Browsing Tag

wife

Grief, Guest Posts

Hang On Little Girl

October 20, 2017
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CW: This essay discusses suicide. If you or someone you know needs immediate help, please call 911. You can also call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at: 1-800-273-TALK (8255) or contact the Crisis Text Line by texting CONNECT to 74174. The world need you.

By Sara Bartosiewicz-Hamilton

Wouch…a cross between whoa and ouch.

 

I obviously don’t do this task often enough…but, as the queen of spreadsheets to keep myself organized, I’ve been working through some work that’s been patiently waiting. I’ve been working in the spreadsheet for almost an hour. My eyes just caught a glimpse…the last time I was in this spreadsheet: 8/29/16.

 

Whoa…almost a year ago…holy shit…quite literally, a week before my whole world would cave in…wouch…

 

I tried to remember what I would have been doing at that point last year…I stopped. Why relive the painful summer we had? To most people, the day they found out you killed yourself is the day of trauma for them. For us, it had been building up to your grand finale for a couple years – no one wants to acknowledge that…it’s easier to just embrace one single day of trauma and pretend we hadn’t been living in hell long before.

  Continue Reading…

Guest Posts, Intimacy, Sex

Sex, Intimacy, and Genetic Incompatibility

April 28, 2017
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By Becky Benson

The first time it happened I thought it was great.  Easier, less messy, a change up from the norm.  Win/win for me.  I didn’t particularly like condoms; the feel, the smell, the timeout in the heat of the moment while fumbling over a loudly crackling wrapper.  How romantic.  And I’m sure my husband was no fan of them, but it did make it better for me once we were done.  He’d just pull it off and toss it in the trash.  I didn’t have to lay there waiting for him to throw me his t-shirt to clean up with, I could just happily roll over and drift off to sleep.

The only problem with this scenario:  we needed them, which made it feel less like a novelty, a change up from the norm, and more like a reminder of what we were now facing, and how in so many ways, our relationship; our sex life would never be the same.

In 2009 my husband, Loren and I had been happily married for six and a half years.  Loving, committed, stable.  We had two beautiful daughters, Skylar, five, and Miss Elliott, ten months, when we learned that we were carriers of Tay-Sachs Disease.  We had no idea this genetic mutation existed in our lineage or that we had passed it on to our youngest daughter, who at this point was beginning to shows signs of missing her milestones as she grew.  Watching my seemingly healthy infant unable to master age appropriate tasks such as crawling, holding her bottle, and or imitating our speech, I suspected something much more was going on beside the usual variances in development, and unfortunately I was right.  With no treatment or cure, this neurodegenerative disorder would rob her of all of her physical and mental functioning before finally taking her life by the age of four. Continue Reading…

Contests & Giveaways, Gender & Sexuality, Girl Power: You Are Enough, Guest Posts

Essay Winner of Jen Pastiloff & Emily Rapp’s Vermont Retreat!

September 14, 2015

Note from Jen Pastiloff, founder of The Manifest-Station: 

This was not easy. This is not easy. I had one spot to give away to our retreat (and yes, we will do it again next year as this is our third year leading the Vermont retreat.) I had one spot which then turned into FOUR, thanks to various generous donors including Lidia Yuknavitch, Amy Ferris, Elizabeth Quant and three others.

And yet and still, we have 70 essays to get through. You read that right: 70. In just a few days, 70 essays piled in.

I sat reading through all of them with eyes spilling over. I was so moved that I decided I could not stop here. I would keep giving and finding ways to be of service. My teacher and mentor, Dr. Wayne Dyer, passed away last week- that was his big message. How many I serve? 

I intend to carry on that legacy.

I decided I could not stop at these 4 spots to Vermont so I am giving away 3 spots to my New Years Retreat in Ojai, California as well. Nothing makes me feel better than to do this.

I also have 20 spots to give away to my Girl Power: You Are Enough workshop for teens next weekend in Princeton and NYC. Ten available for each workshop. Email me for a spot. I want girls who could not afford the cost to be able to attend. Here are the details. Please note: the Princeton workshop is 13 and up and the NYC workshop is 16 and up.

And yet and still, there are so many others that were not chosen. There was not one essay that didn’t move me. There was not one essay that did not want me to push through my computer screen and embrace the woman who wrote it. Not one. I had a team helping me as I could not do this alone. I think we need to remember that more often: we cannot do this alone.

How bold one gets when one is sure of being loved.

Which brings me to my first winner. Her essay floored us but her friends also wrote in on her behalf, unbeknownst to her. How bold one gets when one is sure of being loved indeed. Jena Schwartz is the first recipient of the four scholarships and I am proud to share her essay below with you. She has been notified and will be attending the retreat with Emily and I next month in Stowe. She is over the moon. The retreat is sold out. Congratulations to Jena. I hope you all will be moved to share this. I know I was.

At the end of my life, when I ask one final, “What have I done?” Let my answer be, “I have done love.”

Love, Jen Pastiloff

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Free Associating about Fear & Faith (Or, What I’ve Forgotten)
By Jena Schwartz

In this moment of sitting down to write, there’s the lump in my throat and the tears behind my eyes and the tension of holding them in. There’s fear. And behind that, faith. And there’s something I’ve forgotten that needs remembering. It has to do with connection, to myself, to moving slowly and having enough time and trusting that shit always work out in the end, and that there’s no end, only the unfolding of our days and the thank you. The thank you I need to remember to say, in the morning and at night.

Mani, my beloved wife of one year come September 27, is not feeling well this morning. She is shaky and nauseous. She drank an Ensure and rolled onto her side to try to sleep; she did not sleep well during the night. She is getting better. Two steps forward, one back. Like the two-step dance that magical weekend in Phoenix, when I flew out there to meet her and a whole group of us went to the Cash, my first-ever gay bar. Little did we know then, that we’d end up together, much less married!

Most of the time, I’m able to stay in a place of faith and trust. I’m able to stay in the light. I’m able to remember the partnership she and I discovered not only between us but with God, too — how when Rabbi Efraim witnessed and blessed our vows, God was there with us under that chuppah last September 27, the day before her 37th birthday and a few months before I turned 41.
Continue Reading…

Guest Posts, travel, Women

Things That Didn’t Happen.

October 21, 2014

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By Jane Eaton Hamilton.

Why not February?

 1)  That day I landed in Paris, alone, no French to pout my lips, anti-gay protests spilled into the streets, shooting rapids of hatred. Queers had to navigate them, no oars. When I walked down Avenue Henri Martin to find an open store, I looked like what I was: an MEC-bedecked North American dyke, shapeless as a continent. Two men radared in. Vitriol tones a language; it hatcheted towards me on streams of spittle. The guy closest shoulder-checked me and I stumbled into a wall, scraping limestone.

Then they were gone, and I still needed oranges.

2)  A week later, Rue de la Pompe, arrondisement 16, outside Casino supermarket. Serrated needles of rain raking sideways. No umbrella, just a thin-wire pull-cart I needed to pile with groceries if I wanted to eat, launder, shampoo.

A Roma girl hunched on the street, no coat, one-shoed, hair divided into oleaginous shanks functioning as eavestroughs. Shoulders heaving. One foot maimed, red, shaped like a soup bone, the socket of a cow’s tibia. A paper begging cup exhausted by rain crumpled under left knee.

Trafficked, I thought, tears and misery the tools of her job. But beyond that: something immediate. Maybe, later, when she was picked up again, the gratitude of Stockholm Syndrome or familial bonds or simple lack of options would keep her in her place, but for now, dropped to the Paris pavement by her pimp or aunt or older brother, she was the picture of all that was wrong and nothing that was right.

My anger in Paris was a simmering thing, small at first, then growing. It was at first the size of the palm of a hand laid against a hot burner, but it flared. It was that worst thing, that touristic thing, impotence with a strangling desire to “help.”

“Madame, ça va?” I said as I pressed soggy pastries, fruit, hidden money into her hands. Nothing that would make it better. Nothing that would buy her options.

What do I want with pastries? her eyes said. Are you kidding me? She was right; I was an asshole in any language.

Continue Reading…

funny, Guest Posts

Competing With An iPhone 5 For My Wife’s Attention.

January 31, 2014

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By Randall Sokoloff

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Before my wife acquired her iPhone 5, she and I shared a lot of moments together. Those were the “good old days.” I look back upon those pre-iPhone 5 days with the same kind of fond nostalgic pondering that I sometimes get lost in when thinking about my youth. I remember how we used to do things together and talk. While driving, eating, walking, hanging out on the couch, gardening, sitting by the pool- we were always engaged in some kind of conversation. We looked into each other’s eyes at least a hundred times a day and it felt good knowing that her attention was consistently focused on me.

Then came the iPhone 5.

I was concerned from the start. Not so much because I was worried that the iPhone 5 would take her mind away from me. No, I did not see that coming. I was worried because I knew that such advanced technology in the palm of a person’s hand had the potential to turn a person away from their own inherit creativity and imagination and as a result turn them into a kind of replaceable, information driven, socially networked, zoned out automaton. I was also concerned that the continual exposure to the strong digital glare that emanates from smart phone screen would somehow have a detrimental effect on her beautiful face.

The iPhone 5 made its entry into our marriage gradually. The first month or so that she had the phone I did not notice it showing up on our walks, in our bed, at our dinner table, on our couch, in our car or by the pool. She seemed to use it with the mindful detachment and caution that is necessary to keep such a functional, simplified and aesthetically pleasing device from taking over every aspect of a person’s life.

But like a tree gradually shedding leaves in the fall, the iPhone 5 and my wife started to become more and more dependent on one another as the days passed by. At first she was using iCalendar to take care of her work schedule. Then she was using the Facebook app to access her Facebook account. Then she stopped using her computer to check and send her emails and began to only use her phone to do this. I now realize that it was bad advice on my part, but because I was not yet hip to how I would soon be in competition with an iPhone 5, I recommended that my wife try out the kindle app and read books and magazines on her iPhone. Of course she loved the idea and ever since has been absorbed in reading novels and magazines from the convenience of her iPhone. This is how it happens. In no time your entire universe exists inside your phone. Friends, movies, books, articles, emails, work, photos, music, meditation and copious amounts of information. I didn’t see it coming.

While lying in bed at night my wife would often come on to me. As I was reading, I became familiar with the sensation of her fingers tiptoeing their way under my sweat pants. Now before going to sleep for the night her fingers are pre-occupied with holding, fiddling with and maneuvering her iPhone 5. It has been almost a month since she has come on to me before bed. When we sit on the couch or outside by the pool she is staring into the screen of her iPhone 5 looking at something, reading something or shopping for something. Other than a few fragmented sentences- there is not much said between us. Same goes for when we are sitting at a dinner table or are out at a cafe- she is on her iPhone 5 and I am trying not to be offended. I am lucky if she looks in my eyes more than a dozen times a day.

Have you ever tried telling someone who does something or uses something all the time that they are addicted to that something? If you have you are probably familiar with the angry, hostile, defensive and bitter response that I receive. When I tell my wife that she is using her iPhone 5 way too much she immediately fires back: “That is not true at all, I have barley been on it at all today, I am not on my phone that much.” She seems to really believe what she is saying, but from my perspective she is in total denial of reality. I realize that when we are in love or dependent on something, time stands still when we are with that something or someone. But just because there is a feeling of timelessness when my wife uses her iPhone 5 does not mean that she is not using it that much. She is on it all the time!

So now I am in competition with the iPhone 5 for my wife’s attention. It seems that whenever I ask her to put her phone away and focus on being present with me she becomes deeply agitated and as a result, so do I. I try not to do this unless it is absolutely necessary. I try and start conversations and get her interested in things that I have to say that she may find more interesting than the stuff she is reading or watching on her phone. The only two topics that really succeed in doing this are sex and dogs and I have a limited supply of things to say when it comes to sex and dogs.

I understand that this is the direction that relationships are heading in. I realize that the future is a place where husband and wife spend more time on their smart phones than they do looking in to one another’s eyes. I realize that deep and constant conversation between a couple is an endangered species and the future will consist of couples having the most general, basic and superficial communication exchanges because they are too absorbed in the universe of their smart phones. As human beings we seem to be evolving further and further away from one another and more and more into the compact space of a digital screen. I have been debating giving in to this evolutionary trend and going out and getting myself an iPhone 5. Why not get with the times? My grandfather always used to say, “If you can’t beat em, join em” and maybe this applies in this particular situation. Maybe I should just hop on the train and head in the same direction as human evolution (or de-evolution depending on who you talk to) is taking so many other married couples. Then maybe I won’t spend so much time, sitting there, staring up at the sky and waiting for my wife to get off her iPhone 5.

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Randall Sokoloff is a fiction writer, artist, mindfulness instructor and psychotherapist living in the smoggy suburbs of Los Angeles California. Randall was an inner city high school teacher for over a decade and started the first Bay Area Mindfulness program for violent youth in Oakland, California. This began his journey as a psychotherapist. He prefers being over doing, living in the moment over worrying about the future, breathing over thinking and dogs over cats. Randall has had the good fortune to marry his soul mate whom he considers to be a wonderful writer, artist, lover, cook and psychotherapist but he also feels like it would be great if she was not on her iPhone so much. Randall’s blog can be found at: www.absurdistry.wordpress.com

Jen Pastiloff is the founder of The Manifest-Station. Join her in Tuscany for her annual Manifestation Retreat. Click the Tuscan hills above. No yoga experience required. Only requirement: Just be a human being.

Jen Pastiloff is the founder of The Manifest-Station. Join her in Tuscany for her annual Manifestation Retreat. Click the Tuscan hills above. No yoga experience required. Only requirement: Just be a human being.

Contact Rachel Pastiloff for health coaching, weight loss, strategies, recipes, detoxes, cleanses or help getting off sugar. Click here.

Contact Rachel Pastiloff for health coaching, weight loss, strategies, recipes, detoxes, cleanses or help getting off sugar. Click here.

 Do you want the space and joy to get back into your body? To get into your words and stories? Then join Lidia Yuknavitch and Jennifer Pastiloff in this unique long weekend to do just that. The "Writing and The Body Retreat II."


Do you want the space and joy to get back into your body?
To get into your words and stories? Then join Lidia Yuknavitch and
Jennifer Pastiloff in this unique long weekend to do just that.
The “Writing and The Body Retreat II.”

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