The Impossible (more single complications)

"Look, all the light's gone out of your pretty face, just like it's gone out of George." *
My mind and heart are divided against themselves. Conflicting desires, the cold steely knife of reason, and the ache of longing and regret all swirl around inside me. I lost the best relationship and the best man I've ever had because I'm Mormon. That wasn't the only reason, but it was primary. Otherwise, we would have lasted much longer. He wouldn't have been so fatalistic about our future. And if there had been sex, he wouldn't have broken up with me when he did. The truth is, unless a man is looking for a wife, there's no reason for him to pursue a Mormon woman.

The other men I lost for that reason were no loss. They weren't worth my time. This one, was different. Very different. No one else ever treated me so well in all my life. He had everything I wanted in a man, and more, he is: passionate, witty, intellectual, smolderingly sexy, talented, affectionate, and geeky and dark in all the right ways. He was my bespectacled Smiths boy. We loved the same kinds of things, music, movies and our nerdy stuff. I liked his novels and stories, he liked talking about my work. Our oddness was perfectly suited for one another. Being with him was . . . there wasn't enough time in a day.

Also unlike the others, he liked all of me. I wasn't his trophy. He really loved me. He loved everything about me, everything except the Mormon thing. The Mormon and celibacy thing. Can that kind of difference be worked out? Others have done it. Many have not. I wanted to try. He thought it was impossible, "We're too different."
"Not really. We're completely compatible, except for religion."
"That's big."
Sigh . . . "I suppose."

So, he ended it and went away.
Reluctantly. Torn. Hurting.

As for me, "I won't be okay and I won't pretend I am." **

How am I supposed to deal with this? Everything inside me screams at me to give it up and go be with him. But I can't. I made promises to God. A God I cannot see nor touch. My commitment to those promises has to compete with the most visceral and real of human experiences, that of loving another, a person I can see and touch. Someone I miss so much it makes my body hurt. And as I miss him, I have to remember my promises, recommit to them even. I have to fight myself in order to keep my resolve against the other parts of me, the parts that hurt. This sends me through combinations of sadness, anger, longing, love, hurt, regret, denial, confusion, and grief. Those feelings are normal for a serious break-up, but the religion aspect adds layers of emotional complication. Because something good in my life got tangled up with something really bad. Because I loved that man, but I also love my God.

Sometimes, when I let my mind drift, I think about how much easier it would be to give in. Give up the fight and go back to him. Let him love me the way he wants to. But, I can't. I can't because I know what I know. I can't deny the life that I've had, a lifetime of being loved by my God. For as long as I can remember, He loved me, always, when no one else did. He was there and I knew it. I survived my childhood solely because of that relationship. Without it, I would have killed myself, really. That was the one thing that kept me from putting a blade through my veins. How can I ever turn my back on that? I will not. Not for anyone. Not for a man I love, and not for myself.

Regardless, I'm wise enough to know that renouncing my religion would not save the relationship. It would forever come between us. I'd always resent him for it and he'd always feel guilty. That alone is enough to destroy a relationship. And, no one should sacrifice themselves, who they are, for a relationship. That's what I would be doing. It would create an imbalanced and unhealthy partnership, doomed from the start.

Still, part of me yearns to give in anyway. The foolish and physical parts want my will to break. Luckily, I am stronger than that. (Luckily? Really?) So I keep clinging to my resolve. And I try to comfort myself. I remember to believe that this too shall pass, that my feelings will fade.  I'm just not sure how long it will take, or how to clear away the emotional sludge. I really hope it goes away. There is nothing I can do now but wait.

Logically, I know I could find someone else, somewhere there must be someone who will accept all of this, who will accept me. But, right now, I don't want someone else. I can't imagine anyone I would like more. It's him. He's the one I want to be with. He is so extraordinary and wonderful, and it took me 34 years to find him.  Yes, there will be more men. They've already come back and are crawling around. But, since I couldn't work these things out with him, I wonder if I ever will with anyone.  It feels impossible, like this kind of goodness will never happen again.

"There's only one thing impossible, that is to love and to part." 

*--Mr. Emerson, A Room With a View

**--Snow Patrol, "Just Say Yes" (Download)

**NOTE: To those concerned commentors, thank you. But I absolutely did not give up, I tried to fight for us. HE BROKE UP WITH ME. I wanted to keep going.


Single Complications

Married life is complicated. Granted. Not being married, I don't have to deal with raising children, complex budgets and schedules, living with other people and all the other tangible complications of having a family. But, not having to deal with those complexities does not make my life simple. Regarding tangibles, yes, it is simple. I only have to take care of myself. I have far fewer responsibilities. However, it's the things you don't see that make single lives complicated. I am not suggesting my life is harder than anyone else's, it isn't. But my life and those of other singles are as hard as everyone else's. Some married people seem to think otherwise. They're wrong.

For example, what seems a simple act, getting myself to church on Sunday is anything but simple. I don't have to drag kids out of bed or get them fed and dressed. But, the difficulty is psychological. Because I know it makes me feel bad to go to church. Sometimes I go home in tears because it's the loneliest place in the world. But, I also know it's good for me. In general, my life runs more smoothly when I attend. For whatever reason, it makes me better equipped to handle my problems. (It's also healthy for the physical brain to spend a few hours each week thinking of positive and spiritual things. It improves brain function) So, I know I need to go. I need to demonstrate my faith by making the effort to attend. In other words, if I don't go, I feel bad. And, if I do go, I feel bad.

In the long run, it's better to suck it up and go to church, it ultimately reduces my suffering. In the short term, it's very hard. There have been years of my life when I couldn't force myself to do it. For three years straight I set my alarm clock every Sunday but never made it. Sometimes I'd get so far as to dress, a few times I even drove half-way there only to turn around and go home. The whole production of getting myself to church is a battle between my ego and my superego. On a drowsy Sunday morning, after going out on Saturday night, my Superego is usually sleeping. Which means I shut the alarm off, roll over and join it.

Another psychological complication of being single is the simple act of seeking comfort after a bad day. How does a 30-something single cheer herself up? We all have our tricks: eat ice cream, watch bad tv, go shopping, escape on the computer. Those things work for a minute, as a distraction. In the end they are empty and the temporary comfort passes quickly. You can visit your friends or call them to talk, that works better. But, people are busy. And they get tired of hearing about it. They have more important things to do, like feed their kids.

As friends get married and multiply, you lose your backup support. They start to say things like, "Why can't you just get over it?" and, "You'll feel better if you get a life." They forget what it was like to be alone. Then it gets harder to make that call. So you learn it's easier, simpler, to indulge in your distractions instead: over-eat, take a bath, go to bed. Often, those things make you feel worse. But trying to do something to really make yourself feel better is too hard.

The worst part of being single is the complex horror show that is modern dating. Enough said. Oh, and worse than that, the relationship, made more complicated if inter-religious.

Try having a serious romantic relationship with a person who doesn't believe in your religious chastity laws. That's complicated. You have to explain. You have to convince him you're not crazy, just weird. You have to draw a line, a line that gets moved. Then you have to try to move the line backwards (good luck). You have to negotiate the non-negotiable. You have to police your activities and be the prude -- un-fun for everyone! Feelings and egos get bruised. Rejection. Resentment. Conflict. All of this results from the simple and natural act of showing affection.

As the relationship progresses and emotions deepen, it gets even more complicated. Eventually, kissing begins to suck. And not in a good way. This leads to an Id, Ego, and Superego war: This feels good, now it feels bad; I want to, I can't; I shouldn't, we shouldn't. Then, come the regrets: I hurt him.   It went too farHow do I make him understand I'm not rejecting him?  That I do want him? How far is too far? Do I need to repent for that? I am 34, after all. This is humiliating, for both of us.

The hardest thing for me lately has been the loss of the best relationship I've ever had. Mostly, I lost him for the sake of my religion. What is that like emotionally?  Messy.  Awful. Embittering.  It's all swirling around inside my head and my heart . . . anger, confusion, grief, love, desire., faith.  What I want and don't want, and what I want to want and don't want to want.  I  want to love him.   I need a loving relationship.  He's a good man.  I want to give.  It's not so simple.  I made covenants with God not to. 

I am suffering for my faith.  Do marrieds have to do that?

MORE Single Complications


Poll Results: The Date Should have Ended When He

When he. . . .:
1. Promised to take me dancing but showed me a DVD in his apartment. (For obvious reasons, he wanted to make-out and then some.)
2. Told me he couldn't stop staring at the slutty girl's breasts. (Wasn't that nice, and so honest of him?)
3. Told me off because I forgot he had to feed his sick cat at 8pm. (Actually, all I did was ask if we could see an earlier movie than the 10 pm, that's when he went off.)
4. Took me to a Bruce Springsteen concert.

The votes are in, #2 won with a whopping 3 votes! We had one vote for #4.

These things really happened to me, with four different men. That's important in order to raise the sympathy factor for me. 4 different men. If it was all done by the same person, I'd be the idiot for continuing to see him.

You chose #2 but the correct answer is:..... #4. I know, not obvious. Let me explain.

The only actual date that ended was #3. We were making plans via email. He sent me a nasty paragraph-long response to my request that we make our date earlier. He said that he 'was sorry, but his cat came first. I should have known that he had to feed his cat at 8 pm and 10 was the only time could go. He thought I understood that.' I replied that of course I understood, but I was no longer in the mood for a movie.

#1, the guy was a sleaze. I should have gone home when he told me it was too late to go dancing. Are you kidding me? It's NYC. It was only 11 on a Friday night. That's when the dancing starts.

#2 happened while I was in Scotland for 5 days with my long distance fling. It was only day 3, so I couldn't end it. And I couldn't go home. I really wasn't very bothered by his dumb remark. We were on our way back from Glasgow after a long day. I already knew he was unmannered and immature so I overlooked it. But, still, it was not cute. And I should have paid more attention given what happened later.

#4. This was the best guy. He actually was nice, respectful, and a real gentleman. I had agreed, reluctantly, to go. That was my mistake, not his. I had no idea what I was in for. I never liked Springsteen much, but his music never offended me and I never thought it was awful, some of the songs were catchy and cute. And it was a favor to the guy who had to go with his boss-- to see the boss, ha ha.

The problem was, I had to sit through 3 hours of Springsteen in Madison Square Garden. His music is not annoying until after the first 30 minutes. Then you realize that it all sounds exactly the same: jangling bells, horns and organ, and his shouting, it never ends It began to get very grating. Then, there was the hour long set when he played his entire new album, the artsy jazzish one. It was one of the longest hours of my life. Horrible and painful. Imagine Springsteen slow and moody. At one point, a tuba player came out on stage. There was also an accordion. Then, there was an accordion AND a tuba playing at the same time!! F or the love of all things holy, there should never be a tuba player at a rock concert, nor should there ever be an accordion! The hideous conjunction of the two wrongs made me feel like I had gone to hell. The music was supposed to be dark and deep. It was. In the worst way.

Then there was the crowd: Beer-swilling, middle-aged, wealthy New Jerseyians (tickets cost upwards of 1k for good seats). Beer got spilled on me multiple times. During the concert, we both got so bored, we texted each other throughout. The only highlight of the night was that Elvis Costello came out for an encore and sang with Bruce. And Bruce obviously did not like to share the stage with another star. The two of them competed for the center stage spotlight until Elvis gave up. That was amusing. And I enjoyed seeing the juxtaposition of their clothing. Bruce with his jeans, T-shirt and sneakers; Elvis with his Italian leather shoes and dark Armani ensemble. (How I adore British men). Other than that, I wished I had stayed home. The guy agreed when I told him he owed me big time. But I never went out with him again. (I would have, he was a good guy, but things were getting serious with someone else so it was time to end it with him anyway.)

So that's why the date should have ended before it even began.


Post Script: Why No Single Bishops

In response to my last post, 'Why No Single Bishops', my friend told me that you have to be a High Priest to be bishop.  No one is a High Priest until he has taken all the temple covenants, including marriage.  I suppose there is a doctrinal reason for this.  Can someone explain it to me?  It seems unnecessary.  Because someone was not lucky enough to find a person to marry, and that excludes him from priesthood powers, is unjust.  Unjust admittance requirements to the priesthood class have been changed before, so we know these rules are not necessarily eternal.  Or, are they?  Please tell me if I'm wrong, and why.

His second point was that most single men over 30 go inactive.  So there is not a large pool from which to choose if they were allowed.  

Maybe they wouldn't all go inactive if they didn't feel so excluded and marginalized.  If the single men felt more significant, and were treated the same way the married men are, I'm guessing there would be more active single men.  It's extremely difficult to be an adult in the real world, treated as an adult 6 days a week, and then go to church on Sunday to be treated as less than.  When you're 35, and married 24-year-olds are shown more respect and given more power than you have, it can rub one raw.  It makes church even more unpleasant and difficult for the singles.

Additionally, if more single men were active, there would be more men for the single women at church, and this could increase the rate of marriage.  It's win-win for everyone to include single men in the high priesthood.  I know church policies are supposed to be written by revelation and not reason.  But, the church is also a cultural institution, out-dated practices like polygamy and institutional racism were eliminated.  Marriage is no longer a given for all adults.  Maybe some real changes are in order to recognize the current conditions of our society.  A repair rather than a temporary band-aid.

Maybe it's sacrilegious of me to say this.  But I think it needs saying out loud by someone.  I'll take back my words if someone can explain the absolute doctrinal necessity of this exclusion.  How does High Priesthood depend on the marriage covenant?  And/or why is High Priesthood necessary for the bishop?     


Why No Single Bishops?

Has anyone ever known a Ward Bishop who was unmarried?  Is it some unofficial standard or an written rule?  Because there is definitely marriage discrimination happening.  I have never encountered a  bishop who was single.  Nor have I ever seen a single in the Bishopric, except for the ward clerk, of course.  They like sticking single men with that job. 

I complained to my mother about this, because it's unfair.  She said she understood it. Because bishops have access to vulnerable people and know everyone's private affairs.  She wouldn't trust a single man in that position.  Also, there are so many experiences of marriage that he  couldn't understand.  At first I nodded, it made sense.  Then, as I thought about it, the less sense it made and I got annoyed. 

First of all, a single man is no more likely to sin with a vulnerable ward member than is a married man.  The married bishops have the same access and opportunity for sin as does a single man.  The inferences made by my mother and most others are obvious: A righteous single man is not sexually satisfied, so, therefore, he is more likely to commit a sexual sin with a member.  Ummm, want to take a guess as to how many bishops are sexually satisfied?  I guarantee it is not 100%.  Regardless, one's personal sexual frustration has nothing to do with whether or not one decides to sin.  The rain falls on marrieds and singles alike.  Temptation is there for all us.  Marriage doesn't give you a pass.  And, human beings can control their libidos, even the unsatisfied ones.  This ability separates us from the animals. 

The times I have been tempted to sin sexually, had nothing to do with my level of physical frustration.  Usually, it's the opportunity which creates the temptation.  Both a single or a married bishop would have the same opportunities.  In fact, the single bishop might have fewer because people would be less trusting.  Besides, giving a man opportunity does not mean he will automatically sin, even one who is sexually frustrated.  Men are not animals, it's insulting to infer such.  Neither is it fair to say a single man would be more tempted than a married man given the same opportunities.  Single men have plenty of opportunity outside the church, and one who is worthy to be bishop, certainly knows how to resist sexual temptation.  If anything, a married man is less practiced at 'just saying no', and therefore, more vulnerable.

Point #2.  True, single men cannot understand all the experiences of married adults.  It is also true that a married man cannot understand all the experiences of married women.  True again that a married man cannot understand the lives of single men or women.  I don't see why one group, married men, should be privileged to have a bishop who can relate to them above all others.  That is unfair.  Unfair, and one more inequality plaguing the singles.  So what? Why does it make any difference? Well. 

For example, my new bishop made condescending remarks to me because of my single status.  One day, he called me a 'young adult', despite my being his age or possibly older.  When I asked him not to call me 'young', he said it didn't mean anything, he "thinks of all of you as 'young adults'."  Yes, exactly. You believe we're not real grown-ups because we're not married.  As if my life experiences  don't count as much as yours.  He has said other things too that a single man would neither say nor think.  This won't shake my faith, but it makes me uncomfortable to be around him.  This puts me at a spiritual disadvantage.  I am disinclined to seek his counsel or help when needed, because I don't believe he can really see me.  Unfair. 

Some of you may be thinking, 'All bishops are blessed with the priesthood and the guidance of the spirit in their stewardship over their members, so a married bishop can be just as much a shepherd for the singles as the marrieds.  Because the spirit makes it so.  Ok, then.   If that is true, given that logic, then a single man can be just as much a shepherd as can a married man.   If you believe in the priesthood, then you should believe that an unmarried bishop will have the same guidance as the others.   

Talk to a single man at church, a real conversation, and you'll see how impressively strong and faithful they can be.  It's hard out here for a single.  We have to be as unwavering as a concrete block wall. It is time for bishop marital status discrimination to end.  

Discuss.  Would you be averse to an unmarried bishop? Why? Do you think it makes a difference?


Last Day of Class

Last night I taught my last classes at the college that asked me to leave. It was heartbreaking, and also nice. Quite a few students wanted to know what I else I would be teaching, they wanted to take more classes from me. In the hallway, I ran into a student from the year before. She told me how much she loved my class, it was her favorite, and she learned a lot. After the last section of the night, some students stayed around to chat. They talked about how the class had affected them since the beginning of the semester. How they had changed. Now they always ask questions and challenge people, they think more. One man said he couldn't stop using the word 'impiety', even while bowling.

That was awesome. I couldn't help smiling. I hadn't told them I was leaving. Yet, they indirectly thanked me for doing my job. They told me they had learned something and were better for it. My work had mattered. This was their parting gift to me, they may as well have wrapped it up in a bow.

I've learned to love these students. They're tough city kids, fun and exciting. They've lived hard lives, have opinions, and have their own wisdom. But they are kids. If you show any weakness they eat you alive. They almost chewed me to oblivion during the first two years. But then I learned to teach them. I developed my professor schtick, tailored specifically for them. It took a few years. At first, I tried being myself, nice, but it didn't work, I couldn't control the classroom. They didn't respect the pretty young girl standing up front, who supposedly had authority over them. They could smell my fear too, which meant I had already lost the game. ( I was also losing my mind, that didn't help much.)

Next, I tried to be strict and mean, scare them into compliance. Those were the worst semesters of my life. I had students get into power struggles with me, and I usually lost. They didn't fear me, they hated me. Then what could I do? I relaxed and gave up on being the disciplinarian. So my vulnerable, confused, kind-hearted side that I had tried to hide began to show. The befuddled kindly professor worked better. I didn't get hostility anymore. But about a third of the students didn't respond, they ignored me. I was criticized for being boring. Me?! Then, a few years ago, somehow, accidentally, well, I was probably manic and couldn't help it, I figured out what worked.

I charmed them. I did my first date routine on the first day of class and thereafter, mixed in with some befuddled kindly professor. I smiled, made them laugh, gave them attention, listened and appeared slightly vulnerable. I did that by expressing confusion over dates and times, confessing that I didn't know how to work the copy machine with the security code. That's why I didn't have their syllabus ready. The befuddled bit wasn't acting, but the trick was to stop hiding it, let them see my confusion. Before I just got frustrated with myself and that's what showed. And I still don't know how to use the copy machine with the stupid security code.

It worked. Like magic, the charming and befuddled professor JL got the students to behave. Finally, my 18 years of dating experience was good for something. I could make them like me. I could make them want to listen and be nice to me. Some even got a little protective of me during the semester. I'd use that on the disruptive bad seeds who didn't respond to anything but peer-pressure. When they wouldn't stop talking, I'd go silent and make a face, sad, as if they had hurt my feelings. As the other students noticed, they would hush each other and look ashamed. Awesome.

This routine doesn't work as well at other colleges, with different students. I have to create a new character and it's very frustrating. Suburban kids are not as much fun and it's not as rewarding to watch them learn to understand. But there are many other schools in the city. I hope the department chair will speak well of me if anyone calls for a recommendation. There's really no telling. I haven't sent the apology letter to him yet. I've had it ready for a week. It goes out tomorrow.

We still have finals, two more weeks of writing exams and grading, two weeks of unpaid torture.

I didn't cry during class, but I shed some tears as I walked away to the train. I never realized how much this job meant to me. That's one good thing. I'm waiting for the next.


Grandpa, are you hitting on me?

I decided to stop whining about my unfriendly, exclusive, cliquey ward.  Instead, as Ghandi advised, I would become the change I desired.  I would be a friendly, welcoming person.  I wanted to seek out the new people, loners, and misfits to befriend them.  In January, I saw an older gentleman looking at me in the lobby.  I hadn't seen him before.  I smiled and said hello.  We started talking.

He looked about 60ish, close to my father's age: balding, overweight, bulbous-with-age nose, Utah accent, tan suit with tennis shoes, and no wedding ring.  Clearly, a divorcee. He seemed pleased to talk to me, very eager.  I figured he was lonely.  Though, I did get a certain vibe from him, that little extra eagerness one feels from men who are interested.  It is something slightly aggressive, like they're projecting their energy onto you.  I shrugged it off, surely not.  He was probably excited to talk to someone. 

When I mentioned working on a PhD, and teaching, he asked if I ever needed to supplement my income. Of course!  He knew of a lot of editing type jobs. He could send me some info.  Sure.  I gave him my email.  (I'm not in the habit of giving my phone number to strange men, even at church.)  The next day he emailed with a long list of job postings in D.C.  Full-time jobs I could not take. Nor was I willing to move.  I replied, with a thank you, but no.

He emailed again, this time asking if I was interested in part-time piecemeal editing work. Absolutely. But I forgot to reply.  Meanwhile, we were friendly at church. He sat next to me once. I felt his eagerness again, I didn't enjoy aggressive male energy from a 60 year old.  I avoided sitting with him after that.  A few weeks later, rushing out of church early, I ran into him at the doors.  He stopped me and asked, "You're not leaving already are you? You can't do that."  Trying to be cute, grandpa?  I was in a mood, hence, the leaving early, so I said,  "Oh, yeah? Watch me."  I tried pushing past him when he, ever the eager beaver, said, "Was I wrong to think you needed work?  I wanted to help you.  Plus, I'd like to be your friend because I think you're a nice person." Ugh. That made me feel like a heel, but I had to leave, my anxiety was building.  We didn't speak again after that until I emailed.

Three weeks ago, I remembered his email in which he offered me work.  Had I  forgotten to reply?  I sent an apology for not replying earlier.  He wrote back right away, said he had a job, could I proof-read a report and turn it around by Monday?  It was Friday.  My rent check was about to bounce  so I agreed.   Saturday, he called to ask if he could pick up the report at my house later that night, like 10 or 11?  Umm, no.  First, because I knew I wouldn't be finished until after midnight.  Secondly, just no.  Because I didn't want him in my apartment.  I said we could make the exchange on Sunday.  Sunday morning he called, 'Should he come to my house to pick it up?  Umm, no.

"Would you like to have lunch? I can take you to lunch and you can give me the papers then." What? It's too early in the morning for this. I'm not awake enough to politely reject him.
"Ummm," NO. "I don't. . . that's not. . . I just had a big lunch so I'm not hungry at all.  Why don't I email you the papers? Will that work?"  Meeting is completely unnecessary. Welcome to the 21st century.
"I'd rather not.  Will you be at church?  We could meet there and there's an ice cream shop on the corner, do you want to get some ice cream?"
NoGive it a rest grandpa. "Ummm. . . . It's Sunday. I don't want to do that because of the sabbath. We can meet at church. No need to go anywhere else."
"OK.  Let's meet at church early then.  How's 12:30?"
Half an hour early? How long does it take to give me a check and hand off some papers? Sigh . . .   "OK. That's fine. I'll see you then."

It was weird.  He acted like a man who wanted to date me, or, my sweet old grandfather.  He couldn't possibly think I would date him?  No.  He must have been acting paternally, wanted some company,  was trying to be nice.  How cynical was I to think otherwise? I gave him the benefit of the doubt. Although, he was not my grandfather.  He was a single man.  I'd have to be careful.

We ran into each other at the parking lot elevators.  He gave me the old up-and-down, you-look-fine-enough-to-eat look. And he was none too smooth about it.  Gross! !  He almost completely canceled out all my doubts about his motives.  Maybe he couldn't help it.  But now I knew  I had to be careful with him.  I took the stairs and left him in the elevator.  We sat down in the meeting hall.  He said he would like me to sit with him for church since, "you know, it's no fun being alone at church."  Guilt, much?  Fine. So I stayed in the chair next to him.  He had just given me a check.  But I wondered, for what exactly had he paid  me?

He called later that week to see if I had deposited the check yet.  Then asked, "Do you have plans this weekend?"  Excuse me?  "Um, yes."  pause . . Not your business. . . "I'm going to the movies and a concert."  "Oh. Are, you?  Ok.  Have fun.  See you Sunday."  "Yep. Bye."  Really?

The next week, during testimony meeting, I snuck in late and took a seat in the 3rd row.  Grandpa was sitting in the second row.  Near the end of the meeting he got up to speak. He gave an odd testimony about spiritual experiences. Then, he came back and sat in the chair next to me! He got in my space, turned facing towards me and made me very uncomfortable. I had had enough of that.

As the meeting ended he started chatting at me. A woman walked by and said, "You look pretty today." To which Grandpa added, "Yes. You do look very pretty today. If I were one of your students, I would have a crush on you." Ewww. "Oh. Um. Well, I do have some of those, boys with crushes."  Red Flag! Abort conversation! "Oh, do you really?"  Abort! Do not engage. No eye contact.Yes, I do. Escape now, escape! "Excuse me. I need to stretch my legs."
I walked out even though we still had our doctrine class. I went to the young single adult class instead. I had no more doubts. Grandpa was hitting on me. And if he wasn't, then at the least he was being extremely inappropriate.

He called me one more time after that, but I didn't answer. He did not leave a message. I feel weird about the whole thing, confused. Am I being mean and overly cynical? Regardless, if he makes any more advances, I'll have to say something. I'm not a child to put up with this. I'll just ask, "Are you hitting on me?"


The Book of Ruth

continued from this post

What did I have to learn from Ruth? I had no lightning bolt revelation that night, mostly I found comfort. I did have to think about what the book could tell me about my own situation. II hadn't read the story since high school. Reading it again, I saw a different story than the one that was always presented to us as children.

Ruth was faithful, loving, rebellious when necessary and obedient as needed. In return, God took care of her needs. She was a Moabite, widowed along with her sister-in-law and Isreali mother-in-law, Naomi. Naomi decided to go home to Bethlehem and told Ruth to return to her family. Ruth stubbornly refused. Naomi could not get rid of her. Ruth followed Naomi all the way home to be her family and to adopt her religion. Once there, Naomi appears to have schemed to put Ruth in the way of a wealthy relative, Boaz. The tradition at the time was for men to marry their brother's widow, or, for the male relative who inherited a piece of land to marry the woman who came with it and sire children on her in the name of the first husband. But Boaz was not first in line to inherit Ruth, so, getting him to marry her was not a simple call to duty.

Naomi knew Boaz had to have a vested interest in Ruth before he would go to the trouble to take another man's inheritance. The text makes it seem that Ruth didn't know what Naomi had planned, that as a good daughter, she obeyed blindly. Because that's what all good daughters and women should do. I find this hard to believe, it is something only a man would think. Women know what women are doing, especially when it comes to social manipulations. And there is no reason why Naomi wouldn't tell her. Further evidence of Ruth's complicity comes from the final move in the play. Naomi sent Ruth to spend a night sleeping at Boaz's feet in the granary surrounded by other men. The act was innocent, but had she been caught, one can only imagine what might've happened. She could've been ruined, maybe even stoned for fornication. Or, she might have been gang-raped. These were brutal times.

A woman who refuses to go home to her family, after being ordered to do so, does not put herself in a dangerous situation such as that without consideration. There is no way she was blindly obedient. She knew what the pay-off could be. Still, it took a great deal of trust for Ruth to perform such a brazen act. I don't think I could do it. Their need, however, was presumably dire. They needed a man to provide them with income. Ruth wanted to take care of Naomi, and, likewise, she wanted to take care of herself and have her own family. The fact that Ruth was serving her own self-interests in addition to taking care of Naomi is completely ignored in the Bible. It's also ignored in every church lesson I've ever come across. Ruth is presented as being purely servile and faithful to her family. Again, I don't think so. Of course she wanted a wealthy husband, and her own children! There was nothing wrong with wanting that, women need to take care of themselves too. We are more than helpmeets to everyone else. Unfortunately, we have to keep reminding ourselves of this, that we matter as much as everyone else does.

Naomi's schemes had the desired result. Boaz seems to have fallen in love with Ruth. Enough that he arranged to marry her, after getting the true inheritor to give up his claim to the property. He did. They married and had children. They were ancestors to King David, and, Jehovah. Supposedly life ended well for Ruth, since Boaz is portrayed as a kind and wise man. Unlike the Ruth of our Sunday school lessons, she was not absolutely obedient, sacrificing and servile to family. She followed her heart and stayed with Naomi, disobeying her and emigrating in order to do it. The lesson from Ruth is to trust your heart and intuitions, listen to those who have more wisdom than you do, and take the necessary risks. Have faith that the Lord will provide, and He will meet your needs in one way or another.

After reading all 4 chapters of Ruth, in my humbled state, I remembered that I can't know what my future holds. Ruth had a second chance. It's not over for me. I might not always be single. I have to live my life well, take care of myself and my responsibilities, do what is needed and trust the Lord to take care of me. I've been trying to do everything on my own. This gave me a lot of comfort. The Spirit won my challenge. I happily, and gratefully admitted defeat.

The Good Book

More than once, in personal blessings, I have been told to search the scriptures for answers to all my 'pertinent questions'. I was promised I would find answers there, and could use this gift to plan my life. I haven't made much use of it. It seemed so general and obvious, even dubious. But it was repeated, I was meant to notice and remember.

While lying in bed recently, I did remember. Because I find myself at a crossroads, again, my future weighs heavy in my thoughts. I have to decide what I want for the rest of my life, given where I am right now. I do not have the life I wanted and planned for. The world is not my oyster as I once believed. I need new plans, new dreams. That night, I considered my single state. I knew I had to let go of my expectation for a marriage and family. This was it for me. I needed to see my future as a single woman. That way, I could make the plans necessary to find some happiness. First, however, I had to do the letting go. Which hurts. It's a sad thing to lose a dream.

I tried to look forward to what my single life could be, where I might find joy and fulfillment. Maybe I could adopt children some day, if I ever had the means and maturity; become a work-a-holic and master of my career, maybe pick up a new career or two; write books, be an amazing friend, a loving aunt, learn to play the cello like a pro, join a Masters Swim team, travel more, and volunteer for everything. Then, when done with that, I could consume the rest of my time with genealogy. This was really great stuff. One should be able to live a fulfilling life alone, if she put in the work. And, yet. This rumination did nothing for my mood.

The road ahead still looked desolate. I could fill my time with worthwhile, good things, but I couldn't imagine it would fill my heart. I've accomplished a great deal in life already. By myself. In the end, it always felt empty. I learned early that these things won't bring me peace. So, despite my best efforts to comfort myself that night, I continued to wallow in pity. Then I remembered my blessing, promising that I could find answers in the scriptures.
I looked over at my worn-out seminary Bible on the bedside table. I thought, "Ha! Answer this. I challenge you to make me feel better about my single future. Tell me how to be happy about it, or at least, how to feel content." I wiped off my tears, reached over and picked up the Good Book. Full of spiteful energy, I murmured that I would not suffer inane advice to taunt me. And I wouldn't let the book fall open either, I would open it exactly where I left off the night before. I would read my 3 chapters and see if the Spirit showed me an answer. Good luck with that.

I felt quite smug, until I finished the first chapter. It was completely irrelevant but then I flipped the page. Oh. Hmm. I had finished one book and faced the title of the next, The Book of Ruth. Well. Ruth. I remembered her story. If any book in the Bible could answer my question, it might actually be this one. Instantly humbled, I repented my attitude and started reading.

more to come . . . HERE


The Anger

It's 3 am. I haven't been sleeping. Today was hard. I've been angry this week, very angry.  I discovered a new vein on the side of my forehead. Tuesday, at work in the bathroom mirror, I could see this vein bulging out thick with blood, it did that all night. No vein today, but every time I let the anger go, tears welled up. Mostly this happened between classes at work, so I had to suck it up and put the anger back on. Just being there makes me sad now. I had to shamefully sneak into the department to pick up my mail because I didn't want to run into anyone.

I'm angry at them. That they fired me without any warning. That I had to beg them to tell me the truth. That when they finally did, they made it personal.  They called me Indifferent after 7 years of giving blood, sweat and tears.  I'm angry at myself for doing the things they said I did.  For not having a clue. 

I'm angry that I trusted someone, decided to love him and the very next day he went away.  I'm angry that I essentially had the same relationship twice last year, with two different men. The same quick build-up of passion, overwhelming romance, he said 'I love you', acted like he loved me, said he wanted this to last permanently, made me believe him. Until I returned the feeling. Then I got dumped. Both times. Sudden. Cold. Awful. Goodbye.  Because they were afraid. Yet, they both still wanted to be "friends". They couldn't be without me. Nor could they, or would they, be with me.  So our relationships continued, as romantic "friends", without commitment or a future. And failed miserably, of course. 

And I wonder why I bother with men who don't want me. Why I put myself through that. Why I think I have to wait for them to change their minds, again. Waiting is crap. I deserve better. I want someone who wants to love me. Me. As I am. Now. Not begrudgingly because they can't help it. Not maybe sometime later. Not when they're un-broken, not when they're un-unemployed, not when they're done with the girl they've shacked up with, not when my meds start working, and not after they grow a pair. Have me now, or never.  

I'm angry that after days like today, when I spent all day grading papers then lectured four and a half  hours, wanting to cry throughout, and my last class acted like jerks, so I came home exhausted at 9 pm and I needed a comforting hug, that there was none. That I don't know what to do anymore.  All I can do at this point is put my life in the Lord's hands. Become more spiritual and obedient. Try to be better. Pray for the best. Keep myself from drowning.

I'm angry at the man who hurt me. That I keep remembering the wonderful things, the more wonderful, the more angry I get. Because without that anger, knowing he is gone from my life forever makes my chest feel swollen, so swollen it's hard to breathe and I start choking for air. When I see him in my mind, his cute nose under his beautiful green eyes, smiling so radiantly, like there's no where else in the world he'd rather be than with me, holding me, and I remember how it felt, sweet and warm and cozy and safe, my body humming happily with his, and how much I wished we never had to let go . . .  it's then, that I really, really, need to be angry.


I scared my Bunny Buddy!

Jill asked for the story on the ticket guy. So, here it is. I bought my ticket  for the Bunnymen show from a guy in my concert group.  The idea of the group is to meet people to go to events with. It was just the two of us for this one. So, who is this guy?  I didn't care. But I took a quick peek at his profile so I'd know him when I saw him. There was one small picture. He was okay looking. Indian perhaps. I had less than zero romantic expectations. And was determined to keep it that way. I should have been less careless. Should have remembered that I flirt a lot more when I'm not interested.

We agreed to meet at the corner of Irving and 15th. I got there first. A few minutes later, I saw him walking up the newly formed line on the sidewalk. I called out his name. He stopped, looked a little surprised, then joined me.  He immediately pulled out the ticket and I gave him $50. I didn't try to weasel my way out of paying. We stood in line together and chatted about music. Who did we like these days, what bands have we seen, how were they?  He was shy, conversation was awkward. But, we were both trying.

Once inside, we stayed together. The Irving (now Filmore) is great. It was built in the 1860s as a Polish dance hall. In the 90s it was converted from a night club to solely a music venue. It had the worn-out luxury one usually finds in these old places. The fancy tin ceiling, chandeliers, red carpet, mahogany walls, gilded woodwork. Decorated with the obligatory silk-screen concert posters of  the famous bands who've played there. The first floor was a lobby and bar, with a huge double staircase  leading upstairs to the stage. Up there, the walls and floors were painted black. The only luxury still left on the second floor was the large crystal chandelier and black painted tin ceiling. Around the sides of the audience floor, up one flight, was a catwalk with brass handrail and grill. It had room for people to stand 2 or 3 deep. On the left side of the catwalk, chairs and name tags were arranged for the VIPs (guests and very expensive tickets). The rest of us had to stand. I stood for 4 hours. Impressive for someone over 30! And not my favorite thing to do anymore.

Most people hadn't arrived yet, this older crowd isn't into waiting around just to get closer to the stage. The two of us situated ourselves in the center, about 8 people back from the stage. Not bad. Once we had a good spot, my new buddy went to get a drink, he asked if I wanted one. No, thank you. When he got back, I asked him how long we'd have to wait for the show. An hour. Ugh. Then he suggested that maybe I should get a drink. Cute. We continued to be friendly. He laughed at my jokes.  There was no spark between us, which was  a good thing, until I scared him off.

He is smaller, 5'7ish and thin. We'd already established that we were the same age because of our common pop music history. We exchanged career info. He is an engineer and founder of an internet start-up. He knew someone I worked with. (Manhattan is a tiny island, this happens a lot.) We also talked about people in the crowd,  I was amused by the Asian contingent of men who wore sunglasses, inside, clearly in homage to Mac, who never goes without.  At one point, Ticket buddy asked me why I wasn't on Facebook,? He abashedly admitted that he had "Face-book stalked me."  Oh, really.

I gave him my full speech on the evils of Facebook. How I'm not interested in emailing people I knew 20 years ago.  And, can't stand the drama it creates. Some women get into fights over what they put on each other's walls. 'What was that supposed to mean?' 'Was she trying to insult me? '  'So-and-so posted on Debbie's wall, why won't she post on mine? What a B****!"  That might just be a chick thing. Regardless, the most important thing is that I like my worlds kept apart, keep my different groups, different. For example, how would you turn down your mother's friend request? Or, the man you're dating?  By friending them, they now have access to each other, when the twain should never meet! Not until it's necessary.  Even without the aid of Facebook, my mother googled  the man I was dating, the Writer. Oh, yes, she really did.  It was horrible! We fought  over it for a week. (That's a story for another post.)  The point is, I don't need to facilitate that kind of thing.  And, then there are the boyfriends.  They shouldn't be able to check each other out, but on Facebook, they can. They can size each other up, get jealous, tell me what's wrong with my taste, etc.  It's all just unnatural and unnecessary.  He chuckled.

About half-way through our wait, a man who stood to our right started talking to me. He was 47, (yeah, he told me that). He wore a wool plaid golfing cap, T-shirt and jeans., cool enough He said I should get up closer to the stage when it started.  Said he could get me up there and began telling me how to do it.  I said I had been in wilder crowds than this and I knew my way around.  He was not impressed. He asked where my friend was, I pointed to Tix-guy who now stood slightly behind me. The golfcap dude looked at Tix in examination. He told him he was a lucky guy, "You don't find one like this everyday", indicating me. "Man, you better hold onto her. If I were you, I'd take her down the aisle right away. Tomorrow."  He went on and on.  I rolled my eyes, he's one of those. Tix looked mortified, he replied, "Uh. We actually just met." 

Golfcap looked even more impressed, he assumed Tix had just picked me up, like he must be a smooth operator. (He went to college in the 80s, he might actually use that term.)  Golfcap told him he needed to take me to the front, that I wanted to be closer.  I said, I did want to be closer, "I want ed Mac to sweat on me," then laughed.  Golfcap said, "See. see. What did I tell you?" Then, he held out his arm and told me to take it. What? Why not? So I did. Golfcap started pushing through the pair of big lesbians in front of me, pulling me behind. "No, that's not right. These are nice people." I stopped and let go. He shrugged, came back and kept talking to us, well, me.

When I emptied my Pepsi he told Tix to go buy me another beer. "She's not drinking beer." "So. All the more reason. Go get her one. You'll need it for later. Believe me, with one like that."   Har-har.  Golfcap took my empty can from me and threw it on the floor. Classy. But I did appreciate it. "You can't hold that all night."  True. I asked him where his date was, to deflect his growing inebriated attention.  He said he was dateless.  Where was mine? Oops, I walked into that one. I pointed to Tix, "I'm with him." "Uh . . ." Tix was speechless.  Golfcap nodded. "Oh. He looks like a nice guy. Shy one. But nice."  "Yep."  Tix was clearly uncomfortable. Surely, he knew I was just protecting myself from this guy, to keep him from getting too friendly?  Of course he did.  Golfcap excused himself to go "find his friend".  He didn't return.  No surprise. With my little rabbit date, I was a now a waste of his time. 

Tix stayed just behind me for the rest of the show. I made comments to him sometimes. Near the end of the performance, before the encore, he said, "Hey. I have to go for a minute but I'll try to come back here. If I don't, I will definitely email you." "OK. Good luck." "Yeah." He looked guilty. Then disappeared.

Odd. He didn't return. But, he could have, the crowd was thinning. So. What happened to my Bunny Buddy? First, he probably had to pee because of the second Budweiser.  Then just went home . Or he went home because he is old and was tired of standing there. Or, nah.... did I? --Maybe I had freaked him out by calling him my date and he was afraid I'd expect something from him. By leaving early, he avoided all awkwardness. He didn't have to worry about me making a move, or me wanting him to take me home or kiss me or go out to a bar, or whatever. Yikes. I didn't think about that before. I should've told him I wasn't serious about the date thing.  I felt a little bad about it.

He hasn't emailed. I knew he wouldn't.  I know a kiss-off line when I hear one,  it's the "definitely" that gives it away, it really means 'never'.  People only add 'definitely' because they want to convince you of their sincerity, hoping you won't notice the lie because of that extra word.  Unfortunately, now I can't email him because he'll think I'm coming on to him.  Then again, maybe he's just being a dude who has better things to do. Anyway, he was a nice guy, reminded me of a  sweet little rabbit. It's a shame, I could use another music buddy. I still might email him, let him man up and deal with it. But, I probably won't.


The Bunnymen afterward

The show was great, they put on a good performance and played for almost 2 hours, including 2 encores. I didn't notice the time pass, didn't want them to stop. No one else did either, despite it being past most of their bed times (the crowd was old.) I sang and danced and yelled, everything one should do at a pop/rock concert, (post-punk concert more precisely, as if there's a difference anymore).

Rather than boring the crowd by playing their new album in its entirety, as most of these 80s band do, they only played their new single,"Think I need it too",  although they did play it twice. Ballsy move.  They opened with the single and then played it again later.  Mac (the singer) also included the chorus in some encore vamping. It's a beautiful song.

Download here:Think I Need It Too
They've maintained their dignity as aging rockers. They don't write songs that sound like a band still trying to be 25 years old. Their songs are appropriate, mature, and they're still good at what they've always been good at.  It's unfortunate that now pop music has caught up to them, their resurgence hasn't been greaster, hasn't matched the weight of their influence. Especially on the current up-and-coming indie bands.

Speaking of oldies, there was an awesome ZZ Top biker looking dude. He had a long white beard down to his belly and wore sunglasses, inside a nightclub. First of all, he didn't look like a Bunnymen fan, more like the type of guy who would beat up Bunnymen fans in the 80s. Secondly, I haven't seen ANYONE in NYC that looked like that in all my 8 years of living here. To be THAT unique in THIS city is nothing short of spectacular. I wanted to shake his hand. I did help him out when he was asking the name of the opening act, "because this was just good old-timey rock". There was also some retro-pot lighted up inside, it smelled so skunky I think it may have been in someone's drawer since the Bunnymen tour in 1988.

Other than the obnoxious foursome to the left of me, I didn't see anyone under 30. I had wished the 20-something oily bull hunk was not there, or at least not right next to me. He tried to push himself and his girlfriend to the center of the crowd, by slowing pushing me out of the way, one inch at a time. I didn't think so. Everyone else in the crowd was nice and polite and no one pushed anyone except for these creeps.

The Bullhunk  and I got into a bit of a pissing contest. He pushed on my shoulders with his shoulders non-stop for the first part of the show. It grossed me out and made me want to move. But the second I'd give way, he'd take up the space. I didn't want this 250 pound 6 foot something man in front of me,making out with his girlfriend, so I resisted his pushing. I had the same thing coming from the nerd on the other side of me too. Finally, I'd had enough and just wanted to enjoy the show. So I shoved myself forward displacing both of them from the advances they'd made. After that, they both stopped and gave me room. Then I could breathe, and relax. It made me very happy to be 5'9" with broad swimmer's shoulders. No man is going to push me out of his way.

Download here:The Cutter, Mmmh.
As performed on a European TV show last year, it's a 25 year old song. The video shows what their performance was like, except we had no view because the stage had no lighting.  "Mac likes to be in a cave", so said the guy in the opening act.  The stage lights  mostly shone on the audience. Unfortunately. 

If you can listen to this and not think this is one of the best bands ever, then I don't know what else to say. A 2009 Coachella Festival reviewer (they played last year) said that this band and their music clearly still mattered. Amen.

Today I'm feeling mellow about my life. Not upset. Not happy, of course. Mostly just spent, emotionally. There's no anger or fear. It's all just quiet inside which is a good way to be, considering. I know I'll be okay. I've been through worse. I'm really, really, looking forward to the amazingly wonderful thing that's going to happen to me when this disaster ends. I don't know what it'll be, I just know it's there, it's coming my way. And I've earned it. [Last year, my reward for the summer 09 nightmare was meeting the Writer.]

5/02/10 Set list included (from what I remember): Think I need it too x2, Villiars Terrace, Nothing Lasts Forever, Bring on the Dancing Horses, Seven Seas, Never Stop, Zimbo, The Puppet, Silver, All That Jazz, Bedbugs and Ballyhoo, Killing Moon, The Cutter, (I think there was one song I didn't know...)
Encores: Do it Clean, Back of Love, Lips Like Sugar