Take My Breath Away

My breathing was audible in the stillness, and not just because of my heightened state of awareness. I inhaled slowly and deliberately, nostrils flaring, in an attempt to take in more air – willing the oxygen to push past the lump in my throat, half-trying to conjure up the relaxation techniques I learned long ago, at that acting school in Manhattan. Ah, the good ol’ days, when it was merely stage-fright that required the use of such methods…Am I still too young to reminisce over those romantic times-gone-by? Surely at the age of thirty-five, I have earned the right to lament about such things.

I could barely make out the trees, covered in darkness. The moon is just a sliver allowing me to glimpse the outline of the branches swaying in the autumn winds just outside my kitchen window. The darkness is somehow comforting. Now what? I ponder my options, remembering to breath deeply, in a feeble attempt to contain the swell of emotions rising up in mutiny, against me and my breathing exercises.

An undeniable surge of energy flows through me. I am acutely aware of my own desires. I must bury my emotions in the pleasures of a physical release. In my erratic state, I decide that yes, this is what I need right now, to rid myself of the anxiety that is plaguing my every cell. I am overcome by the intensity of this urge. I rise from my seat at the ornate, wrought iron and glass table that Jack and I purchased years ago in Mexico, and make my way towards the master bedroom. I move with feline accuracy up the eight wooden steps leading to the bedrooms, careful to avoid the creaky spots.

I pass the pictures hanging cheerily on the wall in our stairwell, of our two, healthy, blond-haired, cherubic-faced babies. Will is 4 and Lana just turned 2 years old. They are our greatest gifts in this life, looking like they belong in a surfing magazine on the west coast somewhere. I smile at them and know for just a moment that all will be well.

I open the door to our modest master bedroom, the king-sized bed and plush down comforter beckoning me closer. The red 12:22 glowing from the cable box reminds me that it is after midnight. I wonder how Jack will react to this late night waking. I walk around to his side of the bed, reaching for the edge, to help me maintain my bearings in the darkness. As my eyes adjust to the blackness of our bedroom, I can make out his mouth, slightly ajar as he snores out a little tune. This is not hot. But, no matter. He is the man I love, the man I married.

I carefully climb in on his side, sliding one of my legs up and over his torso, straddling him in one swift motion as I have done so many times before in our ten years together. He stirs just a bit, causing the snoring to stop for a moment. Without pause, I slide my hands up his shirtless chest and lock my knees tightly over his torso and arms, which are trapped under the blanket. Wrapping my hands around his throat – I squeeze. I squeeze and I squeeze, until his eyes pop open, wide with the surprise that his ever-loyal wife, and loving mother of his children, has suddenly turned to physical violence against him. In his sleep, no less.

I mean, we have had our ups and downs, but we have never been violent. Until now. I bring my mouth closer to his reddened and contorted face and I hiss out my inquiry, “How the fuck can you do this to me?!?! To our family?!” His gasping for air is a satisfactory answer to me, for now. Since I adore our children, and heaven knows that I would not look cute in an orange jumpsuit, I return to my senses. Choking him to death is not a viable option, appealing as it might be. I release my grip. I am glad we have had this talk.

Photo credit: http://www.myreservoir.net/tag/scorned-woman/

On FEX Living In The Basement – A Note To Maya Angelou’s Voice In-My-Head

People are asking. They are scratching their heads and wondering. There are those who come right out and ask me; others who remain perplexed, or make various assumptions. My personal favorites are the ones who have a firm opinion on the matter, one way or the other, of which they adamantly try to convince me. Most just want to know WHY on earth I have allowed FEX (future ex-husband) to move back into the house and take up residence in the basement?

As they say, “It’s complicated.” FEX moved out 3 years ago. Since then, we have put forth our best efforts towards effectively and cooperatively (mostly) co-parenting our son, 8 (the lawyer) and our daughter, 6 (the performer). After more than a year of discussing the possibility of trying to live in the same house again, as friends and mutual adorers of our wee-ones, we decided to make a go of this unconventional arrangement. This past September, to the elation of my children, FEX moved back in. My expectations of him are as follows.

#1. Put the children first.

#2. I need to be able to rely upon your word.

Easy. Right? Well, one out of two isn’t that bad. Is it? The whole keep your word thing has evaded FEX for many years now. I should have known that this would be the case, because Maya Angelou has said so, and she is usually right about these things.

To my defense – FEX and I are able to provide more for our children, when supporting one household, instead of two. Now we work together on the daily challenges, responsibilities and chaos that is attached to raising young children. In my mind, I was thinking, “I didn’t have them alone, so why should I raise them alone?” Most importantly, and the clincher for me was that my children desperately wanted to see both of their parents, each and every day.

Although, in the opposing voice in-my-head, I hear the words of Maya Angelou. I can hear her gently reminding me of one of my favorite quotes.

Get out of my head Maya. I have to try this out. 

Dear Miss Angelou’s voice in-my-head,

I know that you said, “When somebody shows you who they are, believe them the first time.” The Universe has enthusiastically chimed in on this point, on several occasions throughout my life. I surrender. I get it. Believe them the first time.

I am aware that in heeding the wisdom of your advise, allowing FEX back in, was not the best idea. But, I ask you, who else in the world is going to love my children as much as I do, and help me raise them on a daily basis, as well as maintaining a house and yard, etc…? Who, Maya? Who?

I mean no disrespect, as you are a most-admired role model to me. But Maya, I wanted to teach my children that we love them so much that we willingly put our differences aside to do our best in raising them together, even though our marriage was over. Is this wrong? I suppose only time will tell.

Families look all different ways these days, as I am sure you are aware. I know that our living arrangement is unusual, and though it has not been the ideal situation for me personally, having another parent in the house, and seeing the way my children light up when their father comes home, is reason enough for me to be proud of myself for trying. Wish me luck. xo

Also Maya, any dating advice would be most welcomed. 😉

With Fondest Admiration,

Victoria

photo credit: aware.org.sg

Sleds and Dogs, But Not Sled Dogs

So, what does one do when they are snowed in, for 3 days, with 2 kids and 3 dogs? I am kidding, I mean 2 dogs and Fex (future ex husband) who has been likened to a dog, by some mutual friends, on several occasions. Truthfully speaking, FEX could never be as loyal and reliable as a dog anyway. OMgoodness, I just did it again. Perhaps it’s is the freezing cold that I was exposed to while sledding today. Or, rather, I am just in the mood to be cheeky (and honest).

The answer is – go sledding with a bunch of friends, and a gaggle of kids, of course! It’s that, or I could always sit home, drink wine, and let my children eat me out of house and home, in an attempt to pacify our cabin-fever, and the boredom which has begun to set in – the result of sitting in the house for 3 days, while Mother Nature has her way with us.

As a devout lover of summer, and all activities water-related, I have often wondered how it is that I have lived in New York for my entire life. While we do have the most beautiful weather in Spring and Fall, which are both moderate in temperature, and a delight to behold, for the senses, with them comes the complete extremes of the spectrum – brutally hot summers and bone-chilling winters.

The fact is, that I love New York! Just like the tourism commercials, theme song and slogan says. I really do love it, wholeheartedly. Many who have never visited this beautiful state do not realize that New York City is only a small portion of the offerings here. I actually live on Long Island, just east of the city, which is just that, a very long island of suburbs, boasting countless, stunning beaches spanning its length, and no more than a half an hour drive, north or south, from almost any given point. As if this isn’t enough, there is the mainland of NY, which stretches up to Canada, and is comprised of spectacualr mountains, with farmland and forest, mostly unsullied by man.

While I do love it here, I must say that the cold winters are really knawing at me, whispering in my ear, louder and louder, as each year passes, and another bout of cold passes through my beloved state. Today, standing on top of that snowy hill, with frozen nose and toes, delighting in the fun of the children sledding, I leaned in closely to decipher the whisper, and I distinctly heard it say, “Go back to the Caribbean Victoria. That is where you belong!” Who am I to argue with the wisdom of the winter winds?

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Enjoying some balcony time in sunny Jamaica, January 2015

Thank God I Married the Wrong Man

As a self-proclaimed “scorned” woman, and you will come to see, I definitely fit within the parameters of such a title, I have learned that there is a pitifully negative connotation attached to this status. It’s societal and familial. It is the concept that we are not whole if our partner or spouse does us wrong, or worse yet…leaves all together.

I actually use the term “scorned” in a satirical nod to my ex, who, during those dark times in our relationship, following the initial break-up, used to throw the word around at me as if this was some valid explanation for my “irrational” resentment towards him. In fact, it was true. I was scorned. I was hurt, angry, broken. At times, I was like a crazy-women, pissed-off and reeling, especially during those first treacherous months, whilst trying to regain my balance. I had two little ones, a boy, age 4, and a girl, age 2, at the time. I believed wholeheartedly that someone had pulled the rug from beneath my unsteady feet, and my entire world shifted.

The reality is, it is not possible to force another person to hold true to their commitments, even after you’ve both proclaimed, in front of God, Church and family, “‘Till death do us part.” Though, with my vision becoming increasingly clearer, it is apparent that, even though our marriage didn’t go the distance, my relationship with this man who scorned me is interminable, for the simple fact that we were gifted with two awesome children, who now literally bind us in ways both obvious and imperceptible, till death and beyond.  And I wouldn’t change a thing.

There is a quote by Cynthia Occelli, about a seed, which resonates so deeply with my feelings on the failure of my marriage, and the ensuing chaos and subsequent calm to follow. “For a seed to achieve its greatest expression, it must come completely undone. The shell cracks, its insides come out and everything changes. To someone who doesn’t understand growth, it would look like complete destruction.”

I am that seed, and my desire and ability for growth astounds me. Each of us is capable of this incredible blossoming, even after we are faced with a seeming destruction. For this, I am thankful. For our beautiful children, I am thankful.  And for marrying the “wrong man,” I am indeed thankful. From that scorn, I was reborn.