Yes, this is the weird world in which I live - I can afford to insure my cat's health but not my own. However, I am incredibly relieved that Ugo's health is covered, because I had three cats all of whom had illnesses when they got older that not only were distressing but cost a lot of money. I've now insured my cat for $21/month and they don't ever take away the insurance if you keep paying the premium and only increase it by age not illnesses. I feel like a responsible cat owner who won't have to go bankrupt.
I also finally managed to get a prescription for my eczema and the paperwork to an accountant to get my taxes done, so I will have a U.S. tax form so I can apply for subsidized health care.
Yes, these are basic things, but they have taken me a weird amount of time to get done, because at times of emotional stress I can find it very hard to take care of myself. So, I feel somewhat victorious that I'm doing both basic self-care and cat care.
And yes, I know, I know it's horrendous Valentine's Day. There is only one Valentine's Day I ever remember liking - it was not when I was with either husband, because neither of them were fans of the day, so I had to suffer their philosophical disagreement with it, which was never fun. It was never fun because the fact is: I - like most people - want someone to acknowledge me on Valentine's Day. It's just human. I ended up feeling like an unhip squid because I felt this way, so not only felt disappointed but somehow Wrong.
OK, so rant number one over.
My nicest Valentine's Day ever was when I lived in Italy in 1985. I was going to art school in Florence, and I was not 'with' anyone. I decided to buy all of my dear friends roses. I loved giving out these roses, because my friends were all delighted and I felt wonderful.
This is related to one of my best New Year's celebrations, which was after my first husband and I had split up and my friend Marietta and I went to a dance in Soho in NYC where there was no drinking. We danced and danced and danced for hours until we were high on endorphins. At about 2am, we walked out into the snow and watched lots of people drunk falling down, or teetering along in high heels and laughed - yes I'll admit it - at their expense. For some of us who have a certain history, New Year's Eve is referred to as Amateur Night. We ate breakfast at Waverly Square diner I think it was at about 3am and then wended our way back to our apartments uptown.
What both these times have in common is this: no expectations. As a matter of fact in both cases, I fully expected to be miserable, but by taking some remedial action was able to enjoy myself - not only a little bit but a lot.
Today I went to dinner with two friends who have little girls. They gave gifts to their daughters and we had a lovely time. I enjoy these friends a great deal and they are both in the neighborhood, so that is an added plus. I did not know what to get the girls, though, and so did not get them anything, a decision I immediately regretted. Both of my friends assured me I wasn't expected to have presents because I wasn't a parent, but that didn't make me feel any better. I had planned on getting something but then chickened out. So, in the end, I felt like a real outsider, which was my own fault for not trusting my first instinct. I also felt very much my obvious status: childless. Childless and likely to remain so unless a Biblical miracle occurs.
There is really nothing I can say about that, other than that I wish it was not so, I tried to make it not so, and that did not work out. I wish I had known a lot more about myself when I was younger. I wish I had known I was allowed to have dignity in a relationship, and how to do that. I wish I had allowed myself to want children instead of faking myself out by pretending my work was enough. I wish a lot of things.
If wishes were horses, etc...
What I do have: my students - a lot of them. They are definitely not my children, but they are a handful and because I don't have children they get all of me (God help them). I have lovely friends and a few family members. I have Ugo the Rescue Cat. I have a place to live, food, clothing, heat and a gorgeous neighborhood. I have a lot of creative ideas and some tools to make those ideas happen. I have work - some of it teaching what I love the most in the world. I have access to meetings with people who can identify with each other so we don't have to act destructively. I have a lot of love coming towards me and going out from me.
I just hope and pray that all the losses and grieving that have been part of my life for a while can actually mean something to somebody somewhere, that this excruciating healing process that seems to be taking Way Too Long matters. That the tiny little amount of dignity I believe for the first time ever at age 48 I deserve to have in a relationship is enough and that I will be allowed sometime before I die to have a relationship wherein I can act wholly and with dignity and not lose myself...again. Settle for what I don't want....again. I know I can do that when I'm alone. I don't know if I can do it with someone else. I feel something is shifting, has shifted. I feel in my heart of heart of hearts that this is possible. I just hope one day I get to find out for sure. For now, though, it's about breathing, starting over one breath at a time, allowing myself to heal, to become whole...for once.
For the record, there are other times in my life when I felt whole...I don't know whether those were delusional times or just different times. I don't even know what 'whole' means. I don't even know if I believe in an organized "I" that can be whole...so I say all this is in the most tentative way. I do know I have not acted with all the dignity I wish I could have done in any relationship. My last one with B was probably the closest, but I accepted a lot I did not want to accept out of fear of losing it, which of course is what happened. That is always what happens. Always. At least in my experience.
I pray that I am finally at the place where the person I'm most afraid of losing in any relationship is me, not the other person. Or at least have the boat charted in the right direction.
Happy Valentine's Day folks...may you have and give the love you want. May all go well for you.
Welcome to my blog..
"We struggle with dream figures and our blows fall on living faces." Maurice Merleau-Ponty
When I started this blog in 2011, I was in a time of transition in my life between many identities - that of Artistic Director of a company (Apocryphal Theatre) to independent writer/director/artist/teacher and also between family identity, as I discover a new family that my grandfather's name change at the request of his boss in WWII hid from view - a huge Hungarian-Slovak contingent I met in 2011. Please note in light of this the irony of the name of my recently-disbanded theatre company. This particular transition probably began in the one month period (Dec. 9, 2009-Jan. 7, 2010) in which I received a PhD, my 20 year old cat died on my father's birthday and then my father, who I barely knew, died too. I was with him when he died and nothing has been the same since. This blog is tracing the more conscious elements of this journey and attempt to fill in the blanks. I'm also writing a book about my grandmothers that features too. I'd be delighted if you joined me. (Please note if you are joining mid-route, that I assume knowledge of earlier posts in later posts, so it may be better to start at the beginning for the all singing, all dancing fun-fair ride.) In October 2011, I moved back NYC after living in London for 8 years and separated from my now ex-husband, which means unless you want your life upended entirely don't start a blog called Somewhere in Transition. In November 2011, I adopted a rescue cat named Ugo. He is lovely. As of January 2012, I began teaching an acting class at Hunter College, which is where one of my grandmothers received a scholarship to study acting, but her parents would not let her go. All things come round…I began to think it may be time to stop thinking of my life in transition when in June 2012 my stepfather Tom suddenly died. Now back in the U.S. for a bit, I notice, too, my writing is more overtly political, no longer concerned about being an expat opining about a country not my own. I moved to my own apartment in August 2012 and am a very happy resident of Inwood on the top tip of Manhattan where the skunks and the egrets roam in the last old growth forest on the island.
I am now transitioning into being married again with a new surname (Barclay-Morton). John is transitioning from Canada to NYC and as of June 2014 has a green card. So transition continues, but now from sad to happy, from loss to love...from a sense of alienation to a sense of being at home in the world.
As of September 2013 I started teaching writing (composition and rhetoric) as an adjunct professor at Fordham University, which I have discovered I love with an almost irrational passion. While felt blessed for the opportunity, after four years of this, the lack of pay combined with heavy work load stopped working, so have transferred this teaching passion to private workshops in my own apartment and working with writers one on one, which I adore. I will die a happy person if I never have to grade an assignment ever again.
I worked full time on the book thanks to a successful crowd-funding campaign in May 2014 and completed it at two residencies at Vermont Studio Center and Wisdom House in summer 2015. I have done some revisions and am shopping it around to agents and publishers now, along with a new book recently completed.
I am now working full-time as a freelance writer, writing workshop leader, coach, and editor. Contact me if you are interested in any of these services.
Not sure when transition ends, if it ever does. As the saying goes, the only difference between a sad ending and a happy ending is where you stop rolling the film.
For professional information, publications, etc., go to my linked in profile and website for Barclay Morton Editorial & Design. My Twitter account is @wilhelminapitfa. You can find me on Facebook under my full name Julia Lee Barclay-Morton. More about my grandmothers' book: The Amazing True Imaginary Autobiography of Dick & Jani
Recently, I started a website Our Grandmothers, Our Selves, which has stories about many people's grandmothers. Please check it out. I will be blogging there, too, now. You can also contact me through that site.