All posts in tuesdays with tara

tuesdays with tara – volume fifty one

The path was wrong, but it gave us hope.”

The ubiquitous “they” say the following, “People come into our lives at a certain time for a reason.” But what if they come at the wrong time? There is a lesson in this, too, I know, but there is also an intolerable amount of waste that comes in this. And waste tears at my heart.

There’s nothing more wrenching than wondering what could have been. It is irresolvable, this. It is stubborn, cold and merciless. It is a wound that refuses to close. It is a ghost that will not leave.

I know why I needed you. You were a real man when I was in desperate need of such an essence. You smelled like sawdust. You had the hands of someone who lovingly worked the land. Your eyes were full of stories. I wanted you to tell them to me. I wanted to sit on your knee and fall against your chest. I could see how it would happen.

Your rusty pickup was the first thing I saw each morning when I opened the coffee house.

One morning, you gave me a mixed tape of bluegrass gems. It felt like seduction, and I believe this was your intention. You were more than twice my age. I missed my Dad. It doesn’t get more Freudian than that, my friend. And if you felt foolish in falling for me, you did a good job of hiding it. You seemed to delight in tumbling headlong. Didn’t you know I was green and cruel? Didn’t you know I would crush your heart? Did you do it despite this knowledge?

All I know is that suddenly, I was living only for our Sundays. Bundled up and riding alongside the rising sun, we made our way to the farmer’s market under the bridge. We drank robust coffee, sampled artisan cheeses and chatted with our favorite vendors. And once we had all our fixin’s, we headed back to your house for a proper breakfast.

You were a chef and you taught me so many things about cooking. To this day I still sautee field greens the way you taught me. Still open garlic the way you taught me. Still enjoy the occasional glass of wine as I cook the way you taught me.

You were teaching me all the time. I know that now. It must have been something you needed. If I was ever good to you, it was in this role as eager student. I did marvel at your easy way with any manner of tasks; admired your way of looking at the world. I just had no business with my hands on your heart strings. I took your love and I pocketed the goodness for myself and I bid you farewell without so much as a thank you.

Do you know how I shall always remember you? It may surprise you because it was most likely a very casual gesture on your part.

One Sunday, I told you rather excitedly about a new wine I had discovered. I was over the moon trying to describe how it made me feel tasting that gorgeousness. And that Tuesday, I got a handmade postcard in the mail. It was a piece of cardboard with the label of the wine I had just told you about. You bought a case of it; suggested we get started making a dent in it.

That wine makes me think of so many things. It makes me think of gathering nasturtium from your garden for a salad. It makes me think of the pond you put in to care for my orphaned koi. It makes me think of the smell of solder as we worked on stained glass panels. It makes me think of how deeply I was loved and how I took it for granted.

I am all grown up now and I have forgiven myself for what I did to you. It’s just a fact that every now and again, a case of melancholy creeps in and it has your name on it. I don’t have the post card anymore, but I have that.

Efterklang – ‘Alike’

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big things are happening with Tara. big things. keep tabs on her here.

tuesdays with tara – volume fifty

“I am a marathon runner and my legs are sore and I am anxious to see what it is I’m runnin’ for.”

There is no amount of preparation that will save you from uncertain emotion. There is no amount of soul searching that will prepare you for the damned unpredictable. There is no amount of self reflection that will save you from apathy or fear or fear disguised as apathy. No, these things, all, will have their way with you.

There were so many nights that felt the same on some level. There was the drinking, of course. The opening of a bottle and the decision to unravel are only the opening stages. The music is important. Silence is not your friend in this frame of mind. No, when choosing to teeter on a dangerous precipice inside your mind, one needs an anchor. Attach yourself to that anchor and go forth.

For me, there are always tears. They come on gently at first. They tickle my cheeks, slide their way into my ear where they pool listlessly. And I don’t know what causes me to cross over to hysterics, but once my chest begins to heave, once my breast bears too much weight, I gasp for air, I empty my lungs, and I wish for it all to go away, this pain. Just make it go away. I didn’t want any of this, so why do I keep falling in the same place?

I stand tall and strong, head held aloft. I look at you hard and I am thinking, “I may not be invincible, but I am not going to bring you down.” I am beyond the selfish means of an emotional drifter. I do not want to drag you through anything. I want to make you smile to yourself. I want you to feel a warmth curl through your body when you think of me. It doesn’t seem too much to ask. It seems really so very simple to me.  I want to love you and I want you to let me.

There is a lack of control that paralyzes you at the beginning. I cannot change anything that you are saying to me. These words, hurtful as they are, are your truth. They are your reality. They are from the source of your hidden heart. You give them to me. It is a gift wrapped in disaster. They will rip me apart, those words, and yet I must receive them. After all, I told you I was in this with you. I didn’t say I was in this so long as it was good, so long as it seemed a dream.  And when I said that I wanted to stand by you, this isn’t the scenario I had in mind, I’ll be honest. But it’s not scripted. None of this was predicted, and yet all of this was possible.

We are here now. We are in it. When I can still couch terms in “we”, shouldn’t I feel relief? When hysteria makes way for sheer uncertainty, where is the victory? There is only to go forward.

It is all we have, aside from a whole lot of love and a couple of busted up hearts.

Yellow Ostrich – ‘Marathon Runner’

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there’s 49 more of these – if my math is correct. there’s also a book deal officially being talked about. and if I could trade the emails between Tara and I, I would… but trust that girl is deep. and funny. like – in real life like. the stuff above is how she is, and I can bet you it’s spontaneous prose, with no edits [except for grammar – cause she’s into shit like good grammar.] 


tuesdays with tara – volume forty-nine

“Even when the love’s gone, don’t I know it? Even when the love’s gone, don’t I show it?”

The end of romantic love is such a private affair. It is a room big enough for only two. When two mature adults have decided to put an end to what they’ve had, to go their separate ways, it is a deeply painful experience, unique in its ability to go straight to our core.

It is an exercise in nostalgia and a fragile understanding cobbled out of battered emotions and the will to press on.

There is no such thing as a clean end, either.

Love goes on. It may take another form, but it does not die entirely. Once we have made the decision to cut it loose in its present form, it begins to assume another shape, almost without our doing. It is a force and often times, it will dictate its form before we have gotten our footing.

Anyone who has loved and lost, loved and let go, knows what hard work it can be to reconcile all that we have been through. Love’s end is humbling. It’s a brutal teacher. Ignoring the lessons of love’s end puts us at peril of repeating the same mistakes with somebody new. It prevents us from moving forward in any meaningful way. People will use you as a late night anecdote. They will speak of your misadventures and shake their heads. You will have become a parody.

I will tell you something that is truly frightening: getting caught in that private room. Realizing that you are caught between two people who are in that extremely intimate process of extricating themselves from one another. This is somewhere that you never want to find yourself. The emotions of others are not meant to be fodder for your nightmares, or fuel for your anxiety attacks. These people might work very hard at hiding their turmoil and their pain. If you are tuned in, you will feel it anyway. It will make mincemeat of your sanity.

He told you it was finished. You believed him. At the time, he believed himself. What he didn’t know, what he couldn’t know, was what his hidden heart would put him through. He would miss her sometimes. It would only be natural. Except now, he would feel guilty about it, like he was betraying you, because you were already wrapped up in it. You were wrapped up so tightly in it that if you focused on it too much, you could barely breathe.

And the battle that will go on in your soul: a desire to be understanding and patient, and the desire to run screaming from all of the messy human emotion. You will want to stamp your foot like a child and demand to be exclusively loved.

In the end, your only choice is to go through all of it. To see with clear eyes, to not allow yourself to succumb to insecurity or pettiness. You must rise above and believe that you will be rewarded for what you are going through.

You might make it.

You might survive it.

If you do, you will have built strength and character.

And even after all of it you end up alone again, as much as it will sting, you will have gained plenty.

 Blake Mills – Wintersong

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I [Aric] have taken it upon myself to passively bully Tara [who writes these] into – in a few months time – putting the best TwTs into a short story novel. one per week per year or something like that. am open to ideas, but if you agree, do me a favor and join the group on FB. this shit is too good to be only seen on this little blog. 

tuesdays with tara – volume fourty eight

Something must be wrong. You give me emotional artifacts that can find no purchase.”

You were never going to stick. You just weren’t one of those. You were a temporary salve for me: a way to hastily dress a wound so as not to be bothered by it. You were cold and hungry on the side of the road. I was a blanket; a hot meal. For a time, it was sustenance. It would do. And it did. Until it didn’t.

There are so many ways to hide. We can thrust ourselves headlong into certain disaster. It’s a chilling prospect, the inevitability of failure. How big can we make this explosion? How much will you shift what’s inside of me? Will I think of you, years from now, when I hear that song, when I taste that dish? Will you surface occasionally, like a sour stomach or a tension headache?

Your love was so quick and easy. It was almost dirty in its nonchalance. Your proclamations were the cream puff of language: golden and inviting on the surface; hollow on the inside. “I do not love you. I do not even want you. I want you to distract me long enough that I don’t fall apart.” This is what I would have said to you had I been honest. What happened instead is that I smiled and kept my eyes closed.

And this triste with you, this silly dalliance, robbed me of a chance to mourn properly. Instead of moving through the sadness of a true love gone dry, man and wife torn asunder, I ran through the streets with you. You and all of your facile charms, satisfying and nutritious as corn syrup. With you, I played the coquette. You loved me, too.

You had no idea who I was.

I still remember the last morning.

I made you coffee and dry toast. I watched you brush the crumbs off of your pants on to the floor. You stood to leave and without so much as a hug, you said, “Call you tonight.” It sounded like a question. It may well have been. “These are the last words I shall ever say to you.” That’s what you would have said had you been honest.

But you weren’t. And I was hardly expecting as much. The oasis between us had dissolved. We both acknowledged it in our own ways.

It was the only thing about us that was sincere.

Of Montreal – ‘Coquet Coquette’

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becoming a Tuesdays with Tara fan is much easier than joining a gym. how ’bout a New Year’s Resolution you’ll actually stick to?

tuesdays with tara – volume forty seven

Christmas is a time of year that brings out a great deal of emotions in everyone around us. I do hope you appreciate how delicately worded and understated that sentence was.

I am not one of those bah hum bug types that dreads this time of year. For me, Christmas is, and has always been, all about my family; people who I am happy to say I am rather fond of and very attached to.

Yes, I am very much a family girl. Paradoxically, I always tend to live extremely far away from them. I returned from five years in Turkey only to haul ass across the entire expanse of the nation to Oregon. One would think I were making some sort of statement. It’s not the case. It’s just how my hand has played out.

The downside to this is that my one vacation of the year is usually spent flying home for Christmas. I don’t have to go into the headaches of flying during the holidays, or the additional expense of flying that time of year. But I will throw in the added crap fest of flying into a snowy place at that time of year and the flight delays and wing de-icings and emergency road closures. You know, just because I can.

In my entire life, I have only ever spent two Christmases away from my family.

The first was the year I was married (so so long ago!). Having gotten hitched and moved across the country, we were just too busted to fly home. We decided to drive out to Salt Lake City to spend the holiday with my sister in law, who was in similar financial straits that year.

Unfortunately, Salt Lake City freaked me the heck out. So white! So tidy! Everything closes at 6! The Temple is an ever present shadow! The beer is so weak!

We gave it a go. Honestly, we did our best. But I called home and whilst listening to the drunken merriment on the other end of the phone, proceeded to unravel entirely and curl into fetal position to cry myself stupid. It was a dark moment.

The last time I didn’t go home also involved a lack of funds: my first year in Turkey. I cannot tell you how incredibly pathetic it felt to be living in a country that didn’t even celebrate the holiday I would be missing so much. At first I thought the lack of Christmas-related ephemera would be advantageous. It only added to the sense of dislocation and alienation that I felt. I remember thinking that I was now living in a country in which one of the major celebrations involved the slaughtering of animals. It was another dark moment.

I won’t be going home this year. Again, it’s a matter of funds and the lack thereof. But I’ve made peace with all of this and am determined to do my best to make the most of what I do have ( an absolutely lovely man, two sweet kitties and a cozy home) and be happy for the people I love back home. I will miss them. I will yearn to be there. But I am determined not to fall apart and sob big baby tears.

I may even succeed!

She & Him – ‘The Christmas Waltz’

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for Christmas, you should do something nice for yourself and join the ‘T w T’ Facebook page.

tuesdays with tara – volume forty six

“We were wild, for awhile. A burning wildfire.”

Take away everything else. Leave just one thing. This thing, this facet of you, was what drew me towards your burning essence.

There were red flags from the very get go. I didn’t go into it naive, not in the least. I may not have anticipated you, but once you arrived, I not only perked up, I made sure that I got in the head of the line. Whatever it was that you were sending out into the universe, I wanted to be in its path. I wanted it to run down my chin like honey; sticky and gloriously sweet.

You covered me with it. You did not disappoint. I was breathless. On a regular basis.

Tearing down the highway in the middle of the night, we were giddy with the summer breeze. We made our way to the reservoir. We stripped down and jumped off the rocks into the icy water below, a full moon illuminating our mad passion for the moment. It was the way we always did things: jumping right in and ripping the meat off the bone, stripping it down until there was nothing more and collapsing in a puddle of delirious exhaustion when we were through.

It was a difficult way to live life all the time, to be sure. I started to run low on fuel. Our exploits began to test my limits.

I remember a night; a night when I began to truly see.

We were sitting on a veranda, overlooking the water, the sky full of stars, and our spirits were filled to the brim. I raised my glass, made a toast, and pitched my glass over the wall and into the sea. That moment was meant to exhibit a deep sense of joy and instead, upon seeing your face, gazing detachedly in another direction, I felt chills run up my spine. You had become a drug to me. You were everything that an addiction could be: destructive, blinding, and all-encompassing. I had become addicted to the exhilaration that I felt as a result of your burning. I began to lose sight of my own values. I was replacing them with placebo emotion cloaked in adventure.

Why did it never occur to me that I wouldn’t be enough for you? Was it an ego issue? Was it misplaced trust? It may have been a lethal combination. Whatever the case may have been, I was buying it, whatever you were selling, for the longest time, because I wanted the goods. Your excuses were immediately received with faithful ears, apologies accepted with expedience. I needed to believe that you needed nothing more than me because I was giving you all that I had and reaching beyond that to give you more. I was betraying myself, time and time again in order to submit to you. I knew better. I didn’t care. I wanted more and I was going to get it.

And there is a price to be paid for such arrogance. The price is steep. Experiencing such dismal disappointment in yourself, seeing it laid out in front of you, trying to sleep at night; all of these have price tags.

Once I passed through my anger at you, at your insatiable appetite and all of your lies, I had to deal with myself.

Because you see, I knew better. I saw you coming. I bit anyway.

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Play Today The Moon, Tomorrow The Sun’s ‘We Were Wild’

Tara – not Aric – has written forty-five others like this. forty-five. that’s a lot. you should read them.

tuesdays with tara – volume forty-five

I asked you to enter

and then I made you crawl

and you can’t be holding on

to what I’ve got when all I’ve got

is hurt.

 I used to imagine a far different outcome; an end far better than the one we made for ourselves. It was a terrific fantasy simply because of the absolute implausibility of it. In this alternative story, you have mercy on me. You respect my feelings. You treat my heart gently. You look into my eyes and you say those things, but this time, you mean what you say. You accept the weight of those words. The gravity of them moves the both of us and we are swept out to sea together; holding on to the other, swimming to shore as fast as we can; eager to begin anew.

And in this story, you apologize once more. You do it the same way: you collapse your head into my lap and you weep. You show me your wounded heart. You beg my forgiveness. You tell me that despite not being worthy of my love, you want it all the same; that you need it. But in this story, this moment heals us. It gives me the strength I need to let go of the pain that you have caused me. It gives me the confidence to start believing in you, in us, again.

But a story such as this is just entertainment in the end. It is no kind of salvation.

Just so that I make myself clear: it is not a wish to never have lost you. That day that I packed all of my things; that day that you followed me from room to room and cried, begging me not to go. No, you deserved that day. Had been building up to that grand finale for so very long. No, the fantasy is for this benefit alone: had you been kinder, had you been honest, had your love been real, you would not have turned me inside out the way you did. You would not have left the scar tissue that I am reminded of each day when I realize how hard it is to trust someone, to let them inside, to truly love them. You would not have left these jagged pieces with which I must contend as I try to move forward with another.

Some day, I suppose I will come to a place where I will be grateful for the ways in which you destroyed me. It will make the rebuilding of me that much more joyous.

I am not there yet.

Damien Rice ‘One’

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[this is Tara’s forty-fifth post. that means she’s penned forty-four other ones. you might have just met your new addiction.]

tuesdays with tara – volume forty-four

“How did I get here? I’m not who I once was. And I’m crippled by the fear that I’ve fallen too far to love.”

When I was fourteen years old, I fell into a dark period. Obsessed with the works of Virginia Woolf and Edgar Allan Poe, I began writing extremely morose poetry. It was nothing more than a coming of age eccentricity, but one that alarmed my mother when she discovered the journals that I kept those scribblings in. Where on earth were these moody and somewhat disturbing thoughts coming from? My suburban and sheltered childhood was one of privilege and comfort, so this side of me seemed incongruous, to say the least. In my case it was just a brief phase, and a harmless one at that. With the exception of hitting my head against a wall until I blacked out (an unfortunate habit of this period of time), I outgrew all of those angsty tendencies. Like many young adults, I was trying on a persona. It didn’t fit. I moved on.

I have a beautiful niece. She is a strong-willed courageous little person. She has also been struggling with mental illness for years.

It is difficult to definitively diagnose children who are developing, but it is widely believed that she is bi-polar, amongst other serious issues. The last few years have brought she and her family much pain, confusion and drama. She has spent time in psychiatric hospitals, residential facilities for troubled children. She has been on a mind-boggling number of drug cocktails. Just when they think they have her sorted out and she starts to get on track, she goes off the rails. Her body seems to build a resistance to whatever she is put on. So when she starts to feel better, when she starts to feel like a happy kid again, my sister (her mother) gets nervous because she is waiting for the other shoe to drop. It always does.

One thing that her psychiatrist is very happy about, believes to be a major plus in her case, is the fact that she has the ability and the willingness to articulate her pain to others. She has always attempted to communicate her feelings through music. Over the years, she has shared videos with us; asked us to watch them because she believes the lyrics so clearly speak what she wishes to say to all of us. This has always not only led us to a greater understanding of where she is coming from, but also reduced us to tears.  The video attached to this post is the most recent plea from her. I watched it through her eyes and, predictably, cried like a baby. It made me want to hold her and make it better. If only it were so easy.

The helplessness that I feel as her aunt can only pale in comparison to what my sister must feel as her own mother. All you can do is hope against all hope. All you can do is continue to love. All you can do is continue to fight. Just when I fear that all hope is lost, she rallies and pulls through; surprises us all once again. She wants to live. She wants to live a life in which she doesn’t hurt herself and the people that she loves. She wants to triumph against the darkness.

Some people make it. It’s the ones who don’t that haunt me.

All we can do is continue to hope.

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(*dedicated to my beautiful Asha)

tuesdays with tara – volume forty-three

Find me inside the calm of the storm where lovers decide what comes with the dawn.”


I knew exactly what I was saying; exactly what I wanted and didn’t want. I knew with a certainty what would come of it, having slugged through it before. It exists for us, anyway. It refuses to dissolve. Each time it gets stirred anew, it calcifies that much more; hardens before my eyes.

It is the one place where you cannot see. It is the one place where you cannot hear. It is your own personal fight. It is your battle of the wills. You are fighting against yourself. It is something you will have. You will stand your ground. You will not relent. You will never truly hear. You will not seek understanding. You will get what you want in the end because I do not want to be a part of this war. I never did.

But there’s something that you should know:

You will get what you want. Not because I will let you have it. I never had that kind of power, nor would I want it. You will get it because you can’t fight someone who has lost their will.

You begin this thing, this tug of war, and my heart beats frantically like a bird trapped in a small space. You come at me with daggers pointed, jagged defensive and hurtful words, and you are not the person I fell in love with. You are someone else entirely; someone I don’t even want to know.

I have given my heart to you in its entirety. You cannot return the favor. Such is my lot. It may ultimately be the decider of our fate. I may decide that I deserve better. I may be right.

There’s something else you should know:

You will get what you want. It will come with a very heavy price tag, so I hope it will all have been worth it to you.

I will love you less.

And this is exactly what you will deserve.

The Irrepressibles – ‘Forget The Past’

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our girl’s penned 42 more of these. you should read 42 more of these.

tuesdays with tara – volume forty-two

I wanna laugh and I wanna cry. I wanna spit, but my mouth’s too dry.”

New directions: It’s funny how they sometimes find you instead of the other way around. I mean, seek clarity all you like. Pray for it. Ask for it for Christmas. Don’t mean you’re gettin’ it.

I spent the lion’s share of my twenties engulfed, inexplicably, in some sort of cocoon of misery. I was angry at everyone and everything. Happiness was something that taunted me, coming close only to elude my grasp at the last minute. My motivations to propel myself in a forward motion were thwarted time and time again by an invisible barrier.

Fighting an imaginary enemy is exhausting and endless. People who are innocently trying to love you will suffer for their efforts. The downward spiral of shame and self-loathing becomes an oasis which you will fill with alcohol, tears, emotional blackouts; weapons of your own choosing. It’s no way to live. It’s barely living at all. When suicide is not an option, but every day you wake up filled with a sense of dread, what is one to do? How does one get dressed and go to work? How does one get out of bed at all?

When I reflect on that time in my life, I feel tremendously grateful that I found a way out. There was no magic pill involved. There was no epiphany. There was no mental breakdown in a sweat lodge. I just evolved beyond it. I just kept marching forward. Eventually, the anger that I used to carry just below the surface of my skin began to subside. My smile became genuine. I started cutting myself the occasional break. I could look within and see something besides the ugliness that once clouded my vision of who I was. I started to love little me. I started to embrace my life as something worth living, worth cherishing. I don’t know why this happened any more than I know why I slid so far in the opposite direction. There isn’t always a satisfying answer, despite our desire to sew it all up and put a big bow on it.

My thirties have been a decade of solidifying. My sense of self worth, my personal identity, the direction in which I hope to take my life; all of these things are very clear to me now. They are no longer concerns that I lose sleep over; that I drink a bottle of wine over. Knowing what you want out of life is a powerful thing. Knowing you may not get it and being okay with that, even more so. Allowing myself to be in the flow of life, taking what feeds me, getting rid of what holds me back; these are the actions of a functioning adult. They aren’t things that I take for granted because they are not abilities I have always had.

Lately I have been basking in the satisfaction of a life lived well. I am proud of who I have become, happy with the choices I have made, amazed at how things seem to be falling into place effortlessly. In other words, I feel as though I am living as I ought.

It’s a new direction.

It’s a good’n.

Black Lips – ‘New Direction’

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this your first tuesday with tara. tsk on you. you should have started this months ago.

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