Archive | Cat Lady Matters

The Feast and Famine of Being Green

Lumet’s Emerald City (lit by Oswald Morris; costume-designed by Norma Kamali).

It’s 7:30 am Sunday morning, and I’ve been up for hours.

That I rose before dawn is not uncharacteristic. But I’d planned to sleep in this morning. To bask in a morning of quiet stillness, quiet comfort after returning from a wonderful week alone in the woods of Columbia County and jumping head-long into the clamor of New York.

I spent so much of this busy weekend activated by the presence of others—in sessions with clients, then walking and dining and bedding my beau—that today I was pulled out of sleep hours before dawn, the need to process my interactions more powerful than my need for rest.

Mae Sarton has a wonderful passage in Journal of a Solitude about shutting the door to the world.

Begin here. It is raining. I look out on the maple, where a few leaves have turned yellow, and listen to Punch, the parrot, talking to himself and to the rain ticking gently against the windows. I am here alone for the first time in weeks, to take up my “real” life again at last. That is what is strange—that friends, even passionate love, are not my real life unless there is time alone in which to explore and to discover what is happening or has happened. Without the interruptions, nourishing and maddening, this life would become arid. Yet I taste it fully only when I am alone…

I find that last line less ironic than simply factual. Because I do not just absorb other people’s realities. They absorb me. For me to spend time in the presence of anyone is to climb inside them, so that I am regarding the world through their senses, processing information through their nerve-endings and brain synapses. Continue Reading →

I Wish You Enough

Something occurred to me today as I strode home from the greenmarket with my produce and a bunch of glorious sunflowers that the vendor had slipped into my bag as a surprise.

“This might be enough.”

To be sure, “enough” is a relative term. As I write this, I still don’t have enough in my accounts to cover my expenses a few months out nor do I have a steady income flow. In this way, I am in step with many many Americans, as well as people across the world.

My therapist says that I have a tendency to focus on the bright side of matters in a way that borders on dissociative, a fact that may surprise those who read my last post.

Trust me when I say it takes a lot for me to acknowledge when things aren’t working well. In fact, it’s a muscle I’m developing in real time. I used to fear disappearing into the abyss if I recognized its existence. But I’ve come to accept we can only solve a problem when we can acknowledge it.

That said, having transcended so many hard times in my life has granted me an insouciance I never experienced as a younger woman. Yes, I am still broke as I write this, but over the last few days so many have shared sweet solidarity and unexpected donations that, for this week at least, I have fresh, healthy food to eat and, for this month at least, Grace and I have a place to live in a city I love. Continue Reading →

The Ultimate Fool’s Errand

Only once has someone broken up with me in a way that I immediately and completely accepted. Really, this was quite an achievement, because historically I date people off and on forever unless they reveal themselves to be complete sociopaths or get married. (Although my aversion to marriage is well-documented, I am not in the business of making third parties miserable.)

But though this beau was neither married nor a complete sociopath, his breakup line was so effective that we never spoke again once he uttered it. In a low, caressing voice he said: “It seems this is not what we had hoped.”

In point of fact, he was absolutely right. We’d been dating for four months, which is exactly how long it takes for sexual chemistry to wear off when there’s no other glue in place. I won’t bog you down with the details (he did too much coke and considered me too much of a prude) but as I write this I can assure you that, 20 years later, the only real memory I have of that relationship are those nine magic words. Continue Reading →

"All, everything I understand, I understand only because I love."
― Leo Tolstoy