(Kim: I might not have today's drawing
done until this evening.)
(Kim: Melissa and her friend (the
guy who is coming to Josh's wedding in Calif.) are coming
over to lunch and
to do a bunch of stuff for that. He hasn't been to our
house so we want it to be especially nice.)
that is very nice. what are you making?
I made baked roots (turnips, rutabaga, zucchini, potato,
onion, and parsnips in a
soy sauce, basmati vinegar,
olive oil, and honey marinade). I also sauteed tofu,
ginger, and portabellos in a little olive oil and soy
sauce. Linda made a shredded carrot salad with
a lemon and cranberry dressing. Melissa and her friend
made an baked apple and oatmeal dessert. It was all delicious.)
As I think more and more about "retirement" it
is interesting to read about your days because my days
would probably be pretty similar.)
Not sure I understand. One of the reasons my days
are so hectic is because I am not retired. And
looking for ways that i can fit in administrative work,
my own outside
creative projects, reading, daydreaming, exercising, alone
time, etc etc.
I certainly don't like the word "retirement" nor do I envision that I'll be "retiring" in
the sense of sleeping.)
If I were not
running a company, I would have more time and I don't
think things would feel so
That seems like an obvious statement but it is hypothetical,
since I do not know. I do know that I rarely
feel like I have enough time for myself and also
that I don't
enough time or perhaps don't designate enough
for purely social stuff with people that is not
I am also increasingly
aware of my need to shift my plans when I feel overstimulated.
I feel like I can handle more interactions than I probably
emotionally and still stay true to myself.
When I allow myself to get locked into perceived obligations
for which I am no longer up, I have noticed
that my subconscious rebels with various destructive
Like overeating or eating things I shouldn't
have or staying up too late so i can have more time
So, I have made a pact with myself to pay more
attention to what I really need. It is not
I am, as are you, over responsible. I want
to honor commitments. I
also have a hard time maintaining boundaries
when people push. However, I most want
to honor myself.
So this is my new or rather, ongoing challenge.
I notice in the weekends I don't have enough time...and
I let so many things "slide."
did ask Linda about my theory that "your
relationships are all the same." She said
it was wrong because it just was.)
I don't know your wife. I think we met ever so
briefly when i came to your house years ago. But
I love my sense of her. She just seems very grounded.
Of course, she is right what she said, "That my
relationships are not all the same." What
I love and perhaps find fascinating is that she didn't
elaborate when you
asked her to explain her position.
Maybe, like me, she thinks your statement is so absurd,
she wouldn't know where to begin to deconstruct
do sometimes, oversimplify, dear Kim.
And Einstein was critical of Neils Bohr ("I am convinced that He (God) does
not play dice.") because he suggested that particles
were not predictable by
a simple formula (I'm in good company...now I just
need his brain.))
And yes I
know, that is an oversimplification. I still believe
(Kim: My mom (she was trained as
psychiatric social worker) said that people who don't
go through therapy
over and over again and have the same problems
that they did before.)
I am in therapy and have been for years. My partners
have all been very different people.
A lot of the problems are mine. How to hold my
ground and not be pushed at.And not
take on someone's anger or disappointment
don't get what they
I am not typical of a lot of women and especially of
a lot of lesbians. I want intimacy but I
also want a lot
of autonomy. I
can't handle the continual stimulation of
togetherness. It was a real problem for me
growing up. Being in a family. Having
very little physical or psychic space that
Perhaps I am wrong but i think the problems in
my relationships vary from person Pseudonym
wants a great deal of attention from me, often does not
the needs of my chosen activities and acts
out all over the place when she does not
get what she wants.
K, my previous girlfriend wanted very little attention.
She was elusive, unreliable, uncomfortable with intimacy.
is very smart and accomplished and we enjoyed
a lot of the same activities. I could have envisioned
a future with
her. But there was very little focus on constructing
a we, with her. It was mostly about her and she could
communicate in a way that I understood. Ultimately,
it was too hurtful and unfulfilling to stay
in it. I didn't see any evidence that it might be different.
was very invested in being right all the
time. So I left.
Very different relationships. And because they were
different, I am
not sure that I was the same Joan in them.
It is Saturday night, about 11 pm. There is much
in the external world I
could be doing tonight. Sara Burke, our new choreographer
has invited me over to join her husband and friends for chili
and drinks. PFLAG is
having their annual party. There are few good concerts calling.
Instead, I have
chosen to be at home, with my birds, in my pajamas,
watching "The Sound of Music and writing to you.
talked a while back about how people tend to rush more
and more these days. I know that most of my days are very
full, including today.
It started early with a holiday brunch party for the
family and friend
members of the Breakfast Club, a support group for
women with breast cancer with whom I am working. Then
I went to the
second half of rehearsal for The DisAbility Project where
Sara and I are creating a new movement piece with the ensemble
We had a little holiday party as well, with snacks and Dionne
We even had a surprise Santa exchange as well
as had guests visiting
from RAC's CAT Institute. So there was a fair amount
of answering questions and information exchanged.
Then I drove out to Chesterfield, truly another world for
me. Got lost
because I couldn't figure out how the highway looped around
but managed to finally find St. Luke's Hospital, where Jackie
one of our artistic associates and Neal Richardson, a musician
friend were doing their final showing for the semester of
a piece they created with pre and adolescent girls.
way home, I was struck with a sudden passionate desire to
bookcases. Very strange. But i recognize
this pattern in myself.
Whenever I find myself really busy, or perhaps feeling like
is layered on top of another without sufficient breathing
or down time, I
start cleaning my desk or buying office supplies.
Some women shop at Famous Barr or Dillard's when
they feel stressed.
I go to Office Depot.
I want to use my time really well.
You and I have talked about how this
is something we really share in common.
I want to take
advantage of everything that is up for the tasting in the
time limited buffet that is life., But—to extend
the metaphor—a lot
of times, my eyes are bigger than my plate. Not
bigger than my appetite,
which is enormous., But then what I can reasonably
And if I am not careful, I get overstimulated. So that
I don't really
savor what is available but am gulping things down
Sometimes, rather than going on to the next activity,
I want to revisit a previous one.
Perhaps it is because of the holidays, which
seems to heighten things
for many people. There were a lot of rich moments today,
which I want to revisit.
The Breakfast Club's holiday sit
down party at the Salad Bowl on Lindell is one. Listening
to Kenita memorialize the
death from cancer of two members this past month. The way
she chose to give up her pain,
frustration and confusion to God. And how we
we all sang gospel songs at the table.
I am thinking
of how, in a crowd of well over a hundred, I was one of
handful of white people. How rarely that is the case. How
I wish I
found or placed myself in circumstances like that more. How
full it felt.
And how comfortable I was.
Maybe it was because
I have been visiting the Breakfast Club for months.
Or because i have cancer`in common with these
women. And once you have been through cancer, you can look
into another survivor's eyes and understand a fundamental
truth that needs no words.
I don't know. I can't know. What
I do know is that it felt good.
Later, at rehearsal, we said
good bye to Casie who has been our intern for six months
and has just completed her Masters
in Social Work from George Warren Brown School of Social
Work. We made her a card and sang and thanked her. And
we talked about what it feels like when people leave because
it is their time to go.
I noticed that Stuart was looking
sad and asked if he had something he
wanted to say. He said that the first half of
the season, this fall,
had been a difficult one, with the death
of Lisi but that his
experience with the DisAbility Project, after eight years
felt richer all
the time. And that he was sad to be separated for a
few weeks until we
reconvene in January. That we are his family and he
Stuart lives in
an assisted care facility—,
a nursing home really— way out in the county where
he and his new girlfriend Diane who also has MS are easily
the youngest people by 30 years.
His MS is pretty advanced and he needs a lot of care physically
these days. He is too frail to go on any of our overnight
performances any more.
Mentally, he is
sharp as a tack and charmed the audience at the V.A. on
Thursday with his comic
routine about being
backstage at a Victoria Secrets fashion show.
Our weekly rehearsals for three hours
are the only time he gets out,
except for doctor appointments. We are a life line
for him, a connection
to the vital world that is out there.
I told him that
I would miss him, and everyone, too. That I would call
and write. And that we should all feel free to continue
connections with each other outside of rehearsal and not just
when I am able to
Then I went over and had a private moment with him where
I touched his face and kissed his cheek. We told each other
that we loved each other. And really, we do. When you think
about it, Kim, we have a very intimate relationship. We
have seen each other almost every week for eight years. With
out for his hospitalizations and surgeries or mine.
Sara invited me to come to her house tonight.
As I was driving
back from Office Depot, I realized that I could rally but
that I didn't want to. I would have to summon up a performing
the party. Or maybe I think I would have to summon up a performing
But i would need to be more present than I thought I could
My days are full
of the performing of one kind of self or another. It is
not necessarily inauthentic. But it is about context
and objectives and requires some calibration of self.
While that might be ok
under most circumstances, I was full with my day. I was sated.
we say at Passover, "Dayenu."
Not that it was too
much. But that it was enough. And in order to be
cherished, I would have to say enough.
Saturday, Dec 17, 2005