After two truly wonderful years with Typepad, I've moved on to my own site! Please visit Mo Livin' Large at its new home: http://www.molivinlarge.com
After two truly wonderful years with Typepad, I've moved on to my own site! Please visit Mo Livin' Large at its new home: http://www.molivinlarge.com
~ Salvador Dali
A few months ago, I swiped my friend Kristyn's Facebook post from her KP Designs page: "PERFECTION IS BORING: True or False?" And ladies, y'all have some great opinions on this.
My friend Ann who if I remember this correctly is married to a Chef (at the very least, she brags constantly about his cooking), thinks that perfection can only be found in food.
Perceived perfection is boring and bullshit. Unless, of course, you are talking about food. As for people....perfection and beauty is not found in an Instagram, a vial of Botox, or endless hours at the gym. Boring! In fact, perfection may not exist.....again, unless you are talking about food! ~ Ann
Dorothy posted that "perfection is oh so annoying and oh so unattainable. So yes, a bit boring." I can't help but think of Melville's Moby Dick in this case. Captain Ahab chasing after Moby Dick to exact revenge for not only destroying Ahab's previous boat, but causing him to lose his leg as well. To kill the whale would indeed be perfection according to Captain Ahab, who would "strike the sun if it insulted me." And yet, in his pursuit to exact the perfect revenge, Captain Ahab... well, my dad, one of the world's few Melville fans I'm sure, sums it up perfectly: Everyone dies but Ish and the Fish.
Kanye West's mother also died in her pursuit of perfection. If you don't remember the 2010 story, Donda West died of complications following cosmetic surgery. She had first been refused by a doctor because he recognized Ms. West as having a heart condition that would put her at risk of a heart attack if she underwent the tummy tuck and breast reduction surgery she wanted. He instead referred her to a cardiac surgeon, but Ms. West instead went to another plastic surgeon who performed the surgeries she wanted and the unfortunate cost of perfection for Donda West was her life. According to Wikipedia: "The final coroner's report January 10, 2008 concluded that Donda West died of 'coronary artery disease and multiple post-operative factors due to or as a consequence of liposuction and mammoplasty.'"
How do we reach a point where the best case scenario outcome of a voluntary cosmetic surgery, the achievement of perfection, outweighs the very real consequence of death? Whose vision of perfection are we trying to fulfill? Our own or someone elses?
I think perfection is in the eye of the beholder! And it is more about perspective. I feel my life is perfect.....for me. An outsider would surely think not!! And I do NOT believe my life is boring in the least bit - if it was it wouldn't be perfect!!!! ~ Becky
Becky's response got three thumbs up. It's a very simplistic answer to the question, and yet it really only begins to scratch the surface of a possible answer. For Kim, pondering the question led to more questions and less answers.
Interesting thought to ponder Mo... Is perfection even definable in reality? Since no one is perfect, is it possible to honestly answer the question of whether or not it is boring? I am in awe of the concept of perfection...since it's something you can consistently strive for, but never attain. I couldn't label an ideal that continuously encourages you to strive to be better tomorrow than you are today as boring. ~ Kim
But what makes us better tomorrow than we were today? Does the answer lie in Wendy's response?
I don’t think perfection would be boring. That is if everyone was perfect. I think it would be cool to always know the right things to say, never hurt anyone or get hurt, always make the right decisions, never fail and never be disappointed, ripped off, beat up or scared. You’d be free to just have fun and not worry about anything because nothing would ever go wrong. There’d be no stress. ~ Wendy
Wendy's answer immediately reminded me of the movie Pleasantville. Tobey Maguire and Reese Witherspoon are the present day children of single mom Jane Kaczmarek; Maguire is the quiet bookish sort who longs for the way of life presented on his favorite "Nick At Night" television show Pleasantville while Witherspoon is the rebellious natured wild child. "Divine" intervention leads both Maguire and Witherspoon to land right smack dab in the middle of Pleasantville. As the movie's tagline says, "Nothing is as simple as black and white."
My answer is very much in line with my cousin Kristyn's (and by the way, Kristyn and I are cousins by choice, not blood thank you very much, so don't blame genetics for our similiar thinking).
I guess the definition of perfection is definitely the question. However, I find myself appreciating life's little imperfections. I like a plan B, something unscripted. SO WHAT if my plan didn't go EXACTLY as it was on my list, was the end result successful! Am I happy? Did I make someone else happy? Those things should define perfection... Yes, perfection is defined by perspective so all levels of perfection are different. I am referring to those who strive to be "perfect" the perfect mom, the perfect dad, the perfect friend, the perfect artist, the perfect baker, the perfect human being. I believe in our quest for being perfect we may miss out on certain things that really should be appreciated. There is nothing wrong with a hair out of place once in a while. Our kids should get dirty, explore and enjoy life. Our decorations do not have to be symmetrical or be matchy-matchy - we can throw in a splash of color to add interest, and YES putting some kind of quirky piece is ok, put it off center to add an element of surprize. I find walking into a room that is "perfectly" clean, organized, designed symmetrically, monochromatically - and I think, although it's nice, it's boring (TO ME). Where's the life? I'm all for being the best YOU you can be, but there is no perfect or even right way to do things all the time. I just cannot relate to those who strive for perfection in all aspects of their life. I think they will be sadly disappointed, forever and miss out on so much. ~ Kristyn
The answers to this question vary just as much as the individual women do. Knowing my readers the way I'd like to think I do, this post will follow you much of the day as you ponder what exactly perfection may be and whether or not it's boring. And as you think about perfection and what may or may not be perfect to you, think of your own reaction to it. Whereas Kristyn and I both think that an "overly designed" house is completely boring, what would your reaction be to it? What would your reaction be if you ran into Beyonce', who was voted People's Magazine 2012 World's Most Beautiful Woman?
And here's where Megan's answer comes in handy and give us something not only to chuckle over, but to ponder.
I like to think that perfection is boring, and to quote BNL 'Anyone perfect must be lying.' Isn't it true that when we find someone to be so called perfect we will do anything and everything to find their one fault...I know I am not the only one. ~ Megan
Today is my 37th birthday. I'm sitting in my home office writing this, having taken the day off work. I had originally intended to go to the DIA today, but somewhere between my bout of self-pity and realizing I had less than $20 in my checking account I decided that may not be the best idea. Who knows? I may make it down there yet this weekend, but so far my only plans for this weekend are having a late lunch today with my Dad at Red Coat Tavern (I'm in the mood for a burger and where else do you go for a good burger?) and at some point on Sunday I'm seeing my mom. Meagan will probably be at both as well, but who knows?
Speaking of birthdays, it's also my 100th post!
I did have a few days of self pity this week though, not going to lie. Birthdays for me have never been about getting old. Most days I feel pretty damn good about the way I'm aging. Rather my issues with age involve milestones I have yet to achieve. Buying a house (condo in my case; I despise yard work), being in a relationship, somehow having children.... In an ironic twist of fate I woke up this morning after dreaming about Dipshit and I getting back together and his entire family, whom I miss terribly, being present. And then when I hit shuffle on iTunes, the first song to come up was the only song of Lucy Woodward's I despise, "Babies."
Chalking it up as coincidence or cruel tricks played by my subconscious. Because Dipshit and I are never happening again based on one pure and simple fact: he's an asshole.
But I came out of my mopey, self-pity filled whine and cheese party of one yesterday afternoon and decided to take a pro-active approach to not being a failure. So I'm creating a list of all the things I want to accomplish before I hit 40. Which, like it or not, is right around the corner. If any of you would like to participate in these milestones I've created or help me with them, please, by all means, join me along the road! And expect to read about my progress here on Mo Livin' Large.
The list is a work in progress. But it's off to a good start, don't you think?
... but rather openings in heaven where the love of our lost ones pours through and shines down upon us to let us know they are happy." ~ Eskimo proverb
At book club last week, I learned about the recent death of a fellow classmate. I had no idea Kimball has a group on Facebook dedicated to commemorating the loss of alum, and my friend Kelly invited me to join the next morning. Scanning the list of fallen Knights, I was shocked to discover Heath Bar's younger brother passed away this summer. Not only because it was Heath's brother, but because Heath's brother Skor and I were friends of a sort. Skor also happened to be friends with my own brother Michael, and it was Mike who had told me that Skor had more or less followed Heath to Chicago and had been living there for some time.
But this isn't a post about Heath, his brother Skor, or even Mike. It's about me. I've been thinking of writing this for awhile, but hearing about Skor, and seeing an episode of Numb3rs of all things convinced me it was time to exorcise this post.
When Michael died, a part of me, of all of my family, died with him. He had been struggling with a few issues at the time of his death, but yet he was looking ahead to his future, especially to his looming nuptials. The sad truth though is Mike died the day after his wedding shower, and a month to the day before his wedding. To say things were in shambles is to put it mildly.
Michael had been promoted to Sargent with his last deployment, but had only recently (read as the week prior) gotten around to preparing his uniform for his wedding. He had stripped his stripes and chevrons off, and placed all of his medals in a Ziploc bag with the intention of taking the jacket to the cleaners and tailor. Unfortunately, that was what he was going to do on Monday and he died Sunday. Being the (ex) Army wife, it became my duty to try and find a way to get his uniform in order. And as my parents sank deeper into depression, more and more duties got passed to me.
I had the dubious honor of choosing a casket, the memorial card, and even the hours of visitation at the funeral home. Hell, I even chose the cemetery. I tracked down the names and numbers of Marine Corps buddies, classmates, and past colleagues of Michael and called them to inform them of his passing. I fielded calls from family and friends and told them what was needed, what wasn't necessary, times of visitation and where to send flowers or donations. I nodded a lot, gave the sad smile when people expressed sympathy, and grew angrier and angrier as my own peers and colleagues said over and over, "I just feel so bad for your parents." At one point, I left the funeral home when I realized my initial reaction to people walking through the door was to scream, "Yes! Yes, my parents lost their child, their only son! But I lost my brother! My only brother!"
Thank God for friends, Aunt Barb and Andy Blakemore who brought me an unsweetened iced tea from McDonalds each time he came to see us.
Death in and of itself doesn't frighten me. It's what happened over the course of that first week that terrifies me.
I was angry, rageful even. At times when I wanted to be alone, I had people knocking on doors and coming in my bedroom uninvited to tell me I really needed to be with friends and family. The amount of responsibility I unwittingly handled that week by myself was terrifying, and I was worried certain decisions would come back and bite me in the ass later (and they did; my mom and I didn't speak for a week a few months later over some minor decision my mother felt I had wrongly made). But most of all, I was pissed as hell at Michael for dying in the first place.
As so often happens, sleep was hard to come by and at one point, it was two in the morning and I was sitting at my computer reading the funeral home's online guestbook. I started sobbing, the first time I really lost it since Mike was pronounced dead as a matter of fact, and I just started hoarsely screaming, "How could you, Mike? How could you just die like this?"
And clear as day, I kid you not, I heard Mike scream back, "Jesus fucking Christ, Monique, it's not like I meant to die you know!"
I may or may not have mentioned in a previous blog post that Mike and I could argue like nobody's business.
Later in the week, I had long bouts of amnesia. The scariest amnesia moment was when I found myself standing alone in an aisle of Walgreens with a basket over my arm filled with things I had been meaning to pick up but no idea of how I got there in the first place. I paid for my purchases and left to find my car in the parking lot. That I had driven myself there scared the shit out of me.
Perhaps most disturbing to me was that I was horny. All. The. Time. I've since confirmed that this is in fact a perfectly normal reaction to death yet at the time, I felt like a little freak (freak, mind you, not freak-y).
As the week finally reached it's conclusion, I felt relief it was over. It took so long to get from Mike being pronounced dead to finally having the graveside service that I couldn't even bring myself to cry at the cemetery. This worried me too until my mom hugged me later that afternoon and assured me she had felt the same way when my grandparents died.
It wasn't until after a full year had gone by without him that reality finally took hold and I realized Michael wasn't coming back. As so often is the case in military families, you get so used to your Marine/soldier being gone that death and its permanence takes much longer to set in than it would normally.
Oh sure, I had my moments when I realized he was gone gone. I broke down in the middle of Kohls that Christmas when I tossed two t-shirts into my cart for Mike's Christmas gift and then realized twenty feet away I had no need for them and collapsed on the floor in front of strangers sobbing. A very nice woman came over and picked me up and let me cry on her shoulder for a few minutes even. When I finished, she patted me on the back and said she'd done the same thing a few years prior the Christmas after her mother's death.
When you think about it, Death unites us all.
As time marches on though, my feelings of anger have dissipated and been replaced by a decent sized dose of guilt, some of it survivor's guilt even. Why couldn't it have been me? Mike was just starting his life, and boom! he's gone. I've been married, I've been divorced. I've lived in the big city. Since kids have never been an option for me, I had no regrets there. My animal-loving family would make sure my cats were cared for. My ex would no longer benefit from my death (yes, that thought actually crossed my mind believe it or not). Why couldn't it have been me?
Other feelings of guilt have taken root as well. Things I've done or plan on doing that Mike will never have the opportunity to do. The fact that I rarely go out to the cemetery to visit. But I talk to him so often in my head, or even aloud in my car or apartment sometimes, that I don't feel it necessary. But I hate it when things happen and he's not around to share them with. That's the worse.
Like when my cats do stupid stuff. Or I cross paths with someone we both used to know. Or when I want to ask him about the emails I (even still) receive from his former classmates or Marines reaching out just to let me know how Michael touched their lives.
Most of all though I'm terrified of forgetting. Of being unable to recall his "Gimme Candy/Wild Rumpus" dance. His hilarious facial expressions. Mike's innocent excitement over his latest garage sale "bargain." And the inevitable beginning of our phone conversations.
"Monique? This is your bruder. Michael."
"Well, no shit Mike. That's why I said 'Hey Mike.'"
"Oh." Pause. "How the hell are ya?"
Well Mike, I'm doing okay these days. I miss you like crazy, but somehow, it brings me just a little bit of comfort knowing you and Skor are up there somewhere having a beer together, I'm sure.
... they go where they are appreciated." ~ Robert McNamara
This ones for you, Carbs.
Recently, in a discussion with a new group of friends, the question was asked, "How do you mend a broken heart?"
Cue crickets chirping here.
After a few moments, Veli haltingly supplied an answer. "Well, you just.... just wait for someone to come along who will find you worthy. Because you're worthy."
The crickets began chirping again.
And then I chimed in. "It's time. It's always going to be time that mends the broken heart."
Carbs went on to explain it wasn't so much the break up he was reeling from, but the rather callous way she completely disgregarded him. It happens to the best of us, and just when you think you've heard the worse possible break up story, there's always another one that's even better/worse right around the corner.
With Dipshit and I, he casually mentioned in a phone call from Ft. Knox that he was "hanging out" with a girl named Jayla and he'd met her family.
"Wait, Jayla? I thought you were hanging out with a guy named Jay."
"Well, that's what I call her."
"And you met her family? Sounds serious!" I teased.
"Well, um, yeah. We've kind of started dating."
Yeah, that's pretty much how the conversation went down, not going to lie.
Another friend of mine I'll refer to as Barbie had suspected for weeks her husband Ken of two years was cheating on her. With his Visa bill in hand showing flowers and hotel rooms and such, she called her best friend Skipper for support while Ken was supposedly out with friends. Imagine Barbie's shock and dismay and utter rage (I'm projecting here, though I suspect it's true) when she heard Ken's voice in the background at Skipper's.
Yep. Ken cheated on Barbie with Skipper.
(Am I getting my Barbie characters mixed up? Is Skipper Barbie's sister? Is Midge the best friend? Does it really matter? Probably not.)
Someone else I know was married for a month when he found out his wife was cheating on him with her mentor/faculty adviser. Unfortunately for him, the bitch got everything in the divorce less than three months after the wedding.
Yeah, I said it.
But where do you go from there? Once your heart is lying cold, abandoned, and broken on the city sidewalk where it's getting walked all over, spat on, and kicked around until it's even more bruised and bloody, where do you go? What do you do?
My days went something like: wake up at seven, get ready for work, drive to work where I paid $12 a day for parking, kind of sort of work, go home, call whatever carry out place I wanted that delivered, eat in front of the tv, pass out on the couch by nine, wake up at eleven, go to bed, and repeat the next day. Don't bother to clean your house. Buy more clothes instead of doing laundry. Watch DVDs and read on the weekends. Maybe hang out with friends and or family every once in awhile. DO NOT let people come to your house because there is shit everywhere. And keep repeating until you break into your ex-husband's email only to discover he's not only been cheating on since before you got married but some of them were men. And then, and only then, do you realize: IT'S NOT YOU IT'S HIM!
When that happens seven months later, then you'll be ready to face the world again.
It's not a full proof plan, but that's what did it for me. Kinda sorta. I dated a few guys, was stalked by a very persistent guy (Oooooo... GREAT blog post for later this week), met Monkeyboy, began embarking on a very satisfying relationship with him, and then everything blew up in my face and not only was my divorce weeks away from being final, but so was my unemployment benefits and yeah, I had to face reality and move back to Detroit and in with my mother and didn't even remotely consider dating again until almost a full two years later.
But that's me.
The truth, cold, hard and bitter as it is, is recovering from a broken heart is different for everyone. Some people throw themselves into their work, becoming obsessed with balancing account sheets down to the last penny, brokering just one last deal before leaving the office at eleven at night, handling that one last customer who calls/arrives just as you're about to close for the night. Others turn to hobbies. They may spend the entire weekend bicycling Route 66, visiting battlefields of the war of 1812, kickboxing, pole dancing, scrapbooking, cooking, whatever. And still others decide to jump right back into dating.
One person I know began dating two months after finding a "Dear John" letter from his wife of 10 years. To say he's been in a series of pointless, doomed relationships ever since would be an understatement. The last I heard, he decided to find religion because his current girlfriend is very devout. This isn't a bad thing for either one of them, except on the whole, when you decide to adopt religion because your partner is, you're not doing it for the right reasons. Did I mention this couple can't even be open about their relationship because her 21-year-old daughter may be irrevocably upset about it?
So I really don't recommend jumping into the dating scene immediately. Otherwise you may find yourself in the above scenario and that's not good either.
What I do recommend is putting a band aid on, and try not to let the ouchie get hurt anymore. After a few days, remove the band aid, put some Neosporin on, and wait for the ouchie to scab over. I don't recommend picking at the scab, as it takes even longer to heal, but being human, you might. But when you're ready, take a look at your wound and think about what you've learned from this boo-boo.
With each relationship I've been in, or haven't been in as is the case with Clark, I've discovered more about what I want and don't want in a relationship. I've also learned a lot about myself.
With Dipshit I've learned that no matter what a piece of paper says, it's still just a piece of paper unless both people named on the piece of paper are committed to one another. With Clark, I discovered I'd like to find someone who still has a sense of romance and wants to share and enjoy both his interests and mine. With Monkeyboy, I learned my "O" wasn't broken (among other things). With Catholic Boy, I realized that even if the guy is smart, funny, good looking and fairly decent in bed, he can still be a cheating douchebag.
And with all of them I learned that recovering from a broken heart, no matter how small or large the break, it takes time. And that while the lessons you learned may not immediately be apparent, they are there and you will figure them out.
And don't stalk them on Facebook. It's just bad news all the way around.
~ Betty Friedan
A few weeks ago, I posted on the MoLivinLarge Facebook page that I became an independent sales rep for Pure Romance; one of the few major reasons I was on hiatus as it turns out. I was busy watching training videos (absolutely fascinating as it turns out) and reading books related to my new biz (How To Be A Sex Goddess by Sarah Tomczak anyone?) amongst other things. But one of the things you're supposed to do as any direct sales person is introduce yourself and tell everyone why you became a representative of the respective product(s).
It goes without saying that anyone who goes into direct sales is looking for an income boost. Just as it can also be said that when you go to enough candle parties, cooking parties, "relationship enchancement" parties, whatever, you already know that whomever is selling the product is also looking to recruit you to sell it beside her. Which is why I made the promise to myself to never actively recruit during a demonstration (which I'm sure goes against the rules somewhat but really, we're all smart cookies here and if you're interested in selling the stuff, you'll ask).
So why did I decide to start rep'ing Pure Romance? Well, for a few reasons it turns out.
When I was considering which company to rep, I had narrowed it down to two; Pure Romance and something else. So I ran the idea by a favorite cousin of mine who said, "Pure Romance is awesome and you could definitely pull it off - you're not shy and people would feel comfortable around you - they would feel less judged...." Ironically, the next day I was chatting with another close friend about nothing in particular when suddenly at the end of the conversation she said, "By the way, I'm totally voting for Pure Romance." And then essentially paraphrased everything my cousin said about why she was casting a vote for Pure Romance.
I'm surrounded by amazing women, aren't I?
The truth, however, goes just a little deeper as to why I chose Pure Romance. It's not becasue I was completely amazed by the products; I actually had never been to a Pure Romance or any other "relationship enhancement product" party until the one I hosted. Yet I'm very familiar with bedroom accessories as it turns out. After all, my sex life as a married woman revolved around toys. Turns out, my ex (commonly referred to as Dipshit) was so busy screwing around with everyone else he had no time or desire to screw around with me.
Yes, it's true. My ability to have an orgasm the last three years of my relationship with Dipshit was dependent on toys.
I bought them everywhere. At an adult store on the Interstate, online, stores on the north side of Chicago, stores here in the Detroit suburbs.... If I found something that piqued my interest, I bought it.
Though I tried to use the products to spice up my marriage, sex with your husband is a two-way street. And Dipshit's car was up on blocks with a frozen engine at the red light. I think the worse night of my marriage was when I was in the middle of "self-love" (yes, that's what I call it) while he was sleeping. He woke up, asked what I was doing, and instead of asking if I needed help, he rolled over and went back to sleep. I just stopped, put the toy aside, and cried myself to sleep.
Looking back, I could honestly beat the livin' stuffin' out of myself for letting that relationship go beyond two years, let alone marrying him.
To sum up our married sex life, we had intercourse 23 times in the 16 months we were married. Including the honeymoon. As each session lasted an average of 10 minutes, in the 691,200 minutes we were married, 230 of those minutes were spent engaged in foreplay, intercourse, and afterglow. And how many of those sessions ended in a big "O"?
Nada. Nil. Zero. None.
I thought perhaps it was me. Maybe, like Samantha Jones, my "O" was broken.
About 14 months after Dipshit and I split up, I very happily realized that no, it wasn't me. It had definitely been him.
God bless Monkeyboy. I actually burst out laughing the first time my "O" returned at someone else's hands. Having been through a divorce himself, Monkeyboy just laughed and said, "Oh yeah. You just remembered how good sex can be, didn't you?"
After Monkeyboy and I parted ways that day (the relationship itself lasted about three glorious months until I moved back here to Michigan), I made a few promises to myself. First and foremost, if I'm involved in a sexual relationship, I'm sure as hell going to derive pleasure from it (which may or may not explain repeat ReTodded visits but not lately. Though honestly, I've considered it). Secondly, even if I'm not in a relationship, I'm going to still have "O's". And finally, I'm going to embrace my sensual, sexual side.
I forgot that last promise to myself until I was paging through an old planner several weeks ago.
Which brings me to another reason I wanted to rep Pure Romance.
As I begin reconnecting with my sensual side, I'd love to help other women in the same position connect with theirs. With enough participants, who knows? Maybe we can start a whole new (albeit different) sexual revolution!
Who cares what size you are, if you're single or married, straight or homosexual, how long your hair is, how white your smile is? Let's rediscover how great it is to just feel good about ourselves, even if it's just for twenty minutes a day. Because believe me, guys or gals like Monkeyboy aren't around every corner.
Who's with me?
... for the smile is the beginning of love." ~ Mother Theresa
A lot of blog posts have been rolling around in my mind over the course of my silence (not intentional, just circumstantial... my silence that is) but this one was first and foremost. I've debated many times over whether I wanted to share this experience in my blog, but I felt compelled to and hope you understand why at the end of this.
Several weeks ago, Father's Day weekend in fact, I was at Barnes and Noble purchasing gifts for my dad and grandfather. After a glorious amount of time browsing, perusing, notating my wish list, and picking up and putting down books for dad and grandpa, I finally made my final purchase decision and made my way to the rather long line at the cash register. I ended up standing behind an older woman who was accompanied by her two daughters.
The one daughter, most likely in her mid-forties, carried on a conversation with the mother while the second daughter waited patiently in line (not that anyone in line wasn't being patient, which is one of the beautiful things about bookstores. Patience seems to abound, even at the holidays). But as I mindlessly browsed the calendars on display, I saw the younger woman hugging her purchase to her chest. She had a quiet, yet at the same time brilliant smile on her face. Wondering what she may be purchasing, I took a closer look and realized it was a flower kit of sorts. I'm not sure if it was for pressed flowers, drawing flowers, crafting with flowers or what, nor does it make any difference. She was happy with her purchase.
So happy in fact that she turned around, wrapped a free arm around her mother, and hugged her in line, quietly saying, "I love you, Mama." Then she smiled brightly, cupped her sister's cheek in her hand and said, "I love you, sister" and went back to hugging her purchase as her family smiled indulgently back at her.
I looked quickly away lest they see the tears in my eyes. Not from noting that the girl had a mental handicap of some sort, but because the pure, unadorned outpouring of love moved me to tears.
The simplest act can make or break someone's day, which I unfortunately witnessed that same day not more than two hours later.
After bearing witness to the beautiful display of love, I made my way to a large "everything under one roof" grocery store. I had been dreading the trip because I knew the crowds would be out en masse, but it was the only day that week I could get there.
As I wandered through the produce department, I saw an older woman standing at the deli counter, chatting politely with another customer. For some reason, I got the impression that she was a rather lonely woman and that perhaps she purposely went out on Saturdays just to be around people. She seemed to be enjoying her chat with the fellow customer, and I went along my way, not thinking much about the interaction afterwards I'm sorry to say.
After a time, I had collected everything I thought I needed and was reviewing my grocery list (yes, Kony, it's still typed) when I realized I had forgotten blueberries. So back to the produce section I went. I had just made my selection and was heading towards the registers when I saw the same older woman by the peaches. About three feet from her was an adorable little girl, sitting in a grocery cart, eating some grapes. The older woman smiled brightly at the little girl and said, "My, my. Aren't you adorable? Are those grapes good? I was thinking of buying some!"
Before the little one had a chance to answer, her mother came up and while I couldn't hear what she said to the older woman, the crestfallen look on her face after the brief exchange said it all. As her mother raced away, pushing the girl in the cart, I saw the little girl try to raise her hand to wave good-bye at the older woman but her mother quickly, and quite literally, squashed any attempt to do so.
I wanted to race after the woman and "give her a talking to" but I didn't. One, I was cowardly. It really wasn't any of my business. But two, I was so infuriated at her quick dismissal of the older woman that I knew I had best keep my mouth shut so as not to say something the woman probably didn't deserve.
I watched the older woman for a few moments afterwards. Her shoulders were slumped and she wasn't making eye contact with anyone. My baser instincts were to walk over and give her a hug but that would be just too weird all around. Had I been in a restaurant, I would have sent over a slice of pie or paid her check or something. But all I could do was just watch and eventually walk away.
I hope, for society's sake, that the mother of the little girl was just having a rough day and maybe later, when things had calmed down, she could reflect on her behavior and realize how rude she had been. For the older woman, I hope after a minute or two she could move beyond the dismissal and go back to greeting fellow shoppers with a smile and maybe a kind word or two.
And for you, I hope that my little post today stays with you, and that you greet everyone you see today from this point on with a smile.
I thought that you'd want what I want -- Sorry, my dear." ~ Stephen Sondheim's "Send in the Clowns"
My first dance as Mrs. Dipshit was to Tony Bennett's version of "The Way You Look Tonight" and ironically, the first dance I had with someone after I became the ex-Mrs. Dipshit was to the Frank Sinatra version of the same song. But I've always attributed Sinatra's "Send in the Clowns" with being the theme song for my divorce.
Yes, I listen to a lot of Sinatra.
Today is August 3, which for many years has been a source of great happiness for me. This year, not so much. You see, August 3rd is the anniversary of my divorce and today it has been seven years since I legally went from Mrs. Dipshit back to Ms. Mandley.
Seven years is a long time.
I was driving into work this morning listening to Classic Sinatra and pondering this... aspect for lack of a better word of my life. I'm not sure if it's because I've been so down lately or if the fact that my life is soooo stagnant has suddenly blinded me, but my usual joy of "Ding dong, Dipshit's gone!" is missing this year (and yes, that song is to the tune of "Ding, Dong, The Witch Is Dead" and I do usually go around singing it every year since 2006). To the point where I was afraid of opening my mouth when I got to work in fear that I would begin sobbing uncontrollably as it occurred to me that I have never experienced true romantic love, been the object of someone's desire, whatever.
My relationship with Dipshit began over the Internet in 1999 while I was living in Royal Oak and he was stationed in Hawaii. We got to know one another through Instant Messenger, emails, letters and phone calls. He came home twice between the time we met and when he was discharged in August of 2000. His first visit was hot and steamy despite the fact that we were alternating between my mom's and his parents' house. The second visit was an emergency week-long visit when his grandmother died; not very romantic to say the least.
Yet by the time he was discharged from the Marines and returned stateside in August, 2000, his ardor had cooled considerably. Between August and November that year, we had both interviewed for new jobs, landed said jobs, moved to Chicago and moved in with each other.
And by January of 2001, Dipshit was telling me he wanted to see other people.
I was devastated. Thinking back, I realize I wasn't as nearly devastated by his wanting to see other people as much as I was by the fact that I couldn't afford the apartment on my own. While it's both a blessing and a sin, I have this amazing capacity to be completely calm and logical in the face of disaster. And so when I began pointing out what he could have and what I'd keep when he moved out, Dipshit quickly clarified a point for me: he wanted to see other people, but I was not going to be seeing other people.
Yes, you read that correctly.
And yes, I still married him almost two years later. A common thread in my blog is the fact that I have low self-esteem.
Anyways... calm and logic went out the window after that little pronouncement and by the end of the argument, we weren't speaking but Dipshit sure as hell knew if he was going to be seeing other people, I sure as shit was too.
Fate oftentimes comes knocking when we're too busy to notice, and no sooner had we had this argument when a few days later, I came down with a migraine at work that rendered me immobile. To the point where I was actually sent home from work and highly encouraged to get a cab rather than wait it out on public transportation.
Never before and never since have I been in a cab with an attractive young man driving for his uncle's cab company while he went to dental school. And "never have I ever" (before or since) been asked out by a cab driver.
In between waves of nausea, I explained the situation I was in with Dipshit. As he handed me my change, he slipped me his phone number. "I'd like to take you to dinner on Friday. Call me to confirm by Thursday, but if I don't hear from you, I wish you all the best."
I wanted to shout with joy but all things being equal, I was just trying to keep my lunch down before I got to my apartment. I nodded and ran into my building, making it a point to cover my mouth so the cabbie wouldn't think I was repulsed by him. On my run into the bathroom, I dumped my keys, my change and the cabbie's number on the hall table and afterwards, went and crashed in the bedroom.
When I awoke later that evening, Dipshit was home from work. I went into the living room and sat on the couch where I saw the cabbie's phone number on the coffee table. "Whose number is this?" Dipshit asked quietly.
"His name is Nick. I met him today. We're going to dinner on Friday."
Apparently, it had never occurred to Dipshit that I was serious about the fact that if he was dating others, so was I. He decided right then and there he didn't want to see other people any more.
Which, if this were a fairy tale, would be the moment where I conclude with, "... and we lived happily ever after."
But it ain't.
I've never quite pinpointed the exact time he started cheating on me anyways, but I do know it was well before we married in 2002, and it was only about six weeks after the wedding when he picked it back up. He had an affair with one of his clients, and several people he met online. I found pictures of both men and women on his profile on our home computer while he was deployed. I don't even want to tell you what I found when I broke into his email account while he was overseas, but let your imagination wander and runaway for a bit and you'll come pretty close, I'm sure.
So suffice it to say, it was very obvious that while he may have loved me at one point, it certainly was never a passionate, explosive, all-encompassing type of love that becomes a story for the ages.
Which I'm still waiting for.
Maybe it won't be explosive, and I'd be really happy if it weren't obsessive, but I'd like to find love again. My biggest fear in life is never finding someone to love, and who will love me back. And if I do find such a love, will I morph again into the person I think he wants me to be instead of being myself?
Will I turn into a clown?
So much I want to share, so little to say. So it's a random information day!
At some point, that sounded good in my head.
And that's all the news that's fit to print.
PS-- If you have some ideas on what I should do for an August giveaway, post them on the FB page. I'm a little stuck in a rut at the moment. :)
The month of July is a bittersweet one for me. My dad's birthday, our family reunion, Paperboy's birthday, and Mike's birthday. A palatable sadness lingers on July 23rd. The Mandleys aren't as cheerful, we're withdrawn, tears often linger in our eyes....
As time stretches on without our beloved Michael Ryan, I've learned a few things. In no particular order:
Celebrate birthdays. You may not have another. This is an especially hard one for me to follow through on. Through a series of unfortunate events, by the time my 27th birthday rolled around, I came to loathe October 19th. I felt especially guilty in 2009 when my birthday rolled around two months after Mike's death. Why? Well, we never celebrated Mike's birthday. I was unemployed that summer, as was Mike, Meagan was still in Sault Ste. Marie wrapping up her internship, and our family reunion fell that same weekend. I had even bought a cake and took it to the cabin with me, thinking we could have it with dinner Thursday night or something. We never did eat the thing, not that Mike was overly fond of sweets to begin with, and instead I threw it out the following Monday just before I left to return to Royal Oak. It was his last birthday, and we never even celebrated.
This year, I've made a vow to do something, anything on my birthday. For Mike.
Keep letters, cards, ticket stubs, or anything else that may be important. The other night I was talking to my dad about a trip he, my grandfather, and my uncle are taking later this summer to Ishpeming. My dad told me my grandfather had a rather befuddled look on his face when my dad asked where they would be staying, and it occurred to my dad that my grandfather's intent was to drive the five hours from our cabin to Ishpeming, look around, maybe have a beer, and then go back to the cabin. A few days later, I happened to open a Bible and found three letters my grandmother, who passed away in 1989, had written to me. In one of the letters she wrote what I now know was a very sarcastic letter regarding a trip to Mobile, Alabama she and my grandfather had taken. I just sat there laughing (and joyfully crying) at the sarcasm and realized I need to make a copy of this letter for the three travelers before they embark on their trip.
When someone asks how they can help, tell them what they can do. So often we find ourselves listening to a friend talk about how overwhelmed they are with something and we ask how we can help, yet never are our offers considered. When Mike died, our wonderful neighbor Christy cornered me in the yard and asked what she could do to help. Her mom had already dropped off a huge deli platter with salads and breads and condiments, and here was Christy offering more. I shrugged and said we had things handled. She glared at me. "When's the last time your living room was vacuumed?" she asked. I gave a startled laugh. "Okay, okay. The house is fine, but we could use some coffee." "Wait here," she told me. So I did (you do NOT go against a Lawson woman, I'm telling you). She came out with not one but three bags of Godiva coffee. Morning coffee never tasted so good. She also snuck into the house a few times that week and did up our dishes and stuff. Why?
Because when someone asks how they can help, what they're not saying is "I love you and I want to take away this pain for you as much as I can."
Try and take as many pictures as possible (good, silly, casual, whatever) of moments you don't want to forget. I've unfortunately learned this the hard way. With the exception of my FB cover art, there is not a single picture of my brother and I together. I had thought we would take one at his wedding. I thought we'd perhaps take one at my wedding. But our family reunion was one of the last opportunities we had to take one, and we didn't.
Go ahead. Be emotional. My family has never had a problem with this. We talk. We laugh. We yell. We fight. We bicker. We're sarcastic. We make fun of each other (though there are certain things that are absolutely sacred and we know that). We try to inject as much humor as possible into every situation. For example, on Monday night I was talking with my dad and he started sniffling while he told me about going to the cemetery for Mike's birthday. So my dad is really starting to sniffle, a sure sign he's about to cry, and I asked, "So... how many people heard you?" You see, my dad sounds like a Wooki when he's crying. I'm not even joking. Ask my mom or Meagan. A full on, related to Chewbacca Wooki sound. You can't not hear it. And my dad started laughing when I asked this. And through his tears and laughter, he confessed: "Pretty much all of Genessee county." My dad's at that age where he really doesn't give a shit. His words, not mine. But accurate nevertheless.
Tell your friends what they mean to you. My friend Liz is not an emotional person. She hasn't given her own grandmother a hug in she doesn't know how long. It's just not her. But the night I called and told her about Mike dying, I ended the call with, "I just want you to know that I love you." And Liz said she loved me too. I about fell off the couch.
In truth, I never could have made it through that week without my friends. My first call was to Brande'. All I could say was, "I need you here now." And she packed a bag and jumped in the car and came down from Cadillac. She was literally in her car, though thankfully she had pulled over, when she called me back to ask why exactly I needed her. But there had been no hesitation after that initial call. She stayed by my side constantly during those first two days and was holding my hand when I left a rather incriminating voicemail on Dipshit's phone (thank God Dipshit wasn't murdered during that time. I would have been Suspect Number One and for good reason). She made sure I ate (chicken mcnuggets, as she knew they're one of my faves), helped us debone chicken, told stories about Mike with us, joked around about going home with my dad....
And Amanda was the one I ran to after Brande' left and there was no one to shelter me from all the people at our house. My dad and sister loved having everyone around, my mom was indifferent, and me? Well, after making funeral arrangements, straightening out Mike's uniform situation, calling Mike's friends to tell them the news, listening to everyone tell me how badly they felt for my parents and Meagan, trying to be strong for my parents and Meagan... I wanted nothing to do with people. So I jumped in my car and drove to Amanda's. I parked in the driveway and before I even made it threw the gate, Amanda was out the door and picking me up, literally, from her driveway while I bawled my eyes out.
And that's one of the most important life lessons ever. Friends are the ones who are in your perfect family. Because they make the choice to be there.