I did something last night that I haven’t done in many years. I wrote some New Years resolutions. As I wrote them the memory of previous resolutions bubbled up: the inevitable quit smoking (I did, 13 years ago), the exercise more (I have a love-hate relationship with exercise), the basic flogging myself for not doing as much of a talent like writing or painting or music, the “get thee to a university” one which I did start 13 years ago and gave up on 3 years ago after about 1 year’s worth of courses. Most of those previous resolutions (and a few I won’t name) are either done or a moot point now.
What could I possible resolve to do now that so much water has passed under my bridge? Well, there is the small matter of needing to get back down to at least the weight I was when I moved to New Brunswick. I have been exercising for half an hour a day on the eliptical but recently upped that to an hour after realizing I haven’t lost anything, I just look more toned. The real truth of the weight that isn’t normally on me has to do with stopping my night time cleaning (1 hour a night for 4 nights then 4 hours on the weekend – worked out to about 10 km of walking every week). Add to that the fact that I had to stop chewing my beloved nicorette (I have an off and on again love affair with that gum) because I simply didn’t have money to buy it any more since last February and has meant that little bags of candy replaced the gum. Not that wise a choice I think.
So one resolution is really two; watch what I eat and cool it with the candy for snacks. I need to go back to feeling like myself again. For someone who has spent most of her life on the almost underweight side of things, these past few years of peri- and post-menopause weight gain is a little alarming really. Annoying most certainly. Jim says I’m not fat. Bless his heart. I’m not obese, true, but still more than the upper limit of healthy for my height.
The others are more specific and boring so I won’t put them here, except for one. I will start to write in a journal again. I feel this urge to put pen to paper and say what’s inside in a place that isn’t in the ether. I used to write a journal; my first one I got when I was quite young: 7? 8? It was purple and had a gold lock. I still have it and I have the series of journals I wrote ever since.
There’s the one I wrote all in code because my sister had prying eyes and was happily telling whoever would listen all the awful (in her mind) things I did. I wish I had the code for that one, I have no idea what I said for about a year or two when I was around 9. I have one from my teenage years that is pink and is really a long and thin lined notepad that I folded over and tied up with a pink wavy ribbon from a sewing project I did. I have the ones from a time in my teenaged years that was pretty dark, and the slightly less dark ones when I was alone and single but on my own and hopeful. I have the ones from my mid- to late teens where I fell in love and my friends were closer to me than any relative could ever be. That is until they disappeared or pulled a nasty. I think we’re equal numbers on those two events.
Then there’s the broken hearted one where for years I fended off well meaning people in my life trying to tell me to get back together with my high school sweetheart. They never could understand why I broke up with him and rather than being supportive and sympathetic I got chastized for doing that. This was the beginning of what has been a long history of that kind of “help” in my life. So. I did what was the best thing: don’t give them the ammunition to use against me because the more I tried to explain the more it became all me. Can I, in the interest of honesty and the passage of time now say why, lo these 34 years later? Why not?
Here goes dear well meaning people. The truth on my first love of my life: He fooled around on me with one of my best friends. They thought I was clueless enough not to catch jokes between them when we were all riding in a car one summer day. Boyfriend did not realize that women recognize another’s scent. I didn’t want to believe until I did and blasted that friend with angry words. I have said there’s only two or three people I would rather never speak to again in my life. She’s one. As for boyfriend, so in love was I, I forgave him. It was difficult but we were “The Couple”.
Sadly that forgiveness and trust was misplaced because he thought forgiving meant it was okay. There were others. One called me on the telephone saying, “I know you’re not going out anymore but you’re still friends so can I ask you to tell him to stop calling me? Tell him I’m not interested?” I just said, “Actually we are still going out.” And hung up.
Another time a friend I had when I was about 6 and hadn’t seen since then came up to me in a parking lot and said hi. After a few minutes of chatting and isn’t it nice to see you again (from me) he told me, “You’re going out with that XXXX XXXX person right?” I said I was. He told me to tell him to stop bothering his girlfriend who works at Brown’s Cleaners, she’s really not happy with that. A heart sinking moment. I mumbled thanks and watched my very young childhood buddy’s grown up back walk away. He didn’t want to know how I was. He just wanted my person to leave his person alone.
It wasn’t long after that that I said enough already. A relationship can slip away in moments or they can explode in one bright flash. The end was more like a death to me. One morning I woke up and realized that I simply didn’t love him anymore. I’d had enough.
I honestly wish I hadn’t had to defend my decision. I did, without telling the whole truth because a part of me didn’t want to dim their idea of this friendly fellow they liked, but mostly because I knew that it had been decided that I was what? Flighty? A slut? Who knows and what could I have said that would have made anyone say that I was right when they’d already decided I was wrong?
My journals kept on until the time my son was a toddler. Then I worried more about what I wrote because some things that had bothered me for about nine years were wearing on my soul. I couldn’t write the words for fear they’d be read. And besides, I had already written them when I was single and when on one of those weeks my husband was out of town I decided to read them I realized how very little had changed since that time. I was foolish to think I could change someone, and foolish to think I wouldn’t change.
I did, and like my first love, there did come a time when all those words didn’t matter any more and I simply gave up trying. I had no more love to give for love is a vessel that needs to be replenished once in a while by its source. My love was for my children and when I could I said good bye because I also knew from experience that children learn from what they see and I didn’t want them to think that relationships are all about anger and the silence in between.
It’s been fourteen years since then and oh, I’ve made a stab at a written diary but found that blogs and my web site filled the gap nicely. But it kind of doesn’t. There’s things I’m not allowed to say, things that I shouldn’t say. There’s no continuity. There’s no way to download one of my blogs for instance, and I really want to port those posts to somewhere else so even if it’s on a memory stick I can go back to them and read them. Perhaps it will become a day or two cut and paste project for me.
I keep my diaries in a locked box, have done for years. All my teenaged angst, all my childhood frustrations and wondering. My hatred for “shepherd’s cack” that they served oh so often when I was ten or so and going to Elmwood School. My elation at winning awards or happiness at making a new friend. It’s all there.
So now that I’m in the autumn of my life, I do feel the desire to continue on with that. Because you see, the more life appears to change, the more it stays the same. I know there’s nothing I can do to stop some not-so-well meaning things that have been said about me but at least my children are now old enough to ask what is the truth. No, I didn’t cuckhold my husband (and no, the person who relayed this doesn’t speak Victorian English but I know people who do), and yes, I can cook. Pretty well actually. I just don’t invite people over to prove it that often. My plate is full with life and living it. These are thoughts I am saying outloud today.
My little daily thoughts and angst that can’t be shared with the world at large (at least for now) deserve a place. And the stuff that can?
It becomes an essay. Like this one. To quote Jack Nicholson in A Few Good Men, “The truth? You can’t handle the truth!” Well, maybe you can and maybe some truths arrive in small doses on blank pages late at night.
So with firm resolution, I will begin 2016 by turning over an old leaf.