Date Archives June 2010

This is my sexy face…

Update: This blog probably doesn’t make sense anymore since I changed the photo. But since this blog rarely makes sense I’m not going to worry too much about it. If you want to see the photo I’m referring to, it’s on my “fan” page. While you’re there, you can “fan” me. Incentive: Once I get to 50 fans, I will disclose something embarrassing about myself. What that is I don’t know, but luckily there’s a big pool to choose from — and I’m sure many of you will be all too happy to offer suggestions…

Did you see my new blog candy? Over there, that way ——->…  you can now “follow” me on facebook. Because I’m going all kinds of interesting places. Or at least I feel compelled to do so now that I have that thing up there. This way I can be “friends” with people I don’t know without having to worry about them looking pictures of my kids. Have I watched too many paranoia-inducing TV shows? Haven’t we all?

What do you think of the pic? Does it look like I’m trying too hard? That’s because I am. I am in serious need of a good photo of myself. So when my almost-7 year old starting taking pics the other week, I admit that I thought, “Maybe one of these would be OK…” But, really. What was I thinking? I’m in my “mom uniform” and I’m just sitting there on the steps like I’m waiting for the mailman or something. Please, someone help me with this because any photos I take of myself look very, very scary.

But don’t get me wrong. I am a big, big, big fan of social-networking self portraits. I love ’em. I actually have thought several times about how I could stage one myself. In my dream photo, the final effect would look as if I’m in the middle of a joyful laugh as the wind rustles my hair and the sun sets behind me… as if a professional photographer just happened to be roaming the countryside and just happened to notice me at the perfect moment –instead of me trying to pose for myself in front of my iPhone and ending up looking like I’m in a fishbowl.  However, my favorite self-portraits are the sexy ones. Oh, how I enjoy thinking about the preparation that must go into getting the hair and makeup just so and how long it took the person to arrange their face into the dazed but suggestive “I just got done doing something nasty” look — mouth slightly open, possibly biting part of the lip…  I mean, it’s an art form. I’m sure there must be a Web site dedicated to this somewhere. Send it to me if you find it.

I actually have another post started but I’m feeling self-conscious about my goony photo so I had to address it. (Is a goony photo better than no photo? Show of hands, please…)

So if I ever get past this next deadline, I’ll have a new bloggity blog for you, my pretties. Until then, I’ll be looking behind me in case you’re “following” me (and if you thought the photo was bad, the view from behind is something else altogether…)

Don’t know much about Jack

OK, confession time. Shhhh. Lean in real close, would you…? Anyone looking? Here’s the thing: I, uh, really don’t know how to be single. I don’t know how in such a massively huge way that as I’m sitting here typing this I’m on the verge of hysterical laughter because I REALLY DON’T KNOW WHAT THE HELL I’M DOING!

I’m sure this sounds premature. I know we just made The Big Announcement. It’s true. But divorce decisions don’t just happen overnight. There is a big, fat lead-up to the day when you finally become the town crier and confess that, yes, it is true. So you have some time to kick things around and think about what life is going to be like afterward. I am not ready to date right now, today, here at the Panera where I seem to spend so much of my bloggy time…

But…

The time is coming. It’s out there. (Oh no! It’s out there! Somebody call the police!) Right now I feel like I’m 15 and in my best friend’s house and I just want to giggle into a pillow. Because this Trish who I am right now has never been single. The Trish who was single before was a different Trish. That long-ago Trish is sitting inside of me right now, poking me in the ribs and going, “Hey! Guess what? I’m still here… You want some help?  Because I’ve done this before… remember?” Oh yeah. I remember.

That Trish was not great at dating.

You want to know just how not great? If you happen to be a guy and maybe you went to high school with me, here’s a test to figure out if I had a crush on you back then: If I spoke to you at all, I was absolutely not interested. Sorry (I’m sure you’re fabulous now, though).

I maybe got a little better as I got older but probably not much. I don’t know. Let’s face it, if I dated you at all in my 20s I was probably drunk during the meet-and-greet phase of our relationship (or possibly “relationship” — you know what I mean). And I’m pretty goddamn charming when I’m drunk, I can tell you, so I probably had no problem chatting you up. Also, if you were lucky enough to meet me during what I like to refer to as the Slutazoic Era, I’m sure things moved along quite nicely.

But now it’s a different ballgame. And I’m out of practice for any sort of dating ballgame, to be honest. 

I like people. If you’re a person and I don’t know you (or even if I do), I want to dig into your head like it’s a half-gallon of ice cream. I’m interested. I want to know what you ate for breakfast and if you had a dog when you were a kid and what age you were when you first did it and if you ever pee in the shower… I want to know it all. So I think that this is probably good for my personal dating world because I like to ask questions. Or it will be, when I freakin’ have a personal dating world… but I’m saying that even if I go on a buttload of bad dates, at least I’ll get to meet a bunch of people and have some conversations. Some of the guys will boring or loser-y or whatever. Some of them may be nice but there’s no chemistry. Maybe some of them — or even just one of them — will be the best ice cream I ever had. Who knows?

But I’m paranoid that that shy, tongue-tied, long-ago Trish is going to try to take over. I was pretty sure she moved out years ago so I was surprised to find that she’s been squatting in the basement all this time, waiting.

And here’s another thing that I’m paranoid about — and it’s probably really, really stupid but I think about it and I want to say it: I am maybe the only divorced person (or soon-to-be, anyway) in most of the peer groups I associate with. I am big and loud and crazy and talkative sometimes. As I mentioned before, I like people and I like to talk to lots of people. I am now really, really paranoid about talking to anyone’s husband because I am terrified that people will think that I’m flirting — because I’m being big and loud and crazy and talkative. But please let me assure you that I DO NOT KNOW HOW TO FLIRT. I missed that lesson whenever they were giving it out.  Any attempts at flirting in my past have ended in terrible disaster, I assure you (ask my college roommate — she still teases me about it). So please do not mistake my smartassiness as flirting. It’s just me. (I also say this because it’s been misconstrued in the past — I’d find some guy trying to lay a kiss on me and be like, “Whoa! What are you doing?” And he’d be like, “You were flirting with me all night!” And I’d be like, “Ummm… I was?” So I am clueless.) (And also: I do not cheat and I do not help anyone else cheat. Long-ago Trish had a policy of not going after anyone who was otherwise involved with anyone else — that’s one policy I’m going to borrow from her.)

So I don’t know if I had to say all that or not, but I wanted to. A divorced friend of mine (who is now happily married) said that he felt a lingering sort-of 1950s stigma about being a divorced person. Possibly he just perceived it, possibly it was real. But I get what he was saying. I keep thinking of the Happy Days episode with the “hot to trot” divorcee’. I wonder, “Will people think I’m hot to trot? What the hell does that mean anyway?” Where is Potsie when you need him? (And why was he called Potsie? What the hell was up with that show?)

And now, chickadees, one more confession: The thing that prompted this whole blog tonight was that I think I might have maybe kind of gotten checked out by an OK looking man when I walked in here. I was thinking, “OK, girl. This is your world now. You’re not ready but you could use some practice…” So when I got up to throw some things away he happened to be walking past. And you know what happened? Nothing because long-ago Trish took over and I put my head down and sprinted to my seat without even attempting eye contact. So embarrassing to even write that. I’m laughing at myself right now — and also cringing. But, hey, it was a learning experience and it was harmless. Now I know that long-ago Trish needs to be bound and gagged and reminded that she doesn’t run the show anymore.

Someone today called me the Indiana Jones of Singledom (thanks, Charlie!). I’ll take that. If I think of myself like that then maybe I’ll be able to take this on…

Hang with me, people. It’s going to be interesting.

When you’re walking through hell, don’t stop

Dear Hallmark: I’ve found an untapped market for you — Father’s Day cards to men from the women who are in the middle of divorcing them.  They don’t even have to be bitchy or anything. Maybe something along the lines of, “Hey! Thanks for making those little people with me. They turned out pretty nice, huh? Now go take them to your parents’ house so I can sit on the deck in the sunshine, read a book and eat some blueberries.” (Of course, I’m sure the bitchy ones would sell like crazy. Call me if you need some suggestions…)

Another idea: Valentine’s Day cards for lovers that you feel ambivalent about but haven’t yet broken up with. I’m telling you, that could be a big one.

So the bloggity blog has languished a bit in the midst of all of my personal trauma and drama. It was hard to not write while the shit was going down. I wanted to. I’m a heart-on-my-sleeve type of girl. But the last thing I wanted to do then — or now– is to air out the proverbial dirty laundry of my married life in public. For those of you who have known us (or the people formerly known as “us”) as a married couple, I think it’s only normal to speculate on what went wrong. I’d probably be doing it if I were on the outside of all of this. I’m sure that you can come up with a hundred and fifty reasons why I must be a real pain in the ass to be married to or why he must be a real jerk to live with. Some of those reasons probably did factor into the equation somewhere. But anyone who has been in a long-term relationship knows that the only people who really know what goes on are the people in it. And even if you’re one of those people, you may still be in the dark and not know it.

So I’m cycling through all the complicated emotions that come along with ending my life as I have known it for the past decade. It’s a lot to process. Despair (hopefully now mostly past, mostly manifested as inappropriate public crying), blinding fucking anger (seems to be making a sneaky little comback, mostly manifested as furious typing followed by repeated hitting of the backspace key), resignation (one of the more palatable emotions) and now, finally, hope and happiness (mostly manifested as a little bright light, just around the corner, up ahead — it’s going to let me catch up with it soon).

I plan to give myself the time I need to feel all of the uncomfortable, rotten emotions of the situation. If I feel like crying, I’m going to do it. But when all of that energy is spent I am going to take this life of mine and live the heck out of it. I am on a quest for a joy. A quote I recently heard: Sometimes you have to walk through the valley of the shadow of death, but you don’t have to build a condo there.

I believe that absolutely everything in life is a learning experience. And I’m starting to emerge from this rancid mess with a surprising thought in mind: I am really proud of myself. This has been so hard. But I feel that someday I will be able to look my children in the eyes and honestly say to them that I did every single thing I could to try and save the family. Now some of you may be thinking, “What? If that’s true, why aren’t you just staying?” To that I say: You do not know the whole story. And you probably never will. Because there is always more than meets the eye.

And another person I can look in the eye is me. I think when the shit hits the fan you really find out what you’re made of. I’m proud to say that I think I’m made of some pretty good stuff. I have behaved honorably throughout all of this. I kept my promises — to myself and to other people. I did what I said I was going to do.

Another thing that I’m finding out: I’m a hopeful person. I could walk away from this all bitter and damaged — a real man-hater. But I don’t feel that way. Sure, I have some healing to do. But ultimately I believe in love. I believe that there’s something better out there for me. And if there’s not at least I’m going to die trying. Real love is worth it. Yes, I’ve faced the fact that I could wind up ALONE (oh no! not that!). But I’m pretty good company for myself. I am blessed beyond all measure with family and friends. I’m interested in a hundred million things. Yes, I’ll have pockets of loneliness here and there, but I’ll never be bored.

So I start my journey. I have my little hobo pack slung over my shoulder. It’s full of books, some good music, a notebook and something to write with (OK, and my iPhone — anyone know if there’s a hairdryer app?). My kidsters are toddling around my feet. We’re talking and laughing and learning and dancing. And we start each day with Little B’s favorite song because it gives us all a boost… Don’t worry, about a thing… ‘cuz every little thing is gonna be all right…

The D-word. Yeah, that one.

Divorce. No one wants to say it. People find out that you’re having problems and they talk around the issue so they don’t have to use the word. I talked around it, too. I said “splitting up,” “if things don’t work out…,” etc. Then when someone finally says it they whisper it, like that scene in St. Elmo’s fire where the mother kept whispering about cancer.

Then finally you realize that you have to speak the word. You have to try it out. You have to see how it tastes in your mouth, how it feels on your tongue. It has a hell of an aftertaste, I can tell you that.

The first time I spoke it was on a Saturday afternoon at a parade. My daughter was still in her leotard from her dance class. She was busy playing with someone she knew so she wasn’t paying attention to me. I told the other kid’s mom and then I fell apart, right there on the curb as people walked past me with their lawnchairs. I hardly knew the woman but I knew that she’d been divorced because we’d discussed it at the community pool the summer before. But I had to tell someone. I had to make it real. I had to put it out there in the universe. I had to call it what it was — not “we’re splitting up,” not “separating,” not “having problems.”

That was weeks ago. On that day, I was sure that there was no way back. I was so sure that I decided to tell a person who wasn’t in my family or who hadn’t already met me for coffee and watched me cry publicly or who hadn’t fielded long and gut wrenching emails from me. Just a person. Because I was sure.

But then I wasn’t. Because I wanted to find a way to not do it. Because the pain of splitting up your family is so bad it’s actually like sticking a knife into your own belly, grabbing your intestines, ripping them out and then jumping up and down on them while they’re still connected to your body. Then multiply that feeling by a million. Or, as one divorced friend says, “It’s hard as fuck.”

So we took a step back from the edge of the cliff. We said maybe not. But then there came a point when we both realized that what was broken wasn’t going to be fixed. And if we did manage to adhere all those pieces back together, it was pretty likely to be some warped, cracked version of what it was.

Then you have to tell everyone. That is when you wish you had some sort of celebrity publicist to do the dirty work for you. And these days, you practically have to write a press release anyway because of facebook. So I did the dirty work. Then, before I posted the Notice of Our Official Demise, I got a babysitter and sat in Panera and emailed back and forth a hundred times with the person who I guess I now have to refer to as “the ex.” There were no more last-minute “let’s not do this” emails. Instead, it was “Let’s stay a family, even though things are going to look different. Let’s cheer each other on. Let’s be kind and cooperative. Let’s stay friends,” all the while thinking, “Do all divorced people do this? Are we kidding ourselves?” but hoping to God that we can pull it off. Yes, there is hurt and disappointment and some anger, but we could work well together when we wanted to in the past. Maybe we can do it now.

So it was time to tell the world. Or our world anyway, via the ever-present gossipsphere of social networking. But first there was lots of staring out the window and thinking, “Really? There’s really no other way out of this? Really?” And then saying, “No. There’s not. It’s hard and it’s sad but how many times can we circle the same block before we decide to turn?” So I posted it. And somehow that made it feel official. And we again emailed each other about how sick we felt after seeing the post. And we commiserated over the announcement of our divorce from each other.

This is going to sound nuts, but in a way it was kind of beautiful. There are many things that we do not see eye-to-eye on. We are very different people. We’ve hurt each other and we’ve made each other mad. But at the end of it all, perhaps we are able to set each other free in a peaceful way, with the recognition that we’re both hurting right now. Perhaps we can find a new way to love each other — as friends and as co-parents. We both have to reconfigure our lives. We both have to start over in many respects but we also have to find a way to continue on with the next phase of our family life. I do not know what shape the future will take but I have hope for us.

And now let me tell you that the napkins in Panera are not absorbent enough to mop up tears. If you’re planning on going there to cry, bring some tissues.

And I also want to say that this has been a tough few months. There have been lots of people who have come out of the woodwork to support both of us and I just want to say thanks again. Thanks doesn’t seem like enough considering the heavy emotional burden that many of you have tried to help us carry. I know that many of you have lost many hours of sleep over us because sometimes it’s almost harder to see the people you love in pain than to be in actual pain yourself. So a very humble thanks. Your friendship and love and support have been overwhelming . While a lot of you have said that you didn’t know what to say or that you wished there was more that you could do, let me tell you that you did a lot just by being present and walking through it with us.