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Filtering by Tag: life


Cindy Maddera

I was introduced to Chris in the summer of '95. In turn, Chris would eventually introduce me to Thai food, Black Adder, sex and a band called Belly. I still love sticky rice and papaya salad. I have a deep appreciation for British comedy. You know how I feel about sex and I have physically absorbed every song performed by Belly. I would listen to them over and over. I have all of the songs memorized. I have the order the songs are listed on the CD memorized. I fell hard for this band. They were my long flowy Gypsy skirt, my oversized flannel. This was my '90s band and after I fully carved the songs from Star into a layer of skin, I went hunting for more. I scrounged every used CD store for every single album I could get my hands on, which were only three. Three albums. I clearly remember asking "but why aren't there any more albums." Chris and Traci, who probably introduced Chris to Belly, looked at me and shook their heads. Traci placed a hand on my shoulder and replied "because they don't exist anymore." 

The band broke up in the Fall of '95, right after the release of King. 

This is the second time I've discovered a band and fallen in love only to have that band break up months after my discovery. The first band was the Police. Though they have not released new music together, I have at least been able to see them live twice in reunion tours. Belly reunited in 2016, but they have yet to make it KCMO or any where close. I am okay with that. I'm just happy they decided to get back together because it inspired a new album, Dove, that was released this year. They have the same swirly sound and cryptic lyrics with the exception that now those lyrics refer to more grown up issues like settled relationships and raising children. I am now in the process of absorbing and adding this album to my other carvings in that same layer of skin. My first listening round made me feel like I was creeping into my twenties again. 

I met Chris when I was nineteen and a little shocked to discover that he was five years older than me. "Is that a problem?" he asked as we sat at a table crowded with our friends. I tried to sound confident as I replied "no" but there was something about Chris that was intimidating. I was not old enough to drink or even get into a bar. Meanwhile, he had lived a whole life while I was still in high school, serving in the national guard (proudly, unsuccessfully) as a medic and working a security gig at the Habana Inn. He knew things. He was experienced. The next few years felt like I was in some accelerated course for life experience just trying to catch up. But I would catch up. Then I would be the one introducing him to new music, dragging him into new experiences. Listening to Belly's new album makes me think that I never finished that accelerated course. Or at least it turned out to be not so accelerated. There's not any real perceived graduation day unless I can predict the day of my own death. 

There's one song on the new album that reminds me of dating after Chris. Suffer the Fools. The song is more about settled relationships than dating. It's about what happens as we age into a relationship, how we put up with things. "I'd rather suffer you, than suffer the fools." I put up with things with Chris. I won't deny it or sugarcoat it. Same way I put up with various things with Michael. I'm sure I'm not all rainbows and lollipops to live with at times either. I suffered a number of fools during the online dating years. Eventually there comes along someone you'd rather suffer through life with than suffering with fools. There's something romantic about it in a Daria at age fourty kind of way. 


Cindy Maddera

In a few weeks, I will start teaching two yoga classes a week at the Red Bridge YMCA. After I talked to the director and left the facility with this news, I realized that I was elated with the prospects of teaching again. The feeling surprised me. It was almost like something inside me had been slightly misaligned and the prospect of teaching again set it all back into place. I didn't even know there was something off kilter until it clicked back into place. I had just assumed all this time that I was content with just my own practice and I believe that I was... for awhile. But I was made to teach yoga. It is part of who I am.

When Chris died, I lost my bearings. I started to question everything about myself and who I was. Who am I without Chris? This was the question that I was continuously asking myself. For so many years I had only seen myself as Cindy and Chris, Chris and Cindy. We were a unit and when he was gone, I fell to pieces. I was left with putting pieces of me back together and oh so often, I wound up putting those pieces back in the wrong way. Through trial and error, I have been working to set those pieces as straight as can be straight. Along the way I started to find the pieces of myself that make me who I am. The question is no longer 'who am I without Chris?'. The question is 'who am I?'. I didn't become me the day I met Chris. I have always been this girl. Brave, yet insecure. Creative and practical and at times philosophical. Chris just enhanced all of that. He pushed back those insecurities that might have kept me from being my best self. The pieces of my best self are still there. They've just been stuck in the wrong orientation.

Things are falling back into place. 

My therapist left me with this for Thanksgiving. It's a quote from Immanuel Kant.

Rules for happiness: something to do, someone to love, and something to hope for. 

It sounds very simple and funny really considering the length we all go through to find happiness, all the self help books we've read and projects we've started. I have all of the pieces required to fulfill those rules for happiness. My job fulfills my brainy side. Teaching yoga fills me with joy. Michael has been around through some of my trials and errors in fitting those broken pieces back in place and surprisingly, he's stuck around. He sticks around. We're making plans for our future, working together on finances so that we can pick a day to gut our kitchen. Michael's been using the IKEA kitchen planner to build our new kitchen and we futz and tweak it just about every night. We have many things to hope for. This makes me very grateful.

I am thankful for all of those pieces. I am thankful for my friends and family and the time we will have together over the next few days. I am thankful for you.


Cindy Maddera

Last week, I was catching up on all of the things with Todd. We hadn't seen each other in probably two years. In the first five minutes of seeing each other, we couldn't stop hugging or just looking at each other's faces. It was kind of ridiculous. We all went to dinner. I even dragged Sean with us and after dinner we walked up to the Apple Store (I had forgotten my charger for my laptop). As we walked, Todd asked me about Michael and how things were going. He said by all appearances, it looked like things were going well. I sighed and told Todd that I wanted to complain, but there's nothing really to complain about. I found myself begrudgingly admitting that things were good. Things ARE good. 

A few months back, a neighborhood garage sale turned into a "hey! look at that house for sale!" and we started peaking in through windows of some great old houses. At one point Michael said that I could just sell my house so we could buy one of these homes. I waffled. I waffled a lot and I even said that selling my house was a really big commitment. It was the wrong thing to say. Because I didn't follow that up with the right words, the words I really meant. What I should have said was that selling my house was committing to believing that I would never need a small space to live because Michael left in some way. My house is my escape hatch for that day when Michael A) grows tired me or B) dies. Except, I didn't say any of that. I left it at "big commitment" because I am a jerk and a fraidy cat. I let Michael fill in the blanks of what "big commitment" meant. And let's face it. We are all prone to fill in blanks with the worst case scenario.  Any way, we left it at that and neither of us said any thing more on the subject. It just sort of got filed away with things to mule over.  Or stew over.

The day Michael finished the chicken coop, I told him that if he asked me, I'd marry him. I may not always say the words that I should say, but I don't say anything I don't mean. It's a pretty big deal if I of all people admit that "yes I will marry you." The problem is that I don't want to admit to things being good. In the back of my crazy brain there is an idea that if I admit to being happy or things being good, something will happen to end all of that. Did I mention I am a fraidy cat? I don't understand how I can be so fearless in so many aspects of my life. I am the girl willing to jump out of the airplane or off that cliff, yet I am not emotionally fearless. My science brains tells me that people are unreliable without meaning to be unreliable. Which is true. People are just like pets. You get attached and love them and then they die. This is expected if you have a dog. They get less years on the planet. Humans have who knows how many years on the planet. Humans are the ultimate unknown. 

Except...I am attached to Michael. So even if he were to go away tomorrow, I'd be hurt. I've already jumped out that airplane and been emotionally brave enough to let this relationship happen at all. I think that's the part of it that I need to remember. I've already done the scary part. I've already been fearless. Michael is starting graduate school this Fall. There are chickens in the backyard. We have this really crazy dog and this weirdo cat. This morning I had to tell Josephine to please stop dragging the cat across the floor by his ear. They're the best of friends. We eat tomatoes and squash that we grew ourselves. We kiss each other goodbye in the mornings and are happy to see each other at the end of a long day. I'm just going to straight up say it. I'm the most fearless girl you've ever met. And things are good.

Happy Love Thursday!