The Elusive Fence

“Everything God creates is good, and God made sex, so therefore, sex, when done well, is divine.” Amy Wolf

“I’m a FenceSitter,” I told him, as I was finishing, rather nervously, my third glass of water. Our eyes met but I’m not so quick when it comes to what I suspect is fairly easily discernible to most folks.  I’m usually the last person in a group, besides one of my sisters, to get a joke.  People’s witty remarks come slowly to me.  I think way too much.  Our conversation continued without my having taken note of an elusive imploring look in his eyes.

“What do you mean?” he asked as he sat there,  seemingly content and happy in one of the handmade chair-stools at the large wooden table in his kitchen.

“Sometimes I don’t know what to do,” and I told him a little about what being a FenceSitter means to me.  I also told him the story behind the wonderful image.  He still hadn’t said anything as to the irony of what I was describing to him.

He grabbed another beer.  “Just do whatever you want to do,” he said with an ease of mind that may accompany a carefree lifestyle with minimal responsibilities.

I needed to decide, I thought.  In reality, I’d already decided on what I was going to do with my evening.  The navy blue shirt he was still pulling over his head when I opened my door felt like a sudden hard rain that comes while you’re driving,  causing you to pull over to the side and wait.

“I guess I don’t know what I want,” I responded.  I looked at the drawings on the large table, along with initials and short sentences.  I imagined the people who had sat there most likely inspired by alcohol, the main source of which being Pabst Blue Ribbon and much of the time, Johnny Cash’s music.

“Well, that’s no good.  Let me get you another glass of water,” he said.   His apartment was quieter than usual for a weekend.  He said his roommate was gone.  I asked if he had plans for the evening.

“Nope,” he said, without any hint about what he might like to do or wished he could do, which was a part of my acute but temporary dilemma.  Another part was that when I’d sat down at his table and told him I was on my way out for the evening, he’d said, “You look nice.”  I’d never seen the look on his face that I saw in that moment.   His eyes had only traveled from my hair and face to the crisscrossed straps of my summer dress.  “Very nice,”  he politely added.  He reminded me of a cowboy in an old western movie when he nodded his head in a slight way giving me the impression that his compliment was genuine.   I needed more water.

“I can’t believe I’m this age,” I finally said, as I finished another glass of water with about twenty more minutes behind me.

He smiled.  “Are you saying making decisions doesn’t get any easier when you get older?” he asked.

“Exactly,” I said.  I was no longer sitting but had stood up, taking hold of my handbag and keys, even though it didn’t change the way I felt.   “I mean it ought to be easier by now.  I should know what I want.”  I realized that making decisions were much easier for me when I was younger.  I don’t know when things changed.  I guess when I got sick.

I do know one thing I want and that is to feel good.  I’m tired of being sick and damn tired of pain.  I’m really really tired of it.  I’m tired of feeling like life is passing me by because I’m too weak and fatigued to do the things I wish I could do.  I’m also tired of being indecisive and unsure of myself — sort of unfamiliar in my skin.

“Sometimes being a FenceSitter is hard,” I told him.  Time was passing quickly and I was counting every minute by the clock on his stove.

“Right now you’re sitting at a fence,” he said.   He’d told me earlier that he had built the table out of fence posts.  “How does that feel?” he asked with a  smile on his face.

I finally got it!  My new acquaintance is a FenceBuilder and I was sitting at the FenceTable talking about being a FenceSitter!. I laughed, but only slightly.  I was a little embarrassed that I hadn’t gotten this already.  I was also a bit taken by the irony.

“It feels pretty good,” I responded, and it did, except for my decision-making dilemma that I was creating on my own.  Nature had indeed slowed me down, but things had cleared enough so that I could have moved on towards my original destination.   Instead, I drank more water.  There were many things going on in my mind at once.

My age, being sick all the time, feeling like I’d lost so much time to grief, and last year, to an emotional trauma.  I wanted to live but that was why I’d made an earlier engagement.

“Help me out here,” I asked the FenceBuilder.   “I’m really too tired to drive,” I remarked.  I was sick.  It was true.  In fact, I was barely getting around but felt I’d go crazy if I didn’t get out and away from my home for a while.  I’d been in the bed most of the day with nausea and fatigue.  It had been a bad day.

“Ahh, you’re not too sick,” he responded, and he smiled.  He didn’t believe me.  I could tell.  I saw no use in trying to explain what fibromyalgia or CFS is like.  I did make an attempt at what felt like defending myself.

“I woke up sick.  I really don’t feel good.”

“Then why did you make a plan to go out?”

People don’t understand chronic sickness, surely not when they can’t see it, and even more surely, when the sick person is freshly showered and dressed up a little.  Looking good and being sick don’t mix well in the minds of those who’ve never experienced an everyday battle with illness.

“I just wanted to get out for a while,” I said.  We talked more and I drank more water.  I didn’t know what to make of the feelings I was having.  I wanted to keep my plans, kind of.  I think I wanted my cake and to eat it too, but I wasn’t sure that was the only dynamic happening.  I felt like if I was continuing to sit there with this man, that possibly that was exactly what I really wanted to do.

I honestly didn’t feel like driving by that time and quickly approaching was guilt about getting sidetracked, even if Mother Nature did have a little something to do with it.  The rest was up to me, like keeping my agreements with people, which is important to me.

As the minutes passed we continued enjoying each others company.  I told him the story of me having had two tick-borne illnesses.  I told him I’d been struck with Chronic Fatigue Syndrome after the second one, which was Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever that had lasted over a month before a doctor finally prescribed medication.  “I lost a lot of weight,” I said.  “I barely weighed a hundred pounds.”

“Well you can’t weigh too much more than that now,” he remarked. I realized he was right.  “I carry more than that around on both my shoulders every day,” and he laughed.

Mother Nature again!  I had a hot flash.  He got me another glass of water.  Now I was thinking about his arms and shoulders.  There had been many times I’d seen him arriving home in the heat after a long day of work without his shirt on.  Sometimes I’d wondered if it had been for my benefit but I always brushed it off.  I did however flirt with the young man.

Men flirt with younger women all the time.  Men date younger women all the time.   I’ve never flirted much, but I feel like time isn’t necessarily on my side.  If I’m ever going to know what it feels like to flirt, then I figure I better get to it, so I have, a couple of times.  It felt safe and I must admit, it was fun.  I had no clue that the FenceBuilder might feel the same way I was feeling when I’d seen him cleaning out his truck or meandering around in his yard without his shirt on.  Well, maybe I did have some clues.

I was trying to get more clues by the fourth or fifth glass of water I drank while I sat at the fence-table.  “Well, now I have more things to think about in making my decision, or rather, changing a decision at the last moment,” I said followed by a deep breath I felt like I needed.

“Like what?” he asked, seemingly naive but now, I realize, he most certainly was not.

“Well,  imagining you slinging around hundreds of pounds on your shoulders doesn’t help matters.”

He smiled.  I excused myself.  I needed fresh air.  I had to think about canceling my plans.  I felt pretty bad about it but time had gotten away from me and I guess, I simply couldn’t walk away from the desire to go back to see the FenceBuilder.

I made a phone call changing my plans.  I made a brief trip home discovering a plate of fresh pasta with herbs and chicken in my refrigerator.  A neighbor had cooked it for me and left it while I had been out.  I was starving.  I ate it immediately.  I felt better.  I thought I’d made the right decision.

Arriving back at the FenceTable I accepted a beer, which is pretty unusual for me, but I had a feeling the rest of the evening would be an unusual experience.

I think the FenceBuilder may have used my pain to get closer to my body, but I’m not going to hold it against him.  “Does your shoulders or back hurt?” he asked.

“My entire body hurts when it hurts,” I responded and quickly added, “although it does settle in my shoulders.”

“Would you like a massage?”

I never say yes to this!  “Yes, I would,” I said.

Stress had filled several consecutive days.  Financial worries had been making me nauseated but also disturbing me were my deep concerns about my son.

He has an ACT team who doesn’t do shit and this makes me mad, and stressed!  I am a mother — not a social worker, a doctor, a therapist, a money manager, which are all treatment services the ACT team claims to be providing for my son.  I’ve been doing their job for the best of a year.

After massaging my shoulders,  he casually sat back down in his chair.  Smiling he asked me what I wanted as he opened another beer.

I didn’t think much about my stress for the next twenty-four hours, other than I might pay a price in fatigue and pain.  Much fun was had.  There was nothing confusing about that.

As I write, still fatigued, I’m reminded of my wonderful meeting with a Morgan horse named Candy.  I knew I’d pay a price in pain for the fun lesson I had with her.   My body feels about the same today as it did two days after my lesson with her and I learned some things too.

Riding a horse gives me joy for several weeks afterward.  Horses are good medicine for depression.  I had great fun with the FenceBuilder, but unlike my time riding horses in which I always feel an emotional connection, I was left with somewhat of a wanting feeling.

Something was missing.  I realized it was in my heart.

I missed my best friend who is on another vacation.   I longed for his company all day.  I longed for a feeling of being connected.  I took my younger dog for an early evening walk to a nearby natural butterfly garden.

I thought about how I was feeling.  Embrace this wanting I feel. Know it and feel it. So I did.  It was not such an easy feeling to sit with.

Returning home I snuggled up close to my canine companions.  They are my best friends.  Their sweet eyes revealed their loyalty and love.  I rubbed their soft fur.

Lying in my living room, brightened only by a colorful hanging lamp I recently installed, I saw the light flickering on my cell phone.  My dear friend had sent me a wonderful long text message, which he’d never done before.  He usually emails from his trips away.  His text felt more intimate than the emails.  He shared interesting little details of his trip.  Little things that made such a huge impact on me.  This soothed some the wanting in my heart.

I realized as I embraced the feeling, that I have some really good people in my life.  People who understand I live with pain and sickness.  Not dozens of people, but a few, which is enough.  I was reminded of how much I love these friends.

I learned too that part of why I enjoy riding horses is that they sense how I feel and this is a wonderful connection.   I actually communicated on an emotional level much more with the Morgan, Candy, than I did with the handsome FenceBuilder.

I learned too that FenceBuilders are indeed strong.  I have no doubt in my mind that the man can carry two or three times my weight over his shoulders.

As to being a FenceSitter, well, maybe the years ahead of me will change this some, maybe.  For a short time I was free, like butterflies on a sunny summer day.  As to my decision to return to the handsome FenceBuilder’s FenceTable, accepting a shoulder massage, which I had strongly suspected would lead to more, I have no regrets.



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8 responses to this post.

  1. Hi, Sweetie! I’ve really been a mess the past couple of weeks so I hadn’t gotten over here before now to catch up on your blog, and what do I find? The absolutely most perfect post that I needed to read right now! Thank You! I understand what you mean about feeling something was missing but all the same, there is something about being able to dis-connect, if only for a short time, that is crucial for survival and revival of your spirit, and I’ve never known of anything better than sex to disconnect one from their brain! (And I mean that in a good way!).
    I think you’re right about you thinking too much at times. One idea that might help the next time your sitting on a fence is to ask yourself one question:

    “What’s the worse thing that can happen if I jump over on this side vs. on that side vs. just sitting here?”

    Usually, the actual answer, once put into words, is not anywhere near as bad as you thought and it gives you the opportunity of saying, “If the worst does happen, I can handle that. I’ve handled it before and I’m much smarter and stronger now.” Actually, I believe that most often when we THINK we’re sitting on a fence, we really know in our hearts what we want to do and some nagging little voice wants to spoil our fun and talk us out of it. Just kick that voice out and live. Life is all about taking a chance and pushing our limits to become or to have more than we are or we have at the moment.
    xxxooo
    Leslie
    http://icondoit.wordpress.com

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    • Hi Leslie! — love what you say here: “I believe that most often when we THINK we’re sitting on a fence, we really know in our hearts what we want to do and some nagging little voice wants to spoil our fun and talk us out of it.” I am pretty sure that voice was there but I did “kick” it out and live, for a little while, and boy did I have some fun! Lots of pain two days later but I must say it was worth it! That fencebuilder is mighty strong. And cute, and sweet too!

      I love your suggestion for me to ask what the worst thing that can happen could be. Thank you!

      It sure makes me feel good to know that this post was what you needed to read. I love that Leslie. It makes me feel like I’ve offered something with my stories, esp., to you. I really like that.

      I’m going to push my limits some the rest of this week, so that hopefully, I’ll get my camping trip in while it is so hot here. I know places in my state where it never gets hot ’cause it’s too high up. I’m sure I’ll write about it.

      So, this is my wish list, I guess. Every time you think of me, could you imagine me on top of a pretty mountain, overlooking green rolling hills with the sounds of nature all around me. See me all comfy on my nice camping mattress. And, maybe put a helper(s) into the vision. I wish too those girls who do the Chicken Dance with us and love my son could come with me, but they’ve never been camping, which I cannot believe!, so their parents may not let them go, but we would have a grand time laughing on top of the mountain. I love watching them see things for the first time. I took them to our local Arboretum the other day. They had never been there either. You know, the best things in life are actually free.

      Thanks for your comment Leslie. I will be holding you in a healing place in my mind and heart, hoping and imagining you feeling rested and better.

      hugs2U,
      dogkisses.

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  2. Oh, Miss Dogkisses,

    I would love to live vicariously in SOME of your life! A Moment when you said to hell with it-“it” being everything–finances, illness, idiotically STUPID health care systems, societal mores! Good for you! And, damn if it didn’t turn into a learning experience!

    The Heart, the Heart. It takes over the Brain–and we so often refuse to listen. But, in this instance I believe that was a good thing. Sometimes the Heart — and the Brain — don’t know what the Body needs!

    So, I hope fatigue and pain are not punishing your spontaneity too much.

    I am so very sorry to hear of your troubles with your son’s care. How painful that has got to be. I pray hard for the two of you. What a complex and difficult time you are in right now. Life is so hard. A favorite–albeit morbid–saying: “Life is hard and then you die.”

    But, the friendships you enjoy make the “hard” just a little easier. I am here. I care.

    Fondly,

    CJ

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    • Dear CJ,
      Thank you for this comment. I cannot tell you how warm it made me feel, and not so silly for having taken a chance you know.

      — I wanted to say thanks for reminding me that it’s good to take a chance and throw it all to the wind once in a while! Got me out of my head for at least a little while.

      Thanks CJ!

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  3. You have so much strength! Do you realize how much? You may be a fence sitter but I think we all are after getting blindsided by Fibromyalgia and Chronic Fatigue. You got dressed and went out. That is amazing!! Hey, the fence builder sounded like pretty good stuff! I’m glad you had a good time! I’m jealous!
    I’ve gained 30 since all of this Fibro, thyroid and fatigue thing started and I hate my body. I don’t think anyone would want to see it because I don’t even like it.

    You are wonderful sweetie! I wish the financial stress would go away for you and, of course, the issues with your son. That alone is enough to send anyone over the edge. I keep you, CJ and Lynn in my prayers. You guys are very special to me!

    Regrets are a waste of time. It sounds like a wonderful experience and hey, just one more story you’ll have to share!!!!!!!! I think that’s the hardest thing we go through. The pain and fatigue are horrible but it’s what it does to us. We become disconnected and that isn’t good. I’m glad you’re fighting it. Sometimes I feel that I connect more with my dog. He loves me unconditionally. Rare thing to find in this world.

    Take care sweetie!

    xoxo

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    • Hi Rose!
      Thanks for your sweet comment. And, don’t be jealous — you have a dog (Smiles), and so do I, and so, we both have REAL love.
      The reason I wrote this in my blog, aside from enjoying writing my stories, is because I think sex is part of a healthy life. I think we ought to talk about it more often.

      I’m sorry about your weight gain. I know how that feels. I wasn’t born thin. I was very strong. There were times in my life that I was overweight and I did not like it. If I had to choose between the way I feel now while thin and the way I felt then, I’d choose the latter. At least I had energy, but either way, I think we want to feel good about our bodies.
      I have one sister who cannot for the life of her lose weight. It bothers her a lot but I think her hubby encourages her to dress up in clothes she feels good in, which she does. She wears them well too. I know she still wishes she could lose probably about thirty pounds too. I think she is as beautiful as ever, but she says she hates her body too.

      As to the fun I had, well, I guess I was “sent over the edge.” Stress is heavy right now. I’m counting pennies and I hate that! And I’m so tired that I cannot be relied upon to take care of my son’s needs. I’m so mad at his ACT team! I think they ought to just admit that they cannot do their jobs right now. All the social workers left and nobody is applying, yet they act like all is the same! My son hasn’t been seen by their doctor for nearly two years, but then, I don’t trust her anyway, so I’m taking him to be evaluated where I receive services. It’s private and they offer other types of therapy too, like hypnotherapy, which helps me. Even if I say no to the drugs they suggest, which I most often do, they still provide me with treatment. There is more to treating a ‘mental illness’ such as depression like I have than with pills.

      And you’re right, regrets are a waste of time, but I must say, next time I’d probably choose a horse lesson over the fencebuilder. Like I said, I was left feeling a bit like my heart had been neglected. My heart! That thing rules! Sometimes I wish it wouldn’t, but it most likely always will. I’m looking forward to my friend coming home. He fills my heart with joy and love. And Rose, so do you! You give me a feeling of being connected. I thank you for that.

      I visited my mom yesterday so haven’t had time to read but am going to catch up this week on my few favorite blogs. Maybe we will talk soon. I’d like that.

      You take care too!

      In friendship, with hugs and well wishes,
      dogkisses.

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