Am I in love with you? Yeeeessss?
Do I want to be with you? No.
Do I love you? Yes.
Am I in love with you? Yeeeessss?
Do I want to be with you? No.
Five years ago today I met the woman who would soon become my Step-wife.
I wasn’t planning to meet her that day, but she came to a play my kids were in with Xhusband – and upon the introduction I literally could not breathe. We had been divorced about 10 months.
In true NB fashion, I played it cool. I smiled. I shook hands.
I sat in the front row to get good pictures. They sat on the same row across the isle. My saving grace was that my dad was there that day. Dad and I are not close and he launched the nastiest divorce Houston’s north side had even seen at the time – the stuff of legend. Seriously, people still talk about it. So, he obviously knows how this stuff goes to some degree.
He was cool, too. He smiled. He shook hands.
The play started and I sat in the front row next to Dad. My camera was in my hands and I was facing forward, but I was frozen. Tears streamed quietly down my face. I was struggling to keep that smile. I knew Xhusband would find someone else one day, but I hadn’t thought about what it would be like to meet her.
At this point Dad, still facing forward, stretch his arm around my shoulders and squeezed my right shoulder as if to say “Hey, it’ll be ok. I’m here.” It helped. The tears stopped and I could focus on the kids, the play and taking pictures.
The next year, they got married and I have never been more thankful that I have a step-wife. My life would not be the same without her. She’s fun and funny and they seem to be truly in love. I am so happy they found each other. Most importantly, she loves my kids and they love her. And the most valuable thing she does for me is help Xhusband and I hear each other when we disagree - she moderates fairly and honestly.
We tell people we are one family in two houses and that is truly how we operate. We vacation together. We sit together at the kid’s games and go to school conferences all together. Even my Dad laughs at how well this has worked out. And I think back to his squeezing my shoulder. That’s all he did to tell me “things will be ok” and I was open to it. I mean, that's all one can do is be open to it. Otherwise you'll be miserable.
It’s a long story, but I was thinking about selling my piano. And this is how it went down: At dinner one night with James and TAG I casually say “I’ve been thinking and I’ve decided I should sell my piano.”
TAG stopped chewing and if I could take a picture of James’ face I would have, because she looked as shocked as if I just announced I was having a baby. No one said a word.
James: “Nothing, except that’s your most prized procession.”
TAG: “Why, Babe?”
Me: *crying* “Well, I haven’t even looked into what I could get for it, and if I wouldn’t get much, I won’t sell it, but if it’s worth it, I will. I need to do something and I’m too old to sell my eggs, I already looked into that.”
James: *still staring at me without moving*
The truth is I started playing piano, this piano, when I was 6 years old and I have carried it from house to house through all the phases of my life and no one touches it but me. I don’t let children play on it. I don’t let people place drinks on it during parties. And even though I don’t have much time to play, I still do. And I still love it.
I have practiced for hours at a time on that thing – late at night, early in the morning and whenever I could find the time in between. I loved my lessons and recitals and competitions and it was through an invitation-only “Honors Recital” at the University of Texas Music School in Austin that I had one of the defining moments of my life. I have cried and prayed and rejoiced and worked through some of my best and toughest times over those keys.
I never thought I’d part with it. So I decided not to.
And the rest will work itself out.
Lots of emphasis is put on engagement and wedding rings.
Don't get me wrong, I like the Bling - but as I've matured, I've realized that it's not about the ring.
Your commitment is to the person, not to the ring.
Your commitment is to the act of wearing a ring - any ring.
I totally understand the process of looking at rings as if it were your last. Traditionally, you should be wearing THIS ring forever. It's a little bit like picking your mate. This person will be the last person you're with. They'll be with you forever.
I get it.
I'm sure you wouldn't be shocked to know I had a few sets of rings while I was married.
He proposed just after he graduated from college. We were broke.
He spent $50 on a fake diamond at Wal-Mart. I LOVED it. I loved it and wore it off and on the entire time we were married. He was embarrassed by the fact that it was cheap and fake. I wasn't. He made me promise not to tell anyone, but I told a few people I was close to because they all wanted to know how two broke kids could afford such a high-quality 1 ct. solitaire. When we married, I paired it with a silver wedding band from James Avery that cost $35. I still have them both and they mean more to me than the real diamonds we upgraded to over the years. They were given out of love at one of the happiest times in our lives - when we thought we couldn't live without each other. If they were ever stolen, I'd cry harder over those two rings than almost anything else I'd lose.
A few years into our marriage I got a real diamond. In a setting with smaller diamonds around it on a delicately carved band. It was beautiful.
After the kids came, I realized that both the fancy new ring and the plain solitaire ring were a bit impractical. (As evidenced by the scar on my son's face that he reminds me is my fault often.) At this point I got anniversary bands. They didn't have a setting with a stone sticking up but were 3 bands of channel set diamonds off varying sizes in an antique style. I wore those for years and years. They added sparkle without risking scratching the little ones with a protruding diamond. I liked the uniqueness of this set. No one had anything like these.
Throughout my marriage, I swapped the rings around and wore whichever I wanted based on the situation or activity we were doing.
I have all of them, still, and I let my kids look at them when they ask. I'm sure to tell them about why I got each ring and how they changed and evolved with us as our life progressed and evolved.
It's less about the ring and more about wearing the ring. It has to fit you and your lifestyle. That would be my advise to my children when they get to an age where wedding ring shopping becomes a serious topic.
Today a good friend asked me a question and my response was quick and made me sad.
He asked “Have you ever felt that even though you know someone was poison, you just couldn’t let them
I told him I had.
My reply, “I think about him often. But what keeps me from calling is how far I’ve come without him and if I reconnect I’ll have to endure separating from him all over again. Once was enough.”
I’m just going out on a limb here but…
If humans are born with a hard-wired internal drive to get away from things that can hurt us, why can’t we always get away from someone we care about but know can hurt us emotionally?
If someone had a gun or knife or even a spear we would run away as fast as we could.
But when we part with someone we care about either by choice or necessity, we long to be near them once more – even though we know, beyond a shadow of a doubt, it will be painful.
It hurts our heart. It sickens our stomach. It jeopardizes other aspects of our lives.
But we’d do almost anything for a glimpse, a note, a sign that they too are feeling the same pain without us and want to be close again.
Everyone has felt this at least once in life - a lost love, a former friend or someone who has passed away.
One would think that for all the harm we instinctively run from, that we would have evolved to simply part ways with someone that does not make us better people.
I suppose “Flight or Fight” is involved in there somewhere. And a large part would be attributed to the differences in physical threats vs. the human condition.
I have to say…I’m a tad disappointed that we aren’t all better at this by now.
Been thinking about time - specific times in people’s lives.
Some call them Phases.
Some call them Periods.
I call them Journeys.
I call them that because they are like side trips we take within our greater journey through life.
I call them journeys because we go places we haven’t been before – personally and perhaps literally. And we talk to strangers who may teach us something good or teach us something bad.
We make new friends and new enemies.
We get excited, we get satisfied, we get curious, we get scared and we experience.
And above all else, we learn something abut ourselves.
More on this to come…
I’ve been thinking about the term “the Love of your life.”
It feels like a marketing line to me – and if I feel like you’re marketing to me, I don’t want what you’re selling.
Americans are living longer, marrying later (or not at all) and divorcing even more often than that. I wonder if anyone even thinks about if someone is, was, or may become the “Love of their life” anymore.
I hope everyone gets the opportunity to love more than once. Some love more than others, some less. Assuming most people love more than one person in their life, it’s only logical that they can’t pick a ‘favorite’ until they don’t even have the opportunity to fall for anyone else.
In other words, wouldn’t you have to wait until your inevitable end to know who THE Love of your life was – the greatest, strongest, most accepting and intimate relationship you could know in all your days?
When I open myself up to it, I love deeply.
I love people who will undoubtedly have a lasting affect of my life.
How could I possibly know who the LOVE of my life was until the last minute?
In case you're charting this, it's that time again.
I'm feeling restless.
And I'm feeling down. Very down.
I can't go into it, becuase if nothing else can be said about Nat Blake, it's that she keeps secrets... but I lost another friend. A few friends, actually. They were my last links to the out of control fun I had a few years ago. And I had been living vicariously through them, of late. Now they're gone and I'm not.
This is like the door to my freak-self slamming shut.
And I've been keeping it slightly ajar so I could see it and hear it and feel it without doing it.
Becuase doing it seems to always cause trouble.
So now the sound of "normal" is deafening. And I want to run like hell towards the sound of what others call scary and inappropriate and sinful.
And I don't know what to do.
She will never tell you everything.