2017: A Year of Many Changes

I realize that the year is only a little more than half over, and it has been a tumultuous year so far. This is my life recap:

January
Work: I began working overtime constantly. My strict adherence to trying to maintain a healthy work-life balance became impossible with the work demands. 10-11 hour days became a new a norm.

Love: My one great joy was a long weekend with Seabiscuit for his birthday: Point Cabrillo was beautiful. We went naked hot-tubbing together in Mendocino. We saw whales spouting off the coast. I had never been so happy as that special weekend with him.

Home: Chaos. My ex-boyfriend still refused to move out even though we had broken up roughly 9 months ago.

February
Work: The overtime continued. Fellow coworkers on my team began to leave the company, adding more to the workload for me and the few left behind.

Love: Seabiscuit confessed he loved me, but two weeks later he broke up with me, saying he needed to fix things in his life first before being in a relationship. I was devastated and only had consolation in that he said he still wanted to remain friends, see plays together and wanted to see a Monet exhibit together with me. I think things had gotten too serious for him (neither of us expected our relationship to become so serious so quickly) and scared him. I still think that. He also announces he is most likely going to be taking a job in Texas. A double heartbreak.

Home: After a nightmarish drama (including threats and calls to the police), the ex finally moved out the last day of the month. He took the three cats with him, and I am still sad, even now, that I never got to say goodbye to them.

March
Work: Still craziness as the team shrunk. The burnout began as I felt more and more unappreciated. My boss told me we all have to make sacrifices; her inconsistencies in her directions began. I became very unhappy with work.

Love: Heartbroken and still trying to navigate what it means to be friends now. It was a sudden shift from daily emails to maybe an email or two a week. A great light in my life was no longer there to comfort me. I cried a lot. At the end of the month, he decides against the job in Texas. I wonder then if that was also partly why he broke up: to not have me be a deciding factor in the job decision.

Home: My parents moved in next door. Literally next door. We share a wall. I begin trying to clean the mess of the apartment to make it my own home.

April
Work
: The burnout continues. I no longer know who my boss is anymore as she has become someone I don’t recognize. Our team continues to shrink. I become the sole person on the team as the only other team member left comes down with shingles. When I describe how overwhelmed I am to my boss in a one-on-one, she tells me: “What I’m hearing is this is a role fit issue for you. Maybe you should start looking for work outside of [Company].” she also tells me, “You don’t seem alive anymore.” I realize then that this place I felt was my second home for over 3 years is now a hostile environment.

Love: It is my first time seeing Seabiscuit since February. We see a play late in the month, Dog Sees God, with a couple of my friends. Before he leaves, he hugs and kisses me on the lips. I am happy about that but more confused than ever and still brokenhearted.

Home: I have ripped out cheap, built-in particle-board closet cabinets in order to remove a smelly old strip of carpet (about 60 square feet). It reeks of cat, and no carpet cleaner can get through to the strip of padding straight out of the 1960s that has been glued to the uneven concrete floor beneath it. Fun. Lots of home improvement fun. And chaos as I destroy cabinets. It’s also weird getting used to parents next door. We put in tile to replace the carpet.

May
Work: It’s all downhill. Resentment builds along with the burnout. I feel my boss throws me and the other member of our team under a bus. Despite telling me we all have to make sacrifices and that I need to work now, now apparently it’s my fault I’m burnt out and working more than 8 hours. She used to care about our team, but that care has been MIA for a while now. Our team grows, but it’s a too little, too late effort. By the end of the month, I begin considering other jobs and looking.

Love: Still struggling to understand my relationship with Seabiscuit. It is hard feeling I’ve lost him. I keep asking about when we shall see the Monet exhibit together as it ended that month. At the second to last weekend of it, we tentatively set a date to see it together. I am then heartbroken when he announces Friday he shall see it with his daughter instead but I also realize I can’t be angry with him. He wants to spend as much time with his youngest daughter before she goes to college. It is a double pain. I go to the Monet exhibit separately with a friend instead. Unbeknownst to me, the same painting that is his favorite of the exhibit becomes a painting that inspires a poem when I see it.

Home: My parents offer some comfort, but the boundaries between my apartment and theirs need to be set. While I am grateful for their help, I also feel overwhelmed by constant presence. Sometimes I just need peace and want to be alone. They help with repainting the apartment. The apartment is chaos as things get shuffled around and I haven’t replaced the cabinets I destroyed.

June
Work: At this stage, I’m having multiple moments weekly where I think to myself, “Why don’t I just get out of my seat and quit this job RIGHT NOW?” I feel it is important I quit soon. I know that I will not be able to keep giving 100% any more. The resentment is building, and I don’t want to be that asshole who quits and leaves a mess behind. I will give 100% up until my last day. I apply to a job that opens up and land it by the end of the month.

Love: Still confused. I see another play with Seabiscuit, As You Like It, and am nowhere nearer an answer to our relationship status. We kiss, hug, and hold hands while together. It is very confusing. While our email contact is still distant from what it was, he pulls through during important moments, like especially bad days at work and to help me prepare for the job interview I had. I read the book Sex with Shakespeare and am convinced Seabiscuit is my lost other half. I cry while reading the book. It is the most important book I have read in all of 2017 and might be one of the most meaningful ones in my entire life. (I am grateful for Dan Savage having mentioned it in one of his columns as well as column’s wisdom.)

Home: It is still a neverending work in progress. Painting is still underway. The apartment feels like it will always be chaos.

July
Work: The first week of July, I’m in Alaska on a cruise. Work since then has been chaos, but I know my boss is supportive and will help me grow in ways I’d never expect. Long days, a long commute, and lots of work piles on. Despite how hard I have to work, I know things will get better.

Love: When I realize it is 5 months since Seabiscuit broke up with me and that our relationship lasted just a week or so shy of 6 months, I am very hurt and sad. One friend, whose wedding I will attend later this year, tells me to get over “Seaface”. I am more hurt. I feel people do not understand why the relationship is special. I got to see him today for our play, The Glass Menagerie. We hold hands almost the entire time. I want to talk about us, but as he tells me about his daughters, I hold back. While I am sad to not get more time with him, I am happy for him in seeing how happy he is to spend so much time with his daughters.

Home: I really gotta set boundaries with the parents. It feels intrusive, even though I know they mean well. I feel like I will always be alone if they do not give me space. And after a long day at work and a long commute, I just want my own space. Painting is mostly done but still in progress.

So as we get closer to just 5 more months left, I wonder what’s going to happen next?

Fathers and Daughters

It’s hard to love someone who is much older than yourself.

It is hard to love a man who has grown daughters closer to your own age than he is to yours.

I fell in love with someone 24 years my senior, and when we were together, they were the happiest moments of my life. Every moment felt precious, every minute. Just being able to hold his hand or feel him squeeze mine was feeling as if I were whole.

Some friends have said it’s time to move on. It has been over 5 months since he broke up with me. He had other things in his life to figure out.

But we still see each other occasionally. My feelings are still as strong now as they were then.

I wanted to spend more time with him today after seeing The Glass Menagerie with him, but he planned dinner with his daughters.

He will be an empty nester soon, and he is enjoying all the time he has left with them. Who can resent that? It breaks my heart, but not because he won’t have dinner with me; it breaks my heart because I will never know that: I will never be a parent. I will never have a daughter.

Wanting More

After Othello on Thursday night, Seabiscuit and I drove back to San Francisco. I kept one hand on his lap the entire drive back. When he was able, he would rub my head or back. It was very soothing and sexy.

We found parking relatively easily. Then it was up the stairs to my apartment. Once that door closed, we could hardly keep our hands off each other or unlock our lips. Clothes came off, and no matter how cold it was, that night was certainly heating up.

City lights illuminated my room in the dark. 

“God, you’re fucking sexy,” he said.

It was the first time anyone has ever told me that. Why have nine of my other boyfriends ever said anything like that?

And later, as he looked into my face, he moved his hand to my face and said, “You are so beautiful. You have three smiles. Here,” he said touching my face by one eye, “and here” by my other eye, “and here” as he brushed my lips.

It was very sweet, and I don’t think I’ve ever been told anything sweeter in person.

How lovely it was just to lie in bed while holding each other. And how terrible it was that his work rescheduled a conference call to 7am Friday morning, so he would have to leave by 5am. We made the most of our few hours of bliss together, but in the morning, all I could think of was wanting more.

Othello

I was brimming with excitement all of Thursday. I couldn’t stop thinking about my date with Seabiscuit. I was very excited about his joining me at the theater plus the night adventures that would follow.

I hurried home after work, took a quick shower, and headed out. It had been a warm day, and I was doubtful that I needed my jacket; however, then I remembered being cold at a previous performance in the evening. Even though I had checked the weather and saw Orinda was only predicted to be in the low 60s in the evening, I knew that up in the hills, where the theater is actually located, it can get much colder. I felt foolish carrying such a large jacket on BART and felt too warm to need it, but better safe than sorry.

It was good I did. By the time I arrived at the theater, it was significantly cooler. I was happy without a jacket but realized that once the sun finished setting, I would need to put it on. I waited for Seabiscuit to arrive, and was excited to see him clean-shaven–as I had ordered as his Mistress. How good that he should obey so well! And he finally looked like one of his own photographs.

I told him previously that he appeared to be a servant of the Many-Faced God because his face never seemed to match from one photograph to another. The angles were off or something seemed so strange about it. He didn’t look like his photographs. I knew it was him, but how strange and different they all seemed.

There was a crowd, and I could tell he felt a bit shy. We hugged and kissed each other’s cheeks, then held hands as we walked up the hill from Will Call to the theater.

He bought dinner for us at the café, and we continued holding hands. The line was long, and we really only had 10 minutes to eat before needing to be seated. He was impressed by my tickets and how close we were to the stage. The temperature had dropped significantly, so I put on my jacket when we were seated but he was astounded that I didn’t close it until after intermission. I held his hand in his lap during the first half.

During intermission, he rented a blanket while I used the restroom and got my free bag of Peet’s coffee for renewing my subscription for the theater. We shared the blanket, and for the second half, he held my hand on my lap.

The performance was amazing, as all the shows I have seen there have been. CalShakes has done very well at selecting and directing plays that resonate with race issues going on currently, and this play was exceptionally well done in that regard. Seabiscuit enjoyed it greatly, and I told him he should return with me for all of next season. He said he would love to. It was his first time going to the theater in a very long time, and he said the final scenes with the bed on stage would linger in his memory for a long time.

The Craigslist Well

The Craigslist well of correspondents has dried up a bit. My folks across the pond have faced bad circumstances; Lord Byron will be out of contact for a full month. DJ MF has gotten so caught up in a nasty custody battle with his ex that I don’t hear much from him not. Prufrock is MIA, and I suspect something awful has happened as he used to write me multiple times a day. Lancelot hasn’t written in about a week (has something terrible happened or just busy with work?), so this leaves only Richard the Lionheart as an active correspondent. 

Richard and I have exchanged letters now. He finally received mine yesterday, and I await to see what he shall think of his nickname, for in my letter I told him what I shall nickname him. He dreaded whatever mythological nickname he suspected I had come up for him, but it’s a good nickname. I should hope he would be pleased, and I look forward to his next letter.

I recorded myself reading the poem I wrote most recently for Seabiscuit; the title is “Departures”, though it was previously untitled. I have sent it to Richard as we wrote about being curious about each other’s accents. He also has shared poetry, not his own, but some of his favorite poems by poets previously unknown to me. I have enjoyed the two he has shared so far.

I would say that perhaps it is time for me to post again on Craigslist, but I will be busy for the coming months and don’t feel I will be able to respond to people as quickly as I would like. Where shall I post next when I do have more time? Germany? Greece? Japan?

Our Next Adventure

Because of our adventure, I had to change the date of my theater tickets for Othello at the CalShakes theater. On a whim, I picked this Thursday. I have never tried to go midweek, but why not?

In the emails that followed our last adventure between me and Seabiscuit, I mentioned having the tickets and how I’d like to take him to the theater, but I thought he likely already had plans, and my family would be in town (and I don’t think they are ready to hear about Seabiscuit.)

To my delight, he actually is able to make it tomorrow. He shall meet me there, and we will get to see Othello together. Then he will take me back to SF and spend the night. He will have to take off midmorning on Friday.

So my parents will have to wait to see me until Friday, but I do have work as an excuse. I am very excited about Seabiscuit staying with me and being able to see him again. Even though the time will be short and far less than 24 hours together, I am very much looking forward to being able to hold him close and lie side by side.

Off of Market

When we got to San Francisco, we didn’t stay in my apartment long. We headed out to grab lunch and then go for a walk. We held hands while walking down Market St. Occasionally I would put my arms around him, rub his back, or walk with our arms linked.

There was so much intimacy in all those small touches, movements, and things. I was very happy. Euphoric. Blissful. I didn’t want our time together to end.

He observed all the Folsom Street Fair individuals who were dressed up and remarked how good everyone looked. We had previously discussed perhaps going with each other; his suggestion was that he could wear a speedo, collar, and leash which I would hold, being the Mistress after all. However, his flight meant we wouldn’t have time to enjoy the event. Neither of us have ever been to the event itself, and as it got closer to our weekend adventure, he seemed to be a bit shy; he said he would need to practice in private before he felt comfortable going public. In private sounds fun too.

Still, we hurried back to my apartment for one last hurrah: clothes came off, and more cuddling plus other things was had.

When he realized the time, he jumped up and got dressed in a hurry. He had to be off for his flight, so it was a rushed farewell.

As he hurried down the stairwell and I closed the door, I felt drunk–high from the euphoria of our 24 hour romance. I felt as if I were in some dreamy state, and I wanted more. All I could think about was how exciting and marvelous the past 24 hours had been.

It was the best weekend and 24 hours of my life. I was touched when he sent a thank you email about having such a wonderful time with me. 

My only question was when can we plan our next adventure?

Early Mornings

Seabiscuit is an early riser. He woke up before me, kissed me and said I didn’t need to wake up just yet. It was very sweet. 

I couldn’t sleep in though because I wanted as much time with him as I could get. I went to the restroom and saw a new toothbrush had been left out for me, and I felt very touched. I got dressed and met Seabiscuit in his little kitchen nook. When he saw me coming, he rose out of his chair to hug and kiss me.

He offered me some toast and coffee. He chopped up some fresh, sweet tomatoes too. He asked if Lord Byron had emailed me back yet after I sent the photos. I grabbed my phone and checked. I laughed as soon as I read his message. Then I read Lord Byron’s email out loud so he could enjoy it too:

What nice photos! And how happy you look. Clearly Mr Seabiscuit is good for you! Excellent photos.

Lord Byron reciprocated the photos by sending two of his own: one of a river near where he walks, and the other of a surprise visitor in his bedroom this morning! Thankfully it was a little sparrow and not a cock shot. You never know with men from Craigslist, eh? But we all know that’s not Lord Byron’s style.

After coffee, it was back to bed because why not? Eventually we showered and made our way out. We did have a deadline, if only because Seabiscuit had to fly out to Sweden later in the day. There were some great moments in bed though. I’ll never forget his face turning red with embarrassment when I reminded he ought to indulge one of his kinks. He had forgotten, so sidetracked by staring into my eyes. It made me laugh but was also sweet. He said I could have been a cruel Mistress and not reminded him until we were halfway through our 1.5 hour drive back to San Francisco. Now that would have been funny, but I’m not that cruel. Not yet.

Yetis and Ice Cream

After out photo shoot, we headed out to an Indian/Nepalese restaurant called Yeti something or other and then headed out to one of Seabiscuit’s favorite ice cream places. With the exception of where we sat across from each other and we’re too far away to touch, we still could hardly keep our hands off one another.

When he took photos, he would tell me to look at them on his digital camera viewer. I would slide my hand on his back and lean in. When he drove, I would rest my hand on his right, and he would rub my head and play with my hair with his free hand. I loved it so much, all of it. my favorite part of getting my haircut is when they massage your scalp, and I was eating all the attention up eagerly.

At the ice cream parlor, he smiled at me. When I asked what that was about, he said, “I just can’t believe I’m here sitting with you. It was very brave of you to come all this way.”

That made me smile.

We headed back to his apartment. First things first: we had to select which photos were the best from the photoshoot and send them off to Lord Byron. After spending 20minutes or so, we narrowed it down and picked out our favorite five. We were in a rush to pick and send them off so we could jump back into bed. It was a lot of fun.

I hadn’t been planning to stay overnight. The plan originally had been he would drive me back to San Francisco and stay with me, so I was unprepared. No change of clothing, no toothbrush. Not even a comb. But early on he had said we could stay at his place and go back early in the morning, and that sounded fine to me.

He asked if I wanted a T-shirt or something to sleep in, but I figured what the hell. I felt comfortable in my own skin; he made me feel that way. If he was going to sleep naked, then I’d sleep naked too. So we did. That was nice. 

That Golden Hour

Seabiscuit has a lovely red leather loveseat where both sides have side buttons to kick out foot rests. The cuddling was lovely, and he’s as much into cuddling and touching as I am, so there were kisses, head rubs, and arms wrapped all around each other. (Why has no other man I have ever been with offered me this or appreciated how wonderful it is?) I was in heaven and felt pure bliss. It didn’t take long before the clothes started to come off and it was time to move to the bedroom.

I admit still feeling insecure about my body, but I was having too much fun and wouldn’t let it stop me from continuing. The afternoon melted into more bliss between sheets. 

It’s hard to describe how dreamy it all was. I’ve never felt that kind of chemistry before. We seemed a natural fit with one another. “You are commanding me without saying anything,” he said.

Seabiscuit mentioned how serene it felt to be with me, and I felt the same. Although we were excited and indulged in pleasures, there was something else there. It was very comforting.

He was also very sweet. He kept staring into my face and said, “You have such beautiful eyes.” I felt very touched and safe. It didn’t matter what we did–cuddling or kissing or just lying together–everything was blissful.

My fears and insecurities were washed away when he said, “To be honest, I wasn’t sure how I would feel about your weight. But now that I’ve seen you, I love all your curves, and your skin is so soft.” It was the sweetest thing anyone has ever told me.

Pretty soon, we realized the golden hour was near. We hopped out of bed, dressed in a hurry, and drove to those two trees to take my photo in the golden sunlight.

To those I’ve shown the photographs, they’ve remarked how happy I look and what lovely photos they are. Even Lord Byron approved.