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Forget Love

I refuse to live my life in fear.

I went into the underground for a while, even changed my name, because of what one evil person did to me.  I will NOT live like that.  I'm a strong person.  Nothing can keep me down.  So, I'm back.  I'm stronger than ever.  I will survive and thrive in the face of adversity, just as I have always done.

I'm hungry.  I'm hungry for better things and a better life.  I'm hungry for hope and strength and a ladder to climb.  And I'm hungry for food.

Things are tight for me right now.  So tight in fact that I have a bank account in the teens and $5 in my wallet.  But I'm surviving just the same.  I have friends and family who love me and support my decisions.  What else could I need?  What more could I want? 

It's after 12:30 on a Sunday and I'm still in my pajamas, still in bed.  For a while I wondered if it was because I was perhaps depressed.  I thought about it and no, that's not it at all.  I have no money and nowhere to go, so why bother getting up?  I'm relaxed!  This is the first weekend I've had completely to myself in more than a year now and it feels great to just do what I want to do when I want to do it.  If that includes staying in bed until after noon, then so be it.

I have so much to share still.
I know for a while it looked like my blog was gone... but I didn't have the heart to erase it as I had originally planned.  I had put so much work and love into my writing.  I couldn't get rid of it.  In a world where I have lost everything more than once (three times in two years in fact), my writing is about the only thing I've been able to keep safe.  Erasing it all would be a bigger setback than I was willing to put myself through.

They say what doesn't kill us only makes us stronger.  With what I've lived through so far, I'm beginning to wonder if I can ever die.  I just keep going no matter what.  I keep surviving.

I doubt I will ever have that fairy tale happy ending we all search for, and I am finally ready to say that I am perfectly ok with that.  If I die an old maid, I'll just have lots of fun along the way.  Life is here to enjoy.  I'm not going to be like Elizabeth Taylor - always searching for that perfect love and never finding it.  There is no such thing as the "perfect love" and when we find something we think might very well be, the curtains suddenly get yanked back and we find that the Wizard of Oz is just a squeaky little guy pulling strings and blowing smoke.  I came close once... REAL close.  I doubt I'll ever find anything better than that was back then with Pete, but when my love life was in harmony, nothing else in my life was.  My job sucked.  I didn't have a career really.  It went from bad to worse until finally Pete and I came to an end.  I never got over Pete, though I've done well (off and on) since then with jobs and careers.  But I've learned something out of this...

Just when I think I can get close to someone, just when I think I can love someone, the curtain gets yanked back and I see them for who they really are - and I sever all ties.  If I can just dismiss someone with the wave of my hand like that, then they really weren't an anchor in my life to begin with.  There are so few in this world I'd never be able to just dismiss so easily... THOSE people are what make me strong. They are the souls protecting my heart.  They are the ones who get me through each day, just knowing they are there and that they love me.  They support me.  They don't try to talk me out of decisions I've made to better myself.  They're never negative to me. They simply support me and cheer me on.  THAT IS LOVE.  It's not a romantic sort of love I need, but the love my friends and family have shown me since I arrived back on American soil June 20th of this year.

Forget romance. Forget infatuation.  Forget heartache.  Forget drama.  Forget it all... what's left?
LIFE
LOVE
FAMILY
FRIENDS

I need nothing more than that.

Oh... and my writing.

I Remember You


This was my final farewell to someone I once knew and loved dearly... He's never out of my thoughts.  I wrote it a while back but couldn't share it before now.









...we met on the coast.  It was such a lovely day for a drive in a convertible.  Your bike gleamed in the sunshine… I couldn’t help looking right past B at you.  It truly was love at first sight.

I’m not sure how this is going to turn out, but I do know that it’s something I’ve been trying to do for the past 2 years now and have constantly found myself unable to say everything I wanted to say.  But in the past 9 months I’ve done a lot of traveling, and when sitting for long periods of time alone in the darkness and silence, somehow things become clearer within the mind.  I think I’m finally ready to do this.

It’s been a while, I know… but I can’t seem to let go quite yet.  I haven’t been ready to.  I’ve moved on as much as I can, but there is a part of me that still exists within that reality left behind so long ago.

I moved back to Los Angeles in 2009 and couldn’t bear to part with certain items in my possession.  Instead, I had a friend of mine mail them to you.  They day they were mailed I thought I had let go, but in all honesty that couldn’t have been farther from the truth.  I wanted to go straight to the post office and get them back, but I couldn’t.  It was too late.  It was what I thought you had wanted.  I have never stopped second-guessing that thought, wondering what you had meant by packing them into my things.  We didn’t communicate.  That was my fault, probably.  I was broken.  I hoped to not be so broken, but have only done more damage to myself because of it all.

I moved to Scotland in January.  I thought that by leaving my home, I could finally put the past behind me.  Alas, I was wrong.  It not only followed me, but haunted me.  I was surrounded by your last name.  People I saw walking down the street would remind me of you.  Finally, in June, I came back home. 

I saw you once, riding a Vespa in Redondo Beach.  It looked great, and so did you.  I know you always wanted one.  You looked good on it.  I wanted to wave at you, but instead I hid.  I didn’t want you to see me.  I didn’t want you to look at me and see how damaged I had become.  NONE of it was your fault… I did it to myself.  Still, I know that of all the people in this great wide world, you would be one of very few that could look at me and know my pain.  I didn’t want you to see that.

I know you’ve moved on.  I know you have someone in your life.  I hope she’s very good to you – better than I was – and that she’s all you’ve ever wanted.  The last thing I want to do is cause you any complications or undue stress.  I know all the books you’ve ever read say to sever all communications with people like me, people from your past, but I hope you read this for very selfish reasons I will explain.

I’ve never gotten over you.  I don’t honestly believe I ever will – at least a big part of me.  But I’m also not able to move on and that’s hurting me more than I ever thought it would.  At this point I live with my best friend (a girl named Sage) who has become a sister to me, far closer than I ever imagined even Kay and I would be.  She has been a single girl for many years, and as things stand I see myself growing old with her, becoming a bit of an old maid.  I’ve given up on love and hope.  I don’t want it anymore.  What I had with you was so perfect in so many ways.  We had such a wonderful 3 years together. I would never want to loose that memory or cheapen it with any relationships that would never live up to the standard that we had.  In that, I’ve lost faith in the chance of ever finding something like that again. 

I doubt you’ll want to talk to me.  I wouldn’t blame you for that.  I wouldn’t want to if I were you either.  I caused you a lot of pain and I really hurt you, all through miscommunication.  A big part of me wishes I wrote this letter to you two years ago like I had planned.  I’m sure it would have come out differently.  I didn’t want to give you back the rings.  I wanted to keep them until we could talk and iron out a few things… I wanted to get back to the way things were before we ate Sushi on PCH that day.  I wanted to go back to the day we ate Meatloaf with your family and you asked if I was tired of that large rhinestone ring I was wearing.  But time doesn’t reverse.  Time keeps moving forward.  It may be time I started to do the same.  I just don’t know how.

Maybe I’m looking for closure.  I don’t know.  I do know there’s a lot that I’ve wanted to say to you and even now I can’t seem to find the words.  I’ve always wished nothing but the best for you, even as I made that long drive to Utah on April 1st of 2009.  It was the day my Grandfather died in 2004.  It was the day I got to my parents house when we split.  I kept hoping both times that it was an April Fools Joke, but the joke didn’t end. 

It wasn’t your fault we split up.  It wasn’t your fault I was so angry when my Dad and I came to pack up my things.  I was so broken hearted over it all I couldn’t bear to look you in the eyes for fear of breaking down in front of you.  God, I loved you.  I still do.  I always will. 

The strongest memory of that day in my own mind was picking up things in the Tiki room to pack away, with you sitting on the red couch.   I wanted to look at you, to take one last look before I left, but I didn’t dare.  I couldn’t let myself be weak.  I needed to be strong.  YOU were strong. I wanted to be strong for you.  I didn’t want you to see how much I was hurting because it wouldn’t have done you any good.  Perhaps that was wrong of me.  Maybe I shouldn’t have hidden that from you.  If I hadn’t, maybe we wouldn’t be where we are today… though I truly hope you are in a better place. 

I held my 1920’s engagement ring in my hand for several hours before I finally placed it in the wooden box with yours.  I knew things were out of my hands and there was nothing much I could do… so I sent you both to tell you the only way I knew how that I would leave it to you.  I had desperately hoped you would at the very least keep yours, and I hope you do still have it.  I doubt you have that crazy surprise cake topper anymore though, and I can’t really blame you if you took that out for target practice in the desert. 

I’ve learned a lot of lessons over the past two years, and you know how I am, I always learn my lessons the hard way.  I’ve learned how to communicate with the people I love much better.  I know how to take care of myself – rely on nobody but me.  I’ve learned how to be alone.  I’ve learned how to have my own friends and my own life, not just be a part of someone else’s.  I’ve taken good care of Oliver and he still takes good care of me when I need it most.  He even has a little friend now named Sprite, born on nearly the same day as him.  She’s 2 years younger than him and they love one another dearly. 

I ran into Paul at a Doug MacLeod concert.  If you remember Paul, he’s the strange looking fellow that always goes to the Tiki events.  He told me that you and he talked at one of them… he said that you mentioned me and asked if he was “Amanda’s” friend.  My heart skipped a beat and I wanted to know if you had asked anything else about me, but I was afraid to ask. 

Since then I’ve found you on Facebook and see that you’re with a lovely blond girl with a sweet face.  As I said earlier, I can only hope she treats you as well as you deserve to be treated and she loves you as much as I always have.  I’ve always wished nothing but the best for you.


I will always love you.  Don't ever forget that.  I think it's time I let go now... I think I finally can.




Tonight's Prayer

Tonight I say a prayer...

For the lovers.
For the survivors.

For the true and pure of heart.
For those who don't know where to start.
For those who think they've lost their way,
And those who know what friends would say.

For those who love and have lost before,
For those who are knocking at love's front door.
For those who know what love truly is,
For those who don't and wish they did.

For those who reach for stars and beyond!
For those I sing this prayer in song.
For those I love and those who love me,
For all of us, who wish to be free.

I claim not to know where the words flow from
Only that they're carried on things yet to come.
Promises made from God's holy hand,
That we shall prosper in this, his land.

The Bus Driver

Lynn was a wise man.  He sat behind the gigantic wheel of the bus every day, rain or snow, sun or hail.  He was as faithful and loyal a man as we could ever ask for, starting at the 7th grade and carrying us all the way through the years.  I sat in the front row of the bus every single day to talk with Lynn, all the way up until I changed schools.

Lynn would talk about things with us.  He understood when girls had boy trouble, when boys had girl trouble, and when any of us needed to complain about parents or teachers.  He would offer advice by way of telling us a story we could relate to.  Often kids would take turns sitting in the front row in order to talk with Lynn. He loved us all dearly, as though we were his own children.  He took care of us. 

Sometimes the snow was deep and the way up the mountain was slow.  The bus would come dangerously close to the edge of the cliff, but each of us trusted Lynn to keep the bus on the road.  He never failed us.  He somehow managed to keep us all going.  On those days it would be such stress for him that he would get quiet and not say a word to us.  Minutes would pass without a sound.  We could see the tension and pressure in his face.  But we were children and all we could do was go where Lynn took us.  He was the one in charge.  He controlled the path and road ahead.

During the construction, the road was rough and the way was hard.  He tried to guide us around the potholes, but once in a while he would catch one.  The kids sitting the farthest away from him would feel it the worst - often a bone crunching bounce, nearly tossing them from their seats.  Those of us closest to Lynn barely felt it at all.

He would go slowly when he needed to, unconcerned with the rate of traffic.  He knew what needed to be done and when it needed doing, so we trusted him completely.  He would slow down around every turn, lest us kids slide right out of our vinyl seats and straight into the aisles.

He would speed up when it was safe to.  Sometimes he would speed up to make it up a hill.... we would start out at a race track speed to get a good start, and sometimes things moved incredibly slow by the time we got to the top of the hill.

Sometimes the road was smooth and the way was easy.  We hardly felt a bump.  Those days were always good days, but the ride wasn't nearly as interesting.

Sometimes I would close my eyes and just trust Lynn to make sure I made it to my destination... and he always made sure I did.



Though this story was true and based on an actual man named Lynn, it's also an incredible analogy of life itself, and the bus driver we must all (all 147 passengers) depend on in order to get to where we are going.  Trust in that bus driver... because we mere mortals don't know how to drive that thing to where it needs to go.  We don't always know the way.  We don't know where the potholes are to go around them.  We don't know how slick the road ahead might turn out to be and how much strength and concentration it will take to make it through the ice and snow.  We don't know every stop along the way.  Only the bus driver has all the answers...

Now... knowing this analogy, read the story one more time...














Fears

While the majority of my stories are upbeat and uplifting, sharing with the world my funny tales, I also have my share of heart breakers and thrillers. I'm a strong person. I haven't always been, but I've always contained a strength I didn't know that I had. Still, even now I struggle with insecurities on a mass scale - insecurities I did not realize I suffered so much from.

Bill and I went swimming the other day at the YMCA... I was suddenly reminded of several long-time fears I struggle with every single day. These are things that nobody in the world typically knows about me ... until now.

Neophobia- Fear of anything new.

This one will surprise a lot of people. I don't seem to really fear much of anything... and yet I'm terrified every time I have to walk into any place I've never been before if I am alone. It is truly frightening.

Harpaxophobia- Fear of being robbed.

Since being robbed in 2009 this has become a phobia of mine. I hide my belongings if I can, fearful that they will be gone when I look again if I do not. There are VERY few people I trust any of my belongings to remain with. As I walked into the YMCA women's locker room, the first concern I had was for finding the lockers and making certain my lock would fit.

Gymnophobia- Fear of nudity.

I'm far from afraid of seeing naked bodies - unless I'm looking in the mirror. This fear has gotten worse over the years... I'm absolutely terrified of getting changed in front of people, especially strangers in the YMCA, and find that I am incredibly insecure about this. I took my blue bag into the toilet stalls and changed right there, with nothing to put my things on, nowhere to hang my bag and an extreme balancing act in order to simply change into my swim suit.

While my next challenge wasn't a phobia, nor does it resemble a phobia, I pulled a skirt out of my blue bag and pulled it on over my suit, embarrassed by my own legs - my thighs in particular.

Thanatophobia or Thantophobia- Fear of death or dying.

I was, at one time, an accomplished swimmer. It's been a long time since I swam for the sport of swimming though, and I had forgotten that I always suffered with the fear of drowning. I have always hated to have water splashed in my face. I hate to have my face in the water. I feared it, in fact, though that doesn't seem to be a phobia on the list of phobias. I could barely stand to have my face under water for more than a few seconds. I would come up sputtering and gagging almost every time. At one time, when last I swam for recreation, I combated this by swimming with a mask and snorkel. As long as I could breath, I was fine.

I was swimming the crawl stroke by the end of the swimming session (thanks in no small part to Bill) with my face underwater, breathing on every 4th stroke. I felt like I knew what I was doing. Bill even said I looked like I knew what I was doing. It felt great!

I doubt I'll change my clothes in front of strangers anytime soon, or stop locking car (and bedroom) doors. My legs will continue to embarrass me until I loose a few pounds in them alone. I'm working to conquer the water fear though, since I love swimming so much... and it's a daily struggle for me to go new places but I've managed to deal with that all my life so far. These are a few of my fears. I plan to conquer them all... I will rule them. They will not rule me.

Quote

Such a beautiful quote...




"Thank you for listening.
"Thank  you for caring.
"Thank you for loving me.
"Thank you for laughing at my lame jokes.
"Thank you for being you."


A Better Place

Every now and again we all have our emotional melt downs. Every now and then we need to shed a few tears.  Every now and then 1 it's the only thing that eases the pressure we feel and stress that we're under.  Sometimes there's a period of time when we're emotionally distraught as we wait "to allow the pendulum to settle" just a bit, as a friend of mine put it earlier tonight.

Heartache comes and goes. We all know the feeling of a broken heart, a lost love, a family member missed so much it 4 brings us to tears.  It's a natural thing and a fact of life.  We each deal with the crisis in our lives in different ways.  I'm no exception. 

I went to lunch with Bill today, wonderful friend that he is.  I had several drinks containing alcohol, and in no time I was a blubbering heap of redheaded mess.  Then I was smiling and laughing.  Then I was in tears once more.  By the time he dropped me off back at home, I was smiling and laughing once more.

I'm lucky 7 to have the friends that I have, new and old.  Somehow they know the right things to say to me in order to cheer me up, make me feel better and help the hurt to go away. 

It was darkness earlier... nothing but darkness.  I saw no light at the end of the tunnel. 

There is still no light at the end of the tunnel, but I'm no longer blinded by the darkness.



Life is Unfair


For anyone who reads my blog posts on a regular basis, it must almost seem like I delight in the daily drama I often find myself entangled with.  Truly this is not my desire, and usually I run for the hills when drama begins to rear its ugly head.  There are some situations though in which that is something I find impossible for me.  Certain matters of the heart and soul seem to rule in favor of ration and wisdom.

It's no secret that August has historically been a difficult month for me emotionally.  I seem to wall myself off and hide from the world.  Some days it's a struggle just to get out of bed.  This year has, until the last couple of days, been an exception to that rule.  I've been happy and confident.  I've held on to hope and even found friends to help me through my struggle - and yet I find that I'm struggling once more.

I'm loved.  I know that.  There are many who love me and care about me.  Yet, I am once more alone in my struggle.  I know that nobody out there understands what I'm going through and what torture it is.  I want and need a shoulder to cry on, but that shoulder isn't here.  I want and need two arms around me, just to hold me without a word or sound aside from the rhythmic breathing of two souls in deep understanding.  Yet I sit alone on the bedroom floor, typing on my cold, slick, hard surface, emulating the exterior I wish to show the world.

Yet I'm vulnerable and weak, speedily racing from the top to the bottom of an emotional rollercoaster.  I know I'm not alone in that.  I know there are others who go through the same rollercoaster... but my only hope for any salvation is to know others do not face it alone and have the shoulder of someone who cares.  They can share that emotional pain and torture with someone. They can cry together, mourn together, feel together, share together.  I can not help but to feel guilt for the jealousy I harbor.  I cry my salty tears in a dark room alone.  I moisten the fur of my loving cat by holding him until he can't stand it any longer.  Finally he breaks free, tearing a scar into my soft belly, letting the blood flow as it will. 

For now it is as it must be.  Life must be unfair.  Life must be filled with pain in order for us to appreciate the pleasure.  I must be alone in order to appreciate others I suppose.  For now I hold my pillow tight, wishing it to be a comforting shoulder of someone who truly, fully understands.

I am a tough girl though... I've survived much worse, though for the life of me at this moment I can't think of any.  This too shall pass. That's what I keep telling myself. 





Things of Beauty

Things of Beauty:

Warm sunshine on a chilly day
The hand of someone you love
A memory so warm and sweet
It makes you smile to think of.

A cool breeze on a summer noon
Love in all its splendor
A gentle hug when we need it most,
A shoulder, warm and tender.

Our pets who love us dear,
And to our hearts hold fast.
That is love in truest form,
A love that forever lasts.

A warm bed at the end of the day,
When our bones are weary and weak.
The cool side of the pillow,
As we rest our exhausted cheek.

The tears we cry for others
When they feel that they cant
It's such a selfless act of kindness
The greatest gift we can grant.







Words Fail Me

I long to write...

I wish to tell the world what I'm feeling and going through but know I can not. Words can not express...

Splash!

A couple days ago I did something I intentionally tried not to do. My phone went into the toilet.

I needed to use the ladies room (and with two female roommates it is MOST DEFINITELY a ladies room) and I've got a routine down for when I walk into the bathroom these days. Normally I stand by the sink and remove my phone from my back pocket. I place it on the counter top, do what I need to do, and pick it up again when I'm done. I do this mainly because I've dropped a couple of really nice phones down the commode and regretted it very much.

Two days ago, I walked into the bathroom after drinking a lot of water and stood in front of the sink. I was wearing a draping blouse that day and didn't take that into consideration... that was a mistake.

I removed the phone from my back pocket to place it on the counter, and in my hurry to put it down, it got hung up in my shirt. As I reached forward with it in my hand, it suddenly flew out of my hand like it had been fired from a sling shot. The phone then flew through the air, launching no less than 5 feet across the bathroom, bounced off the seat of the toilet three times before I could grab for it and splashed right into the bottom of the toilet.

It's a good thing I'm not a squeamish person. It's equally a good thing the toilet had been flushed since last used.

These last few days I've gotten to where I just leave the phone in the bedroom when I need to go.








Doug MacLeod

Several years ago a friend of mine stumbled into Cafe Boogaloo in Hermosa Beach, CA when he heard some of the most amazing music he'd ever heard pouring out of the open door. Stunned, he wandered in and sat astonished until the music ended and the phenomenal musician, Doug MacLeod, finished his set. It wasn't long before Phil told everyone he knew about the amazing man he heard singing that night.

He is a real Delta Blues legend - and a National Treasure. He learned from the best blues men in Mississippi growing up and has a story behind every song he sings. Since the first second I heard him sing, I've been in love with that voice. Me being me, the social butterfly that I am, it wasn't long before I introduced myself with both my first and middle names, something every musician remarks on. My middle name is Lynn, and I was named after a musical instrument (a mandolin).

I saw Doug just about every time he played at Cafe Boogaloo for quite a while, and when life sent me into another direction I found myself separated from that wonderful music and the even more wonderful and magical person behind it. Doug had a way of speaking to the soul, bringing out emotions we all have known and felt. I connected with his lyrics in a way I'd never known before. I knew I missed him, but I didn't know how much until I saw him again in 2006 after quite a time away. I showed up with shorter hair of a different shade, but my same old Harley Davidson jacket I'd been wearing for years. At first he didn't know me, but the dawning recognition on his face eventually gave way. He was truly surprised and delighted. It was a great reunion with an old friend.

He had written a few songs since I had last seen him, and one of those songs he played that very night brought me to tears. Before the end of the song, I had drops of moisture dotting my shirt, my arms and the table beneath my chin. Doug MacLeod really got it. Whats more, he was watching my face the entire song. He knew he had reached my very soul. He knew that my pain was real, I knew far too much about the blues and he spoke directly to me in that song. I requested it every time I saw him for the next year.

Life changed a few things for me yet again not long afterward and I ended up a bit removed from that life once more. I talked about Doug from time to time, telling people what a fabulous musician he was and occasionally purchasing CD's of his for gifts, but nothing could replace the real deal. Nothing could compare to seeing his facial expressions when he played, knowing the emotion he put into every song no matter how many times he played it. Nothing could replace the look on his face when something he was singing reminded him of days gone by and times he missed. No matter what though, this particular song always brought tears to my eyes.

Life changed several more times for me. I ran into Doug once in Best Buy in Torrance, shortly after I got engaged to Pete. I was proud to be wearing the 1920's art deco ring on my hand and was so proud to show Doug. I told him briefly what was going on in my life since I hadn't seen him in over two years. He told me that I should come to one of his shows sometime so I can tell him all about it. Somehow I never had the chance though, and it was the last time I ever saw Doug - until last night.

Since the last time I saw him, my life has changed completely again. I remember back on all the changes I've been through each time I've been away. I've grown up so much in the past 8 years, and though I hardly recognize myself, that didn't stop him.

His jaw nearly hit the floor when I walked into Lucilles BBQ at the Long Beach Town Center last night. He sat there, stunned. He clearly didn't know what to say. I hadn't seen him perform since 2006, and he truly was someone I could always call a friend. He always had a kind word for me and honestly cared about me. He worried about me, too. I couldn't help myself - I walked right up to him and his National guitar that I knew so well and hugged him. He was between songs, or that might have been a bit more awkward. He nearly had tears in his eyes, and in turn so did I. It had been far too long since I'd seen the greatest Blues man to ever live.

Bill and I stayed for the entire performance last night, and as usual, I was astonished by the talent the man had. I laughed at his stories, I watched his amazingly fast hands on the strings of his guitar and once more I cried to that one particular song. Mascara tinted the white napkin in my lap, but I wasn't ashamed to show it.

Doug speaks to my soul. He's a true friend at a depth and level I've rarely ever seen in my life. When the night was over and we were all saying goodnight, we laughed and joked and had jolly fun. He hugged me and we laughed a bit more. Then he spoke.

"I'm glad to see you're doin' alright."

I choked up. I wanted to tell him all about the disaster Scotland turned out to be and how sad I had been and how screwed up I was and what all I had been through. I wanted to tell him about that horrible day I left Pete, and living in South Central LA and nearly starving myself to death because I couldn't afford to eat. I wanted to tell him about the skin cancer, the car wreck, the tears I cried alone at night. I wanted to tell him how much emotional pain I had been in and how I often wondered if I would ever recover from it. I wanted to tell him how much that one particular song meant to me at this exact moment in time. Instead, all I could do was lean back and look at him with those old familiar tears in my eyes, knowing he understood the pain in my soul.

He smiled at me, patted me on the shoulder and said only two words to me.

"I know."

I had no words... only a smile, because I knew what he said was true.



Sun Shine Down My Way
Doug MacLeod
(Please, listen to the words...)









Time to Live


I've found myself to be incredibly busy lately, almost to the point of insanity.

I've wanted to get back into Martial Arts classes since I was a teenager. When I was about 23 years old I started going to Kick Boxing every week with my teacher friend Julie. Since those days, I've not done anything like it.

For a while in 2008 and early 2009 I was working out on a semi-regular basis with Pete. He and I did the Navy Seals workout routines together. I did everything I could to keep up with him, and even though I hated running with a passion, I did it because I wanted him to be proud of me. I got to where I could run more than 2 miles non-stop. For me that was astonishing. I screwed that all up though, and I gave up for a while. I even started smoking again... stupid me.

Since landing on the ground back home in California after 5 months of living in a foreign country, I've turned a new leaf.


1. Smoking is no longer an issue in my life. I can't say I stopped completely because I still enjoy the occasional cigar, but 'social' is different than 'habitual', right?

2. I'm now taking Hapkido twice a week - Wednesdays and Saturdays - and even got a good friend of mine to join me. Now there's three of us going that I've known for quite some time and we're having a LOT of fun. Between Bill and Keira, life just got that much better. Now if only I could get my roommate to join in the fun.

3. I'm taking Jiu Jitsu lessons from two guys I've quickly learned to adore. They're wonderful guys. One has a fiancee I was lucky enough to meet, and they are extremely lucky - both of them - to have one another. She's a wonderful lady with a sweet and generous nature, an artistic flair and true spirit. He's a funny, sweet guy with a "White Knight" syndrome, and who doesn't love that in a guy? He's charming and chivalrous, easy on the eyes and gentle with the compliments.

The other guy is just as charming and sweet with a touch of wit and sarcasm, and any girl who ends up with him should count her lucky stars each night. He also has the greatest dog in the world (Lojack) who is a real character. All four of them have earned a special place in my heart. The group meets on Sundays in Irvine (at Deerfield Park) and is MORE than worth the drive.

4. I'm taking my "Open Water Diver Course" right now in order to learn to SCUBA dive! I've wanted to do this for YEARS now and I figured it's time to get a kick in my kiester and get it done.

5. I'm taking my second ever trip to Hawaii in October! I will be traveling to Oahu, somewhere I've never been. The last time I was in Hawaii was the summer of 2003 and I always said I wanted to go back. I also said I wanted to go to Oahu. Well, the opportunity just landed in my lap and I'm jumping at the chance.

6. Once I'm done with the SCUBA course, I'm planning to take Sailing lessons!! I can't exactly write about an adventurous Pirate without knowing the ropes, can I? It's research!

7. I'm working on plans to go for a cruise - my first ever. No dates are set yet, all I know is that I'm going to go!

8. Tahiti is in my future, though not as close as Hawaii. That is a bit more long-term, if a year can be called long-term.

9. I was able to go to a wonderful party in Malibu on the 4th of July (thanks to my long-time friend Patric) where I not only became the event's social focus, but got to meet an A-list celebrity. Not only did I meet said celebrity, but this person asked for my phone number while there, wanting to keep in touch with me and maybe 'go out sometime' to grab a drink. Someday I'll tell that story, but that's for another blog.

10. I stayed a couple nights on the Queen Mary and got to explore with the Paranormal Researchers... what an adventure! Fireworks went off in the harbor and gave a dazzling light display that left me awe-struck.

11. I will be attending my first ever red-carpet ceremony this coming February and I'm currently saving for not only the exquisite gown I'll be wearing to the gala, but also for the car of my dreams in the mean time.

12. I have the GREATEST roommate in the world. She has become my sister in many respects and it is widely agreed that she is quite possibly the best friend I've ever had AND the closest thing I'll ever know to having a real sister in my life. We're so much alike that it's scary how different we are. This fall we plan to take a road trip, just the two of us, and I'm excited to go!! I also got to take her to Disney Land for the first time in her life and we had an absolute BLAST both days!


Life has a way of getting interesting when we let it. I hid in a shell for far too long, swallowed up by my work and responsibilities, hiding from the pain I felt of leaving behind a wonderful life a few years ago. Little did I know that all of this was there within my reach if I just knew how to take hold and go with it. Thanks to one of my BEST friends, I've got the job of my dreams that allows me to have this sort of freedom. I still work hard and put in long hours from time to time, but the rewards are far greater than anything I could ever imagine.

It's time to live - and I am learning just what that means.




SPECIAL THANKS TO:

Sage S
Bill T
Terence and Jonathan
Patric A
Douglas A
Keira Dazi
Dalton H
Gretchen H




Things Were Said







I've been working on one letter in my head now for years, but I'll probably never have the courage to send it. It wouldn't do any good to send it anyway... it would only bring someone else the misery I have brought upon myself in this years-long heartache I've felt.


We all have those moments in our lives when we look back and reflect. Most people have things they would go back and do differently. I was never that sort of person. I always thought that if something happened, it was because it was meant to happen. Our fate wouldn't pass us by, would it?


Well, somehow along the road it has for me. I took a wrong path. I took the left fork down the dark road rather than the right path to the happiness I so richly desire, and in some respects, deserve...


There aren't a whole lot of things I would do differently if I got the chance to do them all again. In fact, I can really only think of one... and I'd change that in a heart beat. It was years ago now, but it remains fresh in my mind every day of my life as though it happened yesterday. It breaks my heart each moment I think about it, and yet I can't help but to remember.


I want to remember. I don't want to remember so that I'm sad, but rather to remember because I was so happy then. It was a special time in my life and I know now that I will never have that again, but I'll never let go of that memory - and that memory will live forever. In that memory, a piece of me will live on and stay fresh within that moment, within that emotion, for as long as I live.



RE: April 1st, 2009

Window Shopping

Today, while taking the time to change every single password I have used over the past 3 years, I was in my ancient eBay account I've had since 2003 and noticed there were a couple of "watched" items that had expired some time ago. I don't know how long it had been since I had logged into my account, but judging by the size of the dress I was "watching" it's been some time.

I decided to browse eBay for a bit. My work was done, I was getting burned out on studying the custody paperwork I'm helping a friend with (legal stuff can be so dry...) and my roommate was trying to sleep. In my search for a silent time occupier, I found myself staring at the search bar at the top of the page. My fingers refused to move.

I sat there a moment, devoid of any want or desire that money could buy. There's plenty in this world I want, but even if money were no object (which sadly it is at the present moment) there isn't a single thing I could think of to look at on eBay and dream about. There wasn't one single thing for sale on the internet that would make me feel better than I already did. I've got such a great life!

So the quarters are a bit cramped, but that's not forever and I'm sharing with possibly the best female friend I've ever had in my life. She and I are so much alike it's scary. We get along famously, even sharing such a complex and tiny space for two people. The cats are even starting to get along now, lead by our example no doubt.

So I don't have my own car at the moment. Another one of my closest best friends (who also happens to be my boss these days) has been wonderful enough to let me borrow their truck while I save for the purchase of my own vehicle. I'm so far in the red at this point it feels like it may be forever before I can do that, but I know I will get there. All I can think is that I shouldn't have cared so much about someone's stupid birthday in May and I should have kept the money for myself. Then again, it makes me feel good to do nice things for someone else. I'm torn there.

So I've got more money going out than coming in. When I've just been back in the country for a month TODAY and brought back nothing more than a single suitcase of belongings, I guess that's to be expected. Again, it won't last and I'll be back in the black. I'm not entirely sure how I'm managing to spend that much money every week, but I'm about to outline a solid budget to live by.

So I'm working my ass off. I adore my boss, I really LOVE my job (when it can be called work at all, because most of the time it's not...) and how many people can say that? Life could be WAY worse. In fact, life could be as bad as it is for my friend/boss tonight. Poor guy had quite the shock when he left the restaurant after dinner tonight. To say the least, I was shocked by the phone call that came shortly afterward. He was NOT having a good night.

So I've not been drawing. I've been writing - and quite a bit! I got a new inspiration on Hookfoot. Due to an emergency dentist visit the other day as emotional support for a very dear friend, I met a dentist by the name of Edmundo Perfecto. Yeah, his name was Dr. Perfecto. Already I have a fantastic little character -

Dr. Perfecto is a mad scientist living on what everyone thought was a deserted island. His tree house is situated high enough to see if anyone is approaching the island from any direction. He is himself a flying squirrel who wears a white lab coat and ancient silver dentist monocle. One scar on his side and a circular cut to the right ear tell a story of a vicious attack long ago. He brought his crew of mercenaries, built solely of a large group of rats with an unusual strain of the rabies virus, causing them to all act as zombies. They were the perfect group of brain-washed slaves to do Dr. Perfecto's bidding - until Hookfoot came along.


Yeah - so I wrote that in about 10 seconds just now and it needs some major improvements, but the entire story is right here in my head (I'm pointing at my right temple).

So, what would I want?
Well, it's something that money can't buy, most people are afraid to give, but can't be shared any other way than to freely give it to another. It's something I've already got plenty of, but there are many different kinds.

Money can't help me now. Only patience can. Lucky I'm a patient girl with a lot on her plate to keep her busy in the mean time. ROLL ON HOOKFOOT!!

The End of a Dream

There comes a time in everyone's life when we must give up on some dream we once believed would come true. I've recently come to that conclusion for a second time in my life and it's a harsh reality we all must face.

I've given up on searching for those blue eyes from a childhood dream. Twice I thought I found them. Twice I poured myself into a relationship that was doomed to fail. Twice I was left a complete train wreck in the end. Fool me twice, shame on you. Fool me thrice... and I'm just as done as a hockey puck that started out as a burger on the grill. Somehow I believe that to be a pretty amazing metaphor for my current frame of mind. Yeah, I got burned.

Eye color matters no more than height, age or skin tone. Brown eyes are just as beautiful as blue, and green seems to show a persons soul, straight to the core of their being. Blue is a recessive gene, one that I myself have been lucky enough to possess. Perhaps I've been analyzing that dream all wrong.

According to the Experience Project:
"To dream of seeing an eye, warns you that watchful enemies are seeking the slightest chance to work injury to your business. This dream indicates to a lover, that a rival will usurp him if he is not careful. To see blue eyes, denotes weakness in carrying out any intention."
I was only 7 when I first started having the dream. I believed it to be the man of my dreams, so to speak. Through all the crazy dreams I've had over all the years, I became very accustomed to researching the dream interpretation websites. However, one dream I never analyzed was the one of the mysterious blue eyed man... until now.

Going back and remembering my dream, this analytical observation seems to be very interesting according to the times in my life I've had it. The dream seemed to always come when I started to date someone new, or there was some new love interest in my life. Very few men I've ever known haven't come face to face with the mysterious blue eyed stranger in my dreams and lost the race. If I break down this new interpretation I have, it seems to make far more sense to me.

"The dream indicates to a lover that a rival will usurp him if he is not careful." It seemed to indicate without my knowledge that my new love interest wasn't 'the one' and that the relationship was bound to fail because that person wasn't somebody I would forsake all others for. How true it was, since each of those men couldn't survive a challenge provided by some fictitious character in a child's imagination.

My father has remarkable blue eyes - the color of a glacier. Perhaps at that age I was concerned with comparing any man in my life with the man I knew my father to be when I was seven years old. Perhaps I let that dream become too much a part of me, to the point of near-obsession. I would seek out men with blue eyes. I would search in the eyes of strangers for that familiar spark I saw in my dreams. I never quite found what I was looking for. Well, I did once, but that was a few years ago now and I've never seen him again. Surprisingly, his eyes were a dark green - not blue.

It's time to give up on that childhood fantasy. It's hard, I admit. All my life I've searched for that mysterious man. It seemed to keep me believing in love and left me a hopeful (or hopeless) romantic for all these years. Who knows - I may have passed up the most remarkable man I may have ever known in my life only because he didn't have blue eyes. Maybe he's still out there and I just haven't met him yet. Maybe I've met him and I haven't realized it yet. Maybe, maybe, maybe...

The dream is over. After 24 years of searching, I've finally woken up completely. My mysterious blue eyed stranger doesn't exist except in my childhood imagination. Love might still exist, and I do have faith in that, but it's time to stop looking into a certain color of eyes for the answers I'll never have from a man who doesn't exist.

I fell in love with a dream... but I'm not Sleeping Beauty. That dream will never kiss me awake.

Love

Do I miss love?

I miss having people to explore with. I miss going on adventures. I miss having people around that I genuinely appreciate and enjoy. From what I recall, the last time I had "love" according to the other person involved, I had none of those other things.

I don't miss broken promises or lack of physical contact. I don't miss sitting alone every day and feeling just alone every night. I don't miss what that person called love in any way. It's strange... I really did (at one time long ago) think that love was a necessity in order to have a happy, fulfilled life. Blessings behold, I was gloriously wrong.

I'm not sure if I miss love. I miss having love whispered into my ear, but I've not known what that's like for years. I miss being held, but I've been alone long enough to know how to cope with that. I miss that fire, that spark - but I didn't have that the last go 'round either. Maybe I did in the early beginning stages, but it faded all too quickly. What I was left with was a man who pretended in the beginning to be something he wasn't in the end. The sparks I felt were for a personality that didn't exist.

Once in a while, once in a GREAT while, I meet someone and I feel that spark. It might or might not be a romantic interest, but it's at the very least a spark. I like that feeling. I like that surprise and excitement. In fact, I love it. But I don't miss what I thought was love the last time around.

priˈkōSHəs

pre·co·cious/priˈkōSHəs/Adjective

  1. (of a child) Having developed certain abilities or proclivities at an earlier age than usual
    • - he was a precocious, solitary boy

  2. (of behavior or ability) Indicative of such development
    • - a precocious talent for computing

  3. (of a plant) Flowering or fruiting earlier than usual



Last night I was very un-traditionally called Precocious. At first I was taken aback, but quickly realized that it was one of the greatest compliments I could have gotten.

I never thought much about the word or what it could mean when said of me until last night. While I was fairly convinced growing up that I was stupid, looking back on my younger years now I'm beginning to realize that I was actually a fairly smart child. I learned to observe people at a young age. I knew what love was far younger than most. I understood what it meant to deserve better than I had. At 15 years old I knew that others were making poor decisions on my behalf and the only person who could change that was me. I knew it at such a young age. That alone is the very definition of the word precocious.

That's not how it was meant though... it was meant as a current statement and fact. The very uttering of such an idea caused me to blush as brightly as my hair. It came from a sweet face and a sweet voice in such a way to match the person it came from. I couldn't help but to look down at my feet in a momentary surprise of shyness. It was a nice moment.

Whirlwind

My life is an ever-fluid whirlwind - ever since I got back. It's been a wild ride, that's for sure.

For the 4th of July weekend I had two very important friends of mine come into town visiting. Both wanted to spend time with me, so I actually got the two together and we had a great time. Most of the time was spent on the Queen Mary, including a Paranormal Investigation Tour that ended around 1am.

One of my friends and I got to go shopping and I'm slowly growing my wardrobe back into what it once was - with some extra flair. It's looking better than ever!

The party in Malibu was incredible. I met tons of people, talked to everyone and met an A-list celebrity everyone has heard of. I won't share the name here because it was a very private moment, but I will say that he asked for my phone number. I doubt he'll ever call someone like me, but the fact that this person even asked was a huge confidence booster.

It's funny, being back. People hardly looked at me sideways when I was in Scotland, and it seems like all eyes are on me out here. I walk into a room (or a party) and I own the place. Everyone wants to talk to me. Everyone wants to know me. Everyone asks who I am. Everyone makes me feel like I'm telling a lie by not being special or famous, but I think I'm ok with that.

My social calendar has been booked a week or two in advance these days and it's an amazing feeling. Each day there's something interesting or fun going on with old friends and new acquaintances. My boss/friend Bill has taken me to dinner in some of my most favorite places around LA, including a fabulous Thai restaurant in Beverly Hills just last night. I'm flirting with the ideas of taking Martial Arts once more and getting into swimming daily like I once did. I now have a membership at the YMCA thanks to my boss/friend and I certainly plan to use it OFTEN. I've even thought recently about taking dance classes - like Ballet, thanks to my roommate, Sage. It's time I live life to the fullest, and I've got a good running start at it now.

My life is getting back on track. I'm working a lot, having a lot of fun, and meeting people I've never met. I'm making calls and going places and exploring again. I'm DRIVING again. I didn't drive even a single moment while in Scotland. It feels great to be back behind the wheel of my own life.

The past few weeks have been a whirlwind, but that's what I thrive on - being busy and having lots to do. I am still the "Liberated Lady," but I'm also the redheaded whirlwind - don't blink or you'll miss me!

Feet Up, Head Down!

These days I find myself working as an Executive Assistant for an old friend of mine. It’s an interesting job to say the least, and at times the position can land me in an unusual position. Just today I whacked my head thrice and slipped between some car seats, leaving only my feet exposed. All of this happened in less than a three-minute time frame. Perhaps “interesting” is an understatement.


As I’m writing this, I’m sitting in the passenger seat of the vehicle I’ve been driving lately – a fancy silver Land Cruiser complete with Satellite Radio and touch screen in-dash GPS system I’ve found to be very useful, once I finally found the volume buttons. That alone was a mystery that took me about 12 miles to solve.


Next to me is an older green Land Cruiser I’ve spent many driving hours in, as well as having traveled to Colorado and back once upon a time. The poor thing has certainly seen better days, but my sense of nostalgia wins out here. I see it as still a lovely old beast that I once thoroughly enjoyed driving. It has potential. It can be rescued. It’s in the process of being rescued now, I think.


The old green Land Cruiser needed to be moved a few feet today. In the hot California sun I found myself in the drivers seat of the old truck, pulling with all my might on the wheel so that it would turn the direction needed. The truck wouldn’t start, (did I mention it needs to be rescued?) so there was no power steering. I placed both hands on the wheel and pulled with all my might. I felt the wheels start to turn under me, so I braced myself and pulled harder. As the steering wheel turned, my body started to lean with my force and urgent need for leverage. Suddenly there was a “clunk” on the back of my head. I turned to see one of the old wheel wells from the NEW Land Cruiser poking out between the drivers and passengers seats. Yeah, I’d have to watch out for that thing.


Again I braced and pulled, this time harder than before. My hands slipped and my head went crashing into the removed silver case yet again, this time harder than before. I shouted slightly, but all the windows were rolled up so nobody heard me, thankfully. I rubbed the back of my head, wiped the now trickling beads of sweat off of my temple and tried one more time.


The truck rolled backward next to the storage container, right in line with where it should be. It was only inches away and I realized that the door wouldn’t open. For a moment my claustrophobic tendencies took over. I instantly formulated a way to get out of the truck – by crawling over the seats onto the passenger seat and under the silver head-banger. Just about the time I reached to pull off this ‘only a thin person could do it’ maneuver, the truck began to roll forward again. I had to grab the wheel and steer the opposite direction. The person I find myself being an Executive Assistant to was pushing the truck forward again. My head glanced off of the silver menace once more and I was angrier at myself than anything else. I had just hit my head for the third time in less than a minute.


Finally the old green beast was done being moved and I had the freedom needed to extract myself from the position I was in. I left the green Land Cruiser to climb into the silver one. From there I had the task of climbing into the back seat and pulling a rolled posted from the hatch back into the back seat. As I grabbed it, a dry-cleaned shirt I had hanging in the back fell down. I reached for it and my skinny-jean covered rump slid neatly off of the slick leather seats, landing me in a heap on the floor, my hips wedged between the front of the back seat and the back of the front seat. There were my feet sticking straight up in the air, having kicked the door open in the process. I couldn’t help but laugh.


I often find myself in unusual positions within life, but not within the back seat of an otherwise unoccupied Land Cruiser. I guess it’s all thanks to my new job… which I love.

Silly Walks

I GOT THIS EMAIL FROM BILL LAST YEAR AND JUST HAD TO SHARE IT. ENJOY! I CERTAINLY DID!


As you know I was sitting on the couch this morning typing an email to you
about stuff we talked about. As always, it took longer than I'd anticipated so by the
time I sent it off it was nearly 8 and I had to race out to move the car
[because of the street sweepers].

First problem: my right butt cheek had been supported without much comfort
by the center cushion on the couch. You know... the one that's mostly
wood. So when I leapt up to go move the Land Cruiser my right leg was
completely asleep. Just collapsed when I stepped on it. Great. Two
minutes to get the car started and moved and I'm walking like someone from
the Monty Python Ministry of Silly Walks.

Second problem: no shoes. So I silly walk to the bedroom and reach to the
top shelf for my Teva silly sandalshoethingies. Only one there. The right
one, the one I need to put on my sleeping silly walk right foot, is nowhere
to be found. With some searching I locate it on the floor behind the dirty
clothes basket. So I grab it, silly walk to the couch, strap it on my numb
right silly foot, grab my keys, silly walk/silly tumble down the stairs, and
silly walk toward the Land Cruiser. You may recall that the car was parked
all the way at the end of the block at Catalina. So I silly walk the block
to the Land Cruiser, drag my sleeping silly right leg into it and turn the
key. Dead battery. This isn't a problem. I keep a very fancy battery jump
start thingie in the car. Except:

Third problem: The jump starter is in the trunk of the Jaguar where I'd put
it to jump start Linda's car on Sunday. So... I silly walk the
block BACK, get the jump starter out of the Jag and silly walk the block
BACK AGAIN to the Land Cruiser. By this time the circulation is returning
to my leg so the walk isn't quite so silly but I've been slapping my right
butt cheek and massaging the back of my right thigh on all three silly walk
trips down the block and I notice my neighbor walking her dog. I realize
she's been standing there watching me for the entire course of my three lap
silly walk marathon. She smiles at me like she's just realized that her
neighbor may have bodies buried in the garden. I can only think to say:
"good morning", to which she nods, shakes her head and walks off the other
direction with her mutt.

What we've learned:

1) The Great Closet Noise Mystery is solved. Yay! Apparently my shoe
decided to jump off the top shelf and hit the door on its way to its hiding
spot behind the clothes basket.

2) As I believe you pointed out as recently as yesterday, I need to put
some freaking stuffing in the center cushion of the couch.




Sentimental

I drove down to the Redondo Beach Pier today. While at first it was only to have a nice walk out by the beach, it turned out to be a walk down memory lane.

I walked past several memories today, thinking to myself about each and every one of them as I walked past. Yes it's good to be home. Los Angeles holds many memories for me.

There was Tony's on the Pier, where I sat at a table one night drinking a Mai-Tai with a man who is now a memory. There was El Torito, one of the first places I ate at when moving to California. There was the Hot Dog on a Stick, where I used to walk to just for a lemonade, and then turn and walk the mile back home. There was Naja's, where I would stand outside and listen to my old friend Kim Cuda play the guitar like he was born to do. There was the Valentines Dinner table at Kincade's Restaurant from so long ago, when I thought I had planned every detail of my life. But life is what happens when something else is planned.

Years ago, at my Grandmother's funeral, I met a man who instantly became important to me. Years ago, I left there and never thought I'd see that man again. Then, only weeks later, I saw him once more at my Grandfather's funeral. Again, I never thought I'd see him again. Luckily, life is full of surprises.

I have decided that the "Robert" chapter of my life is a thing of the past. While I may have asked in my last blog if I should write a good story or bad story about him, I believe I have changed my mind. I'm no longer interested in telling that story. The chapter is done. I've faced the fact that telling a bad story would do nothing but damage his family - the people I care about still - while a good story would do nothing but prolong my own issues. I think now that I've told the entire story in a brief format, I'm done with it. I've said what I need to say. I'm done with it. It's time to move on. I knew that months ago. No sense in hiding that fact.

So while it was a sentimental day for me, it was also a break-through day for me. There's something else out there for me. There's someone else out there for me. No sense in dwelling on what I know I've been over (but angry about) for months. I'm settling in nicely. I'm happy. It's about time.

"I'm a sentimental fool," I told someone today. He corrected me and said I wasn't a fool. He said that fools don't learn from their mistakes. He was right. I've learned so much. It was a lesson I needed to learn. It's a mistake I won't make again. I may be sentimental, but I'm no fool.



Good vs. Bad


I've heard it said that good news travels fast but bad news travels faster. While I've always thought that might be the case, I didn't have definitive proof. Now that I've been writing more blogs lately, I still don't have the proof I was looking for.

My blog had over 160 views on it yesterday, and while it was talking about a disastrous ending to a tumultuous relationship, it also spoke of my return home to Los Angeles. I suppose that bit of writing would be both the good and the bad.

I've written several funny stories that have been big hits, like "Childhood Pranks" where I put liquid soap in my brothers tooth brush, and I've written complete horrors, like the time I was locked in a room for nearly 24 hours by someone I didn't know. (Some would call that being kidnapped. I call it a lucky escape. ) All in all, the kidnapped story gained much more attention than putting soap in a tooth brush. People always want to know how I got out of the situation, not what my brothers reaction was when he went to brush his teeth. One question is ALWAYS asked without fail, while the other has NEVER been asked. But which way does the pendulum swing on that one, good or bad?

It was bad to put soap in the tooth brush, certainly. But it was funny, and most people laugh at the mere thought. It was good that I escaped the predicament of being locked into a small room without windows, and most people allow their eyes to grow to the size of saucers when I'm telling the story. So which wins out, good or bad? Are the people more interested in the bad news or the good news? Does negativity really spread like a disease, while the positive things in life wither like a trodden rose? I'd prefer not to think so, but I'm still not certain.

I know I've asked my readers to comment before on my blogs, but few have unless they know me in person. This is an open invitation to everyone out there to comment. I'm going to ask a question and I want YOU to answer it completely honestly. Yeah, you. The person sitting there at their computer, reading this blog and wondering what you're going to eat for dinner tonight. You, the Social Media guru. You, the adventurer, the traveler. You, the free spirit, who only goes on line when they're stuck in the house with a cold or fever. You, the reader. You can even remain anonymous.


Should I share a happy memory of Robert, or a little more detail about the break up?







What I Want


I want a job that will pay the bills.
I want the freedom to come and go as I please.
I want to stop smoking.
I want to be remembered.
I want to be good and kind.
I want the kindness to be returned.
I want friends.
I want a good life.
I want my happiness to continue.
I want my old friend back.
I want for him to have a good life.
I want for him to forget me.
I want him to forgive me.
I want my own car again.
I want to feel like I'm going to be ok.

I have most of those... but there are still a few things missing.

Notice the one thing I didn't list was a relationship. I don't want one. I'm not ready for love or promises or drama or disaster. I've tried that. I don't think it's for me. I wasn't meant to have it I guess. Life goes on without it. I keep breathing and eating and sleeping without it. Though the media would have us believe it's necessary in order to have a full, rich life, I disagree. I miss it, certainly. Was it worth it? Yeah, I think it was at times. Not all the time, but sometimes.

But I'm going to be ok.
I do have love - just not that sort. I have the love of my Aunt and two Uncles and countless friends around the world. I have people who will be a shoulder when I need one, give me a hug when I'm desperate for one and tell me it'll all be ok. I have support and love everywhere. What I do NOT have is drama, jealousy and heartache.

I don't want the world. I don't want the moon. I don't want promises and expectations. I don't want pain and misunderstanding. I just want to be me.




Understanding

I'm a romantic soul. I always have been.


I like to be appreciated, told that I'm pretty even when I don't think I am, hold hands and cuddle. I like to be treated nicely and thanked for the little things I do. I purchase gifts for people I love. I would spend every dime on someone else rather than myself. All I ask in return is not to be forgotten. I hate the idea of being forgotten.

I've been a good person in my life. I've had my moments, but we all have. I'm infinitely patient and kind, I hate arguing and any sort of confrontation. I can't STAND being lectured to about something I've done. I hate being told "I told you so" by anyone. I don't like being told I'm not good enough or that I'm a failure.

I don't think that's too much to ask, is it?

In the name of love and love alone, I've hurt several people. To those people, I'm very sorry.

I never wanted to hurt anyone - but when it came down to it, I finally wised up. I don't think the people in Scotland will ever speak to me again, but they are his family, not mine. It's to be expected. It broke my heart to sever ties, but I knew it had to be done. They were good to me, but I'm not the permanent fixture in their lives. He's just down the street from them. I was the outsider. I didn't feel like an outsider when I was there, but I have since I left.

I guess what I'm trying to say is that I'm me. I'll always be me. I can't and wont change for anyone. I was myself when I was there and everyone seemed to genuinely like me and enjoy my company. Now it's all a distant memory, with everyone angry at me, thinking I'm a horrible person I'm sure. I wouldn't pity the man who did this to me, and for that I've been punished in a most horrendous way. I lost what I thought was my family.

Part of me will never forgive myself. Part of me will never forgive him. But to the rest of the family, there's nothing to forgive. I understand. It hurts, but I understand. That may not mean anything at the moment, but months or even years from now it will. Just know that I understand.

I only hope that some of the friends I left damaged in my wake can be half as understanding and forgiving as I have been with his family.



The Wizard


NONE of what happened was fair to anyone - and I miss my friend. Where are you?

There was more than one friend I had to block from contacting me while in Scotland, even before I left for Scotland, because of fights over me talking to someone other than him. He knew there was nothing but talk. He knew about the miles. Still, the anger boiled in him like a thick, black tar and wouldn't go away until I blocked people. I should have seen the signs. I was blinded by emotion. NO LONGER!! Please, my friend, come back.





The Broken Promises

In December of 2009, someone I've known off and on since November of 2003 got in contact with me for a third time after loosing contact. He and I always had a strong connection and our mutual affection was undeniable. We had always loved one another, but we lost contact twice because I didn't trust him or believe in him. He was 6,000 miles away in Scotland after all. One of the times we lost contact, I got married to Blackwood, and the other time I met the love of my life, Pete. When I lost Pete, I lost my mind. It was April of 2009 the last time I saw Pete and I'll be haunted by the look on his face until I take my last breath. No surprise to most of you, I know. I've talked about him in a few of my blogs.

So in December of 2009 I was dating a gentleman by the name of Louis (pronounced Louie like Louis Armstrong) when this person, Mr. Robert Armstrong, showed up in my life again via Facebook. One February evening, after having too much to drink, Robert professed his love for me. Though the original emails are long gone, it was a touching email. Right away, I stopped seeing Louis without explanation.

We picked up where we left off, but better than ever. I flew to Scotland to visit him. He came to the States again to visit me. Both times, we shed tears over parting. Both times we had a wonderful time together. Both times, I was convinced I could and would be happy with him for the rest of my life. Both times, I was sorely mistaken.

He's a good guy, don't get me wrong. He has his faults like any of us do. I'll never wish him ill will, and in fact I hope he finds the woman of his dreams - though I strongly believe he should just get a dog and be done with it. He needs that more than a woman. The unswerving obedience of a dog seems to fit with his lifestyle a bit better than a human being with emotions, thoughts and opinions of their own.

We started the Visa process for a marriage visa after picking a date for us to wed. The date was set for April 30th of this year. I reminded him that he hadn't even asked me to marry him yet, so he replied by saying he would do that the moment I got off of the plane in Glasgow.

The visa came through on the 17th of January, and by the 20th I was gone. I had sold what I could, including my car and a few odds and ends in my apartment. I gave away what I couldn't sell to Goodwill. I purchased a plane ticket, left my job and flew away for what I thought would be forever.

When I landed in Glasgow, not only was there NOT a proposal, but barely a welcoming kiss from the man who said he wanted to marry me. Something felt wrong, but I didn't know what it was. I should have been happy, but distrust crept up in my soul like a spider clinging to a web. It slithered into my mind and heart like a cobra on the prowl. It wasn't long before he started to show his true colors. The first promise had been broken.

I kept my fingers crossed, hoping he had planned something special instead. Maybe he was going to take me out to a nice dinner and do it then. Maybe he had a ring waiting for me at the house. Maybe he realized Valentines was coming up and that would make it even more special. Maybe, maybe, maybe. Well, once more I was wrong.

I put all my faith and trust into a man who promised me the moon, only to hand me a volleyball hoping I wouldn't see the difference. I'm not stupid. I saw right through it. I knew at that moment somehow that I would end up back in California. I was promised a nice steak dinner for Valentines Day. Instead I got Indian take-away. There were no gifts, no rings, no words... we ate in front of the television, just as we always did. When he said he wanted Indian, I wanted my favorite Indian dish, but that didn't come either. I was promised more closet and drawer space for my clothes, so that I might have more than what filled up one suitcase, but that didn't happen either.

Perhaps I'm not doing enough, I thought. He stopped wanting to hug me or kiss me or anything else. I started cleaning the house. Every morning I would wake up and make his coffee for him while he was in the shower. I would watch the news with him before he went off to work. I would sweep and mop the floors, wash windows, do laundry (for the first time in 9 years) and cook for him. Nothing changed.

One day he decided to ask me who a new friend of mine was on Facebook. When I explained that he was a friend of my family in New York, he asked if I had talked to him at all. Yes, I admitted, I had. He decided to read our messages, and then proceeded to go through my Skype chat logs, ancient emails from before I even flew to Scotland the first time and every photo on my computer. He didn't like what he saw, and remained angry at me for days. He wouldn't talk to me, and when he did it was more of a lecture every time. I slept in his daughters room. I was so ill at the beginning of the issue that I could barely stand up straight. By the following week, I was so ill that his sister said I looked like death. Finally I was taken to the hospital where I was diagnosed with a severe kidney infection (not my first) and a bad case of tonsillitis. During that time, I had the courage to take what money I had and purchase a flight back to Los Angeles. I found a cheap rate and went for it. Finally, due to guilt over making me violently ill with his anger, he got over it and we moved on. When I made a confession to him the night of my flight that it had just taken off, he was stunned and outraged yet again. I had decided to stick with him. I loved him, after all. He had forgiven me for the things I did before we met. He forgave me for having male friends (except the one in New York) and for wanting to say Merry Christmas to a former employee while still in the States. If he could forgive me, I could see us through.

That takes us to March.

March crawled by. It stretched and strained and groaned and creaked by. Not a word was spoken about our intended wedding date of April 30th. The only thing I had wanted was for my Uncles to come over for the event. I had saved money for them to come. I tried several times to talk to Robert about it, but he just wouldn't hear of it. He didn't want to talk about it.

We went to a Caravan (Mobile Home vacation park) in mid-April, and he blew up at me because I couldn't hear him. By then I had developed yet another case of tonsillitis and my ears were stopped up. He got so angry that he barked at me in a crowded room, DEMANDING that I go outside to talk to him. As calmly as possible I asked "Would you like to ask me nicely?" Finally he stormed off to go outside alone, and I headed in another direction. By then I had been fairly disillusioned by the situation. I was painfully miserable, from both the cold and his attitude toward me in general. That night there was a huge blow-up within the family and everyone was fighting. We drove back then and there, and not another word was ever said about the whole situation.

For a couple of weeks, things were good. We went to Dublin together and had a great time. He had 'scheduled' something that I wasn't prepared for, and it made me feel like an object rather than an equal. I was there for amusement that night, nothing more, nothing less. With two days in Dublin, the only things we did that I wanted to do was to go for an open-top double decker tour bus ride, and to see the Book of Kells at the Trinity University.

He started to treat me worse every day. I began to fear his footsteps on the upstairs floor, wondering if he was stomping because he was angry at me again for something I didn't realize I did, or perhaps he was just walking loudly. Most of the time he was just walking loudly. My nerves were starting to fry. The Royal Wedding (Kate and William) took place on television April 29th, the day before he and I were to get married. He sat and watched the whole thing, while I could barely stomach about 50% of it. After all, I was supposed to be a bride on the following day. I was supposed to have my Uncles with me. I was supposed to be happy and excited. Instead I was depressed. Yet another of his promises had been broken. Whats worse, suddenly I found that I was in breech of my Visa, since it was a requirement to have a wedding date picked and proof of venue before being issued a visa. I knew then that I would be going home to Los Angeles.

May flew in, and things got worse. He started finding any excuse to scream at me. One night in the streets of Glasgow, in front of his sister and brother in law and hundreds of strangers, he turned on me and shouted. He told me to "f-off" and then called me a liar when I repeated that later on. To this day I know that is EXACTLY what I heard. I know he claims he isn't a liar, but when I watch him do it over and over to others (like his ex-wife when he doesn't want to have his daughter over for the weekend and tells her that he's working instead) how can I believe a word he says?

He told me that he was sorry he wasn't like 'the Highway Patrol Guy I used to date" and screamed at me that he's better and f-him and all sorts. I had enough. I told him that he was drunk and that was enough, and he only got worse. By the end, he had taken the house keys away from me and was completely ready to leave me on the streets of Glasgow on my own with nothing but my handbag. I was ready to stay. It took his sister to talk me into going back. I stayed at her house for two days.

When I got back he said he understood why I stayed there for one day, but two days was too much and he was angry at me for that. He screamed and yelled for an hour or two, terrorizing me as best he could, with me sitting on the couch and crying my eyes out the whole time. Finally I got wise. I told him the situation, expected him to say he was sending me home, and was prepared to be happy about the response. Instead he said he just didn't know what to do.

The "I don't know" phase went on for quite some time. I didn't know if I was coming or going, but I told his sister I was about %80 convinced that I was going back to Los Angeles. She and her mother both said that wouldn't happen - that he wouldn't have brought me over if he wasn't prepared to do what needed to be done - what he had promised to do - in order to keep me. Somehow I didn't believe that. I couldn't believe it. I had seen a side of him that they never had. I knew...

The next fight was brutal. He went out for HIS birthday dinner and drinks with some of his work friends. I wasn't invited. Instead I went to his sisters and we had some wine. When he and I ended up back at the house, everything was fine at first. I was exhausted, since it was after midnight and I hadn't been sleeping very well for a long time. I got ready for bed and climbed in. By the time he came up, I was half asleep.

"Look at my elbows," he said to me, pointing to a couple of white marks he had on them. He turned on the light, blinding me completely, and pointed again. I blinked, looked, and said "uh huh."

"Why are you pretending to be asleep? Because you don't want to talk to me?"

"I'm not pretending to be asleep. I'm tired, but I answered you. I looked."

Things got worse and worse. He accused me of trying to wind him up, and the entire time I had resolved myself to not care. I remained calm and even, not uttering a single word in anything louder than a hushed tone. I told him to calm down and he screamed that he was calm, and that if I wanted to see him yell, he would show me. The entire time, he towered over me in bed, his finger pointing directly at my face, his voice loud enough to burst ear drums. I shuttered and shook violently. I was genuinely scared. I knew how often he didn't remember some of the things he did when he was drunk. I didn't know what he was capable of. I had only been there for 4 months. I didn't think he would ever hit me, but then again I didn't think he would ever send me home. After all, he had promised before I came that he wouldn't send me back.

Finally he stormed out of the room, slamming the door as he went. To this day the door doesn't open right. It gets caught as you try to open it. He warped the metal frame for the door jam when he slammed it so hard the floor shook under the bed. He slept on his daughters trundle bed that night. I was fine with that. I didn't sleep a wink.

It was that night I decided that it was unhealthy. I shouldn't shake like I did that night. I thought he was pacing the floor outside of the room, but when I held my breath to listen, it turned out to be my own heartbeat pounding so hard in my chest that my ears were aching. Adrenaline coursed through my body. I was genuinely terrified. I would have given anything to be anywhere else in the world right then.

Finally I decided to play the game the way he wanted. I told him that it would be best if I went back to Los Angeles. I told him one night in Stirling, after he had plenty to drink and I was stone cold sober. He cried a bit, but the both of us felt immensely better afterward. At that moment, I didn't want to leave. We decided it would be best if I went ahead and left though, so that 6 months would pass before Christmas and I could be back in time for the holidays. We knew I would have to leave before the 20th of June in order for that to happen. We decided that would be the best option... and really the ONLY option, since he wasn't willing to do as he had promised from the beginning. He didn't want me to leave, but he said he couldn't physically get married. He said it wasn't me, it was him. That old cliche line worked on me, believe it or not. He said he didn't care who it was, he couldn't get married to anyone. Pretending to understand, but still completely heartbroken, I began to formulate a plan in my head. I couldn't head back to Los Angeles without a plan.

Finally, after yet another argument and yet another event where he went through my emails of trying to figure out where I was going, where my mind was going and what I was going to do, I stopped crying. It took another week to get the flight booked, and we did book a round trip flight for me to return December 8th - just in time for my birthday. I still didn't want to leave, but I put up a good face for him. I knew he needed me to be strong. Occasionally he would still cry just thinking about it.

After some convincing, I finally got him to make good on one of his promises - my last meal in Scotland was steak dinner. The next day we drove to the airport and we said goodbye. My eyes were dry, but his were bleary and streaked with tears. He cried harder as he headed down the escalator. I looked back at him, watching him walk out of my life, and knowing full well in the back of my mind that I would never see him again. Finally, I cried. I did love him. He wasn't healthy for me and he didn't keep his promises, but I loved him.

I hated when he drank.
I hated when he yelled.
I hated it when he broke his promises.
I hated it when he stomped.
I hated it when he sent me away.
I hated it when he proved my instincts right.
I hated it when he went through my emails.
I hated it when he treated me like an object.
I hated it when he didn't appreciate me.
I hated it when he took me for granted.

But I always loved him.