This is a coaster made by the amazing Ben Lamb — a wood and paint replica of a tattoo Lydia Loveless (his wife) has on her heart.
Obligatory: Haven’t written in my blog since May — 5 months ago. Starting this job and going through the ebbs and tides of summer and stuff has left me with less to say than usual. Or at least less to say on the blog.
But have been thinking lately about some of the same stuff, so wanted to write it up, if only for my own edification.
I think if I had to describe my current state it would be Heart-Broken. Maybe it’s a mid-life crisis, maybe this is normal for a woman of my age with no kids who isn’t in a relationship, but I can’t seem to shake this thought, this sense of being Heart-Broken.
Growing up I was so focused on getting OUT, getting out of my family situation and into the world. I couldn’t wait to see the back of Nebraska and move on to bigger, more exciting places, where I would meet all of these fabulous people and where I would do super cool things.
Unfortunately my senior year of high school changed things, irreversibly. Our mom who was in remission got sick again and died. So before I could leave the nest, the nest sort of disintegrated with me in it. I wasn’t a fan of my mom’s lover, who had rights to stay in our family home until we were ready to sell it (in a misguided attempt by my mom — I think — to make sure we had a home). So I moved my crap over to my dad and step-mom’s and headed off to visit family for the summer in Los Angeles. Came back to Omax, packed up boxes, flew to Toledo, Ohio, then a friend dropped me off at East Quad at the University of Michigan-Ann Arbor. And I was on my way. Sort of.
As a kid, I couldn’t see beyond the struggle of applying for college and getting away from my crazy family and culturally bereft city. I don’t think I ever thought past the getting out stage, to what I wanted to do with college, where I wanted to go and be. It was all about reacting to the elements, as it were, and relying on instinct — and having no plan — I muddled my way through.
Much of my dreamy future I thought would incorporate wonderful smart talented people who I would be friends, lovers, family with. I know and love a lot of really great people but that tight community and support system never happened. I don’t know if this was because I didn’t sit down and try and make it happen, or if I just couldn’t engender that kind of connection with people.
I am not very loyal or trusting. A few experiences in life showed me that people will hurt and reject you. People disappeared a lot in our childhood — significant others, wives, boyfriends, they were part of the ephemera. Poof and they were gone, excised as if they didn’t exist. We do the “overly-honest” thing in my family, which is oft-putting and too intense for most people. Self-taught mushy boundaries from a childhood of raising ourselves while the parents were focusing on their bliss makes for a non-teamwork mentality, some strange choices, and an un-quenched thirst for love — love that is never going to fix the empty spaces and calm the anxiety of that special flavor of 1970s abandonment inherent in laissez-faire non-parenting.
Not to whinge, or maybe to whinge, the flip side of all of this youthful dreaming is me, close to 50 years old, looking back and trying to figure out the future. I am Heart-Broken at the consequences of many many choices I’ve made in my life that have led me to the place where I am now. I will never have a child. And I’m not hopeful that I will find a significant other. I have friends but mostly I spent the majority of time alone. I like being alone, but the empty spaces in my life are not about aloneness specifically. It’s a Heart-Broken type of absence.
I am an adult and take responsibility for the state of my life, where I am at, the choices I’ve made, etc. Ironically I’ve done a lot of genealogy and have some great loving family members who I hold dear to my heart. In many respects it’s all about the family. Or the extended family. I have some truly great aunts who have been great role models of how to be, how to connect. The men in my family are less so, but I find men in general mystifying confusing and sort of bizarre.
So how am I doing, sometimes people will ask…. I say I’m fine, things are good, okay. But underneath it all, it’s Heart-Break. Laced with cynicism and experience and life.