Perfect Start

I have started my week perfectly.

I woke up in my own time without an alarm clock and eased into my day.  I eventually turned on the television and watched coverage of the Libya fiasco and, even in that, found inspiration for my week.  While watching State of the Union, I heard the following with regards to Libya:

“We know what we’re trying to prevent. That doesn’t mean we know what we’re trying to achieve”.

How true is that for so many things – even how we live our lives every day?  We wander, often aimlessly, through life relatively clear of the pitfalls we hope to avoid but negligent to be clear on our intention for being here and to create the life we want to experience.

So, instead of complaining about not having the time or the money or the energy to do this, or that or the other, I went about the business of finding and enjoying things that bring me joy.  If you expect something deep to follow immediately — sorry.

First, I went to the kitchen (because that’s the center of my joy!) and recreated the sweet fuji apple and Gorgonzola sandwich a friend of mine had at dinner last night.  Yes, food is joy.  I am not ashamed!  I had whole wheat artisan bread, fuji apples, cambozola  cheese and fig spread instead of the exact ingredients and the end product was…heavenly. Who knew raw apples would make a great sammy?!   I brought the sandwich back to bed and ate it while watching the first of 3 episodes of the House marathon.  Again, I determine my joy.

By the time I noticed the sun peaking in my window (an indication that the clouds where clearing), I felt a little motivated to get moving.  So off to the store I go to buy kale for the soup I’ve been wanting to make and a pot, some soil  and some herbs to start my herb garden.

The energy that began to build in me as got closer and closer to manifesting my herb garden dream was surprising.  I was so excited and somehow in tune with something bigger.  I feel a natural inclination towards earth-based systems of spirituality and planting herbs on this first day of spring became a compulsion and not just a whim.  I couldn’t wait to get my hands in the soil and give my babies their first drink of water.  It was a humbling realization to be choosing to be a tender of life.  It was more than just, “I wanna grow my own herbs ’cause it’s cheaper” and more of an honor to take care of plants that were in turn going to take care of me.

See, I’m having some health issues at the moment.  Doctors have proven themselves useless once again and said, well, “what’s going on is noteworthy but not treatment worthy so let’s just wait six months and test again and see where we are.” Well, hell no!  I’m not going to wait for damage to occur so that you have something to cut out or kill — all allopathic practitioners seem to know how to do.  I’m taking my health into my own hands and that means supporting my body’s ability to do what it’s meant to do anyway – heal itself.  I feel tremendously connected to the whole of creation by bringing these plants into my home, into my life, to support my life.  It’s kinda beautiful – I take care of you and give you what you need.  You, in turn, take care of me and give me what I need and neither of us is destroyed by the reciprocity.

Yep – it’s more than just free rosemary to me!

When I got to the organic  market they had huge bags of organic potting soil out front! This is my lucky day.  Everything is lining up perfectly and just inside the door – yup, awesome rosemary plants.  I grab one and my kale and head next door to pick my pot.  I get one and head off to another store because I want to grow more than just one herb.  I get to Trader Joe’s and they have an OK looking thyme plant.  I grab it.  And two sad looking, limp and wimpy plants – mint and Italian parsley.  I take them both.  Here’s my challenge.  Can I revive these babies?  Although I’ve never kept anything green alive for any respectable amount of time —  these babies are going home with me.  We need each other.  The clerk told me to keep my receipt in case the don’t “come back”.

I went to the pot store and bought another pot and back to the organic store for another bag of potting soil.

I came home and it was time to let spring into my apartment — all the windows open, blinds drawn.

I went to work potting my new babies and giving them their first drink of water.  I talked to the parsley and mint and told them I had great expectations of their potential.  I swear, not an hour later, I saw one sprig standing up.  Thinking it was my imagination, I waited.  A couple of hours later both plants had most of their little lifeless limbs erect or on the upswing.  They are on their way back.  Yay!

Then I started cooking for the week.  A good week for me means having wholesome meals already prepared or within a couple steps of being prepared when I come home from work — otherwise, it’s PBJ and hemp milk for dinner and lunch I have to buy out.  Today I made 2 dishes cannellini bean and kale soup and my version of thai red curry with chicken – homemade with lemongrass and coconut milk and this amazing roasted Sri Lankan curry powder I got at a specialty shop in Baltimore (where I also landed the delicious fig spread).  And brown jasmine rice. My house smells amazing!  I am so excited for the week.

I sit down to eat dinner and turn on the TV to hear that the Gaddafi compound has been bombed.  Why does it have to be this way?  Is violence the only answer we can come up with?  Have we even tried anything else?  Consider Japan – what a society?  Not one incident of looting.  Recognizing where the collective consciousness is and considering how to add to it in a way that brings harmony to our life and times — a joy of my day.

And now I am sitting to write about it all and to consider not what I hope to prevent this week, but what I shall achieve.

May your week be lived on purpose.  You are who you say you are.  Your life is what you say it is.

So let it be.

Peace,

Lexi

Rumination on Ending a Marriage

Well, here I sit in my living room, 15 hours away from officially ending a 15 year relationship. I dated my very-soon-to-be-officially Ex for 5 years before we married. We will have been married 9 years, 4 months and 24 days tomorrow…so I’ve rounded up –15 years! That’s a long time. Tonight I have purposed to sit at my computer and just let my thoughts flow. In my mind, my marriage was over when I moved out in April of 2005–but not really. It’s not really over for another 15 hours.

I am currently–this week, this month, this year–the happiest I have ever been in life. On one hand, yes, it’s because I’m getting divorced tomorrow and I will finally have closure with that. But more than that, I am happy because I feel like me again. My mom and a friend from kindergarten told me within a day of each other that they are glad to have the real Lexi back. Wow! I was stunned by that statement. Sometimes it’s hard to realize how much of ourselves we’ve lost, how far we’ve strayed from our true selves, until we’re back.

As a practicing Christian, my relationship with my family became extremely strained. I became very judgmental and arrogant. I can own that now. When I see it in other Christians it disgusts me, not because of who they are, but because of who I was. I drove the biggest wedge between me and my mom. Partly because my judgmental attitude really hurt her, and partly because she refused to put up with my bullshit. I am grateful that she wouldn’t allow me to be an ass to her, even when I thought I was justified. I’m so sorry, Mommy. I love you dearly and I’ll have a drink with you anytime, Love. I swear!

I have the best relationship with my brother but it hasn’t always been this way. My brother is so cool. He’s very laid back, a great musician. He’s a guy with great taste and tremendous class. As I’ve said before, he’s the standard any man has to meet for me to even consider a future with him. Well, I didn’t really know how great my brother was for many, many years. We started out fighting like cats and dogs as most siblings do. Before I knew it he was dating then gone and married. His first marriage was miserable as was mine, and I was so busy being holy that I never took time to hang out with him while he did the cool stuff he did. Apparently my brother has played lots of the jazz clubs in DC and I’ve never been to hear him once! I was clinging so dearly to a life of rigidity that I missed out on the wonderful guy he is. I am so glad I have a chance to be friends with him now, because he’s an amazing guy. I’m so thankful that his new wonderful amazing wife shares him with me. I love you, Rick and I’m so sorry for all the time we’ve missed.

I had a tiny group of friends I was close to in elementary school and throughout middle school. By the time I was beginning high school, I was a full blown Jesus-freak and instantly above my girls. Now, even they would have to admit that it was probably best for me to have skipped out on some of their antics, I still isolated myself from them for years. We have reconnected since my separation and what is true about the best of friends is true about these ladies — it seems like we haven’t missed a beat. I love you girls and I’m so glad we’re in each other’s lives again.

Now it would seem, I suppose, that I blame my sabotage of my relationships on my Christianity. I do not. But I am certain that my marriage to my husband kept me tethered to a belief system and a way of life much longer than I would have stayed in it on my own. The truth is that I fantasized about being out of the ministry, about being out of my marriage and the judgmental family I’d married into. I loathed the thought of bearing children with that last name who would be tainted with a world view that was so far from anything I’d ever read in the Bible. I longed to redeem the day I chose to give my life away for his.

I was in my junior year of college when I started dating Ex. I distinctly remember walking past McKeldin Library at the University of Maryland College Park. I was standing directly in front of the bronze statue of Testudo, our mascot, when I said to myself, “If I’m going to be a pastor’s wife, there is no place in my future for law school. If I’m not going to law school, there’s no point in taking this constitutional law class.” I then made a sharp left, went down to the Mitchell Building and dropped Con Law. I will forever remember this day as the day I lost me.

I did go on to marry Ex and to be a pastor’s wife. I eventually became his assistant pastor. I loathed our lives most days. I felt like I had very little choice about my life’s direction. I felt geographically tethered because of the church. I felt professionally tethered because of our church. I felt relationally tethered because of our church. I felt like I had no privacy. That my life was not my own. That I was living a lie and preaching something I half believed. Needless to say, I quickly began to resent the church and my husband. I asked for us to give it up. I begged to give it up. In fact, I was so caught up in the insanity that even when he wanted to give up, I talked him out of it and continued to resent both the church and him. My church was a very toxic church. I would venture to say that most churches are in one way or another. Ours was in a hundred ways.

I learned within the first 6 months of my marriage that my husband was a chronic liar. That rattled my wheels because, even if I didn’t buy Christianity as much as I pretended to, I really believed in his faith. Day by day I saw more and more of what anyone sees when they are with a liar–more deception, manipulation and the accompanying efforts to cover it up and keep the whole farce afloat. I lost respect for him by the end of the first year, for sure.

That was always his accusation against me–that I didn’t respect him. He was right. I did not, but not for the reasons he would say. I can only assume that he felt insecure because I have more formal education than he has. That never bothered me or cost him my respect. I love hard-working blue collar men, my degrees be damned. I didn’t respect him because he wasn’t respectable. If you will lie to your mother in the face of your wife, holy shit. What else are you lying about, Mister? Well, it took me many years to get to the bottom of it all — well to get close enough to the bottom that I decided I didn’t want to know anymore. Suffice it to say that he had a whole lot of shit going on. I decided to leave with my dignity and my health. I have never, ever regretted that decision and I don’t look back, not for one second.

Once I left I began to remember day by day that I had worth, that I mattered and that I was responsible to become my best self. I couldn’t do that in my marriage. It was toxic and we became toxic to one another. In the last 3 years I have enjoyed the thrill of discovering me, in some ways for the first time. I’ve found my voice. I am secure in my skin. I am living life on my terms and am so full of love and joy and peace. I used to be so pessimistic and, if you remember my early posts, cynical. Sometimes I fall back upon my cynicism because it amuses me, but I don’t depend on it anymore for protection. I have no question in my mind that I have become my own person and I own my destiny. I’m a rock star if only in my own mind. I love me and I love to call out the worth in other people. As I shine I long to see others let their light shine as well.

So, I’m at a turning point. I about to be single again. I am about to begin to entertain the idea of a lasting romantic relationship. I’ll marry the man I can’t imagine life without, should I find him. But I don’t feel like I need to marry ever again if I choose not to. My life is simple and peaceful without having to synchronize schedules, tastes or what have you. Sometimes I do want a simple good morning kiss. The kiss goodbye on my forehead while I was still half-asleep is one of my fondest memories from my marriage. But I will never marry again for the sake of being married. It’s not fair to either party.

If the judge were to ask me if I had anything I’d like to say before he pronounced his judgment it would be this:

Ex, I am really sorry that we could not agree on the truth about our reality. If there were a perfect way to end this marriage, for me it would be for us to both admit all we’ve done to ruin it, forgive one another and continue to be friends who just aren’t good as husband and wife. You know as well as I do that we are oil and water. We tried to force it way longer than we should have. You are who you are and I am who I am. Expressing those realities in a chaotic context, which actually hindered both us from being free to be ourselves, resulted in us both hurting each other deeply. I am sorry for the pain I caused you over the years. I forgive you for the pain you’ve caused me. I wish you well.

I sincerely hope that you find peace within yourself and that you find peaceful and loving relationships in which you can express the genuine love that I know is in your heart. In many ways I always found you to be a really good guy. I still remember those things about you, although it may seem I have forgotten.

I am happy today. I bet that looks like I’m happy to be rid of you but, honestly, my happiness isn’t about you at all. It’s about me. I’ve found me and I’m learning to live the life I was created for. I wish you the same, sincerely. Be well. Be blessed.

So, as much as I was bouncing off of the walls today with excitement, tears roll down my face as I write this. They are cleansing tears. I am so close to closure I can taste it. The time I lost is gone forever but the here and now is mine for the taking. I will approach my new life with passion and zeal always remember the lessons these 15 years have taught me. I am thankful to God for the opportunity to have experienced everyday of the last 15 years. Even my worst days have helped me to cherish the peace and joy I know is mine for the taking.

I am so blessed. I am so blessed. I am so blessed.

Namaste, My Friend. I bid you peace.

P.S. – How could I forget this?

A million-bazillion thanks to all of you who have loved me, supported me, encouraged me, fed me, counseled me, hugged be, housed me, laughed with me, at me, fussed at me, walked with me, cried with me, prayed with me, for me through all of this. Thank you and I can never express how much I love you for it. I would never, ever have gotten to this place of freedom without my absolutely, fabulously amazing friends and family.

To my family, I love the HELL out of each and every one of you. I love you so hard I can’t stand it. You have put up with me in ways no one else will ever know. Thank you for loving me when I was an ass and you couldn’t understand why. Thank you for hearing the whole story, all of the gory details and still loving me. Thank you for rolling up your sleeves with me and getting dirty as we started to deal with a bunch of family stuff I know I stirred up. Thank you for not holding all of my holier-than -thou~ness against me.

A special thank you to Ericka, Greg, Tania, Kwesi, Johnetta and Donnie. You guys gave me a place to lay my head while I figured it all out. I would not have made it without peaceful places to breathe. Thank you so much for everything. I love you all very much.

Thank you to all of you who’ve read my blog since 2005 and encouraged me through all of this. I have gained such strength from so many of you. If I begin to name you all I’ll forget someone, but at that risk–thank you Susan, Chani, Jali, Debbie, HDW, Elle, Tanique, Tanilan, India, Crankster, Macarena, Eslocura, RG, Island Spice, Gela, Andy (my next husband) and CP. You have all touched my life through your writing and sharing. I share this victory with you.

And finally, to the Academy…

…well, my time is up. Thank you.