Tuesday, May 3, 2011


I was a sparkling, outgoing little thing as a child, and various events around the ages of four and five changed that. I twisted down and inward, learning to distrust friendship and limit the risks of connections. Being a Third Culture Kid exacerbated that, "gifting" me with the dichotomy of going deep quickly (because time with people may be limited) and yet holding back from true connections (because everyone says goodbye.) My sister became the true extrovert of our family, with my brother at the other end of the extreme as one of the most introverted people I know. My parents are both introverts who know how to work with people All The Time.

Me? I was an introvert who wanted friends and didn't know how to make them. And as I gradually became more confident and entered my career, where I work with people All The Time, the extrovert within began to blossom.

It wasn't until my world fell apart almost two-and-a-half years ago that I started making stronger, more intimate friendships, however. When I had nothing left to lose, because I was on the cusp of losing everything anyway regardless of my level of honesty, I finally connected with people. Online, in real life...in both arenas, I reached out and gathered in and connected.

Not all of those friendships have withstood the test of time. Some had their moment in the journey, and they gradually faded away into the background. A couple have imploded due to argument and disagreement and hurt feelings. And a few...well, a few have been torn between then and now.

I have two friends who were the closest I had to best friends in the Before. Both women were married to friends of The Ex--this was, in fact, how I met them. Both women were there for me--oh, so very there for me--when my marriage was fatally wounded and then festered and decayed until it had to be amputated. They were there for me through some of the worst of it all.

C stayed by my side for more than two hours one night, listening and worrying and listening some more, as I rocked in a corner alternating between keening in agony and pouring out my pain. Then she tucked me into her own bed and fed me in the morning. She and her husband opened their house to me unconditionally. If I had needed it, they would have moved me into their spare room.

M listened and commiserated for hours over the phone and in person, despite the awkwardness of having been on the other side in her own marriage (which was mercifully salvaged) of the same sort of final disaster that tore mine apart. She stuck with me despite having to mediate between me and her husband, the closest thing to a best friend The Ex had or has. She loved me, she forgave me, and she cheered me on toward health and healing.

And now, in the After...Both women are still friends. They still love me, and I them. But the intimacy is slowly waning, replaced by an unspoken awkwardness as they--and I--are torn between two worlds, two circles, two friendships. It becomes easier and easier to not call, not email, not meet for quality time. And while I doubt that I will ever stop considering them friends, the reality is that they are no longer in my closest circle, nor I in theirs.

I am torn between whether to take steps to regain that old intimacy or continue with the status quo. I've never been extraordinarily good at making friends, although I have more close friends now than I've ever had before in my life. I've never been terribly good at keeping friends either, at fighting for friendships when they are threatened or begin to fade.

It is easier, after all, to keep a buffer between us, whether physical or emotional. There's less risk that way.

But isn't that what I'm trying to learn to do? Take the risks and hazard the pain?

Growing is hard.

Friday, April 29, 2011


Blending families isn't easy. There are always obstacles, speed bumps, steps backward. I've learned to be patient and keep my expectations reasonable.

But there are those moments that make my heart sing.

KlutzGirl curling up on the couch with me to watch TV, letting me stroke her long blond hair and give her a cuddle.

The Padawan making a sly joke about me that sets us all laughing.

The Dark One letting me hug her--and kind of hugging me back.

DramaBoy running across the room to hug MTL exuberantly after days at his dad's place.

The Widget giggling uncontrollably as MTL tickles him and they rough house on the couch.

Sitting around the dining room table, all of us, eating dinner and laughing. Together. A family.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011


I haven't posted here in a month. Truth be told, I haven't even been reading blogs lately, much less blogging. I realized last week while chatting with a friend that I've been "turtling"--pulling my head and limbs into safety, shielding myself from the world, because apparently the world has gone insane. I'm trying to get through without going batshit crazy, and apparently that has lately meant cutting off most of the interactive online world. Blogger, Facebook, all that: I've been MIA and struggling to even care.

The country where I grew up blew up into civil war (again) just days after my parents flew out. While one side (the side we support, remarkably) has technically won, the violence goes on. At this point I rely on the news my parents give me. Most of the news centers get it wrong, anyhow. Contrary to popular opinion, it is NOT a religious conflict, among other pieces of disinformation.

The reality of politics and legislation in this state and region and nation has shot my blood pressure through the roof. It's all or nothing for me: either I tuck my head down and shut my mouth, or I'm ranting. I need to find a career counselor. I've never had a back-up plan for an alternate career: now I may not have a choice. I need to be prepared.

I hate politics. I hate most politicians. I hate the greed and corruption and rampant corporate capitalism that has washed over us all and isn't even pretending to care about 98% of the population any longer.

I wish I could just pull into my shell indefinitely.

Friday, March 18, 2011


There are moments when I'm washed with a wave of gratitude and relief to be joined with this man, moments when I recognize the subtle poison of many years' habit slowly leached clean by today's reality.

The Ex did not particularly love my parents. He didn't hate them, but he didn't ever feel terribly comfortable around them--and he most certainly resented them during the months they were here. We would go years without having them around, and then when they were--well, I wanted to spend time with them. So schedules would be altered, plans would be made, and sometimes they'd want to come over just to spend time. You know, with their daughter. With their son-in-law. With their grandchildren.

He resented the changes to the status quo. He resented having to fit additional people and plans into our holidays, our weekends, our summers. And he outright hated having them come by to visit if there hadn't been, oh, a week or so of advance notice.

I grew accustomed to mediating. I'd tell them I needed to check with him first before confirming. He'd rarely say an outright No, but I would be in for a long bout of soothing, cajoling, and hours of underlying tension. Flexibility and graciousness were not his strong points. I felt torn, forced to choose between my parents and my husband.

Looking back, no one won in that scenario.

Flash forward to last night. My parents are back in the country--they flew in this last weekend--and while MTL and I were able to spend some time with them, they hadn't gotten to see the kids yet. We had plans for them to come to dinner Friday night, and I hadn't told the boys that Grandma and Grandpa were back in town, since I didn't want them to get too upset about waiting. The Ex must have said something to them. Yesterday when I picked up The Widget from daycare, he took one look at me, burst into tears, and buried his head in his arms. I miss Grandma and Grandpa! he sobbed, and it was with no avail that I assured him they would be visiting the next day.

So I called them, and we made plans for them to come by for dinner and a brief visit.

As I hung up the phone, a wave of apprehension washed over me. I hadn't checked with MTL before making the plans. How would he feel about it? Would he be angry about my parents showing up a day ahead of schedule? Would he resent them spending this much time at our house? Would he be upset that I had invited them before checking with him?

I texted him nervously and waited for his reply, reminding myself that he is far more laid back than The Ex in these matters, reminding myself that he showed no sign of resenting my parents this last weekend--he was even pleased that their plane's delay allowed him to accompany me to the airport to pick them up.

Sure enough, when he called me, he had no problem at all with the change in plans. There was no guilt trip, no resentment, no tension. When I told him later that night what I had experienced, he just looked at me and said I'm a silly girl--and when I explained why it had happened, touched my arm with compassion and understanding, and told me not to worry.

There are so many reasons I love him. He keeps giving me more every day.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Gag Order

I have so many friends having a hard time right now. Sometimes I feel guilty for being so happy.

You know how that is?

I mean, I've been down--really, truly, horribly down--quite a few times in my life. Good God, two years ago I was still crawling out of the Depths. They were there for me then and since. Goodness knows DraftQueen became my best friend out of those times. I wouldn't have met her if it hadn't been for blogging through the pain.

Most of my life has involved depression to one extent or another. I'm not entirely free of it now, though not nearly to the extent of What Was. I still have plenty of challenges and discouragement, especially on the political and career fronts. I mean, good lord. MTL has seen me raging around the living room ranting about all the anti-woman and anti-union and anti-teacher SHIT that is going on in this sad, sad country right now. More than once.

(Thank God that while we don't see eye-to-eye in all political areas, we do match up for the most part on those ones. Otherwise heads might roll. I've been THAT heated about it all, peoples. IT'S EVEN SHOWN UP ON MY FACEBOOK WALL. That's saying something, considering my conflict-avoidance tendencies.)

Anywho. Where was I? Oh right. I've been there.

However, despite those challenges, I can honestly say that I am happier than I have been in...well, decades. Since before kindergarten, I'd venture.

Meanwhile, many of my friends and loved ones are facing crisis after crisis. Health. Jobs. Family. Relationships. Depression verging on and tipping over into despair. Even war.

Sometimes, I just feel guilty. I don't know what to say, other than I love you and I understand and I'm so sorry. I wish I could gather them up for hugs, offer them tea and sympathy, but almost none of them live in physical proximity.

And when I want to gush about my own happiness, my wedding plans, my adoration of the man with whom I will spend the rest of my life...Well. I try to hold back, at least. Even then, I wonder if I'm saying too much. Should I just shut up?

I wish I could fix it.

Stupid broken world.

Thursday, February 24, 2011

The Stories of Us

I think a few of you who read over here don't regularly read (or read at all) my main blog, Diapers and Dragons. So I thought I'd link you to the three posts I wrote there recently that tell the stories of how MTL and I met, fell in love, and (eeeeee!!) became engaged.

So here you go:

How MTL Became My True Love (Part I)

How MTL Became My True Love (Part II)

How MTL Became My Fiance


Saturday, February 19, 2011


As of around eight o'clock tonight, in a dark corner by the tenth hole of the glow-in-the-dark putt-putt golf place where we went on our first date exactly one year ago:


In 2-3 weeks (OMG OMG OMG)