Melting into my breath.

When it gets really quiet, I lay in bed watching the candle flicker until I reach over and smother the flame. I breathe deeply and sink into my mattress. I should relax and drift off to sleep. But first my brain has to tell me about the things I’m missing. I breathe and remind myself that I’m enough.

I dont need dark things anymore. I have so much light, an abundance of light. I have sabotaged any healthy forward motion I’ve ever created. Well, I’m not going to take all the blame.

It doesn’t really matter who is to blame when it all leads back to me laying in the bed, trying to be mindful of my breathing.

I guess in ways that meth and mania aren’t good for a person but sometimes touching the fire is worth getting burned, its like that in my head when I can’t sleep at night.

Sometimes monsters are under my bed.

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Skin

I like skin.

Let me rephrase. Explain. Attempt to not sound like a serial killer. ….

When I have a connection with someone, I want you to touch me. But don’t just reach out and touch my shoulder. Find my skin. Sneak your fingertips under my sleeve. Touch my wrist, scratch your nail across my neck. Find that spot of skin that makes me stop and lean into you. And if you are thinking anything sexual then we don’t understand each other. I’m speaking of a human physical connection that comes only after an energy exchange happens. Something inside me needs something inside you to connect to.

This morning my daughter laid her head on my chest where my breast used to be. My fingertips touched the shell of her ear. She snuggled her face in my neck and I ran my hand along the back of her arm until she fell asleep.

Touch is just something I need and I refuse to spend time with people that I don’t want to hug and touch and hold me.

Having had a partner that doesn’t require touch and actively avoids it, and a partner that needed my skin as much as I needed his I recognize exactly the kind of partner I need.

Having a friend that tenses up and a friend that melts when we hug, I recognize exactly the type of person I want to spend time with.

This is where Amber, Summer, Amanda, Pete, Rhonda, Terry, and Brian shine. This is when each of my children know exactly when to grab a blanket and cuddle. That sweet spot. Melting into someone and giving what you have, accepting what is offered. Chin touches me without thought. Alisha hugs me with joy. Geo holds my hand while we talk.

Sometimes it’s very much on purpose. Other times, it’s an organic subconscious moment.

Recently I’ve thought about my abundance of skin and how I used to hate when someone would touch my belly or my old scars. I remember years ago when Amber touched my skin and I was so afraid of what she thought, and a few weeks ago when we stood together touching and she remarked that our bellies were touching and I didnt even notice. H and I were just talking about how wonderful it feels to finally be able to melt into someone…..

I’m so grateful I’ve surrounded myself and surrendered myself to people that need my skin as much as I need theirs.

I love the skin that touches me, the skin I touch.

I love the place I’m in where skin heals me.

Finding the places I fit…

I was holding my breath, waiting for something. I’d go to work and come home. I wasn’t lonely or desperate. I have purposely filled my life with people that love me, people I love.

I didn’t seek out a relationship with any zest although I bemoaned the lack of intimacy to my friends. My daughter said “Date a girl. Guys suck.” I bounced around that idea until I decided I just didn’t want to date anyone.

Besides, I have Prince. But it’s more than a physical fulfillment that I’m peaceful about.

I made decisions last year to not go backwards. So far, that’s working for me. I feel good. I’m content. I’m happy.

I got a crush that felt fun. We settled into a friendship that is unique and flirty.

I went out to Loda with Alicia. I go sit on Terry’s couch and he listens without judgement and gives me peace and insight. I reconnected with Richard and Amber and went to a Steampunk thing. I spent the night with Summer. I know Dame and Histy are mine. I look at Rhonda and Amanda and see acceptance and parts of myself. Desiree and Heather. Greg and Chris. Michelle. My childhood best friend Dawn, is moving home.

I talk to my brother and my sister and don’t take them for granted.

My children are evolving and finding their way. They are my best friends.

My life is full. I’m happy. Isn’t that a grand declaration? Like…. really for real. Happy.

Enter TheDaddyMan, his tribe, and The Chocolate Man.

Summer and I went to TheDaddyman’s house and he welcomed me as if I belonged. His wife, Audrey welcomed me as if I belonged. Brian, Christian, Katie and Fred all welcomed me as if I belonged. There’s wine and food and rope. There’s long conversations and cuddles on the couch. There’s spankings and connection. It feels like family. He tells me to come back soon because he likes when I’m there. Audrey says please come over more often. I realize I love them. And I smile at how wonderfully unexpected it is.

The Chocolate Man and I have known each other for years. We have stayed in touch sporadically. We will chat for a few days and not speak for months. I took for granted that we’d just be friends forever. But he needed a taste tester and when it comes to chocolate, I’m your girl. Everything unfolded organically until one moment he was my friend and the next he was the person I have to touch. I like being around him. It’s comforting and calm.

I never thought of myself as poly. I think maybe I was just doing poly wrong. But I really like that I can sleep in the bed with Summer and stuff can happen or not. I like that Brian and I cuddle and look at Audrey’s butt together. I like that TheDaddyMan wants to eat me alive. I really like that The Chocolate Man wants to kiss me midsentence and doesn’t mind when I bite him.

What I really, really like is that I fit in all of these places.

Finally.

Carpe Diem

http://www.carpe-coffee.com/

I know how this next bit is going to sound. Unbelievable. Unlikely. But I type truth.

I was born and raise (mostly) in the Mobile area and I have never been to Carpe Diem. I regret not spending time here before because it’s simply a lovely establishment. It is everything you want in a quaint, independent coffeehouse.

I drove up and there was one parking spot available. The air outside the little house converted into a coffeehouse was lightly scented and we all inhaled deeply. They were roasting coffee.

There was a group of college students in the area up front, all hunched over notebooks and laptops. The coffee and pastries littered every surface, book bags and nap sacks strewn across the wooden floor. There was an air of urgency to them.

The back room had a few moms on lunch dates and a business man or two sitting. It was well lit with local art peppering the walls.

The coffee was smooth and robust. The chai was creamy and spicy. The staff was kind and efficient.

But then there was Jerry. Sitting comfortably on the sofa, observing the atmosphere as he sipped his drink. I asked to sit next to him.

He was almost engaged once, never had any children. A librarian with an air of calm tragedy. He has cats, a boy and two girls. He smelled like coffee and old spice and reminded me easily of my grandfather.

Then a baby crawled into the main room from the back. A tiny plump thing with blond hair and round cheeks. The baby crawled here and there, into the center of the room. People stepped around the baby and smiled. Minutes went by. Longer than is acceptable. Everyone started looking around for the parent. Suddenly a woman came running frantically into the room and scooped up the baby.

Slowly our coffee disappeared, patrons came and went. Jerry watched everyone casually.

This coffeehouse has been here for over 20 years, the place has a constant stream of customers. I can easily see why.

I’ll be back here for another chai.

Coffeehouse Adventures

http://www.corecoffee.house/

My mother and I walked into an open floor plan with stark cold concrete floors and high industrial ceilings. It was the middle of the day and although it was chilly, the Sun was bright. I was a bit surprised to be the only ones in the establishment so honestly my initial response was “I’m about to drink the world’s most mediocre coffee in a very hip coffeehouse. How cliche.” But then the stage in the corner caught my eye. The woman on shift had sparkling eyes. I ordered a latte with shots on top. My mother ordered a house brew. We settled down and the woman brought our coffee in beautiful ceramic mugs. She chatted with us about the coffee, the company and her passions. She’s an artist and a college student. Her handiwork can be seen in the chalk. Her name is Abbie and her energy is infectious.

Middle joined us soon and she ordered a buttered rum latte. We spent several hours sitting on comfortable couches, sipping delicious coffee, and catching up.

This coffee was so yummy.

However…

This isn’t just some ordinary coffeehouse. It’s a nonprofit that’s under new management. The mission is clear: Create a safe space for local artists to gather, create a safe, inviting space for patrons to come relax. Give back to the community.

Give. Back. To. The. Community!!

I’m sure the purpose of a coffeehouse is to serve a great cup of coffee. Yes, Core Community does that. But to me, the purpose of Core’s mission is people driven. It’s giving back to the community in a safe, inviting manner. From the food drive to the Coffee and Classics events, this coffeehouse is so much more than what’s brewing.

This place makes drinking a cup of coffee meaningful. How cool is that?

Clean slates, fresh starts, frivolous pursuits, and the scary thing.

Recently I completed a brutal purge of my social media and phone contacts. I deleted my number and email address and a host of other things that may or may not be good for me. I stopped texting and connecting. I have reasons. I’m trying for …. something different. I know what insanity looks like. I’m dangerously close to doing the exact same thing and expecting a different result.

I collect people. I don’t know why, but even when that person is clearly bad for me or I’m bad for them, or maybe the toxic nature of our relationship is well… toxic, I still collect them. I will make an absolute fool of myself with someone, for someone. The end result is always pain.

So I thought about it for a few days. Then I went through everything. Bills, dishes, people, …. I’m slowly cleaning my life. That’s absolutely not to say that the dish or blanket or person isn’t absolutely necessary and wonderful. Just that sometimes I need to go in a different direction, down a different path.

I’m self aware enough to realize when I am the bad apple. I need to be okay with cleaning up my life, even when it’s painful. I may not be brutal enough to completely cut someone or something out of my life, because well… to be perfectly honest, I worry. I fret.

Is the cold turkey the way to go? It hurts either way.

I wish being a mature adult wasn’t so confusing. Because I’d call him right now….

Also I weigh 231 pounds. Am I going to throw out my pile of jeans that don’t fit or am I going to do the really hard thing and take care of myself?

Do I have the fortitude to take care of myself? Honestly I don’t even know where my compression sleeve is. If I’m not very careful it will be 2020.

I know none of this ramble made sense but I can’t sleep, I’m worried about my future.

And there’s a word that keeps coming up over and over. Like a maze is in my brain and I’m running toward the end but I keep making a wrong turn. The word is at the end of the maze and I don’t know if I want to run toward it full speed or walk cautiously.

Reconstruction.

I have told a handful of people, just to see how that word tastes in my mouth. My mouth tastes like sawdust.

A cup of tea.

I want this year to be full of subtle change. I simply can not spend another year waiting. But neither can I maintain a consistent sweeping change. I know me.

I’ve got to go about this slowly. Like a river carving a canyon.

I just got my benefits for 2019 that I have been waiting a year on. There’s no hospital coverage, no outpatient coverage, no lab benefit. I can basically go to see the doctor and to urgent care. But I have work history there. So I’m trying to decide financially what’s the best bet. I need a new roof. So on the one hand, I need a new job but with good benefits, or the other hand I need good work history so I can qualify for a home owners loan. If you saw my driveway that no one can drive into, you’d understand.

One thing is for certain, I can’t stay in this limbo.

I realized I wasn’t valued at my job when the new person we hired quipped “Not a bad $$$ an hour” and the money was more than I make. I do a more difficult job with a higher skill level. When this was brought to managements attention, they simply leveled the pay. Now everyone makes the same, even though I do a more difficult job with a higher skill level. But I stayed because on the first I’d be getting benefits. That’s the only reason I stayed. I didn’t get my benefit portal password until *after* the open enrollment ended. I don’t make the money I was promised. I don’t have the shift I was promised. I’m one of three people that stay until 8 pm. People that were just hired have the schedule they chose. I gave my supervisor the three choices I wanted. I didn’t get any of the three choices. They are starting a point system for attendance. If you accumulate a certain amount of points in a 90 day period, you get fired. Saturday’s are double points. If I am sick on a Saturday and one other day in a 90 day period, I’m fired. People that don’t work Saturday, don’t have that fear. Yes…. it’s beyond time to find a new job.

I was really looking forward to 2019. And I am. I’m in a good spot for improvement. I just need to get out of my own way.

I think this year will be lovely. I’ll watch my children continue to improve, I’ll hopefully pay off my car so I can get a loan and get a roof. I’ll get a new job, and finally get the CT scans that’s long overdue. I’m looking toward improving. I have small goals peppered in these bigger ones. I’ve committed to not cutting my hair this year. I am going to clean out my backyard.

First I’m going to make a cup of tea.