The Ones You Fuck Up #excerpt #ADateintheLife

I’ve said it before, being separated in my late 30’s was hard for many reasons. I was finally done childbearing, breastfeeding and the sleepless nights that came with early parenting.  My sex drive took notice of the increase in energy and of possibility. My spouse on the other hand did not take notice of my sex drive.  

So when we mutually agreed that we were done with our marriage, I could think about one thing.

Yup. That thing.

Our marriage didn’t dissolve because I wanted to have sex and he didn’t. It wasn’t as simple as that, or as shallow. But nonetheless I thought I was starving. And what do starving people do? They hide behind their phones looking at food, talking about food, writing about food, but not eating said food.

Imagine a tightly coiled spring.   

…and no place to unwind. Like me and at least 70% of other people on Twitter, that is.

The only place I had begun to interact with men was on Twitter. And as much as you could imagine, my imagination just made my spring wind a little tighter, if that was at all possible.

Speed ahead to five months after our separation and I take a girls trip to England and Scotland.

I write about my very first dating experience after separation with some delicacy. Listening ears, reading eyes, whichever you may have it are still within reach, and I hope he knows I am forever grateful for the way he treated this fucked up woman he met on an internet whim.

Flat out, I wasn’t ready. But I wanted a tipping point. You know, the moment of no return, where you can’t go back, no crying Uncle, but I wanted the finality of finally doing the deed with another man other than the one I gave my virginity to. Because after that, it’s all over right? (Well it was over, I think subconsciously I just wanted to prove that it was.) As a side note, I heard a counsellor once say many seperated people do this when they leave their marriage, it just took me five months to do it…and to do it badly.

I was thousands of miles from home, feeling free as a bird, empowered by this new found freedom so I took a risk and met a friend from the internet. We spent a lovely few days in London seeing the sights, and it was pretty darn romantic. Hand holding through Green Park, laying in the sun together in St James Park and kissing along Tower Bridge in the rain. My gut said to leave it there. (My gut is almost always right.) 

I didn’t listen to my gut.

I ended up in Gatwick, off the main line of the tube system unable to return to my bestie until morning and outside of a very sick kid, this was one of the longest nights of my life.   4am I sat fully dressed on a hotel floor crying while an oblivious man lay on the bed next to me sawing logs. I even put my necklace back on and when I was tired from crying and feeling alone in a strange city with a strange man I crawled into the other side of the bed fully clothed and slept on the edge.

Morning came (literally that was all that came) and I couldn’t have felt more anxious about getting out of there. Like a rabid dog in a cage I was ready to bolt the second I was back in neutral territory. He took me to the train station and offered to ride me back… (yeah yeah) and I declined, hopefully graciously. I remember seeing his face as the train left the station, him standing on the platform looking at the train slowly moving towards London and I have never felt more like a giant embarrassing let down in all my life.  

I walked the streets of London until I found a Starbucks (and wifi) and finally could connect with a friend in North America.  My bestie, god love her, was anxiously waiting to hear from me in my time zone, but the shame associated with this night was a little much to handle face to face so I opted for text where I could hide.  
That’s what fuck ups do, you screw something up whether intentionally or not and the inclination towards shame and hiding runs hot through your blood.
Stepping out to explore dating (and yes, sex) mid life, with all my hang ups and ongoing heartwork made me face my truths, my paradigm, and man oh man, was my paradigm shifting.  I never did promiscuity as a young adult, I would never have condoned meeting a stranger from the internet, and sex outside of marriage… well let’s just say I had a lot of refurbishing to do in this brain of mine.  

For all the fun I have had discovering a whole new world, I have found equally as much fodder for evaluating the person I want to be, the things I want to believe and the ways I want to see.

If anything, dating was just another catalyst, to be brave enough to take a look inside, at the risks I was willing to take to live wholeheartedly.  And the ones you fuck up…those aren’t the only ones that teach you about yourself thankfully, but you take the good with the bad, and transform.  Some may even say, you rewrite yourself.  And that’s exactly what I did.

©Entirety 2017

*For other facetious (and sometimes illuminating) pokes at dating midlife check out my A Date in the Life on Wattpad…just be careful if you have anything in your mouth at the time…lest you ruin your electronics.*. http://my.w.tt/UiNb/8Bvqqd7p8D 

Being Happy 

Art by Antonio Mora

So neuroscience says I should name my feelings to be happier.  Like we all don’t want to keep the Hoover Dam intact or something.  This has historically been a hard time of year for me, and the past few years haven’t done anything to better this season either.  So when neuroscience says, jump, I say how high.  Cause I’m a good girl like that.

My feelings…

*taps fingers on table, then bites them*

I know I may portray some mother who has all her shit together, but I and 4 red heads can vouch that I am not.  Having 4 kids although was a dream of mine, was not on the list of things to do to stay mentally well. In particular I struggle with summer a lot to be honest.  While everyone celebrates holidays, and time off school, I’m like “what the mother fuck do I do with 4 kids who thoroughly enjoy fighting with one another all day every day?”   Ages 8-15 is a wide range of capabilities, interests and peer groups.  So every May/June for the past 8 years I sort through my feelings, and to add to matters, sorting through a few anniversaries of sorts one of them being that of my deceased fathers birthday.

So I feel a bit lost, a bit shameful I am not a more engaged mom.  I feel anxiety around providing things to do like camp, day trips and slurpee runs and the money to do all such things.  Thankfully I share the load half time with my ex-husband over these holidays, but summer becomes a mishmash of unscheduled scheduling that effects us both.  I feel guilt for not staying with my <cough> partner (so to speak) which in a different world could have allayed the anxiety over summer.  

I feel sorrow, over my dad, he would have been 76 tomorrow.  And subconsciously I have felt myself channeling him.  I planted petunias, coleus, impatients and tomatoes yesterday.  (In 4 years at my home I have planted nothing.) I didn’t realize until after I bought them how I had been surrounded by these exact plants my whole child and adult life because of him and his love for the garden. (Great grandma D too ;). So dad is on my mind, and I’m just feeling a little bit sad.

I feel a tad lonely lately as well, and I am guessing it’s an unattractive quality, because getting out on dates have been few and far between.  My entire adult life I have had a companion, and up until 3.5 years ago I always did life with a partner.  And although not a partner I want to do the rest of life with, we still had one another, to get through dark nights, belligerent children and for a “remember when” story. I miss that.

So neuroscience says something else as well though.  And I wasn’t surprised to read it.  It spoke about gratitude as a way to be happier.  Gratitude is a little more than just doing the above, like to quote Pinkalicious, “you get what you get, and you don’t get upset.”  Gratitude is the more evolved version of the above.

 For me it’s the practice of saying I am thankful for my eldest.  He is incredibly smart, he has binge watched every Dr show and decided after House (and the influence of 4 Drs close in family) he wants to become a Dr.  And I believe he has what it takes to do it.  I believe that his strong will and ability to hold his end of an argument up will make for a tremendous adult.  (But a pain in the ass teen for now.) 

I am grateful for my 12 year old who has a sponge for a heart.  Ever since he was young he has had an exceptional ability to empathize with others, and as I hearvin the classroom this translates into caring for his peers with special needs.  He befriends the weak and strong alike, and feels the world fiercely. (I can make him cry with a look…this is a gift and a curse as a mother.) But man, if you want a good friend, this guy fits the highest qualifications.

My daughter is not the wee spitting image of me according to my late father, I apparently was chubbier. (the things you never forget.)  But she is fiery like her mom.  She like her older brother is a caregiver to those around her.  At the end of Kindergarten I will never forget a child’s mom saying her special needs son would have never gotten through the school year without my Tessa.
 <insert tears here>. She loves to help in the kitchen when it comes to cooking and baking and engages her motherly instincts frequently with her other siblings. (this is a plus or minus at times)

My youngest is my fierce and tender Scorpio.  He can kick you in the shins one second then cup your face in his little hands and kiss your lips the next.  He does everything big; he is the loudest, the spilliest (yes I said spilliest), but the cuddliest and helpiest as well.  

My friends both near and far are another place my gratitude needs attention.  Patient Tami’s, Paris’s, Marnies, and Matts accommodate my ruminating and melancholy often and without them I wouldn’t be me.  I just wouldn’t.

So neuroscience, I named my feeling then practiced gratitude.  But another article I read caught my attention as well by its suggestion for living the happy life.  It said to do more of what you love.  So that’s why I did this.  I love to write (mostly), I love to examine my thoughts (mostly), I love to make beauty with the combining of 26 letters, and although not everyone wants to read it, I need to write it. 

So I did. So there. 

Here is one of the articles I read, it’s not rocket science, neuro but not rocket.  It’s within any of our capabilities, writer or not, to practice these things.  https://www.theladders.com/p/21219/neuroscience-4-rituals-happy?pl=FBP-01&cr=01&kwp_0=420064&kwp_4=1559626&kwp_1=676693 

Storing Moments #vss


These cool sheets warm beneath my weight. They form a woven net of fibres to hold what my mind begs to release. And the act of letting go to these sheets lets breath climb to a place I have not let it go throughout this day.

I neither buried nor denied the aches or joys of the day, in fact I stored them for just this moment; When I could sift through my memory of how that song made me remember my wedding night, or how I once made a crown with the flowers I saw growing in the ditch with a woman who’s child died at age 5. I let a boat trailer my dad used to carry behind our ’78 Buick swerve in and out of my thoughts as I watched another newer version bounce up and down going down a poorly paved road.

I gathered these moments; some reminders of the bad dreams of loss and some the reminders of gifts that were given and received. And it took me awhile to find the gifts of today, while I spent stirring the memories of yesterday. But in all honesty, I trust today will surface again, maybe presumptuously, but I do; if not tomorrow then in a year or two from now. That’s just how I work anyways. Because today I have released my weight to the sheets beneath, and as long as the sheets warm to my form, tomorrow will have another memory to store.

~

©Entirety 2017

The Meal #poetry 

‪I went for one side
‬‪Of the simply set table‬
‪Then stopped‬
‪Turning to a disheveled man‬
‪Apron smeared with effort‬
‪Smile crooked with attention‬

Where do you want me? I said‬

I want you by my side‬, Here‬
‪And in there, he said nodding towards a closed door‬

‪I want you‬
‪….everywhere‬

‪And when this meal ends‬
‪There will be another one soon‬
‪I want you to be there‬
‪for that one too‬
‪And the endless ones thereafter‬
So I suppose you could sit anywhere‬
you wanted‬

‪But where I want you‬
‪Is right here‬
‪He held his hand‬
‪Against his chest‬
‪Signalling the place‬
‪In need of me the most‬

‪And I took the stride to his lips‬
‪Forgoing the cleanliness‬
‪Of my own shirt‬
‪And let him hold me against‬
‪The expectations‬
‪Of the next moment‬
‪So that neither sustenance‬
‪Or time filled us‬
‪But rather the hope of love‬

And all the nourishment that entailed.

©Entirety 2017

Photo from Pinterest

Welts of the Cane 

A Lesson in Pain

He said life is cruel and she had no reason to doubt him. She went through the catalogue of the last decades of her own life, then broadened her thoughts to a world of poverty, disaster and hatred.

Life is cruel. It can be cruel.

I’m not here to blow sunshine up your ass, I’m here to teach you to endure, he said.

Life is cruel, and so is a sadist.  

Tell me if you like the cane, he said. No, she replied, I do not like the cane.

Wrong answer. Life is cruel, and consequently painful.

Shoo, the cane went through the air. Cutting like a whip, faking a blow, never landing on her skin. She flinched. Every muscle, tensed for the cruelty of life to hit. Her jaw, her buttocks, her fists, clenched. Toes curled, eyes scrunched, the anticipation of pain, the tightening of her mind around a 2 foot long stick of bamboo; braced for impact, but how long, could one brace for? Eternally.

Life is cruel. The crack of the cane across her buttocks, this pain was no fake.

The white hot sear made her cry out, and she swore through her teeth. She tensed her neck to see the next blow fall to her thigh, then her other thigh. Two, then three, how many cracks of the cane before she saw. Too many.  

Life is cruel. To say it is not is to lie to oneself, it is a hard truth. There is no life that begins, without an end. That should be proof enough.

Crack goes the cane. Welts rise, skin flushes, and the mind writhes to sort the chaos, of feeling the cruelty of life.

Do you like the cane? He asked again. Yes, she replied.

Crack goes the cane. Her body doesn’t lie, she does not like the cane. Her mind and body writhed in sync.

The fake blows, whizzed through the air, as her skin burned and rose in response, a response to her lesson in pain.  

Life is cruel. But that’s not all it is.

She lowered her forehead to the burbur rug, buttocks up, exposed to the elements of life.  

Crack.

Skin to flesh

and

she

did

not

flinch

One breath in, a sinking into the uncomfortable floor, and a surrender to another blow.

You stopped fighting the pain there, he said, you see, it only makes it worse.  

She knew before he spoke the words out loud. Her body knew, and her minds chaos settled in this truth. Aware that every flinch, every tightening, every chaotic piece of her mind, would only lend to more cruelty in tomorrow.

Kneel, he said.

She rose, make up burning her eyes, flushed, swollen and red and life’s teacher before her.

Crawl, he said, and he led her to the shower.

Get in, he said, but stay kneeling.

The shower bordered on scalding. Water pouring over her head, shoulders, travelling across each welt with reminders of the heat from the cruelty of the cane.

Not from life. From him.

Separating pain from blame, acceptance from surrender.

Separating cause and effect.  

She did not want a lesson in pain. She did not want to live in the uncomfortable realm of accepting life as cruel. But she did not want to live as victim, but rather as endurer.

To push beyond the pain, to see what lays beneath. Push into the pain, not against. See what you can birth, he said, when you stop fighting the pain, and see your strength.  

The water fell across her lips, her ears rung with truth, her hair plastered to her pretty pale face. The sound of the faucet, being turned off and a towel being laid across her back. A chin titled to her Teacher and a smile received.

Life may be cruel. But it is not void of redemption inside the pain. If only we could just learn, to let go.

©Entirety 2016

photo from Pinterest

An excerpt from #ADateInTheLife – Subtle Hints You’re a Booty Call

Ten subtle and not so subtle ways they let you know you’re just a booty call:

1) they only text when they want sex. (No brainer right?!? The first stage is acceptance people.)

2) they don’t see you out, instead they yell something incoherently from another part of the house as you exit their door at 2am.

3) they want to share you with their friends. (#jokingnotjoking)

4) when you show up at their house and there is evidence of a date taking place just hours prior.

5) they only text you when they want sex. (Denial denial denial)

6) they don’t take you out to movies, for coffee or walks. (Aka if you can’t be naked they won’t be taking you there)

7) they don’t ask about your kids, your job, your anything. (Or if they do its just to bridge the gap to the awkward goodbye that they are yelling incoherently from another room.)

8) they tell you they miss your kitty but not you.

9) they don’t text you in between those texts about them wanting to get together to have sex. 

10) they tell you they’ve met someone…and it’s not you…but still text you when they want sex.

If you’re still not sure, friends are pretty good at giving feedback if you can take the honesty.  All of these red flags though are only red flags if you want them to be.  Not everyone is looking for a relationship, some are just interested in a place to let go, and if you are happy with pleasure alone they’ll be no judgment from me.  But if you’re wondering if you’re just a booty call, you’re already most likely in some form of smitten denial.  

And I totally can’t relate. (Insert sarcastic eye rolling emoji here.)

No matter how you look at it though, you know you’re fucked.  Now that’s just bare honesty.

©Entirety 2016

photo from tumblr

This excerpt is from a series I began on getting back into dating after nearly twenty years of being out of the dating loop, some are my personal experiences, some have been relayed to me by others, some will make your jaw hang open in disgust, some will make you giggle, others will hopefully make you think…enjoy; the beginning of the series starts here on Wattpad http://my.w.tt/UiNb/bUkypHdSGx

First Kiss

photo found on Pinterest


~

I took the same path everyday to school, the short cut. Our gate was always locked at the end of our yard so the elderly neighbour said I could go through his gate instead. So everyday I left my front door to find myself face to face with Kelly Keller. Yes I’m joking about the name, but more serious than you know. At 8 years old my heart already belonged to the 8 yr old boy three doors down and he knew it. KK was scribbled many times in my doodles during Mrs Zapperzans class and he questioned me on it. I, of course playing coy at the shy age of 8 said it was Kelly Keller. The infamous Kelly who didn’t exist but who I pled with my crush actually did. I thought it was a pretty good cover, but Kristian knew I was crushing on him and it wasn’t just because his last name started with K that he knew.

We often walked to and from school together living on the same street. He taught me how to play basketball, and because of him I’m a pretty good backwards shot. Although now at 40 I’m a little rusty. He even taught me about erections using his winter mitt as an example of an engorged filled penis. Sex education literally in the most innocent of ways.

On our way home from school one day we had stopped in between the elderly neighbours house and my fence. A little recessed area away from sight, windows, even hidden from the sun. I can clearly remember the discussion to kiss. That we should do it. Me and my strawberry blonde coloured hair, him and his auburn hair. My freckled nose to his, and our pink virgin lips met. No tongue. No hitched breath, I’m pretty certain I held it for lack of knowing what else to do with it . There was just the sweet sensation of warm flesh on flesh along with the pressing thoughts, that we should do it for a long time and not just like how our mothers kissed us goodnight. Our lips parted after what seemed to be an appropriate amount of time, both going our separate ways; subsequently carving our initials in an elm in the wooded area behind our houses and beating off the other 8 year old girls on my street who wanted Kristian. But he was mine. My first kiss forever, immortalized in memory as every first should be. KK + JM 
©Entirety 2015

Reminders

She never noticed.  She was probably too preoccupied with her laundry, her shift schedule and the countless emails to even take notice of the card clipped in to the side of the dresser mirror.  
She often hid in his old room, away from the rest of the house that felt cold and univiting during her visits.  At least she could read her emails and catch up under a goosedown duvet while glancing out to the crisp sky occasionally through the picture window.  

She stayed here twice a month, to check in on her mother, to make sure she was not too lonely after the death of her father.  And this was his room.  And this is where she slept.

It had been there for twenty years nearly exactly.  A card written in June of 1996.  The sentiments typical of what every daughter would say to her father at the age of 21 on Father’s Day.  She glanced around taking note of the other piece of paper tucked in to her father’s dresser.  Her wedding bulletin that was printed 6 months after that Fathers Day card was given, in December of 1996.
Remnants of the past, tucked into an inconspicuous place.  When she dressed, did her hair or make up she used this mirror.  Memories hanging in plain sight.  
No matter what relationship she had carried with her antagonistic alcoholic father, he had kept this simple card, and his divorced daughters wedding bulletin in plain view for the past twenty years.  The reflection in the mirror being the last bed he slept in before his final car ride to the hospital to be treated for an infection that would reveal an acute liver cancer that had rendered him dead in days.  
And there were the reminders of a past she could never get back, of a father or relationship she could never reclaim.  And she sat, hollow, empty and alone, the reflection in the mirror reminding her that it was exactly so. 

©Entirety 2016

  

Birthing Souls

When it was time
He led her
Along a path
Through the garden gate
Then summoned the wind
For her in flight
When she was ready
To carry hope
To spread light
But she turned
Afraid to leave
The safety
Of his arms
Until in awe
She witnessed the wind
Lift him off the ground
Saying

“It’s time to be free
My Beloved
But you
I will never leave
Together
We will go
And birth many souls”

©Entirety 2015

artwork found on Pinterest

Medal Material – excerpt from #ADateintheLife

  
For the series click here http://w.tt/1L4XKgc

•••

A month after I downloaded Tinder and reentered the dating realm my world got turned upside down.  My dad was diagnosed with a 5×5 centimetre tumour on the liver.  Long story short, after being told he had 2-4 weeks to live he died 5 days later.  Incredibly shocking and traumatizing to say the least.  

I’m not telling you this so we can have a “poor Jacquie” moment.  Awhile has passed and we are healing.

You see, during the time just prior to my dads diagnosis I had met and begun seeing a fabulous guy from Tinder.  Slightly younger than myself, a musician and a sensitive passionate soul.  We connected over a childhood movie and for our first date we watched it and recited the words like 10 year old kids. We continued to bond over tv shows and music, but my favouritest (yes that is a word in my vocabulary) moment was a concert in his living room. I’m a poet and a romantic, how could I not be wooed in by this?  
But life interfered. How could the stuff going on with my dad not affect my dating life? I’m terrible at hiding behind a mask, I wear my emotions on my sleeve, and god I was feeling a gamut of emotions. I didn’t have the best of relationship with my dad, he was an upper middle class alcoholic who antagonized the shit out of the people around him and he drove me crazy for it.  

So here I was, battling anger, sadness, disappointment while trying to date simultaneously. Well fuck that. I did my best holding up my chipper foul mouthed self but eventually a crack began to form in my front. But despite everything going on, I still wanted a place where I could forget about the world for a bit, worry about nothing except Kate, Sawyer, Jack and the black smoke monster from binge watching LOST with this super guy. So even after my dad died I hung on to our time together, like an oasis in the desert.

He never tried to be my counsellor. He never babied me either. We drank wine, ate meals together, he even let me bake him homemade pizza and didn’t freak when I accidentally grated carrot all over his floor. He was supportive as a person just getting to know me could be.  

One night, after watching our 7th or so episode of LOST from his cozy bed, I fell asleep. It was the strangest feeling. I hadn’t slept in a bed with a man in almost two years, and besides noticing that he thankfully didn’t snore he had an incredibly comfortable bed. I suppose it was somewhere around 4am I woke in the dead of night. I knew where I was. I wasn’t disoriented, it was dark and shadows from the street lights through the window danced against the walls.

Quiet is not always synonymous with peaceful, as in this instance.  My thoughts racing about my life ahead without a dad, my kids without a grandpa – whom I may add invested a hell of a lot of time in his grandkids – my mom now on her own with my childhood home full of memories and albeit more garbage than I think she’d care to admit but that’s beside the point.  
I was in a strange mans bed at 4am contemplating the meaning of life just after the death of a loved one.  So you know what comes next don’t you?

Tears.  Lots of em.

First the bed began to shake, for all the wrong reasons, then the sniffling started, then the holding your breath to stop from screaming your pain out loud and freaking out the non snoring gentle man beside you happened.  I tried, I really did to be quiet and be still, but I was on the inside wall and would have had to crawl over him to get out and I felt trapped, there was nowhere to hide.
It was about at this point he stirred.  

Look there is nothing stealth about me in the best of times, I am loud and obnoxious, never mind being on the verge of an early morning cryfest.

He didn’t say anything.  Instead, like a good human, he reached around me, put my head on his chest and gave me permission to snot and cry all over his bare skin.  Out loud.  Yes, it was as pretty and romantic as it sounds.  Yeah, not so much. Fuck, welcome to dating Jacquie.  

Eventually I think I sobbed and hitched a few “I’m sorry’s” out. Besides being a Canadian, I apologize for nearly everything including breathing, swallowing, and for waking up nice men at 4am to snot on them. My dad (and mom) taught me good manners I suppose. 

After I was done I fell back asleep and this poor man started his day very early. I woke to a pot of coffee and I can’t remember if I ate to be honest. You know, feeling sheepish and all about the night before.
You’d think he saw me naked or something. Well… I suppose he kinda did.

He was a saint

In the flesh

The offering of his chest

To pool my tears

In a cruel night

Where nothing

But another heart

Could soothe
©Entirety 2016

#grateful