Locked In

It’s been a long time since I’ve read my friend Rachel’s blog. I saw a reference to it in a mutual friend’s Facebook status update and realized how much I missed it, so I clicked the link, read a few posts and suddenly came upon a sentence that made me catch my breath.

In a post titled Love and Marriage, about how things change so many times in our lives and in others’, she wrote, “A friend here was walking down the beach with his new girlfriend as if last year he had not been doing the same with another.” The image was like a slap, because a few weeks ago I learned my ex was engaged to a woman he’d been dating four months, as if nine months earlier he had not been planning a life with me.

How is that possible? I’ve had a few loves in my life—some short, some long. All ended. For me, losing a lover is not like losing a pet; the way to get over the loss is not to run out and get another. For me, however the relationship ends, the loss of a lover shuts down my heart, often for a long time. Before meeting my now-engaged ex, I had not been in a relationship for five years.

The relationship with my most recent ex ended bitterly. And yet I miss him—or rather, I miss the contact, the rhythm, the feeling of being home. I’ve seen him twice since I learned of his news. Neither time sent me reeling; my heart has not yet healed enough to suffer a setback. I don’t want to be with him, but I could no more imagine being with someone else right now than I could imagine driving to the moon.

Would I like to be in another relationship? I would. But it’s as if my heart has locked-in syndrome, aware of the possibility of love, yearning for it even, but unable to move toward it. If I had a wish it would be that my heart unlock, that it open, wide and soon and bright with possibility, whether to someone new or someone familiar. That it lead me again to feel I am home.

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I am a writer

The write thing Project 365(2) Day 12
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When I was laid off last December, I thought I’d never find a job as great as the one I’d just lost—researching and writing for Wall Street. It was the job that saved me from being a lawyer, and after six years away, I knew I didn’t want to go back to practicing law; I wanted to write for a living.

So I joined every LinkedIn group I could find with the words writer or editor in the name, signed up for hiring alerts about writing and editing jobs, even offered my editing services for no compensation but the credit. And because I’d heard about (though I hadn’t seen or read) The Secret, I began to visualize myself—and even to refer to myself—as a writer. Continue reading

Breathe

YogaPhoto Credit

It’s the second day of the third week of my new job, and it’s difficult for me to fathom how completely employed I’ve become. I’m launching my third report with a 7 AM call to China, and over the next two weeks I’ll have eight reports in the field, four of which I’m responsible for researching and writing, six of which I’m editing. I’m working 10-to 11-hour days and since I work at home when I shut down for the day it’s literal: I shut down my laptop, feed the dogs, eat dinner, go to bed.

I have other commitments that are important to me as well, and they’re not being met. The podcasts need to be scheduled, the vampire novel is still in edits, my dogs need to go to the vet. I’m supposed to leave town next Friday for a class reunion but I don’t see how I can possibly take a day off.

I got up this morning at 4, not because I had to but because I couldn’t breathe, the weight of my schedule and the claustrophobia of waking up in my office shoving me into a day I was not ready to begin. This is unsustainable; this constant state of panic is unproductive and will make me sick. I need a time management plan, a support system, yoga, maybe…or maybe just a friend.

The kindness of strangers

lily

“We’re all strangers. Remember that and be kind to one another.”

That’s how Garrison Keillor ended The News from Lake Woebegone on today’s “A Prairie Home Companion,” and it reminded me of a line from the late Dixie Carter‘s character Julia Sugarbaker on “Designing Women.” I have no memory of  the episode—except that a couple of the title characters were rude to a woman they felt had slighted them, then felt bad when they discovered she was going through a personal tragedy—but I’ve always remembered the line: “We never know what’s going on in someone else’s life. That’s why it’s so important to be careful with each other’s feelings.” Continue reading

Feeling Eli

The Grim Reaper
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When Rachel and I were first hanging out together—trying to reimagine ourselves in our ravaged city—we coined a phrase to describe the crushing depression we both experienced at times on awakening, the dread that sat on our chests proclaiming its dominance over our day before we’d even opened our eyes. We called it “feeling Eli.” Continue reading

The imposter

MasksSo we had a hurricane blow through and it took us off the grid for a hard five days. We got power back Saturday night but the cable went out today, and with no internet access in the neighborhood and a new job beginning tomorrow, I am nervous. Even though today is a holiday, I need to be online studying.

I’ll be working at my old company again, work I loved the first time around, work that saved me from living the rest of my life as a lawyer. But as always when I begin new work, I am panic-stricken; like many women, I suffer from imposter syndrome, deeply convinced that each new job, each new position, each new promotion was a fluke, that I if they knew how unqualified I really am they wouldn’t let me work anywhere. Continue reading

The Editor

CompletionFor the past week I’ve been editing a novel about vampires, and it has given me writer’s block. On three straight days I have sat down to write a post, each time failing to come up with more than a couple of lines. It seems seven days of reading about sex and death and blood and torture in the French Quarter has left me with nothing to say. Continue reading

Disconnected: a work of fiction ;-)

android phone swagI can’t find my phone.

I slide into an Eames chair and dig through my bag, then pour the contents onto the connecting seat. It’s not there. I slip my hand into the front pocket, where my keys had turned up last Christmas after an hour-long extended-family search party had failed to locate them when I’d “lost” them at my brother’s house.

Not there. Continue reading