Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Connecting the dots.

I woke up this morning emotionally twisted, just beating myself up about everything. I should have taken the time to understand our finances more before the divorce. (Ex sends me spreadsheets with attached appendices outlining monies in and monies out--so many charts and graphs! Why can't I be more like him?) I should be working on my second novel instead of worrying about the first one. I should run more and cycle less. I shouldn't have to stand in my closet in my underwear every morning searching for something to wear after the amount of money I spend on clothes. And so, like the true crazy alcoholic I am, my first thought was that I must be depressed and should see someone.

(I have to take a moment here to explain my alcoholic hypochondriac theory. In my experience, they often go together, which is odd because although I am quick to blame my emotional or physical state on any undiagnosed disease or infection, it never occurs to me blame it on alcoholism. Can't get up in the morning? My first thought is anemia, not the state of my spiritual condition or the fact I haven't been to a meeting in almost a week. And don't get me started on what I was like before I got into recovery. Anything that could go wrong in a human body? I was convinced I had it.)

I got dressed and as I was drying my hair and looking at my reflection in the mirror--My face looked really puffy. Was I retaining water? What did it mean?--a tiny thought came into my head that things weren't THAT bad with me. Sure there is uncertainty, fear, worry, all that future-tripping, and the fact I forgot to save for college, let alone retirement, but everyone was healthy and we have a comfortable home. What was wrong with me? Then I remembered that a friend called me the night before as I was getting ready to leave work. This friend is in the final weeks, maybe days, of her life. It was hard for me to understand her on the phone. She was mumbling and her speech was garbled and she seemed confused and disoriented.

"Is this Julie?" she asked. "I keep butt dialing people."

Her sister took the phone, told me my friend had had a rough night. That today she'd had a piece of toast and jelly, but mostly slept. The sister put my friend back on the phone. She was trying to tell me something, but I didn't understand. I'd walked to the lobby of my building, but I felt self-conscious that people could hear me repeating, "I can't understand you." And so I told my friend I loved her and hung up while she was still mumbling. I grabbed my purse and left the office.

Outside, the neighborhood appeared to be on fire. A huge plume of sooty smoke was pouring from an apartment complex under construction that was just a few blocks from where I was walking. I couldn't have asked for a bigger distraction. Fast forward twelve hours and I am crying in my bathroom about my puffy face. And then it hit me. I am not crying about my swollen eye lids; I'm crying for my friend who is dying and doesn't want to be.

Months before she got too sick to put a sentence together she told me she was sad to be leaving a life that she loved. I told her I could imagine, but in reality it was too sad for me to imagine. And a part of me made a mental note that it might be a good idea not to get too attached to my life so I'd never be in my friend's situation. And then I thought I probably shouldn't have gotten so attached to my friend, either, because I didn't--I don't--want to feel loss. And I don't want anybody I know to feel loss. Here's the thing: denying it doesn't make it go away. It just gets put on hold. Which is why, before I got into recovery, I sometimes cried and yelled and over reacted for no apparent reason. I'm thinking there probably always was a reason; it just happened so long ago I forgot about it. As a woman in the program said to me, "You gotta feel it to heal it."

Yesterday I had a twelve-hour disconnect from my emotions. That's okay. In fact, that's pretty fast for me. Progress, not perfection.

My friend will have 26 years in the program next month. I've learned a lot from her about gratitude and change. She showed me how to be patient, how to ask for help, how to laugh at yourself, how to be humble, and how to be a decent human. She's a spiritual giant. She and I could be super woo-woo together. That was a true gift. She was a gift. I'm really going to miss her.

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

I could have grown a baby since the last time I posted here.

I've been busy learning these things:

1. I should never, ever, ever work in an all-female company.*

2. Patience.**

3. Boundaries are not just for countries.***

4. Even when people you love are sick and dying and something you expected to happen didn't, everything is going to be okay.****

*Separated from the pack, maybe each of the 400+ women I worked with at the makeup company (What was I thinking?!) would have been a pleasant coffee date. (If only being the busiest girl in the building wasn't one of the numerous things they were competitive about.)  Collectively, they were a pack of hyenas, suspicious and shifty-eyed. My favorite person in the building was the corporate attorney if that tells you anything.

**I'm starting my eighth year of work on my novel.

***Just say no. With love.

****Cancer sucks. And so does a certain publisher. 

Monday, August 5, 2013

Call me crazy.

I think I want to go back to school. I think I need an MFA. I'm just putting it out there--pen on paper (well, fingers to keyboard) toe in water--to see what it feels like. It feels anxiety provoking, which is altogether normal since anxiety is a mixture of fear and excitement. But where? And when? No--that's letting fear take over. I'll just let the idea of going back to school marinate for a while.

Sunday, February 17, 2013

GOMI: so bad it's good.

Everybody visit Get Off My Internets. It's the antidote to my personal love/hate relationship with blogs. I've always disliked the idea of blogs, and then I began writing one, but this works for me because I have a love/hate relationship with myself. In fact as soon as I hit the 'publish' button for a new post, I'm already composing snarky comments in my head. It's very post modern.

Let's discuss mommy blogs for a minute. If you really want to get at the truth beneath the perfect lives, you must read the comments, the replies to comments and the blogger's twitter feeds. That's where the sociological learning is happening. GOMI is the Cliff's Notes to this hypocrisy.

For instance, GOMI's latest post was about the comments to a post by Caitlin, of Healthy Tipping Point. Apparently, Caitlin's whole philosophy is promoting self esteem and she even wrote a book and a separate blog called 'Operation Beautiful' where she encourages women to stick post-its with positive messages in random places like this:

And this:

On her regular blog she posted this:
And then lost her shit when a commenter asked her if she was pregnant. She called the commenter 'crappy.' And then her loyal readers defended her and said the commenter was jealous. And then it got into another us vs. them situation, the haves vs. the have nots and it was fascinating. I loved it because I felt slightly superior in that shitty, gleeful way that feeling superior gives. So I read more GOMI. After an hour in GOMI land, I began to feel sad for humanity, myself included, that it's come to this.

On second thought, don't go to GOMI. In fact, don't read blogs about other people's lives. Just go outside and live your own.

Saturday, February 16, 2013

Hello, little blog.

I'm so glad this thing is like a cat. I can ignore it for weeks then come back and see that nothing's changed. Lots has changed out in the real world, however. Big Gun's dad died in January. He was 98.5 plus three days. I love Jewish funerals. There is so much symbolism. The rabbi pinned a short piece of ribbon onto the immediate family members then tore it to signify their broken hearts. After the service, we all went to the cemetery and helped bury Louis. Every guest shovels three spades of earth, the first with the spade inverted as a sign of reluctance. Then, of course, we eat.

How are things in divorce land? Almost finished. I will be happy when I never have to write a breathtakingly large check to a divorce attorney every again. It's like paying a contractor but without getting a new bathroom or brick walkway in return. When all is said and done I will have nothing to show for it.

How is Clooney? Getting along with Baby Kitten. Look, here they are napping together. 

This is as much of the bed that Baby Kitten will allow Clooney.
My big son got his college applications done. One school had a deadline of midnight and his went through at 11:55p.m. The rest of them went similarly. In fact, the whole process has been like this. For instance, last Friday he informed me at 3p.m. that I needed to fill out some thirty-page income/tax document before the end of day. He is hard to live with: ungrateful, unorganized, entitled, and selfish...and I have just described an alcoholic. Teenagers are like alcoholics. He's sullen and morose one afternoon, then chatty and euphoric the next. Either way, I will jump through hoops for him. If he acts like an unpredictable drunk, I'm like a crazy fan. Ex says I should set a boundary and then let him fail. As if. I find that eating a lot of candy helps.

Monday, September 24, 2012

Yet another thing to feel anxious about.

I have many recurring nightmares: teeth falling out, swimming with sharks, being stuck in precarious high places, but yesterday I had a nightmare I've never had before and it was so bad I couldn't get back to sleep. This is what I dreamed: my oldest son didn't get into and couldn't afford any of the colleges he applied to and as a last resort was filling out an application to Stanilaus State, Turkey Tech. He wailed at me, "Why am I doing this? I don't even want to go to this school."

I sat up in bed. Why? Because your parents failed you and can't afford tuition. Because we separated, in effect doubling our expenses without doubling our incomes. I grabbed my phone and pulled up the calculator, punching in numbers and dividing by 18 years to see how much we should have been saving for college all these years: $925 a month x 2 (As cute as my other son, Mario, is, he also will need a degree)= $1851.19! That was our mortgage payment. I'm the queen of "should haves" but this number was so outrageously un-doable that I felt a little better.

The bad news is feeling better didn't solve my problem, but my sick little person (that worry gnome who lives in my brain) thinks that worrying might. I will fret and lose sleep and feel anxious about this until the Universe steps in and everything works itself out, just like always. I have proof of this.

I finished my second round of novel edits last week and sent them off. I had two days of freedom before I started worrying about how I was going to fill my days and pay for the new shoes I just bought. I said aloud "I guess I need some freelance." The next day I get an email asking me if I am available for the next three weeks. I reply "yes" and marvel at the power of intention. The next day I get an email saying the project has been cancelled. Do I freak out? I do not because I'm starting to believe that everything happens for a reason. I say as much to a friend. Actually, this is what I say: "I guess it wasn't meant to be. Maybe something better is coming?" She faints. The day after that I get another email saying the job is back on. If I'm being tested, I passed that one with flying colors.

Monday, August 13, 2012

The post where I get labelled a Hater.

I have mentioned the blog, His Giant Mistake. This woman's husband cheated on her and she's kicking his sorry ass to the curb and moving on in spectacular ways, which include climbing mountains and swimming in the bay and dating lots of men. I can't decide if I hate her or I want to be her. Where are the worries about money? Health care insurance? Jobs? The future?

(RANT ALERT. Skip ahead to the next paragraph if you don't want to stain your soul. I fucking hate this woman's self-righteousness, as if her high and mighty judgmental attitudes had nothing to do with the demise of her marriage, as if she did nothing wrong. She signs off every post with "love yourself," which isn't a bad thing. I agree that we should all love ourselves, but can we do it too much?)

I guess she's too busy hiking, swimming, meeting men, and loving herself to worry about such things. I wish she'd struggle more. She makes divorce look easy.

I was rummaging around my bookshelf yesterday looking for a blank journal to write in. I found one that was mostly blank, I'd filled the first three pages way back in 1991, right after I got engaged. Eerily, in the last entry I was questioning what love was/is and if I loved Ex and whether we were right for each other or if I was just marrying him because we were so alike: self conscious and introverted. Then nothingness. I suppose I got wrapped up in the whole wedding pageantry. Not that I have anything against weddings. I went to a lovely, heartfelt ceremony on Friday. The room was divided: the bride's family was sober and the groom's were normies. Were the drinkers the ones cutting it up on the dance floor, wildly gyrating and sweating and shouting joy? No, that would be the sober guests. The drinkers were standing on one side, holding beers and watching the action. I used to be on that side of the room. I'm so glad I crossed over and joined the dancing fools.