Chicago, Sept. 24

It used to be that I’d keep a part of myself back; hold myself apart in an attempt (somehow) to protect against the emotional assault of another. Relationships were what I sought, but were also a state in which I could lose my way; lose myself. And that was something to fortify against.

Now at 38, I wonder how much of where I find myself is owing to the echoes of relationships past. They came and they thrived, until they went. Five years, then three, fours years, now two. Each a tattoo upon my heart of time not always well-spent. For good or for ill, they’re indelible marks I wear always.

And yet, these days I somehow find myself sharing more of myself than I’ve previously allowed. These days, I’m sharing my hopes and dreams, my fears and confessions. It’s scary and yucky, and it’s heartening and real.

Here now is someone who values the best of me, sure, but someone who also welcomes the parts of me I wish I could undo. He knows how I cry into my pillow for no reason. He knows why sometimes I look down at my dinner plate in silence, and he understands. He recognizes me, fully; the first man to do so perhaps. He sees me and in being seen, I am undone. All I am and all I have is laid bare.

I can’t help but falter with this newfound vulnerability. How do people do this? I wonder. How can they tolerate it…the exposure, the risk, the consequences of being so unguarded? 

My mind is a spin cycle of unease, but there’s a particular hope tumbling around in there too. This time…this time surely…things will be different.

And if they aren’t?

What’s certain is that this time I’m different. I’m more open, honest, all-in. Perhaps, in the end, that’s all the difference I need.

San Francisco, Aug. 17

I’ve been stewing this past week about something a friend, a long-time friend, said to me. The stewing has me feeling unjust, unreasonable, uncharitable even.

“He’s not my enemy,” she offered simply as we descended the staircase.

“Oh,” I muttered, quickly glancing down to avoid stumbling on the next step, “No, I….I…only meant. Well…okay, sure.”

We’d been standing at the floor-to-ceiling windows, gazing out at one of the newer garishly appointed high-rises in Civic Center, when I mentioned what popped into memory then, almost in passing.

“I think he moved into that building. After,” I gestured toward the window. “But, I wouldn’t really know actually.”

As I turned away and we moved toward the first flight of stairs downward, she offered that she’d recently seen my ex over coffee with a friend of hers. They’re together now, you see. My ex and this friend of hers, as such things tend to go. The world…so small, after all.

“He’s not my enemy.” Her words echoing in my mind.

Was this feeling of unease from her having coffee with him at all, or the implication that I never would again? Had she crossed some undefined battle line? Had I drawn one?


I wish I could have said, “Nor is he mine,” but that realization was still days away as these things tend to go.

What was has been, and there is no more. What else is there to say? The pangs of mutual friendship it turns out.

My school-aged claim upon my friend, whom I’ve known for years before ever meeting him, has me turning territorial in some very unflattering ways. Suddenly, I’m asking myself why she has a continued interest in someone I no longer know when the answer has nothing to do with me.

My ex’s new partner, as it is, has been a friend of hers for some time, perhaps longer than she’s known me; while my pettiness and immature assumptions are, unfortunately, something of a more recent nature.

San Francisco, July 26

I gathered the will to go into the city today. My rescheduled doctor’s appointment to check on my uterine fibroids the occasion. I am still growing another fibroid baby even after the myomectomy nearly three years ago. I’m still relatively young, and don’t want to undergo another surgery in hopes of one day having a healthy full-term pregnancy, so we watch and we wait. My current recurrent fibroid that they can see is a mere 3 cm and has only grown 1 cm in the past year.

In the Lyft on my way to the doctor I passed through my former neighborhood and remembered how my life used to be. How can one not in such a scenario? It was where I first moved to San Francisco from Chicago; the earliest of days. The corner grocery where they’d special order me sugary cereal when my ex was out of town. The coffee shop in which I’d write over a Ceasar salad. The ample hills I’d traverse in search of something…anything else.

Passing through there now, it felt eerie and a lifetime ago. So very much has changed.

Even if only just 1 cm.