Friday, November 29, 2019

Gratitude

With Thanksgiving come and gone and the idea to give thanks, to be grateful or to be "blessed" (an expression I loathe thanks to the ever present use in Nashville) is a part of ones repertoire in the coming season.   I use privilege and in turn the concept of gratitude when it comes to that word and that state of being.   I am privileged financially and in turn it has enabled me to live well and for that I am grateful.  That is it when it comes to the idea of privilege the rest of the world only sees me in the sense of that aspect as the curiosity and interest I attract now is because of the way I live.  I have no other feature that a woman of 60 has.   We are past the age of sexual attraction, we are past our prime working age and if you have children you are entering the second phase of motherhood, which is grandparenting.

Funny I am more curious, more intelligent, more articulate, more interesting, funny, driven and passionate about most things than I was at age 30.  The woman at 30 was trying to find her way, confused, alone and utterly stupid.  I pretty much stayed that way until 40 and then the box of Pandora opened.  I realized I was in a marriage of one, I hated my chosen profession that I entered in at 35 to somehow meet an obligation or standard that we set for women and why I married to a man who I did not love but I liked and actually got on well with in a business sense but I never really cared about men but sex yes and I was curious and driven about that for most of that decade.  I was discreet, indiscreet and utterly consumed by it and by 50 it was taken from me when a boy of 22 decided to drug me and enable me to get behind a wheel of a car and nearly kill myself. Then my fate became the fate of others who had no interest in me but in what I could offer them financially or in scalps as that is what Prosecutors do - collect scalps.  The past seven years passed as one nightmare of the next reeling from Lawyer to Lawyer, to Courtroom to Courtroom.  Anger, rage and fear dominated me but determination had never left and that calling card was being thrown left and right.  When I landed in Nashville to finally fix my teeth that were deteriorating at a rapid clip thanks to the stress and age that were colliding like my car with that metal pole on the night of February 12, 2012, the night I died and was for whatever reason not allowed to.  So to prove the point I lived and like a Hurricane I blew my rage and anger through whatever I touched and I landed in Nashville in 2016 to find something better.  Well hurricanes are not known for settling well and that was the first warning as the after storm is what truly brings damage.

I chose Nashville because of many reasons and my dental care was only part of it. The ability to retain a drivers license and get it transferred to Tennessee was essential as they are not part of the interstate drivers commerce law.  And  as I suspected that I would lose my appeal regardless I needed to get a new identity and that the state also closes name change records was another.  I knew all of this before hand and I knew that a city of dreamers and aspiring singers are all those changing identities and dreams so I thought I could fit in with few questions asked.  They ask questions in Nashville  but they have to do with what brought you here, who are your people and what Church you belong so I had the answer to one as for the other two I had no idea that those are the most important and critical questions of which I had no answer.  It was my first lesson that I learned my new home was more complex that I believed and I realized I knew little of the South and the lessons it would teach me in the three years I resided there.

I am grateful that I am coming to the end of my time in Nashville for despite now living in Jersey City I have to return three more times to finish what I started and once again leaving my fate and care into the hands of others has done little to proving me right that it is a shitty idea to trust anyone in that aspect.  Sorry but no one has your best interests but you and you alone.  All the family one has may find that to be not true but there are just as many that have found that also to be less true.  Yet this time of year regardless of your beliefs you abandon them to travel near and far to somehow prove yourself right - regardless.

I don't need a day to share a meal I would love to simply have any day to share a meal with someone and briefly in Nashville I did.  I finally understood the concept of family and what it would be like to have a child and in that moment it enabled me to learn and understand the concept of unconditional love and for that I do express gratitude.  But then again in life's wisdom to remind me that entrusting my care and my soul to others is something that is not for me.  The betrayal of that friendship hurt me more than my Divorce, than my years of overcoming the hideous nightmare that began in 2012 and the loss of teeth and health.  I never thought one single person had that power and even my parent's deaths were not as devastating as for that I understood it was a part of life.  I had been careful to avoid such commitments as the genocide of the 80s in the Gay community took its toll. I had even avoided pets but when I was married and I found Emma that relationship with that dog was the longest I have ever had and not a day goes by where I do not think of her and of that love we shared.  It is in their DNA that dogs are compelled to love and for that I express gratitude but like all loves of one's lives that is not easy a replacement.

So yesterday at Yoga the theme was gratitude and again I pulled from the intention basket this:  I forgive those who have harmed me in my past and peacefully detach from them.

For me whose office door is posted a note from Confucius:  To be wronged is nothing unless you continue to remember it.

I choose to remember all of it, everyone and often find myself in a place where I cannot help myself from endlessly replaying the loop in my head how and why it all went wrong.  The night of the 12th I did not do anything wrong but I was poisoned and left for dead and it was again a Gay man who made sure I did not pass into this good night alone but the boy who walked up to the car and the one I am sure in passing as he commented to this hero "She is still alive" as he reached into the car for what purpose I doubt to check on my status and walked into the night was the boy who tried to kill me and from that point on I have always known he will do this again and he is not my responsibility nor one I need to think about in any way.  And I rarely do or did until Ethan.  And the night he read to me the passage from Deuteronomy about being God's Warrior and the hate that it filled my home with I thought once again I invited my death into my home and I was afraid, very afraid.  I could not believe that history was repeating itself and that this boy I loved as a son meant any of it but as time wore on I realized the depth and breadth of his ability to lie and if he would lie about this - this he claimed was the most essential core of his being - Religion and Faith - he would lie about anything.  I have no intention of even accidentally running into this boy on return visits and yet yesterday I reminded  myself that I was grateful for that relationship regardless how it ended for it ended badly.  But at least with no one in a hospital near death so at least that is an improvement; however, I can forgive and detach and move forward using that as a tool in my kit to remind myself once again why I do not trust others to be responsible for my well being.  Sorry folks but I am a loner, independent and I am fine on my own.  And sitting down to eat I was not lonely just alone and fine with it.

The day before I found a Farmer's Market and in my encounters with the vendors (all women) I shared how I found this place and how I ended up moving to the area and that it was the best unplanned and oddly random ways I find my way here as it seems that without the planning, the research and analytics that I do to even make the most routine of decisions brought me here to this place right now and that from this I will find a new place that I can call home and for the rest of my life never stop finding and discovering new places in this my new home.

So as I plan on returning to Nashville the next few months I plan on detaching and letting go of the anger and rage that I have still tucked in the back of my carry on.  I will throw it in the dumpster on my last day there. I often use that analogy as I frequently have said that most people seem to think that is where I belong.  I thought that in Seattle those years from 2012 to 2016 and that thought followed me right into Nashville. And I called the schools that that too leant itself to my rage and fear.   It was if I could never crawl out of it and have a life of one's own.   But how can you when so many there are in the same way all fighting to get out of where we were tossed.   But that is not my experience here, I have not met anyone here who has done the same and that may also be me as I am in a new place with a new beginning and that is my white light that had eluded me in the "vile".  That said it is critical that  I do want to remember those who were not that and I look forward to seeing them and hearing of their lives and their happiness and share mine.  And that seems to have met the maximum of the fingers on one hand.  A quote my mother used to say: "You should be able to count on one hand the people that matter."  And funny I can in this case.   And like many of the signs and markers that align the streets of Nashville I got an email from one of those and it made me smile and laugh with tears in a good way. The same tears that flowed when shared my story with the vendors at the market.  It reminds that I matter and that is all one wants in life - to matter.    But we often think it is that is which makes us  happy, our relationships to others,  and perhaps that is true but I did not come here to be "happy" as I cannot define that in that way.  Yes I want to matter and I try to matter in all my encounters with others no matter how brief but that comes from a place of security and confidence and that is what I feel now, confident.   And it was that which eluded me the last seven years and thankfully now it has found a resurgence.  Although like all things it too ebbs and flows but  it is from that I can move on and peacefully detach.  For without those experiences, those people, good or bad,  I would not have landed here and that is what matters, where one lands not where one came from or how, why and who brought them here.  I get those questions too but they are less sinister in tone and more of curiosity and interest.  (Although the money question is never far behind it is something I know as a woman of a certain age is always going to be asked) I never thought that in Nashville anyone actually gave a shit,  for it is too tribal, too nativist and too obsessed with money and religion to enable anyone to get to know anyone without reason.   And those I met in Nashville need to learn that the present matters more than the past and without the past we have no present and I live definitely in the present. And that was the greatest lesson I learned in my three years of existing for it was not living but without it I could not have existed and that is the balance of life. And funny that the place that defines itself on its hospitality could take lessons from the place thought of less about it and more about money.  Take it and reverse it for like all things here they are direct and to the point and perhaps that is what truly matters.  I matter but most importantly to myself and for that I am grateful.


 And suddenly you know.  It's time to start something new and trust the magic of beginnings.
                                                            - Meister Eckhart


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