Tag Archives: love

Pickles, Revisited

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After a post on Facebook by a friend struggling with opening a pickle jar reminded me of this post, I decided to repost it. It was a good memory in a weird way. This was originally posted on 12-14-2010.)

I had a mild psychotic episode tonight.  Over a jar of pickles. Nothing is more frustrating than a jar of pickles.  No, really.  I love pickles. They are tasty, green and a decently healthy snack if you ignore the sodium.  I like things that are green. I hate the jar pickles come in. I can open juice bottles and beers and peanut butter jars and even those god-forsaken juice pouches you have to stab the little straw into.  But pickle jars annoy the hell out of me.

I mean really, the things are soaked in a brine that is more salt than liquid.  In a pinch it can be used as embalming fluid. You can leave a jar of pickles in the fridge for over a year and the damn things are still edible.  How fresh do they need to stay that the lids need to be clamped on quite so tightly?

I was actually doing fine with struggling against it. I had already used the knife-tapping trick and was about to bang the edge of the lid on the counter when the errant thought occurred to me.  A single errant thought that sent me into a rampage.

“Chris would be handy right-about now.” Chris being Christian, my ex-husband.

No sooner had the thought floated across my brain that I had a total melt-down and a small crisis of identity soon followed. If I couldn’t open a jar of pickles by myself, how then would I support my daughter? How could I expect myself to maintain a budget and keep my daughter out of trouble and repair the car? I had spent so long in the company of someone else that I was no longer sure how to function sans that presence, useless as it may have been. I was near tears, fully in the throes of pickle-induced panic; the salty, chartreuse waves of self-doubt that threatened to overcome logic.

But threaten is all they could do. After all I was an independent strong woman.  I am intuitive and ingenious and innovative and all those empowering “in-” words chronically single women employ to make themselves feel better. I have left my life of constant company and the mild comfort in that comes in not being physically alone, even if you are emotionally alone. I left in favor of freedom and overcame great obstacles like touching roach traps in my newly single life.  Little things like opening a pickle jar would not defeat me.

Thirty minutes later, some very distinct curse words I’d not yet had the chance to employ, and a hammer later I sat on my kitchen floor eating a pickle spear.  The southwest corner of my kitchen was dripping with pickle juice  and broken glass, but I had my pickle spear, no husband needed to retrieve.  It’s a small victory.  But an important one.

 

Wow, over two years since a moment with pickles. Lots has changed. I’m happy to report I’ve done fine with the bill-paying and child-rearing.  My life has moved forward in monumental ways. For instance, after learning how to live independently and enjoy my own identity, I’m learning how to do that with another human. But I’m pretty sure I’ll never ask him to open a jar of pickles…

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An Important Discovery

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As with most bloggers, we get caught up in realms of reality and sort of forget to keep posting crap. I’m no different. Life got in the way. As a means of review:

  • I’ve changed jobs. Although it pained me (and pains me still), I chose to leave the museum behind as our vision and ideas for the growth of the museum no longer seemed to converge. (I think that’s the nice way of saying they went full retard. Never go full retard, man.) However it has afforded me a position at an embroidery company in customer training development, marketing and writing.
  • I’ve picked up a contract position as the production director for the local AHL hockey team, the Oklahoma City Barons.
  • I continue to write for Distinctly Oklahoma and am considered expanding my freelance services to other publications.
  • I fell in love.

Funny how that last one is just four words but is perhaps the biggest change in my life.

It’s true though. I have fallen in love and in doing so learned how to love all the more. Of course I always loved my daughter, even before she was born, and heaven knows I’ve been in love with words since I was four and I memorized One Fish Two Fish, Red Fish Blue Fish. After a series of sick, unhealthy, draining relationships (including my marriage) had taken their toll on my head and heart I had resigned myself to the life I had and found comfort and contentment in the realization. I really was satisfied with where I was and with the limits that perpetual singleness (both in coupling and parenting) tends to place on one’s life. My heart didn’t need to love anymore. And I was nominally sure it couldn’t be loved back. I was truly content.

Then came a moment of weakness. I knew I didn’t need love, but any woman needs a bit of attention now and again. I wanted to go on a few dates, have a bit of fun and then wander back into my working solitude. I revived an old account on an online dating site. (Ironically the one that I met CS Jameson so many years ago.) A few updates to the profile and a handful of new quiz questions later, I was presented with a fine selection of individuals desperately seeking either companionship, genuine love, a quick fuck, a soul mate, or just a bit of positive attention. Whatever their reason, I just wanted a bit of attention. I started messaging potential matches left and right.

When I came across one profile in particular, I’ll admit that while his profile piqued my attention for its wit, he wasn’t necessarily a man I would have ordinarily have messaged. His style and pictures and likes weren’t typically on my radar. A year prior to that I would have nodded and clicked on, not because he was awful but because he simply wasn’t “my type.” But I remember thinking “Well, thus far your ‘type’ has really sucked. Seriously, they were all awful for you and to you. So maybe you picked the wrong ‘type’.” My conscience winning out the argument, I messaged user profile GreaseMunkey, closed my laptop and went to bed.

I remember as I drifted to sleep a building hope that this scruffy, bearded GreaseMunkey dude messaged me back. Of all the messages I had sent out, I really didn’t want to endure that silent, undefined rejection of not receiving a message from him. I didn’t know why but I really wanted to hear from him. I wanted to know more. He did respond. And off we went.

Six months have elapsed now, a record relationship for me. Well of the healthy variety anyway. I was with my ex for longer but looking back it had begun to fall apart long before it ever really got started. Of course there’s hope in all things. After all, without that I wouldn’t have Abigail. I wouldn’t have started down the long, hard path of self discovery (Though I wish it hadn’t taken 27 years to get there…)

I’ve learned that though I am not wise I do have moments of clarity. In order to love, you have to allow yourself to be loved. That’s harder than it sounds. I have a tendency toward developing complexes about insignificant things. I’m bull-headed and argumentative and controlling in any given circumstance. Those things don’t make me unlovable. They make me…well, me. And it turns out me is quite lovable. As Bryan and  my relationship grows and our families are woven into the mix, I find that it isn’t just one man who can love me as I am. His family has taken to me like no other. And mine to him. He bolsters my confidence and makes me feel beautiful, talented, strong and independent. I knew I was all those things and said so, but I had never felt quite so grounded in the ideas until Bryan saw those traits in me as well. I had worked hard to discover who I am and what I like and why I believe what I believe in prior to meeting this man who would slip into my soul and fix himself a home in my heart without ever really trying.

Mostly without the up and downs and rejections and failures of my past, I wouldn’t fully appreciate what Bryan and I are managing through the challenges of offset work schedules, lives fully developed independent of one another and general demands of being adults. I still have much to learn and many more mistakes to make. But there is less fear of it all now. It may be that I’ve grown. It may be that Bryan supports and loves me in such a way that I feel a confidence in the process. It may be all of it and it doesn’t really matter.

Until three years ago, when I screwed up the courage to walk out on a man who resented me , I had no idea who I was. Thus I thought to be loved I had to become what was wanted or what I perceived was needed. I’d spent my life wearing the masks handed to me by others. I still wear masks, at work and in public, but now they are of my own creation. And with Bryan I can safely leave them all aside. He loves that I find joy in stupid things like sharpies and sparkly dangles and amassing a mental database of useless facts.

In him I see a strength and determination I’ve never seen before. In anyone. He honestly wants to better himself, not just for his family but because he needs it for himself. He is grounded and stable and cheerful and compassionate. Unafraid of judgement, he holds nothing of himself back. He dances like an idiot and has fun doing it. He creates as his heart directs and seeks nothing more than the satisfaction of creating it. He doesn’t need constant approval though I earnestly seek to bolster him as much as he bolsters me. I still wear masks but he gave his up years ago. I envy him that ability. He asks questions and honestly seeks to learn. He has flaws and admits to them openly and unabashedly. Altogether he understands how to be himself, thus leaving his heart open to being loved. And I do love him.

My blog is titled See Jenn Live on purpose. While I can’t promise I won’t make more sappy, soggy, lovey posts, I can say I’ll keep them to a minimum. I’m living for the first time in my life. I’m learning and loving and listening and making an attempt at translating all that into writing. It’s working so far I suppose. I’ve found the difference between content and happy. I’m happy. I’ve been told so by my close friends and family even if I didn’t know it myself.