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 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'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...

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

The Sunburntan

I don't feel well today. I am chilled, and can't seem to warm up. I am itchy all over. My skin is stinging to the touch, and this feeling encompasses my entire torso, which, much to my dismay, must be entirely clothed. The virus? Sunburntan.

Now that I am single again, I have to put much more emphasis on being cute. It's not that I was ever uncute when I was married. I just didn't have to try as hard, so I could let things slide. Like tanning. When I had my hair dyed a deep violet-auburn a few years ago, I decided that I no longer needed to be tan. When I was blonde, I was expected to be all tan and sunshine-y. With dark hair, I had fine reason to be pale and un-sunshine-y. It was more socially acceptable.

However, now with my newfound singleness, I've taken up tanning once again, since my pasty, pale skin hasn't seen the rays of a tanning bed since the early part of the Bush administration.

Tanning is a hobby that I enjoy very much. It's somewhat sensual to strip down and crawl in the tanning bed, which boasts a nice combo of hot and cold, thanks to the hot bulbs and the fans used to cool it down. It's a nice mid-day break, and it's also nice after work. I am always bummed that my salon only lets you go for 15 minutes, and I'm pretty sure I got cheated last night, and the girl set my bed too short, and I only got like, 12 minutes, or something. Sometimes I see tanning beds for sale in the classifieds, and I think to myself that if I had my own tanning bed, it'd be the equivilent of a human pig roast. I'd just let myself roast until my flesh was tender and hanging off my body.

Since I've been tanning so many days in a row, I've developed a sunburntan across my entire torso. I am bright red, and worse, on my back, I have distinct white lines, obviously showing where I've been laying in the bed, in between bulbs. Even my poor bum is sunburntanned right now, and one of the miseries of being single is that you have no one to rub lotion on your poor sunburntanned back and bum.

Not one to easily admit to pain--much less self-inflicted pain--I keep going tanning, and keep working on my sunburntan. I don't care what the FDA has to say about tanning and its dangers. I think it's a good source of vitamin D, and a nice recreational hobby. I don't drink, smoke, do illegal drugs, drive unsafely or participate in extreme sports. I am entitled to one vice that could be responsible for taking my life, and my vice of choice is tanning. It does, however, seem appropriate that my vice locks me in a coffin-like device, not unlike what the end result of a lifetime of tanning will be.

Alas, I am now sitting at work, in near-constant pain due to my sunburntan. Apart from my torso, back and ass, my sunburntan actually looks good. People ask me if I have been away on vacation, or if I am planning to leave on vacation. What I really want to tell them is that the only place I've been to lately is divorce court, but I keep it to myself.

Fortunately, I have a pre-tummy-tuck party to attend tonight, so I won't be able to build on my sunburntan today, which is probably a good thing, since I am nursing myself through the day with lots of ibuprofen, iced tea and lotion.

Monday, January 4, 2010

Today's Facebook Personality Analysis

According to the Facebook quiz I took today, Which Crazy Writer Are You, I fall into this category:

J completed the quiz "Which Crazy Writer Are You?" with the result Tom Wolfe.

"Ah, the life of a wall flower. You get to hang out with the most interesting people -radio DJs, hot rodders, hippies, Hell's Angels, Wall Street tycoons, frat boys - and are completely happy putting them into the spotlight. You're completely happy hanging back with your martini and your little notebook, jotting down all your little observations, in sight but out of mind. Sure, everyone at the party knows who you are - but do they know the real you? And, more importantly, if you want to fade into the background, what's with the bright white suit?."

I am sad to admit that I do not know who Tom Wolfe is. I do, however, agree with the part of making my secret observations, which will inevitably come back to haunt at a later time.

Obsessive Dill Pickle Over-Consumption

I have a flat-out, weird, unhealthy relationship with dill pickles. And back off your dirty minds: I eat them, not use them for illicit activities. I crave them beyond a description of words. To say that pregnant women crave dill pickles is nothing compared to how I feel about dill pickles. There's been a few occasions when I've run out of dill pickles, and I've honestly considered drinking the pickle juice straight from the jar.

Yesterday, I was innocently reading my Sunday paper when the craving for a dill pickle struck. I was so consumed with the dill pickles that I had to put my paper down so I could go to the kitchen to get a couple, at 10:00 in the morning. That is just wrong.

I am also very particular about my dill pickles. I will not accept anything less than Gedney Kosher Dills. Gedney. It's the Minnesota Pickle. When I was married, I went through a phase where I liked to slice my pickles in half, and spread cream cheese in the center, and sandwich it together. My ex-husband thought this was the most disgusting thing he'd ever seen. Another case for divorce: he didn't recognize good eats when he saw them.

Over the course of about four weeks in the fall, my daughter did a unit on colors at her school. It was complicated, because she had to wear the color of the day. So I'd have to deal with finding a green shirt one day, an orange shirt the next. On green day, she came home carrying a picture...of a bright green glittery dill pickle. I still have it on the refrigerator, because I don't know what's funnier: that I pay this school to have them help my daughter color enormous green phallic symbols, or that she chose to make a picture of her mother's favorite food.

Right now, I am having an intense craving for dill pickles, and there is nothing I can do about it, unless I want to interrupt my day for a trip to the grocery store. This is the worst day ever.

Why Mothers of Toddlers Never Get Anything Done, Part One

Sunday, January 3, 2010

(500) Days of Summer, or T-minus 5 Months

When I was married, I was unhappily married for longer than I can count. In theory, I could make use of that calculator feature on my iPhone to multiply the number of years times the number of days, but that would be a number so high that it might make me eternally depressed to know that this number is equal the amount of unhappiness and wasted time in my short life.

I've had four major relationships end painfully in my life, two with friends, two with men. In all four instances, I can name the exact moment when I knew the relationship was over, even though it wasn't entirely over yet. In one, a friendship, it was when he came back from a two-week academic seminar in Cape Cod. The trip was with some friends from his MBA program, and in those short two weeks, he'd gone from being my office husband to being someone I didn't know at all. Most telling was his conversion from vegetarian to carnivore. His wife was a vegetarian, and had been for years before she met him. He converted to vegetarianism shortly into their marriage--nearly ten years--but returned from Cape Cod a carnivore. I didn't believe him. I bet him it wasn't true, and told him that if we went to lunch and he ate a meat burger, I'd pay. He ordered a bacon cheeseburger, and I could see the defiance in his eyes at first bite. It was that moment that I felt that the person he was, was gone, and I was right. Thanks to the fact that we worked together five days a week, ours was a long, drawn out goodbye, that finally came to a full conclusion when he was fired. Even though he revealed his true colors in the year before he was fired, and even more so after the firing, I still long for him in some ways, when things feel tough for me. In being my office husband, his job included reminding me of how cute I am. I don't have that ego boost anymore.

I know the exact moment my relationship with my ex-husband came to an end, too.

On a Sunday, he wanted to go four-wheeling with some friends early in the day. I had no problem with this--I enjoy my quiet time on Sunday mornings to read my newspapers and enjoy my coffee in peace. I did, however, want to go to a movie that afternoon, so I made it very clear that he needed to be home by 1:30, so he could be ready to leave by 2:00.

So, I waited. And I waited. When he hadn't called to say he was on his way by 1:00, I decided I'd get ready and go to the movie by myself, without him. The movie was (500) Days of Summer, and in my small-ish community, independent films are shown on short-lived runs, so I knew I had to go that day, or risk not seeing it.

When he finally called--at 1:55--I calmly told him I was going alone. I felt disrespected since he could not even manage to come home to do something with me, but I wasn't going to let it ruin my day.

It was after 2:00 when he finally walked in the door. The movie started at 2:30, and was a good 20-minute drive. Like a teenager caught after curfew, he insisted it wasn't his fault and that he could get ready *that* fast. Since he took nearly as long to get ready as I do, I knew this was a lie.

In earlier stages in our marriage, I would've been furious. However, on this day, I was not, probably due to a combo of age and meds.

I calmly slipped my wedding ring off, put it on the counter, and walked out the door.

It was the first time I'd ever done anything alone. Sure, I'd been grocery shopping or to Target by myself, but never to a movie or out to eat. I was shocked at how liberated I felt, to be out and doing something for myself, sans wedding ring.

I enjoyed the movie, due in part to the fact that in my afterlife, I secretly hope that I come back as Zooey Deschanel, with her enormous blue doe-eyes and dark, dark hair.

When I got home, my wedding ring was still laying on the counter, and my ex-husband was in bed, napping. He had no remorse, no regret, for the fact that his failure to do the one thing I asked of him--show up on time to take me to a movie on a Sunday afternoon--resulted in me being so hurt that I was no longer wearing my wedding ring. His attitude was that of complete nonchalance, and that was when I knew: not only did he not respect me, he took me for granted.

It was roughly five months after (500) Days of Summer that our marriage ended for real. My only regret was that I didn't do it five months--or 500 days--sooner.

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