Giving Myself a Bit of Credit

On Christmas morning, my boyfriend’s son (age 5) had a small breakdown. “I wish you and mama hadn’t got a divorce,” he said to his dad. “I wish we were all together today.”

“Of course,” I thought. “It’s Christmas morning. He wants to be with his people. I totally get that.”

Later it occurred to me that could have (would have, some years back) stung. I’m here. I’m trying to be his people, after all. But it didn’t present itself to me in that light. He is five. He needs what he needs. It isn’t about me.

The one thing I can say about turning 40 is that I genuinely feel less focused on myself, and that feels good. It doesn’t take effort and that makes me like myself more. It doesn’t mean that I can fix the things I would like to fix, like a small boy’s otherwise perfect Christmas morning. It just means I can listen and empathize without putting myself in the way

Fingers Crossed

I learned the first time I tried pottery as a university student in 1999 that it isn’t a good idea to get attached to an outcome once something goes in the kiln. You’ve invested a lot of time, all spent envisioning a final product. So it feels impossible to let that go when the kiln lid lowers. But you must. You must, or you will get your heart broken.

I say I “learned” this, but it isn’t a lesson that sticks well. I’ve learned it the hard way hundreds of times now, it seems. And yet, I’m sitting here today, telling myself to at least lower my expectations if I can’t let them go entirely.

Here are a few in process photos two bowls which are currently in the kiln. Despite my better instincts, I love them so much! Which means they will die a sad cracked death at the hands of the kiln gods, if they haven’t already.

Good luck, bowl babies! I hope you can come home so I can wrap you up and put you under the Christmas tree! But if you can’t, I’ll understand. I’ll cry a bucket. But I’ll understand.

UPDATE: One pot did spectacularly self destruct, unfortunately. But the other lived and is with a new home, now.

Transitions

My writing group was discussing a piece submitted by our youngest member, a very bright and passionate millennial girl. Young woman? It was mostly great but I told her that I was having a hard time keeping her characters straight and maybe she could give them names?

“There’s just the one guy,” she said.

“Really? Oh I thought there were two. You are talking to your ex in the first scene but then a few pages later you wake up next to this guy and there’s no transition…”

“Yeah it’s the same guy. It’s just one guy.”

“Okay, well I was confused. Maybe I’m the only one…” I looked at the other writing group members for help.

She laughed. “You Gen-Xers. You don’t get us at all. When I say that we broke up I don’t mean we are over. I still need to get off. I still need a roommate. You guys are so easily shocked.”

She was right – I didn’t get it. But it wasn’t in a prudish “do you mean that you did the DEED with a BOY you aren’t IN LOVE WITH?” way.  I don’t care. It’s a clarity problem. Not a generational problem. Also, for the record, I spent most of the last ten years focussed on either dating or writing.  Good relationships are hard.  Good transitions are harder.

Still, it reminded me of the time I was at that dance club in Greece (I never go to dance clubs but we were in the Greek Islands) and I was wearing white pants (I never wear but we were in the Green Islands) and I got my period of fucking course. And I asked a group of Australian college aged tourists if one of the had a tampon and they looked at me like I was a particularly nasty leper asking for a band-aid and said, “Uh – no!? We haven’t had a period in years!”

Once I got over how an accent could be super cute and way judgey at the same time, my mind exploded. “What do they know that I don’t know?”

When I got back to the States I asked all my friends, “We are all still having our periods, right? Because apparently Australians have evolved and don’t do that anymore.”

So, apparently Aussie girls had that figured out back in the aughts and now millennial girls have evolved beyond broken hearts and paying full rent. Good for them. Less Tampax and Kleenex in the landfills.