McKenzie Free

One woman's quest for greater understanding through freedom of self expression.

Archive for the tag “relationships”

Renewal

It all began with a good-bye kiss.

It still lingers on my lips.

He loved me, he said.

But it was not the ‘big’ love.

Thus began my journey of renewal.

To love myself regardless.

To respect that I am worthy.

To find joy in each day.

The world is my ‘big’ love

and he is but a memory.

The Affair

He was forty and growing restless in his marriage. She was twenty-eight. Beautiful and vibrant in a way that only those who live life fully can be. They met completely by accident. This may be difficult for some to even imagine in our current world of online profiles, emails and texting, but at one time people used to bump into each other in public and strike up random, friendly conversations with one another.

She dropped a package on the street while trying to open the door to the book store with her elbow. He picked up her package and got the door for her. Neither were there for the books as it turned out, but rather for the coffee shop in the rear as a respite from the crowds of holiday shoppers. They chatted as they stood in line waiting to order. As it turned out, once they got their drinks there was only one table left available and they sat down and shared a warm beverage together.

He did not lie or act coy about the fact of his wife and children. In fact, he spoke of them lovingly and with pride. Oddly, this made him more attractive to her. She knew it was wrong to feel the tug of emotion while they spoke. She forced herself not to reach across the table and touch his hand as she so wanted to do.

He knew it was wrong to ask her to join him for dinner. He rationalized it in his mind that it was only a meal. She rationalized it the same way when she smiled and said “yes”.  This is how it began. Neither one wanting to investigate their behavior more fully. To do so would surely have meant they would have walked away from each other and remained strangers.

He thought, at first, that he could compartmentalize his life. That she would simply be a bit of enjoyment that he carved out for himself. She would not impact the rest of his life. But, as it turned out, she was not a woman who could be kept in a box. She was too full of life and his need to speak with her and be with her would not contain itself to a few hours a week.

She had a very full life before she met him. With him in her life her schedule began to overflow. If you had asked her prior to meeting him if she would ever consider seeing a married man she would have been insulted and answered a resounding “of course NOT”. Now here she was, making up last minute excuses why she couldn’t make her usual volunteer night at the hospital or meet her best friend for drinks or dinner so she could accommodate him when he could get away.

She told no one. Not her sister, her best friend, not even her hairdresser. The volunteer organizations thought her work responsibilities had increased, her friends thought she was volunteering more and should take more time for herself, her staff was grateful that she seemed to be finding a better balance between work and the rest of her life. Only she was aware of the reality of her situation.

He was amazed at how well his business continued to run without his complete focus on it twenty-four seven. Perhaps he could have gotten away in prior years to take his family on those vacations he had assured them were impossible? His wife was beginning to pressure him to spend more time at home and he began to slowly realize that there was no way this could not affect his marriage and his family.

After almost a year of seeing each other they had finally admitted to themselves and each other that this was about more than the convenience of lust. They had strong and caring feelings for each other. Feelings that came with as much pain as joy.   As he began to realize the effect the affair was having on his family, she began to realize she did not want to celebrate another Christmas in a hotel room a week after ringing in the New Year alone.

This is why tonight, almost a year since their first meeting, she found herself sitting alone in the coffee shop where they first met waiting to see if he would join her. If he showed up, this meant he had told his wife about her and had chosen a new life with her. If not, the crazy, titillating roller coaster ride of the last year had reached its end.

She did not know which life he would choose. She was well aware of the schism the affair had caused in his emotions and his life. She also believed his love for his wife was still very real. Part of her hoped that he would choose to remain with his family thereby proving to be the man she thought he was on the day they met. No part of her wanted to be the person that caused upheaval and pain for others. The other part of her, the selfish part, the part that found such happiness in his presence, was holding her breath and hoping to catch sight of him walking down the aisle of books toward their table.

As she sat and waited she realized that no matter what his decision her life would be irrevocably changed after tonight.

The Dating Profile I’d LIKE TO Post but Never Will

59 year-old woman seeking partner in crime.

Life, and crime, are each more fun with a partner. Doesn’t have to be a romantic partner (Butch and Sundance, Thelma and Louise…) but if you can find someone that you can partner with in life and have great sex with too — what could be better?

Actually LOOK at my photos. I’m well-dressed, my hair looks good, if I’m wearing make-up it’s subtle and well done, I’m always smiling. I’m obviously going to make an effort to look my best at our first meeting and beyond. So it only makes sense I’m looking for a man who will do the same. Do I look like a woman is seeking a man with a filthy ball cap he never takes off, who wears grungy, frayed jeans to our first meeting and hasn’t trimmed his beard this year? Use your noggin!

Actually READ my profile. I’m smart, I’m funny, and I’m well educated. I’m going to expect you to be smart, funny and able to write a grammatically correct sentence, as well.

If you have more than one drink daily you are not a “social drinker”. Social drinkers have a beverage or two when out to dinner on Saturday night or when having friends over for a party or BBQ. Maybe they have a glass of wine or beer when they get home from work in the evening.

The same is true of pot. I’m not completely 420 unfriendly…and for anyone who has pain I say do whatever works for you…but if you have no medical reason and you’re hitting the bong at 10am I’m not the right woman for you.

Have two nickels to rub together. I prefer a man who pays on a date. That said…we can go Dutch if you don’t have that kind of money but at a minimum you have to be able to pay for your own dinner. It’s really not cool for you to sit and watch me eat my dinner while you sip on a glass of water because you can’t even afford a cup of coffee. I don’t have much, but a man has to have at least as much as me, ‘cause without that parity no partnership is possible.

Have a driver’s license and a car. I’m not hauling your ass around town for the duration of our relationship. I expect you to be able to come and pick me up for a date. I expect to actually GO OUT ON DATES. I love to walk in the park; ride bikes, hike, etc. Every once in a while I also want to go out for dinner, see a movie, go to the theatre, hit a comedy open mike night, something (anything) other than walking and talking or sitting and talking.

I didn’t post a profile on a dating site because I’m looking for someone to have sex with. Hundreds of men want to have sex with me. I’ve been pursued by men of every age who tell me how sexy I am and how much they want to make love to me. Wanting to bed me doesn’t make you special. It’s just pheromones. Get a grip on yourself. Think with your big head for a change instead of your little one. But if we do get past the dating and actually get to this point, please be able to perform. If you have problems performing you are surely aware of that before we get to this stage of the relationship so deal with it before we go there. Man up!

What I’m looking for is a partner. Merriam-Webster defines it as: A person with whom one shares an intimate relationship; one member of a couple; one of two or more persons who play together in a game against an opposing team. In this instance the opposing team is “life” with all it brings us. It comes with family, friends, good food, fun times and great sex but it also includes hard work, flooded kitchens, flat tires, mortgage payments, cancer, and many other frustrations and challenges. Like all roller coaster rides it’s more fun when you have someone you can cling to who’s screaming just as loudly as you are when the car hits the peak and begins plummeting toward the next turn.

The Universe at Play

I’ve met a man.  I know, that’s how all my stories begin, but this time it’s different.  I met a man online, as I’ve done many, many times before.  He lives on four acres on the other side of the pass, 300 miles away, 12 miles outside of a town with a population of 9,000.  I live in the valley in Weird Town with a metropolitan area population of approximately 220,000, which after life in DC, London and NYC often seems far too small.

There was nothing about this man’s pictures or profile that told me he had much potential to be the life partner I was looking for.  In fact, we began talking only because when he flirted with me I critiqued some of his pictures of dead fish and told him if he wanted to attract women…pictures of dead animals weren’t the best way.  I never expected to hear from him again but, rather than taking offense, he thanked me for giving him a woman’s perspective.  Self- assured enough to withstand a little criticism was my only thought.

We began corresponding regularly, and we talked on the phone a few times, and then one day he said he would like to stop by and meet me for dinner on his way back from a clamming trip up north.  (I didn’t realize until much later that this wasn’t “on his way” but actually 3 hours out of his way!)  When I drove to the restaurant to meet him that Monday afternoon I went to meet a friend with no sense that this could ever turn into anything more.  After all, what would our options be, perhaps a remake of Green Acres?

I felt I already knew him somewhat from our email and phone conversations and thought him to be a decent human being with strong character and values.  I also love meeting all kinds of people and the more different their lives are from mine, the more intriguing I find them.  So off I went in the hope we would strike up a lasting friendship and I’d have a pen pal for life.

We met in the lobby of a restaurant, him in his sweats from his clamming trip, and me in my heels and make-up and from the moment we sat down our eyes were magnets for each other.  He not only listened to what I said, but he actually “heard” everything I said.  Not only that, but he heard everything I didn’t say.  Later he would write me when he returned home, I could see in your face and the way you moved you are strong person but yet I could feel the wanting to be fragile on the inside, the wanting to be held close, to be pampered like a lady should be, to share your heart and your feelings with another”.  When I read that line was the moment that I knew I had finally met a man capable of understanding me.

It’s remarkable to me that just a couple of months ago I said to a different man “I want to be with a man that thinks I’m amazing.  I do not want to be the woman you sleep with until you meet the one you think is amazing.”  Only a short time later I find myself lucky enough to be with a man who knows exactly what he wants, owns his emotions and shares them freely.  A man who is capable of looking me square in the eye and saying, “You’re an amazing woman!”

Last month I was asking myself “Who are these women men obsess over and write poetry about”.  This month I am a woman a man writes poetry to.  Once again, my theory regarding living life to the fullest, not pre-judging people, never turning down an opportunity to meet a new person or learn something new, has proven itself.

None of us know what the future will bring. I certainly never imagined as I got out of the car to meet this man that a short time later I would have someone to share my every thought with; someone who I enjoy talking to, someone who I enjoy sitting quietly with.  Every day truly is a new beginning and there is hope around every corner.  I don’t know exactly what the future holds for us….but I am certain it will find us facing each new day together.

The other thing I’m certain of is that our new age way of meeting, all of these dating sites (which I’m not knocking because without them I would never have found this man who lives 300 miles away from me) are meant to be only the conduit…not an end to themselves.  You can’t order up a life partner off a menu.  You can look at pictures and read profiles all day long, but if you don’t actually go out and meet people in person, nothing will come of it.  So, yes, I have spent seven years, met more men and drank more tea at Starbucks than the average woman, but I believe the willingness to give those men a chance has finally paid off.

My Love’s First Poem to Me

I will give you love when you shed a tear.
I will give you kindness to show my love.
I will give you warmth when you are cold.
I will give you strength when you are weak.
I will give you happiness each day of your life.
I will give you understanding when you’re blue.
I will give you my shoulder to cry on when sadness comes.
I will give you my arm to walk beside me as we travel this life.
I will give you my hand to hold to give you hope.
I will give you comfort when bad news arrives.
I will give you me for the rest of your life.

What’s Missing?

She’s missing some essential human element. She doesn’t know what it is; it’s something ethereal. It is that “thing” that makes a man fall in love with you. It is that “thing” that makes another person feel connected to you. Whatever it is that makes a man want to be with you, to protect and take care of you, to miss you when you’re gone, to put you first and think of your needs. She can’t figure out what it is that’s missing in her. What other women have that she does not.
She feels things deeply, she finds joy in others, she has wants and needs and desires like everyone else. She is smart, she is funny, she is even wise upon occasion. What is missing? What is the crucial component of humanity that she lacks?
Even if she were to figure it out, it is most likely too late now. Half her life is gone before her. Surely she should have experienced this love by now. But over and over she attempts the connection; she gives herself freely and they feel nothing in return.
Men crave her body. They want to lie naked with her and feel her soft caresses. They will say whatever it is they think she wants to hear to spend time in her bed until they meet another woman, a woman they can fall in love with, and then they are gone.
What is it that makes her, not unlikable but, so unlovable? Do you know? Do you have the answer? Can you share it please?

The Continued Pursuit of Happiness

A couple of weeks ago I spent the weekend shopping with a friend.  Before that, if anyone had asked, I would have said there was zero chance of finding this man in a store unless it was a tackle shop or Home Depot, and I certainly never would have pictured me along for the ride.  However, the man needed one of life’s necessities, at least one of a middle-aged man’s necessities: The Recliner.  Yes we were shopping for a new recliner and flannel sheets. I believe I gave the man sheet-envy talking about my new flannel sheets (see earlier BLOG post “Comfort and Joy” http://freethetwins.wordpress.com/2011/12/03/comfort-joy/).

I have known almost since the first day we met that this is a man with very simple needs.  All this particular man seems to need to be happy is a comfortable chair, a comfortable bed, a big screen TV and enough hot water to provide him with a long, warm shower after work each night.  Just four simple things are all that is needed to make him perfectly content with life.

I haven’t been able to stop thinking about this since our shopping trip.  My list of what it takes to make me happy and content in life is quite a bit longer.  I keep wondering if the key to my own happiness lies somewhere in this simple tale.

Most middle -aged men I meet seem to be content whether they have a woman in their life or not.   They have their jobs, their hobbies, add a strong cup of coffee in the morning and they’re good to go.  For instance, nothing would change in this particular man’s life if he didn’t know me.  He would sit in his same comfy chair, watch his same television programs, go to his same job, and sleep comfortably and content in his new flannel sheets.

Women, on the other hand, are searching for someone to share life with.  For the women I know, myself included, it’s about who you’re with not so much what you’re doing.  Perhaps it’s because women are raised to be nurturers and spend a great deal of their adult lives taking care of others and making other people’s lives – children, spouses, parents — more comfortable.  Even if we’re not married a large portion of our self-identity is often derived from who we choose to nurture.

Most of us have been used to taking care of the kids and the shopping and the house cleaning and the dry cleaner and the laundry and had little time left for developing hobbies.  When we had free time we spent it catching up with a good friend over a cup of coffee or a glass of wine, sharing experiences and learning from each other.  For instance, my friend’s joy was derived from his new chair, while mine came from sharing time with him.

Now that the kids are grown and many of us live alone again perhaps we should take this opportunity to learn from men how to relax and be content alone. Maybe we should learn to put ourselves first, find a hobby that brings us joy, and stop being concerned about how the rest of the world is doing.  We may find it makes us happier, but will it make the world a better place?

Everyone Loves Me

I have been told I have a charming personality.  I suspect it’s partly just the personality I was born with and partly from being a middle child in a large family.  I’m basically a happy person. I get a kick out of life and find my fellow inmates on this planet fascinating.  I have made friends easily through my adult life.  I also tend to be very loyal so a lot of my closest friends I’ve known for over twenty years, some since childhood.

I remember sharing my angst over moving to New York City for a job a few years ago with my sister.  “What am I doing? I don’t know a soul in New York?  How will I meet people?”  My sister laughed and said, “You’ll make friends everywhere you go the way you always have.”

And, of course, she was right.  If I go to a new hairdresser, within a few visits we’re best of friends and meeting for drinks and dinner.  When I change jobs my new staff is usually happy I’m there and I make friends among my colleagues without difficulty.  In fact, at a recent job, my boss actually told me one of my fellow directors was jealous because staff liked me so well so quickly.  I just seem to be able to sense the type of support that each person needs to flourish and am somehow able to bring out their best.  I can prompt people to try and succeed at things they didn’t think they could do previously.

I put others at ease.  I laugh at all the everyday occurrences that make some people angry and frustrated and I get others to laugh along with me.  I’m the one that gets the party going.  I coax those who wouldn’t normally dance out on to the dance floor.  I laugh at myself. I use humor as an ice breaker and I’m often the one who helps others to relax and begin to enjoy each other’s company.

I’ve been told I’m adorable, fun, funny, charming, even enchanting.  (Okay, that last one may have been my Mom!)   Everybody loves me: my neighbors love me, the plumber loves me, babies love me, the cable guy loves me, my friends’ husbands and boyfriends love me, my friends’ kids love me, my nieces and nephews love me.

So what I don’t understand is this:  How is it that if everyone I meet loves me I can’t find just one, single man who loves me too?  I only need one man to find me enchanting — not an entire world.  Just one, single, stable, honest man who thinks I’m as special as everyone else does.  I only need one man to share my everyday life, my joys and sorrows, my laughter and tears.

Even at my ripe old age I’m still hopeful that this man exists somewhere and one day we’ll meet.  We’ll connect and he’ll see in me all the good that others do and eventually he’ll look across the room at me the way my girlfriend’s husband still looks at her after 35 years of marriage and say, “I’m a damn lucky man.”  And I’ll be across the room smiling back knowing I’m the one who’s truly lucky.

Life Goes On

I get up

Do my hair

Dress for success and put my make-up on

Go to work

Smile and converse

And then I come home and cry about you

I grocery shop

I pay the bills

Run the everyday errands that we all do

Smile at the clerks

Exchange pleasantries

And then I come home and cry about you

I meet my friends

Share some laughs

Smiles and hugs

Let’s do it again

And then I come home and cry about you

I visit the kids

We run and play

We laugh and jest

And at the end of the day

I come home and cry about you

I cry about you

I still cry about you

For Sale

One heart.

Great interior.

Still runs well.

Should provide someone with many more years of service.

Exterior in horrible condition.

Broken repeatedly.

Going for a smile.

All offers considered.

Does He Know?

Didn’t he know I’d always love him?

That I’d always put him first?

I would have always stood beside him;

stuck by him through better or worse.

I would have helped him reach his goals.

I would have kept him from the cold.

I would have picked him up when he fell.

I would have loved that man through heaven and hell.

We could have shared passion, laughter and life.

We could have held each other close every night.

We could have built something that others would envy.

We could have, we should have, but it simply ended.

Does he know what he is missing?

Does he know what we might have had?

How many people wander forever searching

and are never offered such a chance?

.

 

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