Perhaps that post title is a little misleading. Does one need to actually stand on a surf board to hang ten? Or can hang ten reference the ten years I spent in the water on Saturday while the dudes surfed and boogied on bitty waves?
One thing is for sure, my conscience is clear.
This time last year we were making ginger syrup and mashing up cucumbers for our Clear Conscience cocktail to celebrate the one year anniversary of the Pocket Call. If it wasn’t for that cocktail and the pleasant distraction of Mr. Delicious and Mr. Triathlete, I might have lost my composure upon learning of the house tour the Happy Dance Chick did of my abode while I was in Los Angeles picking an inch worm off Mr. Jumpshot. Instead of laughing it off and moving on, I might have tried to have a productive conversation with The Genius after he berated me for not having empathy for how it felt for him to be discarded by me.
Which, of course, would have been totally not productive.
This year, instead of celebrating alone in the marital home, I had dinner with the birthday girl and her friend and took in a little gypsy jazz at Smiley’s, our saloon (it is truly a saloon) in the sleepy beachlet of Bolinas. Over the last two weeks I have ventured into town more than I have in the last six months. It’s been fun and necessary. Bolinas will play a large role in the novel I am so ready to write. First, I give birth next month to something that needs to be published and we launch DivorcedMoms.com on or about October 1st. Then…I’m going to uncork a novel that’s been bottled up for far too long. Bo is the backdrop, but by no means merely a setting.
Bolinas dips her head, So many write about me…can they ever capture my true magic?
I’m going to make it my mission.
But on the two year anniversary of the Pocket Call I needed to turn in early; I had another mission to accomplish in the morning. Outfit the dudes in wet suits and with boards so they could go all NoCal on the waves, pursuing their new passion. One I hope they embrace for life. And just to up the ante, The Genius was coming to Bo with them. Cuz they don’t drive yet. And it was his weekend.
Even though Bolinas can handle it, I haven’t wanted to share her with The Genius. This is my private Idaho. I’m still hyper sensitive to what feels like infiltration – the slow creep of his desire to be friends, which is not because he wants to be friends with me but because he wants the dudes to think I want to be friends with him. Or so that is my feeling.
Since writing about his request to attend therapy together in an effort to have a productive co-parenting relationship I’ve thought a lot about what that relationship would look like. It doesn’t look much different than what it is now. We address the needs of the dudes and move on. Perhaps I’m being naive, but it doesn’t seem to be more complicated than that. The shared custody is fine. No battles there. We’re moments away from signing the divorce papers, which doesn’t make now different from then except that it’s final. And over.
And that’s beautiful. And long overdue.
While I’ve committed to attend a counseling session, I don’t see a grand transformation happening. I don’t want to be friends with The Genius. I am cordial. I’ll talk about the dudes and their needs anytime, without an agenda other than their total well-being. But that’s where it ends. Any sane person can understand why.
Who wants to socialize with someone who betrayed them? Not just made a poor choice, but a long, orchestrated and full frontal betrayal, without an iota of guilt.
Not anyone I know.
However, the dudes were set on surfing, and it was The Genius’ weekend. So a compromise was made, an invitation extended, which he accepted. I would secure used gear in Bolinas at our local surf shop and he would bring the dudes to the beach for the day. I focused not on having him in town or around my friends but on creating a memorable day for the dudes. And it was.
For hours the three of us, clad in wet suits out of necessity, made the Pacific our playground, leaving the water only when necessary. My friends were gracious and welcoming to The Genius as he threw down a towel and opened a chair. For me it was easy – I spent about 5 minutes on shore and the balance of the time in the waves. Having The Genius there was inconsequential. I wasn’t pulled to him, I didn’t repel him. He sat on the beach and I bobbed in the waves.
However, surfing…wow…not easy. At all.
Unless you’re The Mermaid, a six year old girl with crystals for eyes who doesn’t attack the waves but attacks the shore from atop her chariot, a wall of water. Goodness, she is the wave. I’ve not seen anything like it – with the ease and perfect form of a surfer 5 times her age she pops up, crouches and angles to shore, and whether or not she realizes it, she scowls I’m coming for you, as she bears down on land. Fearless.
And seemingly without effort. The Mermaid rocks.
Me? I slide off the board before I can even glance back to spot a swell. Had it been me laying on that door in the movie Titanic, instead of Kate Winslet, I would have rolled over and off a dozen times. Eventually, Leonardi DiCaprio would have shrugged his shoulders and, with a look that said One can try to be valiant only so many times, watched me sink beneath the surface. Me cursing my lack of core strength as my arse took me to the bottom of the sea.
I’ve not attempted to pop up, as if it has been an option, or within my grasp. I’m hoping crawling to my knees and gingerly rising up, then falling off will qualify as surfing. Otherwise I ought to just take up paddle boarding.
Is there something to lean against while you paddle?
But the dudes have hope. They aren’t quite as fearless as The Mermaid (hopefully not due to me) but with a few lessons they’ll be sure to have all the tales to tell – head wounds, stitches, tumbled like sea glass…they already have neck burns from their wet suits which look rather frightening and might result in a call to me from school. Is everything alright at home? And the tall dude has a hip contusion from his board.
I’ve witnessed several near misses as he ducked while the 7 foot fiberglass banana flew overhead, looking back at me with relief in his eyes as it splashed in the water instead of knocking him out cold. Now I know why some surfers wear helmets.
All this and they’ve only been out three times.
Well, better surfing than football.
We wrapped the day near 5, spent. I rinsed off the dudes and poured them into the back of The Genius’ car. Except for a few barbs from him to me and me wanting him to wait in his car instead of coming into the birthday girl’s home to retrieve the dudes (that just felt too friend-ish), all went swimmingly well.
I’m most grateful to my friends for extending themselves without judgment and keeping the day light and airy. They rock. Hugely.
My grand plans for the evening were to kiss, hug and high five, retreat home, go to bed shortly after sundown and rise at 5AM to deep clean the cottage, which was desperate for it. Those plans turned into, I’ll go home and take a shower and meet you for dinner. Then to bed. Which turned into, I’ll go to Smiley’s for a bit and check out the band. Which turned into a tour of the town after dark, a walk on the beach to find the missing bioluminescence, and a return to Smiley’s in time to watch a girl strip off her top for a French boy who was so beautiful he deserved all that and more.
Bolinas knows how to do After Dark.
I’ve only sparingly indulged in adult beverages since July 4th. Mainly on Labor Day weekend and this past Saturday. Now I know why.
My body is too busy being a pendulum to metabolize booze effectively. I had some wine and some tequila (and about a pound of chocolate covered raisins) and am only now feeling slightly human again. For those who aren’t gluten intolerant a large pizza in one sitting might have reversed the damage, but I don’t have that option. Of course, a sound sleep would have helped, but that was shelved in favor of acknowledging yet another mouse kill by High Maintenance Kitty. At 4AM. This time the body was dragged into the Colosseum – a laundry basket, one that I had thankfully emptied before the bloodbath, where it was toyed with mercilessly until it succumbed to death.
I moved slowly on Sunday, cleaning in a haphazard but somewhat effective fashion. As the human me swept out dust monsters from under the couch and tried to limit aimless wandering, my Observer Self was acting like it was the first day of her new job. Notebook in hand, she was busy taking stock of how I felt. How I have been feeling. Drawing pictures of what life looked like a year ago and how it looks now. At one point she turned her sketch pad to me and I saw a girl holding on to a rope, at the bottom was a glowing aquamarine pendulum a few feet above a liquid metal ocean, silver and gray, rippled and wet. Her head was tipped back, long red hair perpendicular to the water as her body flew nearly parallel, one foot wrapped around the rope and perched on top of the crystal, one hand gripping, the other flying. The image didn’t need to be in motion for me to know that she was about to swing the other way, and had been swinging for some time. Nothing suggested inertia in the recent past or the near future.
Inertia was my marriage.
The swinging pendulum me living.
As the pendulum swung, between the Pocket Call and the anniversaries of the Pocket Call, I’ve made choices. If they are to be labeled, some good, some bad. But each choice swung the pendulum. Each choice insuring inertia would be held at bay.
In this second year I see from whence I’ve swung. (I may have to write tongue twisters next.) It’s not keep swinging, keep swinging! Don’t stop swinging! Now, I pause in space, look to a point on the radius of my gyration and aim for it. (You know I had to look that up – that’s what it’s called. Radius of My Gyration. Quite possibly the best band name ever.)
My choices are no longer good or bad, but conscious.
Let’s go there…
And from those choices I collect feelings. I listen to what they have to say – they’re quite communicative, and then further refine my choices. The choices, while neither good nor bad, create how I feel inside. If this all seems like an active endeavor, it is. Like a permanent plank. Every muscle engaged.
If I go unconscious, I still swing. And get dizzy. Maybe fall. But eventually the pendulum will stop swinging. I’ll be disoriented. Lost. Directionless.
In the first year post Pocket Call all that swinging felt like the Swing Ride at the county fair – around and around and around. Even with my eyes open, and all that self excavation I did, I still felt woozy and clutched the chains, sure they were bound to snap. After I realized the swinging was not going to stop anytime soon I closed my eyes, retreating. It was all too intense. A million rotations later, I peeked out with one eye, looking to the horizon to settle my nervous stomach.
I saw Bolinas.
And now I’m perched on a crystal pendulum. The rope isn’t swinging me, we’re a team. Picking a destination, making a conscious choice and reveling in the opportunity to really feel how it feels when we get there.
Best part? I can see the entire radius of my gyration. Like over there where I fully realize my spiritual nature. And over there where there is a mountain, patiently waiting. My Ego is behind the mirror on that side, busy gazing at its reflection. Quiet and absorbed. Leaving me to fly to and fro, weightless. There is a man. Lately I’ve felt his presence. He’s waiting for me to finish the necessary big swings and come to equilibrium.
Not a dead stop. Not inertia.
But the gentle and constant sway of a centered being living a conscious, magical and fearless life.