June 26, 2012

Note to Self . . .

One . . .

I began keeping a journal after a night of heavy partying with my newly divorced friends and waking up on a red and black dragon float in some stranger’s pool, out in East Hampton, New York. As I came out of my drunken coma, wondering where the hell I was, a young Steven Tyler-looking guy was trying to reel me in with a pool skimmer. It was then when I made a note to myself to never, under any circumstance, drink to the point where I didn’t know what I was doing. It turns out that this incident was the beginning of my many ‘notes to self’.

My chaotic, and juvenile, endeavor began when I made the decision to leave my unfaithful husband of fifteen years. Watching him go out at night and not come home was not only a twice a week occurrence, it had become his mission in life. After years of ignoring my suspicions, his infidelity was brought front and center through an anonymous phone call telling me where I’d find him.

 As I raced through my house looking for my car keys, hopping to the front door as I hurried to put on my sneakers, I prayed that the tip-off was a prank. But a deeper part of me knew that it wasn’t. I was about to face a truth; one that I had suppressed for years. The caller said that I’d find him at the Skyview Motor Lodge by JFK Airport. And sure enough, I did.

After days of hearing him beg for my forgiveness, I came to grips with the fact that this breakup was long overdue. The signs had been there all along, only like most people, I chose to ignore them. I looked away when he said he had to go out of town for meetings. I shrugged it off when he called to say that he was working late. I gave him the okay to go on little fishing trips. Because, by golly, I was determined to keep my happy little nest, happy. Looking back, I’ll admit that I was in denial. I’m supposed to be the smart one; so clever, and yet, I let the truth elude me just to keep things in their proper and tidy place. But after catching him with her, denial was no longer an option. I kicked him out, got a lawyer, and threatened him that if he didn’t pay for the divorce, I’d take him for every dollar he had. And if it’s one thing about men with money, it’s that they don’t want to part with it. I proceeded with the divorce, went back to using my maiden name, and changed all the locks. It was the end of an era spent in delusions and the beginning of a new regime where putting me first was at the top of the list. As scared as I was, I was ready to face my demons head on. Jessie Baldwin was back in the dating game.

June 5, 2012

I'm Not Doing This Anymore

I wake up at the same time everyday
think the same thoughts as my eyes open
asking myself what’s the point
nothing has changed
I am still the same me

The coffee pot makes its familiar gurgling sound
brown liquid trickling down
and I know when it will stop
I count the seconds
tapping my fingers on the old countertop
my heart heavy
feeling so useless
ready to add the cream
when will things be different
they never will
so it seems

I look into the bathroom mirror
my lines and unfulfillment stare back
same time
same station
the only difference is that the picture is filled with static
no clarity
no fine tuning

My mountain has grown
and it takes longer to get around it
a few rocks fall now and then
but still,
nothing to show for all my troubles
I still wonder when

I walked my usual path today
thinking my usual thoughts
I was sad
I was counting the years
there had been too many tears
How do I break this spell that has me crippled
how do I stop that one pebble from making all the ripples
in this lake

I turned down the same street that I always do
and there lie a paper on the ground
it said,
if you want that mountain to fade,
if you want that coffe pot to make tea
maybe there is one tiny step you could do
to turn that lake into a sea

And as I repeated this sparkling revelation in my head
letting it bounce around the hollows of my soul
I said,
I know !

What if I didn’t follow the yellow-brick road
what if I used a tea bag instead
and would it be so bad to see beauty instead of a toad
and to maybe take the chance
in spite of not knowing what lies ahead
What if I said yes instead of no
to see the sky as blue instead of gray
and walked a mile in someone else’s shoes
to make them smile
to take away their blues
that would be a win,
not a lose

Why haven’t I thought of this before

Yeah, I’m getting it
if I made just one small change a day
just one tiny step in a new direction
if I just wandered off without following the others
and just let the road less traveled be my own
then just maybe
perhaps it’s possible
that I could change my misery
perhaps I will wake up with a new thought
and stop going around that same old mountain

The first step is easy
and after all,
what do I have to lose ?

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