This is your brain; this is your brain in love.

I have never felt more safe, secure, protected, sure, content, happy, and stable; I have also never felt so much like someone threw me into a river with swift current that swept me away from where I intended to go on the bank and then threw me over a waterfall.  Then at the bottom of the waterfall there’s a tropical paradise with unlimited chocolate cake and really lemony lemon bars, but you can only reach it by exploding, I mean being swept over a waterfall by a river you didn’t see coming to get you.  or both.

You know that Christmas morning feeling?  The one where you’ve been waiting for weeks and weeks for Christmas morning to come, waiting for that ecstasy of delight.  You’ve accepted that Christmas will never really come, that an eternity of normal mornings will have to pass.  Then, one morning, it actually is Christmas, and you wake up just like any morning.  And you stare into the dark for a few seconds before you realize that it’s Christmas morning, and for a little while, you’re not really sure.  Is it really Christmas morning?  Is it really happening?  That’s how I feel.  I’m spinning, whirling, soaring, falling, unsure, and almost ready to throw up from the thrill of the ride.  And I feel that way because something finally feels stable and safe and real and right and good and like my heart is floating in a sea of hot chocolate surrounded by playful otters.

The weekend started out innocuously enough, no signs or portents to point to the sun exploding in my head.  I was sick, and I was staying over at The Pirate’s place for the weekend.  But the weekend soon morphed into one of those lovey-dovey montage scenes from an 80s chick flick.  There was late night conversation, cuddling on the couch, walking in the spring sunshine, morning sex, lazy hours cuddling in bed, and a whole lot of soul-sharing and nearly bursting with happiness.  By the time this morning came, we’d said a lot of things we’d been thinking but had planned on keeping to ourselves for several more months.  Instead of that reasonable, measured plan for our relationship we’d both been envisioning, suddenly things were tumbling out of our mouths too early.  They still felt right, the ideas weren’t unfinished or premature, it’s just that we hadn’t planned on taking them out until they’d had time to solidify and cool.  Instead we found ourselves with them fresh from the oven and a little hot to touch, tossing them back and forth between us like hot potatoes.

By sundown last night, everything and nothing had changed.  The Pirate and I are planning on moving in together, getting married, probably having children, and being together for the rest of our lives.  That sound you hear is all the neurons in my head imploding simultaneously while my heart rushes around my rib cage like one of those circus motorcycle drivers.

The thing is, we knew all this before.  We could both feel it, as if it all is inevitable.  This isn’t a normal relationship.  This is different.  This is gravity and continental drift and the passage of glaciers.  We knew.  Nothing we said surprised us.  It was more a discussion of when than if.  It wasn’t, “Do you think we should get married?” It was, “When do you want to get married.”  And then nuclear fusion happened and light shot out of every atom in the universe and nebulas swirled and stars were born and species went extinct and tectonic forces clashed and ocean levels rose and birds sang and metaphors got mixed and creamed and fried with toast.

I have to remind myself to pause, to question, to doubt.  Everything about this relationship feels so thoroughly right and good and disturbingly The One-ish that I worry that we’ve gone blind or crazy or just taken leave of our senses.

We smiled, we cried, we said things to script writer could put in a play because the audience would find it unbelievably cheesy.

And I am left with racing thoughts and heartbeats, wanting to say everything and speechless at the same time. My battle ship is sunk, my wagon has been fixed, the fat lady just started her first encore, and my heart came back from San Francisco.

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Drunken Confession

This is going to be one of those posts that makes my best friend worried about how much I drink.  I promise I don’t spend every Wednesday school night drunk, just when I have a cold.  Nothing, nothing, feels better on a sore throat than alcohol, or makes you sleep so well afterwards.  Conclusion?  Drunken school nights where I am blogging between sips of gin and lemonade on my way to bed at nine thirty.  I’ll get up and go teach a full day of school at 5:30 in the morning like a responsible adult.  But at the moment?  We need to talk Christmas trees and mushrooms.

This whole Christmas season, every time I see a Christmas tree I think: Man, this would look awesome and be so fucking happy on mushrooms.  That’s the sort of warm fuzzy Christmas thought you don’t share with your Mormon family.  Picture the way a Christmas tree looks with your contacts out, but add extra blur, movement/growing/glowing and overwhelming feelings of happiness and magic.  Sigh.

I haven’t had mushrooms in months, and have no prospects for acquiring them, but every. single. Christmas tree.  Mushrooms.  It’s tantalizing.  I have a Christmas tree in my room, and this past weekend my roommate/landlord set up the 15 foot frosted tree in the front room.  I have a hot tub.  I have an amazing Pirate boyfriend.  The world is begging for an awesome mushroom experience.  Yet I have no mushrooms.

Seriously, internet.  I can live without alcohol, marijuana, or cigarettes, but I might need to move to New Mexico where it’s legal to grow my own mushrooms for private consumption.  That’s how much I love them.  Sigh.  Time to go set my alarm clock to go teach students about The Outsiders.


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Second Tattoo Idea

This probably falls into the category of more cool than it is wise, but still, it’s pretty dang cool.

A pine tree rocky mountainside, probably in gray-scale.  Then, UV tattoo in snow flakes falling and blowing in the wind.

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Something Going Right

It seems like I post on this blog when something is going wrong, something scandalous, embarrassing, or private enough I can’t post it on my regular blog for my friends and parents and some of my friends’ parents to read.  So it seems to me that it’s time to post about something going right, something making me happy, and something I still probably shouldn’t post on the public blog.

Because I’m dating The Pirate.  I am finally dating The Pirate.  Legitimately.  I don’t have to hide, consider us doomed, or remind myself of the reasons we can’t be together, because, at last. six and a half years after we met, there is nothing in the way.  Honestly, just typing that sends a wave of disbelief and adrenaline rising from the pit of my stomach, while my heart thumps along hopefully.  The situation that was so thoroughly, eternally, desperately, pitifully, hopeless, has piece by piece fallen into place.

Six years one month and three days ago, he walked away from this state to go live his dreams in San Francisco, intending to never return except to visit.  As we kept in touch the last six years, he loved San Francisco and planned to stay.  Then, this summer, for a lot of reasons, he came back, got a new job, his own apartment and is planning to stay.

More than two years ago, he starting dating this fabulous British girl working on her PhD and they hit it off.  They moved in together and had adventures and I was happy for them.  And in some corner of my heart, I hurt, because it meant he had found another love and another life.  And I was dating a charismatic skater who I even learned to cook for.  And then I was single, and he was still dating her, and then I dated someone else, and he was still dating her, and then I started dating Jim, and then they broke up.  But I loved Jim, and wanted to give it a full, authentic chance, because we had potential.  But, as we know, Jim took his exit bows last week.  For the first time in six years we’re both single, both in the same place at the same time.  Impossible.

For the first time, I’m not Mormon, not convinced that if I let myself be with him, I’m betraying my unborn children.  For eternity.  And their children, and my parents, and my siblings, and my God.  For the first time, he doesn’t have to stay away, swallow what he wants to say, and watch me date guy after guy, looking for someone who’ll love me the way he already has but who can live the fairy tale with me.  For six years.

So when I wake up next to the first man I ever slept with, when the man I had learned to let go comes in my door and gives me gathers me up in an embrace, I can hardly believe the reality of it.  For the first time, a future for us is a possibility.  We have time.  So forgive me if I didn’t wait the appropriate amount of time after Jim.  I meant to.  But then the day after I broke up with Jim was my birthday and it was hard, and The Pirate sent me flowers just to wish me happy birthday.  Then he invited me out with some friends to see a game the next day.  And at the beginning of the evening I told him about Jim, and at the end of the game we were holding hands.  By the end of dinner afterwards, we kissed, and by the end of the drive home, he didn’t leave.

Our future is finally a possibility, but I know that’s not a guarantee.  I know he and I still have differences and challenges and all that future stuff.  I know we’re being reckless, and that if Jim could see it’d an even deeper cut to his heart.  I know my mother will still think I’m making a mistake.  I know this isn’t the fairy tale.  But forgive me if I savor the moment for now and let the future sort the fuck out.

Because six years ago and five months ago my heart learned it had a home.  And, after six years of wandering, that home has come home to me.

Yup. That’s mush. Deal with it.

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Death of a Dream

I’m single.  Jim just left, and his parting words were, “I’ll never forgive myself for this.”  Then, crying, he climbed into his truck and drove off without a goodbye.

It wasn’t supposed to end like this, Jim and I.  We were supposed to be the good relationship, the one that made it.  Not the one that has had all the problems I’ve already blogged about again and again.  We were supposed to go do so many things, but instead we did nothing.  We were supposed to be unstoppable.  But there is a point where you stop.

When you’ve been on the verge of breaking up with him two or three times already, and you’ve only been hanging on for the sake of that dream of the future you could have together if all goes well, it’s time to stop.  When you realize that future would have to be delayed at least a few years while (if/when) he gets his shit together slowly, it’s time to stop.

When he uses your old apartment as a place to do softcore drugs without telling you, and then leaves it a mess, it’s time to stop.

When he still uses your old apartment as a place to smoke weed and hash, but now makes sure he tells you about it and still leaves it a mess, it’s time to stop.

When you catch him returning your Wii to your old apartment because he pawned it behind your back for gas money and was trying to return it without you noticing, it’s time to stop.

When you have to ask him for the third or fourth time if he’s doing heroin, because for the third or fourth time you have fairly credible evidence that he has been, but he manages to explain it all away, again, but you realize you’re too exhausted to trust him anymore, and, worse yet, you’re not sure you should believe him anymore, it’s time to stop.

The relationship is over.  He blames himself, he apologizes for being “a lazy selfish piece of shit,” and you comfort him, telling him how happy he made you so many times, and how well he treated you most of the time. But you can’t really comfort him, because if he hadn’t been a little bit selfish, a little bit lazy, and a little bit full of shit, you wouldn’t be breaking up with him.  You know it, and he knows it.  The trust is gone, and now so is he.

Good bye Jim.  Good bye to the intelligent, funny, caring, loving, kind, hard-working boy who actually wanted a family and lifetime commitment.  Good bye the boy who really loved me.  Good bye my dream for the future.  Good bye.

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A friend an fellow teacher walked through my classroom door this afternoon and struck up a conversation.  She got married at the age of 30 last March, and I knew she was hoping to “expand the family” as soon as she could, so it was no surprise to find out that she’s 9 weeks pregnant.

This means several things.  First, I’m wonderfully happy for her.  We’ve taught together for the past two years, and I have a lot of love and respect for her as a person and a teacher.  Second, I’ll miss her next year.

Third, it means that with another teacher leaving for retirement and another following her husband’s job to New York, we will have at least three new teachers in our department next year.  In a department of nine or ten, that’s a big turnover.  Not only that, but three of the current department who are staying only joined us in the last year.  This means that next year I will be part of the “old guard” in our department.  How in the hell did that happen?  It will only be my 6th year of teaching, and my fourth year at this school.  Yet I will be one of the top four.  The next three all have double my years of experience each, however, so I won’t truly be one of the legends for years yet.

Fourth, this means I have at least a one in four chance (more like one in three) of being the department chair next year.  This possibility is both exhilarating and frightening.  How on earth could I have time for that?  I’d probably be mentoring interns, meeting with administrators, and making executive decisions about the English education of our nearly 2000 students.  Time to run.  Screaming.

And fifth, this is another of my peers and compatriots who is having a baby.  Another lucky (and deserving) woman to step up to the beginning of motherhood and the rest of her life.  Another time I am left behind, childless and alone.  I’d cry at my desk, but there’s a student in my room finishing a test.  It seems that every new pregnancy makes me cry these days.

Do you ever get used to it?  Those of you women out there who want children, but whose child rearing days are postponed, or perhaps passed, for some reason, does it ever end?  Do you ever stop crying when you hold a former roommate’s little one?  Do you ever drive away from playing with your nieces and nephews and not sniffle a little?  Does the longing ever soften, fade, or shrink?  What the fuck do you fill a life with without kids?

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5 Ways to Make Your Girlfriend Not Mad At You Any More

5.  When she goes out of town for the weekend, make sure you tell her you miss her every once in a while, and keep in touch so she knows what you’re up to.

4.  When she comes back from out of town, have her apartment in excellent condition.  She only asked you to water the plant on the balcony and feed the tortoise, but you watered all the plants, cleaned the toilet, and washed the dishes, too.

3.  A drive up a local canyon to look at the fall leaves, followed by a candlelit bath and everything that goes with it.

2.  Reading out loud together from The Princess Bride by William Goldman. (This may only work of your girlfriend happens to be me.)

1.  Most important:  An acknowledgement that your drinking had become a problem, a week with no alcohol whatsoever, and your presence at an AA meeting earlier in the week.

Presto!  The girlfriend who last weekend had to apologize to friends because you showed up to the party drunk and who mopped your urine off her bathroom floor is in love with you again!  Well done, Jim, well done!

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