Having my former spouse take me to court to reduce spousal and child support will not make me fall off a cliff. I’ll just enjoy the view and deal with the outcome.
I’m not going to blame the Doctor. Who would think a woman, at 48, could grow gonads? (As if age is the only reason to doubt it.) Of course she would assume subcutaneous hematoma! I only mentioned one, but there were two hematomas. It’s just that the other one was only painful, not excruciatingly painful, so it did not captured my full attention.
Woman, always a moment away from a hot flash, grows gonads on her way into full blown menopause as her former spouse petitions the court to reduce her spousal and child support and her children want to know why she doesn’t have a penis.
I feel like I’m in a Judy Blume novel…
Just a few weeks back The Dudes, in all their extreme cuteness, asked me why I don’t have a penis. At first I thought they meant, why don’t I have a boyfriend. And then I snapped out of it and realized they were pondering the difference between male and female genitalia. Do you have balls, they asked? I casually replied, No.
And then the next few weeks unfolded in such a way that I came to understand my absolute need for balls. Thoughts become things!
As with all newly formed gonads, they haven’t dropped down yet. But I’ve started using them, nonetheless.
I drove to Los Angeles this past weekend. The cousins and Aunt Awesome beckoned. As did Mr. Jumpshot. All the way down the 5, past fruit trees and feed lots (UGH!), I pondered why I attract narcissists or those leaning in 😉 to narcissism. Was it a product of being attracted to confident, shiny men? Nope. Because narcissism is one “I” away from lack of confidence and low self-esteem in many cases.
My Dad was successful and confident. And he was not narcissistic in any way. The most ‘look at me’ thing he did was wear his Mickey Mouse night shirt and speed walk through the house before bed so we would all laugh at him.
Then there were the golf pants with little fire engines and turkeys and sailboats, and one red leg and one green one, that he wore with a shirt that screamed STOP LIGHT. It was horrifying. But he pulled it off, and even as a teen I could deal with it. I knew he wore them because he thought they were fun, not because he was trying to BE somebody. (I have those pants in my closet. One day I’m going to make them into pillows. He’ll love that.)
My Dad worked in a profession he loved. And he worked tirelessly to support his family. As with many of us who are far removed from childhood, I have such an appreciation for his passion, his work ethic and how he never threw himself a pity party as he carried the full weight of his work and the need to support his family on his shoulders. This big shot corporate executive with his lips pursed and his nose crinkled, his elbows bent, arms pumping, scurrying through the house with a life-sized Mickey on his larger than life Swedish frame, garnered respect, despite having a stutter, because it was never all about him, but about doing the right thing. He was a man.
It’s okay to be attracted to successful men. Those who have a plan and execute it. Those with aspirations that they believe they can achieve, because they believe in themselves. Those who take failure in stride, knowing that it’s part of the process. They aren’t manic about wins or losses. They have their priorities straight. They don’t just HAVE values, they make their choices based on their values. They don’t need their light to shine brighter than all the others.
They aren’t shiny.
They simply shine.
Okay. Whew. So glad I got to that, because I was trying to picture myself with a quiet librarian and it just wasn’t working. (NO offense to quiet librarians. Some of my best friends…)
And no offense to Mr. Perfect Timing. But he’s the only sort-of relationship I’ve had since the Pocket Call. One where the future was discussed – mainly by him, but certainly not against my will. I have spent a fair amount of time mulling over that Lifetime movie. Studying up so I can ace the final. Because that is going to be the final time I experience anything like that. Ever.
Not that anyone knows him, and he doesn’t read the blog, but I don’t want it to appear as if I’m pointing fingers at him, criticizing him for his choices. Those who have been with me here at HGM for a long time understand that I firmly believe people come into our lives at our request to play a role. Sometimes that role is the antagonist. In the case of Mr. Perfect Timing, he came to shake me up and let me go. He came to show me who I really am. Not who my Ego would prefer I be so that it can battle back at all the drama that ensues.
Progress was made on a stand up paddle board. Although I wasn’t standing. My cousin, Blake Lively, and I rented paddle boards at…wait for it…Mother’s Beach in Marina Del Ray. Okay. She’s not really Blake. But she could get us into trendy restaurants without a wait, score front row seats at fashion shows and make men weep. So I’m calling her Blake. Total doppelgänger. We haven’t spent much time together. She’s quite a bit younger than I am. But we have a solid connection. And a bit of a shared past. At least when it comes to attracting The Shiny.
Blake moved out of Marin when I moved in. She decided it was time to go home to her family and her high school sweetheart. Escalating that desire was the text she found after her friend said, Did you see the way they looked at each other? The THEY being Blake’s then boyfriend and a married woman as the two couples shared dinner. Clearly, that’s not all they shared. The text was rather explicit. And offensive, given both were in committed relationships, one being a marriage and the other heading in that direction.
Blake referred to The Thrill – my version of The Shiny – exciting future plans, adventurous excursions, bursts of romance and intrigue. Visions of a future together that was anything but pedestrian. Like a romance novel! I nodded.
(But not enough to knock me off my board, which would still have been possible even though I was sitting on my bum. For the record, I did stand up. I paddled. Even out into shipping lanes. If you consider yachts and sailboats and tiny water taxis to be ships. Which, while on that board, I did. Consistent with my self-analysis on physical pursuits, I am not a natural at SUPing, but I didn’t fall off. I played it safe. Typical. Next time, I’ll bring my new balls. And knee pads. And I’ll stop now…this is a family blog. Kind of.)
…like a romance novel… A romantic fantasy that would have eventually collided with reality. In reality, Mr. Perfect Timing and I are not a good fit. I pushed away the fact that he didn’t like to swim – in the ocean, lakes or pools, even. He didn’t want to throw on a backpack and climb Rainier, or Mount Diablo even. He did walk in sand with me, even though he’s not keen on the beach. I could sense it was a one-off. In two short months, I rationalized how I could still pursue my passions while creating a future with him.
…sounds familiar to me…
Our paddles pushed against the sandy bottom as Blake delivered to me the epiphany I was seeking:
I was about ready to hand over the coolest parts of me so I could be part of a WE, thinking that The Shiny was worth it.
Mr. Perfect Timing and I played off each other. As I said, he shook me up like a snow globe and then put me down so I could see who I really am when all the glitter sunk. He put me down when he got what he needed from me. To be adored. And while he said he adored me, he didn’t. He could have, one day. But his present day agenda didn’t involve me. I just played a role.
Blake is now married to her high school sweetheart. She brings to that relationship a clear sense of how important it is for her to share the lead role in their relationship. She realized happiness is pure with a man who shines naturally; one who doesn’t need her to hide up in the rafters of his theater, manning the spotlight. And that if she is busy shining the spotlight on him, he can’t see her.
As I drove back north I made some progress. I can spot a narcissistic man now. And not condemn him. But for sure not get involved with him. (Some of my best friends are…I kid, I kid.) There’s The Shiny and The One Who Shines. The one who is content, happy, smiles from within so broadly that it can be seen for miles. I can’t push away my simple desires – to be adventurous, to push myself physically and mentally, to not fear my emotional body but nurture it as it is one of the very best parts about being human – and expect to remain whole. Expect to be seen.
And then a kitten made it all come together. T messaged me on FB and said: “…and a narcissist will see all the joy and love and energy [you] bring to the world, the difference being they want that for themselves, not to share themselves with [you].”
And that’s where the balls come in. I need The Shiny like I need two pints of Ben & Jerry’s to start my day. Overindulgence is never a good thing. And I have been used far too many times in my life. I can pass off that baton now. I’m not here to make others look good. Been there, done that, got the bruises. That irresistible pull that I’ve felt from a few men in my life will be the thing that makes me pull out my scissors and cut their lasso.
I’m not a conquest.
I am a woman. With balls.