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February is For Love Stories – Not Just Fairytales

Aggie the cat was stretched out on the roof, just past the glass of the window that was tipped open to allow her coming and going. Taped to the glass was the vintage orange, cover of Tennessee Williams’, Cat on a Hot Tin Roof. You would have had to be a complete idiot to have missed the pun.

It was tucked up in the reading room of Shakespeare and Company that I read, in its’ entirety, Neil Gaiman’s, Art Matters. Amongst all of the old, hard cover, well-bound books that had possibly been in the hands of James Joyce, Ernest Hemingway or even Gertrude Stein, I soaked up the love of storytelling written by one of our contemporary masters.

 

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Valentine’s day is the one day a year that we set aside to tell our love stories. There are very few of us who have lifetime love stories to tell, about meeting, marrying, raising children, and living into our twilight years hand in hand with our soul mate.  But this isn’t the only love story. Love does not follow a script. It follows the heart, and hopefully, if you are lucky enough, you have, by mid-life ,a small collection of stories that continue to inspire you.

Spending time in Paris, tucked up on the old daybeds of Shakespeare and Company will always be one of those stories. The syncronicity of how I met my late, angel-to-artists friend Nick Beat is another.

Stories are the thread that binds the fabric of our collective experience. Sharing them should be treated as a sacred honour, worthy of our full attention. Worthy of dedicated time to gather and share.

February is mostly past. Valentine’s day is over. Our love stories involve more than romance and fairy tales. Don’t forget that. Celebrate all of those things that make you vibrant; tell your stories.

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Get it While You Can: Valentine’s Advice for Cynics

tacky undiesIt’s all bullshit.

That’s what you want me to say isn’t it? That the flowers and jewellery and lingerie and night(s) of hot sweaty sex are romantic hypocrisy akin to people who only go to church on Christmas eve.

Well, I’m not going to say it.

No. I’m going to suggest that you suck it up and get it while you can darlings. I’m going to tell you that life is short, and you’d best just damn well lighten up and enjoy it.  I’m going to tell you to quit denying your decadent desire to ooze sensuality.

 

Splurge. Buy the panties or whatever other ridiculously tacky, dirty and would-embarrass-you-to-death-if-anyone-you-knew-walked-in-here-and-saw-you-buying that.

If you’re going to do it, do it right. If it’s love, be bold. If it’s not love and it’s just a bow-down to the great gods and goddesses of sensuality, don’t insult them. Go all the way. Sacrifice up something hot and steamy. Make them blush.

Trust me, you’ll have many, many opportunities to be self-conscious, be disappointed, feel insecure or give in to fear and cynicism. You’ll have other days to be realistic about your relationship, lack of relationship, ‘it’s complicated’ status, or other such nonsense.

Get it while you can darlings, and for the love of all that’s pink, give it a good squeeze when you do get it.

 

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The One

  

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Relationship Residue: The Stuff That Sticks

  This post was inspired by a broken slap-chop and a sliced fingernail.

Today as I chopped up parsley for tabouleh by hand (a deplorable and messy task), I realized that the only real residue that was left over from my last foray into the land of romantic love were a few forgotten belongings, and a reinforced belief that being treated badly is not my problem, it’s a problem of  the person who did the bad treating. You know what I mean, right?

To put it simply, you being an a-hole is not my problem. It’s yours.

Had I known the slap-chop was a piece of crap, I would have picked up a new food processor yesterday (it’s been on my list since I binned my old one). Had I known it was useless, I would not have messy, wet, parsley bits stuck to my hands. Yes, it struck me as a metaphor for the broken relationship.

When a relationship ends, there is, like a bathtub that was once filled with warm water and bubbles, icky residue that’s hard to wash off and no one wants to touch. I think most people refer to it as scum.

In the past I have ranted, raved and stuck-it-to’em after a relationship. I’ve been hurt, angry and took solace in the most creative vindictiveness.

But not now.

Maybe it’s because I’ve achieved some sort of emotional maturity, and maybe it’s just because I’m wiser. 

As a middle-aged woman, I like to think I choose where my energy goes. I like to think that I channel it toward peace, positivity, and at the very least, not to people who are emotional fuck-wits.

But there is always the residue of self-doubt, indignation, anger and resignation. Long ago I came to some sort of peace with the fact that I cannot control anyone else’s feelings. People either like who you are, or they don’t. To be inauthentic is a crime against yourself and everyone you enter into relationship with.

I’ve also come to realize that relationship residue exists because  the good we had once hoped for, gets bogged down with the residue of hurt and betrayal. We’re just people, doing our best to get by. The bad stuff sticks to our romanticized memories of the hopes and dreams we projected onto the relationship.

Today, with sticky parsley covered hands, I tossed the remainder of the  visible relationship residue into the bin, knowing that I had betrayed no one, especially myself.