Childhood, Courage, dating, grief, Joy, living abroad, Mental Health, Musings

Love Addiction-Love Avoidants Part 2

“I am feeling lonely.” He said.

“Is it hard for you to be alone?” I ask.

“Yeah.” He says.

“It’s okay to be lonely. I am alone with no family near, few true friends…but its only a moment in my otherwise noisy people filled life. I have to be alone right now to come to terms with myself. That’s one of the big emotional reasons why I have been in Morocco. I am lonely every freaking day but it’s good for me.”

“Sorry for being honest ;/” He said.

“Don’t be sorry.” I said. “I think it’s harder to be in touch with ourselves sometimes in the noise of our careers and the fast pace lifestyle of the city. We like the city because the white noise blurs out the pain of disliking our own company. To be alone is painful.”

“My new girl came back from abroad.” He said.  “I don’t know what we are doing. I don’t know what I want to do about her.”

“Can I ask you something?” I asked.

“Sure.” He said politely.

“You are talking about this girl you are dating but didn’t you just break up with your ex. You seem to have been in love with her. Why did you break up?” I asked.

“She wanted marriage and kids. So I broke up with her.” He said.

“I didn’t get a phone line for 6 years because I had to sign a contract. I have a fear of commitment.” I said. “But isn’t that normally where it goes when you love someone?”

“I don’t want to get married.” He said. “My friends say Tel Aviv really fucked me up. They are all getting married. I don’t want to be told what to do and who I can see. I want to have total freedom. My childhood friend is getting married and she’s not able to sleep at my place anymore because her fiance is jealous.” He said in an annoyed voice.

“Why aren’t you happy for her?” I asked. “It’s not like she is in prison.”

“Yes she is.Why can’t it be the same as it was?” He said defensively like a little kid that didn’t want to grow up.

“She isn’t sleeping in your bed not because she doesn’t love you but she expects her man to do the same for her out of love and respect.” I assumed this was the case.

He was silent so I tried to explain.

“It’s a bit like growing up.” I said.  “She’s happy to do it for him. Things don’t stay the same forever. Give her your blessing and encourage her to go with all her heart into her new life.”

There was more silence.

I didn’t know where he went inside himself.

He struck me as a delicate soul. A walking piece of art. A beauty.  To see him just eating hummus in front of me was such a joy. I didn’t want to trigger him or hurt him. I felt that kind of “normalcy” of marriage with a woman seemed out of reach for him and the change to adult rules and expectations so unnerving for him. Although we had little in common in every sense, I understood what it felt like to not fit into “normal” and to feel like marriage and normative institutions can’t include and won’t contain you.

I finally chimed in to break the silence. “Hey maybe marriage isn’t for you. Maybe women aren’t for you. Everyone has their own time.”

“You think I a gay?” He asked as if he had gotten it said to him so many times.

“I don’t know only you do but how long are you normally alone after a break up?” I asked.

“I don’t want to say.” He said.

“Why?” I ask.

“Because I know where you are going with this.” He said.

You can’t force someone to hear what they already know but aren’t courageous enough yet to do anything about. He knew what I was going to say.

“It’s not the women that matter, they can be a revolving door of anything, but the space needs filling. Who– is less important. You “Look” for love but seek it out only with unhealthy people to be sure it can’t work. If you bond and start to love them, you leave first.”

Healthy is probably too quiet and sweet to recognize after awhile.

So when my Israeli therapist asked what I was doing in my life.

“I am trying to be alone.” I said.

She smiled asking why.

I remembered him and remembered myself. We circle our tails in love. We want and we don’t want. We are afraid and too bold. We make no sense.

I tried to explain, “A lover that I respect shares my pursuits and loves me would be amazing but I am not going to force it. Maybe it never will be a reality for me and that’s okay too. But I am not there yet. I see people as symbols, I judge, I fight, I am chasing my tail. I just want to be as alone as I can possibly be and this isn’t easy for me.”

“You are a very smart girl.” She said it like a mother would. I smiled like a baby.

 

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Casablanca, family, Israel, Life, living abroad, Morocco, Travel, Uncategorized

Falling In Love With an Israeli Coffee Can

I shared breakfast with my Israeli neighbor across the street from me in Casablanca who has become like a sister. We both have daughters the same age and are alone in this country without our families. She is a striking woman who is direct and straightforward just like I adore women to be. Over the last week her entire Moroccan-Israeli family came to visit from Tel Aviv and as a good Jewish family would, they tried to set me up with the single son of the family who worked for the foreign service and as a diplomat. The whole family reminded me why I love Israelis and Moroccans more than anything else in this world.

When we entered her kitchen today to make some breakfast I saw her can of coffee on the counter and my heart instantly burst out from my chest the way it does when you see a memento from home after living in a foreign country for years without any word from family or friends. Those who have lived abroad for years know what I mean when all it takes is a little item from home to bring back all those feelings of love linked to your friends and family and all those intimate times.

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I grabbed the can smiling as it brought back memories of home and love in kitchens across Israel. I smiled lovingly at it, not having done anything like this in the last five years in Morocco to anything because Morocco is home. My friend must have seen my expression and said, “You can take it. I bring enough back home every time I go. Go ahead take it.”

I held onto it as I remembered fragmented happy memories of holding a coffee cup as the sun poured onto me laying naked in bed or sitting in a t-shirt in the kitchen, either taking it from the hands of someone who loved me or making it myself in silence before anyone woke, across from smiles and over great conversations and horrible fights.

That little red can with bright letters in Hebrew announced something I didn’t know before this morning, which is that I have a new home now even if Morocco has been home. This homesickness made me realize that home has shifted and I don’t know how or when this happened but this morning I missed my home and my loved ones there desperately through this coffee can that I held in my hands.

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dating, Life, Lifestyle, living abroad, Loss, love, marriage, Morocco, Musings, relationships

A Few Signs Your Neighbors Are Separated

My neighbors include a young man, his son, their nanny and the woman of the house.

In the four years I have lived in this Casablanca apartment I have seen the wife less then 5 times. She never appeared at first so I thought for almost a year that the nanny was in fact the woman of the house because I saw her each and every day (and much more than I would have liked). My daughter even thought the nanny was the mother and wife of the house and I decided not to correct her because then I would have to explain why we never saw the son’s mother with her kid, not even on off days or the weekends. My daughter would have asked me some questions I would feel uncomfortable answering while remaining neutral or free of judgement.

In the last few months there were signs that life had started to change next door. Loud parties and music echoed out of the house at all hours of the day and night. I didn’t think much of it but my daughter of course did. True to her Moroccan roots my daughter asked why there were parties taking place which I of course considered to be their private business. That didn’t stop her from asking the father (in his late 20s) when he once exited his apartment at the same as us, “Why is there so much loud music all the time?” He smiled and was gracious in his usual fashion but I was mortified and answered for him to my daughter that dads were also allowed to have fun too. I excused us and didn’t think much about it again.

I didn’t even notice that I had all together stopped seeing the nanny. Months after I still just chalked it up to extremely good luck at timing my anti-social behavior and thought perhaps they took the nanny on an extended vacation minus the father.

I credit myself at both respecting my neighbors private life and being a complete failure at paying attention to small details. It took months before I realized that I had all together stopped seeing the neighbors son until one day on a weekend I spotted him outside with his dad. He had grown up so much I was startled and realized that it had been many months since I last saw him or his nanny or his mother.

I finally added up all the signs. No nanny. No son at home except once on the weekend. A new man living in the house with the father. Parties until late and during the day. I realized my neighbors had separated and I had been completely unaware for nearly 6 months.

Now it made sense why my neighbor was coming to my defense whenever possible and even fighting on my behalf with the housing staff which was unexpected and unusual. His door was open late into the night when he would try to strike up conversations and there were those few extra seconds at the end of every ‘good morning’ or ‘good evening’ as if a longer exchange was welcome and waiting. I kept our exchanges short because conversations with married men can be read as infidelity here. I had missed all the clues that he was now single and was trying to say “Whatzzz UP!!! Party time! Want to join us next door?”

I wondered how I could have missed something so obvious happening next door to me. Partly I realized it is due to the classy nature of the family. Their separation didn’t include yelling or fighting or loud stressful violent encounters with the furniture or their partners. I had gotten used to this style of separation after living here all these years and it made me happy to know that there can be civilized separations.

Now I glance over at his apartment and pose the question to myself: if he offers would I accept an invitation to join him at home one night…I remembered my wild days post separation when I ran through people like kleenex and although it was fun it was also a necessary messy stage I am not willing to repeat. So it’s probably a no but never say never until you walk through those doors.

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Blog, Casablanca, Life, Lifestyle, living abroad, love, Miscellaneous, Musings, Personal, Photo, Random, reflections, relationships, Thoughts, Uncategorized

Porn: A young woman’s perspective on love in the age of the internet and its abundance and imbalance of bad taste

I like watching people having sex but I don’t like porn

If you have no problem with mainstream porn and neither does your partner, enjoy your hearts out with it.

But for many women, they have a problem with their boyfriends or husbands watching porn which most men watch at some point in their lives to differing degrees usually less when in a relationship. The usual sex advice that you hear from experts is that all men do it so it’s natural and we have to accept it and deal with our own self esteem problems.

I don’t think this response quite covers the issue well enough and simplifies what is a bit more complicated as porn is not organic, it’s created and because its new to our world it’s become a point of confusion to a lot of the relationships.

Porn’s place differs from one couple to the other and relates to each of us differently depending on our sexual histories and psyches. Since I have yet to hear anyone give a helpful answer that takes into account my side or experience I decided to write this.

I like sex. Maybe a bit more than most and I like watching people have sex but I don’t like mainstream porn…meaning 99.99 percent of what we call porn.

On the rare occasion, when I see videos of people who obviously respect the other, who do all sorts of kinky shit, love their bodies and aren’t just acting (because they are in the .01 percent), I get turned on. But this is rare and not what I am calling “porn” in this post.

I once proposed to my boyfriend to visit a famous sex club in France that is run by a woman who designed it to be friendly and safe for women. I don’t want to see actors or manipulated minors or financially marginalized women being used in porn.

My boyfriend rightly has a problem with the idea of a sex club even though it fits the same principle as his porn: watching people have sex. But the interesting difference for me is that these men and women have no need to be there except that they want to be there. My boyfriend is a bit freaked out and naturally so but then again its much better to me than the porn industry whose many participants get there for much less fantastic reasons.

Mainstream porn for me is like junk food. We consume knowing that it does nothing really great for us but we enjoy it. Everyone has their own relationship to consumption and what they put into their system. Some don’t eat sugar or don’t smoke to try to live cleaner lives. Others try to quit junk food and quit smoking but don’t ever quit and others don’t really mind and can happily chain-smoke and live on McDonalds everyday of their lives.

Porn as an industry I don’t find to be very healthy for me. When I watch mainstream porn I go there not because it excites me like my boyfriend thinks, as much as to revisit reminders of my own sexual trauma, in a failing attempt to make peace with it under the wrong assumption that if I can face it and reclaim it, get something out of it even as pitiful as a weak orgasm, that I can somehow “win” and move on. Even though probably a much better idea and a much harder one for my self-destructive nature is to quit it all together.

Our lives are confused and complicated. I am very sexually open to others and sexually fluent to lovers. To myself I am honest, curious, and seeking a positive sexuality and looking for enlightenment under sometimes the enormity of heaviness related to my history.

My sexuality is a place where I need healing even though to look from the outside, I seem to speak its language perfectly as I am very expressive in it so much so that my boyfriend worries about my sexuality and its large appetite and my pleasure that doesn’t really have a limit.

One example of his discomfort with my sexuality displayed itself when I took him to a sex shop run by a very nice young man in Tel Aviv who knew all about each product and answered all my questions. I picked out a vibrator and some handcuffs and a little leather whip but my boyfriend put his uncomfortable and panicked foot down to say no to at least one of the items and probably wished he could veto all of them. He was upset most of the drive home and said some unkind things about my sexuality. So throughout the 30 minute drive I thought about the positive side of things, which was that I would be bringing my new toys back to my bed in Casablanca.

My boyfriend is a man who has been to sex shops before but not with a woman. He’s been to a sex show in Amsterdam. He’s seen strippers and he’s done many of the “male” rituals that I don’t really find all that sex positive when you dig into the statistics and realities of the “sex workers” like women in my family and friends that I know personally. But strangely, he had a problem with me trying to share myself with him in a sex positive moment.

Perhaps he is not prepared for sexual honesty from a woman as men take sex as their world and their right.

For women we need a passport and a special visa to get here apparently.

Luckily I know how to navigate this world without shame, but unfortunately I don’t always know how to find the soul of my sexuality. I may be adventurous and a risk taker in sex, I can do all the moves and tricks, but my soul is always seeking on every level Marvin Gaye’s sexual healing.

Porn and My Boyfriend

My boyfriend is a great guy and he knows I am not looking for a man who consumes porn or smokes cigarettes but my boyfriend smokes and watches porn.

It’s his life and he can do with it what he wants. But I don’t like that he is out of breath at 31 when climbing a small hill. I don’t want him to die young especially if this life is all we have together. I am also selfishly worried that he won’t be able to keep up with me in bed as I enter my sexual peak years of my nearing 30s.

And as for the porn, when he finally showed me his favorite sites the first thing I noticed were the ads that featured very young girls along the borders of the page some of which were underage and this is what you see regardless of whatever you were planning on watching and it bothered me deeply. The strong pressure to sexualize female children normalizes what should not be acceptable and endangers children. It seeps into people as it did with my boyfriend who “joked” to his friends that 14 year olds were looking so good these days he might actually end up in bed with one of them. If you can recognize a minor and still socially acceptably joke about sleeping with children we have been brainwashed so thoroughly away from ourselves.

I was sexualized constantly as a child and as an adolescent I was harassed and sexually threatened daily and it hurt me, kept me on the defensive when I should have been blossoming. And it stunts all of us, me and my 14-year-old self, the girls that I feel I want to protect, my daughter and men.

I wonder sometimes how I would feel about my boyfriend looking at sex if it wasn’t situated in the porn industry with its pressure on sexualizing children and abusing women?

If porn was drastically different and there were more depictions of love and more diverse depictions of what women want, it would be very different and better for me to enjoy.

Especially also if men made it another form of our positive sexuality.

But as it stands today, I don’t like it for it’s abundance and imbalance of bad taste.

 

My Ex and Porn

In the first week of starting to have sex with my ex-boyfriend, we once finished having sex and as I laid down waiting for him to come back to me he went to the couch, opened his computer and started watching porn. I was…well, more then somewhat confused because I was willing and ready to fuck his brains out all day everyday but he had to have porn.

When I was pregnant I was still up for everything but if there was a fight, he would haul off to the living room not touch me and jack off in front of the television. One time I brought him tissues and placed it on his lap hoping he would stop and say to himself, « Hey, what am I doing?» But he didn’t.

I don’t think he knew fully why he acted like this either even though I wrongly thought he had all the answers about himself. What he did tell me that could explain the compulsion was that since he was a little boy, perhaps 8 or younger, he had been raised on it, fed on it, didn’t know how to live without it.

I knew he loved me and was crazy about me sexually but he was addicted to porn to perhaps medicate a part of his soul unsuccessfully.

When it was clear he couldn’t stop, I tried to watch porn with him and get into it with him as a way of accepting him and finding the fun in it. It wasn’t something though that felt good so I chalked it down to unhealthy things with unhealthy people that can’t really make you feel good beyond the fix.

This man was complex and I wonder how our lives would have been 50 years ago in a world minus porn as he was truly romantic. He would do gentle things like bend over to my short frame to put his mouth on some place of my body to gently pull away a small out-of-place-hair with his teeth. He would wash my hair in the bath like I was a child and run a comb through it. He tried to make me laugh as I was in labor and he sat with me on the floor of the bathroom putting boiled cabbage leaves on my bruised and cut up breasts in the first month of nursing. He was a fighter like me. We had both survived bad childhoods, we had both survived homelessness, sexual violence, violence and we live in post-traumatic stress to lesser or greater degrees. Our relationship thankfully ended with both of us still intact despite the unkind things we learned from life and we re-enacted on each other.

Since then I have been with men who are not as addicted to porn or not interested in it at all at this stage in their lives. I try to avoid consumers of porn for a few reasons.

Firstly because I found the more a man watches the worse I find he is in bed. Secondly, it’s not something I want to make in the bubble around me in the future. I would like to live with spirituality in love and a bit of that simplicity from an older time. I want a leader and a friend and spiritual mate who doesn’t feel the need to consume “porn” as I define it here. Even though if this is what you like then who am I judge that as you have your reasons and tastes.

If you are like myself and you don’t fancy main-stream porn, you have good reasons not to be okay with porn especially when you don’t like it for the principles it stands for or the system it perpetuates much like some people don’t use cosmetics from companies that test on animals or buy products that produce in sweatshops.

If you like to see people having sex and your partner too but you don’t like mainstream porn, there are places where you can find sex positive films. As long as it’s open and shared, then why not?

This is a polluted world. I look around me and see the trash on the street and I smell the air. It’s a complicated world but in the world I want to make for myself I want it to be by our rules and spirit and wishes and dreams. We are all polluted but I am allowed to choose to create love and life the way I want to create it.

Love and peace be with you tonight Casablanca!

-Journal Photos by the Radiantmedina and the Author of Sheep

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Blog, Casablanca, Life, Lifestyle, living abroad, love, Miscellaneous, Morocco, Musings, People, Personal, Random, reflections, relationships, Stories, Thoughts, Travel

A pretty girl and cake

Even when you walk down the street as a woman here or in most any place, you are reminded that you are a woman constantly whether through the innocent and not so innocent catcalls, the nice looks and the bad ones, and more often times than not, the fear or the perceived fear that you are vulnerable.

Being a woman is defined many times by threat and fear and it’s a not too nice a place to live in and men don’t have to know about this if they don’t choose to dig and discover. Many times they look at you like you are blowing it out of proportion or imagining things.

You are constantly reminded since a young age to be careful and you are reminded that you can’t do everything you want because you should be afraid of this or that or the other so much so that you can’t do small things like just walk outside at night to review your thoughts.

“You’re a woman, you’re a woman; you’re a woman.” So be very afraid, of others and yourself.

The mantra plays and you stop doing what you want to  do even if that is walking late at night in the darkness with yourself. But we are used to this as women. We learn to stop ourselves from doing many things we want even getting our pleasure.

Look how women are always stopping their pleasure. They see a delicious dessert, take a bite, feel pleasure, taste the taste, and stop themselves and say “that’s it”.

Do you know how nice it feels to eat something with a pretty girl who’s doing what she wants to do with you, tasting cake and life and really eating it…

 

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Blog, Casablanca, Life, Lifestyle, living abroad, love, Miscellaneous, Morocco, Musings, People, Personal, Random, reflections, relationships, Stories, Thoughts, Travel, Uncategorized

New Years Resolutions Start With Questions: What is the opposite of love? Answer:…

“The opposite of love is not hate but indifference.”     – Elie Wiesel …Nobel Prize Jewish American Writer…

I have learned a lot this year.

I discovered myself in my films.

I grew up more with my daughter.

I have fallen this year gently over my shoe strings sometimes, broke up with my long term boyfriend, met a man that I am falling in love with, reconnected to people that remind me of times in my life when I was at my best, and I have found my voice with a man I loved deeply and who has treated me with indifference for a very long time.

At the close of 2011, I am saying to myself: I need Shalom because he loves me.  Peace gives me love and it’s changing me. It’s changing what I accept and what I want and what I will take or reject. Like a blanket that keeps me warm and armed for my life…I am in the world without him by my immediate side but his love protects me. Like a mother who loves her children in to safety,  already, his love has protected me and pushes me to do the right things, to give certain things up and let others go.

Peace is in there in front of me…

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