.

We whisper these horrible words into the ears of small children. How hopeless Humpty Dumpty must have felt!

Next project: a brand new set of fairy tales about ordinary people doing extraordinary things. Let’s get poor victimized Cinderella some therapy and a new place to live. Let’s give Rapunzel a key to that wretched tower, a good haircut, and a new job where she’s appreciated. I guarantee one day she’ll know her own strength.

While we’re at it, Prince Charming needs a vacation and some hobbies. He’d probably cry tears of relief just to learn he doesn’t have to be charming all the time (I know I certainly would). And talk about a high-stress job?!?! Not only does he slay dragons all day, he’s on call all night should any of his damsels find themselves in distress. Or need rescuing. Or have a flat tire.

I know that I don’t want to lose our one and only Prince Charming to Adrenal Failure.

Your thoughts?

Upon Contemplating a Second Marriage, 5/2014

“Am I Really, Really, REALLY Going To Do This Again?”

So many newly engaged or married couples talk about the husband’s “crazy ex-wife”.  This not only defies logic (how’d these same women become sane so quickly in order to marry again?), but it takes the focus off the mistakes we made in the past and dooms us to make them again.  So I think it’s normal to consider a second marriage with equal parts expectancy and caution.  I like that in the impending union on my horizon, we don’t blame our prior spouses for our past failures.  We look to our own contributions to those failures, and how we now relate to each other in this new relationship.  Most of all, we ask our Holy Father for grace, grace, and more grace to create a relationship that is pleasing to Him.

All this doesn’t mean I don’t have concerns.  Looking at 2nd marriage statistics ALONE admonishes that I “get [me] to a nunnery”, and fast!  Then there’s the seemingly impossible task of joining one’s relatives, resources, IRAs, emotional baggage, health conditions, and place of residence in middle age.  Add taste, furniture, and ART WORK on top if it all, and simple “dating” starts to sound good again!!

But I’ve been blessed to stumble across someone who loves me from his deepest place, who is willing to compromise on many of those difficult issues, and – most of all – is willing to put up with ME! I know I’m friendly and intelligent still pretty hot at 47 (hey, I’m trying to be objective here!).

But what’s also true is that I am NOT the easiest person to be married to. I hate going to the grocery store; but he doesn’t. I despise cooking; he happens to be very good at it. I’m a two-time breast cancer survivor; he doesn’t care. If anything, he’s proud of me. So as I told family earlier this week, this love of mine has seen me in the muck, and his response has been to help me out. But he’s not just a “fixer”: when the time comes – and it’s coming – he’ll also be content to sit back and watch me soar. That’s love, I think. (2014)

DAMN, WAS I EVER WRONG…Again! Divorced in 2016.

SEVEN GAMES TO EXPLORE YOURSELF AND OTHERS

1.CONVINCE ME!

(2-6 Players, Rules Expand with More than 2 Players):

Convince Me! is a debate game which allows one player 5 minutes to convince the other of his or her position towards an issue of frequent debate: if it’s talked about on social media, on television news shows, or at family dinners and cocktail parties, it’s a potential topic for an earnest and heated game of Convince Me! Methods for selecting the specific topics for debate are described in further detail below. However, if you understand half of a nighttime talk-show host’s opening monologue, you are well-equipped. Since Player 1 chooses the initial stance being taken on the first round of Convince Me!, he will choose to go right, left, in the middle, or altogether different in his debate.

After each player completes his or her 5 minute argument (aka: does a Convince Me!), the other player will articulate a 15-30 second summary of their “opponent’s” view: this is merely a brief restatement of the original argument, allowing player 2 to communicate he/she understands the original viewpoint and clear up any misunderstandings. Player 1 approves or corrects the argument if necessary – this is NOT a time to debate the topic further, however. Its sole purpose is clarification and it shouldn’t take longer than 30 seconds. The next step is for Player 2 to articulate a differing view from Player 1’s (his or her opportunity to perform an opposing Convince Me!). It should follow all of the same steps to express, restate, and clarify as the original Convince Me! – and should do it in the same time allowances. At the end, if this is more of a conversation than a game, you can debrief your Convince Me! and how you really think…or just allow the conversation to proceed organically. If this is being played as a game, particularly if there are more than 2 players (but no more than 8), it has to be played as a partial spectator sport: when the two active players are doing a Convince Me!, the remaining players should be actively watching and/or participating in some other way (cheering, encouraging, picking sides, whatever). Then after the 1st

Convince Me!, the table goes to the next player pair. They play their own turn of Convince Me! Choices must be made as to whether extemporaneous pairings are made immediately before play or at the very beginning; whether topics of debate are chosen immediately before play, selected for them by the group or another playing pair, or even chosen arbitrarily from scraps containing topics previously-brainstormed by the group or printed from a standardized list

*There is a difference between the conversational version of Convince Me! and the wildly popular game version. If you are simply playing conversational Convince Me! you can choose to debate the topic of your choice. Some experts even recommend using the Convince Me! framework as a means for resolving marital and relational disputes.

2.FIVE MINUTES

You will receive 5 open-ended questions selected by the other player and will have 30-60 seconds to answer each to the best of your ability within that time frame. Examples include;

1. What’s your favorite musical composer, group or band and why?

2. What’s the best movie you’ve seen in the last 5 years and why?

3. Do you like your older daughter’s new husband? Why or why not?

4. What is your son’s most native gifting and do you encourage its expression?

5. Think about a moment in time when you remember saying to yourself: “I am so happy. What were you doing and what was going on around you?

Next, player 2 gets to ask the same 5 questions or a different set of questions. Methods of selecting questions are the same as they are in Convince Me! (selected extemporaneously by the asking player, selected randomly from scraps of previously chosen questions, provided by spectator players, or chosen from a standard list).

3.SELL YOURSELF

You have 30 seconds using real-life examples to state why you’d be the perfect person to fill a position as a ___________ (insert other player’s choice). An example is “Why you’d make an excellent PLUMBER or BAKER or AUTO MECHANIC using real-life experiences. The more challenging and incongruent the better, though you can start easily and work your way up to the harder ones. After player 1 finishes, it switches over to next player, but in any round, he or she is allowed to say “You’re Fired” if you’re not REALLY trying!!

4.EXPLAIN IT TO ME LIKE I’M A GUY (or GIRL):

Here you explain something to a member of the opposite sex the exact way you’d explain it to friend of your same gender. The most interesting explanations come from questions of an interpersonal nature. For example:

1. “Explain your last breakup to me like I was a guy (or a girl, depending).”

2. “Explain the reasons for your divorce.”

3. “How do you feel about your daughter’s boyfriend?”

4. “Describe your dating experience so far.”

Provide the explanation (between 60-120 seconds, unless you opt to relax the time constraints – it’s more exhilarating with the limits; more relaxed without). Switch to the other player and have him/her answer the same question the same way – as if to a good friend of the same sex.

5.EXPLAIN IT TO ME FROM A MAN’S/WOMAN’S PERSPECTIVE:

This isn’t explaining the topic TO a member of the same sex; rather it’s explaining it to your date (or friend of the opposite sex) from the perspective of someone of your gender. It’s not a debate, it’s a creative game and there are no right or wrong explanations. You can play it stereotypically (all Andrew Dice Clay-like or Stepford Wife-like) or didactically. It’s one player’s chance to get the opposite sex’s view on topics of interest. Or simply to create a spontaneous, amusing, or even over-the-top farcical explanation from the point of view of a character – like a drama exercise. The choice is yours. Some topics could include (female-generated for men to expound upon):

◦ Why men are interested in the whole “Sugar Baby Concept”

◦ Do men really “get scared” sometimes and need to pull away, or is that just a line? And why?

◦ Why do so many men watch pornography?

◦ What do most men watch when they watch it and then why?

◦ What does it feel like to have lots of testosterone combined with youth (ie, what does it feel like to be a teenage boy?)

(Maximum 3 minutes for each issue).

6.FIVE FAST FREE-FALL:

(15 seconds each)

1. 5 favorite bands

2. 5 favorite songs

3. 5 favorite movies

4. 5 nouns that begin with the letter J

5. 5 verbs that begin with the letter I

6. 5 adjectives that could describe a bike

7. 5 best cities for museums, musical performances, and other forms of artistic expression

8. 5 best cities for a romantic vacation

9. 5 happiest moments (45 seconds for this one)

10. 5 kitchen items and their Spanish equivalent (30 seconds)

11. Last time you felt scared (only 1 answer needed; no time limit)

Extra credit round:

—Last 5 times you were disappointed (45 seconds)

—5 Best Vacations Ever

7.IMAGINE

You start by stating your story situation. This is a good default:

“Imagine you were the King of Texas, like a member of a monarchy. You have jewels and mansions and personal wealth and you can never be removed from the job. You wake at leisure from a beautiful bed and the first thing you do is………….. ‘because you want to’ ……… “ (you have to provide a reason for what you do before handing it to the other player). Then player 2 says:

“Then you ……….. because you want to ………”. It goes back and forth like this until the story runs its course or you can tweak the method of play by setting an arbitrary time limit in which the challenge is to think and answer quickly. Both types of play constitute a fantastical game where together you build an entertaining story. You can play it straight and easy, but it’s actually more fun if you each ‘reach high’ and the player who follows you has to provide answers that actually make (even unrealistic or creative) sense. The goal is to create a story without bounds, being clever but silly in the process. The benefit of this game is that it usually results in laughter – which we all know is good for the soul and contributes to overall “salud.”

I think most of these games are best with 2 players sitting face-to-face, but they can all easily be modified to include up to 6 players.

WHO WRITES THIS KIND OF STUFF?? AN ENFP, I GUESS.

May, 2021

Textpectations & Blocking

I’ve noticed there’s a certain type of divorced, middle-aged man who will block you as soon as you start asking bitchy and extreme questions like:

“Why are you breaking up with me by text?”

“Is something wrong?”

“Why aren’t you replying anymore?”

Are you okay?, and the ever-fatal

“Can you call me so we can discuss it?”

I’m proud to report I’ve been officially “blocked twice.”

The Language of Love

Oh to be known 
And yet loved for my flaws,
Fills me with hope and
Gives me great pause:
To think that these gifts
Come without any "ifs"
Makes your words stick,
Building trust brick by brick,
And truth day by day,
All the while the words you say
Become more real and more sincere
Arousing my trust and ousting my fear.
Creating a fanciful flight of feelings I’ve yet to know,
Could they, just this once, be my very own?
I don't have the words to describe all this new
Emotion and Growth and Questions without clues.
I only know this mystery transcends my go-to speech,
Its translation a language grasped only by us each.
And when I speak in silence, your interpretation is perfect.
But the greatest gift: you find me worthy to protect.
I feel wholly safe in your arms,
Free from danger and free from harm.

In you I’ve found treasure.
And exceptional pleasure.
All beyond measure.
2017

Divorce Poem (amalgamated)

It grieves me to think that alone I’ll always be, 
No partner by my side to share and to see,
The treasures life provides, for I’ve driven you away
Since love comes and goes, but never does it stay.
At the start, you were captured, besotted as was I,
But you left me in tatters when you fled in the night.
What was it that I did that made you lose all those feelings,
So warm and so true, I was sure my heart was healing?
I will concede I often needed time for myself
To reflect on my thoughts and keep strong my mental health.
We often blamed and blazed and said words to each other
That should’ve never been voiced; that should’ve never been uttered.
I feel that those words, the ones spoken just by me
Were born from a fear that you’d leave eventually.
As we lived our days together, I reeled from your abuse,
My motives always questioned, my intentions oft’ accused.
In the eye of my mind, I labeled you a bully,
My heart always hurt and my soul felt so sullied.
As bullies often do, you pushed and you pressed:
You wanted me to speak of the Wounds I had dressed,
So you ripped off the bandage and my Wound, unconfined,
Grew big/bigger/biggest, for it soon multiplied.
Like an insect just released from a taut, forced enclosure,
You subjected where I bled to the Light’s harsh exposure.
Soon the pain of the Burn and the Searing of the Light
Birthed in me both an urgent and compelling need for Flight.
At the time, I was bound, so I stilled and I froze
And dislodged inner terror which broke free and arose.
With our problems brightly lit, Trust failed its test.
As Anger swapped with Laughter, and insults replaced jest.
I felt only judgment in the planes of your face,
Signaling contempt as love was displaced.
This soon sparked to life an old familiar Shame,
And changed you to a stranger who just bore my lover’s name.
In hindsight I’m aware you weren’t the sole perpetrator;
My disgrace a group effort and you merely just one traitor
On the list, oh so long, of the many I’d entrusted
With an open, bleeding heart, returned to me encrusted
Riddled with disease of hopes dashed and vows broken
You condemned me to live where Love wasn’t spoken.
To conclude I’ll admit that YOU rejected ME,
But I don’t give a damn, because at last I’m finally free!