Gratitude

The responses to last night’s post have been coming in and they’re kinda cracking me up. One fellow blogger read me to filth for wanting a faithful man while using the Ashley Madison web site. He must’ve missed that I’m not on the site anymore. But still he has a point. My morals have always been questionable. I was never the perfect wife. But I believe I am capable of change. And hope that we all are.

The responses from men are, predictably, about whether they “measure up” or not. When I say I want someone “tall, 6’3″ or taller,” it doesn’t mean I would turn down a date with someone 5’8″. These desires are merely that: desires. I wouldn’t turn down a job offer of $50,000 a year. Or even $25,000 a year. But I can dream, can’t I?

The Poet has set out a more life-affirming set of challenges, as I would expect from him:

One: Write a list of the ten things you are most grateful for in your life. You only get 10.
Two: Write a post on what you want and what you have to offer in friendship.
Oh and don’t forget to keep praying for James everyday for two weeks!

So, in response to The Poet:
The 10 Things I Am Grateful For In  My Life
1. My corporeal being: my body, my health, my genetics, I guess. I have been blessed with great health, tall and sturdy stature, good teeth and skin and hair, a complex brain and many innate talents.
2. My family: two loving, doting, attentive parents; a sister who loves me fiercely and does everything she can to help me; an amazing extended family filled with unique characters, passionate and opinionated and extremely loving; my sister’s kids, who give me hope for the future. (Or should I say force me to hope for the future?) They are incredible humans. My grandparents were also pretty fuckin’ cool.
3. An impressive palette of loyal, loving and supportive friends, some of whom have been friends for over 20 years. I am fortunate to make friends easily and am then able to pick and choose the ones I  love most!
4. My creativity: it has allowed me to create costumes that make me smile, produce art that has made others smile and, most importantly, permits me to express myself in an eloquent, easily transmitted manner. Or so people tell me!
5. A wildly interesting life: this is partially my doing, being the experience junkie that I am. But it is also my parents, wanting to expose me to many things, being in a position to travel and see the world, the money to send me to college and support me while I was there. Everyone and everything that has conspired to make my life so enviable.
6. Loving relationships: I’ve had several long-term relationships with boyfriends in my life. While in the relationships I felt great love (or thought I did) and really loved being in love. (That’s a lotta love in one sentence….but that’s the topic here.) While some break-ups were less pleasant than others, I can honestly say that I am on friendly terms with all of these men. (The most recent one being the only possible exception. I will strive for civility in that circumstance as well.) Though some of these men are now far away, living very new and different lives, I believe firmly that if we were stuck across a dinner table from each other, it would be a loving, enjoyable experience. The best part of these loves is that I learned something valuable from each of these men and took those lessons with me into subsequent relationships.
7. This may sound silly, but I must include pets: since I was little I’ve had wonderful, loving dogs. Life is just better with a dog in it, from my childhood poodle to Zoe, my poodle of 16 years, to Noodle, who Eric got in the divorce settlement, to the fosters I’ve taken in, including the two little scruffies sitting on either side of me right now. Dog breath smells sweet. Dogs love their humans. Even their temporary humans. Pure, pure love.
8. Education: I went to a really, really great elementary school that gave me a solid base of education that I’m still calling upon. Junior high and high school weren’t quite as excellent but they were “second in the nation,” so it was better than most. I can spell. I can punctuate. I can string a sentence together. And I have my K-12 teachers to thank for that. Along with all the award-winning authors whose books I’ve read. College was more fun than learning but, looking back, I did take in a lot of knowledge, in between all the drinking and tanning and roller skating. Physics for Poets sticks with me as does my Sociology class that makes me occasionally wish, still, that I had taken that route. My brain loves to learn stuff.
9. Being born in America: okay, now I’m stretching! But I’ve gotta name 10 things and yes, this is one of them. The life I’ve led — and continue to live — can only have been led in America. We have incredible freedoms, a country rich in culture and adventure and…land! I couldn’t have run my fetish magazine in Iraq! And I couldn’t have roller skated on the beach boardwalk in Russia. The ability to constantly reinvent myself is also a truly American thing; this country loves reinvention! The Star Spangle Banner chokes me up. Seriously.
10. Luck: this probably sounds like a cheat. If you look at everything else, they’re all somewhat a result of luck. I am lucky to have been born in America; to two loving parents with means and good genes; to have traveled and met and known so many wonderful, interesting people; to have found love more than once and loved fiercely with all my heart; to have experienced more than just about everyone I’ve met. This is probably the one thing I’m prone to forget the most easily. I need to keep reminding myself how fortunate I am and how grateful I am for this luck. I went to a sort of hippy-dippy life reading once and the woman told me that the Archangel Michael is watching over me. When people ask me if I’ve ever seen a ghost, I can distinctly recall seeing an apparition, a male, all in white, with long blond hair, standing beside my bed. It was when I was in college and, at the time, I wrote it off as too much drinking. Instead of pink elephants I was seeing a blond dude in a white robe. But maybe it was Michael. I am truly a lucky person.

My second task was to write a list of what I want in a friend and what I have to offer in a friendship. I don’t think I need to repeat anything that I’ve already written. I already have what I want in a friend. In many friends. I feel fortunate and fulfilled in my friendships. I can’t claim to want or need more. And what I have to offer in a friendship is the same litany of things I have to offer a lover — with the obvious exception of the sex! I am a great friend.

I tip-tapped all of this out in a bit of a hurry. I guess I’ll wait and see if The Poet accepts my responses. He’s keeping me on my toes. And lives on as an example of something GOOD that can come out of being on Ashley Madison! I will, as he instructed, continue to pray for James’s happiness. And mine!

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