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Right Action/Wrong Time
Right Action/Wrong Time (Mouse Over)

Dear Kim,

You wrote recently about your grief about losing your son to the foreign land of marriage and we dialogued about how beauty can contain its own kind of grief.

Yesterday was one of those kinds of days for me.

It started off well enough. In fact, it started off beautifully.

I got up very early. Meditated, exercised, already feeling pleased and in sync with the day. Because no matter how much good work I get done, if I don't attend to those most primary of self care needs, my day is not right.

I love the people who work in my office. We get along well, all work very hard and yet there is room for joking, and singing and also space if someone needs it.

We had a very productive meeting with a Wash U professor who may be able to help us make connections with some of our projects.

And then Pseudonym stopped by unexpectedly, flushed, in the throes of some feeling that had nothing to do with the space between us, or the reality that we are trying to construct. And certainly nothing to do with our last exchange at couples therapy. It was feeling that was on her end and not in relation to me, except perhaps in her head and her heart.

She had called but I was in a meeting so I didn't get the call. Laurie, who works in the office and loves love like a 2006 version of a flower child, knows Pseudonym is my lover. So she probably said, sure, come on by.

I don’t know if that is what happened

What I do know is that I was coming out of a meeting, preoccupied and distracted, and there she was in the lobby with flowers in her arms and her heart on her sleeve. She was running late and couldn't stay. But she wanted to give the flowers to me.

And she had written a very romantic card, saying that love is in actions. So she was taking action. And she wrote about how beautiful I am and how much she loves me.

I felt blindsided. Where some might have swooned at such a gesture, I felt intruded upon and manipulated.

I do agree that love in an action, but the action for me is not giving flowers.

It is in being supportive so that I can live my life freely and attend to own needs, whether that be writing, reading, daydreaming, or traveling, very little of which Pseudonym has been able to support easily without frequently objecting that it takes time from her. From our relationship.

I like to be in relationship with someone. I prefer to share. To have perspectives other than my own. But I have always needed to spend a lot of time alone as well as to make space for other people and pursuits. People who are outside my primary relationship.

Please bear with me as I work my way thorough and out of the current state of this relationship, into its transformation into the friendship I hope it can become. I know from your vantage point, the writing is on the wall. It is not partnership that works. I know that, too. But I am actually learning a lot about myself in the not working. I am learning what I need in order for something to work and the ways I need to take care of myself and set boundaries to even identify and implement what can work.

So there is a method to this seeming madness. I understand why I need to hang with this a while longer.

But it was unsettling to have Pseudonym show up and to show up with the grand gesture. I don’t like anyone to just show up. It is not about rigidity. I prefer to manage my time and thoughts when I am working. I have had to exercise a certain kind of discipline or I could never have managed an essentially freelance life all these years.

There was beauty in the gesture.

In Pseudonym’s offering her heart so freely.

There was beauty in the packaging.

On such a gray winter's day, who could look askance at daffodils, and roses and lilies and birds of paradise, for goodness sake?

I have to give her 10 points for style. She is one stylish girl.

Yet within the beauty of that gesture, was a kind of grief for me, because it had little to do with where I was at that particular moment, and where we are. It was a gesture played out at me, instead of with me.

In some ways, it symbolic zed the death our relationship as we had hoped it would be.

It is funny that you said the other day that it seems to take you a while to figure out what you are really feeling. I was that way last night, as well. I suddenly felt exhausted by feeling and the gesture and needed to take a nap.

Later,

Joan

Thursday, Jan 5, 2006

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