Friday, December 7, 2012

133 Days - Segments of Suicide: When Thoughts Become Actions in a Complicated World

“I wanted to talk to you. I wanted to hear your voice and tell you that I loved you.”
That was the opening sentence of a phone conversation had between my husband and me not thirty minutes ago. He decided he would call me as he left the Toyota dealership where he had been this morning getting an estimate on what it would cost to repair the damage I had done to his truck as I accidentally rammed it into a pole about a month ago.
“I, along with about twenty other people in the waiting room of the dealership, witnessed something this morning that really shook me up. It was… I don’t know… it was disheartening, and pretty disturbing, but I wanted to share it with you because… well, I needed to share it with someone. No, I needed to share it with you, so, I’m going to.”
As I quietly sat on the end of my chair with my laptop in front of me in the middle of some mindless data entry, I listened intently to my husband’s quaky voice tell the tale of woman who experienced the unthinkable this morning. He set the scene at the dealership – where he was sitting in relation to where she was. What she looked like and what she was wearing. And then he proceeded, his voice even shakier now, to tell me how in a relatively quiet room with not much more than the sound of an irrelevant guest answering questions asked by a talentless daytime talk show host echoing in the background, this woman – middle-aged, nicely dressed, African American – began screaming at the top of her lungs.
“She was wailing, Barbara. I mean, it was the type of scream that I imagine would have been similar to the scream you let out in the mall when Roman was having his first seizure. You know… helpless. It was as if she was not in her own body. You had to see her… you had to hear her. She just kept screaming ‘My God, no! My God, no, no, no, God, no!’ and tears were pouring from her eyes.”
The woman was helped outside, he continued to tell me, quickly surrounded by Toyota employees trying to calm her down or find out what it was that was happening, or what she needed. Everyone, he said, was left in the waiting room in a deafening silence. But they stared. They stared, along with my husband, through the dirt-reddened waiting room windows as this woman continued her telephone conversation, and went on with her screaming and her wailing and her clear expression of pain, until she finally just dropped to her knees in silent heartache.
Her husband had shot himself this morning. Taken his own life. And someone called to tell her that. Right then. On the phone. At the dealership. While she waited with everyone else for her tires, or her brakes, or her wipers to be fixed. She was there going about her everyday life while somewhere in their home probably only a few miles away, he was taking his. What was he thinking? Was he thinking? Did he think in the process of taking his that he would also selfishly be ruining hers? No one knows. No one ever will. But everyone left will bear the weight of the pain.
“There was a guy next to me in a suit. He and I just looked at each other and shook our heads. I could tell he was affected. I was affected… I AM affected. And when he got up to leave he said to me ‘Have a good day’ and I said ‘thanks, yeah, have a better day than what that woman is having. Oh, and if you ever feel like you might want to end it all, I suggest you remember that scream’ to which the man responded ‘Good point. I think if her husband ever heard that scream, he would have never done what he did. Take care’ and then he left. But it’s true, Barbara. It’s true that when a person takes their life they are thinking about themselves most, and how they can’t take it, and they can’t handle it, but everyone… EVERYONE should hear a scream like I heard this morning. I think there would be a lot fewer suicides if they did.” 

Anne Tillet Palumbo was an English woman of incredible beauty. A hairdresser with a knack for fashion and a keen style eye, she married an Italian man from Philadelphia and gave birth to two children in her twenties, Barbara and Patrick. She was a wonderful wife and an incredible mother until the day she took her own life, leaving her kids – then seven and four – behind. Anne Tillet was my grandmother and her death affected my father in a way that I hope I may never affect someone I love. He grew up as a once talented, but often troubled artist who became an abusive husband and used alcohol to wash the pain away, if only temporarily. Without the love of his mother he struggled to know the proper way to parent and the end result was a strained and eventually non-existent relationship with his children, me being one of them. When I think about those who commit suicide, I think of how the act of my grandmother affected my father. And then I think about how it would affect my son and how I would never wish my father’s life on someone so precious and so dear. As the granddaughter she never knew – one of only two grandchildren she would have had – I also think about what it would have been like to know her. I look like her, which I’m sure made the pain even greater for my father. Did he resent me because I reminded him of her? Did that strain our relationship even more because he hated that she left him behind to suffer, motherless and guideless? Those are answers I will never know in the same way that she doesn’t know the pain that she caused on the day that she left this world, never to exist in mine.


Jovan Belcher. A gay Michigan teenager. The nurse who was pranked by two radio DJs into giving out information about Kate Middleton. A bullied ten-year-old girl in North Carolina. These are people who killed themselves just this week. Left behind are infant daughters, loving parents, co-workers, friends and lovers, all of whom I could only imagine screamed a scream similar to that of a middle-aged African-American woman waiting to have her brakes fixed somewhere in Georgia, only a mere hour or so ago.
To those right now thinking about giving up, know this: You cannot successfully live for yourself without simultaneously living for others. You are not just giving up, you are giving up on them. Be selfless. Be strong. And above all, show the ultimate sign of love for those around you by staying. It genuinely will get better.

Monday, December 3, 2012

137 Days – The Return of the MILF Writer

So, what’d I miss?

WOW… now THAT’s what I call a hiatus! It’s been thirty-eight days since I logged on to and man, I’ve got to admit that even I missed the attention-seeking mediocrity. After all, writers do desire attention, do they not? I mean, at least published writers do, which by the way, is a group that I am now part of.
That’s write… I mean er, right, bitches… I got PAID!! Oh I know it doesn’t mean shit to you, especially if you’re a writer who writes for a living, but chances are that if you’re a writer who writes for a living, your ass ain’t reading this blog. It's not exactly Hemingway fodder, so I’ll carry on.
Yes Virginia, I have officially been paid for a piece that was published and I have to say that it felt pretty goddamned awesome. You see, my darlings, I don’t write for a living, nor am I sure I ever could. I do something else for a living that I also genuinely love – working with precious metals and gemstones – but writing had always been more of an outlet or hobby; something that I could do to express myself when verbalization and tears would no longer cut it. I used to draw when I was younger as a sign of expression but as I got older I realized just how much I wasn’t the artist that my father was, so drawing only frustrated me more. Now that I’m on the Eve of Forty (PLUG!) I find that writing is a much better way to express what’s going on in my brain, or even in my soul some days, and that it’s a fuckload more effective than yelling or kicking homeless people, so I stick with it.
Why thirty-eight days you say or you didn’t but I wish you had for the sake of this post? Well, I’ll tell you, selfish person who didn’t actually ask: because I physically, emotionally and mentally couldn’t do it any sooner. If you read my last blog post you probably wondered what in cock’s world was going on in my life. I received texts and private messages from some really caring, wonderful friends concerned about my well-being after 175 Days and for those folks, I’m extremely grateful. I guess I was going through some things. A sort of mini-depression one might say, although I'm not sure I've ever been in a depression before so who knows exactly what it was, and it took that long, as well as a little encouragement from a fellow writer and good friend to get back on the horse (Thanks, Ant). Now here I am sitting high in the saddle, preparing for my ass to hurt after a long day’s ride once more (cue Beavis-style giggling) and I’m ready… again… to count down the days…
So coming up soon I’ll share with you the story of my first mammogram and how affected I was by the process and result. I’ll also be writing a holiday post and maybe I’ll even share the story of the time I got my nipple caught in the keyhole of a parking meter, but that’s for down the road. Until then, feel free to go back and view some of my older posts so that my view count will rise and I’ll think that people actually read my shit. Even if you don’t read it just click the links here and there to make me feel better. It’s cheaper than therapy and I’d do it for you. Maybe.
Talk at you soon… and as my friend Anthony San told me just today... #GetInspired.


Friday, October 26, 2012

175 Days - I Used To Like You

I’m here in front of you, looking at your hardened, gray face, trying to remember what it was I saw in you in the first place. I once thought you were the most confident person I had ever known. I once believed that you couldn’t be broken by any person, thing, or situation. But you’ve given up – at least, most days it feels like you have; on me, on yourself, and even at times on those kids. I don’t know what I’m supposed to think anymore, or what I’m supposed to say to you. But I do know that we can’t keep travelling the road we’re on; it’s narrowing and heading into the woods, and as the time goes by, it’s growing dark.
I used to like you. There was a time when I felt that I had found everything I ever needed in you, and a time when I believed that unhappiness was a word only used in made-for-T.V.-movies and dollar-store greeting cards. I loved how your hair felt on the pillow at night, and how your laughter was genuine and your smiles plentiful. I remember catching glimpses of you from time to time and being overwhelmed by a sense of pride from all that you had become, and all that you were to so many, including me. But I can’t even touch you now. I can’t hold your head in my hands while you cry because it does nothing but make me resent you. I can’t run my fingers over your chest because I know that it’s where your changed heart lives. And I can’t touch you with my eyes because they see you as differently as they ever will, and the person they see is not the same as they once were.  My eyes can’t touch you anymore, because there is no you anymore, there is just a shell of who you used to be wearing the clothing I once bought for you, and even that doesn’t look the same.
One can only believe in so much in their lives. One can only hold on to something as long as it wants to be held, and it feels as if the hourglass that once contained the grains of joy, sacrifice, determination and respect has not only run out, but has fallen to the hard tile floor, shattering pieces of you in places that I can’t reach or can’t see. I can’t fix you. No matter how many sad songs I listen to, or brainy quotes I read, I can’t fix you. You’re broken, and you’re shattered, and I’m afraid that one day a piece of you is going to cut me when I least expect it and I’m tired as fuck of bleeding over you. The hour has passed and time is no longer a privilege.
So you have a choice. You can choose to travel the wooded, darkened road you’re on; your feet cut from shards of glass and covered in the sand that once was the foundation of your beauty and your soul, or you can turn around and walk in my direction. If you go forward know that you are going there alone. If you turn back, know that I will be waiting for you with shoes. Forward means solitude. Back means support. Forward, a figurative death awaits. Back, an actual life awaits. But I can’t make this call for you... this one thing, you have to do on your own.
I used to like you, Me. I used to like the things you did, and things you said, and who you were. But I don’t like you anymore; in fact, I hate who you’ve become. So, change. For us both. All one of us. We need you to.

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

178 Days - The Day My Mind Arrived

Yesterday was my good friend Brian’s 39th birthday – which I forgot. The same good friend who last year sent me a Barbra Streisand CD in the mail to make up for a slight misstep on his part when my birthday rolled around, and who this year spent God-knows-how-much-on a fat, sweaty Elvis to sing Happy Birthday to me in front of colleagues at my place of work. The same friend who at the age of ten crafted a goodbye card out of orange construction paper and Philadelphia Flyers’ logos which he gave to me before my family moved, changing neighborhoods and schools. The one who confided in me when he was at one of his lowest points and who, despite being unable to drive, took public transportation across a massive city just to be on time for my daughter’s baptism. Yesterday, I forgot to tell him that he is a friend I hold very dear to me, and that I am a better person with him in my life. I forgot to remind him of how special I think he is and how much I love having him as a confidant, and I forgot to wish him a wonderful year ahead. I acted selfishly in many ways yesterday which is neither a reason to forget nor an excuse of why I did, but rather recognition of where I went wrong.

One year ago yesterday, we laid to rest my husband’s father – which I forgot. I forgot how Todd stood in front of a room of family and friends and expressed his grief in a very Todd way. How when the service had ended, our family changed into clothing appropriate for a beautiful autumn, cloudless day in the city of Orlando and walked along the edge of Lake Ivanhoe where we shared thoughts, cried tears, grasped hands and leaned on shoulders. I didn’t tell him that I was feeling pain alongside him yesterday as he smiled his way through everything that came at him because I didn’t know he was hurting, since I didn’t take the time to know, or even take the time to care. Yesterday, I was paying attention to my accounts and stressed about being with my boss and I put my focus on the debate and looking attractive and feeling confident and smashing my husband’s truck which I did in grand fashion. Yesterday, like so many days, I wasn’t thinking of the truly important things like those I love, and those who love me. I was just thinking about me, sadly, yet again.

Yesterday, Police found the body of twelve-year-old Autumn Pasquale after they along with neighbors, family, and strangers – including some friends of mine who lived in Autumn’s neighborhood in South Jersey – searched for days through woods and trailer parks, knocking on doors and handing out fliers. A community of people put aside their lives and whatever duties they had to search for a girl in the hope that a situation like this would have a positive outcome for a change. They were selfless, determined and filled with hope and they let those three things guide them through the days and nights that followed. But their search in the end only turned up the inevitable: another young child taken from her family and friends. A girl who would have one day been a woman taken from her future husband and future children way too soon. Another potential world-changer gone, but not at the hands of those determined to find her as those people understood Autumn’s potential and despite whatever was going on in their worlds, worked long and hard to try to save that potential, as well as that precious little girl.

To my friend, Brian: Happy Birthday, a day late. I love you. You are my forever friend, and I’m sorry that I didn’t *make* the time to tell you that yesterday.
To my husband, Todd:  I am with you today in spirit and I am here if you need me for anything at all. I will drive across town to bring you a muffin and my shoulder if need be, so please use me in whatever way you must. I’m sorry I didn’t remember.
To the family of Autumn Pasquale: I am so sorry that the world and I will never get to see Autumn’s full potential, but I will work hard to act as selflessly as those who searched to find your baby in my own life to honor hers that is now, sadly, over. My prayers and those of my family are with you and yours today.

A wise person once said that finding the time and making the time are two entirely different things. Go make the time today that you didn’t make yesterday.
I just did.

My pal Brian and Me

After Stan's Service

Another life gone too soon. Rest in peace, Autumn.

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

184 Days - These Breasts Are Mine, and I Want to Keep Them

When I was twelve years old my underdeveloped breasts were inappropriately touched by someone very close to me. It had never happened before and did not happen again, and since a lot of alcohol was involved on their part it’s tough to say whether or not they had all of their wits about them. Nevertheless, the act affected me years down the road – well into my thirties; even dissuading me from breastfeeding either child – and brought heightened awareness to a body part I hadn’t thought of until then. At twelve, I was only just starting puberty. My menstrual cycle hadn’t begun but I was starting to feel the tinglings of pre-teenhood and this, well, this occurrence, gave me a whole new outlook on my developing breasts…
It made me hate them.
Over the years my disdain barely diminished. It would take a near act of God, a bite of my tongue, and a fighting back of tears for me to allow a boyfriend to get to first base. The memory would come crashing back and it would take all of the strength I could conjure not to run out of whoever’s bedroom we were in crying or worse, vomiting. I hated how they looked; uneven and small, but mostly, I loathed having them touched by anyone; man or woman. Even into my twenties as my relationships became more serious and I became more sexually active, that area was usually the one that my lovers knew to steer clear of though they never knew the real reason why. “Why can’t I suck on your breasts?” was a question often asked in the midst of a heated make-out session. “I just don’t like it, okay? It doesn’t turn me on. It kind of freaks me out if you really want to know” is how I would usually respond and for the most part that response was enough, but it took my first husband to finally draw the real reason out of me which is likely when I started on the path of healing.  
In time I began to both appreciate and embrace my body as a whole more than I ever had in my teens or twenties. As I closed in on my thirties, my sexual desire monumentally grew and I was able to mostly compartmentalize the phobia I had as it pertained to my mammaries.  I decisively opened myself up to allowing them to be a part of my sex life and even looked forward to having them licked, teased, and kissed, which meant I finally, finally, could look at them in the mirror without thinking of a time when I couldn’t. I knew their shapes, and their differences. I knew which was tenderer when a certain time of month rolled around. I welcomed their size, enjoyed their color, and decorated them with expensive bras and the occasional nipple clamp. These breasts were mine – they belonged to me, and no one else. They never did, they were always mine, and I loved them… I wholeheartedly, irrevocably loved them, and still do.
Next month I will be going in for my first ever mammogram. I knew this day would come sooner than later since I will be exactly six months away from my fortieth birthday on Friday. I had always assumed that it would come earlier for me since my maternal grandmother died of breast cancer in her forties but my OBGYN insisted after every past breast exam that I had nothing to worry about and that I could wait it out as long as possible. But now, the time has come, and there is a part of me that is just a little bit afraid having only been reunited with my breasts fully and happily in the last decade. I’m not ready to lose them, and while that’s a bit of a hyperbolic statement I can’t help but have this fear that they’ll go away before I know it, and I don’t want them to. I’m not ready for that, yet. I want my breasts and want others to want them too. I mean, I haven’t visited enough topless beaches in my life. I never flashed them in New Orleans for Mardi Gras. They still can’t hold up a pencil. Fuck, they’re not even pierced.
I guess what I’m saying to you – to the world, and even to my breasts – is that I’m sorry that I abandoned them for so long and that I hope that they can at least understand my reason, but that I’m here for them now and I will fight forever to never have to let them go again, so bring it… bring it on. Bring on the machine that will squish my boob to an inch of its life because I can take it. They can take it. Believe me, because they’ve taken a hell of a lot worse.  

Thursday, October 4, 2012

197 Days - An Astrology of Exes

I figured enough time had passed since you all had a good, fun-loving post from yours truly. It seems I’ve been filling the minutes of your day with deeply sappy posts consisting of torment, heartache and romanticism, so let’s all agree that that’s enough of that shit, shall we? This post is about one of my favorite, FAVORITE, FAAAAAAAAAAVVVVVORITE topics.   
It was not so long ago (yes it was) that I would take my bald-headed, frock-reddened, Mock-Marten wearing self down to a little hippy book store on Philadelphia’s famous South Street by the name of Garland of Letters. I would walk the two miles at any hour of the night to be able to spend some time alone sitting and reading on the floor of the only section I had any interest in at the time: Astrology. And while I consider myself to be fairly bright – even quite brilliant at times (fuck you) – this is probably the one topic (actually, scratch that, because I still believe in God)… this is probably one of the two topics that makes people roll their eyes at me when I say it’s an interest of mine, and you know what? I’m okay with that, because it led me to the idea for this blog post.
Without further adieu, I present to you, An Astrological Breakdown of my Exes. Just so you are aware, the Exes mentioned below will consist of the following categories: boyfriends (non-lover), boyfriends (lover), fiancées, husbands, and just plain old lovers. If you are stalking me and reading this and fall into one of the above categories know that I am definitely talking about you, so don’t kid yourself. I hope that you all enjoy and/or relate to and/or contemplate your next sexual or life partner after reading what I’ve written, and feel free to leave comments below if you’re either in agreement or disagreement or in the case of some of my exes, if you have the balls to.
ARIES (March 21 – April 20):
The first official sign of the zodiac is Aries, or, The Ram, and heaven knows that pretty much sums up the lovemaking style of the men under this sign. Aries men like it quick and dirty but don’t get me wrong, as an Aries woman I am pretty much the same way. You see, Aries rules the head (insert school boy giggle) so the thing with Aries is that there has to be a mental connection, but the other thing with Aries is that… well, frankly, we just like to fuck. Cuddling is considered blasphemy. Why cuddle when there are more fucks to be had? It’s quite simple, actually, and it’s something that I never held against the couple of Aries lovers that I had in my life. I got them – I understood them – so it never bothered me when they wanted to roll over because when the sex was happening, it was often pretty goddamned mind blowing. The first ever non-on-top/non-oral orgasm I had was with an Aries man (in case I never said it, thank you) and when the relationship part of it was good, it was verrrrrrrry good, but… BUT… if you cross an Aries man you better be ready for a heavy exchange of verbal abuse, potential stalking and a non-existent post-relationship friendship. It’s not the way they work. If you’re in it for the sex only, let them know up front, because once you’re in their head and heart, you’re pretty much fucked when it comes time to bail. I had an Aries man pack a lunch and wait on my doorstep for eleven hours once while I hid inside of my apartment. I’m not shitting you… these fuckers are crazy.
TAURUS (April 21 – May 21):
(yawn) Sorry, did you say something? Oh, were you talking about Taurus men? That’s probably why I got so drowsy. I would rather be forced to watch seventy-two straight hours of Sarah Palin talking about hunting antelope with a crossbow while riding bareback on an ox than date or have sex with another Taurus man for as long as I live. If you’re a Taurus and we haven’t had sex, don’t take offense. If you’re a Taurus and we have, do. You assholes are boring in bed, terrible at relationships, and don’t know when to shut your fucking mouths. One Taurus boyfriend I had when I was nineteen actually told me that I was fat. FAT. I was nineteen at the time and probably weighed no more than 120 pounds soaking wet (I’m 5’10”) and this Greek piece of shit said to me… “I don’t know, I think you need to lose a little. You’re kind of soft. You should be more muscular.” I dropped him faster than Jay-Z drops a mic and purposely put ON five fucking pounds immediately afterward. The best part was he was actually eleven years older than I was which made him thirty. I can’t even imagine saying to someone when I was thirty that they needed to “lose a little.” Who the fuck dates a nineteen-year old when they’re thirty anyway? Idiot. They’re all idiots and they suck in bed. Unless of course I never slept with you. I’m sure you’re just fine in bed if that’s the case (eye roll).
GEMINI (May 22 – June 21)
I don’t have an actual sexual experience with this sign although I did have a Gemini boyfriend when I was younger and still a virgin, and, well, he cheated on me, left me, and started dating a girl who wasn’t a virgin, had sex with her and then left her a year later when he found out I had finally lost my virginity. I spit in his face. That’s the end of my Gemini story. So, uh… good luck? Oh, well, he did kiss pretty well and as far as feeling up goes, I guess that was pretty good, too, so…. sorry. That’s all I got.  
CANCER (June 22 – July 23)
I made a promise to myself when I was very young that I would never date a sign that was also a life-threatening disease, so, I got nothin’ here. Both of my brothers fall under the sign of Cancer and I would never date either of them in a million, trillion, quazillion fucking years so… moving on.
LEO (July 24 – August 23)
You probably all thought that I was never going to get to a sign that I didn’t bash, didn’t you? DIDN’T YOU? Don’t deny it! OUT WITH IT. Well, you were wrong. Leo is a wonderful sign. I have only dated men under one other sign more (keep reading) than I have dated Leos in my life and there are plenty of reasons why that is so. Leo, firstly, and like Aries, is a fire sign. They are passionate, and headstrong, and with the Lion as their representative, brave. The sign of Leo rules the heart and when you’re with a Leo you not only feel like you’re the only woman alive, but you genuinely believe it. Their lovemaking is sensual, sexy and bold, and in a relationship they can be faithful and adoring. I have spent powerful nights, physical afternoons and passionate mornings in Leo’s company, but beyond the bedroom it rarely ever worked out for the long term because when they decide they want out or they lose interest, they can turn into a dick. But that’s okay, too, because the moments had were usually enough to make me look back fondly years later.
VIRGO (August 24 – September 23)
Worst (period) Sex (period) Ever (period)
LIBRA (September 24 – October 23)
I like Libras. I do. They’re cool, even keeled, usually a lot of fun and they think rationally. They’re pretty much the opposite of everything that I am which is why I like them. Seriously… my best friend is a Libra and since Libra is exactly six signs away from Aries, they are, in effect, my Bizarro World sign. Unfortunately, I never had actual sex with a Libra. I went on a few dates with one and thought “Hey… I might like to have sex with this person at some point down the road” but it just never got to that point, which is weird because I’m intrigued at what it would be like to have sex with the anti-me. So what I can say here is, Libras are great at dinner and conversation. Oh, and walking.
SCORPIO (October 24 – November 22)
You’ve all been waiting for this one, haven’t you? Come on… you know you’ve all had a Scorpio at one time or another and you’re waiting…. You’re just WAITING to see what I’ve got to say about them. Well, I hope I won’t disappoint you with tales of my own personal Scorpio men, so here goes:  I loved them. I loved them all. Scorpio is both my oxygen and my Kryptonite. It is what I need to survive but eventually is also what’s going to kill me. The majority of men that I have been with since the time I was fifteen years old have been Scorpios. All three fiancées were. All two husbands were, too. And in between those were vivacious Scorps scattered about. Why? Well, that’s a tough one, because Scorpios overall are pretty damned intense and highly fucking difficult, and I think that’s the exact thing that draws me to them in the first place. One thing about Scorpio that gets my juices flowing is that they will cut a bitch. No joke. My ex-husband wouldn’t hesitate to clock someone in the face if they looked at me wrong, and my Todd? Jesus Christ, that man has gotten in more scuffles standing up for my honor than Lancelot did for Guinevere. Scorpios are highly sexual – sometimes too highly (did I just say that?) – Since their ruling body part is the genitalia. They like to be in charge; to dominate, which can pose problems if you’re a dominant Aries like I am, but if you’re going to have problems, these are the ones you want to have. They are masculine and quick-tempered and my God I want to go wake my husband up right now. But the most exceptional characteristics of a Scorpio male are these: loyalty, integrity, and honesty. They are the ultimate knight in shining armor no matter how rusty or worn that armor gets over the years. So go on… go get your own. Mine is off limits.
SAGITTARIUS (November 23 – December 22)
This started out as a good, fun, sexual experience which then turned into me crying on the floor of my stand up shower for an hour and a half. I can’t talk about it anymore.
CAPRICORN (December 23 – January 20)
My overall take on Capricorns is that they are big on “little white lies” which could be for one of the following two reasons: A.) They genuinely don’t want you to hurt and so they think that lying to you by saying their phone died or they must have had no reception instead of just telling you that they were out with someone else is better than watching you suffer or cry or make you not trust them, or, B.) PAIN AVOIDANCE which is another way of saying that they just don’t want to hear you nagging them and so they’ll tell you whatever they need to in order to make you just shut the fuck up. The sad part of it is, Capricorn has this (what they believe to be) cunning way of making you feel guilty for calling them out on the exact thing they’re doing that they’re not supposed to be, which is pretty fucking shitty. I mean, you could be standing there holding the DVD recording of him with another woman and he will still deny that it ever happened and you actually start to question yourself. It’s amazing, and I never use that horrid word. AMAZING. Oh, and they’re hyperbolic, too. You will be the most gorgeous woman they were ever with and the best sex they ever had, until you aren’t. And when either you or their heart packs up and leaves, you’re guaranteed to have been the douchebag in that relationship. Nnnnnnnnext!
AQUARIUS (January 21 – February 19)
Super nice guy. Tiny, tiny penis.
PISCES (February 20 – March 20)
I like to refer to Pisces as the slightly sexually demented sign of the zodiac as it pertains to men born under it. The times I’ve had with Pisces were all fairly "interesting", but, mostly in a good way. They’re creative – I’ll give them that. And they keep you guessing! Oh boy! But so did the show “Lost” and let’s admit it, folks, didn’t we all lose a bit of interest in it once the initial shock wore off and the story line got way out of whack? You get my point.
So there you have it. I know that some of you out there might read this and think “Jesus Christ… how much sex has that woman had??” and you’d be right to think that and the answer is, tons. But I’ve been having sex for 25 years, and so I’m not worried about being judged by anyone other than the man I married, and since that particular November baby grew up as a drummer who looked like this (see picture on the left), there is no cause for concern, because that was one pussy gettin’, Scorpio-bein’ motherfucker, right there. And he’s allllllll mine, baby.

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

198 Days - Forty Years and Forty Ways to Explain What Love Really Is

  1. Love is a mess.
  2. Love is never using spaghetti sauce from a jar.
  3. Love is removing the “Fox News is Bad For America” bumper sticker from your partner’s car when you know they’ll be travelling throughout the Southeast region of the country.
  4. Love is a glass of wine poured and waiting when you come home.
  5. Love is staying even when sex takes a back burner.
  6. Love is never leaving your partner behind… not for a job, or a career change, or for school.
  7. Love is not taking the furniture with you.
  8. Love is not being with someone because you think they’re your only chance at getting married; they’re not and you’re only being unfair to yourself.
  9. Love is genuine excitement at an email that has nothing to do with a bill that needs to be paid.
  10. Love is not having to show everyone on every form of social media that you love someone.
  11. Love is telling your mom.
  12. Love is trying to work it out if the other person was unfaithful.
  13. Love is trying to work it out if you were the other person.
  14. Love is bravery in the truest sense.
  15. Love is its own muscle relaxer.
  16. Love is spending what you earn, no matter what the consequences.
  17. Love is dreaming of where you’ll be in five years and smiling.
  18. Love is naivety even for those who are wide-eyed and quick thinking.
  19. Love is walking your partner to their car at 4:15 am when they have a 6:30 flight to catch, no matter how much you love sleep.
  20. Love isn’t lazy so don’t be lazy with it. Use the "I" in "I Love You" and spell out "You." It’s love; it deserves the effort.
  21. Love is the greatest form of hurt you can feel.
  22. Love is remembering but more importantly, it’s forgetting. 
  23. Love is not being the rebound.
  24. Love is NOT sharing a love story with someone that you shared with another before. That’s not love; it’s lame. And it’s fake. And it’s wrong.
  25. Love is being honest, up front, all the time. It’s having the balls to tell a person what’s going on with you, or your feelings, or something that you did. It’s trusting that they will love you enough to forgive whatever it is.
  26. Love is never looking at a person’s past but always looking toward their future.
  27. Love is waking up relieved that you’re next to the one you’ve waited your whole life for... again.
  28. Love is discussion, debate, and sometimes debacle.
  29. Love is the realization that you really aren’t ever going to find better.
  30. Love is a candlelit bathroom that only you see.
  31. Love is never calling yourself a “hopeless romantic.” That term shows nothing more than a lack of creativity.
  32. Love is knowing when to let go no matter how painful or seemingly unjustified.
  33. Love is admitting to foolishness and yet still believing that things can be different.
  34. Love is feeling nauseated when your future is uncertain.
  35. Love is fighting tooth and nail, and never giving up. It wants you to hold on… you just have to show it how hard you want to.
  36. Love is gray eyes, full lips, strong shoulders and warm embraces. It’s knowing that you’re small in a world so very big.
  37. Love is watching the Presidential debates with wine and cured meats on a couch that you bought in a house that you own on a street that you love in a city that you never want to leave.
  38. Love is coming with me to see Dead Can Dance.
  39. Love is humbling, and rewarding, and sticky, and mind numbing, but it’s better than the best fuck you ever had in your life.
  40. Love is… well, it just is. But mostly... it's this...

Friday, September 28, 2012

203 Days - Back to Work: The Often Underestimated Role of The Suit

Just over two months ago I unexpectedly found myself without the thing I hadn’t been without since I was fifteen years young… a job. After nine years with a company the time had come to part ways and so I counted my pennies, counted my blessings, held my nose, and jumped into the somewhat dingy and fairly deep pool of stay-at-home-motherhood, at least for a little while. But if you know me you know and if you don’t then let me school you with another uninteresting bit of useless Eve-formation: I’ve never been a big fan of the water.
Work and the working world is a huge part of who I am. My mother never not worked. She’s on the Eve of Seventy and still gets up at 3:30 am every day, has her breakfast, makes her coffee, and sets out for the charter school in Philadelphia where she works in their kitchen. My mother is a lunch lady and when she’s not a lunch lady any longer she’ll be a cashier or an order taker or a clerk of some sort because she’ll never, ever not work; a characteristic I have inherited from her to both my benefit (in my mind) and my detriment (in the minds of others). I’ve been criticized in the past for stating that I get fulfillment from a job that is different from the fulfillment I get from being a mother or a wife, but what some may not understand is that it’s the sole portion of my pie-compared life that doesn’t directly relate to others, which is why I am so attached to it. In other words, for the most part, work is all about me and what I’m capable of and what I’m doing and what I can learn and how I adapt and what problems I solve and how I solve them and how I am rewarded through pay and bonuses and criticism and praise. The pressure of ruining someone’s young life because I didn’t handle a situation properly is off the table – saved for the motherhood portion. The potential to hurt the person who loves me more than anyone else isn’t an option – that’s for the spouse portion. If I fuck up in the career portion then I fuck myself up and only myself up and so not doing so allows me to both admire and respect ME so that I may be able to nurture properly the other equally important portions of my pie. If I can like me I can like you, see how that works? And I want to like you… I really do want to like you.
Which brings me to my weapon of choice as it pertains to the things I need to be a successful super heroine in the working world: The Suit.
Where would Clark Kent be without his suit under his… well, suit? And what on earth would Morgan Freeman get excited about in The Dark Knight? In a country with so many sweatpants, fanny packs, and hoodies embellishing the backs, limbs, and asses of its citizens, it is The Suit that still stands as a symbol of power for a financially stable world, and for me and quite possibly a handful of others, below are a few overly exaggerated and somewhat dramatic reasons why.
I won’t just wear any suit. My suits are selected with care and while I’m not purchasing them from Neiman Marcus I am usually buying something with a designer name delicately stitched to the inside of the collar which gives me the whimsical feeling of that person’s hand on the back of my neck, telling me that they’re honored that I would select them above all the others. If pants accompany the suit they should fit my hips in a way that wouldn’t allow for any overflow of my twice-labored, motherly body and the pants should be long and lean on my hard running legs; enough for the cuff to fall about midway on my high heels which I am never without in Suitville, or even Dressburg. A skirt should fit tastefully snug to my derrière and its hem should come just above my knee or a little higher, depending on the season and the city in which it’s worn. And the jacket… oh, my favorite part… the jacket. It should firstly show off my shoulders – the very same ones that friends have cried long and hard upon; that men have both gently kissed and roughly bitten, and on which the world itself has rested when it was weary – they are broad, these shoulders, and have always been two of my most noticeable characteristics. The jacket should coat my arms in a way that shows their strength. It should be fitted but not overly strained so that their flex can be seen when an unexpected foe approaches, but also so that the important work that my arms need to do – such as hugging my children goodbye in the morning – is still possible. In the middle it should grab my waist as firmly as a lover, showing both a forty-year-old feminine figure and the care I’ve taken to keep that figure fit, and where it buttons in the front, the jacket should adhere perfectly to my bosom with no pulling, and no gaps. But most importantly, MOST importantly, The Suit should live on me. It should become part of who I am when I’m in it; reflecting my personality and my passion for the job at hand. It should laugh when I laugh and set the scene for the stories I’m to tell, and above all else, it should protect me when I need it to – from rejection, from denial, and from the word the suit loathes most… “no.”
This coming Monday, The Suit and I will again become one as I step back into the world of The Working Mother. It truly has been a wonderful two months getting to know my way around a Whole Foods, the yarn store, and my local hipster-employed coffee shop, but, it’s time for me to be a big girl once more. My bag is packed. My trip is booked. My shoes are polished and my suit… well, let’s just say…
It’s waiting.

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

206 Days - The Little Brown-Skinned Girl in My Marriage

In my mind I’ve named her “Shey.”
I’m sad to say that I’m unsure of Shey’s ethnic background. If I had to take a guess I would probably say that she’s Hispanic. Though, she could be Italian. Or Indian. Or even a light skinned African-American. It doesn’t matter, really, other than to set the scene for what Shey’s role in my life has been over the last several months. I want you to know Shey the way that I know Shey and embrace her as I have no matter her race, creed, or political preference. Shey should be treated the way all people deserve to be treated; plastic or not. 
Several months ago a little brown-skinned figurine of a school-aged girl showed up in my two-year-old daughter’s backpack. It was a Friday afternoon and I was muddling through my end-of-the-week chore of emptying out the kids’ schoolbags when I stumbled with a giggle upon my soon-to-be Shey.
“Bebe… where did you get this little girl?”
“I got her in my pakpak, Mommy.”
“No baby, I know she’s in your backpack, but where did she come from?”
“My pakpak. She come from my Dora pakpak with Dora on it.”
“No, I know, Bea, but whe… ugh, never mind...” I sighed with an air of “aw, fuck it” in my tone, and welcomed future Shey to our humble abode with her very own living space right next to Strawberry Shortcake. Never did I expect to see the likes of Shey again because for the most part if it’s smaller than four inches, lives in our house and doesn’t crawl, it’s got about as good a chance of disappearing as the future wife of a guy with the last name of Peterson. But not this little Indihispanitalian black girl… not Shey. She was here for the greater good, once again proving that it isn’t what a person says, but rather what a person does that shows the world, or better yet, those they care about, what matters most in life.
2012 has been… hmm, how can I put this so that it still sounds eloquent while giving the impact of the severity of what I’m trying to say? Ah! Got it… 2012 has been FUCKED. THE FUCK. UP. It’s been a bastard of a year professionally (present situation excluded) and a g*ddamned jackass of a year personally. I don’t even know how it’s been health-wise since I’m way too freaked out to visit a doctor because I just know he’s going to tell me I’ve got polio or Tourette’s or some shit. Needless to say, I got an early-bird discount on noisemakers, party hats, and confetti, and may just start ringing 2013 in by the end of November. But through most of this shitty year, my husband and I have managed to make it without killing one another, killing anyone else, or, as Shey was about to prove, killing our senses of humor. 
“Babe, can you get me some Ibuprofen?” my husband yelled into the bathroom one weekday evening after an especially rough night with the kids. “Yep. Two or three?” I asked as I reached for the door of the medicine cabinet. “Nine,” he exclaimed, which I knew meant he needed three. “And why wouldn’t he need three when Beatrice crapped her pants an hour earlier after twenty-five straight minutes of reading to her while she sat on the potty?” I thought. “Hell, why wouldn’t he need nine? Why wouldn’t he need a valium chaser? God knows I would do...” But those thoughts were interrupted by the roars of my own laughter as I saw little Shey staring at me from a tiny space between the toothpaste and Bea’s pink-eye medication.
“What’s so funny?” Todd asked from the other room but I knew that he knew why I was laughing and so I played the game the way it was intended.
“Nothing. Nothing. Just thinking about that Daily Show skit. Jason Jones kills me. I hope he never leaves,” I replied as I slipped Shey into my pocket and walked out with three Ibuprofen, thinking about where to place Shey next.
Years ago, when we first moved in together, Todd and I would play this exact same game only with a little wooden “H” about an inch big. I would put it in one of his dress socks in the back of his drawer. He would stick it in a yet-to-be-opened bar of bath soap. I would slip it in between the pages of his Utne Reader magazine. He would hide it in my summer shade pressed powder compact. The rule was to put it somewhere that wasn’t ridiculously obvious so that the person would find it eventually, but also somewhere so that enough time would pass that they would forget about it for awhile. The second rule was that you could never tell the other person when you found it – they would know that you did ONLY when they found it back, themselves. The objective? Well, that’s the best part, and it’s the part that makes me tear up when I think about my awesome new friend, Shey. The objective was to prove that words weren’t always needed and that actions –even simple ones—could speak louder than any email, telephone call, social media post, or even, sometimes, face-to-face conversation. That doing was worth more than saying, because often in a marriage or in a partnership or any relationship you find yourselves being the politicians of your own lives. You talk such a good game because you believe it when you say it, and because you want the others in your life to believe it, too. And while your intentions are always best when they’re said, your legacy is determined by what you did or didn’t do in the end. It’s a simple, simple rule that is too often forgotten in the land, in the law, and in love.
The little wooden H game went on for a while until we decided to have kids and move to a bigger house. It was lost in the move, never to be found again, along with a fair amount of other things that were lost once the kids came along. That’s not an uncommon tale among those strong enough to know what it’s like to be married with children. The uncommon tale would be to hear that what was lost was not necessarily found, but rather, replaced by something bigger, and better, and brighter, and more meaningful.
Enter, one very small brown-skinned girl with pigtails of plastic and a shirt the color of sunlight, currently hiding in a place that my husband will find probably within the next week or two when it’s time to pay the bills. And when he does, I hope he smiles, but even more so, I hope he knows - because I showed him - that a life without him in it would be dull and meaningless, and worst of all, Sheyless. 

Friday, September 21, 2012

210 Days - The Ten Year Itch: When a Potential Forever Is Interrupted By Predictability

Nothing endures but change ~ Heraclitus
Who knew that a Greek man born in 535 BC would utter the one statement that would define my entire existence over 2,500 years later? Although, he does have the word “clit” in his name, and, well, that little morsel of a body part has definitely played a role in some of my life’s more stupid decisions, so, I guess it’s not so odd after all.
Ten years ago I found myself in a somewhat similar situation that I find myself in on this very day – I was twenty-nine at the time, recently divorced, in a new relationship with a man that lived 800 miles away from me, worked at a night club and lived with my parents. Actually, that is nothing like the life I’m living right now, well, those parts aren’t, but this part is: I was in the midst of some severe life changes brought on purposely by yours truly as I believed it was the best way to start a new decade. My thirties, I vowed, would be different from my twenties. I moved to a new city, I started a new job, I bedded a new man, and I worked towards a new body. And ten years prior to even THAT, I did the same goddamned thing. Months before turning twenty I had broken up with my then boyfriend from high school, lived completely on my own for the first time in my life, shaved my head bald, and started dating (fucking) – heavily, which brings me back to where I am today. With just seven short months until I get to add a “4” to the front of my age for the first time, I once again have started purging myself of the things that made up my thirties in search of change and difference in my forties. A new position at a new company starts next week. I’ve started questioning if Atlanta is where I want to live for the next ten years. And my world with my significant other has even gotten a bit sticky (largely because of sheer idiocy on my part) as of late. Pattern? Ya think? But the real question is… why?
Back before my 39th birthday I wrote a post that summed up a lot about my personality. In a nutshell it goes on about my tendency to self-sabotage and my predictability when it comes to it, and I’m sure a therapist would go on about how it has to do with my inability to just let things happen organically, and about how not being in control of every situation makes me nervous and I react accordingly. But they may also delve deeper into what I believe is the root of my problems: my obsession with having to change.
There are things I fear more than others in my life, but probably the greatest of all these fears is being ordinary. Living in the mundane makes me excruciatingly unhappy. Suffering through the patterns of consistency and routine eat away at my soul like a piranha on a duck carcass. Not being, or worse, not feeling different from those around me gives me a sense of uncomfortability in my own skin and yet it seems I can go ten years before that fear ventures back to the surface. For some reason my mind is able to compartmentalize that emotion until the combination lock is opened right before the turns of my decades which is when I usually make my most drastic changes, for better, or for worse. And here I am again, forcing change instead of allowing change; making my future instead of welcoming what it could have been, and wondering once more how I should, could, or will do things differently ten years from now.
Being effed up in the head isn’t an easy job, let me tell you. It takes a certain skill and loads of character to be able to do it properly. And sabotaging your own life, well, I could be a downright mentor when it comes to that little gift, but if you’re anything like I am, know this: whatever happens in the end was supposed to happen in the beginning, so try your damndest to remember that when you’re crying alone in your darkened bedroom while Tori Amos plays softly from your IPod speakers because yes, you are the creator of your own destiny, and yes, you can change your future, but honestly, you don’t always have to, or need to, or should.
And one final quote from Mr. Hit-a-clitoris or whatever his name is:
The road up and the road down is one and the same.
So travel it, and travel it far, but know when it’s time to stop and rest, and know mostly when you’ve gone far enough.

Thursday, September 13, 2012

218 Days - Life Outside the Bunco Circle: A Working Mom’s Choice between Being In and Being True

Making friends in Atlanta has been, well… difficult, but mostly because I don’t really try. I’m a Northerner, see, and while Atlanta is a city of transplants it does have a way of quickly Southernizing people once they move here. But not me. I still expect to smell gravy (spaghetti sauce) cooking on Sunday morning when I stroll down the block and still believe that I can waltz in to my next-door neighbor’s house by opening the door and yelling “It’s Barbara. Is coffee on?” Neither of those things ever happens, though, and while it saddens me, I don’t really worry about it, because there is more to life than fitting in where you are, there is being true to who you are, and that’s what I’m doing every day that I wake up.  
I had no idea what Bunco was, how to play it, or why it was supposed to be the best thing on earth since a singing Hugh Jackman. What I knew of it, and all that I knew of it, was that it was played by middle-aged women in the ‘burbs with a passion for drinking, Zumba classes, and the occasional Botox injection (or so they said), so imagine my surprise when a group of gals in my inner-city, mostly Democratic, pseudo tree-hugging neighborhood decided to form a Bunco group and invited a bunch of us to join. Never being one to turn down an excuse to drink, I gave the idea some serious thought. “Could it be… that I could maybe make actual… friends here? I won’t know what to do with myself! Do I bring something? Should I bake something? Would the suburb women bake? Or would they buy? I should buy. People might get the wrong impression if I baked. Or would they think I was showing off if I bought?” This display of idiocy and ridiculousness went on in my mind for minutes at least, until I had gathered up the courage to respond to the invitation.
“Yes. I accept. Put me down for a night of revelry and drunken camaraderie, Bunco-style! Because of work I will only be able to attend occasionally, but what the hell, let’s do it anyway!” I nerdingly exclaimed before I clicked send.
I then sat back with my arms folded across my chest and thought, “I’m so proud of me. I can do this! I am on my way to friendships. I knew this was the right decision” before heading downstairs to pick out my clothes for work for the following morning, take my nighttime shower, and put myself to bed while visions of dice, cheap wine, and high-pitched laughter danced in my head.
Poor naïve, friendless, working-mom me. So innocent. So… out of the loop. I closed my smiling eyes never seeing the truth for what it was. Never bothering to read up on this Wisteria Lane-esque phenomenon that was sweeping the nation and had been for years. You see, for those who don’t know (and believe me, there are still people like me out there that don’t), Bunco isn’t some fly-by-the-seat-of-your-pants-I’ll-show-up-occasionally-with-tequila gathering of middle-aged women and mothers. It’s a marriage… a commitment. And if you can’t commit to one night a month with your house (no matter what the size or how many kids occupy it) playing host when your turn is up, then sista, you can roll your Bunco die around some other Peyton Place, ‘cause it ain’t rollin’ ‘round these parts… no way, no how.
In so many words I received a response a few days later that politely but firmly explained the following as it pertained to said Bunco group: “You’re either in, or you’re out.” And knowing that my job – one that took me away from my house, husband, and family for eleven-and-a-half hours a day, five days a week – would not allow me to commit to something as serious as a dice game (irony alert), I made a choice that I wondered if I would regret down the road. I hit reply, put my non-manicured fingertips on the dust-reddened keys of my non-MAC laptop and typed three words:
“Then I’m out.”
And clicked “send” before I had the chance to change my mind.
I wrote that email years ago and to be honest, I haven’t looked back. What my Bunco experience taught me was that I didn’t need friends just to have friends. I need, my job. I need, my husband. I need the house I live in, small or not, and fancy or not. And I need to like who I am even if other women don’t. Don’t get me wrong – I have friends, they just mostly aren’t here in Atlanta. The ones that are here are very cool whether they’re working moms or SAH moms.  But when I go home to the North, my old friends and I sit around their dining room tables in our pajamas, without make-up on, drinking coffee and telling stories as we laugh our asses off loudly in grand ol’ Philly style.
And that, to me, is my kind of friendship. And we do it without dice, and without booze, and without a doctrine, contract, or commitment. It’s organic, the way friendship is supposed to be, and I have no regrets.