Friday, April 04, 2014

The tides and the seasons

Love my new place, love my new job, grateful for my freedom, and for the peace I feel.

Sunday, February 09, 2014

The way it goes

I had a love who, for the first few months of our relationship, always had a bottle of water for me when he picked me up in his car. Every opportunity he had to show me his love, he did, sometimes in big ways, but more often in little ways, like the water, or the flowers from his garden, placed in a vase on the table just for me. Ten thousand little things he gave, and those were the ones that meant the most.

He allowed me to weep and to break, and then to recover. He never wavered and never ran, he just kept loving me, and my heart opened in a way it never had before.

I once traveled to see him only for one night, and before I left the next day, he slipped a note into my bag that I would find when I returned home.

Thank You, it said. For making the trip to spend the evening with me. For sharing your warmth and laughter and intelligence and loving spirit. For giving me your magic, and bringing your nature to me.

He signed it, Your Man

But today, the man who wrote that note, and who taught me what it means to be loved, is only a few miles from my home, yet no where near my door. And part of me wonders, how could this have happened, and the other part of me thinks, this is just how it happens.

Sunday, February 02, 2014

Fly away home

Around the corner from where I live, there's a homeless man who sits in a wheelchair in front of the Starbucks. His names is Sean, and 13 months ago he lost both his legs due to diabetes. Seven days a week Sean travels all the way uptown from the shelter he lives in all the way down town. He sits in front of the Starbucks all day and all night, in the rain, the snow, and in the freezing cold.

I've always noticed that Sean doesn't hold out a cup or beg for money, nor does he ever complain about the weather. Tonight I asked him about that, and he told me he knew enough people from his years of panhandling in the area, that folks helped him out every day regardless. He also told me what was more important to him, was that this street was the only place he had any sense of community and of belonging. He said that oftentimes people don't give him anything at all but conversation and connection, and that this was his main motivation for traveling so far each day.

"They treat me like a human being up here," he said, "Like I'm just a regular human being."

And sure enough, as we were talking, many obviously well-to-do neighbors walked by and greeted Sean by name, and then just kept walking. And I could tell, regardless of his unimaginable circumstances, how at ease he felt. I could see how important it was to him to be greeted as a neighbor, to be known as a neighbor-not just as a man in tattered clothes, with broken teeth and no legs.

Any way, I could easily go deeper and ask the question, would any one of Sean's "neighbors," including myself, be willing to invite him into our lovely, warm apartments for lunch, and then experience the shame and guilt we would all certainly feel when sending him back to the shelter?

But I won't ask that, because all I was really focused on, humbled and awed by tonight, was how someone can suffer and endure so much for so long, and end up sitting outside on a cold, cold night, hungry, homeless, in wheelchair, and not be broken.

Monday, January 20, 2014

Changing direction

I once wasted a year of my life with someone who thought he knew everything, but who actually knew less than anyone I'd ever known. One thing he was sure of, was how to break my dog of her habit of pulling on the leash. When the dog would stop and dig her paws into the ground, the man's solution was to pull on her with full force, and drag her down the street while her nails scrapped along the concrete. No surprise, this was the same man who thought the best way to teach a child to ride a bike was to let her go down a hill, then ridicule her when she fell and cried. He was also the same man who would fly into a rage with me on the back of his motorcycle while I pleaded with him to stop.

But I learned a lot of things after that year. I learned what I already knew. That the way to teach a child to ride a bike is with patience and tenderness. That the way to teach a dog to stop pulling on the leash is to loosen your grip, give praise, and simply change your direction. I also learned that three years later, I will probably never forgive myself for being with that man, but I will also, in some ways, always be grateful to him. Because he didn't know it, but he actually did teach me something, and it may have been the most valuable lesson of my life.

He taught me that when you find yourself in the midst of madness, you can get out. He taught me that when you live in darkness, you can break free. By showing me the wrong way to live, he allowed me to see the right way to live. The right way to teach your child, to train your dog, and the right way to be loved. And although I already knew it, I just needed to loosen his grip. I just needed to change my direction, and I'm so glad I did. So very glad I did.

Sunday, October 27, 2013

Just a little bit longer

This morning I climbed into bed with my 16-year-old daughter, the girl who is so often mad at me and not as readily affectionate as she once was. I got under the covers as she stirred-her warmth enveloping my cool body. I curled up against her back and pressed my face to her shoulder; I couldn't stop smiling.

"Life is hard, Katie," I heard my father's words, "And we live for the good moments."

I watched my daughter's tender profile as she slept for some time, and when I stood up to go make the coffee, she whispered to me, "Stay."

Sunday, September 15, 2013

Better late

I'm so glad that two men I dated said they would teach my daughter how to ride a bike but never did. I'm so glad that a third guy said he would teach my daughter how to ride a bike, but instead, put her on a hill, sent her down, then lit a cigarette and stormed off, accusing her of being "Too fearful" after she whimpered when she fell.

I'm so glad, because the man who finally did teach my daughter how to ride a bike is a man my daughter loves and respects, who makes her feel cared for and considered, and who not only lived up to his word, but who also felt honored to be the man who taught my daughter how to ride a bike.

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Better late

I'm so glad I didn't discover Mumford & Sons earlier than I did. I would hate not to be able to listen to them now because I played their music during a bad time in my life, or in the midst of a shitty relationship.

Monday, September 02, 2013

Thought in real time

All this strength and insight, yet I can still crumble over something like words that weren't said.

Thursday, August 15, 2013

Honesty

This morning I saw a woman on the train platform. She had the most drop-dead gorgeous body, and I immediately felt jealous. Then I waited for her to turn around, hoping that she didn't also have a beautiful face. When she turned around, and I saw that her face was not only not beautiful, but that she was actually quite unattractive, I immediately felt relived. And as she walked away, I felt glad for her, that at least, since she was not blessed with a pretty face...she was blessed with a great figure.

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

This moment right here

I used to title some of my posts, Evolving 101, and sometimes, when I felt I really understood something, Evolving 201, and on even rarer occasions, Evolving 301. I used these titles because I saw (see) myself as a student, and certainly, I can see the proof of that, and the progress.

Love-it's the thing that has delighted and disappointed, confused and so oftentimes consumed me. It's the thing I thought was one thing, then discovered was another thing, and then after that, something entirely different. So now, when I think of the numbers I've assigned to wherever I am in the course, I see that they are completely without weight or meaning. Because just when I think I have learned something, or know something, or "grok" something, that something itself changes and evolves into something else.

I was 43 when I started this blog, when I started waking up in a way I'd never woken up before. And for the years following, I opened, unfolded, revealed and recoiled, until I arrived at this moment, this moment right here.

When I was a child, I recognized love as a combination of adoration and neglect. As a young woman, I recognized love as something steady and unmoving. As a woman awake after years of sleeping, I recognized love as a fire burning so hot, that it left me burnt beyond recognition. And today, I recognize love as something like recognition itself.

It's the reflection of me when I look in his eyes, the expansion of my heart when he looks into mine. Love is motion without chaos, it's mutual and fluid, and funny, and it's dangerous and safe at the same time. Love is hot and it warms me. It's honoring the one I love, and crossing my fingers that he will honor me, not out of obligation, but of his own free will. 

I can't say that I surrender now, but I surrender more than I ever have. I can't say that I've passed a course, or even a test, but I can say that I've been to the mountaintop. It's high up here, and I'm scared of heights. It's hard to breathe up here, but I've never seen a more beautiful view. Never before this moment, right now, right here.


Sunday, July 28, 2013

50 and counting

Turning 50 was slightly uncomfortable (the continued emotional roller coaster ride, blah, blah, blah), but at the same time so completely joyful in a way that none of my birthdays have ever been. I don't believe I have ever had, in 3 days, such an outpouring of goodwill and love. Gifts were sent to me via e-cards and emails, voice mails, text messages, parcel post, fedex and flower shops. Greetings and well-wishes were offered by co-workers, strangers, old friends, new friends, family and of course by my beloved who, among many gifts he gave and continues to give me, decorated our birthday hotel room before I arrived. 

I didn't have all of this when I turned 20, or 30, or even 40, because all of this comes from, and is a reflection of, a life that's not just been survived, but that's been lived.

Saturday, July 06, 2013

17 years later



I don't know what day it was, the day I stopped thinking about my father every day of every month of every year since he died. But now when I am reminded of him, I can still feel taken off guard-my heart can still break as if it were only yesterday that I learned he was gone forever.

Monday, July 01, 2013

Update

Healthy mother, normal daughter, loving sweetheart, consistent work, hot summer.

All is well.

Thursday, June 06, 2013

Hitting pause


Have you ever been unable to identify anything particularly wrong in your life, yet you feel as if your life isn't right?

Have you ever had two or three creative ideas that not long ago excited you, but that you now have no passion for at all?

Have you ever been with your man and had the best time of your life, and then just a few weeks later feel as if you might not want to be partnered with anyone, would rather not have a party for your birthday, or even return to Jamaica, and the thought of swimming with dolphins makes you sad because you know that after an hour or two, you'll just have to stop swimming with them?

Saturday, May 11, 2013

In my dreams

Last night I dreamed I was driving a car, and up ahead I saw a little girl walking her red Shetland pony along the city street. A man walking ahead of her took a last puff of his cigarette and tossed it on the ground, The pony stepped on the still lit cigarette and took off running. The little girl was dragged a few feet as she tried desperately to hold on the the lead, but then the pony broke free. I turned my car left and saw the girl being helped by a stranger, so I drove as fast as  I could in hopes of saving the pony. But when I turned right, I looked down onto the highway, and it was too late-the pony had been hit and was dead.

Approaching 50

I want more and I want less. I want what I never had, and everything I used to have. I want love not to hurt, but I want it to sting a little sometimes. I want my daughter to grow up, and be 15 forever. I want to travel to a place like India, and stay safe here at home. I want a massive birthday celebration in summer, and I want to sneak off with my man to someplace quiet, someplace under the stars, and welcome 50 with a whisper.

Monday, April 29, 2013

Better late than never

It's taken nearly 50 years, but I finally understand that pain doesn't equal passion. It's taken nearly 50 years, but I'm finally learning to sink into bliss like feet sink into sand.

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Advice to women who like men

Only be with men who honor you. Only be with men who are strong in character, who are hard workers, and who don't want to live off of your money. Only be with men who avoid doing or saying things they know will upset or harm you. Only be with men who make you laugh. Only be with honest men. Only be with men you are physically drawn to. Only be with men who think you are beautiful. Only be with men who only want to be with you.

Unless of course, you want another kind of man.

Friday, April 12, 2013

With and without you

Oftentimes, having a teenage child feels like the person you love most in the world has died, yet they're still walking around in their body.

Saturday, March 23, 2013

Happy

The sun is shining, my daughter is smiling, I found the expensive vitamin pill that rolled under my bed. After 4 jobs back-to-back, I have time off, my bills are paid, my mother is alive and well, and next weekend I'm going on retreat to Vermont with my sweetheart.

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Fearless leader

John Coltrane is never not right in the morning, but sometimes he's even righter.

Saturday, March 02, 2013

Happiness

As I'm writing this, my fifteen year old daughter is taking a shower. I have only ever heard pop music coming from her iphone when she plays it in the bathroom-I have only heard songs that are loud and/or sexually and violently explicit. But right now I hear jazz coming from her iphone. Real jazz. My daughter, on her own, is listening to jazz.

Friday, March 01, 2013

Music to my ears

Tonight my 15-year-old daughter turned on a Pandora jazz station.

"I like this," she said.

"What is it?" I asked.

"It's called Three Little Words by Stan Getz."

Sometimes I wonder

How many of those tiny ketchup packets there are on the planet.

Thursday, February 07, 2013

Freedom

I'm with a man who doesn't want me to be anything I'm not, or stop being anything I am. I trust him completely when we're together, and just as much when we're apart. I'm with a man who is the opposite of a Yes Man, but who says yes to me almost always. I'm with a man who makes me laugh hard and breathe easy, who makes me feel like the only woman on earth, and sometimes I just can't believe how I ever accepted and lived with anything else.

Wednesday, January 02, 2013

Goodbye, dear friend

You will be loved for eternity, Jon Fromer.

Saturday, December 29, 2012

In real time

On a train, headed for a weekend with my man and our kids. On my way to celebrate life while my friend is dying. My heart sings and it breaks.

Sunday, November 04, 2012

The sound of music

People on the bus talking so loudly on their cellphones, I decide to pull out mine and play Alfred Brendel's Beethoven Sonatas, without headphones, at full volume. Beautiful old man in the seat in front of me turned and smiled, and from 34th street to 66th, in the midst of the noise and chaos, we listened together.

Friday, October 12, 2012

The best part of today

Hands down, was having tea here with my dear friend, Zsa, and laughing when the waiter delivered the check in the pages one of my most favorite little books.

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

The best part of today

Was walking arm-in-arm with my daughter to the pharmacy, singing a few lyrics from a song we used to know.

Tuesday, October 09, 2012

The best part of today

Riding the bus home from work and talking quietly on the cellphone with my sweetheart, while he talked quietly to me.

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Lesson learned

Don't ever hand over your heart to a man who doesn't live to make you smile.

Friday, September 21, 2012

1:11 a.m.


I once had a boyfriend who said the sound of my footsteps were too loud.

I once had a boyfriend who tortured me with his insanity and terrorized me on his motorcycle.

I once had a boyfriend who almost never took me anywhere, and who never gave me a gift.

I once had a suitor who made me feel like a stranger, and I once had a lover who belonged to someone else.

Now I have someone who possesses everything I want and everything I need, and what he wants from me is everything, and what he wants to give me...is everything.

I get it now. I get it all.

Thursday, September 20, 2012

The Essence of Student, by Annie Kosh


I am the essence of student
I am chins against palms,
I am eyes half closed in a place between here and there.
I am groans held in,
I am minds aching for release.

I am the essence of student
My brain is the notebook everyone writes in.
I am a notebook stuffed to capacity.
I am the cry for success, and at the same time the cry for distraction.
I am the barricade in my own path.

I am the essence of student
I am laughter echoing in the halls.
I am whispers and nudges and sideways glances.
I am tentative smiles searching for approval,
I am the constant, pounding thought, "maybe I'm not good enough."

I am the essence of student
I am sneaker-clad  feet propped up on chairs and arms crossed.
I am the taste cafeteria lunch leaves on your tongue,
the same taste as knowing you failed that test.
I am mouths that spit gum into trash cans and then take more,
I am passionate voices spoken out of turn.

I am the essence of student
I am curiosity etched into every part of you,
I am the spark of interest in your heart, desperate to remain alight.
I am tongues stuck out corners of mouths, pencils scribbling furiously.
I am the the first easy breath that fills you when you realize it might all be worth it.

Saturday, September 08, 2012

Defeeted

I always said I could never be with a man who wore cowboy boots, until I met the love of my life. He could wear cowboy boots, zebra stripped slippers, even florescent green Crocs and I would still love him the same.

Friday, September 07, 2012

Wednesday, September 05, 2012

Fed

Blueberry jam on toast,
coffee.
Sunlit filled kitchen-
I cook for him, he plays for me.

Sweetness and fire,
breathing with ease.
nothing to want,
nothing to crave,
because everything is offered-
as freely and as often as breakfast. 

Friday, August 24, 2012

Gratitude

Because like everything, what I'm grateful for changes, so here is my current list:

I'm grateful for Tai Moses, my friend of 38 years who, though the 3000 miles between us never gets shorter, I feel closer to than ever. I'm grateful that my daughter, although she is typical in the teenage ways she challenges and aggravates me, is also kind and loyal, self possessed, confident, and radiant. I'm grateful that although my father has been gone for 16 years, he left me with a love I feel whenever I think of him, and I think of him every day still. I'm grateful, though I didn't stay married to the man I married, that he and I have a respect for one another that cannot be broken. I'm grateful that my mother, who is now 84, still walks, and works, and sings, and every so often has a second shot of vodka that makes her ridiculously and beautifully childlike. I'm grateful to have brothers, and work that I love, and for knowing I'll return to London and to Rome, and enjoy them both so much more next time around. I'm grateful to live in a beautiful home with a shiny bathroom floor and hot water when I want it-grateful for the man who's name is tattooed on my ankle, who, although we never made a life together, gave me a taste of what real love could be. I'm grateful I stopped giving myself to men who weren't there on New Year's Eve, or on my birthday, or who never made me feel like I was the only one. I am grateful to have found a man who's already thinking of how we'll spend New Year's Eve together, who shows me I am the only one, and who, if I dare to look forward, I can see on my next birthday, holding my hand on a plane to Bora Bora, that place I've been dreaming of for so long.

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Loveworks

Most of us don’t just get to have the love we want because we want it. We get to have the love we want because we first spend a period of our lives squandering our love on those who can’t receive it, or don’t appreciate it, or don’t deserve it, or who abuse it. And then we spend more time searching our souls for answers, asking ourselves in what areas we could have been better. We meditate, we pray, we wonder, we cry, we blame and we take responsibility. Then after years and years of being on what only seems like a hamster wheel, we realize that love feels good, not bad. We realize that love is completely attainable, that it’s not the thing always out of reach. We understand that a person who makes you cry, or doesn’t respond to your touch, or isn’t with you on your birthday, or who doesn’t want you to meet their friends, or who doesn’t treat you like the gift that you are, is the wrong person to spend your precious existence with. At some point, the time in which you reside in wrong relationships gets shorter and shorter, until you come to a place where you can smell the wrong one coming from a mile away. And then, when you discover you’ve been looking into a trick mirror your whole life, seeing things not as they are, but as you believed them to be-when you finally put forward the love in you that calls for, requires, and gently demands it be reflected back just as it’s being given…

…love walks into your life as effortlessly as if you never had to do any of that work at all.

Monday, August 20, 2012

0 to 60

You ride in your car with your friends, you're seventeen. The music blares, the road is unknown, and the next song coming will be better than the one playing now. So much wonder, so much hope; vacillating between loneliness and euphoria, always on the verge of tears or something big, and then you blink your eyes and you're fifty.

Saturday, August 18, 2012

Love whispers

I have written so much on this blog over the last six years; mostly I've written about love. And I can see now that my preoccupation with love, sex and romance came from my hunger, and that hunger came from being starved. Not because I was denied by others, but because I denied myself.

Perhaps it was simply a matter of timing; perhaps I was just not ready for more. Clearly I was ready to hold myself back. I was ready, not for someone to arrive, but for someone to leave and for something to break. What I craved was the thrill of uncertainty, of being kept in the dark, kept on my toes, guessing, even mistreated. I was ready to continue my rein as the queen of Broken Hearts.

Last winter, a man resurfaced into my life after twenty-seven years. He had been enamored with me for a brief moment in time, and when we were young we kissed one night on the church steps, then he left a dozen red roses outside my door.

Twenty-seven years later, the old flame, that for me had barely been a spark back then, was ignited. And if I'm honest, I saw red flags the night of our reunion that would have made a wiser woman run.

After we dined together in New York in spring, I went to him in summer. I went because I liked him well enough, because he wanted to see me again, because after he returned home he called me "My Love," and paraphrased Shakespeare in an email, and because he said his Sunday would have been sweeter had I been there to share it. I went to him because he couldn't schedule coming back here, and because he wanted to take me to the seaside. I went, not because I knew he was The One, but because I knew if I didn't go, I would always wonder if he was.

I went to him because I ignored the voice that kept telling me, Don't go.

I don't need to relive the moment I saw him again in summer, how, after all those miles I traveled and all that money I spent, there was hardly a smile on his face when I arrived. I don't care to remember, but I do remember, how he didn't offer to help with my bags, ran five steps ahead me, and flinched when my arm brushed against his in the car. I don't need to describe how I felt when he made it clear, that although there would be plenty of wine this time around, there would be no more roses and no more romance, because regardless of how remarkable a woman I was, he was as closed to me as a New York City liquor store on Sunday.

I didn't expect to fall in love when I was there, but what I expected even less was to be treated like, and even told I was a stranger to him. When I woke up on the fourth and last day of what was to be a week-long visit, I knew I could not spend another moment in his company. I also knew he would be the last man on my list of wrong men.

Then, almost immediately following what I would call that "Awakening," I met someone. At first I couldn't recognize him. He wasn't married, or half my age, or unemployed, or emotionally damaged, or neglectful, or toxic, or unsure how he felt about me. At first I fought him, gave him a little kick, then I tried to bite, but he wouldn't go. Then, like a wild filly after her first hours trapped inside a pen, I slowly began to surrender. Me, the neglected and mistrustful mare and he, the steadfast, determined, and gentle Whisperer.


After a lifetime of being fascinated, confused, thrilled and tormented by love, love is no longer my story. Love is no longer my theme or what I do best, or something I crave, or the thing that eludes me. Love is mine, and whether this particular love lasts a lifetime or for one more day, it's as it should be:  kind, passionate, and present.
  
When I comb the pages of this blog, the pages of the last six years of my life, I can now see a trail, a path. I now have a detailed map of my journey to love, and all the roads and roadblocks it took to get here.

How Deep is Your Love was the song playing on the radio when I had my very first kiss at fourteen, and all the kisses since then have shown me just how deep, and just how shallow love can be.

Love is no longer what I look for or long for; it's what I give and it's what I get. Love is not a Shakespeare quote recited by a man with a Do Not Disturb sign on his heart, it's waking up beside a man who's heart is wide open. Love is not given in promises, it's the promise of being seen, and when we no longer accept swimming on the surface, love is not shallow, love is the deep water we find. 


Friday, August 10, 2012

Note to men

The secret to having a woman who isn't needy is simple. Give yourself to her. She requires a lot less than you imagine or fear.

Thursday, August 09, 2012

The way things aren't

While the train conductor informs passengers which cars to exit from, I keep thinking he's saying, "Please look for a unicorn member of the crew." He's actually saying a uniformed member of the crew...obviously.

Thought in real time

He's not a  prick, and he's not a pansy. He's a man.

Tuesday, August 07, 2012

Just not white

Annie: Mom? Could we do something fancy and white-peopleish, like take a vacation in New Hampshire?

Saturday, August 04, 2012

Thought in real time

We have so many dreams in one lifetime, and the most important thing is not to dwell on the ones that never came true, but to rejoice in all the ones that did.

Thursday, August 02, 2012

Reason #456,997 why I love New York

Because when my kid is out and about with her day-camp, she gets to randomly run into and meet people like Spike Lee.

Wednesday, August 01, 2012

In my dreams

Last night I dreamed of tidal waves and kisses.

Monday, July 30, 2012

Working title

This is all so unfamiliar to me. The absence of confusion, the quiet way I feel curious now. I told my mother the other day that I missed being tortured. She laughed and said it was a great line. Only trouble is for me, there's too much truth in that line.

I know that peace doesn't equal death, but I don't really know it. I know that love is kind, but I don't really know it. I know I've been with men who keep me at bay, keep me down, or just keep me, and I know I don't want that again-I know that.

I know I'm supposed to want what my brother says I should want, or what my friends think I should want, but the truth is, I don't know what I want. I do know I'm not going to want anything until I want it, and until I want it, I just want this. The sound of waves, just me, alone and always on the verge of something big.

Friday, July 20, 2012

The way things aren't

I thought I saw a sign that said Shoe Liquor, but it actually said, Shoe Liquidation. Then I thought I saw a sign that said Creeps and Waffles...

...but it didn't really say Creeps and Waffles. :)

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

In my dreams

Last night I dreamed I poured a glass of water and drank it. Then I poured another glass of water, and a human heart rose to the top. I put the glass aside so I could show it to my father, so that maybe he could fix it somehow. Then I poured a third glass. The same heart appeared again, and again it floated to the top. I left the glass on the table and went to put on my shoes; I was already aware that the heart was now in my shoe, but I slipped my foot in anyway. I was watching myself from the outside now, and it was clear that I was under duress-standing on this human heart.

Was it mine? I don't know. It was a dream.