Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Wedding Tips for the Bitter

Sooo...it would appear to me that I have taken an extended vacation from this whole blogging thing, though not entirely on purpose. I have a multitude of reasons that I could use as excuses, including the fact that as rumor has it, my ex stalks my blog to look for evidence that I am a poor parent to our daughter, or that it's been summer which equals tourist season at work, therefore lending me a lot less time for personal pursuits like blogging.

Truth is, I met a really fantastic man, and we pretty much had the first date that never ended: he basically moved in with me the night of our first date, and we haven't been apart much since, at least since we introduced our kids to each other. Previously, my blogging had my fueled by the flames of my anger that just sprayed out in no particular direction, but meeting the aforementioned man kinda dulled that fire and all of the anger I had inside me, and therefore, I was left creativity challenged, and usually I rarely have anything nice to say, and if it happens to be nice, I typically don't bother saying it at all. So, thus, I quit blogging for a while. But now I'm back.

Sadly, the really fantastic man is writing a fiction novel of his own, and has much more discipline than I do. While he is writing and revising, I am taking four-hour naps, brushing the dog, watching iCarly, shopping, Facebooking or any number of time-wasting activities that suit my fancy on that given day. Needless to say, my progress on what I hope will be my big break at last is sparse.

So, I have a friend who is equally as cynical and sarcastic as I. She has grown to become one of my favorite people, and we share a sense of humor that is so questionable, her now-fiance once asked her, "Are you sure you should send her that? It is a bit...offensive". She explaned that I wouldn't find it offensive, but rather humorous. And of course, she was right.

Over the weekend, she became engaged to her long-term boyfriend, though not unsurprisingly, as they've been building to this point for quite some time. She sent out a mass email to her friends, asking for wedding tips. I decided I'd reply in my own special fashion, a fashion that is probably duplicated and/or understood by few.

Thinking about tying the knot? Here's my list of realistic tips, and I am sure you will find them equally as helpful and warm and snuggly as I do:

First, CONGRATULATIONS on snaggin' N for life! Your ring is FAB. Did you have input on selecting it? Or did he surprise you with the ring style? I imagine you are quite pleased! I, of course, have the intense desire to inquire about carat weight, which I immediately did upon my second engagement, about like, 1.5 minutes after the proposal, but everyone told me this was bad manners and socially unacceptable. However, if you were to willingly offer this info, I would not complain. Remember, I relentlessly nag the boyfriend about rings even though he already bought me my wild-cherry appliances that could be considered a promise ring of sorts, I suppose, but I am still careful to point any and all rings out, as I have a talent for meticulously cataloging rings on both men and women. It's a shameless hobby. Alas, my boyfriend was forced to look at your ring as he was trying to drive yesterday. I am THAT shameless, that'd I'd risk a fiery death in a car accident in order to show him photos of rings.

Okay, so you want my wedding tips, huh? BAHAHAAAAAAA! Keep in mind that when I got married, I was a totally different person than what I have become now. So...

1. Why get married at all? I mean, now that you've got the ring and all...just sayin'. I'm gonna need some pretty hard-core benefits--preferably financial--to want to do THAT again. I mean, sheesh! What did I do to deserve that kind of punishment again?!? Though, admitedly, if Z asked, I would say yes, but that is due in part to a claim on his military benefits and pension that I'd only get if we were legally married. That being said, forever never seems like too long until you are wrong. Keep that in mind.

2. Since I suspect you will not listen to my advice on this topic at all, I may also suggest that you don't marry in September, as you have suggested you would like to do. Both of my failed marriages have been in September--my wedding that I *almost* went through with was scheduled for September 15 (2001, of all years--at a time when the entire country was at a standstill); and my "real" wedding was September 28. It'd be kinda funny, actually, if I got married and had another wedding in September. At least it'd be funny to me. I'm kinda weird like that.

3. Again, I know you aren't going to listen, but don't invest a ka-zillion dollars in your dress. I (unintentially) lost about 10 pounds in the few weeks before my wedding, and for some reason, it went from the boobs, which is never the case any other time I lose weight. So even before I walked down the aisle, I had bridesmaids trying to seal me into the dress with pins and double-sided tape. By the end of the ceremony, there was dried wax flowing down the front of the dress, from the taper candles that should've lit the unity candle (which wouldn't light, and should've been a sign). It was a pain to bustle, and dragged in the dirt, so the whole hem was filthy. I am pretty sure champagne was spilled on it in the limo. Before I made it to the reception, it was already in rough shape, and only went downhill from there. I later wished that I'd used that dress for the ceremony, and then changed to my wedding dress from my "first wedding" for the reception, as that dress was much more simple and didn't have a train. At any rate, both gowns are something that have been tossed in a closet at my mom's house. It's not like my daughter will ever wear it, or I'd like, make a quilt out of it or something. Though it just struck me that it would be HILARIOUS to make a quilt out of it for Jason's next wedding, and give it to him as a wedding gift. I don't know how to make a quilt, mind you, but I am sure I could find someone to do it for me.

4. Obviously, you will wear a tiara. That's a given. But don't even bother looking at bridal shops. Check eBay and online retailers, and don't get something that has a veil attached. That way, you can wear them separately, for comfort purposes. My veil was yanked multiple times, and since it was pinned in my hair so tightly, I am surprised it did not result in a severe case of whiplash. Or hey...you could wear MY wedding tiara, since you already have it in your posession! I could send you the veil, too! Bahahahaaa! "Something borrowed..."

5. Nobody signs a guest book. Like, half the guests or less will actually sign it, and of that half, probably a fair chunk of them will write nasty and/or perverted notes to accompany it. And really, are you going to look back at it anyway? Will you and N sit around on your anniversaries and look through your guest book? Plus, it just causes congestion at the door of your ceremony site, because people are too busy writing nasty sentiments to move their asses to their proper seating locations.

6. Cake rules. I don't need to tell you that. I didn't do the whole "save the top of the cake" crap, so the whole thing was gone by the end of the reception. I consumed, at a minimum, three pieces, so I could taste each flavor, and it was MY wedding, right? So I could eat all the cake I wanted. And I am sure cake became another addition to my filthy wedding dress, as did all the Coke I drank throughout the reception. Yeah, that's right. Coke. I was stoked to be able to drink Coke again, because I avoided it for about three weeks thanks to the whole tooth-whitening thing. Drinking Coke again was like being able to sip the Nectar of the Gods.

7. If you plan to wear hose--which I doubt you will, especially in Florida, go with thigh-highs, so you don't have to wrestle with them to pee. And dehydrate yourself if necessary, to keep peeing to an absolute minimum. Since peeing will require help so your dress doesn't fall in the potty, photos will inevitably be taken and will surface. Keep this to a minimum by peeing as little as possible.

8. One thing that pisses me off as a guest is when you get to the reception, and you end up sitting and waiting for your dinner for like, two hours while you wait for the bride and groom to show. So, I had a jazz band and hors d' ouevres for that in between time, when people arrived and when they got dinner, to keep them occupied and prevent them from acting like rabid monkeys, scratching and clawing and shrieking in high-pitched voices out of boredom and hunger.

9. I do not like "cover bands", so if any "dancing" was to be involved in this reception of mine, I had to have a DJ. People got live music with the jazz band before dinner. The DJ was a total nitwit, but by then, I didn't care. I just wanted it to be over so I could leave for Mexico.

10. I thought bouquet tossing was ludacris, so instead, I went with this Finnish tradition--and I am 100 percent Finnish, not that I care. So, the tradition is that all of the single women stand around the bride in a circle, and the bride is blindfolded. The bride has a TIARA and she is spun around in a circle, supposedly to lose her grasp of where she is while leaving her dizzy and nauseated, perhaps a tactic to take away from the inevitable thoughts of what she just did by commiting herself to sex with one man for eternity. I didn't lose my grasp on location, though, and like most contests involving a tiara, it was rigged for me to pick a certain friend. Alas, anything with a tiara is good, right?

11. About the favors...every wedding I've gone to has had crap favors. I can't think of a single wedding where I've enjoyed the favors, mine included. My original idea was little floral pots with seeds--you know, like "true love blooms!!!"--wrapped in a bow, and now I can't even remember why that didn't work out. So...I ended up with like, 200 mini flower pots. I ended up with personalized fortune cookies, two packed in mini Chinese takeout containers and wrapped with ribbon. Random but yet cliche. And because I hate when people clank their silver against their china for "kissing", I had these little "kissing bells" that were like little silver bells on a business card. And of these favors, I bet like, 75 percent were left behind and tossed in the trash. If you are gonna go with favors, go with something like handmade chocolates...or BETTER YET, I see Lush offers a wedding favor service. But I doubt men would be excited over bath bombs, but too damn bad. They probably came with a woman anyway, and if they didn't, that increases the odds that they would indeed enjoy a good bath bomb.

I am sure I will think of more "helpful tips", and I will message you when I do. Bahahahaaaaa! In the end, mine ended up as more, "Uhhh, Mom? Um...sorry about that day that I married that d-bag who ended up fathering your grandchild after we managed to waste $25,000 on a one-day affair..." I have no doubt, however, that yours will come with a happily-ever-after ending.

Truth be told, should I ever marry again, I'd rather take the money involved in creating such a spectacle and put it toward a fabulous new house, complete with outdoor hot tub, something I've been coveting for a while. Or a fab honeymoon in a location where celebs also honeymoon, of which I can no longer name, since I am that behind on my gossip mags. Or, like, an retainer account for the impending divorce that would inevitably follow any marriage of mine.

Friday, February 26, 2010

Not Absolutely Perfect

Because my mind thinks and thinks and overthinks some more, I occasionally drive myself crazy. Crazy enough to believe that it is a good idea to email the unrequited crush I have not heard from in two months. You know...just to see if *maybe* he wanted to get together for coffee or a cocktail?

Yeah, I am totally that pathetic. One of my dearest friends, whom has affectionately termed me her "lovey", came up with the term "lose-bag". After I sent that email and immediately regretted it, I spent the rest of the night feeling like a complete lose-bag.

He did answer me. I did not like the answer. He essentially told me that he'd "come to the conclusion that I was not absolutely perfect for him". Absolutely perfect? Is anyone absolutely perfect? Really? If there is such a thing as an absolutely perfect person, where would I find one to act as my mentor? Pretty harsh stuff, especially when used to defend quitting something we'd never even really tried in the first place.

He did, of course, ask if I'd like to grab a beer next week, so long as I didn't "expect too much so I wouldn't be disappointed".

In response, I sent this, what I feel is a beautiful, lovely, you-stung-me-in-the-heart-but-you-don't-need-to-know-how-much-you-just-hurt-me letter:

"While I am typically a fan of blatant honesty, I am not so much when I am on the receiving end. In my mind, I'd wanted to hope that you had discovered a preference for Asian girls or came to the conclusion that you were gay or that you found yourself trapped in an arranged marriage. To hear that you found me to be less-than-perfect, based on emails and no face-to-face experience, stings the equivilent of a ripped contact sealed to the cornea.

So, as much as I do want to meet you because I am so enamored with your blog and wholeheartedly see you as as equivilent of David Sedaris, though much hotter and not gay, I will have to turn down the invite for a beer, though it was likely my own invite in the first place. I am certainly not in the business of making people feel forced or obligated to socialize with me, because I doubt that social tension would lead to laughs for either of us. In the interest of setting the best possible example I can for my daughter and for others who foolishly see me as some sort of example of being a strong, independent single girl, it would be woefully self-defeating for me to sit before you, wishing I could change your mind and convince you that I am, at the very least, worthy of a chance, despite all my less-than-perfections. Seven years of marriage taught me that the only mind you can change is your own, so I guess I've gotta roll with my own wisdom and let it go.

For whatever reason--just like you have no relevant reason for feeling like I am not absolutely perfect for you--I did the opposite and placed you on a pedestal. Perfect in every way but one: you didn't even like me enough to call. Why I was willing to ignore what should've been the most glaring imperfection of all, I don't know.

Good luck. I truly mean that. I hope that you can find someone who sees you the way I see you, and that it will be mutual. Likewise, I am gonna hold out until I can find someone who sees me in the same way I see you, and can see me as absolutely perfect, whatever that might mean. And hopefully, that is the way it works, because as jaded as I am, I still want to believe that it does work that way and that it can happen..."

There's this tiny, angry child inside my soul who still wants to pout and cry and stomp her feet on the floor, and chastise my grown-up self for turning down the beer, because WHAT IF I could've MAYBE gotten him to LIKE ME had he met me FACE-TO-FACE.

But...at the same time...I have to trust in myself that I made the decision that is absolutely perfect, at least for me.

Monday, February 22, 2010

Why? Why, why, WHY?

My daughter is at the phase where she asks 'why'. A lot. It can be non-stop. An answer to any question is met with, "Why?" After I answer that question, I again get, "Why?" And why, and why and WHY? I have a surprising amount of patience for this relentless question of why, though even I run of answers at some point, and resort to, "That's just the way it is, I guess."

My mind is never quiet. My mind thinks 24/7. It is always trying to answer some endless "why" of whatever I may be thinking at the time. Even if I am quiet, even if everyone around me is quiet, my mind is still thinking. I must think about the same things an awful lot, because you'd think, after your mind works so much constantly, you'd think I'd run out of things to think about.

For the majority of my life, I didn't know that *other people* don't think like I do. I can't comprehend that there are *other people* who don't think constantly, who don't have a non-stop stream of thoughts running through their heads. It only dawned on me that perhaps this might be unusual when my doctor looked at me and said, "You know, it's really funny...you carry yourself so well, I would never guess that inside, all you do is think and you can't stop these thoughts." Then I got a prescription for Ambien, which takes care of my non-stop thinking, at least from 10:00 pm to 7:00 am each day. Now that I've been hooked on Ambien for several years, I wonder how I ever stopped thinking long enough to sleep before I had it, with the blissful black slumber it brings me each night, when I get a break from myself and my own overthinking.

Last weekend, AC was spending a night with her Grammy, so I used the time to catch up on a couple of movies that I'd bought and never bothered to watch. But of course, while I can give the movie the attention that it needs for me to adequately follow the plot, it doesn't stop my mind from running off and thinking of other things.

While I was lying on the couch, my mind was wandering, and of course, landed on a boy. A boy who didn't even like me enough to call, but nevertheless, I have placed him on a pedestal, and in my mind, he is flawless in every way, likely because I don't really don't even know him, much less know him well enough to determine his flaws. My mind got to thinking...why can't I have this boy? He meets all of my basic criteria, plus all bonus areas! Since I have no relevant explanation for this rejection that wouldn't hurt my feelings and/or leave me feeling like a loser, I told my psyche, just because. And then, of course, my mind answered back with why, why, WHY?!?

Much like when I grow weary of answering AC's non-stop whys, I just had to tell myself that's just the way it is...but it still fails to silence my whys.

Sometimes, nothing is better than when you've moved away from that quizzical phase of why, when you do eventually discover the reasons why. I have to assume, if only to soothe my inner loneliness, that things didn't work out with the boy who didn't even like me enough to call because, just like a subway that you missed, there'll be another one coming down the tracks in the not-too-distant future. And I hope that when that happens, it'll soothe my inner whys because I'll be able to see the reasoning.

That night, on my Facebook status, I updated it to reflect my never-ending why. A friend replied that she, too, could only ask herself why at this time in her life. Knowing that she'd had a baby a mere three days before, I told her that it was totally normal to feel this way...I sure did, thanks to the crushing phenomenon of the "baby blues", which I found to be more like, "Be prepared to sob hysterically, not sleep, envision your life falling apart and your child dying, and grieving from the loss of weekly visits with your OBGYN" blues. My friend later sent me a message that explained it all: it was believed, from an ultrasound, that her baby would be born with a slight defect that was easily fixable. Upon her birth, her baby was just fine, and my friend was told that the ultrasound reading must've been false, but her newborn needed to spend the night in the NICU anyway. The next morning, my friend was told that her baby had a "spell", in which she'd had trouble getting oxygen for a few moments, but things were now fine. Many, many tests and procedures have since followed, and her baby is still hospitalized in the NICU. The doctors have not told my friend what, if anything, is wrong with her baby, and have not even given her an estimated date of when she can bring her baby home. She is devastated, and cannot stop crying and asking herself why: why is this happening, why can't I get answers, why am I at home without my baby?

It caught me off-guard, as I was at home, pouting over something as petty as some boy I didn't even know not calling, and my beloved friend, who is miles away in Chicago, is stricken with grief and cannot even get an answer to her simplest questions of why. But it just illustrated that no matter the situation--from as simple as stressing over a boy, to dealing with your brand-new baby's possible illness--there never is an end to the question of why. I guess it goes without saying that "why" is just part of human nature.

Saturday, February 20, 2010

Clutter: The Root of all Evil

I shudder to think of the amount of money I have spent on stuff throughout the years. I bet it would be in the six-figures. All on stuff, crap that I likely would not even remember, much less treasure. My credit card debt doesn't consist of fun things, like trips or parties or a wicked cocaine habit, but rather things like that new Olay moisturizer that I had to have because it was new and I must try anything and everything new, or high thread count sheets, because I deserve them. Or pajamas. I buy all of these in wild fits of compulsion.

Right now I am sitting in my house, contemplating what to do. The answer should be simple: I need to get off my ass and do some cleaning. There are toys scattered everywhere. Clothes, too. And books. Items that, if calculated over my lifetime, would total in six figures.

And yet, I blame this stuff on my inability to get up and actually do something. It seems too overwhelming, too much. Unable to be cleared in one day. I'd feel as big of a failure after all that work as I do now, doing nothing but leisure activities. So why even try?

I see that the local community ed program is offering a one-night seminar on home organization, for $30. It promises tips and resources for organizing, but I'd rather spend that $30 on Olay moisturizer. It'll be more fun, and the bottle will last a lot longer than any organizational tips I could learn.

In other news, the community ed program is also offering an intro to aviation course, the first step in acquiring a private pilot license. I am so going. For reals. I realize that all totaled, getting a private pilot license would probably cost me as much as grad school, once you add in-flight lessons. Besides, I don't want to entirely learn to fly. I have no desire to fly at night, ever, under any circumstances. And it is my understanding that you don't get to pick and choose what you want to learn, based on personal preference. Alas, I can't see anything bad coming out of this. First, I have a pilot fetish. But it's wrong to sign up for classes with an ulterior motive of scoring men. So, I will pretend I am taking the Angelina Jolie route. I'd be totally bad-ass if I could fly planes, no man required, just like she does.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Just as Screwed as Me

I live in a middle-sized city in northeastern Minnesota. It's small enough to be cliquish and gossipy, and not big enough to be considered urban or at all hip.

Because of the relative smallness of the area, the local newspaper prints "Matters of Record". Matters of Record consist of court reports for trivial misdemeanor crimes, property sale transactions, bankruptcies, and my personal favorite, marriage license applications and divorces.

The marriage license and divorce section only comes once a month, usually the second Friday of the month. Typically, when I grab my newspaper that morning, I remember what day it is, and I briefly get excited, because there's sometimes little else to be excited about in my life. Ten years ago, I would've been more interested in the marriage section rather than the divorce section, because no one I knew was getting divorced and everyone I knew was getting married. Now I am far more interested in the divorce section. Not only do I get to see who is just as screwed as me, but occasionally I see the name of someone that I would possibly consider dating once his divorce is final.

January was an especially frustrating month for me, because Friday after Friday passed with no marriage and divorce records. I considered cancelling my newspaper subscription, based on the lack of gossip it was providing me. But the payoff of that is when they did finally print this information, it was two months at once, so there was a lot to review.

As I was scanning the divorce section last week, I was delighted to see the name of an ex best friend. We had been best friends ten years ago, when we worked together at a cell phone store. She was ten years older than me, and in my opinion, the epitome of glamour and fun. She had a bit of a drinking problem, but that suited me just fine, since I was 21 and liked going to bars. Unfortunately, she got three DUIs in a time frame of six months and had to go to jail. It was work-release jail, but nonetheless, it was jail. It was a rough 60 days, having to pick her up and drop her off at the jail each day. Plus, we could never go shopping or out to lunch, because it would seem that "work release" actually requires "working", not shopping or lunching.

After her jail sentence was up, she had three months of house arrest. This was again not great for the social life, but we made do, and I made out with her roommate, the brother of her sister-in-law. A few months after her house arrest ended, she met her future husband. At a bar, natch. Because where else would you meet your prospective life mate?

They had a whirlwind romance, consisting of one unplanned pregnancy, one abortion and one engagement, all over a four-month period. I was the maid of honor at their wedding, and by then, I was engaged to one of the groom's friends. It was a great day, if you exclude the fact that I got car sick on the trolley ride to the reception and that my shoes damn near cut my toes off.

As the months passed, we grew apart. We no longer worked together, so we didn't have that 40-hour-a-week contact. She got pregnant three months after her wedding, so that temporarily curbed her alcoholism. I ended my engagement with her husband's friend so I could date my now ex-husband, causing palpable tension in the group. The last time I saw her was about a week after her son was born, when she stopped by to show him off. He was born three days before their first wedding anniversary.

As the years passed, I'd occasionally see her name in the Matters of Record court section. I saw that she'd gotten a fourth DUI, and that she'd been charged with domestic assault, a story I'd sure like to hear but bet I never will.

About a year ago, I ran into her at the mall. I didn't know that she had a three-year-old daughter. She didn't know that I had a two-year-old daughter. She bragged on and on about her terrific life--her husband's fabulous engineering job, her perfect kids, the house they built, the enhancements she was getting on her already huge engagement ring. I wasn't even wearing my engagement ring, because it was during one of the many brief separations I had with my ex, before we actually got separated. She didn't notice this, and asked how my husband was. I lied and said he was fine.

Over the years, I used to wonder how her husband could deal with her alcoholism and her apparent domestic abuse. After seeing that they are now divorced, I guess I know the answer to that.

So, needless to say, after the impression that her life was perfect just barely a year ago, it did fill me with a sense of delight to see her name in the divorce section, to know that even though she put up a facade, her world was really crumbling around her. Plus, there is always comfort in knowing that other people you know are just as screwed in this world as you are.

We'll Be Through the Worst...

Living in northern Minnesota, it seems like every year after the holiday season, the conversation turns to the weather and how we will survive January and February, typically the worst months, weather-wise. Everyone assures themselves that once we get through January and through mid-February, "We'll be through the worst".

This winter flew by for me, with everything that has been going on. Sometimes, it surprises me when I step outside and it is relatively warm, at least in northern Minnesota terms. One of my friends calls it "hooded sweatshirt weather" when it hits about 25 degrees. Living through the bitter winters, we are shameless when it comes to temperatures that would be perceived as deadly in other parts of the country. The days are slowly getting warm enough that the sun is melting the snow and ice, and there's a steady stream of water that freezes into twinkling icicles on my house. It's light out when I leave work in the late afternoon. Even the air has a distinctly fresh, springy smell to it. It makes you think that you are through the worst of it, and have only bright, happy, springy days to look forward to.

But sometimes, a northern Minnesota spring surprises you, and you discover that you are no way through the worst. The spring that my daughter was born, we had an early March blizzard that dropped nearly 30 inches of snow in 24 hours. It felt as though the wind was blowing straight through my drafty brick house, and I clung tight to my newborn as the lights flickered all around. When the storm passed, it left snowbanks taller than my garage. And not more than a week later, we got hit with another storm that dropped another foot of snow on top of that. The "first day of spring" came and went, and we were still covered in heavy, wet snow. The worst was most certainly not over.

Lately, I've found the same in trying to navigate this whole divorce thing. The past few months have changed me. I know that. I feel better about myself, and feel more positive about my future. I can breathe again. I can be selfish and do single-girl things, like stay out until 3:00 in the morning and sleep until noon, and skip dinner and eat frozen pizza at 11:00. Sometimes, I don't even bother to attempt to clean the house when I am home alone. Why should I? I have more appealing options of things to do when I am at home, and besides, I am not really home all that much. I thought I was through the worst.

Last week, I got a text from my ex-husband that was obviously not meant for me. It was meant for another woman. Even though I have been dating (or attempting to), it irritated me. First off, I have the class and common sense to make sure I send my texts to the right number. Second, it was a casual message, telling her that he stopped at his "midway point for food and gas". I was married to him for eight years, and I didn't get messages like that. He was married to me for so long that he lost that sense of common courtesy, and I'd rarely get a call or a text, no matter where he was or how late he was going to be. That stung, not because it was meant for her, but because it illustrated the total lack of respect that he had for me and our former union.

A couple of nights later, I got a late-night text from him...telling me he was at the bar and sad, because there was a girl there who looked and dressed like me. I rolled over and went back to sleep, not knowing that this was the start of his quest to get me back.

After that text, he became relentless. In a classic quote, he said to me, "Would you rather be with someone that you've known and loved for nine years, or would you rather be alone for the rest of your life?" He knew what he was doing. He knew that indicating that I would be "alone for the rest of my life" would trigger all of my insecurities. But I still stayed strong.

I did, however, make sure I pushed for details on his "date". Turns out he did meet this woman...who did not live up to his expectations at all. They met for their date, and he discovered that she'd "grossly underestimated" her weight on her dating profile. I can only imagine, since I am a size 14. I have the urge to defend her, because one thing I cannot deal with is dissing someone over her weight. But alas, in the protection of my own high self-esteem, I will allow him to be critical of other women, after he spent nine years with the gorgeous me.

As the weekend continued, he carried on with his text messages and his attempts to get into my house (and inevitably, my bed). As he indicated his interest in "working" on our marriage, I was lying in my bed, and suddenly I was gripped with terror. I remember looking at my curtains (for no particular reason; it was just what my eyes landed on), and thinking, "Oh my god...I DO NOT WANT ANYONE SHARING MY HOUSE. I DO NOT WANT A RELATIONSHIP."

It was the first time I've ever felt this. Ever. Never in my life have I envisioned myself happy and complete without "having someone". After going through my divorce--the years of wanting to do it, the complete loss of feelings for him, the technicalities of having him move out, the sense of loss over having my daughter only 50 percent of the time, the finality of the paperwork--I thought the worst was through. Truthfully, I didn't care that I was, by some standards, a failure at marriage. In my superficial way, I still thought that while the worst was through with one marriage, I still needed to find another one. Now, the mere thought of having my freedom jeopardized and having to share my home chilled me to the core.

The weight of having to hurt and disappoint my ex-husband weighs heavily on me. The worst is not over there. I've agreed to a "date" with him on Sunday afternoon, but I made it clear that he won't be coming back to my place, and I expect him to head to his home to spend time with our daughter, since it is one of his custody days. I have told him upfront that I do not feel ready for a relationship with anyone (teensy lie...there is one person who, in my mind, I would like to have a relationship with, especially since I would've married him sight unseen, based on writing and sarcasm ability alone). I told him that I will make him no promises and no guarantees. He still says that he is willing to take this risk for another chance to be with me. I still think that chance won't happen, because I am determined in what I want, and secure with my decision to divorce him.

In movies on and on TV, it always seems glamorous and romantic when an ex comes back and begs for the love of his long-gone partner. In reality, there is nothing glamorous or romantic about it, if you are not interested in this. It just causes a setback in your attempts to be through the worst.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

The Only Brush in the Basket

I am blatantly honest, perhaps to a fault. Typically, I say what's on my mind, and even if I am quiet, I am probably thinking blunt, sarcastic thoughts. I remind myself an awful lot of any of the characters in "The Invention of Lying", because I can be that blunt from time to time. And the closer a person is to me, the likelier he or she is to become a victim of these observations of mine. That's why, when I date again, I need to find someone with a similarly dark sense of humor, because I can be a lot to tolerate if you don't get me. Just ask my ex-husband.

Recently, I mentioned to a friend that I hadn't heard from a mutual friend lately. She suggested it was because I gave the friend a lecture on the perils of extramarital affairs. The conversation went a little like this:

Me: I haven't heard from Other Friend lately. I wonder if she's mad at me?
Friend: Maybe she's mad at you from that time you lectured her about sleeping with married men.
Me: That was not a lecture. That was the truth. And I guess some people just can't handle the truth.

While I have no problem sharing "the truth" with friends, I tend to keep quiet around strangers, mostly because I don't like to be seen as socially unacceptable or as an oversharer.

However, today when I was at the nail salon, my tech had no problem with oversharing. Her partner is out of town, or rather visiting family in Vietnam. I guess that's why she decided to open up to me today.

When I am having any kind of salon service done, I typically prefer my technician to just be quiet, and this is especially true when I get my nails done, because it's in the middle of the work day, and sometimes just listening to that file grinding away at what is left of my nail bed can be soothing. Today, my tech was the opposite of quiet. By the end of the appointment, my inner lip was bloody, from me trying not to laugh at the following overshares:

* "Yeah, I got pregnant a month after I got separated from my husband. I don't know how that happened so fast...I guess it was because I was going out to the bars and drinking a lot."
* "My sister married my ex-boyfriend, and he used to try and make out with me. I mean, I never did the nasty with him, because I was still a virgin then."
* "Oh, my kids? Yeah, I don't have custody of any of them, but I can still see them whenever I want."
* "Was your ex-husband whhh...I mean, American?"
* "I lied to my husband about needing to work, and then I met this guy and we were drinking and kissing in the pool room. Then he told me to go out to his truck, and I did, and my ex-husband caught me with him."
* "All I did when I worked there was drink all night long, so I didn't want to do anything except lay on the couch all day. I didn't even want to take care of my kids!"
* "Yeah...that time that I got pregnant, I think I had a miscarriage...is that what you call it? I went to the doctor and they told me I was pregnant, and then I started bleeding a lot and I wasn't pregnant anymore."
* "When I was pregnant with my first kid, I caught the dad having sex with some KOREAN in the bathroom. I came into the hallway, and I heard was bang, bang, BANG!"

Sometimes, I wonder why people feel so inclined to overshare with me, because this is not the first time I've been in this type of situation. I can only assume that it's because I seem to be a good listener, which is not entirely untrue, because what I am actually doing is listening so I can make fun of the comments later.

When I got up to wash the acrylic dust off of my nails before getting polished, I couldn't help but notice that I was the first nail brush in the 'used' basket today. The first client of the day, and it was 1:00 in the afternoon. If she overshares with her other clients as much as she does me, I can see why other clients might experience trepidation in visiting.

In other news, I feel really frustrated when I don't get what I want. It is especially frustrating when this involves another person, because then there's really no way to alleviate my frustration over not getting what I want. And since this happens so rarely--this business of not getting what I want--I am completely unaccustomed to these feelings and have no outlet for dealing with them.

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Jagged Little Scars

I've had two surgeries in my life: my C-section, to deliver my daughter, and seven weeks after that, my gallbladder removed.

My C-section incision was a work of art. MY OBGYN's specialty is surgery, and it shows. My incision was flawless, perfectly straight, and staple-and-stitch-free. It was simply smoothed together with surgical glue. When I was in the hospital, nurses would ask to examine my incision, and I'd dutifully lift up my gown to show them. Many nurses would oohh and aahh over it, saying how good it looked. I would smile in pride over my OGBYN's handiwork.

The C-section scar healed beautifully. I forget that I have it, because it is so smooth that it just seamlessly blends into my skin. I never think about it.

My gallbladder, on the other hand, was removed laprascopically, and I feel that the surgeon did a hack job. I have four scars, and while they are small, they are jagged and stick up from the skin. They are a different color than the rest of my skin, and even when I tan, they do not. Lately, I have been considering taking those little sunshine stickers they force upon you at the tanning salon and placing them over the scars, just to bring a little sunshine into my life.

I equate my emotional heartbreaks to my scars. Most are like my C-section scars: they heal up smoothly, and you forget that they are even there, that the pain ever even happened. It's a distant, long-resolved memory that requires no further thought.

Others are like my gallbladder scars: noticeable, protruding pains. Jagged edges, as though they were left incomplete, not smoothed down to a vision of not being noticeable. Forever there, no matter what. And every time you look down, ever-present and always noticed.

The majority of the heartbreaks in my life have been the smooth-scar type. Sure, it hurts in the recovery period. But then as time goes on, the pain goes away and you forget that you ever even endured it, much less even notice the mark this left on you.

The jagged scars are the ones that you are forever marked with, the ones that never go away. The ones that you can brush against, and the memory of the pain will be back full-force. These are the ones that are the product of unfinished issues. I think that it's inevitable that anyone we have unfinished issues with will continue to pop up in our thoughts.

The question for me is always, how do you finish these unfinished issues, so you can forget that scar and let it blend in with your past? I don't know the answer to that one, but I wish I did.

I think there are only two people who have scarred me to the point that they still recur in my thoughts, as much as I wish they didn't. With one, I thought I resolved him, because I thought I felt it. In an instant, I sensed his presence, and with that, it felt as though my heart and soul imploded into each other. And then I felt relief. But just like a temporary pain reliever, the effect wore off, and I find myself irritating that scar more and more these days.

So, what's the answer? It's sure not Mederma, or Tylenol, or even time...

Starry Nights

When I bought my house a few years back, I was envisioning how I'd decorate it even before I put in an offer. I even bought fireplace accessories, because they were on clearance and they'd look good in that house. It was then that I decided that I'd put in an offer on the place: if you are already mentally decorating it, why isn't it yours?

The entire house had ivory Berber carpeting, except for the master bedroom. That room had royal blue carpeting, for no real apparent reason. I guess the owner just favored royal blue in the bedroom, or it was the cheapest remnant available when he bought carpeting. Because the carpet was newly-installed and flawless, I could not justify replacing it before we moved in (read: I was too broke). So I decided I'd have to decorate the room to match the carpet.

Sometimes, I get these really wacky ideas that I can be all artsy and talented. I have no talents in the creative arts, apart from writing. In high school art class, the teacher would draw my picture for me, and then I'd just have to color it in. Just like a toddler, I'd be careful to stay within the lines, so I could get an A.

But since this was my first house, I was eager to decorate. I chose a retro black-and-white cherry theme for the bathroom, to match the deep green ceramic tiles. I chose a nautical theme for the living room, and painted it a slate blue to accent my lighthouse collection. For the master bedroom, I chose a Van Gogh 'Starry Night' theme.

It sounded good at the time. I had to paint the white walls to a deep royal blue, and I planned to sponge gold paint on top of that, in swirly starry night shapes, just like the painting itself. And I'd decided that I loved painting; I couldn't wait!

Four coats of royal blue into the project, I decided that painting sucked. I hated painting. All I ever did for two whole weeks was go to work, then drive to the house to paint on yet another coat of royal blue. Finally, the day came when I got to sponge on the gold paint. The first wall didn't look right. At that point, I didn't care. Like a maniac, I kept sponging on the gold paint, because I wanted to get the job done.

The room looked hideous. I added a celestial border near the ceiling, hoping it would deflect from the garish walls, but it only made my room look like it should belong to a teenager. I detested waking up and looking at this room every morning, the bright sunrise deflecting off the gold walls and offending my poor eyes. One of the good things about sleeping in the living room for the last six months of my marriage was that I didn't have to look at that room the moment I opened my eyes each morning.

After I got my husband out of my bedroom and out of my house, I vowed that the first thing I would do was re-decorate that bedroom, before the opportunity to have a boy over presented itself. I couldn't let a boy into my ugly, garish bedroom! Sure, the bed itself is grand and beautiful. But it's surrounded by ugly, garish walls! What would he think? My ugly, garish bedroom would totally overtake his exuberance at seeing me naked!

So far, I haven't managed to get up the ambition to even start this project of re-decoration. First, the bed easily weighs 1,000 pounds, and will have to be disassembled to even get it out of the room. So I am going to have to work on the walls one-by-one, and then promptly freak out when I reach the point behind the bed, as I will have to try to figure out how to paint around it, and I guarantee it won't be pretty, and I doubt it'll be well-thought-out. And the walls are so...garish. It will take endless coats of paint to cover up all that royal blue and gold. Ugh...so for now, I suck it up, since it's not like I'm sucking any boys right now, anyway. It is nowhere near as lovely as the real Van Gogh, nor is it anywhere near as beautiful as a starry northern Minnesota night.

The other night, I got together with some friends, and we decided to meet at J's house, because we are all broke. Too broke to even go to the bar. I am broker than broke right now. Beyond negative balance broke. So this worked fine for me.

J has an outdoor hot tub. I'd never been in an outdoor hot tub...in the winter. I protested loudly, until a bottle of wine and two pitchers of Amaretto Coke got me to join them.

Once I was in the steaming water, it was fabulous. It's a crazy experience, because all around you, the world is icy and snowy and freezing, but yet you are right in the middle, all warm and toasty and relaxed, even though your hair is iced to your head. We talked and laughed and talked some more, for hours. It was a great night.

In a lull in the conversation, I leaned my head back to look up at the stars. The sky was incredible: cloudless and bright, with each and every star in that starry sky shining twinkling. I stared for longer than one should, silently praying for a sign. A sign of something--of anything--that would assure me that things are going to be okay, that perhaps a soul mate does really exist out there somewhere in that starry night.

What was I expecting, really? A shooting star? Planetary movement? A meteor shower? A military fly-over? Any or all of these would've sufficed. But none happened.

At the end of the night, we begrudgingly hauled ourselves out of the blissful hot tub and into the single-degree night, but for the rest of that night, until I went to bed, I was happy and warm and downright...blissful and content. For those moments, I didn't care that I was single. In fact, I knew that the night could not have possibly been any better, even if I did have someone. It was the perfect starry night.

I thought I'd sleep like an angel that night because I was so relaxed, but of course, all good things must come to an end. I tossed and turned, and I blamed the dog. Turns out, my friends slept equally as poorly, and we later blamed this on the slight hangover and severe dehydration that comes from spending two hours in a hot tub in the dead of winter.

After a few hours of fitful sleep, I finally did fall asleep and slept until the alarm went off in the morning. When I awoke, I'd been dreaming about a boy, a boy who didn't even like me enough to call after he said he would. Suck. Sometimes, I think it should be mandated by law that if a boy doesn't call, he has to tell you the reason...but would you really want to know? I probably wouldn't. But his unspoken presence in the dream was still an agonizing reminder--or sign--that I'd wanted something I hadn't been able to get. Double suck. I hate that feeling.

But the true disappointment in that whole thing is that it's like that blissful starry night: secretly, deep down, you are hoping to recapture that feeling and that excitement that comes with first finding someone you are interested in romantically. I hope I get to feel that way again soon, but lately, experience has taught me not to count on it. But maybe--just maybe--the next time the boy will actually call, and I'll be counting the stars with him, whoever and where ever he is.

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Big Girl in a Big Dress

I have, like, 30 magazine subscriptions. I am not joking. Every day, I get scores of them, sometimes five a day. I bet my mail carrier hates me.

Because I get so many magazines, it's easy to fall behind if I have other things going on, and that's been the case lately. Between taking care of AC and my emotional dramas caused by my divorce, I am woefully behind on my magazines. This is most noticeable with my weeklies, like People.

Last Friday, I had some spare time, because AC was at her Grammy's house and I had nothing else to do. Actually, that's a total lie. I had plenty else to do, but I was choosing not to do it. Sometimes, catching up on magazines is an accomplishment on its own, so I use that as an excuse to ignore housekeeping duties. After all, as my ex pointed out, I am no homemaker, so why change that now?

The issue that I grabbed, from a few weeks back, featured celebs and fashions from the 2010 Golden Globe awards. I was mortified when I saw this picture of Mad Men star Christina Hendricks, in which she was described as a "big girl in a big dress".

My jaw dropped and all I could think was, really, America? Really? This is a "big girl in a big dress"? Wow.

Being single again has caused me to have major body confidence issues. Not that I've ever had body confidence, mind you. Even when I was at my smallest, it was still a struggle, because thin was never thin enough. As I got older, it became harder and harder to maintain that thin, no matter what I did. By the time I married and started my desk job, I let go of that notion altogether. After all, I thought, even if I was "thin", what difference would it make? It wasn't going to significantly change my life in any way.

Now that I feel like I need to attract men, I could not be more self-concious of how I look. I've lost two sizes since I started my divorce, the product of a lack of appetite, which, upon seeing results, ended up as full-on starvation mode. I feel guilty when I eat, as if every bite brings me one step closer to upping a size again. But I still don't feel good or cute or accepting of myself.

I have a friend who has lost a significant amount of weight over the past year. Before she started losing weight, she was about my size. After her weight loss, she gave me a bunch of hand-me-down clothes, because she had shrunk, and they were worthless to her. I tried to stifle the minor sting this caused me, because she was trying to be nice, not point out my weight issues. The weight issue connection is all imaginary to me, because this friend is nothing but nice and gracious. She would never intentionally make me feel like shit about my weight, and I know that I only feel that way because of how I feel about myself inside.

A few weeks ago, we had lunch, and we were reviewing Facebook pictures of various people, including the girl that her ex-husband had an affair with. This girl was several sizes smaller than my friend, before my friend lost weight. As we looked at the pictures, my friend announced that when she divorced, she knew that she had to lose weight, because at the weight she was, she was unmarketable to men.

Unmarketable. To men. Her words stung beyond belief. I have no question that she didn't think when she said that. She was applying the term to how she felt about herself, without thinking that I am the weight she was before her weight loss. I doubt that she even realized that what she said would at all apply to me, and she'd never say something like that to be deliberately hurtful. But...by her standards, this makes me unmarketable.

I could not get those words out of my mind. To even have the word "unmarketable" pop up in my thoughts made me tear up. I scrutinzed myself in the mirror, wondering how I could fix my unmarketable-ness, and quickly. The "turkey waddle" of a lower tummy that I have since pregnancy and my C-section don't help, as weight loss actually makes this more profound. It's somehow like a growth, independent from my actual body, with a mind of its own. It doesn't tan with the rest of my stomach. It burns and it peels. The skin itself has never really regained feeling since my C-section, and is still numb to the touch. I could grab a handful of skin and flab and who knows what else. It's covered in stretch marks. It's very unattractive. It's unmarketable.

I wish I could say that I have the inner confidence to blow this off and feel good about myself, regardless of what society says. I am cute. Right now, I wear the same size as the "average" American woman--and I am three inches taller than "average". I'll probably hit a below-average size, in time, especially if I could manage to utilize the free time that joint custody brings to work out instead of read magazines. But yet...this still is not good enough. No matter how thin I got, it would not be good enough, when we live in a world where even "average" is not good enough and is harshly criticized.

Over the weekend, I got together with a friend from high school, someone I had not seen since the end of our sophomore year, when I moved out of the area. We had a good laugh over all the times that I tried to "guide" her into a proper model walk, making her walk with a book on her head to better her posture. She said to me, "One of the things that I have always liked about you is that you have always had that confidence to go after what you want, even if you don't necessarily know what it is that you want."

I laughed inside, because in my mind, hidden beneath my towering tsumami of a personality, is actually a gurgling cesspool of insecurity. It causes me to never feel good enough, no matter how many sizes I lose or how cute I look or how funny I am.

No matter what, when I look at myself in the mirror, all I can see is "big girl in a big dress" and "unmarketable"...

Thursday, February 4, 2010

The Universal Fix-It: The Band-Aid

My toddler, like all toddlers and all children, loves Band-Aids. She regularly critiques the selection of Band-Aids in our medicine cabinet. Typically, there's a good three or four boxes in rotation, from SpongeBob to Scooby.

Last night, I left the medicine cabinet open while we were brushing our teeth before bed, and she spied a fresh box of Disney Princess Band-Aids. The brush dropped from her hand and she exclaimed, "You bought PRINCESS Band-Aids? I love Princess Band-Aids!"

Naturally, once she found this fresh offering, she was suddenly covered in boo-boos. Most are invisible. Some are described as "huge" or "hurting". All are in need of a Band-Aid.

Last night, she presented a dried scab on her pointer finger, and I dutifully covered it with a Princess Band-Aid. And then her other hand mysteriously developed a boo-boo: the kind that cannot be seen with the naked eye. Nevertheless, a Band-Aid is not worth fighting over and makes her happy, so I applied a Band-Aid and we went to bed.

In the middle of the night, I awoke to AC poking me and screaming about the Band-Aid. It was in her hair. She insisted that I cut it, and in the dark, I fumbled to feel for the Band-Aid in her hair. Sure enough, I felt it twisted in her locks. I told her that it was okay and we would fix it in the morning. She told me it was not okay, and that I needed to cut her hair.

At this point, I was really tired. Not just a little bit tired, but dead exhausted. It was 3:30 in the morning. My three-year-old was demanding a haircut. In bed. At 3:30 in the morning.

In the interest of getting back to sleep quickly, I got the scissors and obliged. I scarcely remember the act, only that I tried to snip it as quickly as possible, avoiding as much collateral damage as possible. Then we both went back to sleep.

When I woke up this morning, the memory came back to me: I cut my three-year-old's hair in the dark at 3:30 in the morning to free her from a stuck-on Band-Aid. Before I even rolled over, I cringed, imagining the result.

Fortunately, there was little damage. In fact, I could hardly tell, though I was very tired this morning and might see a difference when I look at the 3-in-the-morning hairdo tonight. If worse comes to worse and it is noticeable, I will have no choice but to lie and tell people that she cut her own hair, because to admit that you cut your toddler's hair in the middle of the night in the dark is not socially acceptable.

This morning, AC requested another Band-Aid, to cover the gaping empty spot on her hand. I let her select her Band-Aid, and wondered to myself...if it's this easy to placate a child, why isn't there a universal Band-Aid for adults? Is it because most wounds that adults endure are emotional, and a proverbial Band-Aid would never fall off, because those wounds never heal, and everyone would eventually just be a walking Band-Aid?

THAT Kind of Girl

My friend H, who was the most adamant about not getting into a relationship quickly after her divorce, was the first one to find a relationship. Go figure. I guess that's where that old "it happens when you aren't looking for it" adage comes into play.

However, for all the complaints and fears I have over being single, she has an equal amount over being in a relationship. Her ex-husband cheated on her, multiple times. Not just random, at-the-bar kissing, but actual relationships. Not just once. Three different women.

Needless to say, she has some obvious trust issues. Facebook and texting played huge roles in her ex-husband's affairs, and she is very aware of the risks presented by these new communication sources. Hell, she's even used them herself a time or two.

Last week, she had a disagreement with her boyfriend over his acceptance of a Facebook friend request. She didn't tell him to accept, she didn't tell him not to accept. She did, however, point out her concerns over his acceptance of this friend request, based on witnessing this person's behavior and her lack of boundaries--because she was that kind of girl, so to speak. When her boyfriend chose to accept the friend request--under the premise of being nice--H was unhappy, to say the least.

A disagreement ensued between H and her boyfriend, and in response, he deleted 22 of his Facebook friends--the vast majority of the single women. Including me. Which got me to thinking...does he think I am that kind of girl?

That kind of girl is Rielle Hunter, who lured that nasty John Edwards into a lurid affair, knowing that everyone in the world knew that his long-suffering wife of many years had cancer. That kind of girl are Tiger Woods' many mistresses, who knew damn well that they didn't go under the moniker Elin Nordegren. That kind of girl is the forever-infamous Long Island Lolita, Amy Fisher, who as a teenager was seduced into an affair with a married man, and then allegedly assisted in his plot to kill the wife. I am not that kind of girl.

In my defense...there is no way I'd be that kind of girl with him. Ever. Even if he and H broke up, it wouldn't matter, because there's always that unspoken bond of friendship between her and I. In the time that he and H have been together, we've socialized on numerous occasions, and I never realized that I was giving out signals that I am that kind of girl. But maybe I was, if he felt it necessary to delete me.

In my un-defense...I have been guilty of being that kind of girl. Looking at some of my aforementioned posts would spell this out quite clearly. I had a knack. For sexting. Married Men. On Facebook.

H's belief is that your best defense against becoming that kind of girl with someone else's man is to befriend the wife. And I have no doubt that she's right. That's why I never wanted details from my Married Man's personal life. If I had to put a face attached to his wife's name, it would make it too personal. That kind of girl has to keep personal out of it, if only to selfishly spare her own feelings.

But it still brings me back to my concern: am I that kind of girl? I'd like to think not. I'd like to think I am nice and relationship-worthy. But sometimes I wonder. A friend once told me that she saw a news article on teens and sexting, and she automatically thought of me. I was like, what?!? You see something on sexting and automatically think, "J"?!? And it seems that the only men I ever find on online dating sites are the ones interested in sexting. Not dating. Sexting.

I just don't get it...maybe I am that kind of girl, and I just don't know it.

My Soul is Bare...

My daughter's third birthday is four days away. In four days, she will officially be out of her "terrible twos", though I have been told that "terrible threes" is far worse. I can hardly wait.

When I started blogging a year ago, I meant it to be an archive of the funny things that AC has done and said over the past year. And that went well...for about six posts. Then I dumped the blogging thing altogether, until I started my divorce process over the fall. Then, instead of blogging about my terrible two-year-old, I blogged about divorce and break-ups and lost loves and heartbreak and dating. I used swear words and obscenities. I was lectured by some well-meaning friends that one cannot use such words and terms on a "parenting" blog. My ex-husband told me that my blog was the equivilent of "man repellent", and that any man who read it would never want to date me.

So, in light of the fact that my blog is now anything but a parenting blog and my child is anything but a two-year-old, I decided a name change was in order: My Soul is Bare...

Guess where I got the name from? Those of you who already read my blog would probably guess: a Britney Spears' song, 'Me Against the Music'. I've listened to those lyrics a lot, and whenever I hear that particular line, I always think that Britney has the right idea. Maybe to recover from whatever trauma we are facing in life--or life in general--it's just best to spill your guts until your soul is bare.

And, as we all know, I have no problem spilling my guts...

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Community Ed Drop-Out

I've decided to drop out of my weekly community ed/ECFE class with AC. What kind of loser drops out of community ed class? I do. That's who.

This whole "semester" of class has been little more than heartache for me. I skipped the very first class, because I had my friend's pre-tummy tuck party to attend. When I went to the second class, during parenting time, the educator discussed the possibility of bringing in speakers. She mentioned the owner of a funeral home, who could speak to us on grief and explaining grief to children.

At that particular moment, I was overcome with my own community ed class-infused grief, and I sat staring blankly at the table. Secretly, I was thinking snide comments like, "How do you explain to your toddler that her family unit is dead?", but I really was in no mood for smiling. Much to my horror, the instructor must've seen the bizarre look on my face, and called my out by asking, "Did you have anything to add to the grief topic?". I found this to be a little more than rude: what if I was truly experiencing grief over a death in the family? Who was she to call me out on anything like that?

The past couple of classes have been rough for me, plus AC isn't enjoying them as much as she did last year, probably because she's already spent all day in "school", what we call her daycare, as it has a pre-school curriculum.

This week pushed me over the edge. The couple that reminds me of the Married Guy and his Wife both come to class, because two classes are held at the same time--one in the baby room and one in the big-kid room. The dad accompanies the kid in the big-kid room, the same room as AC. His kid decided to sit down next to AC to play Play-Doh, so here I was, one of the only mothers in the room without a wedding ring on, much less a baby daddy present, and I was stuck sitting next to the guy who reminds me of my Married Guy--the closest thing I have to an actual romance right now.

I cringed, sitting that close to him, because his physical resemblance to my Married Guy is just uncanny. Listening him talk to his son was gut-wrenching. I think that, to a newly divorced woman, hearing a man talk sweetly to his child is gut-wrenching. To a newly divorced woman sitting next to someone who strongly resembles someone she has feelings for while he talks sweetly to his child is near heartbreak.

In parenting class, the Married Guy look-alike and his wife sat together, and affectionately touched and teased each other. I kept tearing up, so I stared down at the table and tried to hold my eyes as wide open as I could, to prevent the tears from streaming down. After all, who the hell cries in the middle of ECFE class? If I broke down, it probably wouldn't be long until someone from child protective services showed up at my door, looking for evidence of my mental instability.

After class, it was time to put on coats, and AC broke down. In front of all of the parents and other children, she broke down, refused to put on her coat and screamed, "I don't want to go to Daddy's house! I want to go home!", over and over. I was so close to tears already that my own hot, salty tears did start streaming down my cheeks.

As I avoided eye contact with any of the other parents, I managed to wrestle AC into her coat, hat and boots, and pick her up to leave, as she continued to sob and scream. As we walked out into the below-zero freezing air, our tears both free-flowed down our cheeks and I pressed my cheek to hers, blending into one frozen tear that connected the two of us.

AC and I both cried the entire drive to her Daddy's house. She cried as he took her out of her car seat, and I looked away. When I got home, I crawled into my bed and cried some more. I could've spent the rest of the evening in that very same fetal position, until I got sick of crying and stumbled out of the bedroom to hunt down my bottle of prescribed Ambien, wait 20 minutes for it to kick in, then slip into the dark, dreamless, feeling-less sleepy relief it gives me from my feelings. Instead, I promised to meet some friends, so I had no choice but to haul my ass up and out.

The next day, I emailed the ECFE instructor and told her that we won't be back for the semester. As lame as it sounds, it's simply too painful, and since I get AC for only a matter of hours on those nights, I'd rather just be with her one-on-one, instead of blending our tears into one giant tear, frozen in time.

Memorable Quotes to Make Me Feel Loved

So, I am feeling not very cute these days. Oh snap, how I hate that feeling. Typically, even if I am not cute, I would not have a clue. Because I think I am cute. But these days, I am wondering if I see something different when I look in the mirror than what other people do, because I am not feeling the love.

When I was married, it's not like my ex ever showered me with affection or compliments. I don't think he ever told me that I looked nice, come to think of it. It's strange, really. It's not like I had any more reinforcement of my cuteness then than I do now, but I just felt more confident, probably because I didn't have to deal with the societal expectations of finding a man.

Probably thanks to the single life and what I perceive as the constant rejection of online dating, my confidence in my cuteness is totally sapped. Sure, I still make all of the same efforts, probably even more so, since I've gone back to the fake nails and fake tan. It does seem, however, that I have been spritzing myself with eau de man repellent, because I sure don't have the boys comin' to the yard.

Sometimes, I feel pathetic because I rely so heavily on the approval of a man to feel good about myself. Other times, I just feel pathetic in general.

Lately, it's been a combination of both.

To bolster my lacking self-esteem, I sometimes lament these problems to my friends, and they in turn shower me with words of kindness that warm my heart and make me feel a little less pathetic, even if only for a short time.

I collect these quotes, because I like to re-read them every once in a while, and lately, that every once in a while has been better described as "every day".

I am terrified of losing my favorite quotes, so I'm gonna store them here in addition to multiple other places, because I will save them forever, like a lock of hair from your child's first hair cut or the corsage from the time you lost your virginity on prom night.

Here are my favorites:

"...You are an amazing, amazing catch. You are gorgeous. Just gorgeous - looks like you always have been. More than probably always will be. So lovely to look at, so pleasant to listen to... I wish I'd listened to YOU more the other day. You take the best care of yourself that you can, same with AC - no one could ask for more from you. You work hard - really, really hard, you're fun, you have an awesome sense of humor, and you are intelligent. You are gifted, witty, and STRONG. You have so much to offer and somewhere down the line, someone is going to understand that being a part of your life is a beautiful privilege. No one worth having could ever overlook you, J. You won't die alone..."

"...I ♥ you and look forward to your status updates daily. You're like the Queen Frostine on the Candyland board. The super magical, so happy I picked it, prettiest card, ever..."

"...As for you, you're really one of the coolest people I know. I mean that. You really have a lot of my sense of humor and I absolutely admire you. You’re young, fun, successful and still have the world ahead of you. You have a gorgeous daughter who is hilarious. You absolutely need to write a book. I would read it in a heartbeat. I check your blog every day. Okay, I’m a stalker. But you’re just so amusingly cynical, it’s great. You really seem completely confident in yourself, even if you apparently aren’t feeling it.

I suggest you wear your MWD (or other) crown to work tomorrow. Or dinner. Or wherever. I may be a dork, but if I'm feeling down, I'm going to wear a crown. It's really difficult to be upset when you're wearing a motherf*cking crown. I suspect the people at your work realize that you're as eccentric as mine do, and they won't really question it, although they might tell you you're a dork.

Just take the time to say f*ck it, I’m wonderful! You are, and shouldn’t let anyone tell you any different. You have a handful of good friends, a cool mother, and people who look up to you, including but not limited to your daughter and myself. Be an awesome f*cking role model for them..."

I have some pretty f*cking awesome friends. I'd offer to share the love, but I'm selfish like that and want to keep my friends and their love to myself.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

January 20

I haven't been to work in nearly a week. It's a bit rebellious for me, because I have not taken longer than a four-day weekend since my maternity leave--three years ago. Everyone likes to believe that they are truly indispensable at work, and I actually am. Trust me, it's not as terrific as you'd think. When I was on maternity leave, my boss called me to say, "I'm sorry I told you that a trained monkey could do your job. Will you come back now?" I did agree to one day a week. I am pretty sure the only way I could escape their relentless neediness would be to leave the country, and even that is doubtful, with the widespread mobile capabilities.

So, last week when I announced that I was taking a few days off, I told them that if they called or texted not to expect an immediate response. My co-worker stared at me and said, "You mean to tell me that you expect us to figure it out on our own?"

Since I haven't been at work, I haven't bothered to look at a calendar, since there was really no need. Then I noticed the date on my earlier blog post: January 20. The Soul Mate's birthday. He is approximately five years, one month and three days older than I am. No matter what, I will probably know this bit of trivia until the day I die, like it or not. For no real, logical or practical reason, it is burned into my soul like November 22, 1963; or 9/11; or 02/07/07.

Just one of those things that you never forget, I guess.

I Need...Me

I will be the first to admit it: I am high maintenance. I like having my hair cut and colored. I like having acrylic nails, and I like having them done every two weeks. I like tanning. I like high heels, and rarely don't wear them. I like pearls and I wear them every day. I like makeup, and I wear that every day, too. I like buying all the newest beauty products. I like reading gossip and beauty magazines. For me, being cute is like a hobby. Some people hunt or fish or run or knit. I look cute.

Take it or leave it, this is me.

Problem is, I am attracted to men who are low-maintenance and outdoorsy. And they take one look at me, and leave it.

Looking at my online dating profile, typically the only men who look at my profile are old men in the 60+ age group, apparently searching for trophy wives. The second are guys who are barely 2s, when I am practically a 10. That is just wrong. I would rather floss my teeth with pubic hair than date men from either of these groups.

Alas, in the hope of convincing some man to date me sometime in the not-too-distant future, I have considered a potential plan to make myself appear a little less high maintenance. The only problem is that I don't know how to be anything other than who I am.

Likewise, I recently had a conversation with my friend S about my blog. S is perhaps my greatest blogging supporter, and in addition to having my ego stroked over being cute, I also appreciate having my ego stroked over my writing skills.

I was lamenting to S on a mistake I thought I made, sharing my blog with a date too soon. Do I reveal too much in here? Probably. That's just me. S took a look at it and told me that I come off as an "unapologetic bitch", and that some men can't take that, because they expect their women to be "fluffy like bunnies, both inside and out".

An unapologetic bitch, huh? Well...I suppose their is some truth to that. Even if I didn't say it, I would still feel it, and where's the sense in that? I am blatantly honest, possibly to a fault. I make no apologies for my high maintenance-ness, my anti-depressants and my anti-anxiety meds, for flirting with certain Married Guys, for still harboring unrequited crushes on Soul Mates 12 years after the fact, for choosing to raise my daughter as a single mother, for loving Britney Spears, or for the fact that I spent the majority of this day on tanning and hair appointments, reading Glamour magazine and blogging.

Even though it stings, I guess if someone can't accept me for the high maintenance, unapologetic bitch that I can be, then he really doesn't deserve the privilege of my company, anyway.

And, I guess to steal yet another line from Britney, here's all I probably need at this stage in my life: "I need time...I need space...I need me..."


So, I saw my CNP this morning for my every-few-months med check, which I frequently confuse as a conversation that begins with, "Hi, I'm here about the Adderal", because chances are, you aren't going to get it. Plus, it poses questions on how you'd know enough about Adderal to ask for it by name. I have learned that this topic is to be avoided, because I have never once had the desired result. Not even ONCE. Not even ONE Adderal tablet per month. Nothing.

In the course of our conversation, I asked her what she thought was an appropriate amount of time to wait between divorcing and dating again. I was hoping for an answer in the range of one to two years, to ease my hurt that while my other newly-single friends have already embarked on new relationships, I have yet to even go out on a date.

Her answer to my question was six months. SIX MONTHS?!? Six months is all the time I have before I start to feel socially inadequate for my lack of having a dating life?

Her suggestion was to look for "dining companions". Dining companions? That sounds like a senior citizen concept, as though I should find someone to grab the early bird special with.

I left her office feeling no more fulfilled, and even more lonely. I desperately wanted a professional to give me the opinion that dating after divorce is an unhealthy idea for many months--if not years--after divorce. Then I would've felt validated, as if there was a medical reason to explain my lack of dates.

To add to my sense of loneliness, I broke down and "dumped" my Married Guy. Not because I wanted to. Not because I was getting something out of our text dalliances, but rather the opposite: I wasn't getting anything out of it. Though he was at least predictable in his texting habits and schedule, all it ever did was made me feel lonely at the end of the night. All it was, was a brief reprieve from my loneliness that only ever had the result of making me feel re-lonely for the rest of the week.

Alas, in reality, it is me and my morals that should take the lonely hit on this one. Married Guy sure doesn't seem lonely based on his actions, but I bet those actions of his have another impact on top of mine: the re-loneliness of his own wife. And if karma does truly come back around, it's only fair for me to back down from playing a role in her re-loneliness. After all, someday I want a Married Guy who is married to ME, one who won't leave me--or another woman--filled with that foreboding sense of re-lonely.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

Monday, January 18, 2010

The Book Jacket Theory

I will confess to loving the process of buying books. Love it. I love reading the synopsis, the couple of paragraphs that give us an idea of what to expect the book to be about. It's so exciting, because of course this synopsis is selling you on the idea of reading the book. It's not gonna tell you that the book is crap and you shouldn't waste your time. It tells you everything you want to hear, in a way to pique your interest and make you want to drop $24.95 on that hard cover.

I am notoriously sucked in by these book jacket teases. It could come via a magazine review--then I make note of it in my iPhone app, so I can remember to buy it--or it can be at the bookstore or a library sale. I am filled with so much excitement just based on these brief statements that I cannot wait to dig into my new book.

Recently, I had a similar experience with online dating. At the point I am at--one in which I am emotionally terrified of rejection--I do not make the first move or pursue anyone, even though I have a profile on the site. And, for the most part, I have been clicking "no thanks" on the "winks" of interest that I do get, because it seems like the only men I am attracting are "scrubs" with no jobs, no college, and no futures, who live at home in their mamas' cellars. The second group of men attracted to me strikes me as the type looking for a "trophy bride". They are mid-life and beyond, and it shows.

Sometimes, out of sheer curiosity, I do scroll through the list of who has looked at my profile, and I was interested in one, because he appeared to have the "tall, dark and stupid" look I am so attracted to. However, upon reading his witty and well-written profile, I could see that while he was tall and dark, he was most definitely not stupid.

I broke my no-initial-contact rule and sent him a reply that rivaled his own profile. The extreme lure to this guy was that our humor--dark, dry and sarcastic--was virtually identical. Going into this dating thing, that's HUGE for me, because my ex and I never saw eye-to-eye on that. Sure, this new prospect and I had a lot of differences in hobbies--he was into marathoning, winter outdoor camping and fishing--but for him, I could've made some exceptions. You can dress me up in diamonds, you can dress me down in dirt! And maybe I'd find I liked these things, if given a chance! Don't be fooled by my cutesy appearance!

We started out communicating really well, and I was slowly building trust in him, because he messaged when he said he would, and if he couldn't, he'd send a quick message to say when he could. Predictability = trust development.

Finally, after two weeks of almost daily conversations, he asked for my number. So excited! Things were progressing from inside the book jacket to the preface to chapter one!

And then...in typical boy fashion, he hasn't called. It's been three weeks. I am guessing he's not going to. I am confused and stung and wonder how I could've f*cked that one up, when it started with so much promise.

I feel like I picked up a book in a bookstore, read that book jacket, bought into what it promised...only to get it home and discover that the entire inner contents of the book are missing, and you don't know what you did wrong to lose the whole inside of the book you were so anxious to begin reading. And since you will never know more than that initial tease, you will never know what could've been, had things progressed beyond that book jacket...

This is one rejection that stung--and stung deep--but alas, I have no choice but to toss it into my ever-growing stack of books with covers that looked appealing, but turned out to have content that couldn't live up to the teaser you were sold on...

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

The Sleep Cure

To ease the ache in my heart and in my gut, I have thought often of the infamous "Sleep Cure", referenced in my favorite book of all time, 'Valley of the Dolls'.

The premise of the Sleep Cure is simple: a drug-induced, medically-monitored coma with the purpose of curing what ails you. The two examples cited in the book are quick weight loss and the ease of emotional pain. The Sleep Cure claims to erase fives years of hurt and inconsolable ache--in a mere three weeks!

I can't even fathom a better idea than the Sleep Cure. I am down almost two sizes, but there is always room to lose more. The sleep--in mere weeks!--would allow me to forget some of the more painful memories of my marriage, as well as soothe the empty ache I now have from feeling like I have no one: my daughter is gone from me fifty percent of the time, and I am frozen with the fear of being alone forever. Plus, I'd catch up on my sleep!

Alas, you cannot find such a thing as the Sleep Cure, at least in the US. Don't even bother asking your doctor, because she will just stare at you with a blank look. If you Google the Sleep Cure, results only turn up from other bloggers like me, bloggers familiar with 'Valley of the Dolls', who themselves would also like the Sleep Cure.

If the Sleep Cure was offered in another country, I'd probably consider saving my money so I could have this procedure, the way my friends have saved for their own cosmetic surgeries.

Since it is not, I have no choice but to rely on my home-brewed version of the Sleep Cure: a good dose of Western medicine-provided sleep aids and anti-anxiety aids allow you to sleep whenever and wherever you want. It's funny, though, because I use my at-home Sleep Cure at least once a week, and the pain is still there...

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

Wednesday, January 13, 2010


"Breathe you out...breathe you in...
You keep coming back to tell me...you're the one who could've been...
And in my eyes, I see it all too clear...
It was long ago and far away, but it never disappears...

...I don't want to dream about all the things that never were..."
~Britney Spears, 'Out From Under'

All my life, I have believed in signs. Typically, I only believe in signs that I feel are good, and I ignore the bad ones. I like it better that way. And from conversations that I've had with other people, I've learned that you only see "signs" if you are looking for them.

Last night, I wasn't feeling great. I took AC to her ECFE class, and in class, I started tearing up. Multiple times. My other divorced friend JC wasn't there with her kids last night. I don't really know any of the other parents. Unlike last year, there's a lot of couples who come, so it's not just a "mom's night", like it was last year. And there's a happy, cutesy couple in class who remind me of my Married Guy and his Wife. The dad has a vague physical resemblence to the Married Guy. The wife has a vague physical resemblence to the Wife. I look at their two boys, and I think of the Married Guy's kids, because he's got two boys as well. And then I just feel kind of alone.

The loneliness was so bad that I snuck two Klonopin when no one was looking. Was I nervous or stressed? Nope. Just hurting. And I've found that Klonopin can knock the edge off the hurt, and at least help me avoid gasping crying fits. I felt rather smug for sneaking my tranquilizers in class, sliding them under my tongue and swallowing unnoticed.

To add the icing on the crap cake, after ECFE class, I had to bring AC back to her baby daddy. It's kind of a bad deal for me: I pick her up from daycare, bring her home for about 45 minutes, take her to class and then return her. I do, however, get her on Wednesdays. Damn custody wars.

After I dropped AC off last night, I went home and checked my phone, only to discover like, 10 missed texts, from my friend H and her boyfriend J, telling me to "dump those ECFE losers" and come out with them, because one of J's firefighter buddies was out. Sigh...I was tired. My eyes were puffy, from sucking back tears for the past two hours. I didn't feel cute at all. I desperately need a dye job and a cut, because it's now been close to two months because my stylist had surgery. My makeup was trashed, part from the crying bit and part from AC's rough treatment of me. My plan was to throw down a couple of Ambien and go to sleep early.

I tried every excuse with H to avoid this social interaction. I insisted I had nothing to wear. She told me that "boobs and jeans would be fine". I insisted that I wanted to go to bed. She said I could manage an hour and one drink. Finally, I relented.

In the midst of socializing with J's friend--whom I would date, and not just because he's a firefighter and he hangs out with J, someone I think is one of the coolest people ever--my other friend JC texted me. She was done with work, and didn't have her girls, so I told her to stop. I took her as no real threat to my flirting. Well, c'mon! I'm cute, right?

Once JC got there, all eyes were diverted to her. Sure, she's a cute girl, but she's not me. I nean, even in just boobs and jeans with pitifully patched-together makeup, I still think I'm pretty damn attractive. But she fawns over men, especially those with uniforms, whether they are in or out of the uniforms at the time. H and I both got irritated, because her real boyfriend was paying too much attention to JC and my wanna-be boyfriend was, too. It was sheer ridiculousness, especially since I was tired and vulnerable--and so was my self-esteem. Needless to say, I was not impressed by this turn of events.

Eventually, I'd had enough. Despite the fact that I was sitting next to H, I texted her under the table that I was going to leave. We exchanged some terse messages regarding the situation and her disappointment in both J and his friend, and I decided that I'd slam back my drink so I could get out of there as quickly as possible.

As I was drink-slamming, I happened to glance up at the ceiling, and guess what the ceiling tile was? Fighter jets. A ceiling tile with a photo of fighter jets on it. Not only did I feel mortally rejected by my failed attempts at flirting, I glanced up, and there's a blatant sign of my Soul Mate pilot (another mortal rejection for me, ha ha). Are you for real? What are the odds? Of all of the times that I have been to this establishment--and even been sitting at this same table--I have never noticed the fighter jet ceiling tiles before. It was a sign if I'd ever seen one before.

So, after that, I hit the road. So did JC. She was naive enough that she did not even realize what had gone down, that she was perhaps the reason I was leaving in the first place.

Done with the day and done with the pain, I indulged in my nightly Ambien. JC texted me to say goodnight, and I lamented on how awful I was feeling. She told me she was one step away from coming over and crawling right into my bed to cuddle with me. Shortly after that, I passed out from the Ambien. I probably dreamt about signs or fighter jets or pilots that I can't have. I don't know, because I don't remember anything but the relief of blackness and being completely devoid of pain, if only for a few hours. Sometimes, it's easier that way. After all, I don't want to dream about all the things that never were...

Saturday, January 9, 2010

Wrinkled Like a Pear

My friend found this old, shriveled, brown pear nearly frozen to death in a car:

Comparisons on the appearance of this wrinkled pear and my skin if I continue my avid tanning habit were made.

I'm pretty sure that she's just jealous that my glowing red skin matched my sweater so well. For everyone's benefit, I think it's best to just let this one go.

Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

The Divorce Detox

I've reached a stage in life that I've been predicting for years: the domino effect of divorce. Just like when you are in your early-to-mid-twenties and you are constantly attending weddings, it's now fallen into the cycle in your early-to-mid-thirties where you are constantly attending post-divorce celebratory parties.

I've fallen nicely into a group of friends who, like me, are recent divorcees, or divorcee wannabes. It can, at times, be the most fun I've ever had in my life. It's like re-living my early 20s, without the same pressures, because when it comes to marriage and babies, I've been there, done that. When I was in my early 20s, I was on a quest to find a husband, so going out always added to that pressure: I needed to find someone. It was fun, at times, to be single and young, because I had the vitality to stay out all night and still get up and work and go to college the next day. When I was young, I had so few responsibilities that I could do what I pleased, for as long or as late as I pleased. Now--just a mere 10 years later--staying out until even midnight when I need to get up and go to work the next day leaves me feeling like I've been hit by a train. No pun intended, of course, since I do actually work for a railroad, and theoretically, I could be be hit by a train on any given day.

Now, sometimes, life can be really lonely. Sure, we are all recently divorced or trying to get there. It's a fresh start--a detox of our entire lives, if you will. Except instead of that freshness and newness and excitement that came with being single in our early 20s, we are jaded. We've come out of marriages and long-term relationships that ended up being nothing but wasted years of our lives. We've learned to stop trusting men, because our married experiences have taught us that they cheat, they don't live up to their potential, they don't do what they say they are going to do, they refuse to mature and take care of their families, which left us to do all the work. And all the while, we've grown exhausted and unhappy and unsatisfied. All men now come with a "proceed with caution" banner, because we are scared and apprehensive, because the fear of being hurt again is so great.

Western medicine lumps us young divorcees into a category that strongly suggests "medicate until the feelings disappear". We all have our "anti-anxiety meds" in hand, some of us with a "sleep aid" booster. What used to be so hush-hush and kept secret no longer is, because that is what the medical field and society drill into us: take this pill, and it will calm you through your situation. It seems to be the answer prescribed to each and every one of us.

But with our "fresh starts" come a lot of new expectations.

Last night I was out with my divorcee friends, as a final dinner for our friend H, who is having a tummy tuck this morning. It's something that she has wanted for five years, and now the day is finally here. Ten years ago, I would've never understood. Now, being single again, I totally understand. The strain of having a child took a toll on my tummy, and now that I've lost weight, it is even more noticeable. It makes me cringe. It's like your feet: you can diet and exercise as much as you want, and you will never change your shoe size. With your tummy, you can diet and exercise as much as you want, but you are still stuck with that dead, stretchy skin that exists as a result of baby-making days. I dread the day that I am naked with a man again, and I hope to hell that he's mature enough to have been with women who have had babies before, whether he's been married or not, because unlike H, my C-section scarred tummy ain't going no where.

It scares me that, just like when we were young, the pressure to look good has re-surfaced, only now it's harder than ever. We've had babies. We've endured hard, unhappy marriages that led to hard, unhappy divorces. We're scared of being alone for the rest of our lives. We're expected to hold the universe up, but all around us, the planets collide. Society tells us that we should fall into the category of "MILF", but we also have to take care of our children, take care of the homes that we won in our divorces, work full-time to provide for our children, maintain somewhat of a social life, be active at our kids' schools, be out and active to "find" a new man...and the list goes on and on...

I don't own a scale, so the only time I get weighed is when I go to the doctor. Last time I went, I weighed about 15 pounds less than my pre-pregnancy weight. I'm guessing I've lost more since then, but sadly, the difference is most profound in my boobs. I'm pretty sure that of the 25 pounds I've lost, 10 has come from each boob, and five from other various bodily parts. That is unfair.

Alas, that is never good enough. Even when I was young and I was skinny and fit (because I had the time to be!), I never felt good enough, never felt thin enough. Now I don't think I ever will either. Divorce and the stress that it has caused has led my appetite to shrink, which is what caused my weight loss to begin with. But now it's like a potato chip: bet you can't stop at just one.

My latest tactic is the detox. I tried a detox once, when I was young and skinny. It was intended to last 14 days, and involved a complicated regimen of pills, and a lemon juice, maple syrup and water diet. I made it all of three days, before I broke down, due to weakness and a virtual collapse during a work-out.

The newest detoxes, it would seem, are largely pill-based. So I picked up the Jillian Michaels 14-day detox, and so far, I've seen nothing. No results, no side effects.

I brought this up in conversation last night, and as it would turn out, all of my friends also "detox". Like, big time, serious detoxing. In fact, H had an auto-ship plan on her detox, so she had bottles and bottles left, because now that she's lost so much weight, she doesn't need to detox nearly as much. After a quick stop at her house--where baby daddy drama ensued--I am now the proud owner of multiple bottles of her detox pills, which she assured me caused her to lose 10 pounds in two weeks. Sadly, I can't wait to start. I feel obligated to finish out my Jillian Michaels plan, and then I'll kick right into the acai detox.

In some ways, the very assumption of the detox makes me want to crumble: we were expected to detox our lives. We had to eliminate our husbands or significant others, who were our partners for years. For some, we had to eliminate our homes. We have to eliminate some of our recreational spending, because divorce is hard on the pocketbook. We had to detox our personal lives and pursuits, because we are now single parents. And we are expected to do so with a vivacious smile on our faces.

And now, because society tells us we have to look a certain way, we have to detox our bodies, too, which is so deeply sad because we detoxed our lives to bring us happiness and serenity and a deepened sense of mental health. Unfortunately, the pressure to detox our bodies is too strong, and if we get all of the good stuff we so wanted from our divorce detox, we also get the risk of detoxing our good health--in a negative way, at least on the inside. The high, high cost of beauty in our society...