I think I’m done. I’m done agreeing with the generalized small talk and factually inaccurate praise of the mere suggestion of the presence of my Ex-husband in our children’s lives — like he’s some kind of magic man.
People who know, know better.
An ex-neighbor dropped by yesterday. I hadn’t seen her in over a year. We don’t have much in common and she does not read people well. She’s had four husbands, yet when my husband up left me and the children and I was visibly devastated, dehydrated and malnourished, she went on and on about how we should stay together and that maybe there’s hope.
“I wish I’d tried harder. Don’t give up. Maybe he’ll come back. I hope you can work it out.”
That’s what she said to me. She said this to me, though she knew that my husband had, suddenly, cruelly, left me. Now that I’m thinking back, it is quite possible that this woman is a nut job.
She was one of the people I avoided back then. Some people say the wrong things. They can’t help it, they won’t change.
Yesterday, she dropped by unannounced to invite me to her mother’s memorial service. She arrived just as the kids were preparing to go on a dinner visit with their dad. Like before, she went on and on about how that’s so good that he sees them, that –the alternative in her mind — total abandonment — is so bad, and told me a story about how her daughter-in-law’s absentee father showed up on her wedding day and practically ruined it. So she reasoned that my situation is so much better. blah blah blah
I don’t recall asking her opinion at all.
I did not enjoy our one-sided conversation. There are always stories of the most horrendous parents, male and female, but if you set the bar at those folks, hey, everybody looks good. I have one good father and know many more. The fatherhood bar is high in my world, or actually, it’s where it needs to be, but I digress . . . Not only did this woman irk me, but she went on and on while there was a child within earshot. I wonder how it makes kids feel to hear an adult praise their father for merely seeing them? Completely clueless, the ex-neighbor didn’t notice when I tried to change the subject by talking about the children themselves, their accomplishments. I was being polite. Perhaps too polite.
“Bitch, you don’t know my life.” Is what I wanted to say.
I’m sorry folks, I don’t usually talk like that, but sometimes people piss me off.
In fact, I’m a polite sort –to a fault, really, I can make small talk and seem to agree to the most ridiculous statements for the sake of decent society. But sometimes, it seems, this gives a pass and an exaggerated sense of importance to people who don’t deserve it, as well as an acceptance of past, current and likely future bad behavior. And sometimes, it just makes me mad.
As we sat in my tiny living room, on a house on a busy street, in the neighborhood of “The Help” that I had to work my butt off to get the Hoarders smell out of , it seems that no matter what transpired and how well the children have adapted to and excelled in a difficult situation, the most important thing for her to discuss was the seemingly magical appearance of their father.
I call bullsh*t.
So now, instead of nodding politely, I’m going to try to opt out of the small talk that makes me blinding mad. I think it’s better that way, don’t you?
And before I get the “What about the kids?” speech, I’m talking about conversations between grown folks. Children are not invited.
From now on every time some random acquaintance inquires about the time my kids spend with their dad and says,
“Oh that’s good, he still sees them.“
My new response will be,
“Yeah, I hear there’s gonna be a parade.“
And then I will launch on full-out campaign, an attack, if you will, describing the awesomeness of my children in excruciating detail. And I will note that my elderly parents, even at their advanced age, rarely miss a concert and get to many sporting events each season — because they enjoy it and they are so proud . . . and the kids are . . . wait for it . . . AWESOME!
And then I will turn and leave, because, you know, I’ve got things to do. I will not talk about or allow discussion of the perceived importance of the (magical) father’s (mythical) encouragement of said real accomplishments by these awesome kids. His is not my banner to wave, or shoot at. As I said, I’ve got other things to do.
My point is this: It is presumptuous to make sweeping statements about the perceived importance of an absent party, without any knowledge of or inquiries into the actual situation, and expect me, the one clearly in the trenches, to agree.
And frankly, it’s rude.
Just Me With . . . good manners.
The general public’s persistent blanket praise of fathers who may neither be good men nor good fathers is a disservice to men who are both. It’s a disservice to the mothers who are doing the best they can with or without (or in spite of) the existence of “the father.” It’s a disservice to the brothers, cousins, friends, sisters, uncles, aunts, neighbors, teachers, grandparents and whole loads of people who provide support and encouragement and love even though they have no parental ties nor court ordered obligation to do so. It’s a disservice to the kids, the children who should expect parents to do for them, without kudos.
So I’m opting out.
I have other things to do.
For other misinformed comments, see: Weekends Off .
For other misplaced praise, see: The Unspoken Pain of Sharing Celebrations
Like Madonna, I like to reinvent myself from time to time. Last year, it was accessories and tight tee-shirts. This year?
The Summer of Cleavage
Yeah, I said it.
I declared it online just last week. Two days ago, as if heaven-sent, a former neighbor dropped off a bag of gently used or brand new mostly designer duds her fashionista adult daughter didn’t want. As it turns out? Many of the clothes accentuate the girls.
The Universe is telling me, yes, yes, it is indeed, The Summer of Cleavage. [insert the appropriate sound effect]
I’m not talking about the ta-tas being completely out. No, I don’t want to be tacky. I do believe there is a time and place. However, I’m blessed to still have a nice swell of a bosom, and I should let it out. Let’s face it, I won’t be able to do this forever. Anyway, breasts can be absolutely regal if done correctly.
Perhaps releasing the girls, letting them see some sunlight (instead of keeping them under wraps until/unless I’m out at night or on special occasions) might boost the ego and mood and put me further in touch with my femininity. Hell, it’s worth a shot.
So, with some occasional help from “our friends at Victoria’s Secret” (channeling Jesse Eisenberg/Mark Zuckerberg from “The Social Network”), bring on the V-necks, the scoop necks, the sun dresses and say “Heyyyy!” . . . to the girls.
Just Me With . . . boobies.
Bonus, it freaks out my kids. Ha!
I was driving down a street near where I live. It was a block of row houses with very small front yards and a sidewalk in front of the homes. It’s a very walkable area, not just for residents from the block but for dog owners and people going to nearby restaurants. One of the block’s homeowners was replacing the sidewalk pavement. I could clearly see this as I drove by because every piece of porch and outdoor furniture available seemed to be propped around the drying cement. The owner clearly wanted to keep people off of it. Completely understandable.
Having gone to great expense to replace the sidewalk, he/she didn’t want some random person to come along and write his name in the cement. Because if someone did that, then the owner would be stuck with it. Clearly, the homeowner wanted a fresh start.
It got me to thinking, am I guarding my heart like the homeowner guarded his/her new cement sidewalk? And I trying to keep someone from coming and leaving their mark before it’s had a chance to harden?
Well, if I am, that’s okay. Everybody deserves a fresh new start. I don’t want someone else to mold me, write on me, make permanent markings on my facade. I’m still in the midst of fixing what had crumbled. I’m working on it.
In truth, I’m not really keeping people out, I’m preparing to let someone in. If I’m permitted the luxury of guarding my brand new concrete heart until it heals and hardens, then it will be open to someone coming by for a visit. It’ll be smooth and pretty and, yes — inviting. Moreover, it’ll be safe for visitors, who can come to my home without tripping and falling on the rubble of what happened before (and then suing me for their pain and suffering).
So yeah, like the homeowner, I’ll go to great lengths to protect my concrete heart, until I’m/it’s ready .
So keep off.
Actually, in the biz they call it “curing” —- concrete doesn’t harden, it “cures.” I like the sound of that. When my concrete heart has/is completely cured, I’ll move the blockade and invite someone to my porch for lemonade. The pathway to me will look good, it’ll be safe, and . . . I will have complied with Township Ordinances . . . but I digress.
Just Me With . . . my curing concrete heart.
Post script: I went back later to try to snap a picture, but the barriers had been removed and I’m not even sure which house it was.
It’s sad but true, women will put up with a lot of crap. But it seems like one thing is very universally unacceptable — when an adult man lives with his mother.
Remember in Sex and The City when Carrie discovered that her latest guy shared a beautiful apartment with his parents?
Samantha: He lives with his parents?
Carrie: It’s their apartment.
Samantha: So not sexy honey. Dump him immediately. Here — use my cell phone.
Season Three, Episode 15.
Carrie didn’t dump him immediately, because she liked him, his parents were friendly and brought them food and he was a struggling business owner.
Once she realized, however, that Power Lad was still a child in the household, governed by his parents’ rules, and that he was not saving money but actually spending it on really good pot, well it eventually ended.
I haven’t had one of these, but this guy is just out of school, has his first real job or is looking for one. He’s recently discovered, “Dude, they want first and last month’s rent and security before I move in? That’s a lot of money.” Yeah dude, better get a bank account.
Acceptable: If he is saving for his own place.
Unacceptable : If his Mom still does all his laundry, cooks all his meals, he drives her car and he routinely buys rounds for everybody at the local bar.
2. Break Up Guy
So the marriage/relationship didn’t work and he moved out of the home, leaving the kids (if any) with their mother. Suddenly he’s homeless. You can’t sleep on somebody’s couch forever and his married buddies are not taking him in long-term . . . so . . . he moves in with his mom.
Acceptable: If he is providing financial support to his kids, someone has filed for divorce, and he is actively looking for his own place.
Unacceptable: If he visits the kids at the marital home “overnight.”
3. Norman? Older guy taking care of his elderly or sick mother.
This guy still lives in his home town, and may even have a good job and his own place. But his mother is getting older, or has taken ill. Maybe she’s widowed or divorced, either way she’s alone and probably should not live that way. So he, like a champ, gives up, sublets, or keeps his place — but he moves in with this mother. He is probably a good guy, but depending on his mother’s condition, this could go on indefinitely.
Acceptable: If the mom is really sick.
Unacceptable: If the mom goes out more often than he does.
4. Ethnic/Large family/family business guy or filthy rich blue blood guy
This guy works in his family business. So does everybody else. They all live in the large family home. If you were to marry him, you might live there too for a bit.
Ironically, this also happens in blue blood very rich families or royalty, “Chad” (or William, or Harry) will move back to the main house while interning for “Daddy’s” company. Except in that case Chad’s bedroom could probably accommodate most of the ethnic guy’s family and their business.
Acceptable: If he wants to have his own family one day.
Unacceptable: If he buys a dog. (There’s no way he’s thinking about leaving if he’s recently acquired a dog.)
5. Grad school student guy.
This is a guy getting an advanced degree, perhaps a professional degree. He studies all the time. He lives with his parents because he can’t justify paying rent only to be conscious there only a couple of hours a day. He reasons, “Why pay for a city apartment just to study and occasionally sleep there?” — especially true for medical students or interns. This arrangement is almost always temporary, and, frankly, worth the investment. One day he’ll graduate — and probably get a damn good job.
Acceptable: If he is actually in school.
Unacceptable: If he is merely planning to get back to school. Look for that acceptance letter.
You see, a guy living with his momma should be given an opportunity to explain. It should not be a deal breaker– at least not until you know the underlying reasons and can access the likely duration of the living “arrangement.”
But here are the red flags I don’t believe anyone should ignore:
1. He has a basement “room” completely set up where he pursues his personal interests — music, computers, lifting weights. Yeah, this dude has set up house. He ain’t going nowhere.
2. He works from home, yet there is no home office, desk, or computer and he has no cell phone.
3. He’s mentioned that he hopes to inherit the house. He’s there for life, or at least his mother’s life.
4. He has never actually said he plans to move or has any interest in doing so. Pay attention to the silences. The silences are very important.
Just Me With . . . no momma dwellers at the moment: one is estranged, “If I’d Married My Stalker,” the other is a very special friend who defies any type of categorization, “We Thought You Were Dead, Mommy — Almost F*cked to Death”
See other types of dating fails:
Yesterday I saw a woman I’ve known for years, and decided to sit with her for a bit at the counter at Dunkin’ Donuts. I see her around our small town, she lives near me. She’s a recently retired school bus driver and has more time on her hands these days. She’s a talker and sometimes I don’t have time to chat but yesterday I did. I’ll call her Miss Debbie.
When I saw Miss Debbie at the counter I remembered someone’s blog post where they listed simple things we can do for others, and one of those was to listen to an elderly person talk, because sometimes they just need to.
Miss Debbie is probably in her seventies, but she’s mobile, healthy and spunky so “elderly” doesn’t seem quite right, but I guess on paper, she is.
She is also the Ex- wife of the man my Ex-mother-in-law had a long-term affair with.
Let me explain. I may have to distribute a chart later. Years ago and for a period of many years, my ex-mother-in-law was sleeping with this woman’s husband. Everybody knew. We live in a small town outside of a large city. It is a bed of gossip. The affair between my Ex-Mother-In-Law– let’s call her Shirley and Miss Debbie’s husband, who I’ll call Larry, was common knowledge.
I took the stool next to Miss Debbie and we chit-chatted for a bit. She told me about problems she was having getting work done on her house and her latest cataract surgery. I suggested a couple of contractors I know.
As always, she eventually asked if I’d seen my Ex mother-in-law, and I said, no explaining again that I don’t have any contact with her, or have any reason to have contact with her. I added that I hadn’t heard anything either way so I guess she’s okay.
Then Miss Debbie said, “It was all in my face, that was the most hurtful thing.”
Yes, I nodded. Truly that must have been horrible.
The woman who would later become my mother-in-law, Shirley, used to pull up to a nearby lot outside Miss Debbie and Larry’s house and beep her horn for him until he came out. I repeat: Shirley beeped her horn for all to hear — until Larry left the home he made with his wife and two children and went off with her. That would be a hurtin’ thing. A country song inspiring hurtin’ thing. A spit on your own porch and clean your gun hurtin’ thing. I can’t imagine.
Granted, Larry was no prize, obviously. Still, he was somebody’s husband — and this somebody was sitting next to me having coffee.
Let the record reflect: Some men do leave their wives for their mistresses. It happens. Case in point: Larry eventually left Miss Debbie, moved in with Shirley and her children, one of them being my future- and ex-husband. (ha! That sounds funny . . . but I digress . . . ) Still later, Larry married Shirley. An alcoholic, he almost missed his own wedding because he’d been out drinking the night before. Not surprisingly, perhaps, Larry and Shirley’s happy union was short-lived. Shirley eventually kicked him out but not before an “accidental” shooting . . . by Shirley . . . but I digress . . . again. This was over twenty years ago.
Debbie still lives in the same home, Shirley still lives in hers. Larry, however, died last year, I think it was liver damage, cancer, karma, whatever. His last days were spent living alone in a little apartment, his grown daughter providing assistance. His home going service (funeral) was planned by ex-wife Miss Debbie and his children. I’m not sure if Shirley and Larry ever officially got divorced, but my Ex-mother-in-law Shirley was the last wife of record. Someone called Shirley to see if she wanted to come or contribute. She did neither.
Sitting there with Miss Debbie, who knows my husband (Shirley’s son) left me, and hearing the pain in her voice when she reflected on her husband’s affair, “. . . that was the most hurtful thing,” I felt for her. Just like labor pain for some, there is some pain that you can’t forget, even if it was long ago.
I offered just a little comment, saying,
“Well, I gotta tell you. I’ve never had any interest in somebody else’s husband.” This make her break out in a good loud chuckle.
“Me neither,” she said.
Just Me With . . . a coffee break.
P.S. If anyone knows of that blog post that inspired my coffee with Miss Debbie along with this post, please let me know. I want to give props.
She is thin. I’m no expert, and I’ve never seen her in person, but to me she seems almost dangerously thin. But again, I’m not her doctor. I don’t know. She’s a gorgeous woman, by normal people standards and by Hollywood standards? — she’s still gorgeous, but she’s skinny. No doubt, she’s skinny, even by Hollywood standards.
However, let’s step back a minute and take a quick look of the Psyche of an American woman, a movie star mother, no less.
Angelina is in her thirties and has, what, a gazillion kids? Some adopted but some to which she has given birth. She is in a relationship with a movie star, a sex symbol. She herself is a movie star. She’s got to keep up appearances. Really, it’s part of her job. The camera doesn’t lie, except that it, I’m told, adds ten to fifteen pounds and magnifies every line and wrinkle.
Angelina is a mother and getting older every day in an industry that worships youth and chases perfection. Women naturally gain a few pounds over the years, a medical fact to which I have no citation. Also, pregnancy and childbirth can wreak havoc on the body. I’ve had children. This is something I know about. Some changes are publicly visible, some not. Some changes are temporary, some not. Yet despite these truisms, Hollywood stars are often paid to show the world that having children does not change a body at all. “Here, let me pose in a bikini after having twins.” (Jennifer Lopez and Mariah Carey). It becomes a race as to how fast a bare midriff can be publicized after childbirth.
But that’s Hollywood, folks. So given these biological strikes (age and childbirth) against women who strive to maintain their high school look, it’s no wonder that it can cause some kind of weight loss hysteria.
And speaking of high school, ladies, think back to your last high school reunion, your Ex’s new woman or your Ex-Best friend. I hate to say it but to many of us, the best revenge against a woman and the sweetest music to our ears is to hear that so and so has “gotten fat.” (Gasp) Or ladies, after your man dumps you for the younger, skinnier version of you, many silently think, “Just wait until she drops a couple of kids and gets fat.” Men do it too, whispering to their slim current girlfriend after seeing an Ex who has put on a few pounds, “Whoa, I dodged that bullet.”
What if you are that girl who stole somebody’s boyfriend or husband, or whose looks are often envied by other women– it may seem that the world wants to bring you down by seeing you “get fat.”
So, what can a woman do? We stay thin if we can, and get even thinner. That way, no matter what, nobody can say we “got fat.”
But does this apply to Angelina Jolie, a freaking beautiful movie star? I say hell yeah. I think she personifies what women go through daily and over the years. We are not supposed to change. We are never supposed to change, except maybe if we lose weight.
Even if you are Angelina Jolie with Brad Pitt on your arm, one might ask? Hell, yeah, I say, Hell yeah.
Angelina has it rough, I say. She’s beautiful — but because of her job, her public persona, she simply can’t “get fat” — and in her industry, “fat” means size 6, or 4. Plus, she’s the girl who got (stole?) Brad Pitt from the beloved ex-wife Jennifer Aniston. Now Angelina has all these kids, she can’t possibly get fat, then she’d no longer be the sexy siren, the other woman. She can’t possibly be the frumpy mom while slim, healthy, and free Jennifer Aniston is out there because in “Girl Wars” this would appear to be a loss. (And I know how ridiculous this may sound, but on some level I believe it happens, ridiculous or not). No, gaining weight is not an option for poor Angelina. She has to be thin. And, I guess, thinner. Unnaturally (for a mother and woman in her mid-thirties) thin. Still, my guess is that she’s naturally slim and smaller proportioned anyway, but society may generate extra pressure to go beyond that.
It’s sad, but sometimes, as a woman, it seems that regardless of our accomplishments, all we can do is “not get fat.” If we got the guy and the kids, remaining thin and/or becoming even thinner becomes the only guns in the arsenal of an adult woman. We can’t control our age, once married we can’t collect men, and once we become mothers so many other things get out of our control — but we can control our weight, or at least try to. And people make millions off of our desire to do so.
So if I could peak inside Angelina Jolie’s mind, I could hear her saying:
Yes I’m still the same size.
Yes, I have many children but I’m still thin. I’m still cool. I’m still sexy. I can still play a non-maternal female protagonist.
I ain’t mad at her. To quote Chris Rock, “I’m not gonna say it’s right, but I understand.” Sometimes it’s hard to be a woman. (Insert country twang here.) I just hope Angelina is healthy, appearances aside. I also hope that girls and women don’t starve themselves to be as thin as Angelina Jolie. I also hope that, as a whole, we can learn to accept that keeping or gaining a few pounds over the years is not evidence of failure in life, or conversely, that being as thin as possible is not proof of success.
And I just want to tell Miss Jolie — woman to woman,
“Psst, if you become too thin, it will make you look older, Angelina, and it can cause osteoporosis. Just remember that and take your Vitamin C. Your acting, producing and directing chops will be wasted if you waste away to nothing. And if you become a hunch-back old lady before your time, the plum roles will pass you by anyway. Have some broccoli.”
Just Me With . . . my right leg and my two cents, though nobody asked.
Narrator: There is a fifth dimension beyond that which is known to man. It is a dimension as vast as space and as timeless as infinity. It is the middle ground between light and shadow, between science and superstition, and it lies between the pit of man’s fears and the summit of his knowledge. This is the dimension of imagination. It is an area which we call the Twilight Zone.
— The Twilight Zone, 1959, Season One
My narrator: Meet Roxanne, a divorced mother of five who sometimes forgets to eat, or chooses to save a simple breakfast bar for her children rather than “waste” it on herself. It’s an ordinary day for Roxanne, who had left home for her only true indulgence — getting her morning coffee. She didn’t know that when she returned into her neighborhood, she would cross into . . . The Twilight Zone.
Over the weekend we had some icy snow in my part of the world. I was out running errands (in other words: getting coffee). On the way home I was wondering whether I could get my children to shovel the sidewalks for me, doubted that they would before going to visit their father and worried about whether doing it myself would throw my back out again. My Aching Back A neighbor offered to pay my daughter to do hers. I wished that daughter or any of the children would do ours also, without back talk, threats or rewards — and before they had to go. It probably wouldn’t happen. I got my coffee, and while there I picked up my daughter’s favorite breakfast sandwich as a treat, plus I wanted her to get something warm in her belly before going out to shovel the neighbor’s walkway. As is often the case, I didn’t get a sandwich for myself, saving a couple of bucks, not wanting to spend the money on — me. As I turned into my neighborhood, I had my daily thoughts of “I really hate this neighborhood, I don’t like living here.” Followed by, “I wonder if I can figure out a way to move again but keep the kids in the same schools.” And rounding out the trilogy, “Don’t be ridiculous, there’s no reason to move except that you don’t like it here and that’s just not a good enough reason.”
Given all these thoughts rushing through my head it was rather amazing that I happened to spot a woman on the side of the road. She had plastic grocery store bags spread in front of her in the snow, was shaking and clenching her hands and seemed to be trying to figure out a way to pick them up again. Clearly she was struggling to carry her groceries home in the snow.
I stopped, backed up, asked if she wanted a ride. She only gave pause for a moment and eyed me to make sure I didn’t look like a crazy. (Sometimes I can appear quite normal . . . but I digress). It was bitter cold outside. She accepted the ride, put her bags in the back seat and sat up front next to me, thanking me. She explained that she rushed out so quickly to get some things from the store that she had forgotten her gloves. It wasn’t that the bags were heavy, she said, it was that her hands were frozen and she couldn’t hold them anymore. “My hands hurt so bad,” she said.
It didn’t really matter to me why she was in her predicament, I just wanted to get her home. It was too damn cold and icy to walk, especially with groceries, no cart and no gloves. She went on to explain that her brother couldn’t shovel the car out because of his eye. His eye. Huh. I pondered this. Why would his eye keep him from shoveling . . . maybe he’d had surgery? I drifted off to my own little world, thoughts racing for first place in my head.
Then my passenger said, “I’m Roxanne.”
Skid marks on the brain. Thoughts stopped on a dime.
“Get OUT!!!” I responded, perhaps a little too energetically, reminiscent of Elaine from Seinfeld.
“What?” she responded, looking concerned. It was an unfortunate choice of words for my exclamation — I mean, saying “Get Out!” to a passenger in my car! Smooth, Roxanne.
“MY name is Roxanne,” I quickly explained.
“Yes. Really. Wow, that’s wild.” It’s a fairly uncommon name. It was surreal.
Roxanne said that I could drop her at a nearby intersection but I told her, no, I would take her all the way home. During the ride I discovered that we had gone to the same high school, and though I had assumed she was older than me, it turned out but she was too young for me even to have known her from school. She appeared worn beyond her years. I didn’t recall ever having seen her in the neighborhood or around town. It was odd.
So what of my surprise passenger, Roxanne? A woman who shared my name, who was walking alone in the snow-covered street, who failed to think of her own needs while rushing to meet the needs of others. The consequences of her neglect of self was finding herself standing in the snow with frozen fingers, groceries at her feet and blocks from home. For whatever reason– her family was not there to help her and she had to accept a ride from a stranger.
It gave me pause.
I’m that Roxanne, too, coming home with a sandwich for a child so that she could shovel another family’s walk but bringing no food for myself.
I almost said to the other Roxanne, “How could you leave home without gloves? You’ve got to take care of yourself. You’re no good to anybody if you get sick or frostbite.” But what stopped me, other than that being creepy coming from a stranger, is that other people have been saying that to me lately. My therapeutic goals are largely based upon meeting my basic self-care needs without guilt.
“Roxanne, have you been eating and sleeping? You can’t take care of your family if you don’t take care yourself.” I’ve heard often. Too often.
Did the universe send me that other Roxanne to remind me that I need to help myself? I mean, I know that when I get sick, the whole system fails. I know this, yet I still need reminders that protecting myself from the elements, eating, sleeping and yes even doing something just for my sheer enjoyment of it is as important as, well — anything. Somehow, that reminder got in my car that day, and her name was Roxanne.
I dropped Roxanne off feeling good about having helped her, since it was so very cold outside, but I knew that both of us need to take care of ourselves. I need to take care of me.
Maybe picking up a reflection of myself — what I could become, what I have been . . . was meant to be that day.
My Narrator: Roxanne, a functioning, yet melancholy divorced mother who often puts her basic needs well behind those in her care, stops in the snow to assist an eerily familiar woman in distress, a woman who perhaps shares more than just her name in . . . The Twilight Zone.
Just Me With . . . an over-active imagination?
P.S. I told my therapist about it. She queried whether the woman was real.
I’m not even going there.
See the Sequel: The Twilight Zone — Again? Seriously?
Okay, it’s been years now since he moved out. It’s a different bed. Hell, it’s a different house. And he’s married now, for goodness sake.
So why am I still sleeping on my side of the bed?
It’s amazing how old movies take on such different meanings after that stuff happens to you!
Like the scene in When Harry Met Sally when they discuss their post break up sleeping habits. It went right over my head for years – when I was married. Until my unfortunate (or fortunate) events brought it to the forefront and made it exceedingly relevant.
Harry: Ok, fine. Do you still sleep on the same side of the bed?
Sally: I did for a while but now I’m pretty much using the whole bed.
Harry: God, that’s great. I feel weird when just my leg wanders over. I miss her.
I actually enjoy sleeping alone; I don’t miss sleeping with him. But unlike Sally, I don’t use the whole bed, either.
What is it?
There’s the practical considerations, namely that my phone and alarm clock are on one side. But really that would explain why I get up on that side not my entire sleeping geography.
My ambien is on that side too. Now I’m talking. Once ingested I tend to sleep in whatever position I was in when I took a sleep aid. I realized this fact when I woke up very sore two weeks ago, in the same position I lay my head down in.
But I don’t take a sleep aid every night.
So why stay on one side of the bed?
It’s like I’m saving a place for someone.
Am I waiting for Prince Charming?
Or am I still programmed to be part of a couple?
Or is it just a force of habit?
Like Harry, I was married a long time, longer than I’ve been separated or divorced. And though I’ve had visitors to my bed on occasion, I’ve never had anyone stay more than one night (and, honestly, those single nights were too damn long). Divorced Harry stayed on his side of the bed. Was it the marriage thing? Does my body still think it’s a marital bed?
Maybe being curled up on my side of the bed is just my way of snuggling — with myself.
I remember when just days after my then husband moved out one of my daughters asked me,
“Who’s going to sleep with you now?”
Damn, still waiting for an answer to that.
In the meantime, here is a product I accidentally found online. I swear I wasn’t looking for this.
The Companion Pillow.
This is the pillow that holds you when your partner cannot. Shaped like a man’s torso, the pillow has a flexible arm that wraps around you as you lie on its burly, comforting chest. Made from fiber-fill, the pillow contours to your body and provides a soft sleeping surface that’s both physically and emotionally supportive. The pillow is dressed in a soft polyester button-down dress shirt, and unlike the real thing, the pillow won’t keep you awake with incessant snoring. Cover is removable and machine-washable. 24″ L x 17″ W x 7″ H. (2 lbs.)
Just Me With . . . no one on his side of the bed.
Update: The Companion Pillow is apparently no longer available at Hammacher. If you are interested, there are other retailers offering the same or similar products.
If you are interested. I, however, am not.
See posts about visitors to the other side of the bed:
Weddings, Weddings, Weddings. They are everywhere this time of year. But don’t feel sorry for me because I am without an intended. I could be married now if I wanted. Really, I could. I could have married the man I now refer to as my stalker. Of course, he hadn’t completely evolved into a true stalker when we were hanging out. The true stalker nature of a person is only realized after the relationship has ended. But I’ll just say that based on the events that transpired since we stopped seeing each other, well, I have reason, good reason, to call him my stalker.
Still, had things gone differently, had I been desperate for matrimony, had I lost my mind, I could be calling him my husband. We talked about it. Well, actually, he talked to me about it. He also talked to a priest about it, and he talked to his invisible friends about it, friends I never met. To be fair, I admit that he didn’t formally get down on one knee and ask me, because I was, at the time, still legally married (little issue), had not expressed any interest in remarrying anyone (bigger issue), and had not professed love for him (the biggest issue of all), but these little complications did not deter him from making plans for our life together, in holy matrimony.
- My house would be clean. Really clean. He had OCD (I believe) and liked to clean. Yes, things would be clean. Really. Clean.
- My dogs would be well-groomed also. What am I saying ? My dogs would be gone. He couldn’t handle such four-legged walking germ festivals.
- I would have sex, often and for prolonged periods of time. Then I’d have to talk about it.
- I’d be clean, hands washed as if for surgery, often and for prolonged periods of time. We wouldn’t have to talk about that — so long as he saw me doing it.
- I would have savings and new clothes. He liked me to look nice. He’d buy me pretty dresses.
- I would have an escort for everything. He’d never let me go anywhere alone.
- I’d be Episcopalian, because I’d have to be. (Not that there’s anything wrong with that.)
- I’d have a storage unit, possibly more than one, because he was incapable of throwing anything out. And we would visit our things stored there, often and for prolonged periods of time.
- I would know I’m loved because he’d tell me, often and for prolonged periods of time. And then I’d have to talk about it.
- I’d be having surgery and/or looking into surrogacy and/or freezing eggs to see if someone could bear a child he could call his own.
- I’d have someone to shop with, since he loved to shop. And no, my would-be-stalker-husband is not gay, but I’d spend a fair amount of time attempting to convince others of that— knowing in my heart of hearts that I could not be successful.
- I’d be on time, because he’d never allow tardiness. To that end, would call me in 15 minute increments to make sure I was ready for whatever we had planned.
- My computer would have the most up-to-date, state of the art, anti-virus software, because, you can never be too careful.
- I may or may not have mother-in-law issues, because I’m not sure whether “mother” is still with us. Don’t ask, it may have been a Norman Bates situation.
- To make him happy, I would have to answer these questions, often and for prolonged periods of time:
“Are you happy”
“Are you thinking of me?”
“Do you love me?”
And, the ever popular question that every girl wants to hear,
“Do you think that’s wise?”
Well, it was wise to end that relationship. Even though it took quite a while and an exchange of letters from lawyers for that ending to take effect. Actually, I only just recently received a post-Rapture text. Sigh.
In conclusion, while weddings are nice, and it’s good to feel loved and partner up, I didn’t want a husband that badly (or not at all, really). I don’t care that Mr. Stalker was good on paper, well endowed with stamina to back it up, wanted to be a provider for me and my brood, and that he really, really, really, really, really . . . loved . . . me. None of that matters, because if I’d married him for the sake of being married, and allowed myself to be swept away (swept, being the operative word), well,
. . . that would have been bad —- clean, but very bad.
And, if you’ve found my blog, Mr. Stalker, and are reading this, I want you to know:
No, I do not love you.
No, I don’t want to be friends.
No, I do not want to know if you are thinking of me.
No, my lack of love for you cannot be explained by alleging that I have lingering feelings for my Ex-Husband. I don’t love him either.
No, I will not be paying you back for any money you spent on me.
and . . .
Are you sure I’m really talking about you?
And, by the by, I just played with my dog and I haven’t washed my hands in like an hour.
Just Me With . . . no rings on my only moderately clean left hand.
Related, sadly, “He Lives With His Mother?”