August 6, 2017

When I told me housemate I was rebounded, she told me that sounded too negative. "You're just trying to date and figure out my relationships with men," she said.

Perhaps. I'm not so sure.

I've had some wacky things happen that I haven't shared here.

In March, I volunteered at a Burning Man conference. It was days before starting my new job, and months after diving into grad school as a single mom. I decided my perk for volunteering four days of my time would be getting laid. I didn't worry about the how.

On day three, I managed to sneak away from my station so I could listen to my longtime friend and current CEO of Burning Man speak. We had been encouraged as volunteers to dress in our playa weirdest. That day, I was wearing a green Hello Kitty cheerleading dress from a clothing exchange at American Steel, and I was carrying these cheap green Pom Poms I'd bought in amazon. I sat down near the door so I could sneak back to my station unnoticed. That's when I saw him noticing me.

There were about ten empty seats between us. We looked up and smiled at each other a few times. I got up my nerve, collected my Pom Poms, and walked over to the empty chair next to him. I asked if it was okay if I sat there. He said yes, and then he told me, "I was a cheerleader in high school."
I replied, "So, when most of the guys were at football practice, you got to ride in the bus with all the cheerleaders?"
"Yep," and he gave me a heart melting grin.

We whispered a little during her talk, and when she was through I told him I had to return to work and gave him my card. He found me a little later and asked if we could meet at the party at NIMBY that night.

I found him about an hour after I'd arrived and he said he'd been looking for me. He seemed annoyed. It was a huge party. I was a little surprised he wouldn't shoot the funny hydraulic gun at one of the interactive stations with me, but we flirted and talked and wandered around and then an old friend came up and he wandered off but found me later on the dance floor. The party ended soon after, and my housemate called a lyft. He jumped in with us. We had two conference attendees staying with us. One was asleep; her partner came up and welcomed us home. She told me later he woke her up excitedly, saying, "Absinthia brought a guy home!"

I drove him back to his hotel the next morning, and we met up that night at the closing party. I spent that night at his hotel, and he confessed he'd pocketed my panties that morning. I thought that was hot.

The next morning, he flew home and I started my job.

He texted me a bunch, and I was happily surprised when I realized we were staying in touch. But things got weird fast. I wouldn't hear from him for days on end, and then he'd send me an article on how to be a Power Couple. One night, friends walked in my home for dinner and found me a complete mess. It had been over a week since we talked, and he sent me a message about how he loved me and had been thinking about our kids and living in different states and had no idea how to make it work. I had no idea what to do wth this information when one friend suggested I invite him to the campout the following month. So I did.

He didn't reply.

A few days went by. I emailed him how confusing that was for me, and he told me I was being dramatic. He said he'd love to but had to check his custody. A lot of time went by. Out of the blue one day, he texted me his travel plans. He was coming. The weekend was Friday to Monday, and he was coming Thursday till Tuesday. I told him to come Friday. It weirded me out, I didn't want him to meet my kid, but he changed his plans. I relaxed and got excited.

When he showed up, we had a wonderful drive. We held hands and kissed, stopped for lunch. We talked and laughed. We got the dance floor and had a great time after setting up camp. We had sex but it was a little awkward and quick.

The next morning he jumped out of bed without touching me. We talked about our plans and ideas for the day, made breakfast, that sort of thing. I sensed a weird energy pull from him any time I tried to do something. Being an equal partner is important to me; it felt like he couldn't handle that. By the time we got to the river later that day, he told me, "You're pretty bossy, you know." My heart sank. I told him I was sorry he was feeling that way, and that I had sensed a power struggle earlier. Perhaps we can bring that up and work on it and talk about it when it happens?"

It took a few hours, but by nightfall, he was ignoring me and not making eye contact. Still, he only knew the few people I'd introduced him to around camp. We went to the dance floor and he acted bored until camp mates turned up, and he lit up and hugged each one. I was hurt and confused.

We had some conversations that stopped me in my tracks. He trash talked his ex wife a lot. He started talking about anal sex and how his wife wouldn't do it, how he's longed for someone to fuck him in the ass for a very long time. Okay, maybe we can make that happen. He asked me about several people and whether they were a man or a woman. I replied with the gender they presented and didn't think much of it. He asked, "Are you sure??? Do you really know?"
"Why does it matter?"
"Oh my god because it matters!" He replied.

I will say one interesting conversation we had was about deaths we'd seen. I brought up safe sex, and he was surprised. He'd never heard of anyone he knew with AIDS. I've lost several. He said it was pills and heroin that he'd seen in Salt Lake City. Living in New York, San Francisco, and Oakland, I hadn't seen very much of that. But AIDS, definitely. That disease really affected my life.

He told me about his upbringing and that he was kicked out of the Mormon church when he was 14. Um. That should come first, pal, not in the middle of the mountains with 500 of my closest friends.

The next morning, it was worse. I left camp shortly after breakfast, and didn't return for hours. I just wanted to get away from him. My campmate collected me at dinner time, told me there was food, and she told me that I should try to engage with him. I did. We ate and went to the dance floor, and I saw him disengage with me and act bored. I walked away calmly and put myself to bed.

We left the next morning. I said, "I'd like you to find somewhere else to stay tonight, please."
"Oh, okay. Is there something I said to upset you?"
Wait what? Does he feel everything's fine between us? I asked him that, he said he wasn't sure, and I asked him about the bossy comment. He got very defensive and it was impossible to communicate. I went silent and after he sent a few texts he made arrangements, and I dropped him off at bart after the longest four hour drive ever.

He came around to my side of the car and said, "I'm sorry things didn't go smoothly between us. Thank you for an amazing weekend. I've never been to that part of California and I really enjoyed it. Can I have a hug?"

I gave him a quick hug and drove home, relieved to have him out of my life. Later that night, he texted me all about where he was staying and how it had worked out and signed it Loves!!!

I unfriended him the next morning. By the evening, I saw his name was not bold in my camp mates post tagging him. He'd blocked me.

There it is, out in the open for all its weirdness. It is so hard to be human. I promise to post more weird stories like this as they happen. They seem to happen a lot.

January 11, 2017

Let love rule, and let the brain decide when that love is safe to trust with the heart.

heartfullness__burning_man_2013__by_tstaxel-d6l4yc7
Heartfullness by Katy Boynton

Alexa and I saw a rainbow on the way to school this morning. The storm is over. I am now sitting at my desk, where I can see Angel Island and Mt. Tam for the first time since I returned from my travels. I spent three weeks in summer and returned to a deluge of rain. I was awakened around midnight to a flash of light and the roll of thunder in the distance.

As I walked Lake Merritt with my dog while the sky was clearing this morning, I felt a blog post coming on. As often happens, an image appeared to me first. The feeling comes second, and the words after that. I recently watched Spark, A Burning Man documentary again. I don’t often rewatch films; this one I have now seen three or four times. In the film, Katy Boynton’s Heartfullness was featured. I had never really focused on that aspect of the film before, as I know many people in the film (there’s even a scene with me in the background) and watched on my friends. This time, her story stood out for me.

Her piece is a heart, broken and shattered and welded back together. I don’t have much experience welding. I took a course once at the Crucible and surprised myself by making straight seams right away. I think my years of training as a photographer in the darkroom may have helped me. Piecing together my heart? That I have a lot of experience with. I see my heart a lot like her art. The shape is there, the outlines, the contour of a heart. But the heart itself is broken into many different pieces, all welded together. There are some holes here and there, but together, the pieces all make up a still beating, still loving heart.

The door to the the inside of the heart is really what I was thinking about this morning. Her piece has one panel that opens to a soft inner chamber. In the film, you can see participants climb in and snuggle on soft faux fur. But not anyone can access that chamber – you have to open the door and climb in.

I love the image of own heart as a jagged bit of broken pieces welded back together with a soft, fuzzy center accessible by a door. When I was younger, anyone could climb into my heart and play there as they see fit. Now, I am a stronger and more aware adult that has experienced (more than?) my share of heart ache and grief. I no longer ignore my head and let anyone in my heart. With the tremendous amount of work in the last six months, my head and my heart are aligned better than ever. My head is the one to say who can open the door to my heart and who cannot. I have changed and learned so much, and the perhaps biggest growth has been to realize that my heart will no longer just open to anyone at anytime, but that my head has to give my heart the okay. If the situation or connection isn’t fully there, my heart won’t open to that soft, fuzzy core. Sure, this is a form of protection that comes from being hurt, and yet, I know it is right for me at this time. I know that when the connection and situation is right, my head will walk my heart through the process of opening the door and giving access. It doesn’t mean I won’t be hurt again, it means I will be wiser about whom I let in.

My word for Burning Man 2016 was connection. It was a powerful mantra that brought me special friendships and many hugs. On this 11th day of 2017, I will continue with connection, adding on ease, focus, and clarity. I am proud to be at a point in life where I can trust my head to tell my heart to open or not.

Let love rule, and let the brain decide when that love is safe to trust with the heart.