I snapped many pictures at the beach this weekend, but nothing charmed me quite so much as this sand dollar. Perhaps it’s because I am broken, too.
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I Am Like a Rose
I am myself at last; now I achieve
My very self, I, with the wonder mellow,
Full of fine warmth, I issue forth in clear
And single me, perfected from my fellow.
Here I am all myself. No rose-bush heaving
Its limpid sap to culmination has brought
Itself more sheer and naked out of the green
In stark-clear roses, than I to myself am brought.
Poetry is such a personal thing. But it seems that more often than not, when friends share some stanzas of poetry with me, I find that it resonates with me at some level. Like the passage above, sent by a friend yesterday. It’s perfect for me and where I’m at right now…
These past few days have had me falling in love hard and fast. With just about everything. Some of these include
–My first few steps at learning parsel-tongue. So I can call myself a genuine digital humanist.
–Hot waffles full of melted cheese when it’s cold and rainy outside.
–Sitting cross-legged on my fluffy carpet every morning, as I contemplate the day ahead.
–Cooking crepes (in my new Calphalon pan) and pots of soup and cinnamon rolls and fresh bread.
–Hamburgers (at Haven and Bruxie and Ruta’s and In-n-Out and Norm’s and the Grinder and…) Have I mentioned that these past few months I have been craving hamburgers? Just craving.
–Making travel plans (with a flight leaving in just a few hours!).
–A friend’s offering of Girl Scout cookies, after an evening of talking, talking, talking.
–Joan Jett (she is so rocker-tough-cool).
–Being in first place until the final round of pub trivia, on our team’s very first attempt at working together (and I so want them all on team next time!).
–Snuggling into the cozy purple chair for movie night.
–Sepia-toned photos (for decoupage).
–A somewhat spontaneous piano concerto concert and the good conversation afterwards.
–An important package that arrived in the mail today and the awesome friends who signed for it while I was away at work.
–Huge hugs from CatGirl and GameBoy when I walk in the door each evening.
–Tea and shawls. Tea and shawls. Tea and shawls….
A Guest Post by Christy
I am new today.
While I realized within a couple months that my ex-husband’s departure was more than threat and my marriage was over, today conjures a set of emotions I hadn’t imagined. The state of California mandates a six-month legal separation before clearing a dissolution of marriage. It has been much longer than the six months we were legally separated; today happens to be six months from when some particular paperwork was filed with the court. I still can’t discern what that was in my documentation. Anyway, this to say that today is an arbitrary day in the process of separateness that has already happened, and doesn’t relate to any date hitherto personally significant to me. But by virtue of The Law, today I am single once again. It took signatures from us both, two witnesses, one ordained clergy, and one state official to marry; only his signature and that of a judge to undo it. (Side note: what if we had to get signatures from each of those participants to undo it?)
Dates I’ve considered mile markers in this process? The first time I saw him after months without; the day I nursed him back to health while apartment shopping; the day after Christmas when his sister posted family pictures that included my replacement; the day his brother made a point to visit me when he came into town and told me he was relieved for me and nearly told my replacement to “run for her life”. Those are dates I will remember moving ahead.
I doubt he has given today any thought, and to be honest, I’ve launched into singlehood by now too. But today, I do feel a certain last chain removed.
Also today: I accepted what is essentially my dream job. I plan to share more of my story here in the future, but for now I’ll say that my career was problematic within what my ex somewhere along the road dreamed to be a “traditional” marriage. My husband left at a particularly vulnerable time (whether this was his intention, I hope never to know)—right before I was to finish dissertating, enter the job market, and once I was all out of funding to continue enrollment in my PhD program. So for quite a long time, not only was I grieving, I was also tremendously vulnerable and scared.
Today I feel very excited for what it represents professionally and personally. It also feels vindicating.
Yesterday I posted a video by Pink (the musician) and today I’m posting a slideshow of pink (flowers, from my garden). :)
I believe in pink. I believe that laughing is the best calorie burner. I believe in kissing, kissing a lot. I believe in being strong when everything seems to be going wrong…I believe that tomorrow is another day and I believe in miracles.
Have you ever thrown a fistful of glitter in the air?
Have you ever looked fear in the face and said I just don’t care?
I came across this song today on Pandora, and it struck me as so poignant and beautiful. I just had to share.
A Guest Post by Jeanne
When my sons were small, I used to tell people I was divorced with two children. Full stop. End of story.
Of course, people who knew us wondered how I got one Asian child and one pale-skinned red head with only one husband. When I mentioned that Older Son was adopted, that usually satisfied their curiosity.
But then if I happened to mention my years in Japan, and the fact that my ex-husband was Japanese, the cat was usually well out of the bag, and many people would ask me directly at this point … and I didn’t blame them.
Our family story is complicated, but perhaps not much more than most: I married a Japanese man when I was studying in Hawaii (an M.A. in Japanese language from the U of Hawaii). After a few years in Berkeley to get a second master’s in journalism, my husband and I went to Japan, where we adopted the boy I call Older Son. He is now 26 and well on his way to success in all aspects of his life. (Note my maternal pride.)
Fast forward five years, to a divorce (my idea) and my return to the states with Older Son in tow. We settled in Chico, CA, for a year, where I taught journalism and public speaking and Older Son attended a daycare where–for most of his time there–he was the only child who wasn’t white. There were scarcely any kids who weren’t BLOND. I knew this wasn’t going to work for us long-term.
During this time, I met the tall, blond research scientist who was to become the father of Younger Son. This pregnancy was an accident, but I call it a “happy accident”–I had never been pregnant before and I welcomed the pregnancy and sailed through it happily despite my situation as a (by then) unemployed single mother living on my savings from the Tokyo years.
We returned to Seattle, close to my birthplace of Tacoma and the town where I grew up, Hoquiam, WA. And I raised my sons alone. No, it wasn’t easy. But I was an older mother (30 when I adopted Older Son, 35 when I gave birth to Younger Son), and I would do it again.
Next time I’ll elaborate on my life as a single working mother, especially after my diagnosis with breast cancer when my sons were 13 and 8.
In the meantime, here’s my blog: http://assertivecancerpatient.com/
A Guest Post by Mary
Sometimes I still turn into a puddle.
This time of year is filled with first “anniversaries” I’d rather not remember, let alone commemorate. The day my husband told me he thought we should do a trial separation. The day I found out about the infidelity. The day — December 10th, today — he made it clear that, for him, the marriage was over. The day the “D” word became more than a threat I shouted at him in the depths of despondency and rage.
What a long, strange trip it’s been. Within the next few days my divorce will be finalized and I will be a single twenty-something again. I’ll get my rather awesome surname back. “Getting” a divorce will become “got” a divorce. And, truthfully, I’m ready for it. But I also refuse to anesthetize the emotional messiness of the process by offering up platitudes about closure and fresh starts. I am still grieving. I am still recovering. And I am still figuring out what my life is supposed to look like without my husband in it.
My days are still mixed-bag of complex and contradictory emotions. Often it’s only when my eyes well up with tears that I realize my mind has wandered to my marriage. At other times I’ll find myself re-hashing old arguments and conjuring up cutting retorts. These feelings strike suddenly and they strike hard, but fortunately, these days, they also pass quickly.
Today I cry not because I’m getting divorced this week. The woman I am today can handle it, lingering, conflicting emotions notwithstanding. I cry for the woman I was a year ago, who felt like her marriage had been exposed as nothing but a series of protective fictions. The woman for whom the mere possibility of divorce was an unbearably painful thought.
This is the first installment in the Traveler’s Tales series
A Guest Post by Simone
I miss sex. There, I’ve said it. At a slightly old, and not at all cougarish 42, I really do miss having someone that knows my body. That knows what to touch, where to touch, and (perhaps most importantly) when. The person who knows that exact spot on my neck that makes my knees go weak.
As a single mother of a teenager, opportunities for meeting someone to actually have sex with are slim. When I first got divorced, and met the man I dated for a year, it was great. Friends got it. There were sleepovers and all sorts of fun things for my kid to do, so I could – well, so I could get laid. It was great. And the man I dated was pretty great, too. I knew he wasn’t Mr. Forever (and I certainly wasn’t looking for it), but dang. He reminded me, after a very long time of being married to someone who wouldn’t do that to the mother of his child, that oh yes, that felt really, really good. We had some fun, and then I broke it off. I had gotten what I wanted out of the relationship, and he was actually pretty okay with it. His new wife is a lovely woman.
But here I am, several years later, and my best friend is my vibrator. I like it (heck, I recommend every woman get a pocket rocket), but it’s not particularly good for cuddling, and impossible to make out with. For all the shuffling and scheduling and disruption, I’d like a real, live human being now, thanks. There’s this spot on my neck that makes my knees weak, you see, and, well…
Oh, yes. Right ….there.
Within moments of John telling me that he was leaving our marriage, I texted a friend:
John is leaving me. In despair. Can I come over?
I remember almost nothing of that night except that I had a shoulder to cry on and a friend who listened and offered every imaginable support, while serving me cup after cup of hot herbal tea. In the days that followed, as I explained my situation to other close friends, a tight net of support emerged around me. The support often came from tangential relationships, such as the woman who came over to explain California divorce to me. She’d never been to my home and we’d only met once before–but she was freshly divorced herself and knew she had information that I would need. She stayed for hours and listened as much as she shared.
Then there was the group of friends who live far away, who daily sent me snail-mail letters and care packages. These sweet notes arrived both in Pasadena and Irvine–they covered all the bases because they knew I was flitting between two homes during the month of December. They were envelopes filed with color and poetry and care. Reminders that I was loved and important and strong. My Exponent sisters sent the softest-ever blanket with a giraffe-fabric pattern–as a reminder that giraffes are matriarchal creatures and they take care of their own. That blanket went back-and-forth with me wherever I slept during December and is still folded into a rectangle at the foot of my bed.
Now, as I find myself trying to forge a path forward with this new life of mine, I continue to be influenced by the stories of friends who have followed similar trajectories. Using the imagery of my blogtitle, I consider myself a fellow pilgrim with these women. Some of them have traveled on ahead of me and can offer a map of where they’ve been. Others are traveling alongside me, or are journeying on a similar, but separate, route.
Recently I wrote to several of these women and asked them to share their wisdom on my blog. Because I feel as though we can all benefit from hearing their stories. We have so much to learn from each other and we have so much support to offer those who are in the midst of their own difficult paths. Thus, I’ll be posting the writings of many of these women as Guest Posts on Pilgrimsteps over the next few weeks, under the title of “Traveler’s Tales.” If you have a story or some thoughts that you would like to share for this feature, please send them to janaremyATgmail.
- RT @dancohen: In a hard-hitting post, @digitaldigs says the "big tent" of the Digital Humanities conf isn't so big: http://bit.ly/gHBn3s #
- Just booked a weekend trip to PDX. Powells(!), Voodoo, Moonstruck, St. Honore, Cannon Beach. Woot! #
- I've made plans for Wherecamp SF 2011 http://planca.st/Pji #
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- Super-excited that my office will be a sponsor of WordCampOC at #ChapmanU More details to come soon! :) #wordpress #
- Spinning the wheel to the 'high-touch' (as opposed to the hi-tech) world: http://bit.ly/gjdaSn (from @mcsweeneys) #
- RT @westcenter: Happy Valentine's Day @Zotero. I <3 U. Thanks to you, footnotes flying on to pages, getting clear about my antecedents. #
- Was only going to do 40 or maybe 60 laps in the pool, but didn't stop until after 80. #sunnySaturday #feltsogood! #
- Good morning, friends! #sunnySaturday #
- Ooo, gauntlet thrown! Now I've gotta paddle across the Atlantic, too! (h/t Steve): http://bit.ly/fGLYMY #
When I host parties, I like to mix up old invitations between old and new acquaintances. So whenever anyone new arrives at the door, I make them endure a round of introductions wherein I typically introduce my friends by their graduate school affiliations. Over time, I’ve come to realize that intro-ing my friends by their scholarly identities is pretty snobby of me, because it tends to marginalize those of my friends who aren’t in academia. So at my last party I attempted to make introductions in a new vein, and it was far harder for me to do.
The thing is, I don’t think my academically-inclined friends are any more brilliant or interesting than any of my other friends. But I think I’ve moved in academic circles for so long, that I’ve fallen into this habit–we tend to define ourselves by our field and our institutional affiliation. And perhaps most significantly, as someone who is a nontraditional student, I worked so hard to get me some academic credibility that I think I probably wear it too boldly on my sleeve. I don’t do so to raise myself above anyone else, but to acknowledge my own journey from housewife to scholar. It’s been a hard-earned path.
As I’ve considered the qualities I’d like to have in future romantic partners, I’m weighing the pros and cons of dating other academics. While it’s nice to be with someone who can understand the tensions and pleasures of my research, I wonder if it makes more sense to pursue a relationship with someone outside the ivory tower? Because it could allow for more balance in a life that’s already rather stress-filled with writing deadlines, grant applications, and teaching (not to mention the pressures of simply finding a job!). On a related note, I’ve found Kelly’s list about what she’s looking for to be rather helpful in my considerations, but it doesn’t mention career paths specifically.
What do you think, internets? Is it best to choose a partner who follows a similar career path, or one who is different (but complementary)?