Monday, July 4, 2016

Happy Independence Day

MonkeyME in a tree
Photo by DustBunny

I am focused on my independence.

I am living big - packing as much as I can into each day.

I am making plans - all of them short term, some impulsive, because there is no guarantee of tomorrow.

I am surrounding myself with amazing friends. There is so much laughter. So much to learn. So much to celebrate. So much I would have missed if I continued to isolate myself in my marriage.

I've attended multiple workshops at the Omega Institute, in Rhinebeck, NY.

To nurture an ongoing connection with my son, on Memorial Day weekend (the anniversary of his death), I took a four-day workshop with medium,  Lisa Williams. SHE is fabulous. She taught me so much more than the art of mediumship. She showed me how important it is to live for yourself, without apologies. To live without censorship. To trust my inner guidance and to grab as much as I can get.

To nurture my love of self, I took a three-day workshop with Anita Moorjani. SHE is fabulous. Anita survived and thrived after her cancer.  I do not like to associate these words with such a horrific disease, but she is the exception to the rule. Anita, totally debilitated from stage 4 cancer, entered a coma and while her organs were shutting down, traveled to another realm of consciousness. There she discovered her true purpose in life and the importance of self love. And when she agreed to come back, she did so cancer free.

MonkeyMe and Anita Moorjani

On a whim, I flew out west to celebrate a DEAR (Burning Man campmate, chosen family) friends 40th birthday. The time it took me to get there was almost as long as the time I spent there, but it was PACKED with love and all things amazing, and I felt honored to be a part of such a magnificent celebration.

With my Chosen Family celebrating Jelly's 40th Birthday - aka Jelly Burn 2016

I began the practice of Transcendental Meditation back in early June. It was one of many birthday gift to myself. I practice this technique twice a day for 20 minutes. The immediate benefits include a steady stream of intense joy and an appreciation for the perfection that is LIFE, balance with a peacefulness that allows me to digest, without being infected by, the turmoil and turbulence that sometimes bubbles around me.

I revisited Saratoga Springs, NY with family and friends for my 17th year at the Jazz Festival. Regardless of the lineup, it never disappoints. Together we laughed and celebrated and misbehaved. It's all too silly to make sense of to anyone who didn't witness it first hand, but I laugh out loud, still, every time I think of it.


This is where, last year, I met George Clooney. He was back again for round two, but when I asked him if he wanted to take a walk in the woods (a repeat of last years teenage make-out session), he responded that he was too tired. That is when I finally realized our fairytale romance was over.

Friends, Family and Clooney

He was quickly replaced by John Jacob Jingleheimer - a tall, well built, forty-two year old, former naval officer who walked a bit too close to our blanket. After reeling him in and dirty dancing with him, we exchanged numbers and jumped into an intense state of texting. Without warning, he sent me a text of his semi-wrapped, well endowed "package" which I found shocking and offensive (and perhaps a bit too large). After showing his photo to everyone present, and 20 or 30 of my closest friends (and now YOU), I discovered that the only one who found this disrespectful was me. When I expressed my dismay to him, his defense was that my sensuality demanded it.

The package

We played this ping-pong texting game for a total of five days, during which time he described what I consider the BEST first date ever.

I come out to you on a weekend. Early. I take you for a pedicure. We go to lunch. I take you shopping. Multipe boutiques. Try on different outfits. Have fun! Talk. Flirt. Tease. I buy you an outfit to wear for dinner. Mabye shoe shopping to see your sexy feet deliciously decorated for my pleasure.  Cocktails and more conversation and flirting at the bar.  I want all eyes on you. Drinking in your sexual energy. Dinner. Quiet booth. Rub your feet and legs after - softly. Kissing, touching.

He dumped me when I refused to send him anymore pictures of my feet and after declaring that his fetish for feet and older women struck me as "dangerous."

I must confess...This was not my first, post divorce failed attempt at celebrating my sexuality.

When I was dangerously close to overextending my leased mileage, I found Brandon, the Audi salesman. This 6 foot 7, 43 year old, former hip-hop rapper, managed to sell me a car without me realizing I was being sold something. And when he offered to bring a luggage rack to my house and install it himself, I had no idea he meant to install more than a luggage rack.

In the showroom, Brandon was a refined gentleman, but after-hours he was a man on a mission, determined to introduce me to his side of the hood.

I invited him to lunch on a weekend when my grandson, Jackson was with me. After a few beers and an extra large pizza, he let his intentions be known.

"I think you're grandmother is fine," said Brandon.
"Thanks," said Jackson, totally in awe of his grandeur.
"When I showed her how to work her new car, my dick got hard," said Brandon

When I erupted in embarrassment Jackson, cool as a can be said, "It's okay Nanny, sometimes that happens. He's just keeping it real."

I sent Brandon out the door before he had a chance to install my rack, but later rethought my decision. Despite his abruptness, there was something undeniably alluring about being with someone who was the total opposite of my X-husband - tall, black and bold vs small, white and withdrawn.

The next time, I cooked him dinner while entertaining him with reasons why we were not a good match.  For one, his age. And second, his late night texts and a past that changed its stripes every time he spoke about it.

Somewhere after the grilled salmon but before the dessert he argued, "but look at my dick," and then he took it out of his pants.

I don't have a picture of it. I would have had to be in the next room to fit it into one frame.

MonkeyME and the Wolf Cub

I still dream about my night with the Wolf Cub, and wonder if there is a man out there with the perfect balance of youth and wisdom. Someone who can entice and entertain me. Someone who doesn't need an afternoon nap, or a little blue pill, or a toupee, or a man bra, or a mommy, or a .....

Until then, I'll keep having fun.

XO, MonkeyME

Sunday, March 13, 2016

Saturday Night Take-Out

It is 7:30 on a Saturday night. I walk to the local Asian restaurant wearing bedroom slippers and no makeup. I used to order take-out for two so that the host wouldn't know I was alone.

Nowadays, I don't care what the host thinks. Besides, he will probably gobble down his dinner while hunched over a sink stacked with half empty rice bowls and greasy woks.

As I reach for the front door, a couple exits. I recognize them immediately. Our daughters went to school together. Her name is Barbara and I never knew her tall, attentive, wildly successful, handsome husband's name.

They don't recognize me immediately. She calls me Nancy.
"No," I say, "it's Shannon."

I think about telling them that Nancy is the name of my daughter's, father's, first wife, and coincidentally, his girlfriend, but quickly realize how ridiculous the truth sounds.

I politely ask how they are doing and how their children are doing. I even ask how their dog, Buddy the beagle, is doing. Everyone is doing well. Very, very well.

I seem to remember everything about this happy family. Mainly, I remember that Barbara was the only mothers from my daughter's class who attended my son's funeral.

It is their turn to ask how I am doing but they say nothing. They just stand there smiling and I wonder if they are afraid to ask.

I think about blurting out, "I've had cancer, all sorts of horrible cancer. And I'm divorced, again."

Instead, I tell them how proud I am of my daughter. How happy she is and how, at this very moment, she is in Colorado with the man she loves, volunteering at a camp for autistic children.

I stop short of saying, "Last Saturday we had dinner together. I wasn't alone, like I am now."

"Name please?" asks the host.
"Shannon," I tell him.
He hands me a small, brown paper bag marked, SHAMOO. I think about telling him that my name is not Shamoo. Instead, I decide that the next time I order take-out I will say my name is Nancy.

I come home with my take-out for one and find a neighbor's party in full swing. She recently moved into the condo directly below me. She seems like a lovely woman. She keeps to herself. She is quiet, except for tonight.

My plan was to eat my sushi-for-one beside a roaring fire while listening to jazz trumpeter, Theo Crocker. But all I can hear is their gayety so I eat my sushi over the sink, with the water running to drown the sound of their laughter.

It is 9:00 by the time I crawl into bed with a cup of green tea, my knitting, and an audiobook.

In my stretch of singleness between marriage number 2 and 3, I would line up Saturday night dates  by Wednesday. I had a collection of suiters to choose from. It didn't really matter what I thought of them as long as they were wild about me. My self-worth was measured by male approval.

I remind myself that I am here, alone in my bed, by choice. I would have preferred to stay married to a man I loved if I could have controlled his actions. And I would have preferred to avoided multiple cancer diagnoses, and treatments, and scars and ongoing healing, if I had control over my genetics.

But I do have control over how I respond to life's disappointments. I have responded with courage and conviction. This is how I now measure my self-worth.

I awake Sunday morning feeling refreshed. After a leisurely walk in the park with the dogs, I retreat to the loft with a large mug of french pressed coffee. I savor my solitude. And I write.

xo, MonkeyME

“Once the soul awakens, the search begins and you can never go back. From then on, you are inflamed with a special longing that will never again let you linger in the lowlands of complacency and partial fulfillment. The eternal makes you urgent. You are loath to let compromise or the threat of danger hold you back from striving toward the summit of fulfillment.” 

― John O'DonohueAnam Cara: A Book of Celtic Wisdom

Wednesday, February 24, 2016

My Match

I spent most of the winter searching for a cabin in the Catskills. My main motivation is Sasha, my 95 lb Bernese Mountain dog. She is my faithful, loyal companion and she deserves to roam without the restraints of a leash, the confines of property lines, or the bustle of traffic.

I found a fabulous cabin. I knew from the moment I walked in that we were a perfect match. So I made an offer, it was accepted and then the cabin failed the inspection.

I am disappointed but I know eventually I will find my great escape. It will probably require some work to get it exactly the way I want it, and that is hard to do when you have limited funds and no repair skills other than knowing how to hang a picture. So I joined an online dating site in search of a tall, handsome, contractor.  

I joined ZOOSK under the name MonkeyIncognito.  I picked this site because, I see "ZOO" and "SK" (my initials). It MUST be a sign.

I posted a picture that reflected my personality.

And I answered their questions honestly. 

I am not perfect. I am not 26. I am fiercely independent. I am outspoken. I am competitive. I am a tad compulsive (passionate?). 

I like these things about me. 

Music is important to me. Expressing my creativity is important to me. Living a healthy, intuitive based, spiritual lifestyle is a top priority. 

I like wine and I don't care that my dog sheds. I have learned to tolerate cats.

I only exercise because I want to live longer. I like ranch dressing on salads. 

I am living alone for the first time in my life and I am enjoying it. But I'd love to find someone to do things with when I feel like doing something other than being alone.

I don't have a TV. I'm a good jumper. 

Once, while walking down Fifth Avenue at lunch hour, I dismissed a woman begging while breast feeding her 7-year-old son and then gave $5.00 to a homeless man with two obedient shihtzu's, two cats, and a bunny. I'm not proud of this. 

I think I'm funny, but I'll let you decide.

You should be able to post a picture of yourself other than a mirror self image. If you have eyes, please include them. If you have teeth, please smile. If you own a shirt, wear it. I can't see myself traveling to Jersey for a date nor can I imagine myself dating anyone over 60. If you are obese, broken, desperate, lazy, addicted to porn, drugs, alcohol, or gambling, then we are not compatible.

We agree to meet. You show up. I can recognize you from your online pictures. You chew with your mouth closed. You make me laugh.


So far only men over 60, from Jersey, have responded. Most are wearing sunglasses.

xo, MonkeyME

Tuesday, February 16, 2016

I Remember

Kerry Ryan Magann

In the moments immediately following his death, I remember how hard it was to breath. How blood curdling screams emptied my chest and how I sucked... air... in... so that I could scream again.

In the days following his death, I remember the slap of dawn and how I begged to hold on to the night.

In the weeks following his death, I remember how hard it was to eat, drink, bathe, and sleep. How impossible it was to function in a world that did not include him.

I remember how I drove to the beach on my birthday, waited for the tide to rise, and waded towards ripples of darkness. But I couldn't stay under long enough to make the pain go away.

In the months following his death, I remember how hard it was to talk about anything other than my son. I don't remember how I found my way to a grief counseling group but I remember I wore all black. There was one other person in the group - a mother who lost her only son. And I was no longer alone in my grief.

I remember how hard it was to listen. How I would twitch my feet, and shift anxiously in my seat, waiting for my turn to speak. I remember how much she loved her son. And how we cried and screamed and begged and pleaded.

I remember how we blindly stepped into traffic because we didn't want to walk in a world that did not include our sons.

I remember holding on to his scent, his ashes, his clothes, his notebooks. I remember holding on to every tear. And how I was convinced that these things, if held long and hard enough, would bring him back. Because life could not move on without him.

I remember confessing to the police that I killed him. And how they tried to convince me that I did not. I remember discovering his cold, gray, breathless body and how it haunted me for years (it haunts me still).  I remember worrying that as he was letting go, he was scared. And how his eyes, frozen open, pleaded for mercy.

I remember how cancer, and heartbreak, loneliness and fear, pale in comparison to learning how to breath without my son.

He challenges me still.

I remember the moment I decided to live because he could not.

I would watch his son grow. And I too would grow. And all who loved him would grow.

Today, on the 37th anniversary of his birth,  I remember his first breath. I remember how shocked I was that, like his father and my father, he did not have dark hair. I remember how wise and old and wrinkled he looked. I remember how my world changed the moment he was placed in my arms.

I remember so much about my beautiful son. Mostly, I remember how he loved and how deliberately he lived.

xo, MonkeyME

Thank You For Encouraging My Joy of Writing

Thank You For Encouraging My Joy of Writing

Shannon E. Kennedy


Photo by Joan Harrison