Hanging By A Moment

Image“Your love is thick and it swallowed me whole
You’re so much braver than I gave you credit for
That’s not lip service
You’ve already won me over in spite of me
And don’t be alarmed if I fall head over feet
Don’t be surprised if I love you for all that you are
I couldn’t help it, it’s all your fault.” ~ Alanis Morrisette, “Head Over Feet”

Is this really happening? It seems almost too good to be true. Could I actually be lucky enough to have another shot?

If you follow my blog (for which I tip my hat to you, Super-Cool Person), you’re aware that I was in an eight-year live-in relationship with a Cancer cusp man with whom I had been close, platonic friends for a full decade prior. What he and I shared was so incredibly unique; the circumstances that brought us together in the first place so unusual, that it could never be duplicated. Literally. He was my best friend, my lover, my partner, my confidante, my everything. And when it was over, I was devastated.

Up until just four weeks ago, we hadn’t communicated in any way, shape, or form since one final nasty exchange on May 10, 2011. When we finally spoke again for the first time in nearly 15 months, the conversation was civil, consisting mostly of “clearing the air” – not overly friendly, yet not hateful. Abrupt; maybe that’s the word I’m looking for. It was a two-hour phone conversation, but at that time my standoffish Cancer cusp ex basically told me that although he was willing to be friends in the sense that if we needed to communicate we could do so without screaming and cussing, he didn’t want to be friendly friends, hang out, text or call one another all the time, or anything else friendly friends would ordinarily do. He informed me that he just wanted to live his life and be left alone. Sure, I was disappointed, but at the same time I was grateful that he was speaking to me at all and, eternally optimistic Aries chick that I am, hoped he might eventually have a change of heart. It wasn’t impossible; after all, I know this man like the back of my hand and I knew it was entirely possible, even probable, that he’d change his mind. Barely a Cancer, born within five hours of the Gemini cusp, he is easily one of the most indecisive folks in the land of the zodiac. I desperately grasped at any straw I could get my hands on.

“Don’t give up on us baby, we’re still worth one more try
I know we put the last one by, just for the rainy evening
When maybe stars are few
Don’t give up on us, I know
We can still come through.” ~ David Soul, “Don’t Give Up On Us”

Within less than two weeks, that’s exactly what happened. We quickly worked up to texting/talking on an almost-daily basis, and I could sense him gradually warming up to me, like the crab that represents his Cancer Sun, cautiously peering out of the safety of its shell. He began inviting me over on a fairly regular basis, where we would sit outside chain-smoking and having a few beers, and talking at length about what we had been up to in our extended absences. And now, just four weeks in, he has surprised me by proposing a “deal” which I was thrilled to accept. While we’re not actually back together (or as he puts it, “a thing”), we’re spending a lot of time together, texting, chatting, and having frequent, sweaty, steamy sex. So our deal is that if either of us finds ourselves in a situation in which the opportunity for a hookup arises with someone else and we want to go for it, we are free to do so…as long as we disclose anything we’ve done to the other prior to the two of us having sex again. That said, neither of us are actively looking for anyone else. Therefore, while we’re not in a relationship per se, we’re not single either. As my recently-updated Facebook relationship status attests, it’s complicated.

For the record, I am acutely aware of the potential ramifications of this situation. I had just begun to grieve the loss of our relationship, an excruciating process that I’d already managed to prolong. I realize I might one day discover I’ve shot myself in the foot and taken one giant leap backward by taking this chance. But the thing is, I don’t care. I simply love him too much not to risk it. Even the slightest possibility of rediscovering what we had together makes the gamble absolutely worth it. However, I know it’s not a sure thing. In fact, I have no idea where, or even if, this is going. But I do know I’m enjoying it. It’s such an amazing feeling holding him again after so long apart; to talk for hours on end and never run out of things to say, the indescribably wonderful feeling of knowing without a doubt that you’re with the one person who loves you with a depth no one ever has before.

“You can kiss me in the moonlight
On the rooftop under the sky, oh
You can kiss me with the windows open
While the rain comes pouring inside, oh
Kiss me in sweet slow motion, let’s let everything slide
You got me floating, you got me flyin’…
It’s the way you love me, it’s a feeling like this
It’s centrifugal motion, it’s perpetual bliss
It’s that pivotal moment, it’s subliminal
This kiss, this kiss…it’s criminal.” ~ Faith Hill, “This Kiss”

A few evenings ago, upon learning he would unexpectedly have the apartment to himself for the night, my Cancer cusp excitedly called and invited me over. I probably left a trail of smoke in my haste to take him up on the invitation. As usual, it was a blast. We have always genuinely enjoyed being in each other’s company: stimulating conversation, lots of laughs, and the Best Sex Ever. Exactly how things between us had always been. And as we lay holding one another in the darkness of his bedroom just before drifting off to sleep, I whispered, “You know, this just feels…right.” He agreed, responding softly, “Mmhmm…I think we’ve really been missing each other.” He slightly leaned his head in toward mine and wanted to know if he could ask me a question. “So…where do you see us? Where do you see this going?”

“I’m not sure,” I told him thoughtfully. “I think I’m just so grateful that we’re here together right now at all that I’m not focusing on what’s down the road. I’m too busy enjoying the now.”

Image“There’s nothing else to lose, there’s nothing else to find
There’s nothing in the world that can change my mind
There is nothing else…there is nothing else…there is nothing else
Desperate for changing, starving for truth
I’m closer to where I started, I’m chasing after you
I’m falling even more in love with you
Letting go of all I’ve held on to
I’m standing here until you make me move
I’m hanging by a moment here with you
I’m living for the only thing I know
I’m running and not quite sure where to go
And I don’t know what I’m diving into
Just hanging by a moment here with you.” ~ Lifehouse, “Hanging By A Moment”

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It’s Complicated…

“I’m only happy when it rains
I’m only happy when it’s complicated
And though I know you can’t appreciate it
I’m only happy when it rains
You know I love it when the news is bad
Why it feels so good to feel so sad
I’m only happy when it rains.” ~ Garbage, “I’m Only Happy When It Rains”

Oh, how I abhor drama. Not just drama; also drama queens, attention whores, and people who say they hate drama. A bit ironic and hypocritical, right? I thought so too.

All I wanted was to get over my estranged Cancer cusp ex. Because we can never go back to what we had, it’s a closed chapter in the stranger-than-fiction novel that is my life, my only option is to muddle through the grief and the pain that I initially postponed feeling until I emerge on the other side of it, hopefully at peace, hopefully wiser.

Two weeks ago, we had a two-hour phone conversation to “clear the air,” as he put it. We said things that needed to be said, put a lot of unfinished business to bed, after which my beloved pointedly told me, “If by ‘being friends’ you mean you want to be buddies, talk all the time, and hang out? No, not happening. But if by ‘being friends’ you mean we don’t hate each other, we don’t want anything bad to happen to the other, if we have to communicate we can do it without cussing, then yeah, I want that. I’m not trying to sound like an asshole about it; I just want to be left alone, I want to live my life.” Ouch. But I agreed. I didn’t like it, not one bit. But I knew he was right. The past should stay in the past. I tried to focus on the fact that at least we were speaking again after more than 14 months of absolutely zero contact, and to be grateful for small favors.

Late the following evening, I was surprised and overjoyed to receive a text from my Cancer cusp. A drunk text, but hey, that’s okay; it obviously meant he was thinking of me…which is good, right? It stated something along the lines of, “I’m a douchebag because I’m doing what I said I wasn’t going to do [communicating with me unnecessarily] but I don’t care; I’m feelin’ good.” Upon receiving that, just basking in the glow of knowing I was on his mind in any capacity, I too was feelin’ good. The next weekend, it was my turn to drunk text the ex. I told him I must be a douchebag too and because he drunk texted me the week prior, I owed him one. He seemed to think it was amusing, and he texted me the next day to let me know I could feel free to drunk text him again anytime. But the drunken, uninhibited messages were the only contact we had. After all, I reminded myself, he made it painfully crystal clear that he didn’t want to be “buddies,” he wanted to live his life and be left alone.

“Happiness one step behind
This inner peace I’ve yet to find
Rivers flow into the sea
Yet even the sea is not so full of me
If I’m not blind why can’t I see
That a circle can’t fit where a square should be
There’s a hole in my heart that can only be filled by you
And this hole in my heart can’t be filled with the things I do.”
~ Extreme, “Hole Hearted”

Fast-forward one week later: Late Sunday evening, my phone vibrated. I opened the message and was again surprised to discover it was from my Cancer cusp. He told me he was “a bit worn out” from having spent a weekend at the river with his cousins. Now, what is this? I wondered. Don’t get me wrong; I was thrilled to receive an unexpected text from my love. It made my day, my night, my weekend. But he didn’t have to tell me about his river adventure. That would fall into the category of “unnecessary communication,” would it not? But I played it cool. Easy breezy. I asked him questions about his cousins, how they were doing these days, etc.; after all, they were once my family too. We exchanged a few more messages and called it a night.

Three nights later around 10:30pm, I was minding my own business, playing the addictive-as-all-hell game SongPop on Facebook with The Big Bang Theory in the DVD player for background noise, when my phone vibrated. Once again, a surprise text message from the Cancer cusp.  It started with a few generic “what’s up?” type messages, which eventually led to him asking, “We b cool these dayz, rite?” [sic] I responded that I had absolutely no hard feelings toward him and in fact, I had hoped we could hang out and talk more but I respected his desire to be left alone, and that I was just glad we were on good terms. He replied, “K. Im at neils. He gon 4 da nite.” [sic] He asked me where I was, and I told him. I asked if that was a backhanded way of trying to, wink wink, you know, invite me over. He told me it was.

Say no more! I probably broke the landspeed record as I raced out the door, jumped in the car, and sped off in his direction.

Seventeen minutes later, I was knocking on the door of my Cancer cusp’s uncle’s house. I was shaking in my flipflops waiting for what felt like an eternity before he opened the door. Next thing I knew, I was standing face to face with the love of my life for the first time since April 29, 2011. He opened his arms and we hugged for several seconds. I don’t even know if there is a single word in the English language to accurately convey how I felt in that moment. Bliss. Contentment. Peace. Love. Safe. Whole. It was what I felt for the eight years we were together, all flooding back. It felt right, exactly as it did when we first got together nine years earlier. Like a homecoming. Like this is how it’s supposed to be.

We sat outside for over an hour, drank a few beers, talked, laughed, reminisced, caught up on where life had taken each of us in the previous 14 months. Some of the events he recalled to me stung, in particular when he revealed that, last summer, he had started to fall for a girl 21 years his junior. I could not care less who or how many people he had slept with during that period of time, but it cut me like a knife when he mentioned having had feelings for this girl. Although it only lasted a few months, tops, and it’s long over and done – in fact, they haven’t spoken in well over a year – it still hurt. I didn’t show it though. I put on my best poker face and let him continue sharing. After all, I wasn’t exactly celibate during that year and two months in Arkansas. But still, I hadn’t had feelings for anyone I slept with during that time either.

When he told me how he ended up moving from Kansas to Oklahoma, he mentioned that he had arrived on June 15th. My jaw dropped and I stated incredulously, “I got here on June 16th.” He was as blown away by that revelation as I was. But the facts remain: we hadn’t communicated at all between May 10, 2011 and July 31, 2012. Yet, on literally almost the exact same day, we were both unknowingly coming from two totally different directions to set up house a mere 15 miles apart in the same city. Coincidence? No way. There are no accidents, no coincidences. The Universe is a place of organized chaos. I don’t care what anyone thinks: that was the Universe serendipitously winking at us as if to say, “Trust me. I know what I’m doing.”

We finally headed inside and proceeded once again, after more than a year apart, to have the Best Sex Ever. Sex between us had always been amazing. And we didn’t miss a beat; it was as if not a single day had passed. Afterward, we went back outside and sat talking a little longer. He confessed that he had been a little concerned things might get “weird” if we “went there” but he was relieved to discover that wasn’t the case at all; it felt perfectly natural; familiar; comfortable. Ditto for me. After a total of three and a half hours, I needed to head home and he needed to get to bed. We hugged and parted ways…only this time, knowing we would see each other soon rather than another year later.

If I die tomorrow, I am fine with that. I couldn’t have hoped for this; I never would have dreamed that night would happen. And I was on top of the world as I drove home.

I can’t help but wonder, though, what will happen from here. I know I can’t properly grieve the loss of our relationship under these circumstances.  Sex definitely complicates matters. By hooking up when we have both acknowledged still having feelings for one another, regardless of whether or not they would eventually lead to anything more, have we opened up that proverbial can of worms? Will it put me back to square one in the grieving process? What if he suddenly realizes we’ve become too close so he backs off out of fear and ceases all communication with me again? Is this only going to incite drama? The same drama I profess to hate? I don’t know. I certainly hope not. What I do know is, right now, I’m so grateful that he’s back in my life and that he has at least warmed up to the idea of being friends. The definition of “friends” that I had hoped we would be from the start. My feelings for him run far too deep for me not to do this, for me to not take this chance.

I suppose time will answer my burning questions soon enough. Stay tuned…

Red (Bull) Planet – Mars In The Signs

“Let’s go and see the stars
The milky way or even Mars
Where it could just be ours
Let’s fade into the sun
Let your spirit fly
Where we are one
Just for a little fun
Oh, oh, oh yeah!” ~ Lenny Kravitz, “Fly Away”

Fourth rock from the Sun, named for the Roman god of war, Mars in astrology represents masculinity, aggression, anger, action, and physical attraction. It rules the sign of Aries, which is notoriously impulsive, impatient, and quick-thinking. It governs our drive and motivation in all we do, from getting out of bed each morning to ascending Mount Everest.

Mars becomes retrograde for an 11 week period every few years, and this often causes difficulties to crop up during that time. Instead of directing energy outward to achieve goals, Mars in retrograde forces us to summon motivation from within.

The sign in which Mars appears in a woman’s chart is indicative of the type of partner she is attracted to. It spends a little over 57 days in each sign of the zodiac before moving into the next.

So gather ’round, grasshoppers. Today we’re going to explore the interpretations of Mars in each of the twelve signs. If you don’t know what your Mars sign is, you can easily find out.

Mars in Aries
As the natural ruler of Aries, Mars is right at home here, promoting a strong tendency toward impulsive activity, high energy levels, and being notorious for a lack of stick-to-itiveness. This one loves to charge full speed into a project with tremendous drive, only to quickly become bored and leave it unfinished. They also have quick tempers which pass relatively quickly.

Mars in Taurus
Unlike Mars Aries, a Mars Taurus has formidable staying power. They take a while to get moving but when they do, they plod along diligently toward their desired objective. This one hates to argue and why wouldn’t they anyway; their way is the way, bottom line, no need for further discussion. Theirs is a direct sexual approach and that aforementioned staying power applies in the bedroom as well.

Mars in Gemini
Gemini thrives on variety and a Mars Gemini individual demonstrates this by jumping restlessly from project to project and a lack of persistence. A woman with this Mars placement is drawn to talkative partners who tend to move around a lot. This one experiences sudden bursts of energy that come and go, and they often have several things going on at once. My Mars is in Gemini, and I can frequently be found pacing while talking on the phone or texting. A Leo girlfriend of mine often comments, “It’d just kill you to sit still, wouldn’t it!” Yeah, it probably would.

Mars in Cancer
Cancer is a sign with emotional depth and because Mars = energy and assertiveness, much of this person’s energy is directed toward the emotions. Because of this, a Mars Cancerian will tend to pick fights and be argumentative. If they can be kept otherwise occupied however, it directs this energy elsewhere and disputes can be minimized. My ex-husband has this placement, and I can attest to the fact that he expended a huge amount of time and energy making mountains out of molehills; everything was an emergency, constantly stressing over what-ifs. Not fun.

Mars in Leo
When this one argues, they do so on a grand scale and everyone in a half-mile radius will know about it. However, if Mars appears in the twelfth house (house of secrets, sorrow, and self-undoing), that might cause Mars Leo to hold in their frustration and anger (secrets.) I once dated a guy with this placement. He found it seemingly impossible to express his indignance – about anything, anywhere, at any time – using his indoor voice, and cared not a bit if he made a noisy public scene, causing me so much embarrassment that I would have loved to crawl into the nearest hole and hide.

Mars in Virgo
A woman with Mars in Virgo, a highly detail-oriented sign, has a tendency to nag and nit-pick their partner. Much energy is spent critiquing others as well as themselves. I have a Leo girlfriend with this placement. When I would visit and take a shower at her house, she complained that I opened the shower curtain from right to left rather than left to right. You heard me. It bugged the hell out of her. Really.

Mars in Libra
This one will drive you batty with their indecisiveness. Unless there is blatant injustice in a situation, they are almost incapable of sticking to one side of an argument. God help them during a presidential election year; they might not even make up their mind on a candidate until they’re at the polls and even after their vote has been cast, they’ll continue to examine their choice in their mind with the good ol’ shoulda-woulda-coulda thinking they are all too familiar with.

Mars in Scorpio
This one doesn’t know the meaning of moderation in disputes or battles. They either throw everything they’ve got into a fight or they do absolutely nothing. For example, let’s suppose an intruder breaks into Mars Scorpio’s house. They immediately break out their shotgun and shoot to kill. Or let’s say a mosquito is buzzing around their neck. They immediately break out their shotgun and shoot to kill.

Mars in Sagittarius
Sadge rules the legs and Mars is energy, so this one needs to walk or move frequently. (On that note, Scorpio rules the sex organs and Mars is energy, so you can draw your own conclusions on that one.) If a Mars Sadge finds a project interesting, they are capable of working tirelessly on it; however, if they find a project to be dull, they tire quickly and easily.

Mars in Capricorn
This one is a master at maintaining the stamina needed to complete a task thoroughly and correctly. They’re often the ones staying late on the job to finish something up long after coworkers have headed home. A woman with this placement is attracted to partners who are reliable, patient, and orderly.

Mars in Aquarius
Mars’s energy here is directed toward the intellect. Aquarius is an unpredictable, random sign and because Mars shows how we fight, this indicates a Mars Aquarian will come at you from unexpected angles. Women with this placement are drawn to intellectual, spontaneous partners and if they have jealous tendencies in their charts, such as a Cancer or Scorpio Sun or Venus, Mars in the detached, whatever’s-clever sign of Aquarius will blunt that tendency to some degree.

Mars in Pisces
Pisces is a poetic dreamer, so the Martian energy here is focused on the imagination. An Aquarius friend of mine has this placement. He is constantly coming up with witty, creative one-liners, jokes, comebacks, remarks, and cut-downs. And I do mean constantly. I don’t think his brain ever shuts off.

LOL, OMG, ;) Hit Me Up, WTF?

“Can you send a nasty pic
So I can see right where it is
And I promise I won’t show my friends (yeah, right)
She replied, well okay, BTW by the way
SMH, it’s such a shame, that you ain’t learned a damn thing
Ha ha, OMG, LOL, KIT
Smiley faces, X and O’s, L, M, F-A-O.” ~ Ludacris, “Sexting”

As I slowly awaken from seven hours of alcohol-induced deeper-than-usual sleep, I’m torn between wanting to snuggle deeper into my warm, toasty comforter, and throwing off my blanket to make the 20 foot trek to the bathroom. In a futile attempt at procrastination, I reach for my cell phone, eyes crusty and still sleepy, to check for any missed calls or texts. Nope, nothin’. Sigh…

I begin scrolling through already-received text messages. As I read, I’m confused for about two seconds… wondering what so-and-so meant when they said this or that; to what were they replying? With sudden clarity, it hits me: I was drunk-texting last night. Please don’t let there be anything too stupid, please don’t let there be anything too stupid, I silently repeat as I open my sent messages folder. But I don’t see any sent messages from last night; I must not have saved them when I sent them. I’m not sure if this is a good or bad thing. I want to know what I said while under the influence, but at the same time, I’m afraid to know. I’m mouthy enough when I’m sober. But put a little alcohol in my system and all bets are off. I really should just surrender my phone to someone when I drink but even if I did, I’d probably wear down the unfortunate soul with my incessant nagging until they relented and ended up chunking it at my head in frustration.

It’s not that I text anything terrible when I’ve been drinking. On the contrary, I’m a “happy drunk.” Drunk Jen loves nothing more than to hug everyone within arm’s reach and tell them (repeatedly) how awesome they are. On the flip side, however, a heavy Gemini influence in my chart (Venus, Mars, and Saturn in Gemini) coupled with an equally communicative Aquarius Moon endows me with the tendency to be quite chatty. This is evident in sobriety and amplified exponentially when I’m intoxicated.

“Can we forget about the things I said when I was drunk?
I didn’t mean to call you that
I can’t remember what was said or what you threw at me
Please tell me, please tell me why
My car is in the front yard and I’m
Sleepin’ with my clothes on
I came in through the window last night
And you’re gone…gone.” ~ Lit, “My Own Worst Enemy”

A quick glance through my inbox today, for example, clearly reveals that I was feeling saucy enough to hit up my ex-Cancer cusp longtime boyfriend. Judging by his responses, which were friendly and – thank Christ – understanding, he didn’t mind too much. One reply stated: “Haha! Gud luc. Asprin, caffine, watr” [sic], which likely refers to something I babbled regarding the fact that I’d probably regret all this in the morning. Another read: “No biggie. Its me. Membr me? U took pics a me” [sic]. I do vaguely remember texting something about my Leo girlfriend taking pictures of me puking in her front yard when I was trashed last Saturday night. And he’s referring to the particularly nasty period at the end of our eight-year relationship when he was passed out on the bathroom floor after knocking out a 30-pack of Natural Light. I’m ashamed of it now, but I uploaded that picture to Facebook faster than you can say “tag.” He didn’t, and doesn’t, have a Facebook account, but I posted it in a misguided need for validation as well as sympathy; I wanted people to see that image of him sprawled across the linoleum, shake their heads, and say, “Wow…look what she has to put up with, he is a worthless drunk!” And express opinions they did; I received several comments to that effect. However, his former cousin in-law – another sensitive, loyal Cancerian who was a mutual friend – commented that although she loved me, she also loved her cousin and she didn’t appreciate seeing him being unfairly flogged online for all the Land of Facebook  to see. Stubborn Aries that I am, I grudgingly took it down, not because she was offended (I unfriended her after that; there was an obvious conflict of interest now that he and I were going through a breakup), but also because – deep breath – I knew it was wrong. (That’s right, I admit it.)

Additionally, I have a foggy recollection of firing off several texts to my Aquarian tree friend while in the midst of my drunken stupor. Because I failed to save my sent texts, I’m not sure exactly what I was rambling about (again, maybe that’s a good thing), but I vaguely remember drunkenly lamenting my lost relationship and requesting his infinite Water Bearer wisdom: should I wait and hope my estranged Cancer cusp someday wants to try again, or should I stop looking back and move on? Why I would ask for his advice on the matter, I have no idea because I already know what he would tell me, which is what most sane folks would suggest: to let it go, it’s in the past. Come to think of it, I also asked the Aquarius to please not ignore me and told him that I needed a friend…and what do you know; after looking through my inbox, I see he never replied. (Note to self: pick bone with Aquarian hippie about willfully neglecting to comfort a [drunk] friend in need!)

“And now we lookin’ like pimps
In my gold Trans-Am
Got a water bottle full of whiskey
In my handbag
Got my drunk text on
I’ll regret it in the mornin’
But tonight I don’t give a…I don’t give a…I don’t give a.” ~ Ke$ha, “Take It Off”

It would be incredibly helpful to have some kind of app that prompts you before sending a text message, “Are you sure you won’t regret this in the morning?” Better still, how about a device built in to the phone which requires you to blow into it for a BAC reading prior to sending, and if it registers more than, say, the legal limit, your phone automatically shuts down. (I should patent that; I could be a millionaire, folks!)

Even with all that, I have good reason to be proud of myself. After all, it could have been much worse. There’s a saying that goes, “Drunkenness reveals what sobriety conceals.” At least I hadn’t blathered incoherently to the ex about how I love and miss him and wish we could somehow manage to repair the damage and work things out. I also hadn’t drunk-texted (or sexted) any prior hookups or – perhaps more disturbing – any hookups I would like to have.

Oh, yeah. It could have been infinitely worse.

Love The One You’re With

DISCLAIMER: If you are my child, my parent, or anyone else who doesn’t wish to have traumatizing, sexual images of me burned into their head, potentially requiring years of intense therapy to undo, STOP READING NOW. Otherwise, carry on.

“Turn your heartache right into joy
Cause she’s a girl and you’re a boy
Get it together, come on, make it nice
You ain’t gonna need any more advice
Well, there’s a rose in the fisted glove
And eagle flies with the dove
And if you can’t be with the one you love, honey
Love the one you’re with.” ~ Crosby, Stills & Nash – “Love the One You’re With”

January 28, 1986: A sunny, frigid morning in Yukon, Oklahoma. I was an almost-14 year-old eighth grader sitting in third hour math class when a flurry of activity and chatter began penetrating the previously uneventful silence. “The space shuttle exploded!” My teacher quickly wheeled in the TV and we watched the continuous live coverage, mouths agape in horror, as the disaster was replayed ad nauseam, as if we watched it just one more time, we would be able to make sense of the tragedy.

And that’s where I was when Space Shuttle Challenger exploded. I’ll never forget it. And if you are old enough to remember that day, I’ll bet you recall where you were when it happened as well.

Interestingly, the guy I hooked up with a few days ago probably has no idea where – or even if – he was on January 28, 1986. He wasn’t alive yet. Or at least, he wasn’t born. It would be early autumn before he made his appearance in the world. Okay, so he’s not a kid…technically. He’s 25, soon to be 26. But that morning in math class, with all of its vivid memories, my future hookup wasn’t even walking the earth yet. In 1986, I was babysitting toddlers that are now older than he is. My oldest son is just three years younger than him. When he was born, I was a freshman in high school, had recently taken up a cigarette habit (still at it; yes, I know I should quit, thank you very much) and my hobbies included sneaking out of the house at night to see guys (who were always older), smoke some weed, and get drunk. This past Wednesday night didn’t involve any of that, however. (Wait – that isn’t true; I did smoke a lot of cigarettes.)

I first met this young Virgo in 2003 when he hadn’t yet turned 17. He worked with my then-live-in boyfriend, the Cancer cusp I’m presently brooding over. I never gave the boy a second thought. Hell, I was 31 years old. I do remember he was very boyish-looking for a long time. Even when my Cancer cusp came home from work a few years ago and announced that his young friend/coworker had just turned 21, I vividly remember laughing and remarking, “Wow, if I worked in a convenience store and he tried to buy cigarettes, I would so ID him; he looks like he’s about 16!”

This Virgo (who has both a Scorpio Ascendant, inferring an intensely passionate, possessive, highly sexual individual) has been somewhat of a presence, to one degree or another, for the last nine years if only because he was my Cancer cusp’s buddy. He’d come to our house and shoot pool once in a while, or we would meet him at the bar to play and have a few beers. And in all those years, not once did I view this guy in anything remotely resembling a sexual light. For one thing, I was in a committed relationship. For another, I thought of him more as a kid. Even when he became a father four years ago, it was hard for me to digest the image of this “boy” as someone’s daddy. But after ny Cancer cusp and I parted ways last year, I never saw nor heard from his Virgo friend again.

At least, not until late last summer when out of nowhere, I received a friend request from him on Facebook. It actually surprised me. Although he is a “storm person” like me, we had never been friends independent of my Cancer cusp ex. I figured his loyalty lied with his friend, so I honestly thought nothing of it whatsoever. But I accepted the friend request and even then, we only communicated every once in a great while, usually in the form of a “like” or a comment on a mutual friend’s status. Not even one private message.

That is, until late one night this past spring, about a month before I left Arkansas, when I happened to be wide awake, bored, and Facebooking. My private message icon lit up, indicating I’d received a message, so I clicked on it. I was puzzled when I saw his name as the sender, and I literally choked on my Coke Zero when I read the message, which was him telling me he’d “hit that.” It shocked me so much that I thought surely the messabge had been intended for someone else and that he must have sent it to me by mistake, so I asked him. He told me it hadn’t been a mistake; I was in fact the intended recipient. Okay, then he must be drunk. I asked if he was and he answered no, but added that he was pretty high (not unusual.) My curiosity shifted to suspicion, and I asked him if my ex was hovering over his shoulder reading our conversation. He told me no, he hadn’t seen or talked to the Cancer cusp in a few months. He then apologized if he had offended me, and said that he was “just playing.” I replied that I wasn’t offended, just surprised, which was absolutely true. His next message read, “Okay…but what if I wasn’t kidding?”

Hmm. I was intrigued.

Over the next few months, we texted back and forth and Facebooked periodically. Not often, but every few weeks at least. As I said earlier, we’re both storm people and we love to storm chase, so oftentimes our texts would be weather-related, discussing any current watches or warnings and sending wicked cloud pics to each other via text. He knew I was planning to move back to Kansas, and I kept him apprised as the events surrounding my move unfolded. If he knew I was going to be in his area, he’d remind me to “hit him up” and we’d go to the bar and have “some drinks” and…well, you know. I was in his area about three or four times, and frankly, although free, white, single and definitely curious, I wasn’t 100% sold on the idea of us “going there.” The attention flattered me but I kept picturing that same young boy and, even knowing he was well above the age of consent, I couldn’t seem to wrap my mind around having sex with him. It had nothing to do with him being friends with my former Cancer cusp, though. For whatever reason, that aspect of a possible hookup never bothered me a bit.

“I’m always workin’, slavin’ every day
Gotta get away from that same old same old
I need a chance just to get away
If you could hear me think this is what I’d say
Don’t need nothin’ but a good time
How can I resist?
Ain’t looking for nothin’ but a good time
And it don’t get better than this.” ~ Poison, “Nothin’ But A Good Time”

This week that all changed. I’m not sure why or even how, but it did. My mind was now completely open to it, and I was in his area again. This time, we met at a bar and hung out for a few hours with some other people. I was pleasantly surprised when I saw the Virgo: not that I’d ever found him unattractive, just a bit boyish, but he had really come into his own in the last few years. He looked nothing like the kid I remembered, kind of like the difference between cute Titanic Leonardo DiCaprio and totally smokin hot all-grown-up Inception Leonardo DiCaprio. As everyone was chatting and laughing, he shot me an unexpected text message as he sat nonchalantly no more than three feet away, engaged in conversation. I won’t quote it, but paraphrased, the text – and the next several that followed – indicated that he would very much enjoy doing various X-rated things to and with me, as well as wanting me to do certain things to him at which he had “heard” (thanks to the Cancer cusp bragging at work, I’m given to understand) I had “award-winning” skills. He also mentioned having an admiration for specific parts of my upper body, and a desire to touch those same parts (desires which he indulged a bit later in the dark parking lot). I was totally open to seeing how much he’d grown up in other areas, as well. I unzipped his pants and discovered the answer using my mouth for one hot minute. I. Was. Impressed. I wanted to drop my panties right then and there, throw him onto his back in that dark parking lot, and just grind my soaking wet pussy up and down on his massive, fat cock til I came all over it, squeezing the cum out of his dick with each orgasmic pulse of my pussy.

“I just had sex with someone who wasn’t alive during the Bicentennial!” ~ Monica Geller, “Friends”

Leave it to this take-charge Aries chick to handle it! I sprang for a hotel room. A nice one. Totally could not afford it. Totally did not care: that’s how much I wanted him. After taking one of his buddies home, he came to my room, his smoldering Scorpio Ascendant came out to play, and for the next 90 minutes, we engaged in acts that are probably illegal in a few states and punishable by death in some Third World countries. We were naked, we were sweaty, we were loud, it was naughty, it was sneaky. If there was an orifice on my body, he hungrily explored it (well, with the possible exception of my ear canals.) It was pure, unadulterated, animalistic, uninhibited, raw, no-strings fucking. And I didn’t even bat an eye when, as I lay on the bed still trying to catch my breath, he got dressed, told me to “hit him up,” and was out the door within two minutes of the conclusion of our rendezvous. No. I slept, and I slept great. Not just because he fucked me so good and so hard, but it provided me the human contact I didn’t even realize I had been missing.

As I was heading back south toward Oklahoma the following morning, he shot me a text.

“Feelin’ good this morning?”

I smiled, mental images of our rendezvous in my head, as I sent my reply:

“Oh, yeah. I needed that.”

In Unloving Memory

“Make-believing we’re together,
That I’m sheltered by your heart.
But in and outside I’ve turned to water
Like a teardrop in your palm
And it’s a hard winter’s day, I dream away…
It must have been love, but it’s over now
It was all that I wanted, now I’m living without
It must have been love, but it’s over now
It’s where the water flows…it’s where the wind blows.” ~Roxette, “It Must Have Been Love”

It was definitely love. And it was everything I had ever hoped to have in a relationship…and more.

The relationship might be over now, but the love remains. At least it does for me. I can’t speak for him.

Of course, no relationship is perfect. We had great times, we had horrible times, and every shade of gray in between. I could ramble on for hours about all the fun we had and the dreams we shared. And when I reflect on what once was, that’s right where my mind goes: the good. Selective memory kicks in and I conveniently forget the bad and the ugly.

Why is it that we tend to focus solely on the happy memories after a breakup? Or, we do remember the bad, but play it down; after all, it wasn’t that terrible, right? (Is that my Pisces Ascendant putting the rose-colored glasses on me again?) It would be infinitely less painful to cope with the loss and get to the other side of the grieving process if our selective memories only recalled the negative. When I think of my eight-year relationship, I remember things like watching Animation Domination on Sunday nights, the way he’d bring home scratch-off crosswords for me just because, playing 9-ball on our pool table, cooking together and preparing “assembly line” dinners when the kids still lived at home, lying together in bed taking turn scratching one another’s backs, spontaneous weekend breakfasts at our local mom and pop restaurant…and believe you me, I could go on and on. But if you asked me about the dark side of life with Mr. Wonderful, it’s not so easy. Let’s see…he drank way too much which made him a hateful douche, but that was only because he was feeling neglected by me and that didn’t even become a problem until the last few months we were together…oh, and he could be really aloof which frustrated the bejesus out of me, but that wasn’t too often. (See, there I go again, rationalizing and downplaying. Drat!)

Maybe it’s because it somehow soothes us to recollect the positive. In fact, just now, as I recalled the good times, I found myself smiling. Conversely, as I thought about the bad aspects, I felt uncomfortable. It literally made me antsy to remember him stumbling around drunk after knocking out about a case of Natural Light. I could even hear the sound of the pop-top cans opening, one after another, and I felt the same dread; that oh-goody-here-we-go-again feeling I had when it was actually happening. Is it possible that blocking out the bad is some sort of primitive self-protection mechanism?

It’s akin to remembering a deceased friend or loved one. Think about it: when someone we care for passes away, we say things like, “I’ll miss Aunt Betty so much; she made the best apple pie” or “I can’t believe Uncle Fred is gone; he always made us laugh.” Nobody bothers to mention that Aunt Betty, with all her culinary talents, was a hateful bitch, and good ol’ Uncle Fred was so funny because he was a decrepit drunk. The fact that a person is dead in no way erases the reality of who they were or how they lived. We had no problem overlooking their uglier traits when they were alive; why does – or should – it change when they die? Like a departed friend, we seem to prefer to remember our dead relationships in a more flattering light.

I’m not sure if this is a good thing or a bad thing. In any event, it’s evident that it’s what we are inclined to do. I have read countless “how to get over your ex” articles that recommend replacing our loving memories with ones that remind us why we’re no longer a couple in the first place. In the early weeks and months of our separation, I wasn’t as much sad (at least outwardly) as I was angry. For me, it was simply less painful to be mad at my estranged love than it was to acknowledge the hurt and properly mourn my loss (whatever that means). I would tell anyone who would listen what a worthless, miserable s.o.b. my ex was, and I was never at a loss for detailed examples to justify my feelings. It’s as if it was an attempt on my part to reinforce the anger so I could avoid feeling the sadness. Especially early on, I was a master of denial, always looking for a distraction so that I wouldn’t have to feel. But by doing so, I only delayed the inevitable…and I’m paying dearly for it now.

“I don’t need your loving arms around me
All I need is to be free
That’s what I keep telling myself
And I tell you, you don’t need me
I don’t need children in my old age
No more cluttered leaves around  the trees
And I don’t need you, baby
And I know you don’t need  me
We don’t need each other baby…we don’t need each other baby…
…or do we?” ~ Kenny Rogers, “I Don’t Need You”

Yeah Baby, She’s Got It: Venus In The Signs

“Goddess on the mountaintop, burning like a silver flame
The summit of beauty and love, and Venus was her name
She’s got it…yeah baby, she’s got it
I’m your Venus, I’m your fire at your desire.” ~Bananarama, “Venus”

Okay, yes I know; Bananarama didn’t originally sing that tune from the 1980s. But their bouncy cover version is how I hear it in my blonde head.

Most folks know their Sun sign. Fewer know their Moon sign, or that they even have one. Fewer still can tell you what their Ascendant is (they’re the ones reading this asking, “what the frack is an ‘ascendant’?” We’ll get more into that another time.) Gather ’round, kids: today we’re gonna talk about our planets (yes, each of our individual planets are in signs as well). Today’s planet of discussion? Venus.

“Venus, make her fair
A lovely girl with sunlight in her hair
And take the brightest stars up in the skies
And place them in her eyes for me
Venus, goddess of love that you are
Surely the things I ask
Can’t be too great a task
Venus, if you do
I promise that I always will be true
I’ll give her all the love I have to give
As long as we both shall live.” ~ Frankie Avalon, “Venus”

As dreamy as all that is, in astrology, Venus refers to the uninhabitable second rock from the Sun. It’s named for the aforementioned Roman goddess of love and in the astrological sense, represents beauty, love, creativity, money, possessions, and nurturing. Venus rules Taurus and Libra, both signs known to have particular affinities for objets d’art and all things aesthetically pleasing.

The sign in which Venus appears in a man’s natal chart represents the partner he desires. For example, a man with his Venus in Leo prefers an outgoing, confident partner he can proudly show off (traits of the sign of Leo.) In a woman’s chart, the planet Mars is indicative of what she seeks in a mate. (Another topic for another day.)

Because Venus orbits in relatively close proximity to the Sun, the sign in which it appears in your natal chart will always be either the same as your Sun, or no more than two signs either side of it. If you don’t already know where Venus is found in your chart, it’s easy to find out.

Venus In Aries
Watch out for this one. A Venus-Arien is impatient and will jump into a relationship impulsively, often living to regret their haste. Venus = love and Aries = action; therefore, this one will be quite affectionate. They get bored easily and require near-constant excitement in a relationship.

Venus in Taurus
Homebody Taurus thrives on domesticity and with Venus as its natural ruler, they go hand in hand. A Venus-Taurean wants to make a beautiful home for you and probably be an excellent cook as well. They love to touch and to be touched, so be prepared. Sweets are their downfall, so win them over with something gooey and fattening. Seriously.

Venus in Gemini
Can’t sit still, frequently pacing and probably talking to themselves if no one else is around to talk to (or even if there is). They need a chatty partner. Venus in Gemini enjoys variety in sex and relationships which is why this one is the philanderer of the Venus signs: they often have more than one lover, or tend to fall in love with more than one person at a time. (My Venus is in Gemini. And, as Forrest Gump remarked more than once, that’s all I have to say about that.)

Venus in Cancer
This one will mother you and wants the same in return. A Venus-Cancerian is often a moody martyr, enduring self-imposed suffering by seeking out unhealthy relationships. The Crab is suspicious and quite jealous. Think before you speak to this one as well: Venus-Cancer has delicate feelings that are easily hurt and frequently take offense where none was intended. My ex-husband has a Venus Crab placement. He tended to read too much into my words and I quickly discovered it didn’t take much to hurt his feelings…even with no intention of doing so. It was exhausting constantly trying to undo the damage I never meant to cause. And though I loved him dearly, there is a reason he’s my EX-husband.

Venus in Leo
A Venus-Leo won’t settle for anything less than the best. They demand attention. Constantly. You have to be ready to feed this one’s ego, whether it’s by stroking their lush mane and repeatedly describing to them in excruciatingly painful detail and depth just how amazing, intelligent, funny, or attractive you think they are (don’t worry about laying it on too thick; flattery gets you everywhere with a Venus-Leo) or by being their arm candy.

Venus in Virgo
Venus-Virgo relies on logic in matters of love rather than emotion. If this factor is present and that equation adds up, well then, they must be in love. This one can’t stand a slob so keep things clutter-free and well-organized or be prepared for incessant criticism regarding the error of your slovenly ways.

Venus in Libra
Venus is at home in Libra, which it rules. A Venus-Libran can be superficial, even a bit snobbish, but they are masters of not letting on about it. They prefer elegance and abhor what they perceive to be tasteless and unrefined. I dated a Venus-Libran. This is him to a tee.

Venus in Scorpio
A Venus-Scorpion takes sex and relationships very seriously. They are possessive, obsessive, jealous partners but also quite devoted and highly sexual creatures. But if things go south with this one, be careful. They don’t let go easily and, after all, they were voted most likely to boil your bunny in the zodiac yearbook.

Venus in Sagittarius
Venus-Sadge loves freedom. Any attempt to tie them down will backfire and they will look for the escape hatch. They tend to take love lightly but this doesn’t mean they’re a bad partner; it’s just that they don’t need all the PDA and mushiness someone else (say, a Venus-Cancerian) might need.

Venus in Capricorn
This one is a rock. Like Venus-Virgo, love must make sense for them to even consider it to be love. It has to add up. The Goat is tremendously dependable and sensible, but loves to point out what you’re doing wrong (not Venus-Capricorn’s way, in other words) and how you could do those things better (their way).

Venus in Aquarius
With this one, friends often become lovers, and vice versa. This humanitarian needs to be able to roam as well, as they have too much to share with the world at large to focus on one person all the time. This is the sign that is the least likely to marry, but it does happen. If you have a Venus-Aquarian in your sights, godspeed.

Venus in Pisces
This is a sensititive soul who just can’t grasp the concept of cruelty in the world. A Venus-Piscean also has an artistic bent and is quite creative.

That’s What Friends With Benefits Are For

“What exactly does that expression mean, ‘friends with benefits?’ Does he provide her with health insurance?”           ~ Sheldon Cooper, The Big Bang Theory

Well, it doesn’t work quite like that, Dr. Cooper. Although it’d be tremendously helpful if it did; I could use a good medical plan.
Though it’s come to the forefront of American culture in only the last decade or so, the concept of friends with benefits (FWB) isn’t new. The human creature is a pack animal and craves physical closeness. But what if you don’t have someone to be physically close with on a regular basis? What about single/divorced/widowed folks?

Use your phone-a-friend option. But before you dial, consider a few noteworthy points:

• Do you become emotionally attached easily?
• Are you particularly jealous by nature?
• Is there a possibility you have romantic feelings for your friend – or vice versa?

If the answer to any of the above is yes, put down the phone. Now. Remove the battery if you have to. Take a cold shower. A FWB arrangement is probably not the best idea for you.

If you’re a subscriber or you know me personally, you’re already painfully aware I’m a textbook Aries. As such, I have a jealous streak – but it’s not one of the usual flavor. My jealousy doesn’t originate from a place of insecurity, but rather from a desire to be Number One. I want to be at the center of your attention – not her, not him, not them – me, me, me! However, I also have a Pisces Ascendant, a wistful water sign which is prone to jealousy, and to top it off, my Moon is in Aquarius, which is a detached, ain’t-no-thang air sign, one of the least inclined to jealousy in the zodiac. So what effect does this astrological train wreck have on a person?

The Moon rules the emotions and how we see ourselves. An Aquarius Moon reveals a lighthearted, take-it-or-leave-it attitude in matters of the heart…or so I’d like to think (self-image). The Ascendant is our public persona; how we appear to others. A Pisces Ascendant appears to be a sentimental dreamer (the bastard water sign cousin to Cancer) whose head is in the clouds and is easily hurt. But as my witty Aquarius friend likes to remind me, the Sun always shines. It is the essence of our character. Put ‘em all together, what do you get? A stubborn person who needs to stand out above the rest (Aries Sun), comes across as an overly-sensitive airhead (Pisces Ascendant), all the while telling myself it’s all good, I don’t need all that mushy-gushy lovey crap (Aquarius Moon). Translation: I’m more jealous and become attached more easily/quickly than I tend to believe. Finally, just for fun, let’s go ahead and throw in a Venus in Gemini, which indicates I’m rather aloof, flirty, and (allegedly) unfaithful in love (a whole ‘nother topic; we’ll delve into that another time). It boils down to basically not knowing what I want…and just when I think I’ve figured it out, I change my mind (props to my Moon and Venus air signs for that one.)

After moving to Hot Springs, Arkansas in 2011, I began a FWB arrangement with my oft-referred-to hippie Aquarius tree friend who shares my passion for astrology. While I can’t speak for him, it worked out beautifully on my end (no pun intended). I never felt the spark of a “relationship connection” with my friend (which surprised me, because he has qualities that I find wildly attractive: extreme intelligence, sharp wit, and a wicked sense of humor). But I did have a physical attraction to him…and well, I do like sex. So, as roommates, we shared a home, but as FWB we shared a bed and our bodies. Outside the bedroom, we went to movies, went out to eat, laughed, watched TV, had long conversations, argued incessantly over what does/doesn’t constitute a curb and whether it’s a “cue-pon” or a “coo-pon” (debates which are still in progress today), smoked weed, shopped, cooked – but as friends. And it was a blast! I had the best time being in the company of my quirky Aquarian friend. And as “just friends,” there was no hand-holding, no kissing, no hugging, no terms of endearment (unless you count “hooker” or “dumbass”), no displays of affection like you might witness with two people in a relationship. The only difference between us and any other pair of friends was, about once every week or two, give or take, as needed, we would provide, ahem, benefits for the other. For me, the main benefit was human (sexual) contact.

Alas, there comes a time in the life of every Aquarian tree genius when he feels he is ready and needs to move on. My Aquarian amigo was no different. One of his reasons being, as roommates/FWB, although we weren’t a committed couple, we didn’t sleep with other people during the time we were roommates/FWB because it wouldn’t have been right. “Bad juju,” he called it. At the same time, we both had close friends of the opposite sex to whom we spoke regularly, and neither of us thought anything of it. But when my free-spirited Aquarian friend moved out, taking the benefits with him, my reaction surprised even me: I was jealous!  I felt like I was going through a breakup and it stung. Knowing he had developed an interest in another woman, I was crushed. I cried, I (over)analyzed the situation, trying anything to figure out what was going on inside me. Major depression set in. But why? I didn’t think of him That Way. Or wait, did I, and hadn’t realized it until now? Even worse, had I – gulp – fallen in love with my friend? The unanswered questions constantly gnawed at me.                                            

With the benefit of hindsight (and industrial-strength antidepressants), I was able to pinpoint it. I was jealous; there’s no denying that. But why, and over someone with whom I wasn’t even interested in having a relationship? A few reasons, I discovered. First, I wasn’t Number One anymore. There was actually someone else he wanted to be around more than he did me. Secondly, I realized I had developed an emotional attachment – and quite a significant one at that. I understood that it had nothing to do with falling in love with my FWB. This wonderful, witty Aquarian had breezed into my life at a time when I had never felt more alone. He was my metaphorical crutch. He was there for me physically and emotionally when I really needed someone. He genuinely cared about me and about what happened to me during a very painful period in my life when it felt like no one else did. While the FWB situation had served my urges for human contact quite nicely, thank you very much, what I failed to recognize was that our hookups  had provided me with a physical closeness which helped me feel more emotionally secure given the frame of mind I was in – post-breakup of an eight-year relationship, recent long-distance move, and other major life changes. My Water Bearer had also distracted me from the grief I was attempting to keep at bay. With him out of the picture – well, out of the house, anyway – I no longer had the distraction, nor did I have the – albeit false – sense of emotional security. I was now, more or less, alone with my own thoughts, and way too many painful ones. I had too much time on my hands to think after he was gone. I felt naked, alone, and abandoned. And terrified.

Even so, I still believe I’m capable of being involved in another FWB situation. If I were to enter into another arrangement like that, however, I would have to be certain I was in a less vulnerable place in my life. I would have to be absolutely positive I was doing it solely for the sexual pleasure and not as a distraction or to fill an emotional void. None of this is meant to imply I was only using my Aquarian FWB; while it’s now clear I used him sexually for emotional support on a subconscious level, rather than for sexual pleasure, he was, and still is, one of my closest, most treasured friends.

That said, I’d be a liar if I said his impressive physical endowment hadn’t been a huge bonus. Pun intended.

Searching For The Silver Lining

“You say it’s over, I can sigh again, yeah
Why try to stay sober when I’m dying here
And I am aware now of how
Everything’s gonna be fine
One day, too late, I’m in hell
I am prepared now
Seems everyone’s gonna be fine
One day too late; just as well.” ~ “Fine Again,” Seether

Grief is a curious emotion. You can be awash in it, yet experience contentment, even happiness. At other times, often at the drop of a hat, you might feel helplessly consumed by it. It cleanses us, yet we may feel we are drowning in it. We reject it, yet we need it. It frees us to move forward, yet we feel imprisoned by it. To borrow a wise Aquarian friend’s observation, it is “an oxymoron wrapped in a conundrum.” While that might be true, the blunt reality is, I hate every second of grief’s intrusion into my thoughts, my dreams, my life.

My Leo girlfriend (left); with Yours Truly…gettin a lil tipsy

Yesterday, I felt pretty good. I was at least slightly optimistic about the future. I had a great night out, letting loose and just rolling with it. My insistent Leo girlfriend and I went to a club and there’s just no nice way to put it: we got trashed. My Cancer-cusp ex used to joke that I was a cheap date: just three or four beers and I was good to go. He wasn’t wrong. But I had fun. Flirting a little, not on a mission to find my next potential significant other, just enjoying myself, the people, the music, the beer. I enjoyed myself so much, in fact, that by the time we arrived back at the house, I surrendered to the inevitable before I could even reach the front porch, dropped to my knees, and puked like a drunk teenager right in the front yard. I passed out shortly thereafter. What a night. A night I needed.

and…drunk.

Today, however, is a different story.  Nothing has changed, nothing is different in any way from this same time yesterday. I’m not sure what I’m feeling, but the best way to describe it would be tired (goes without saying), a bit weepy, slightly pessimistic, a little wistful, highly unmotivated, and maybe somewhat overwhelmed. Overwhelmed by what; I’m not sure. Maybe by so many different emotions, or maybe because I know I still have a long road ahead of me in this journey. Some might say these emotions are a kind of hangover and while that’s plausible, I believe it goes beyond that. The aftereffects of alcohol probably have amplified whatever is lying beneath my surface. Regardless of the origin of these feelings, they sting.

And so the grieving continues. I want so badly to block it out, to distract myself, but I know better than that now. I spent over a year blocking and distracting, and I’m paying for it now. If I had allowed the process to occur naturally, I would surely be nearing the end of it or possibly even past it today. But by delaying the inevitable, I have only succeeded in prolonging the agony. I don’t want to feel this pain for one moment longer than necessary. So I take a deep breath and let it in. All of it. It’s as if I’ve extended an open invitation for grief to enter my life, announcing to it, “all right, come on in, painful feelings; let’s do this thing and get it over with.”

“Everything’ll be fine,” my perpetually upbeat Leo friend tells me. I know she’s right. I just hate waiting for everything to be fine again.