Date Archives May 2013

Letters to Louie: It’s time to talk about the D-word

Just_divorced

This is another post in my series of letters to my future husband, Louis C.K. (Find out how our love story began here.

Dear Louie,

At some point we have to talk about it. Once of us has to take the Big Obvious Question, slap it on the counter like a butcher would a bloody carcass, and hand the other person a cleaver. We’ll see the level of merriment in each other’s eyes get turned down a notch, or several. Our voices will take on different tones.  We’ll both try to pretend that this carcass doesn’t have the potential to ruin everything.

“So why did you get divorced?”

This is the question that, no matter how glossy our post-divorce personas may be, can reveal us as damaged people. Because a marriage is a living thing. Especially if you have children, you probably tortured yourself for a good, long time to keep this living marriage-thing breathing long after it had become something ugly and warped. You performed all kinds of rituals to try to bring it back from the dead so the kids wouldn’t feel sad, much like how the dad tried to resurrect the family cat in Stephen King’s Pet Sematary. You probably dug up your dead union from the backyard, performed some hocus pocus on it and put on a cheery voice when your dirty, bloody, reanimated marriage ambled into the backyard. Maybe, finally, you’re the one who had to take it out behind the shed and hack it to bits when you realized that you could no longer ignore that its breath smelled like dirt and decay.

Going through something like that can change a person.

Hello, daddy

When I first started dating again, in what I like to refer to as the Dating 2.0 period, I tried to only date men who didn’t have children. After all, one set of children of was complicated enough.

But then I went out for a one lunch date with a single dad who changed everything for me. He said that he only wanted to date women who were moms. That was a shock. Most men seemed to view the fact that I had kids with the same distaste as if I’d casually mentioned that I was missing a boob. (To be clear: I’m not. There are two. At least for today.) This guy explained to me that he liked dating mothers because there was a commonality of experience there that he really appreciated.

And you know? That guy had a point. Men without kids can’t understand the big, bloody carcass on the table. They don’t know what it’s like to be miserable in every molecule of your body every fucking moment of your life for years – while trying to convince yourself that you’re not – because you can’t bear to imagine that you could be responsible for irreparably mangling your kids’ lives by getting divorced.

Dating another divorced parent is like two war vets running into each other at the Burger King. They don’t know each other and they might not have served in the same country, but they both know what it’s like to have to have to go sleep with sand in their asses and then choke down an MRE before going on a patrol that they might not survive.

And no, divorce isn’t war but it certainly is hell.

Road trip … to misery

So, at the risk of turning this into some awful fan fiction here … let’s imagine that you and I are sitting on some barstools and one of us hauls out the bloody carcass question. What would I tell you? What’s my headline for why my marriage fell apart?

All of us divorced people can tick off our lists of perceived domestic sins, emotional or sexual abandonment, and/or betrayals large and small. It’s all been done before. Sure, the details matter, but they only matter so much. Those details tell you about the end of the story.

What interests me more than that is what the fucking fuck set can set two well-intentioned people down the road to misery. Not so much the “what” of what happened, but the “why.”

For me, the most easily digestible answer I can give is the so-called “wrong person” axiom. But that implies that my ex was somehow defective and should be sent back to the factory. And “wrong” sounds very blamey and I take plenty of responsibility for getting our little marriage train off on the wrong track from the get-go.

When I boil everything down to the bones of why this happened, the truth is this that I got married because I thought it was what I was supposed to do, and I didn’t trust myself enough to question it.

But there’s always another “why” isn’t there? [In fact, Louie, you illustrated this beautifully in your bit about your daughter asking a neverending series of why questions, where you eventually wind up having to deconstruct the mysteries of the universe.] The fact is, the reason I got divorced may go back generations, to the moment my grandfather set out on a truck delivery and decided not to return home to his wife and eight kids. Or maybe even further than that.

For the purpose of what we’re doing here, we’ll refrain from going back that far – although I do like to imagine some beastly Viking from the Norwegian side of the family crying into his pillow because he just wants his wife to touch him. Instead, we’ll rewind to a few years before I got married …

And that is a story that involves a fair amount of liquor, a south Jersey shore town, a month-long train ride, moving to the murder capital of the United States, and walking a herd of elephants through the Queens-Midtown Tunnel. To be continued …

 

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Read the previous Letter to Louie here: Welcome Back, Celibacy! (or) The Meg Ryan Effect.

Read the prior blog post here: The Beautiful Ruins of a Wedding Anniversary.

Follow me on Facebook or look me up in the Tweetosphere @singlemommaTSJ.

 

The beautiful ruins of a wedding anniversary

Eleven years ago today I walked down the aisle. It’s been four years since I celebrated this date.

Shit happens.

Yesterday I had to drive past the place where I got married. The venue went bankrupt not long before my marriage split up. Since then, it has fallen into neglect and disrepair. I was alone in the car so I decided to pull over and do a little trespassing.

 

Oy. Not so pretty. A little sad.

I loved this place the first time I saw it. It had beautiful gardens in the back that weren’t visible from the parking lot. They started at the top of a hill near the converted farmhouse and then rolled down a steep hillside to a quiet creek.

I had to see if the outdoor areas had suffered similar abuse.

Ah, nature. It just can’t help itself. It take the things that we leave behind and converts them into objects of mystery and loveliness.

I’ve always been a fan of a beautiful ruin — something where the shadow of the past is still visible in the present. I love the reminder that we can manicure things, trim them back and think we have control over them, but in the end, nature wins.

As I hiked around the gardens, 11 years to the day after my wedding rehearsal dinner, I wasn’t sad. I was happy to schlep down the overgrown flagstone path and remember what it felt like to stand there in my dress with nearly everyone I loved in the world in one place. I was happy that it all happened because I wouldn’t be where I am today — or who I am.

There are a bunch of saplings sprouting between the flagstones that used to serve as the aisle. I was reminded that if a tree falls in the forest, new trees will spring up in a line where the old one decomposed. (Are these baby trees indicative of new life sprouting from dead marriages? Are they fertilized by the residual joy of past brides? Take your pick. There’s a psychology test lurking somewhere in your answer.)

I was happy to see that the garden had gone on to reclaim its wild, mystical loveliness.

And then I realized that I feel an awful lot like that garden. No, things didn’t work out for me in the sense that I had hoped they would 11 years ago. But I like to think that something more interesting has sprung up in its place. I’m not the girl who fits neatly in a manicured flower bed. I think weeds and overgrowth and wildflowers can be interesting and romantic if you let them do their thing.

Happy anniversary to my past life. If it hadn’t been for that foundation, I may not have discovered my own inner loveliness.

The old bloggity is choking on letting me add any more photos. If you’d like to see more from my little adventure yesterday, go check out my Facebook page. There’s a great picture where you can see the saplings “marching down the aisle.” (Please “like” my page while you’re there if you don’t mind.)

 

 

 

Letters to Louie: Welcome back, celibacy (or) the Meg Ryan Effect

Chastity belt, from the collection of the former torture museum in Freiburg im Breisgau, Germany. Because celibacy is torture.
(Image courtesy of Wikimedia Commons.)

Hi readers. Once again, this post is not for you. It’s for my future husband, the comedian Louis C.K. You can find out how our love story began here. Since I probably can’t stop you from reading this, you might as well get to it.

Dear Louie,

I guess we need to talk about that last post, a.k.a. the sex post. I like to think of it as “the one where Trish rubs one out for all the Internet to see.”

I’m sure you’re wondering what’s up with that guy – the one who was banging your future fiancée. Well, I’m not seeing him anymore. It’s over.

Over, over, over.

I wanted to really like him. It would’ve been great to feel that way. Life would’ve been easier if I’d felt that way — if only for the reason that Single Parenthood can have its social drawbacks. You probably know how that is, too. Your couple friends are never quite sure what to do with you when you’re on your own. Your friend’s spouses aren’t sure how long they’re allowed to talk to you without seeming like they’re hitting on you. People never know whether to invite you to parties for families, since your family is down one member. I always sort of feel like the three-legged dog in the dog park. I’m just running and happy to feel the wind on my face, enjoying my three good legs, until I look around and notice everyone staring at my stump.

But whatever. I’ve never, ever been a person who could go out with someone just for the sake of having a boyfriend.

Anyway Louie, this guy was great in many ways. Good conversationalist. Interested in much of the same pretentious, cultural crap that I’m interested in. Impressive, smartypants job. Lots to like, for sure. But the more I saw him, the more I felt like I should’ve been getting invested in the idea of “us” but I just wasn’t.

I couldn’t think of a way that I could keep seeing him without leading him on in some way. He was still all shiny and new in the dating world – he hasn’t been back in SinglePeopleLand that long. He seemed excited about the idea of us together. But finally, I just had to tell him that he deserves to be with someone who can be emotionally available to him.

What your penis deserves

It’s true. He deserves that. Don’t we all? I wrote a big, magnanimous email saying just that and explaining that I do not have the space in my heart, in my mind, or in my busy, busy life for a relationship right now. I explained that he seemed like a wonderful person and that I had to be honest with him. I didn’t want to waste his time.

And then he wrote back. And his email was magnanimous, too. He was worried about me. My vagina, most specifically. He was worried that my vagina might be lonely since I didn’t seem like the type who could just write off sex for long. And also? He pointed out that it’s true, that I might not have time for a relationship right now, but that was unlikely to change any time soon … and did I realize that I was basically writing off any chance of getting laid for the foreseeable future? And then, I could be wrong here, but I felt that the email took on an implied “Hey, I happen to have a penis you can use” sorta tone. (I’m not wrong.)

I definitely did not write back and say that women fucking love it when men second guess their decisions and tell them what their priorities should be.

I definitely did not do that.

But I did reply and explain that I’m much more motivated by love than by sex. I said that I can’t do the casual thing. I assured him that my vagina and I had weathered many a storm together and that certainly, we’d find a way to muddle through again.

The Meg Ryan Effect

Fuck, Louie. Being a girl – pardon me, a woman – sucks so much sometimes. I’m 41 and I’m still a big, goony girl when it comes to sex. At least by this point, I’ve realized that I can’t fight my biology. If I sleep with someone, I really want to love him first.

I’m 41. (Did I already mention that?) At this age, I accept that relationships take a lot of time and effort. Just look at grooming alone. We women have to shave 40-60% of our bodies on a regular basis if we’re in a sexual relationship. That’s not even time we’re spending in your presence — that’s prep work. And don’t get me started on the amount of time we then spend on planning outfits, thinking about our feelings, thinking about your feelings, staring dreamily out the window, sniffing your pillow after you’ve gone …

Yes, we really do all of that, even though we like to pretend that we don’t. Even the coldest, most ice-queeney bitches you can imagine get all Sleepless in Seattle after meeting someone who rocks her world. None of us is immune to the Meg Ryan Effect. (To clarify: My own inner Meg looks more like the pre-Botox version.)

I’m willing to put in all the time for the right person. Hell, for the right person, I’d probably drive two hours to meet him for 10 minutes on the side of the road somewhere. But I don’t see the point in making the investment if it isn’t right.

I’ve been out here in “single again” land for close to three years now. In that time, I’ve been on a buncha first dates and a handful of second dates. I’ve had two relationships that lasted a few months each. I’ve also had one relationship that lasted more than a year. In that one, I fell in love like a giddy little teenager, made out with my charming foreign boyfriend in a variety of public places (because we just couldn’t help ourselves – yes, we were that couple), started thinking about where he, I, and our combined children would eventually live … and then had to say goodbye to him when I could no longer ignore the fact that yes, the Irish accent was adorable but the drinking that accompanied it was not.

I have had times in my Dating 2.0 life where meeting a man and falling in love was a priority. After being in an emotionally unsatisfying marriage for so many years, I really wanted to fall in love. Big, big love. Find someone special. Get swept away.

And I did. All that happened.

And then it unhappened.

That’s the way it goes sometimes.

Screw you guys, I’m goin’ home (for now)

At least all of that reminded me that real love is out there. It doesn’t always last forever, but it’s there. I’ve had it a few times in my life. I think it’ll come around again. But right now, meeting someone and falling in love is not a priority. I’m sure it will be at some point again later, but not now. I’m taking my vagina and I’m going home.

So let me rest a while, Louie. In the meantime, you and I can get to know each other, slowly. Then, when the time is right, we’ll get this thing moving. Could be nice.

In the meantime, I’ll keep writing.

Trish

Read the next Letter to Louie here.

Read the previous Letter to Louie here.

Follow me on Twitter @singlemommaTSJ or on my Facebook page.