human, being


Spa Bliss with Laurel
June 11, 2009, 9:28 pm
Filed under: Friendship | Tags: , , , ,

I am not 40. No, really. My driver’s license may proclaim today to be my 40th birthday, but my skin and toes say otherwise. Because today, Laurel and I celebrated the beginning of the second half of our lives at Copperfalls Aveda Spa in Castle Rock. And not only am I big bowl of mush, I am absolutely glowing.

I’m a regular massage-getter and card-carrying member of Massage Envy. Lately, I’ve been getting a lot of deep tissue work, which feels more like punishment than pleasure most days. Today, I got a lovely aromatherapy Swedish massage from Tony, complete with candlelight and eucalyptus oil to calm down my “fire” disposition. Ooh, and after he rubbed my feet for about 10 minutes, he wrapped them in warm, moist towels. Oh. My. God.

Lunch followed, during which I wolfed down a tiny quiche and salad, then half of Laurel’s oversized spinach salad. Yum. I was too blissed out to understand that during my facial–cool mud-like stuff painted on my face, neck and upper chest, then wiped with warm towels–we were under yet another tornado alert. I snoozed to the sound of pouring rain upon the roof while my aesthetician gave me an endless arm massage with hot stones, then rubbed my scalp with scented oil.

I drank copious amounts of Aveda tea–which starts off stark on the tongue and morphs into a silky sweetness that the proprietor said was sweet fennel. Finally, Laurel and I sat in a sunny room together and got pedicures. My toes are now a lovely irridescent turquoise color. I caught up on the latest gossip about Jon & Kate, and Halle Berry’s new short hair, and Jennifer Hudson’s alleged pregnancy. Good times.

Because the spa is under construction–an understatement, as my massage room was constructed of plastic and fabric walls with velcro closures–we got a discount. We also walked away with the holy grail of spa experiences: Samples!!

Afterward, all gooey and blissed out with Kleenex stuck between our toes to keep the polish safe, we stopped for coffee and pastry at the shop that supplied our lunches, then drove (with the top down on her Miata) to our favorite metaphysical bookstore. There, we both indulged in a clairvoyant reading with a woman whose energy was so strong it literally felt like she was plugging into me. We talked about the theme for the next year of my life (letting go of the warrior energy that has served me so well and entering a time of receiving).

Laurel drove me home, and we talked about our readings over the wind that swirled our hair. We took a self-portrait sitting on the hood of her car. We exchanged gifts–I got her a turtle necklace (her animal totem) from Santa Fe, and she gave me an adorable turquoise purse and a bunch of little things inside–and said goodbye. She’s one of the few people I can hang out with for 8 hours and be ready for more. We know each other so well, we’re almost two halves of the same sea shell. It’s difficult to make friends as a grown-up, and I am so blessed to have her … and what I hope will be a longstanding birthday tradition.

Now, I’m going to cook Steve and I a steak, open a bottle of wine, and cuddle with my honey. It’s been a blissful day. Just what I needed to kick off the 4th decade.

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In the company of women
January 22, 2009, 1:16 pm
Filed under: Friendship | Tags: , , ,

I have never had an easy time with women, even though I am one. Various experiences as a girl growing up taught me not to trust other girls. I’ve usually had one or two close friends at a time and a loose association with a dozen or so others, but it’s usually a careful friendship on my part. I’ve usually not fully disclosed myself to my girlfriends because I have been so incredibly hurt in the past by girls … even more so than in the perpetual heartbreak of adolescent dating.

During the past five years, I’ve had a different experience than before. Perhaps the difference is my own self confidence, the lessening of my ardent need to be accepted by others unconditionally (my greatest desire) and my ability, finally, to make room for myself in my own life.

I met my best friend Laurel at the Inner Child Journey workshop at Mile High Church almost five years ago to the day. My ex-husband had suddenly left me, and I turned to this lovely, loving metaphysical church to keep me upright in a storm that blinded me. I signed up for the three-day course in the hopes of better understanding my own wounds. I discovered many things about myself: that it wasn’t that I didn’t believe in god, but that I never felt like god believed in me or that I was worthy of god’s love and interest; that all of my life, I had looked for a soft place to fall, where I didn’t have to be strong and perfect and accomplished, but had never found it. It was a very vulnerable time for me, and this workshop made me even more open and vulnerable. Our small breakout group bonded tightly, and that’s where I met Laurel. We have so much in common, from our birthdays being two days apart, to being adopted, to certain past experiences, to thinking and reacting so similarly that our favorite catch phrase is, sarcastically, “Not that I know anything about that.”

Laurel has been a huge blessing in my life. She is the first girl I have ever trusted so much that I have no secrets from. She is my go-to on bad days and great days and all of the days in between. She has helped me through so much during the past five years, the divorce not the least of the adventures. We’ve had a lot of fun, too. I can be frank with her, and she can be frank with me. I can’t imagine my life without her … even though we don’t see each other hardly enough, despite living less than three miles apart. (Life, you know.) We end almost every phone call with an I love you, words I’d never uttered with friends before I met her. We’re part of each other.

During the past three years, I’ve met a few other women whose company I enjoy. Last night, I went to my friend Nicoleta’s house for a small gathering of girls with wine and food, but mostly wine. I know Nicoleta mildly well, and Emily perhaps a little better, and Donna even less, although I’ve known her for more than three years. Usually we see each other at loud parties. The last two women I’d met only in passing. I still feel hesitant among these women. The connection is there, and I’d like to be closer to them, but maybe I haven’t learned as much as I thought I had. Steve has accused me of being the master of getting just so close to people, but holding them at a healthy distance to keep myself safe (him, too, sometimes). I would really like to trust myself enough to trust them, to really be friends. These are women who I know I could love like I love Laurel, if I let myself. Partly, because of how we know each other, I’m still deeply worried about being judged not good enough, or too self-preoccupied. I know this is silliness, part of my old (and perhaps current) sense of insecurity. I want to be accepted by these women, but maybe I just need to let go of the fear and I’ll feel the acceptance they already have for me.

I also have a few online friends–Jac, Jenifer, Meara–who I have deep affection for even though I’ve never met them. And I have friends from long ago, namely Kristin and Vivian, who I love dearly but they’re far away. Being friends with them here on Facebook has helped reconnect us somewhat, as has actually seeing them in their grownup form. Vivian was my best friend during childhood, and Kristin was my best friend during high school and college. I’ve also always made work friends, and I’ve kept in touch with many, like Stacy, Wendy and Kim, after moving on. While it’s difficult to keep up with the daily antics of all of them when their office is no longer next to mine, I love reading about them in their Facebook updates, looking at their pictures. One current colleague, Catherine, recently told me she feels close to me, even though we’ve hardly spoken because of my Facebook postings. She and I have a lot in common. My colleague Jill and I have turned our shared love of salsa dancing into what I consider to be a genuine friendship as well. I’ve always needed that social outlet at work, especially because I’m not a person who leaves her emotions at the door, and some days, you just need someone to talk to.

I am greedy for friendship. I crave being understood and accepted by women. I desire a strong connection to women. I’ve spent the first half of my life feeling on the outside looking in when it comes to friendships. I’m looking forward to the coming years spent in the company of women, learning to trust and love them, and learning to let go of my defenses to be truly reciprocal in their friendship.