Monday, November 4, 2013

Zip Lines and "Summer Luvin'..."

As I mentioned in my last post, there are so many things that I write about, but then am not sure if I should post them. Since I am feeling a teeny bit more confident today than I did yesterday, I will take a little leap and post this thought I started back in September when I was in Santa Fe and then continued in Providence... then shelved.

In Santa Fe (September):

There are groups of men EVERYWHERE here in Santa Fe. In the restaurants, bars, super markets, in packs in the park and standing around in parking lots. It's almost creepy. In my real life, I rarely come into contact with a "man" never mind a group of them. And they are usually in suits, somewhere near an office. My world is filled with women. Which is fine. But I am remembering that... before... my real friends were always men. I like talking to women and I am finding it easier to form bonds and find common ground now. But when I checked into the hotel here, I found it so easy to strike up a conversation with Abel, the desk clerk. I know his family is in Jordan ("Oh my gosh, I was in Jordan a few years ago! How come you haven't gone home to visit? It's such an incredible place...?) He hasn't returned because his family wouldn't approve of his tattooed arms and the trip is incredibly long. Very true! It wasn't until I was dragging my bags up the stairs that I realized he had been seriously flirting with me: "I will make you dinner. I'm an excellent cook!" Mmm-hmm. That was his response when I asked where I could find something to eat at 10:00pm on a Wed. night.

It had been about 25 years since I had a proper date. I guess I wouldn't recognize flirting if it knocked me in the head... which it did. This summer. Back to that in a minute. First I want to talk about zip lines.

Just after Santa Fe:

The only zip lines I have been on in real life are the one's in people's back yards. Those are fun, but safe. The big scary ones that start up really high in the air and end in the trees? Those are the ones I am thinking about. I realized that I approach every one of my big experiences as if it were a zip line adventure. This year alone... teaching at TangleU, Zentangle Workshops, retreats, Art Camp on Mayhew Island, and now, this Santa Fe retreat...  I work really hard preparing, climbing the mountain, with travel prep, class prep, and blogging. I get to the top, breathing hard and nervous/excited. Grab onto the handlebars and launch myself into the void. The excitement and terror are equally intoxicating. I meet amazing people, learn incredible things - I keep my eyes wide open as I scream my way down the mountain!


And then... smash into the trees! I barely have time to pick the pine needles out of my teeth before I am climbing up another mountain.

Despite the fact that I love meeting people and learning things... the crash ALWAYS comes at the end. When I return from camps or classes, I feel so exhausted and depleted and... lonely... that I could cry for days. It doesn't really make sense, and it never stops me from going for another ride. But I think the excitement and the camaraderie  - and the intensity in just a few days or weeks - makes the contrast at home so much more severe (thus the trees whacking me in the face). As a severe Introvert - I don't really mind being "alone" - I crave it - but I don't have a reliable way to recharge my batteries or even a helmet to wear while flying down the mountains!

If you are still reading, we can go back to the flirting part...

In Providence (October):

I just watched "Grease" on Netflix while eating take-out sushi and drawing icons for homework. This movie came out when I was in 5th grade and the boy that made my heart thump was named "Danny". We girls would sit on the playground wall outside Pine Street School and watch Danny and his friends do daring tricks on the stair railings. Ah, love. I just couldn't stand the other girls singing - at me - "look at me I'm Sandra Dee. Lowsy with virgiiiiiin-iteeeee!" Seriously? I was 10! Girls are so cruel. I loved that movie but I was always pissed at Sandy for just tossing it in and changing herself completely just so Danny would like her. He didn't deserve her. He was such a wimp! He would never stand up to his buds and defend Sandy. His image was more important than how he felt about her.

But I do like the beginning where they are singing about their summer romances... "Summer lovin' had me a bla -ast. Summer lovin' happened so fa-ast...!" And it got me thinking about my own summer romance...

A guy walks into a studio... yes, the beginning of a classic joke? But very few guys ever walk into my studio! I had a class going on and didn't pay much attention to him until he asked us some questions and we began to tease him mercilessly. He didn't leave. He kept asking for more! He did give us some great ideas on how to attract more men to the Open Studios too - serve beer and wings and keep a broken lawn mower out front - a sure thing. We all missed him as soon as he had left. :-)

A few weeks later I received an email asking me if I'd have dinner with him. Honestly, it scared the bee-jeezus out of me. No one has asked me out in 25 years! And there was some really yicky stuff going on right then in my life (again, I can't write about it). So I finally responded to him and said "my life is a whack-a-mole game and I can't risk endangering anyone else".

That's original, right? Strangely, that didn't scare him off. He said he was ex-Navy and nothing scared him. :-) Sweet. (I think he lied, because, as it turned out, I scared him). Still, in the next few weeks, we had a TON of fun! Pig roasts, road trips, motor-boating in the dark under the stars, meteor showers, drinks in bars, pubs, and that pig roast... I drank more in those three weeks than in my entire life! It was a mini teenage rebellion (I've been putting mine off for too long!) I had climbed yet another mountain, and flung myself into the void on yet another zip-line. But this time, I had an adventure-companion. And he was sweet and funny and amazingly creative. He was a grown-up gifted-kid, just like me. And my kids liked him. And I liked his kids.

Yes, you noticed the past-tense, right? Just as I realized I was about to go crashing into the inevitable trees at the end of the zip-line, I looked over and he was just... gone.

So it's been a few months and as it is with all my exhilarating experiences, most of the ache fades and I remember the great stuff. Now I am thinking of the whole adventure as a really tough assignment for one of my classes (the relationship one). Whatever the reason for it ending - and I have plenty of choices - I learned an awful lot about myself. I may not have a clue what I want to achieve in life, but I have a really good image of what I want in a partner-soul mate: humor, imagination, creativity, respect, admiration, self-respect, loyalty, friendship, love, and most importantly - I want to be not only ON his Priority List, I want to be in the top 5.

In summary... the zip-line experience (in art and love!):
There's the anticipation, the terror the first day, falling in love with the other "characters", making new friends, learning new things about myself and other people, realizing some of my assumptions were wrong, experiencing some disappointments, discovering new strengths and talents, realizing the end is here, the wrenching pain of returning to "real" life, the terrible loneliness, the fabulous memories... then planning to do it all again!

Note: I have an update on the summer romance, but I may wait a little to say anything... ;-)

35 comments:

  1. Good for you! I'm so glad you left your comfort zone and had some fun. Now I'm waiting breathlessly for the next chapter! Go for it! Life is too short to waste one minute of it.

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  2. When is the sequel to be published? I love reading your blog. I live vicariously through you - I don't even mind crashing into the trees - love the smell of pine. :-) Bravo Lady!

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    1. Maybe cardboard, air freshener trees would be safer and less painful? hee hee :-)

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  3. Sandy, I love your zip line analogy. I can relate to that, although I don't do nearly as many zip line, or ones that are quite so daring. I'm glad you decided to post this...and I, too, am waiting for the sequel.
    Cheers to you, for being open to adventures, and willing to share them with us. I'm going to be humming tunes from Grease for an indefinite period of time, now...

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    1. The songs definitely "stick" don't they...
      "you think you're such a looker. But no customer would go to you, unless she was a h-----!" (I had to look THAT word up when I was a kid! ;-)

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  4. A girlfriend who separated from her husband around the same time I separated from mine made as a career move a 100% to find a new man. She read every how-to book on the subject. Went to events. Put herself out there. And she found one! Got married the following year.

    I, on the other hand, moved to NYC to further my career and spent a whole lot of time studying programming (and it paid off). So what I'm trying to say is that we become what we sink our hearts into studying to become.

    What changed my life a long time ago was the statement "If everything were perfect I . . ." Sometimes it is easy to forget our own definitions of "perfect" and have to remind ourselves again.

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    1. Good point. I'm not really looking for a replacement husband... I want a new improved model - a soul-mate-friend+ :-) And I can't imagine that things being "perfect" would be much incentive for me - I enjoy a good challenge. What I want is a purpose - a mission.

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    2. Hi Sandy, I'm just coming back to life after being an invalid for several days and above all other things, I've concluded that "perfectness" is good health!

      That said, I wanted to expand on this a bit. To my knowledge, one can never acquire "perfect" in that "perfect" is something that is in comparison with something else.

      The statement, however, "If everything were perfect, I'd be/have . . ." does force comparisons and can be very helpful in getting one on track again. Generally, a lot of people (including me) forget about specifically directing our lives toward our desires and just kinda ramble forward with the expectation that things will be nice (or maybe give in to the idea that they will be not nice and nothing can be done about it.)

      The "if everything could be perfect" is an engineering prelude to invention.

      BTW, I could never figure out how to find a soul-mate and acquired a husband who is not, which in many strange ways, turned him into my soul-mate and provided me with many experiences I would not have had had he been more similar to me. The bottom line? At least a husband has to have the same political outlook . . . (smile)

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  5. I had to laugh when I read this. After the Santa Fe Retreat, Betsy actually did go zip-lining - screaming through a canyon up in Angel Fire. She says it got her whole system reset - and she didn't hit any trees.

    BTW - those guys in suits in Santa Fe are legislators and lobbyists - you ain't missin much.

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    1. Funny!

      The guys in suits I meant - are in NH. But they are probably legislators and lawyers as well.

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  6. Reading about your adventures and really thinking about it, plus go to the Women Inspiring Women site (badge on your blog) I realize that, while I enjoy my isolation on my little farm, I am missing out on life and it is difficult to define what you want out of life when you've isolated yourself. Hmmm...I sense a discussion with my therapist this week.

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    1. Introversion has it's perks. But it's also worth it to leave one's cave every now and then. :-)
      Today, isolation sounds very appealing to me.

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  7. A favorite teacher of mine, Susan Jeffers, writes in her book Embracing Uncertainty,

    “There is something inside of you—your Higher Self—that is always there to handle elegantly, beautifully, intelligently, powerfully, and lovingly, anything and everything that can ever happen to you.”

    Sandy, I have actually missed your posting. So nice to see you again. I am inspired by your bravery and openness. So good to hear from you.

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    1. Thanks Sheri. And thanks for riding the zip-line with me. ;-)

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  8. Bravo!! Life...you gotta love it!

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  9. Sandy, the sad fact is, you can be lonely even when married with children and are surrounded by more than enough stuff to, supposedly, satiate all your "wants".
    I am getting closer and closer to deciding to do CZT training. I thought about the excitement and sense of belonging to a group that I saw when a bunch of CZTs met up at a Zentangle show I attended. I felt so hollow, and was like a little kid looking through a window at a party I wasn't part of. Not sure that belonging will fill the hollow inside, but it just might help!
    The need to be with like-minded people, and to have one's sense of self validated, isn't always met by husband and children. A soul-mate companion, whether it be one person or a group of people, is a necessity to a happy life. Sometimes, as an outlier personality (which doesn't mean "mad", just unusual, special!) it is hard to find just the right person, people, to assuage that inner loneliness.
    Thank you for being brave enough to share with us; your thoughts, and those of the people who comment on your posts, give me a lot to think about (and discuss with my shrink!)
    Jakki

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    1. Yes. I felt very lonely when I was married. There are a certain few people who, when we are together, make me feel like I belong. Hard to express - but it's like they say "we see you. We hear you. You matter." CZT training (which is great!) won't automatically fill the hollow, but it will give you a select group full of possible "like-minded people".

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  10. You ever know what's coming next. Always good to be a participant in life, never let it zip by without attempting to jump in.
    You go girl!

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  11. Fascinating you used zip lining as an analogy. Several months ago I gave a talk at Toastmasters using zip lining as an analogy for moving through the grief process. The main thing in life is to be courageous enough to travel on the zip line because one can learn so much, and feel so much. But after landing on each and every platform we need to rest and have faith that everything is going to be OK. We also need our friends (and/or the Spirit) to rally us on to the next platform. You are truly courageous and very rich in friends, an inspiration to us all. Tally-ho!!

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    1. Ahhhh.... normal people have "platforms" - perhaps this is just a design flaw? You mean they don't go crashing into the trees? And I suppose, when they roller-skate, they don't stop by hitting walls? ;-) Perhaps this is just a design flaw in my experience? Something to think about.

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  12. Thank you for sharing your innermost thoughts. It's such a privilege to enter into someone's deepest concerns. As an aging widow (a word I hate), it is difficult to realize I will be facing my decline on my own. I do all I can to stay healthy, but death is inevitable and a worry sometimes because I live alone. On the other hand, life is a wonderous gift and I strive to gain pleasure from all it has to offer. Since discovering Zentangle about a year and a half ago, a whole new world has opened for me. You have been part of that awakening and I appreciate all you do to further the creative talents of others and also for sharing your profound thoughts.

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    1. And thank you for sharing in return. Being alone is very scary, at any age (as is the fear of death). I am glad I could help and that you found Zentangle. It does help to be a part of something.

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  13. I love your art. I love your heart. I love this post. And you.

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  14. Miss Sandy, dear friend. I am glad you've posted, and I thank you for your sharing. Your heart is huge, your talent overwhelming. Your stories make me think, smile and FEEL. I've just read through all of the comments, before starting my own. I was going to write something else, but I need to make this observation. When you are feeling out of place, a square peg for the round hole, when there are women out there whose responses make you feel awkward and out of place, remember the women who have responded to your post. They are sisters of your heart and are women who are doing it RIGHT. They are the kind of women we need more of, and when lucky we are blessed to call friends. Women who remember to put their hearts out there and share their heart's thoughts, not those other women that are hard to be friends with. The women who sometimes make our gender appear to be mean and petty.
    There are a lot of good men out there to be friends with and to be your partner, but do remember that there are 'A FEW GOOD WOMEN" out there who are capable of being loving and supporting friends. The comments to your post have just proven it!!! L

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    1. Thanks Lisa - that means so much (actually made me cry... blush). You are right. It's because of that (all you who believe in me) that I was able to scrape myself off the "tree" last night (see today's post). I sat in the hot shower and cried until I was completely wrinkled. But I kept telling myself "No. He is wrong. I know who I am. This isn't about me. I will be OK." And the next time I see you or one of these other amazing ladies, we'll trade war stories and laugh hysterically. Deal? ;-)

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  15. sometimes people come into our lives for a season, perhaps to teach us to get out of our comfort zone, and experiance new Horizons. Godd for you...eembrace it!

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  16. I am impressed that you keep climbing up the mountains to grab that zip line.

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  17. Thank you so much for sharing your heart. The zip line analogy is perfect. It works with so many other things as well. I am a bit of a sci-fi nerd as well as in love with creating art. My sister and I used to go to a three-day literary science fiction convention. It was really amazing and you just get in that mode where people understand you and then it's over -- or when my dear friends who live far away came to visit to see a singer in concert that we were all a little bit smitten*cough*obsessed*cough* with. They came for the weekend and there was so much energy and fun -- and then it's all over. They go home and I'm stuck here. Alone. I am an introvert as well. But I definitely crash hard into those trees... anyway -- You are an amazing woman. It's the fact that you keep climbing that mountain again... that you keep swimming. :D

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