The Madness of Love

The Madenss of Love

It’s a strange thing, this love
Crazy, mad, unexpected
It crashes on through in a moment of time
Through a glance or a voice heard projected

Its force like a truck
Driven into a wall
It can leave you all in pieces
Or it cracks you wide open
And shows you more
Of what’s within
The craziness deepens

Or sometimes it sneaks up on you real slow
You don’t hear or see its sly coming
You only realise too late that you’re in
Love has hit you
It’s really quite stunning

Inconvenient, messy
Your sanity’s undoing
You’re tied up in its silken cords
Love has your mind all terribly mangled
No breathing space it will afford.

Quick or slow
When you’re in, you’re in
There’s no escape for you at that point
Defences are useless
Previous balance outdated
You cannot stay the old course.

Love is love
It cares not, you see
For the opinions or judgements of others
It has its own way
Its own path to follow
It will not be brought down by others.

It is neither sensible nor wise
It doesn’t care for that stuff
It’s more interested in the heart of the matter
It’s the heart where it lives
This love, you know
Its influence can be quite scattered

Big or small love
Does it even matter
How or why or when
For a stranger glimpsed across a crowded room
Or for an old friend, with a glance, just then

The devastation of course
Is the opposite of love
When left behind or maybe forgotten
Its desertion can tear you from limb to limb
Once again, all sanity forgotten

To love is to trust
That all will be well|
When it all seems so very unlikely
But love doesn’t care about rational thought
It doesn’t care if it looks unsightly

That old couple who walk slowly in the rain
Ponderous, bent and slow
Their hands entwined
Their bodies leaned in
They still whisper, love be mine, don’t go.
They make me believe
Believe in it still
A love so often unruly
Although sometimes I’ve despaired
Perhaps my judgement’s impaired
I’ve wondered that
Yes, I have, truly.

The Madness of Love
My soul it has collected
Time and time again
Its sway holds me close
Its tender embrace
I will be yours, again and again.

Why it doesn’t pay to be the ‘cool girl’

salsa cat

Being the cool girl has never worked for me. I’ve tried to play it cool, not crowd the guy I’m interested in, not acted needy, not asked for anything from him (like, even a date) but it’s never gone well. Instead I’ve frequently ended up frustrated, frequently screwed over (figuratively, if not metaphorically, speaking) and then in true Lucy-style I’ve exploded.

Yes, exploded.

It’s not a part of my personality I’m particularly proud of, this capacity to lose my head and throw a bit of a tantrum. But I am startling good at it. The crazy thing is the explosion and tantrum are a direct result of trying to be the cool girl. So I bring it upon myself. Then of course, the man in question often freaks out, withdraws, throws a tantrum back and well, you get the drift.

It’s a no-win situation for me.

Someone reminded me recently of my tendency to become more than a little high-handed in my tantrum-phase. They are completely right. It’s easy to take the high ground when you feel wronged. Particularly when the object of your affection is proving evasive, indecisive or bloody-minded. But every time this has happened I know it’s only got to that point because I was trying to play it cool at the start. When I talk to others about this, it seems to be a bit of an epidemic. Women feel like they should play it cool so they don’t seem ‘needy’ while men think that if a woman isn’t playing it cool then there’s something wrong with her. Yep, that little gem came from an ex of mine who, when his mate said the girl he wanted to date told him she was available any night of the following week, my ex said, ‘Mate, I’d be careful there. There’s probably something wrong with her.’ He meant it!! Meanwhile I said, flabbergasted at his stupidity, ‘Maybe she just really likes him!’

Is it any wonder the male/female dating dynamic is a freaking mess?! (And yes, that was a red flag conversation I should’ve paid more attention to with my ex).

As I work my way through the last edits of my book, evidence of my tantrum-throwing behaviour is particularly apparent in Part 2: Dysfunctional Dating and Other Disasters. In one situation, I’d been playing the ‘cool girl’ with a man I’ve called Salsa Cat. He was in my dance class and he’d been flirting with me and coming on to me for months and months. It was obvious, it was frequent and it was persistent. Then we hit a turning point when he told me that he didn’t want me invading his personal space…when he had been actively and intentionally invading mine for months. Gah!! What followed was a Lucy-tantrum that I believe could have been avoided if I’d just not tried to be the ‘cool girl’ in the first place.

“I threw myself on the bed that night and shed tears of frustration and disappointment. I was terribly hurt. Then anger started to bubble up inside me. A couple of days later I did something I had never done as a single woman before – I told a man he’d upset me. Instead of just taking it, blaming myself and feeling like crap, I stood up for myself and said it wasn’t good enough.

Actually, let’s face it, I completely lost my temper and acted like a crazy person. Salsa Cat bore the brunt of years of singledom involving game-playing, non-committal and dishonest men.

I kept as far away from him as possible during the next class– that’s quite a feat when you’re dancing salsa. At the end of the our first dance together I very particularly and noticeably disengaged my fingers from his and moved on to the next dance partner, and then the next and so on around the circle of about 20 men. A few minutes later we were opposite each other again. My anger was palpable and visible in every line of my body.

‘What’s wrong?’ he asked.

‘I’d just hate to invade your personal space,’ I said sarcastically. Then we changed partners.

He wasn’t so cheerful by the time we danced together again. ‘I don’t know what your problem is. But I’m not doing anything,’ he ground out. I somehow restrained myself from punching him in the nose and flounced off to the next partner. I danced my way around the circle, forcing a smile for everyone else and continued to fume.

He was apologising as soon as I was within earshot. ‘I’m sorry,’ he said. ‘I know my behaviour must have seemed a bit hot and cold.’

‘Yes,’ I said, ‘It has been.’ Then I moved on to the next partner.

The class finished a few minutes later but he didn’t seek me out to explain further. Instead he retreated to his group of friends and watched me nervously, casting sideways glances in my direction as I walked out the door.

He didn’t show up for end-of-term classes the following week. I guess he felt like an idiot and didn’t want to face a psycho dance partner again. Or maybe his absence had nothing at all to do with me.

It was a month before I saw him again and this time he did seek me out after class. He sat down beside me while I talked to two of our classmates, Dave and Ken. But Dave and Ken didn’t get the hint that they should move on and I couldn’t just end the conversation abruptly without being impolite. So I was stuck.

I guess Salsa Cat got sick of waiting because he got up and left after a minute or two. I’d started seeing someone else by that point so I didn’t run after him. We would dance together over the following years but he never gave me any further explanation. To this day, I’m still not sure what he was thinking.

There was never a resolution with Salsa Cat. Ever. My tantrum-throwing was not conducive to creating a situation where any kind of honest conversation could happen.

I think there is a middle-ground between cool girl and ‘honesty with a bludgeon and resulting head trauma’. Unfortunately, it’s clear I haven’t mastered that yet. Instead I seem to swing from one extreme to the other with the occasional explosion. The extremes don’t lead to a healthy relationship with the opposite sex so the middle ground is kind of important.

Anyway, whenever I talk with single friends about this, my advice is always the same. Be as honest as possible (in an open non-bludgeon-type way), as early as possible, and let the cards fall where they will. Maybe the object of your affection will not respond positively or in the way you like. But it’s not needy to want to know where you stand and if you play the ‘cool girl’ you’re just reducing yourself in your own eyes because you’re not saying what you want and you’re not being who you really are. You may also be leaving yourself open to be taken advantage of if the man/woman in question isn’t genuine.

Of course, I’m still mastering this advice myself. It’s an ongoing process. But playing the ‘cool girl’ has never worked out for me. Instead it has possibly shut doors that could’ve been left open, and that is really quite sad. I also I think I’d rather be not a ‘cool girl’ because acting like a passive-aggressive nightmare in a dance class is not a good look. Just saying.

Forget About The How

Forget about the how
Forget about the how
It doesn’t even matter
For all the gold lies in the now
After all the reasons scatter.

Forget about the how
Throw away your cares
For it is the now that are you seeking
The answer to your prayers.

Forget about the how
When anxiety comes a-calling
For it is an illusory beast
With a superstitious calling.

Forget about the how
The secret is the passion
That you’re feeling in this very moment
For that person, project or fashion.

Forget about the how
Pursue the dream instead
The details will be taken care of later
Without you stalking them every step.

Forget about the how
You hold the key, you know
For all that lies ahead of you
Will happen whenever you go.

Forget about the how
Step forward into the light
Your now is waiting patiently for you
It will keep you out of strife

Forget about the how
The future will be just fine
For now just focus on the now
Its treasures are great
There’s gold right in front of you
And for you, it’s never too late.

Bad Habits

Bad HabitsIf I said it will be okay
Would you believe my smiling eyes
Or would you sigh and turn away
Thinking only of the crime
That life has left you responsible for
Your life in seeming tatters
Yet I’m telling you it’s really just fine
Can’t I see what really matters?

Your lover has left
The bank keeps calling
You’re avoiding all of your calls
Your mother’s concerned
Your friends hear your wailing
There’s no break that you can score.

And yet here I am now
Standing right here
I’m telling you it will be fine
Get away from me, you yell
You demented freak
Can’t you see that you’re out of line!

My life is a mess
My life is a mess
The words repeat in your head
But if you looked up
You’d see a glimmer ahead
A reason to get out of bed.

Yet the words they repeat
On and on
Fate tosses you this way and that
But if you look ahead
Instead of always back
You can get yourself on track.

You’re straining so hard with your body it seems
To move oh so fast forward
But your head keeps on turning
And looking backwards
Your heart is constantly turning.

Stop looking back
It’s doing no good
It won’t help you
Where you are going
Although it is hard
Lord, I know that
To proceed without any real knowing
But trust me there is more, waiting ahead
You just need to keep on going.

It will be alright
Things will change
You can make a difference I promise
But you can’t stay where you are now for sure
Can I even help you move on from it
Off this point where the darkness consumes
The breath and hope from your soul

It will be alright
Just keeping moving ahead
Don’t look back anymore
Don’t focus on the shadows
They’re behind you now
There’s a road up ahead to explore.

A future awaits you
It’s better than this
This place where you now inhabit
I promise you truly
Just look up ahead
It’s time to break that bad habit.

Why Men Are Like Feral Cats…and other reflections on single life

feral catsMy book editing is nearly done. Just one more read-through and it will be ready for final checking by my editor Kristy. She’s been so patiently waiting and encouraging me over the past few months but I think I gave her a bit of a ‘moment’ in our conversation last week when I said I wanted to rewrite the whole thing.

I was half-serious with the comment because when I read through my book now it feels like it was written by someone else. Oh, I know I’ve definitely done all the things in that book and lived through those experiences. But the person I am now is so very different from that 30-something woman who somewhat blindly found her way out of a 10-year marriage, through divorce and into the dysfunctional world of dating.

Take for instance my chapter entitled, Why Men Are Like Feral Cats. Even now it seems like an outrageous statement to make but, back then, I came across a number of men who were exactly like our feline friends. As I wrote, ‘Men couldn’t have anything in common with previously domesticated but now wild animals running the streets with absolutely no sense of responsibility. Could they?’

If you’ve been single for any period of time you’ll know the types of ‘cats’ I’m referring to here. In my book I’ve broken them down into some categories. These include the Never-Been-Faithful Cat who ‘flirts and behaves like the most unattached man with any attractive woman within a five-kilometre radius.’ There’s the Shameless Cat who ‘will chat up multiple women in the same location, within minutes of each other’ (for him it’s purely a numbers game). And of course, there’s the Shady Cat. He’s the one disguised as the nice guy until his partner is out of earshot (or in the next room) and then suddenly he’s all hands and innuendo.

Are you seeing the similarities yet between some men and feral cats? I’ll give you a hint…it may have something to do with their need to copulate with as many females as possible, regardless of their relationship status.

Fortunately, I have also come to know some lovely men who don’t resemble feral cats in any way whatsoever. Ladies they do exist, thank goodness! But the feral cats are still out there and when I look back at the woman who had those experiences, I shake my head ruefully. I was so naïve about men and human behaviour when I ventured into the Land of Single. And learning about feral cats was just one of the lessons I had to learn the hard way.

I’m still single now but, as I read through my book from beginning to end for what is probably the last time, I know how much I’ve grown from all the experiences it describes. I’m wiser but in many ways, when it comes to men, I’m still just as clueless. Does that ever change, I wonder? Or is that just one of the constant mysteries of life…that men and women are such different creatures that we must always be prone to miscommunication, misdirection and misdemeanors while we navigate the dating world?

I’m not sure, but I’m still out there hoping for the best. Except these days, I can usually spot a ‘feral cat’ at 10 paces.

The Ones

AdventurersIt is life’s true adventurers I seek
The ones who have thrown themselves into the deep end, almost drowned, then learned how to swim
The ones who have lived through their dark night of the soul before rising to a new dawn
The ones who have gone within, uncovered their passion then shared it with the world
The ones who have a desire for healing and kindness that takes them to destinations where others fear to go
The ones who look repression and judgement in the eye and refuse to bow down before it with grace
The ones who take on men with guns and will not rest until they create a better world
The ones who believe there is always more to do, more to grow, more to give, more to create, more to love.

They are the ones I seek
They are the ones who will change the world
They are the ones who will create peace
They are the true adventurers for they take the overgrown paths
And pave them for others to follow.

The Students

thumbI love them at that age
The uni age.

They stand on the edge of possibilities
Earnest, cavalier, hopeful, dedicated, struggling
Peering into the yawning chasm before them
And mostly, eagerly
Stepping, jumping even, into the depths.

Of course they are, like many adults
Stalked by their insecurities
But usually, hopefully, life’s petty blows
Have not yet pulled them down
Into permanent jaded perspectives
Reliant on cynical world views
And embedded resistance to change.

Some feel the weight of choices
Indecision chases their every move
Not wanting to make a mistake, they stall
Sway a little in place
At each turning
This way?
Is this the way to go?

And what of their peers
Their influence positive and negative
Within moments
Competitiveness, support, undermining
Pressure to conform and pressure to be different
Which way?
Which choice?

Choices between the ‘cool’ or the ‘interesting’
Accepted paths and grooves
Or revolution.

What to wear
What to say
Who to be

Group pressure
Sometimes unhealthy
Yet insidiously active
Glimpsed on the edges
Before it slips back into the shadows
Taking its discontent with peace along with it.

And the teachers watching on
What of them?

Come to class
Seriously, come to class already
Get off your phones and talk to people
The answers to life aren’t on a screen
They’re in your hearts and minds
Create your life
You’re not sheep in a yard jostling for expected position

Talk to strangers
Don’t be shy
Try new stuff
Open your eyes
This moment will ever come again
So look up
See the possibilities in front of you
They’re right there

Reach for it
It’s possible
It’s true.

I believe in you.