Tag Archives: shiva

Detour from Love’s Path

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It has been a long time since I last posted. After flying to see my beloved Shiva, I needed time to heal, nine months apparently. Perhaps, it would have taken longer had the Universe not intervened.

Nearly a year ago, I did it. I overcame my fear and took my daughter and I across the country to find Shiva. I thought I had prepared myself for anything, but I hadn’t. I thought that I was okay with any outcome, and I wasn’t. Somehow I expected that my grandiose gesture would somehow win back the heart of my dearest love. Unfortunately, there is no heart to win back. There was no heart ever lost.

I was pleased with the Universe bringing everything into being. The last minute plane ticket, booked mere hours before flying. The educated guess of where and how to find him. They all played out. After being quite a shock to Shiva, after all arriving on his doorstep unannounced, he joined me for a five hour heart to heart.

I am so grateful. I could have gone to find no one home. He could have rejected even seeing me. He could have been angry or hurt, but he wasn’t. He was calm, confused, shocked, but kindhearted and loving. It was during this night, that we came clean with our feelings, unspoken for months. There was no doubt in his body language or words. He still loved me. He still loved me every bit as much as I loved him. He still loved the daughter we’d raised, so much it brought him to tears. But it didn’t change the family dynamics at play.

I couldn’t help but cry as he explained that he’d never change his mind, that he’d never come back to me, that he’d never accept a life with me that meant a “broken family.” And my heart just broke and broke and broke. In fact, it still breaks every day that I live, not knowing him. Because after holding me in his arms, kissing my forehead, shaking, and gasping for breath, he assured me that he’d never see me again. He begged me to never enter his life, that we would be parted forever. And I couldn’t accept that.

I still don’t. All of my friends and family tell me I am foolish. I tried, don’t get me wrong. I spent much time throwing his photographs in the trash, removing traces of him from my Facebook profile. I spent the rest of my time, crying, pining, and attempting in vain to move on. I dated men who were all very compatible and likely will be wonderful partners to a woman who can love them. But I have to admit to myself after these long months that I am not free to love anyone else.

Recognizing this limitation has been a freeing thought. Allowing me to love myself for the undying devotion I possess for Shiva. I ask myself, “How often does anyone love another this true? How many people go on for years unable to even consider someone else?” I feel as though I am grieving a spouse that passed away, and not a relationship ended. And I know that it is okay.

It may be insane. That is okay. Love is insane. Real love, true love, magic love. It is all insane. There is no rationality that can be assigned to love. And it is magic. And when I accepted that living with this faith is better than living in the despair of trying to move on, my life had joy returned to it.

With this peace, I have been thriving. And then, only a couple weeks ago. I see him. Shiva, my love, who is supposed to be living so far away. He is standing before me, clear as day. He is across the street, it is raining. He sees me at the same time and we both instantly freeze. I tell my sister standing next to me that I see him and try to point him out, but the rain is too heavy for her to see. I start to walk to him, but crossing the street in a trance I almost step in front of a car. My sister grabs my arm. I look back and see him walking to the edge of the street too, but it is harder to see.
I look at my sister and daughter and tell them I think I should go, it has to be him. And my sister says it can’t be. I look back and he’s still standing there on the edge of the curb, as though, he is also unsure if I am here. I wave and he holds his hand up to his eyes to block the rain to see more clearly. I wave again and he stands straight, but doesn’t move.
My brain kicks in and says, “That isn’t Shiva. He lives more than 3000 miles away. He told me he’d never come back here.”
We aren’t in a place I ever go. The neighborhood is strange to me except for the one corner we are standing on, the corner where Shiva and I used to go only when memories of our California vacation pester us enough. For on that trip, we became committed. On that trip, we made our plans, after that trip, we were cemented as a pair and it was that trip that led to our marriage plans. And in fond memories, we’d come to this corner, talk about all we’d done, how we’d been through so much that trip, and how we’d grown closer together. And then we’d sit and eat in that restaurant that reminded us of the peak of our Cali experience.
All of that flashed through my mind as I stared at Shiva’s form. My daughter was crying that she was getting wet, my sister pulling my arm, and I could scarcely breathe. Everything in me pulled me to him. But the longer my brain hammered into me, the less he looked like Shiva. With a heavy sigh, I pulled myself away from this man’s stare and we retreated to the warm dry of the restaurant. After getting our names in, I ventured back out to see him, but he was no longer there. I laughed to myself for the mirage I had seen.

That was until the day before yesterday. Two days ago, I learned it was my beloved. A mutual friend, ever our mediator, shared with me that my most dear love was there. And that I had walked away. But, he said, not to worry, it isn’t healthy for me to worry about this. At first, I was worried. At first I regretted my lost chance. Would the universe ever grant me another?

But today I realize, of course. Most definitely the universe will bring us together again. It brought us together in the first place, and each time after, and through many trials. I smile as I remind myself that there are no coincidences. That Shiva and I have always agreed there is no such thing as chance. I tell myself there is a reason I walked away, a reason we missed that connection. Because it wasn’t really missed.

In fact, it is the light that began burning in me weeks ago, that rekindled my hope. Even when I thought it was a waking dream, I had found myself riding the wave of joy that he and I had always shared. And I can feel that he and I are sharing it again.

Our truest loves never truly leave us. They are in our hearts. I look forward to the time we are close to each other once again. Our year anniversary, of the day he said he never would see me again nears. And here, with no choice from either of us, he is proved wrong. Some things, we decide with our minds, others we decide with our hearts. And our hearts, they will lead us on the right path, even while our brains take us on detours.

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Narcissism, poor self esteem, and when being unwilling to take Shiva’s drama makes me think I’m the narcissist.

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Thank you Google function “define:”
Narcissist: someone in love with themselves.

wordnetweb.princeton.edu/perl/webwnIts not really so simple. Of course many of us are familiar with Narcissus; the god that stared at himself in the water until he fell in and drowned. There is that surface definition of Narcissus where he was so in love with himself that he couldn’t look away, but the more I learn about narcissism  the more I believe that Narcissus was staring at his reflection obsessed with his flaws and not his beauty.

My grandmother once told me, ‘when a man tells you he loves you and then he starts telling you what’s wrong with him, listen, because he’s probably right.” I used to ignore my grandmother, but after the horrible divorce with my first husband, I have to admit, she was probably more right than I wanted her to be. Shiva did tell me a number of times that he didn’t deserve my love, because, he’s a narcissist. I didn’t listen. Now, my grandmother really likes Shiva. In fact, she pretty much adopted him against his wishes and would do anything for him. She advocates for some modern arranged marriage where we live in a threesome type situation forever so that everyone is happy. In her eyes, Shiva’s parents are satisfied because they picked a bride, I’m satisfied because I’m with Shiva and have a live in sister wife to share all love and sadness with, Shiva is happy because he’s pretty much a young Hugh Hefner in this imaginary scenario and she’s happy because there is finally a balance achieved for a work/child rearing balance called split the labor force among the additional family members. If only things were this easy? Yes the question mark is there on purpose. This scenario sounds like a nightmare.  
Instead, what I have is a collection of broken relationship pieces dragging out a long and painful death. I have my own sadness, pining over Shiva like a puppy misses its master, like a newborn cries for the breast, an aching sense that what I need is out of reach and it may never return to me. I have Shiva’s load of bollocks that range from “I love you and my heart knows that I should be with you” to “we are just friends” (and these aren’t even two separate phone calls). I have my friends telling me that Shiva needs to “sh*t or get off the pot”, and if there is a Nepali saying for this, I’d love to hear it. Basically, he’s being the hooker from Season 5 Episode 16 of How I Met Your Mother where everyone is trailing on the hook of someone else trailing on the hook of someone else and it just keeps going in a horrible repetitive cycle of despair. The only right thing to do in this situation is to tell the hooked or the hooker, “Its over, I’m never going to be with you, ever, at all, never.”I told Shiva all this, he watched the episode I was talking about and went on about how sorry he is that he’s been so selfish lately.
SORRY! Don’t be sorry! Sorry implies that maybe you have see the error or your ways and intend to somehow modify your behavior to ensure that you no longer repeat the same errors out of habit and ease. But what we have here, is habitual apologies. Another post at another time should be why I don’t force my kid to say sorry when she screws up, but only when she genuinely feels sorry for what she’s done.

Shiva will go weeks without talking to me after these episodes, attempting to set me free so I can find someone else, refusing to believe that I really am waiting for him to come home. He’ll tell me how unworthy he is, that I deserve better, then as if dedicated to the self-fulfilling prophecy, he tells me about all the girls he’s met since moving, about the ones he went clubbing with, the one that drove him home, the one that slept in his bed, but actually slept, not the other thing people mean when they say “sleep together”. And I’m expected to be supportive, loving, happy for his path to self understanding. And when he tells me that he realizes that he hates the “bachelor” lifestyle and is ready to settle down, but it cant be with me because I already have a child.

News flash! I’ve had a child the last 2.5 years we’ve been together. In fact, my child’s teachers are advising me on how to co-parent with Shiva since he is the prominent male role model that my daughter talks and cries about frequently at school. My family has seen it, my daughter has seen it, why can’t Shiva see it, that he has a family here? He says its because he has to focus on his school, his career, his life. And I am supposed to stand by and support that for him. I don’t have any problem being supportive, I love supporting Shiva. I love that when he calls we talk for hours. I love that he’ll tell me what he’s buying at the grocery store just so that I can hear his voice a few more minutes. I love that when he’s got a major presentation due in two days, he emails me a copy of the .ppt and we go over the whole thing while he narrates and tells me when to press enter. I love giving him positive feedback and getting the text later that he nailed it. I even love putting up with him when he’s in a bad mood and bitching me out because he is hungry. What I don’t love is when I need to share what’s going on in my life, he says, “I don’t have time for that, I don’t have the energy for that.” He used to listen to me over everything and I did monopolize a lot of his time during the custody battles with my ex husband. He did spend money to fly out to see me just a month before he flew out to drive across the country with me for the move. He’s done a lot and nobody is really keeping track of who did more when, but these days, the answer is always, “I can’t.”

A free ticket to come visit on winter break and he says, “I can’t”. A shipment of wellness tea for him, drink it? He says, “I can’t”. The picture I just texted him with some inspirational quote by Rumi, read it? He can’t. And why not? He says because he doesn’t want to give me hope that things are going to work out for us. He says that he needs me to know that our relationship is over. Until he calls to talk for 2 hours about why he’s upset, when he needs support. And I can’t. When I don’t give in, when I refuse to be a part of the cycle any longer, I’m the one being unsupportive. When I don’t have any more energy to hear about school because I’m trying to figure out how to earn money during my holiday furlough to cover all my expenses, I’m being the selfish one.

I’ve come to realize that it isn’t the Narcissism we have always thought of. Shiva isn’t in love with himself. He isn’t self obsessed because he wants to be. He’s reaching out. He is scared about his grades, scared about what’s going to happen when school runs out. He’s scared about his long term love life, for whatever reason he’s not with his love but he wants to be. He doesn’t think he deserves the person he loves and that speaks volumes about how he sees himself. Undeserving, unworthy, pathetic, sorry. And that’s why I hear “I’m sorry’s” whenever I bother to answer the phone. I do love him, I do long for the moment when we are together again. I feel sure that all of this sadness could just be put away if we’d stop denying each other our love. But I just can’t keep dedicating 115 minutes a day to Shiva while he’ll reluctantly donate 5 minutes a day to me. “Whatever happened to unconditional love?” I suppose it drowned with Narcissus and the view that he did so truly love himself. All I see in Shiva is over scrutiny of his tiny flaws, which turns them into massive ones. And I do love myself, I don’t want to spend my time feeling sad over my loss, but is it the love for myself that leads to the loss of my love?

Am I so focused on what I can and can’t do, that I have become the reflection I can’t stand to see? We are all mirrors of each other and our soulmate, the mirror upon which we can’t take away our gaze. The person who reflects everything we ever hope to be and everything we hate to be, the truest reflection necessary for growth. Is he the narcissist or am I? We both are, because we both are the reflections the other’s gaze is trapped in.

Speechless

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I’ve been absent a lot lately, mostly due to the fact that Shiva and I were back living together and our spare time was shared among each other. Then, literally hours before his parent’s plane landed, he took the bare essentials with him and moved to his sibling’s home. 

We’ve had more than a fair share of disagreements, maybe even an argument or two on the subject of meeting his parents. He says that there is no point because they will never approve a marriage and he doesn’t feel comfortable with jumping straight into parenthood so marriage isn’t what he wants either. All he can say is that I am a good friend, and you don’t just introduce your parents to every good “friend” that also happens to be a girl you’ve lived with on and off over a year and with whom you had a serious relationship…serious enough to prompt a cross-country move. I’m still not okay with this end. I cannot make him introduce us, but I know that I cannot keep doing this if he isn’t even going to bother giving a face, a name, a person to the collection of stereotypes that his parents hold about me.

I helped plan the sibling’s graduation/parents welcoming/american and nepali family reunion party  that Shiva hosted recently. I found the venue, helped pick the menu, negotiated the price, and drove Shiva, child, and I all around for a week to visit all the contenders for the event and spent even more hours than that discussing the pros and cons of each, doing financial analysis of each, etc. What an exhausting time! And I loved doing that for him and his family. It mattered to me that they had exactly what they wanted and I had a lot more experience than Shiva at planning parties for large groups, so it seemed natural to help him. I wasn’t invited and that went without saying. What really got me was that he wouldn’t even tell his sibling who is well aware of our “true” situation that I had such a role in planning this event. I just wanted the sibling to know, and he wouldn’t even agree to that. 
Since “moving out” he’s had a sneak dinner with child and I while he was really somewhere else as far as his family knew. He calls really late at night as he whispers while hiding under his covers so that his family (also staying at sibling’s home) do not hear his late night check-ins with me. I want to be understanding and I think I have been so far. But I just want to meet them. My words to him only the night before last…”I just want to look them in the eyes.”

Enter the Universe: ever the joker. Last night I got exactly what I asked for, just not in the way I ever imagined it would happen. I was outside with my daughter on our apartment balcony that oversees our courtyard. And without explanation she bolts down the stairs and heads straight for the sidewalk. There were two walkers coming down the sidewalk and I barely noticed anything than there were two people. I got her to stop right as we reached the steps from our courtyard to the sidewalk. I looked up from my daughter and was staring directly into Shiva’s mother’s eyes.

Even if I’d never seen pictures of them, I would have known exactly who she was. I could see his eyes in her so clearly that it shocked me for a moment before I could even take in her whole face. I saw his sibling in her as well. Then I looked at her partner, exactly as I’ve seen his father pictured, including the same jacket, it was like looking at an older balding Shiva with different eyes. I only glanced at his father a second as his mother was staring at me with her mouth open. 

After a moment that lasted far too long to accurately count, his father began to leave. But his mother just stood there. She would break eye contact only long enough to glance at my daughter and then straight back to my eyes. I wanted to speak, but I couldn’t. I wanted to stand up and offer my hand, but I couldn’t. We just stood there, looking at each other, speechless. My daughter pulling on me, Shiva’s father pulling on her, and we couldn’t break the trance we found ourselves in. Finally, I looked down, I don’t think I took a single breath the whole time we were staring. She kept on with Shiva’s father and I stood to look after them. She turned and looked at me 3 times before they were out of view.

The anxiety had taken all my sense away, It took the ability to think, or speak. My daughter grabbed my hands and only snapped me back to awareness by performing a backflip with my assistance. I finally could breath again and just played with my little one, still reeling from the encounter. Then I saw her eyes again. They had turned around and were walking by again. His father was smiling, with the same pursed lips Shiva has when he smirks at me. I smiled back, wondering if he’d be smiling at me if he knew who I was or if he was smiling at me because he knew who I was. I was wearing a university shirt and wondering if they noticed the connection between my university hometown and Shiva.  His mother was frowning but not in a sad or angry way, I couldn’t place the emotion. But she just held eye contact with me as she walked along with Shiva’s father. 

I didn’t say anything. I still can’t believe it. I can’t believed I look right at them and couldn’t say a word. The gift I made them ages ago resting only a flight of stairs away, us only a handshake away and a few words away from meeting. And there she and I stood, both hypnotized by the other, and speechless.  

I was gonna throw it away anyway…

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This past week, Shiva and I were discussing the orange juice he brought with him when he moved in and the bottom line. It was just taking up room in our refrigerator because the brand I buy is WAY tastier than the brand he brought with him. After purchasing three cartons of my OJ brand since his arrival, I proposed getting rid of the extra large jug of the OJ we had yet to open. He agreed with me as he had on our very first “date” that the food we would be ousting couldn’t possibly find its way into a trash can.
Let me back up. Before we were a couple we went on this trip to an art festival. I guess it might technically not have been a date as our roommate came along (at the urging of Shiva, not that I minded his presence, the roommate was apparently aware of our affections long before we were and maybe was a core ingredient to bringing us together.) Anyway, we were walking around and finally the scent of carnival food go to us and the three of us were meandering through the vendor aisle attempting to figure out what to eat. We came across an Indian food vendor harboring such sweetness as pakoras, grape leaves, curried chicken, mmm and other South Asian goodness. Our roommate, a vegetarian declined my invitation to share the deluxe meal, but Shiva took me up and we found ourselves stuffed with over half our plate left. Neither of us could justify throwing the food in the trash when the location of our art festival also happened to be our towns center of homelessness. And after arguing over who would be the one to hand over our leftovers to the homeless people on the steps of the courthouse. We didn’t want to seem condescending, but also thought the food would be wasted if thrown in the trash. Thankfully our roommate came up and loudly said, “don’t throw it away!” in such a way that one elderly homeless woman shouted, “whatever you do, don’t throw it away!” and so that is how we became dedicated to not throwing food away when we could give it away.
We decided easily that we’d be giving the OJ to someone on the streets, I actually had a pair in mind that I see every day after dropping my daughter at school. I thought about it and  decided that we could definitely part with more than our unwanted OJ. I cleaned out our cupboards and filled up a large paper bag of foods we, had to face it, weren’t going to eat.
I had hoped that I wouldn’t offend the homeless men I see on the street every day but I didn’t expect what I did see. The man, only one of the two I always see together, cried. He kept saying, “are you sure you can spare this?” I wasn’t giving him a great meal, I was giving him a bunch of food that I wouldn’t eat. Because Shiva and I have the luxury of deciding that we don’t like our organic rice cakes, or that we prefer Florida OJ over Brazilian from concentrate OJ. We get to say, I don’t feel like eating that beef jerky we bought on the road a couple weeks ago, or we have more stale hamburger buns that we will use and if we want some buns, we’ll just buy fresh ones. But all these items we’d just as easily throw in the trash, were making a grown man cry and asking if we could truly spare this “waste” to him. I still don’t know how to feel about this. I’m amazed at his humility and my selfishness. There is not much that is more humbling than realizing that you are truly lucky to have enough resources to literally discard food over not wanting it.
What do you do with the food you won’t eat? What do you do when your bread has gone stale or you just don’t feel like eating that snack you thought you’d test? What about your leftovers that are maybe just a few days past, mmm, “I’ll eat that.”?

Your Name is the Sound My Soul Sings

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The ocean is in me.
Its part of my soul.
The crashes of the waves are the nature of my whole.
I rise, I fall, I rise again.
Your heart is my shore, will you take me in?
I’m rough, unpredictable, unyielding like the sea.
You are the ground accepting me.
You aren’t afraid to stand up to me, my tempest, you don’t fear.
Its your name, sounding in the waves of my being that I’ll always hear.

Synchronicity Strikes Again!

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Recently I posted about chakra exercises and noticing that my root and sacral chakras were weak and needed some growth. Well, it took some time to get around to healing these because the cold was really wearing me down. I’ve finally found some relief from the cold and was able to get to the gym today for Zumba. 

I have never tried Zumba before, but I did some reading on healing root chakras and dancing was one of activities recommended for grounding. It was amazing. I couldn’t believe how easily I learned the steps. Normally, I think I’m pretty slow at picking up dance moves, but this just came to me. I really felt the music and my inner energy felt lighter after the hour of Zumba. 

Then, there happened to be a yoga class right after. Normally, there isn’t a yoga class on Wednesdays, but tonight it was posted that due to increased demand, they were adding it. So, I stuck around for some yoga and was surprised to learn that tonight’s focus was on the sacral chakra. Hooray, synchronicity strikes again! I go to the gym to get some chakra work done and end up with two activities to heal the very two chakras that need balancing. Nice! 

And as usual with the Universe, there is a test to be taken after proper preparation. Shiva came over unexpectedly tonight. The on again off again situation has been difficult to adjust to. When I started this blog, we weren’t talking and I thought we’d never talk again. Now, we bounce from happiness, to arguments, to not speaking, and the wide range in between.  The relationship may be some roller coaster that we both wish to depart from and yet never want to leave, but it is proving itself to be quite a growth opportunity. I digress, so he comes in, sits down, and immediately begins to pick a fight. Good thing for me that I had a lot of grounding and self esteem building earlier, because after entertaining the pointless argument for a few minutes, I ended up asking him to leave and he did. 

I’m not glad that he left, I wish he would have stayed and had an honest heart to heart like we shared last night. Sometimes, these arguments start rough and end with very enlightening conversations on things each of us could have done better and should consider in the future for any and all relationships we have. We have been able to really be honest with one another. Of course, brutal honesty isn’t easy to take and many times ends up in tears and frustration for both of us. Its painful when someone tells you something bad about yourself, like “I think you only tell partial truths, leave things out all the time, are too technical about the truth, I feel like I’m always talking to an attorney” or “you never opened up, you never told me anything, you always expected me to give up myself, to be honest, to be forthcoming, while you kept your secrets.” But, what catharsis!!!!

I feel like these interactions with Shiva are the best sort of therapy I’ve ever had. I can really break down so much of my inner harbored emotions that I never realized were so closely connected. Now, things seems more clear and I can really heal from some events as far back as elementary school. I can’t believe I’ve been carrying so much anger and frustration, sadness, and pain for so long. I thought, I’d just moved over it. Maybe, I never will, but at least I can know that about myself now. And he’s learning a lot about himself that he never knew. Its incredibly difficult to learn things about yourself that you’ve denied your whole life as a form of egoism. 

I can’t believe that I stood up for myself when I normally would react with a combination of insults and anger mixed with a dash of regret and co dependence. Well, my hips are sore, but my heart finally can feel some relief. 

Reaching New Heights

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Birthdays, they come around year after year for us lucky ones still celebrating life. And my turn is coming around soon. I feel as if I’m holding my breath this year. Last year was such a beautiful experience that I can’t help but spend my time reminiscing. The family rarely brought on much excitement over birthdays, with my grandmother as the exception, she always would take the birthday celebrant out to an extravagant five star dinner. Most birthdays were spent in a yelling match with the celebrant being screamed at for being selfish or self-centered on their day. My mother would usually delight in preparing a cake and putting up streamers, but usually only a handful of friends were allowed to be invited and the few that did come, were hard-pressed to come back after witnessing a yelling match. Didn’t even get a chance to have a 16th birthday after a fight with mother, the most important birthday of a girls childhood was taken away as a punishment for being ungrateful.

I guess, what I’m getting at is I don’t expect much for birthdays. Maybe that is why last year’s celebration was so memorable. The night before my birthday, I was up waiting for Shiva to return home from a typical late night studying for his engineering exams. I had put the baby to bed, cleaned up, and knew just when to start dinner and tea. It was this common scene of a clean home, lit candles, and burning incense that welcomed Shiva home on this day. He walked into the kitchen to compliment me on the fresh hot soup and tell me how much he loved that familiar smell of cardamom drifting up from the cup of Chai.

This night was different. He hugged me and thanked me as he always did. He complimented me as he always did and then he dragged me over to the couch completely ignoring our meal. I was confused, I begged him to let me fix a bowl of soup for us and he grabbed my hands and denied the request. He sat me down and kissed me and told me I was beautiful. Then he told me to wait right where I was and he went outside. I sat on the couch glancing out the window, but couldn’t see him in the dark. Then he peaked in the front door and told me that I needed to go put on pants and a long shirt, and shoes with good traction. What?

“Don’t ask any questions, just go, hurry.” He said. So I went in the room and put on  a pair of comfy sweatpants and a sweatshirt over my grungy night t-shirt. I put on my sneakers, as good of traction as any other shoes I owned and came back out to see him, outfitted for a hike. “Those pants won’t work and neither will the shirt, something different,” he criticized, “go put on jeans.” I was a little bit frustrated, and probably a bit hungry. “Our food is getting cold.” I replied. “Just do it,” he said shortly. I returned in a pair of jeans, a different sweater and grabbed my corduroy jacket. “Better, that will do.” He said, “Now lets go.”

“Go where?!” I pretty much shouted at him, “did you forget there is a baby sleeping, we can’t leave her alone.” Then he revealed that our housemate had agreed to keep a watch on my daughter. “Now, lets go.” He said again, this time dragging me out of the door. “Oh wait,” he said, “I forgot something.” The confusion really was beginning to aggravate me. He pointed off at a tree and exclaimed “Look!” Of course, I did, and saw nothing. I turned back at him and he was pointing at his watch. “Look at that.” I looked and said, “yeah its midnight, so?” Then he kissed me and said, “Happy Birthday.”

Then he grabbed my hand and began walking. We walked and walked, I think at the end we walked a little more than a mile. The whole time I kept asking him where we were going, what we were doing. And the whole time, I was wished happy birthday, kissed, and told to be patient for my surprise. Finally, we arrived at the base of the university’s basketball stadium. He pointed at it excitedly, “here we are, do you like it?”

“A stadium, you brought me to a closed basketball stadium for my birthday, in the middle of the night?” He brought me to wall and said, “Sort of. Do you remember telling me what your greatest phobia is?” I thought, well, I only have one great phobia, falling to my death. I answered him. He knew very well about this fear. He had been awakened many times by my repeating dream of falling to my death. He also knows that I hold an irrational belief that I died by falling in a past life and that I’m not afraid of heights, so much as falling. He also knew that when I described what I fell off, it wasn’t a mountain or a skyscraper, or a bridge, but a white building. He pointed back to the white stadium before us and said, “We are going to climb it.”

I laughed, surely he’d lost his mind. Surely he knew that there was no chance of me climbing a white building like the one from my nightmare with the awareness of said nightmare in the middle of the night on my birthday. And surely, I should have known, that when Shiva puts his mind to something, he is not easily swayed.

Before long, I was climbing ahead of him, holding onto a thick metal cable that ran along the drain pipe. he informed me that the cable I was holding is what the work crews tie their safety cables to. Being that we were climbing the drain, pipe the surface was a little bit wet and slippery. My hands were sweating and all I could think is, “I’m going to die, my daughter is at home and I’m so stupid to climb the side of this building, and I’m gonna die. What are they going to tell her? Your mother fell off a stadium? We don’t know why she was there. We don’t know what she was doing. There was no note, was it a murder, a suicide, an accident.” I got about half way up the drain pipe and just froze.

I told Shiva that I couldn’t go any further. I couldn’t lift my leg, I couldn’t move. I didn’t look down, but I just felt like my whole body had turned to stone. He was behind me and promised me that even if I slipped and fell, he was beneath me and he’d catch me. He promised that he’d climbed the route we were climbing before and I’d be safe. Then he reminded me that my birthday gift was at the top and it was 100% worth the climb. I felt my body relax, things felt lighter and I thought, Well, I’ve made it this far.

I don’t know how long we climbed, but eventually we reached the top of the drain pipe. To my surprise there was a ladder at the top. I hadn’t seen it from the ground, but I grabbed onto the ladder and pulled myself up on the a platform that was completely invisible from below. I sat down and had a good panic spell complete with dizziness and hyperventilating. Shiva pulled himself onto the platform with a proud smile on his face. We sat for a few moments while I composed myself and he commented on the beautiful night. He pulled a bottle of water from his backpack and offered me a drink. Once I calmed down, I asked him where this supposed birthday present was. He pointed up, “We haven’t reached the top yet, you don’t get present just for getting halfway.”

He’s joking. I thought. But no, he wasn’t. We walked along side the platform until we reached another ladder about a quarter of the way around the building. It rose vertically to the top of the dome. It didn’t look that far from the platform, but then I made the mistake of looking down. Shiva smiled at me and said, “What are you looking down here for? Come on, you are almost there.” He could tell that I was starting to freeze up again, “You aren’t going to die tonight, I wouldn’t let that happen. Just take one foot ahead of the other.” Finally, reached the top of the stadium which had a concrete slope for a roof. There was an edge around the slope maybe a few inches high. I thought, “If I slip, I’m going to slide right off the edge.” Shiva crawled up after me and led me up to the top of the slope where we rested against a wall. He pulled me into his arms and kissed me. “Happy Birthday, do you like your present?”

“What present?” I asked. He gestured all around.

“You’ve climbed up really high.”

“Yes, well, you helped me.”

“All I did was come up behind you and reassure you, but you did it, you climbed up here. You thought you might die if you ever did something like this, it was your greatest fear. And now, you know that you can climb all the way up here, take some time to look around, and enjoy the moment. And you know that your life is in your own hands and you aren’t going to die. You have overcome your greatest fear. Happy Birthday.” He pulled out two wine glasses and a bottle of wine. “Let’s toast to your birthday.”

We did. “To reaching new heights.”

Chicken Soup for the Cold

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I grew up in a house that believed in chicken soup for a cold. Although, my family’s version was an extra watered down Campbell’s chicken noodle, the idea of chicken soup as comfort food as stuck with me. It rarely made me feel better. Although, I do remember my great grandmother making a kind of chicken soup that was really yellow, had a lot of mushy stuff in it and really did make me feel better.  About four years ago, I stumbled across a Cuban restaurant while I was very very sick with the flu. I couldn’t bring myself to cook and my ex-husband sure wasn’t going to try and make me feel better, so I pretty much just ate out.

On this occasion the Cuban restaurant was serving homemade chicken soup. I ordered a bowl and couldn’t believe how much it reminded me of my Irish great grandmother’s soup. I ended up bringing two orders home with me and started feeling a lot better. After recovering from the flu, I went on a search to discover the ingredients in this soup. I knew, it had something like potatoes, but they weren’t. I went back to the restaurant and the waitress didn’t really know what was in the soup. She did know that the potato like mush was yucca and sweet potatoes. She also confirmed that there were also yellow potatoes in the soup. She said the key was the bone.

I didn’t have any bones in my soup. She said that you have to pull the meat off with your fingers. So I went to the store, bought a chicken, and went to making soup. It wasn’t quite what I wanted, but it wasn’t bad. It took me almost a year of trial and error to come up with the recipe that has cured many a cold and flu.

I don’t know how much of the cure is in my mind, heart, or reality. I do believe that it has to be cooked with love and healing intentions. As I cook, I literally envision pouring healing energy into the soup.  With each shake of salt, each dash of rosemary, each pinch of pepper I feel more and more love and health soaking into the broth.

So here it is: the recipe for heal it all chicken soup. It makes a LOT so be prepared.

1 whole chicken
1 bell pepper
2 carrots
2 celery stalks
1/2 yellow onion
4 cloves of garlic
1 medium yucca
2 golden yukon potatoes
1 sweet potato
2 red potatoes
rosemary
thyme
salt
annatto (whole)
fresh cilantro
2 bay leaves

Boil a large pot of water, add the salt and spices (except fresh cilantro). Crush the garlic into the soup. Crush the whole annatto in a mortor and pestle and add this as well.
With the water boiling, slowly add the chicken and make sure that water covers most of it.
Chop the potatoes and yucca. Add all potatoes except the sweet one.
Cut the carrots into small pieces, first into discs, and then quarter the discs. Add these.
Slice the celery and add them to soup.
Dice the onion and add to the soup. Dice the bell pepper and add.

Once the potatoes are soft, slice into a thick part of the chicken and make sure it is cooked. Once the meat is cooked, add the chopped sweet potatoes.
Once the sweet potatoes are soft, take out the chicken and pull the meat from the bone and return it to the soup.

Sorry that I don’t know many measurements for the spices, its pretty much an add as I go policy.
What brings on this post? Shiva has a cold now, so guess who is going to be having chicken soup tomorrow.

Because I Can’t Say

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Such a pathetic mess I am, to sit here crying for what I do not have.
Who I am to find this such a reasonable reason to cry?

Get up, move on, get over that man, he never deserved the devotion anyway.
All the logic doesn’t seem to negate, the feelings of pain that well up within me.
And if he knew, he’d just say that it isn’t real and that its okay, I’ll feel better about it someday.

Everyone can say the same, that its just a short untimely phase
of life that soon I’ll pass through unscathed.
But all I know is in this moment, I’m desperate for some faith.
That I moved to follow, move to be together
that I left my world behind in search of another
that I really do believe that the right choice was made
only to be deserted at this stage.

And even though its wrong, to wish ill on someone else, I hope he’s suffering in this moment in the way my heart is sinking.
I hope he’s crying too and realizing that his actions aren’t without their wrongs. And when my daughter wakes up in the morning and asks if we can see him again, I hope he’s hearing her words in his head knowing that I can understand, I can justify, I can comprehend why we’ve been denied.
But she only knows the man she loves and cares for, the man she looked up to and called daddy, must be hiding in a place so we can find.

How do I tell her that its not hide and seek, that he isn’t calling tonight, that we won’t be sharing dinner, or reading her bedtime stories together. That now its just her and I because the man we both loved is gone. How do I tell her that because she’s not his blood he doesn’t want her? That because she wasn’t born to him, he’ll never love her?

How do I look her in the eyes knowing full well that she wants to hear me say, “we are going to drive and see him, he’s coming home tonight, we need to get dinner ready and clean up because he’s coming home.” In her whole life, he’s the most she had for a father to love her and now he’s gone.

I can hold it together just long enough for her to say, “Mommy, I KNOW that today he’s coming home.” And then I sit here crying and feeling sorry for our life, feeling sad that I believed that finally we were blessed, that we’d be a family, and know how to be happy. Now I sit here crying because I know that all we’d believed in was a lie.

Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell

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I am still new to the world of Asian relationships. I guess one could say, I’m an outsider looking in, seeing as how I am not technically speaking, in a relationship. I am, however, still doing backflips from the cyclone of emotions known as an intercultural relationship between an American and an Asian. *sigh* Somehow, I thought that after the relationship reached its abrupt smack against a big thick racial brick wall, I’d feel some relief. NO! Nope, not at all. Although the lover in question has cut all communication, the Universe felt it necessary to facilitate a random encounter with former lovers sibling.

Let me preface this with, I love this sibling! Not in a romantic way, but in a, “I love you so much dearest sibling that I would happily celebrate having you as a sibling for my entire life and feel even closer after knowing you three hours than I feel with my biological siblings.” sort of way. I have not spoken with this sibling in several months at the request of former lover. Its been painful, especially when sibling texts to wish me well or ask how I’m doing and I’m simply ignore these words in an effort to show loyalty to ex-lover. And then I watched Sita Sings the Blues. Sita employs this tactic of undying loyalty and to what avail? Suicide? So, I decided that, I don’t support Sita’s choice and it was absolutely silly to live as Sita did. Afterall, did Rama ever appreciate her efforts? NO!

So, when the universe so apparently offered up the meeting between sibling and I, it seemed like a good opportunity to do what my heart suggested, and appreciate the synchronicity. Loving wonderful sibling that they are, also commented on the Universe’s role in this chance encounter.
This sibling requested a chance to catch up more later in return for a promise not to inform former-lover. I apprehensively agreed. My Asian and Desi friends advised me not to. They said that it will only complicate matters more, and it probably will. And yet, I am a firm believer in not letting coincidences go, because they occur for a reason.

The words of advice that struck me most is the fact that between sibling and former lover, there seems to be an awful lot of “don’t tell.” When with ex-lover, I often heard “don’t mention, don’t talk, don’t tell, keep secret” in so many realms. When I brought this up with my friends, one friend said that all Asian families have the “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy on communicating with each other.

I just don’t understand it. In the states if you say don’t tell someone its usually because it would otherwise be wrong to say what you are saying or because you don’t like the other person, or because you are spreading lies around. I also don’t understand how a family that supposedly cares about nothing more than family values can run so rampant with this “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy.  I’m not supposed to know, or if I do know, shouldn’t tell, but its okay to know and or tell as long as the person I am telling is adamant to follow the “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy as well.

It sounds like a game of telephone gone wrong. If you don’t want it to ever slip to the wrong person, why tell me at all. I mean, I’d get told all sorts of “don’t tell mom, don’t tell dad, don’t tell so and so connected with mom and dad” and that thing I sort of understood. But “don’t tell sibling, that I’ve already talked to about this same issue we are now discussing.” just doesn’t make sense. My friend says that, it has to do with not hurting someone’s feelings. Not hurting who’s feelings? Because my feelings have certainly not been recognized in this “don’t ask, don’t tell” format of discussion. It seems that only “former lover’s” feelings are the ones that need to be protected. Because even sibling’s feelings have been made clear by former lover, that they don’t matter. Although, I have serious doubts that sibling’s feelings have been accurately described to me. As the last I heard, former lover says sibling thinks I’m a stupid idiot and that ex’s choice to kick me out of their life is a good choice, then why would sibling give me such a loving hug and ask to talk later and say that they are worried about me?

I guess, I shouldn’t ask and definitely shouldn’t tell.