Archive for the ‘special femme’ Tag

Our First Year

Today, April 25th, marks exactly one year that Lulu and I have been together as a couple. Our time together simultaneously seems to have flown by and, yet, have lasted a lifetime, both in the best possible way.

I’m unreasoningly pleased and proud at having reached this milestone. Though it’s a short time by many different standards, in the context of long distance relationships (especially with distances as long as 9,000 miles), a year puts us in the nth percentile, well to the outlier part of the bell curve.

We had an unconventional and somewhat rocky start, my beloved and me. With the benefit of hindsight, I can see now what we couldn’t in the moment: we (mostly me, really) were fearful and relied on factors outside of the two of us to prop up this burgeoning relationship. That was the first lesson: the two of us, together, are enough. We know now how to believe in us and rely on each other.

Our love grew quickly, blooming first into a deep bond of friendship. It seemed meant to be, as every revelation and discovery seemed to click into place, filling in the template of “the one” we each had imagined for ourselves. It seemed we had searched for many of the same things for what seemed like all our lives. We found each other despite the odds. And for that I’m immeasurably thankful.

As my parents used to teach me, nothing of great value is free.
Challenges strengthen bonds, and these we’ve had in abundance. Yet none have dimmed the glow of hopeful possibility, the light we share that pierces every dark cloud of worry.

This is but our beginning; we’ve only made a start. One year is an important milestone, yes. But my beloved and I intend to make this life’s journey together–two lives, one heart.

So there will be many challenges, triumphs, set-backs, joys and opportunities. Many more milestones shall mark our path. “Lord willin’, and the creek don’t rise”, as my gran used to say, this is the first of many anniversaries to count along our way. But until the next “big” one comes along, I intend to celebrate this and every day with my amazing Special Femme.

Happy Anniversary, my love. I look forward to fifty some-odd more to come!

My music

I’ve heard others comment on the musical quality of someone’s voice. And music has long been used as a comparison device for any number of romantic or sentimental notions. People wax poetic, many with great skill of description, imbuing their prose with lyrical grace as they speak of the moving, restorative, healing, calming and spiritual power of music and their love’s likeness to this musical miracle.

I find myself drawn to these comparisons and metaphors, as well, because music is so fundamentally moving. It’s universality can connect people from polar opposite demographics and walks of life. People who can’t even speak the same language, can often find common ground in the music they experience together. And the emotion, the artistry and spiritual expression in some music, sometimes not even intentional by the composer or performer, stirs the soul in ways no other stimulus can.

Except for love.

That’s why love and a lover’s voice is so often compared to music, a symphony, the melody, harmony and soundtrack of the soul. Love and music reach to the deepest depths of our being and move, motivate and transform us in unique and fundamental ways. Love and music are elemental forces that work on a level that requires no language and is independent of conscious influence.

That’s what my beloved is to me.

She is the music, the symphony of my soul, the melody that accompanies the progress of my life. Her voice stirs my emotional response like no other’s voice can. Hearing her sing makes me happy. Every. Time. The sound of my name and her terms of endearment for me from her lips is a welcome, motivating drumbeat that can’t be recreated by anyone or anything.

I’m so thankful for the blessing my Special Femme is in my life. She is the light, the joy, the blessing that immeasurably enriches my life. She is the symphony of home and heart that calls to me, moment by moment, day by day, regardless how many miles lie between us.

My Lulu is the music of my soul.

Struggle, pressure and stress…oh my!

This is a long one that probably deserved to be more than one post. But it’s my stream-of-consciousness, mind-dump attempt to grasp at a little bit of sanity.

— — — —

I’m struggling…

With having the coming out talk with my family

With the physical separation from my beloved

With getting control of work/life balance

With self care

With being at ease in my freedom, identity, accomplishments

I’m struggling to be comfortable in my own skin.

Why?

I’ve been the odd, ostracized, misfit, nerdy fat girl my entire life and have grown used to what that means and have been happy (at least content) with my own company, enough within myself, and sufficient on my own. I’ve had the companionship of my siblings and a few close friends. I have a career in which I’ve excelled. I’ve had books and music and movies and art to make my life well rounded and comfortable. So what if I was alone? I was all I needed and had everything my simple tastes required.

But that’s a lie. A lie my mind insisted upon to balm the wound of not being alone, but of being lonely. A lie the world helped me perpetuate by filling my time and senses with entertainment and social media and shiny, unnecessary things. A lie that even my faith made persistent by condemning the existence that would shatter my complacency and bring the opportunity for happiness, for true joy.

As my blog’s tag line says, I have awoken to the lie, the emptiness of that false existence, and have begun the process of living my life and seizing my happiness.

Yet, I am struggling.

Lately, “stress” and “pressure” and “struggle” seem to be recurring themes in my life. But I grow weary of them. It’s time to figure it out & fix it.

Stress is unavoidable, both at work and in personal life. It’s a fact of life that, for the most part, I deal with pretty well in terms of my profession and the every-day. But the stress from new aspects of my life I didn’t anticipate (naive, much?) and it’s taking some getting used to. Increased responsibility, changing family dynamics, learning as I go how to be a good partner, all of these are welcome challenges and the stress endemic to them will eventually subside. But it is wearying.

Struggle and pressure, for me, are linked. I feel pressure, both steady and sometimes increasing, to do and think and say certain things, or behave a certain way or be a certain kind of person. When I feel that pressure I take a hard look at its source and do my best to make a reasoned decision on how or if to respond. The struggle comes when I am uncertain if the pressure is righteous, deserving of reaction, or if I don’t know how to respond.

That’s my problem right now: uncertainty. There’s a block, an invisible obstacle that I can’t name and take away its power.

Part of it is that I don’t know all of the things I need to do. I feel like I only have half the picture and a quarter of the pieces needed to complete the puzzle. How, what steps, what method do I use to find the missing pieces? Who can I turn to for help? Isn’t asking for help admitting defeat or error? Shouldn’t I be able to handle this myself? After all, the core issue is my identity. Who better to identify and overcome related challenges than me? Yet, I still struggle.

Part of it, too, is that I’m weary. I’m so tired of having to fight for recognition, acceptance, support. My petulant internal mind screams that I’ve done enough, earned these golden blessings and demands to have them NOW, without further ado. Then the part of my mind trained from birth to conform, be quiet, not make waves, responds by shushing that screaming, admonishing me to be still, put my head down and work some more.

But that thin sliver of my self that exists between the screamer and the shusher, that relatively rational adult independent thinker, says there’s got to be something in between the hard-line demand and the unrequited effort. There’s got to be balance, a reward of some type, to encourage future excellence and diligence.

Right?

So where does that leave me? Let’s take stock:

I am immeasurably blessed. I have a beloved partner who loves and accepts me and supports me in all things. I have siblings and niblings whom I love and who love me. I have a good job that is intellectually challenging and professionally fulfilling. I have a warm, safe home full of comfort and plenty. There is clean air and water, abundant food, clothes, tools, vehicles and things of every type to make my life easy and comfortable. I have everything I need and more in terms of material gifts. I am loved and supported and mature enough to carry the blessings and burdens alike.

So what’s the challenge? What are the missing pieces I complain of?

First, what do I do about talking to my family? They know, now, that I’m gay and that I’m in love with my beloved Special Femme. Yet that information wasn’t given to them by me and there is still a significant amount of tension in my home. There’s an expectation that I’ll “come clean”, approach the throne and confess to be forgiven and set things right. (Yes, that’s my bitterness and snark showing in that sentence. I won’t apologize for it.) So, the first hurdle appears to be stubbornness and, perhaps, pride. Mine, my family’s, or both is not yet clear. What’s missing? A way to approach this discussion without judgement on either side, as well as an opportunity to begin.

Second, what comes next? Once everything is truly out (pun intended), what then? Yeah, I know, enjoy the relief and live your life. I get that. But what does that life look like? Even without the pressure of hiding a vital part of myself, I’m still in the same spot: in my mid-40s, living in an unconventional family arrangement, in a house too small for two complete families and separated from my beloved by 9,000 miles and three oceans. Where’s the path to living my life of happiness?

One of the missing pieces, I think, is why this is still a struggle, why haven’t I fixed this yet? I am a creature of comfort and this pressure, stress and struggle is uncomfortable. Why hasn’t the discomfort served to prod me, get me moving in the right direction?

Excellent question.

I think the pervasiveness, the sheer magnitude of the consequences of reacting to this pressure is so significant that the fear of the possible outcome is greater than the discomfort of the ongoing pressure. Hence: stagnation.

The Quandry: My immediate family now know I’m gay, but they found out by means I find objectionable (forcing my partner to admit our relationship when I wasn’t around, outing me in abstentia against her will). Ever since, there’s been silence on the subject. The tension from what’s unspoken on all sides is mounting. They’ve relayed a clear message that I must be the one to come to them, make a confession and receive their reaction.

Yet I feel that responding to this relayed demand for my confidences is capitulation, or at least a diminished, eroded form of communication that may end up crippling a formerly robust family relationship that is extremely important to me.

I want to be mature and approach the whole discussion with love, free from accusation and rancor. Yet I feel an obligation to hold them accountable for their treatment of Lulu. I also feel a duty to my identity and dignity to resist my freedom to be authentic being subrogated to their feeling hurt by my not choosing to confide in them this deepest, truest part of me.

What to do? At this point I’ll consider all serious suggestions, but reserve the right to reject them all and go with my gut at any moment…which may mean grabbing Lulu and running away to join the circus.

Thankful for…the love of Lulu

Author’s note: I wrote this as a private post to my Lulu, after she told me that she had been “hoarding” these thankfulness posts for her own enjoyment. But, with her permission, I’m sharing it as today’s bit of gratitude. I realized today, from a million small and subtle things and one very big and important conversation, that she is what I’m most thankful for in all the world. Bar none.

So…here’s my meager and imperfect thought of thankfulness, posted here with my subject’s blessing.

————

I’m thankful for my beloved. She is everything I want, everything I need and more than I’ll ever deserve. It’s hard for me to articulate everything she means to me. But the following shadow of a poem gives thanks for a very few of the innumerable blessings she brings to me:

Thank you, love

You shower me with praise
You lift my spirit with your confidence in me
Thank you, love

You make sense of the crazy
You are my sanity amidst chaos
Thank you, love

With you, things are right & good
In your presence, I’m calm & free
Thank you, love

Your laughter lightens my heart
It is the sound of happiness & the trigger of my joy
Thank you, love

The love sparkling in your eyes
Fuels my courage
Thank you, love

Your tenderness soothes my hurts
Your companionship anchors my heart
Thank you, love

Your voice is the melody in my head
Your vibrant soul, the light on my future’s shore
Thank you, love

For your love, your faith in me, your acceptance of me as I am
For your gracious, caring, nurturing, challenging, uplifting, encouraging and empowering love
I thank you, love, and am thankful for you in my life

20131119-210342.jpg

20131119-210354.jpg

20131119-210829.jpg

Oz, Land of Enchanted Dreams

As you know by now, if you’ve read any of my recent posts, I took a vacation recently, spending two weeks in Australia. It was the first two-week vacation I’ve taken in my life, and the first as an adult that I did t work at least part of my time “away”. Not this time…I had three specific goals for this trip and working wasn’t in the mix.

Specifically, I wanted to go somewhere I’d never been, I needed to truly relax and decompress from a very stressful job, and most importantly, I wanted to spend quality time alone with my beloved. I’m proud to say I achieved all three of those goals.

Although it’s an over-used and tired expression, I can honestly say that this time away was, for me, a magical experience. I met some incredible people, ate some of the best food I’ve ever tasted, visited four separate beaches, saw a sunken Victorian-era battleship, witnessed spectacular sunrises and glorious sunsets, and was un-plugged to a degree I’ve never before allowed. Add to all of that, I got to spend two entire weeks in the company of my lovely Lulu.

Long distance relationships are challenging on so many levels. Day-to-day, simply making communication technology work is a deep frustration. But it’s the tech, not Lulu’s and my ability to communicate that is challenging. So having the opportunity to sit next to each other, look the other in the eye and speak our heart, without phone, laptop, Internet or headset coming between us was a hugely uplifting thing. Hearing the full range of tone and inflection in each other’s voice, seeing the whole spectrum of emotion and expression in the other’s eyes…a god-send!

Being with one another every hour of the day, adding the experience of physical proximity and all it’s nuance to the vast body of shared time we’ve accumulated via Skype, text and email over the last six months added a whole knew dimension to our understanding of each other. Seems so basic, but it was a joyful surprise to me.

All the many joys of this vacation amount to an enchanted dream come true for me. I’m blessed beyond measure in Lulu’s presence in my life and in the time we’ve shared together in Oz. And it’ll only get better from here!

Here are a few of my favorite pics from my magic journey:

20131028-185341.jpg20131028-185357.jpg

20131028-190146.jpg

20131028-190205.jpg

20131028-190231.jpg

20131028-190253.jpg

20131028-190336.jpg

20131028-190421.jpg

20131028-190515.jpg

Baby Steps Out if the Closet

As I’ve mentioned many times and in many ways in my posts, I’ve got a Special Femme in my life. She’s my muse, my best friend, my co-conspirator in mischief, my sounding board, my purpose, my goal, my home and my heart’s desire. The love we share has absolutely transformed my life in the best possible way.

She has become critically important to me. And so important is her happiness, I am determined that her happiness will not be dashed by my careless action or negligent inaction.

That determination has led me, once again, to think, stew, mull over and obsess about just how and when to come out. You see, loving and honoring her fully is impossible if the part of my identity that is so closely associated with her is hidden or obscured from the other important people in my life.

So, when I began recounting my trip to Australia to friends and work colleagues over the last week, I had a moment of clarity: to really explain the nature of my trip, I needed to talk about Lulu. And in thinking about what to say, I simply could not say less than the truth: she’s my girlfriend and I went to Australia to spend time with her.

The first couple of times, talking to work colleagues, I admit that I was a little awkward in expressing it. But even those awkward chats were liberating, affirming and uplifting in the uniform acceptance and adulation I received. The key is a technique I learned from the sales guys I work with. It’s called a “presumptive sell”, where you assume that the person you’re talking to understands and acknowledges the premise you’re working from and agrees with your position. You presume their agreement and close the sale with little resistance.

In this context, by assuming everyone knows I’m gay and that talking about my girlfriend is natural, I make it easy for them and myself to focus the conversation on the vacation and not the astounding news that I’m not only gay but have an Aussie girlfriend.

Thus, without ever making any dramatic, overt declaration of “I’m gay”, I’ve come out to a dozen of my colleagues in a few conversations, to universal approbation and well wishes.

What’s more, the supportive reactions of the first few built my confidence to the point that I was able to acknowledge that the dread I’ve carried for so long is pointless and to let it go.

So today, during a staff appreciation lunch in which I shared my Oz trip photos, I came out to the people I work most closely with. Sharing pics of Lulu and our fun time together was freeing on so many levels. And their acknowledgement of our relationship, some noting how happy I am since she came into my life, was a type of validation that I didn’t even know I needed. What a relief!

In talking it over joyfully with Lulu afterward, I had another flash of insight. Though these coming out discussions are somewhat safe and innocuous, and their positive outcome empowering, I think I’ve gone about it this way on purpose, at at least subconsciously. Because as more and more arms-length people become aware, the positive pressure to come out to my family increases. It’s as if my subconscious mind recognizes that I need a firm hand in the back to propel me to the inflection point at which my family learn the truth from my lips intentionally, or from one of our mutual acquaintances by accident. Either way, it’s going to happen, and soon.

So…baby steps. First, one vey safe, remote friend. Then a few business acquaintances and colleagues. Then some closer work friends. Now my closest colleagues. Soon, the courage and need will coincide and I’ll tell my brothers and closest family.

What happens, happens. But the important thing is that I’m no longer afraid of the truth and I refuse to hide my bright, lovely Lulu under a bushel any longer.

%d bloggers like this: