We took over an island.

Terri wanted to do a solo camping expedition, but that is scary as fuck. We went together, took a hike in a big local park, and found a spot where we were comfortable. Not a sanctioned campsite.

We set up the tent and the tarp and the clothesline and the food station. We found a little valley on a small island with few entry points, where the park officials wouldn’t be able to see us by boat or from any paths.  We scouted the area and kept track of the people and their distance from us.

photo by Terri Figueiredo

photo by Terri Figueiredo

We had sharp sticks and jagged rocks.

photo by Terri Figueiredo

photo by Terri Figueiredo

We swam and relaxed and made sure that anyone who came across our tent didn’t think it belonged to us. We did rather they believed men were camping there.

photo by Terri Figueiredo

photo by Terri Figueiredo

We cooked salmon and ate salad and ate the bread that Omar forgot in my car and every bite was nourishing our bodies and our souls in a way that gets lost in the comfort of a home kitchen.

We pulled our food up into the air to deter bears and raccoon as the sun started it’s decent in the sky. We alternated between two spots on the island, to get the best views of the sun setting. We ran through the woods with glee, Smashing Rocks in-hand, bounding over rocks and roots and landing in the soft bed of pine needles. We collected rocks and dry sticks to fuel our need for s’mores in the darkness.

golden bandAs we sat on the flat-rocks, watching the golden band of sunshine set the trees on fire,the fish jumped out of the water and twirled in the air before landing on their flanks. A beaver made it’s round of the inlet. A family of geese ate the aquatic plants and some crested ducks found a place to settle for the night. A bird started to yell at us from the other side of the water. But it wasn’t just a bird. It was also a person. We imagined what this bird-person must look like and started to call back to it in our best approximation if it’s language. It became excited and if we didn’t answer back it seemed to come to a frenzy. We laughed and laughed.

photo by Terri Figueiredo

photo by Terri Figueiredo

As darkness fell, we built a small fire. We intermittently heard the sounds of motors and pretended to be brave. Later, realizing the sounds were of planes in the distance, we admitted that neither of us was really  brave at all. That’s when Tomas arrived.

Tomas was wandering below our suspended food bags. Terri flashed a headlamp in their direction. Tomas was adorable and curious, but wild and unpredictable. Tomas is a creature of the night, and surely wondered who we were and why we were in their space. Terri wanted to let Tomas investigate us, but I was worried about some possible backlash. Terri urged Tomas away as I tended to our little flames, but Tomas was not deterred and snuck up behind me, masked face and pointed nose peeking our from behind a nearby tree. I wanted us to keep to our personal bubbles. I’m sure Tomas stayed nearby, but was out of sight for the remainder of our stay.

We roasted our marshmallows and got into sticky messes and talked about crushes and loves and bodies and traumas. We spoke our truths.

The fire went out and we got into the tent. We immediately heard Tomas investigating the spaces we had recently occupied. In the morning, we saw that Tomas was interested in our insect repellent.

photo by Terri Figueiredo

photo by Terri Figueiredo

Terri made french toast and I made coffee. We shared our meal with a red mouse named Simone.  We surveyed the land on which we were temporarily residing and started again to keep track of other humans in our vicinity. We packed up our gear and relaxed on the flat rocks again, greeting the goose family and a Great Heron and the leaping fish. We left that island with no trace of us other than a few ashes from long-fallen branches.

We succeeded.

photo by Terri Figueiredo

photo by Terri Figueiredo

 

 


I’m working on it.

Things have been difficult the last couple weeks.

Shawn was gone for a long time and, as anticipated, it’s taking some time for us to reconnect. I think we have had differing expectations. I want to feel so close to him again, and I figure it will just look different from how it did before, since things have happened and we’ve grown and changed in that time. Like – our closeness and openness will be the same, but the details of how we spend our time or how we choose to share will be different, we rejoined with different ideas about how that would work and what it would look like. That doesn’t mean it’s bad at all though, I’m glad that we spoke of these incongruities in expected outcomes because we can see where the other is, and know in which direction to walk to meet each other.

To me, it means that we get to re-learn each other and fall in love again (and again and again – do other people fall in love with the same person so many times?) and that is an exciting thing for me. But it’s also difficult in the way that I miss that easy feeling we’ve had. I know we will be back there, but I want it to come more quickly than it is coming.

The re-connection is likely taking longer than we both anticipated because I also am having Big Feelings for a new person in my life. This is really the first time I’ve been feeling this way with someone while dating Shawn and we are busy navigating what that means for us and how we need to adjust to make that space. And I’m also navigating similar things with this new person.

I’m finding it difficult to balance my time between the two of them as well as finding time for just me, or to focus on the kids, or spend time with friends. Each of these relationships has its own needs and speeds and paths to travel and I guess I’m trying to figure out what all of that is so I can best accommodate everything/everyone. I don’t feel like it will be difficult forever. solving problems and doing what I need to make my life great and awesome. But I need to acknowledge that I’m in the middle of a process that is a bit confusing and is new to me and so I don’t necessarily know how to do it so well right now.

I need to do more work at opening my heart. I need to communicate deeply and in a timely way. I need to try harder to push through my fears to get to that Vulnerable Spot where I speak my truths.

I’m working on it.

On this day:

In 2007 - church signs
In 2005 – I acknowledged that I would never be better looking than on that day.


Gratitude for PMS

The kitchen is messy – this is the worst.

My book got wet – this is the worst.

The kids are whiny – this is the worst.

blah blah blah

I feel like PMS makes me ultra sensitive to things I already feel and it’s actually a great opportunity to take action. Sometimes what it brings out are giant huge problems like this marriage just isn’t right for you and sometimes it brings out things like we need to have some talks about everyone’s role in home-cleanliness.

Yesterday it was Tiana, Molly and Bobby are not the same and you need to figure that shit out to show these kids how to happily deal with the world. I needed that, and had just the perfect reminder-chat about how to go about it and so I’m grateful to the people in my life who offer their opinions and insights and I’m grateful to my hormones for making me hyper-sensitive at just the right moment.

On this day:

In 2009 – feeling defeated by technology
In 2007 – my heart on my sleeve
In 2006 – expensive trees


An ode to Jeff

Jeff is a great friend.

He asks good questions, he’s open to new ideas, he is thoughtful with gifts of time/food/services.

He makes me watch YouTube videos so I can keep up with the times.

He makes beautiful playlists.

He suggests we watch movies that pull my heart all over the place.


 

Last night, Shawn and I went over to Jeff’s and his partner’s place and we watched HER and I had only read headlines about it. I imagine there was criticism about the main character and falling for an object. But the story was so human (also the styling was so fucking excellent).
It touched on a lot of topics that I’m feeling and that Shawn is feeling and it was great to watch it together. And it was great to watch it with friends and to talk about it afterwards.
I found it really touching and I came away from it identifying with a computer. So there’s that.

#weirdestmoviereview


 

The point here, really, is that Jeff knows me. He knows how to choose media that will speak to me for our shared time. This very rarely is not the case. We need to hang out more. Maybe we should start a monthly movie club.

 

On this day:

In 2008 – “the human being I made with pure vagina power”
In 2007 – the last time I traveled


A peek at some of my baggage.

You know the people you see who get emotional in public? I don’t mean the ones who are just yelling and being a nuisance. I mean, the people who are having difficult conversations and are crying and they just do that. In public. Like that’s just perfectly normal.

I always felt like it really wasn’t normal and that it was probably one of the worst things one could do. It felt like something I could just never do. I didn’t think poorly of the people who did this. I thought they were magical beings. I thought it was so beautiful that they could just emote so much and relate so deeply with another person while in a public setting. That was so far from how I felt I could ever be.

Today, Shawn and I had a conflict and I had some very strong feelings about the situation. He met me at work and we went outside and were walking through the campus and I let out my anger and frustration and disappointment and of course it all came out with a stream of tears and any person, even my coworkers, could see me. It didn’t matter. Two years ago, that would have stifled me and I would have carried that entire flood within me until an ‘appropriate’ private moment would present itself.

It felt so empowering to be able to connect with the person I was with and express myself fully, right in the moment of feeling it, with no concern about other people. This is big for me.

I can see that I have a journey before me and that it’s about getting right to this place with people in a consistent way.


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Taking joy in the process

I was thinking about something I really like about dating openly. But really it’s more than about just dating. It’s about having the freedom to pursue the individual relationship ,with each person I know, to wherever it makes sense for it to go. There are no artificial limits.

Because of this freedom, I get to do the whole thing about teaching a person about me and learning about them, fairly often and I was just taking joy in the opportunity that process gives me. It gives me the space to examine myself on a somewhat regular basis and really consider if I am living the life I want to. Do the choices I make reflect the person I want to / portray myself to be? Have I made and choices in my life that have steered me on a course that is different from the last time I went through this phase of getting to know someone?

On this day:

in 2007 – thinking about the sexualization of pre-pubescent bodies and a recipe that I really should make again
in 2006 – a lot of this makes me cringe – cue inner thoughts about how capitalism and the manufactured desire of product kept me too occupied to do any kind of fulfilling inner work.
in 2005 – not baby fever


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