Strip Poker

I have to purge. (isn’t that hot?) Been feeling so freakin’… unresponsive lately. I always assume someone’s watching this thing, and thinking the worst. Narcissistic? Yes, but every once in awhile there’s affirmation to that. Negative attention got focused here for awhile, and it just made it hard to put anything worthwhile to the forefront.

I guess I shouldn’t be a pussy, though. The reason I write doesn’t hafta do with feed-back, and the people that make reading and writing *here* worthwhile are worth talking to with honesty.

There’s a line in the West Wing I love, this guy says to Charley, “If they’re shooting at you, you know you’re doin’ something right.”

What’s been going on over here has been good stuff, if you’re someone who can see life through a positive filter.

I fell in love this winter. A former relationship, which was on extremely rocky ground ended up never really resuscitating, because I got to know someone in November that I couldn’t let go of, even when the other relationship might have made it.

That was a painful situation, cus they both meant a lot to me. Tried to work out the longer standing one, but due to situation and decisions we both made, heart just wasn’t in it anymore. I can’t say I regret the outcome, though I regret the way things went in the earlier relationship, and that it caused pain. Hard to let go of that person on so many levels. Hard not to feel guilty, too, for feeling joy in current relationship. Sometimes I want to shout it from the mountain-tops, this experience, and sometimes I think the only way to go is to keep it close to the chest, intensely private cus those feelings are not for broadcasting.

And whatever painful or joyful forward motion I make in the interpersonal stuff is linked closely with whether I feel I’m failing or connecting with my daughter. Maintaining that feeling of being *present* with her is still sort of the golden fleece, and still difficult. But I think we’re doing pretty good. I can detach and sort of look over what happens with like, scholarly interest as far as seeing how old patterns reassert. There’s sort of a mental hiding attitude that formed years ago, like even when I’m in the room, my thoughts are sort of in retreat- caught up somewhere. For a long time I just assumed that if I were ready, or healthy enough from older trauma stuff, I’d more naturally engage, but- that’s not really the case. It’s a pattern. So I hafta kind of, manually engage. It makes a difference, the attitude part. For example-

I hear her at the front door, home from friends. My body actually almost tenses a little, and my brain becomes immersed in whatever I’m doing- writing, reading, cooking, watching a program. It’s like the habit is to inure against whatever feelings- vulnerability, negative self-image, fear- I correlate with my kid. It’s a self-numbing thing, a coping mechanism established years back, that is kind of like that bit of tail on the end of our backbone now. It isn’t really needed, emotionally, but that adaptation is such a part of my interaction, that I actually hafta act- to reinforce- a different attitude. An attitude of openness and welcome.

Put down what I’m doing. Look up. Be ready to be the first to greet, to talk, to interact with her. That’s seems like it’s subtle, but lays groundwork for whole dynamic. Me being enough there to make decisions and have some personal control over how we interact, instead of her being in the role of pursuing or trying to command attention of absent-minded grown-up, which also (unfairly) puts her kind of in way of being a mini-adult, cus in those situations, she has more connection to the environment, and is the one making suggestions, or deciding if we will interact, or what to ask, etc.

It would all be kind of fascinating if I were watching this stuff play out, as a model for a psyche class, but it’s my life. There’s a lot of shame connected to acknowledging my failure to interact like a healthy parent. Shame that’s just got to be accepted, cus I want more. I want this to be better. The holding pattern existed for far too long.

November was such a hatching ground for big deals. There was therapy, there was relationship upheaval. Remember Na No Wri Mo? Well, that’s the other thing. I have a few precious contacts in the world of editing, but someone took a look at the first chapters of my re-write, and expressed their willingness to put my manuscript on the desk of a decision-maker-

if… If I can get it done. Timely like.

I will need help. This much is for sure. I have no objectivity anymore toward the ragged swarm of words, and I’m even a little afraid of it. Almost just want this chance to be blown, so I can go back to my lack-luster, under-achievement comfort zone.

Finally, I got to the final table of a poker tournament this last week. Number 7. Banked a tidy $1300.
Skill at tournament play really boils down to patience, and a willingness to hold ground enough of the time when someone’s trying to push you off a hand. This is all Swedish heritage stuff… who would have thought generations of stoic, tight-lipped farm-workers, and their belligerent refusal to surrender to poor growing conditions would create decent genetic stock for card-playing?

There’s only three things I’m really good at, and poker and writing are the other two. You can make decent money at all three things, but only if you’re willing to get screwed over and over again, first.

True story.

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7 thoughts on “Strip Poker

  1. Guess I should say Grats on the poker thing. I never got into it really. Even when guys in my unit would sit around playing spades or harts or even a little Texas hold em for penny stakes. Don’t get me wrong I know the rules, I know how to play, Hell I don’t always win but I didn’t always lose either. I guess I’d rather read or watch a movie or play around on the computer.

    As for the relationship part of your post…I guess I’m confused. I read and reread it because I’m not exactly sure what you were saying…Then again that might just be my crap colored glasses I’m currently wearing.

    Grats on the manuscript. That’s a pretty big deal. Don’t you dare blow it either. Do your best and make sure to make backups often. Writing a chapter just to have it wiped from a crash sucks big time. You know how to get it done, how to set goals, but not letting them define your work either. Remember “Do or do not, there is no try” and…I’ll keep my fingers crossed for ya.

  2. Fantastic on the ms. Your writing’s so beautiful you deserve it. And yes, go you on the poker. I’m good at it too, it feels fantastic to win and that’s a lotta bucks. And yes, go you on the rlship front :)

  3. Congratulations on the poker winnings and on the NaNoWriMo thing. I want a copy when it’s published. Pretty please. :D

    Almost just want this chance to be blown, so I can go back to my lack-luster, under-achievement comfort zone.

    Yeah, I know. I think I practically live in the under-achievement comfort zone. I moved in a long time ago and find it difficult to move out even though I think I’ve outgrown the place.

    I think what you’re doing with your daughter and your parenting skills is great. There are a lot of parents who wouldn’t bother.

    I’ve always been big on shouting love from the mountain-tops, but that’s me. There are times, though, when it’s too intense for that so I can understand why you might think those feelings are not for broadcasting. Just enjoy them. :)

  4. Geezus, I had no idea you were a card shark. As for your daughter, judging from what you’ve written of her, she’s going to be quite all right. Better than all right.

  5. I had to step away from this post a while and let it soak in. Like David, I am not at all surprised about the promise for your novel, but still I feel like I’ve been slimed with giddy juice. This scene has played in my head for a long time. In it I move up a long line of admirers to finally hand my book to you for your signature. You will say, “Who shall I write this to?” and I’ll say “Anhinga.”

    Maybe I’ll add, “a fellow Swede who plays poker till the sun comes up.” Who knew?

  6. anhinga- really, really? I knew you were Svedish, but I didn’t know the poker thing! You’re the one who ought to publish, what a way with words. ‘slimed with giddy juice’. You do know how to make me smile.

    david- *confirms* That you did.

    mad- you just think that cus she used her money to buy books. What I didn’t tell you is she has three noses and she glows in the dark. So I’m a little concerned about her future, and if there will ever be enough love and kleenex to go around.

    Ya. Sort of a card guppy, really. But I can morph into a pirahna ever third full moon.

    Robin- absolutimonde! i owe you one. ;) I knew you’d understand about the broadcasting/privacy thing. It seems to alternate by the moment.

    Hallo, jo! ltns. I hope your writing is also breaking down sound barriers. It ought.

    Raolin- It’s a bit addictive, the poker thing. I’m not much for Hold ’em, that game, if you donno what yer doing, yer dangerous… but I love Omaha. Stud. We find time for books and movies too, somehow. ;)

    You yoda’d! Daily goals, see… those are the concepts that don’t occur to me. To make a schedule, and stuff. It’s either all in or not at all, as far as rewriting. ..

    Maybe I do play too much poker.

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