Monday, November 18, 2013

Zen and the art of motivation maintenance

"And maybe someday we will find ... that it wasn't really wasted time."

I made another 20 pairs of Team Beads. I had to push to get them done and mailed by Friday. With just 24 mandrels I made 48 beads over two days, back to back, last Wednesday and Thursday. I made the extras because there's always a pair or two that I reject. Sometimes the size is off, sometimes I get a color reaction that doesn't please me. These are the 40 beads I sent.

I'm thinking about taking the rest of November off from making beads. Regroup. Recapture imagination and motivation. Catch up on things I've been procrastinating on for, oh, the last two and a half years. Give my neck and back a real chance to stop hurting.

Friday Neil was off and we took the cats to the vet in the morning for checkups and shots. We went to Trader Joe's to stock up on groceries and because it's fun. But right off the bat, I made Neil mad because I put back an apple he had bagged and picked a different one. So after that, we were just going through the motions and it wasn't fun after all.

Luckily we never stay mad at each other for long. We like each other too much and are too easily amused to sulk for any extended time. We got home, unloaded and went back out to Kroger to get staples such as milk and cat food. We had dinner with Laurie at our new local sushi place and I was happy that it was full of customers and likely to stay in business.

Saturday we went to the Renaissance Festival. We'd been wishy washy about deciding to go. Neil kept fretting about the weather predictions and I accused him of just wanting to go to work, which he admitted. So we didn't get an early start, not unusual for us, because that's how we roll. To avoid the typical traffic from hell, we added about 30 miles to the 60 mile trip, going the long way around, but we had traffic anyway due to road work.

We did have a nice time. We did a lot of nothing, walking around, people watching, me on the hunt for the lampworker I'd seen there before. We found him, only it was a different person and his work was generic so we didn't watch him for long. The food was good for festival food and not unreasonable and we deviated from our standard fare - muffalettas. Neil opted for fried crawfish and chips, I had a chicken quesadilla. We did wrap up with the tradition apple dumplings with ice cream.

I bought a couple of things at Gypsy Wings for holiday gifts for my kids. I never know what they like and usually don't try to shop for them beyond stocking stuffers. I just give them money and gift cards. But this year for some reason I've been taking chances and buying things for them. I'll give them some money too, but I'm having fun and gambling that they'll like what I picked or at least not hate it.

Oh, this was funny. Lots of people dress up in elaborate costumes for Renfest. Neil and I talk about it but in the end we never quite get it together. Last year I bought really nice Tie-Dye shirts for each of us from talented hipster artist Leonard Michael. We wore them again this year and at least a dozen people made comments (ranging from "the sixties are over man" to "looks like some fairies went splat on your shirts"). Neil was so tickled that after we got home he looked at the website and absolutely fell in love with a shirt. He said, "I'm buying myself an early Christmas present."

Here we are in a photo from last year wearing our shirts. Pay no attention to the dead guy and his dummie, Smuj.

This is the shirt that Neil bought.

So Sunday was the first day that I would, in the normal course of things, have made some beads. Instead I took photos of beads and my newest frit blends, documented the recipes for the blends on my official frit blend recipe Word document, and went through photos on my computer, deleting lots of pictures of beads long sold and forgotten. That took a while and I have more to go through, but when I emptied my recycle bin, and I'm not making this up, there were something like 6,000 items to delete. How is that even possible?

Then I went and did my standard three mile treadmill and streaming video marathon. I'm watching Miss Marple mysteries now and while I'd seen all of season one, season two and now three are new to me, which is a nice surprise.

Monday I had my enamel class in the morning. After five semesters, I'm facing the fact that I have no affinity for enameling on metals, or metal work of any kind for that matter. I tried doing something that should have been simple and wound up ruining another project. This was a small bowl that I'd enameled, with an embedded decorative strip of copper, and I wanted to put clear flux over the exposed copper. I masked off the rest of the bowl and sifted the enamel powder over the copper, let it dry and fired it. I gave it four minutes but it came out hazy and red instead of golden.

My teacher said I hadn't fired it long enough, so back into the kiln it went for five minutes this time. A couple of areas did turn gold but the rest just looked burned out. I thought I might rescue it by firing silver leaf over the copper strip. But once again, everything I tried made things worse. I thought the foil would highlight the raised detail and burn off the low points. The mistake I make, over and over, is expecting things to work like they would if I was using glass and a torch.

In a last ditch effort to salvage the piece, I stoned off some of the silver with an alundum stone and with a small burr in a dremel, and sifted clear enamel over the whole bowl. It just looks stupid, atrocious really. I can't decide whether to abandon it and move on or try something else, luster powders or paints maybe. I just want to doctor it up enough to use it as a bowl to throw hair pins or paper clips into and not feel depressed every time I see it.

Ah, my old friend depression.

It was late February, 2002. My friends were questioning me about why I continued to see Mark if I wasn't serious about him. One of them asked if I thought Mark was all I could get.
I don't think he's all I can get - it's almost an entirely opposite problem. It's more that I can't visualize myself with someone who isn't beautiful and successful - no matter how loving and giving.

I worry that my values are totally fucked up.

I'm not settling, not now. That's why it's a day-to-day thing. I'm not promising away forever.
I acknowledged that I was playing a dangerous game.
My ego is out to kill me. I give mixed messages based on my words and my actions. I don't know what my own real feelings are (which is the reason I keep saying, please let's just take one day at a time).
Here is what happened next. A day after writing me a letter saying that he was "officially lightening up," Mark asked me if I was seeing someone else. I was speechless.
The ludicrousness of the "accusation" is overwhelming. I have literally spent every free minute with Mark over the last few weeks. If I try to create a little bit of space for myself, he imagines the worst.

Of course in some ways he is merely sensing what is real, that I haven't committed my heart to him, that (while I'm not actively cruising for new relationships) I am keeping my options open.

I have a feeling it would only get worse, not better, in terms of his jealousy and possessiveness, if our relationship continues and I do want to have other friendships and separate interests.

But if I stop seeing him, will the fear and loneliness and horrible waves of major depression return? I can't quite face that possibility yet.
I didn't understand why Mark provoked so much anger in me. Was it something intrinsic to his personality? Could it be a delayed response to the way Marty treated me? Was I angry at the world and especially men and did I think because of what happened last summer that life owes me something?
All I know is I was deluged with anger when he asked me the question. But I question whether my right to feel the anger is reality-based or just another manifestation of my depression and grief and hubris.

So when I got my voice back under control by my brain, I just said that he had no right to ask me a question like that and he apologized.

Why can't this relationship be light and casual and easy and fun? Why does it have to be so complicated?
I kept trying to sort out my real feelings. There was so much scar tissue on my heart still from Marty that I had no idea if I was even capable of feeling real love for anyone again.

Mark came over and we talked. I tried to explain how I felt.
The truth is, I really don't know what I want, and until I do, I just want to keep things casual and light. He knows about Marty, he knows that I am rebounding and he knows the risk that this is a transitional relationship for me. He says he still is willing to see me on those terms.

I guess that anyone who is willing to put up with my erratic moodiness deserves some extra brownie points.
My resolve was to start gradually easing back from the relationship.
I think that as long as I am honest with him, we don't have to stop seeing each other completely. That is always his choice, of course. I won't equivocate about my feelings just to keep his companionship. He says my forthrightness with him challenges him and keeps him on his toes.

I wish I could just have faith that when the time is right, real love will find me. I always feel like I have to do something to try and make it happen, and that every day that it doesn't happen is so much more wasted time.
In the meantime, I was persistently taking one step forward and one step back.
When is it going to stop hurting that Marty keeps updating his personal ad online?

Why do I care? Why can't I stop thinking about it?

This is the man who one June morning wrote me this:

"Thank you for life, darling Lizzy.... Thank you. I am so in love with you.... Yours.... truly. Your Marty...."

Why is it so hard not to confront him with it, to provoke some sort of interaction? I would almost surely just be more hurt.

Did it really mean nothing to him? Less than nothing?

Can he possibly be doing this to other women?

Maybe I should be comforted that he is still looking - he hasn't replaced me, he is still, when all the pretenses and illusions are stripped away, a lonely man who goes to bed alone.

And when am I going to stop being a lonely woman who goes to bed alone?

I am more grateful than I can say for Mark's attention and validation - but it's not the same.
I had a new quandary. Randy, the man I'd met for coffee, asked me out again, and I had said yes.
And now I am feeling so guilty. I don't think Randy is my destiny either. He seems nice enough. He doesn't seem as needy as Mark. And it is just going to be lunch, nothing romantic.

So, why am I feeling so blue about it? Do I have to tell him about Mark? And what, if anything, do I have to tell Mark?

I wish I would meet someone (again) who makes the earth move.
On top of everything else, I was desperately ashamed of my inability to move steadily forward.
I'm sorry for posting about Marty again.

I don't know why I can't see him as all of you do, as some fatally flawed, undesirable, two-faced piece of dogshit.

I know I should hate him for what he did, speaking the words of love and devotion and making promises and then turning on a dime and never looking back to see if I was bleeding to death where he'd kicked me.

I see him as a person who is basically good, but who was hurt and damaged by his own life, who never really grew up, and who suffers from a spiritual malady that keeps him drawn to unavailability and drama and distanced from intimacy and commitment.

No matter, though. He is useless to me, regardless.
I didn't have my ad online any more. I didn't look at Marty's ad often, but every once in a while I did. Part of that was wondering whether he ever did move to be with Mary.
I guess part of me just wants to know when he is gone. Maybe it will help. One more step of removal, one more incontrovertible proof of finality.

I've been tempted to ask him to just let me know when he leaves - but that would tell him that I still care, a message I've tried very hard to avoid giving. I never did reply to his New Year's e-mail. Let him wonder.
I knew that I should be able to just enjoy life, but I had the pervasive sense that something just was missing. My life was full of stuff, work, kids, house, pets, volunteer work, reading, writing, dating, movies, shows, nature, people, appointments, shopping, on and on, but it felt incomplete in a very pivotal sort of way.
I know I should be doing stuff that makes me happy (what?) and focusing on kids and work and spirit and friendship. But I don't think anything else will ever substitute for the sublime euphoria of synchronicity and connection.

In so many ways, I'm lucky. I'm not trapped in a dead-end marriage or in a dysfunctional punishing relationship. I'm free. The possibilities are limitless.

It's just that I want the glass to be full - now.

It could be worse.

"Well baby, there you stand
With your little head, down in your hand
Oh, my God, you can't believe it's happening again
Your baby's gone, and you're all alone
and it looks like the end

And you're back out on the street
And you're trying to remember
How will you start it over
You don't know if you can
You don't care much for a stranger's touch
But you can't hold your man

You never thought you'd be alone this far down the line
And I know what's been on your mind
You're afraid it's all been wasted time

Another love has come and gone
And the years keep rushing on
I remember what you told me before you went out on your own
Sometimes to keep it together, we got to leave it alone

So you can get on with your search, baby, and I can get on with mine
And maybe someday we will find
That it wasn't really wasted time."

Glenn Frey, Don Henley

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Thanks for your comment! I will post it as soon as I receive it. Liz