Every Woman Bleeds – One More Reason to Love Meghan Markle

I’ve always been offended that I have had to pay for feminine products. Meghan Markle – the lovely new princess or duchess or whatever she is – is now giving us one more reason to love her. What do these two sentences have in common? I’ll tell ya….but, here is the article.

I will summarize – she is taking on women’s periods (not literally), their menstrual cycles, and saying we should make these things mainstream, for a variety of reasons. Basically, she is saying that menstruation is a normal, natural thing and it should not be treated with shame and secrecy. But, to make that vision more prescient and topical, she takes it further. She wants to educate us on the menstruation situation across the globe. The sad sick thing is – not all women have access to supplies or relief from the symptoms.

I have been buying period products since I was 20 and moved out of the house. The first time I bought them, I remember being irritated. Why do I have to pay for these? This is just one more thing women have to spend money on that men don’t and they have us over a barrel – we have to have them. Why are they so expensive? Why are we so embarrassed by it? Why do we feel shame or embarrassment when we have to purchase them? Why when we are miserable and lying around feeling gross and in pain, do some of us have men who won’t go to store for us to restock? Or who make stupid jokes? 

You would think that women would be revered for dealing with this messy, smelly, irritating and painful process. If it weren’t for women doing this, we wouldn’t be able to exist. And exist in a similar environment for around 10 months. It’s icky, I admit. But we don’t do it – it just happens.

I for one – am going to join the lovely expat on her crusade. Back in the halls of the the girl’s Catholic high school I attended, we sang: On the rag again. I just can’t wait to bleed on my pad again. Sung to the tune of On the Road Again by Willie Nelson. I would like to say I wrote that, but it is doubtful. Sorry, Willie.

Women bleed. Because they didn’t get pregnant (lucky you). Every woman is different. Some bleed a little. Some bleed a lot. Some know when the bleeding will start. Some don’t know until someone tells them they have had an accident. Some women are crippled with pain. Some are not. Some have other symptoms (irritability, exhaustion, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, bloating, rage) some have none. My periods changed over the course of things. They started out violent. And got better. Then worse. And then worse until I had seen the last crime scene in my underpants (I wish I was funny and witty enough to have written that. Do yourself a favor and check out No Strings Attached and watch the period scene. Hilarious). Anyway, I fought that bitch (in surgery – hysterectomy) and I won. One of the best decisions I have ever made, by the way.

We are all different. Just because your mom and your sister didn’t have my same symptoms, doesn’t mean they I am not having them (damn that x of mine). The very last thing you should probably ask your woman if you suspect she is having a hormonal time is, “Are you having your period?” All women within earshot will think your a douche and want to take turns kicking you in the balls. 

Just a little more education – tampons of any kind go inside; pads of any kind go on outside; there is also a cup thing http://divacup.com/how-it-works/how-it-works/ that is inserted to catch flow. Most recently, period panties.

Tampons: different sizes based on heaviness of flow. Different applicators to insert based on preference.

Pads: different sizes based on flow. Sometimes women wear both tampons and pads. They may use a variety of variations depending on situation.

Period panties are interesting – you wear them, bleed in them, rinse them out and wear them again. My daughter wasn’t interested, but maybe I will try them for bladder incontinence when I get there. I’m laughing hysterically, even if you are not.

Cups: I had heard of these and admit they just sounded gross and ick. I don’t like any bodily fluids – shouldn’t they just stay inside? Anyway, I did a little research and found out these might not be such a bad option. Cost effective and environmentally friendly. Hardly gross. Especially when you consider what my own mother used: rags safety pinned to her panties. Because these products have not always been available for women. And, I guess, they still are not. Ms Meghan Markle Married to Diana’s youngest – has found a cause that we can all benefit from.

I really couldn’t write this blog and not include my story. The day I started my period, my mom sent my dad to the store to pick up stuff for me. I turned about 8 shades of embarrassment. Absorbent pads didn’t always have adhesive, ladies and gentleman! My dad brought me home belted pads. And no belt. This is hilarious now, not so ha ha then. For those who need more explanation, go here. You should know, belted pads are making a comeback.

As shocked as I am that I wrote this long about periods – I would like to add one more thought. Bleeding through your clothes so that everyone can see that you are on your period has always been shameful. I have seen articles in women’s magazines making fun and showing pictures of women who were caught off guard. These articles were written for “humor” – not funny. Why are we shaming women for anything? I’m angry and she’s lovely. She will win this battle. Great choice, Harry.

 

I Never Can Say Goodbye

As I write this, one of my friends is preparing to bury her father. One had to fly out of town unexpectedly to do a welfare check on her father – he had died in his home. Another spent last weekend cleaning out her dad’s house to ready it for sale. One cancelled our girl’s weekend because her mom and stepfather are failing and could go at any time. None of this is funny – unless I say something like “the common denominator (seriously – a math reference? Do we even teach those anymore?) is me – stay away from me or your parents will die. Which really isn’t that funny.

I am pretty sure it is because most of my friends are around my age – which means it is just a timing thing. My blogs have become a little farther apart as surrounded by all of this is not happy at all. Just because death is a normal part of life and all that crap, doesn’t mean I have to talk about it all of the time. But, since I’m thinking it all of the time – it is all I can write. Bleck. At least I stopped writing about the ungraceful things that happen to us as we age. (Just because I stopped doesn’t mean I am done.)

I have always hated goodbyes. Always.

I don’t like to say goodbye on the phone – funny – I must have learned that from Dad – it used to drive all of my friends and family nuts – Dad would just hang up the phone when he thought the conversation had come to an end. Seriously – a few friends have admitted to me that they do everything in their power to try to make him say goodbye. My sister and I just laugh about it. We also laugh about the things he does say. Like once, he ended his conversation with me like this, “I still love you.” She and I giggle over that all of the time. Sometimes we say it to each other. The sad part is, that tiny joke will be lost in a few generations. Maybe he didn’t like goodbyes either.

I don’t say goodbye on the phone, either – but I don’t just hang up. I say things like, “I’ll call you. Call me or have a good day. Try not to kill your kids, your husband, your dog.”  I’ve already told you I don’t say goodbye at parties. When friends leave, or when we part – I never say those actual words. I don’t like people to leave – ever. (Okay – sometimes. People who let their kids eat strawberries on my white couch. Or, assholey relatives.)

Maybe I think it is because I won’t see them again. Maybe because it hurts. The friend who is getting ready to bury her father told me she wouldn’t say goodbye at his funeral. She was going to wish him peace and happiness. What a beautiful idea. It doesn’t bring tears the way “goodbye” or “say hi to Mom” does. It is hopeful, it is positive. And, not only is it a great way to not say goodbye – it is a great thing to wish for yourself and the others left behind.

You never know when someone’s words will enrich your life. It happens to me all of the time.

 

I Need to Know and I Need to Know Now

It happened again today. The news broke that they have finally caught the East Area Rapist. You couldn’t have missed the news – it is everywhere – even twitter. I am a little obsessed – I was living in this area when the rapes and murders started. My much older sister was living in Rancho Cordova, CA – where 2 of the murders happened – he killed a couple walking their dog. Yeah – my sister was married and had dogs….plus, I write a little true crime and this case has been a thorn in our side since I was a young preteen.

Once the news broke – I was captivated. I  kept looking for articles on what happened. Watched the news everywhere. I needed more information and I wanted it right fucking now. I discovered that he was married to a divorce attorney – not mine, thankfully. He has kids – but, I want to know how many. Where do they live? How old are they? They say he wasn’t even on their radar a few weeks ago? Really? How did they know to collect his “discarded DNA”? They say there was no “tip” – really? You just randomly decided to test this guy’s DNA for fucking fun? Not bloody likely, Susan. Did anybody have any idea? I call bullshit on the entire thing. Something is going on here and I want answers, dammit. I know people who live in his area. This is scary stuff.

Don’t get all nutty – I know it is in everyone’s best interest if they don’t reveal too much and I am not asking for all of the gory details, really. Okay – big fat lie. I want to know everything. And I want to know right now! I need to know (Tom Petty wrote that song just for me;) That clip is from The Midnight Special – I loved that show! But, I digress.

Frequently, I make references to how patience is not my strong suit. That when they were handing out virtues, I got lost and ended up in the “swear like it’s your job” line. So many times things are put in front of me and I am pretty sure the only reason is so that I can learn how to be patient. Yeah. While this old dog can learn new tricks – I haven’t grown any patience since I was a pup. You know you might have a problem if both of your teenagers tell you to be patient more that they roll their eyes at you.

So, with that background, it might make sense that I appear obsessed as I comb the internet for latest developments. I don’t know when this started, but it has been going on a while. A big news story breaks and I am checking the news apps – as many as I can find. I keep hoping that the new news will make the news. I am always disappointed. It’s almost a sickness. Okay. It really is a sickness. After I get disgusted with the lack of information, I ask anyone I’m conversing with, “are you following….” as if maybe they know something I do not. Okay – I may have gone past “sickness” to “terminal.”

What is the cause? I don’t know. But, it reminds me of a funny bit Joan Rivers did back in the day when her job wasn’t just plastic surgery tester, it was comedian. This was way back in the day. Way, way back – early 80’s – just after the dinosaurs. She was doing a bit about microwaves. Which everyone has now – but, not everyone had back then. The joke was about Elizabeth Taylor whose weight went up and down. Joan’s line was something like, “only Elizabeth Taylor stands in front of her microwave and screams, ‘hurry!’” Probably I shouldn’t need to write a blog to explain the joke. Bleh.

Funnier thing is, I want my microwave to go faster, too. And my oven. And my toaster. Did fast food and microwaves take away our patience? Did instant access to news as it was actually happening online and on tv create this desire for speed in everything? Could be a California curse. I don’t know. Arguments for all could be made.

Gotta go – in the time I took to write this, maybe there is an update…….next time I will try to use more relevant and current examples – no promises.

I Love You, But Hate What’s Coming Out of Your Mouth

Do we have to believe everything our friends believe? Do we? Why? Isn’t it our differences that enrich our lives? It seems that no matter what we are talking about lately, it almost always turns to the current climate of divisiveness. People take sides, get offended, and usually (it seems to me) everyone is ticked off at the other side. Being on opposing sides is nothing new, but it wasn’t that long ago that this country was apathetic. Now we all have opinions and we want you to have our opinions. Why? Why is it so important that we agree on everything? Just because you are offended, doesn’t mean it is offensive.

I have a large group of friends. My brother calls them my army – ha! Two of my friends are sisters. One of them is the other pea in my pod. She is who I call when I want my own opinion given to me. We agree on practically everything. Her opinions make me feel supported and right. The other sister is more like a sister to me than a friend. I call her when I want an opposing, but well thought out opinion, from a completely different place with completely different experiences – you get my drift. Her opinions make me think and I learn from them.

I may not have an army, but I am definitely a friend collector. Every single one of them has enriched my life in numerous ways. I have atheist friends, good Christian friends, Mormon friends, Catholic friends, a Buddhist monk, and crazy religious friends. I have friends who shop at thrift stores and friends who never leave Nordstroms. I don’t want to lose any friends, ever. Do I need to lose the ones whose opinions are opposite mine?

Years ago, after my mom’s best friend got the first divorce, she started dating a windbag. A rich, good looking, fun, smart, arrogant, loud mouthed blow hard. We were celebrating one of our holidays there around the time of the OJ Simpson ordeal. He was going off on some sort of rant that closely resembled racism. I looked over at her and inquired, “how do you deal with that?”

She replied, “What do I care what he thinks?” What? What did she just say? This was news to me. Of course you care what someone thinks. I still think about that statement. She was right. Who cares what someone thinks or says? Beautiful, wonderful people have been known to say horrific things. Even the lowest of the low says something beautiful now and then. Actions speak louder than words. Maybe he was walking the racism line (that generation lived during the civil rights movement) – but, I never saw him treat anyone with anything but respect and dignity.

Then, years later, I read Eckhart Tolle – thanks, Oprah. Because it seemed so esoteric and mind blowing, it took forever for me to wrap my head around what he was saying.. He taught me that we are not our thoughts. What? We think those thoughts, therefore they must be ours and therefore an extension of us. Right? Having murderous thoughts doesn’t make me a murderer or even violent. How often does something pop into your head and you think, “I wonder where that came from? I don’t think that way.” It happens to me frequently. Of course, writer’s curse.

I’ve noticed as I have aged, that there are so many things that divide us from our friends and other people we love. It starts when you begin to make friends, you lose friends occasionally based on who your other friends are. Then boyfriends. Then kids. And, then, old age. Fuck me.

I know not everyone is interested in such an eclectic group of friends. And, sometimes I have to separate friends and referee fights on FB. Okay – it’s not that bad. It was just one fight. But, I do keep some of them separate – for me, not for them. I don’t want to hear anyone go at it. I like peace. I just don’t always want to be the one to make it. I have learned that not everyone is like me. Not all of my friends are going to like each other. All of my friends are going to say or do things that I don’t appreciate. So the fuck what? The opposite sister up there – about once a week she says something and I think – “who the eff are you and where did you get that ridiculous opinion again?” I just move forward. I am not going to be changing anyone’s opinion anytime soon. And, nobody is going to be changing mine. We need such diversity.

I find that their diversity enriches me. It broadens my views. And, I get that too – not everyone wants or thinks broader views are a goal. Life is short. Experiences are many. Life changing experiences are few. Life changing people can happen every day. For that, I am thankful.

 

The Kool-Aid Questions – How Low Can You Go?

I started thinking. Every time I say that, I hear “Danger. Danger Will Robinson.” I also see in my head the the robot flailing dryer hoses as arms – my mind is a fun place to be. I tried to find a clip on YouTube with waving arms – no luck.

Parenthood is a series of decisions. Some good, some not so good. I frequently wonder (because I am insane, probably) if this is the decision that will send my kid to ruin. If I let her color her hair with Kool-Aid, will she hang out with the wrong kids, do drugs, go to jail and break my heart? If I take away his pacifier too soon, will I cause him to look for oral gratification in other ways, hang out with the wrong kids, do drugs, go to jail and break my heart.  If I let him have a pacifier, am I teaching him to do drugs, smoke, or drink? If I let her go out with that boy I don’t like, will she run away and get pregnant before she graduates high school? If I don’t let her go out with a boy I don’t like….it never ends – I told you my head is a fun place to be.

Seriously, though – I have let go of my expectations of most things, making me more peaceful and content. But, have I let go of too much?

I woke up this morning in a great mood. It is Easter. My kids are with their dad; I have no plans for any holiday celebration as I have to work. But, that got me to thinking and thanking. I am thankful for all the money I saved on a traditional Easter meal, since I do not have to prepare one. I am thankful for not having to spend time when any assholes (yes, there are assholes at work, but I get paid for that shit) that are not related to me (link prior blog). I am thankful I no longer am sad when I wake up on a holiday with no plans. I didn’t have to clean my house or plan or shop. It was about here where I wondered if I should be sad?

Leaving all of the religious, faithful arguments out of it – am I ruining my children as well as contributing to the continual tearing of the fabric of american families? I have let go of the significance of the date and celebrate these events when it works out, and sometimes it doesn’t.

I also have let go of traditions, because some traditions don’t translate when there are only 3 of you. Why would I create an entire traditional holiday meal for 3 when 2 will complain and not want to eat most of that meal? We don’t eat that way (heavy comfort foods) the rest of the time. The meals cost a ton, too many leftovers for me to eat alone, etc. Plus, no cooking, cleaning, etc. When there is a holiday, we talk about options and then we pick one.

At first I worried, that I wasn’t giving my kids enough traditions, but to be honest – I’m a single mom who owns a home, and works 3 jobs. My life is easier because I don’t have to do: X (or my X – ha)  I save hours and $$$ every time we go out to eat when a holiday calls for a traditional meal.

Because this is too much to think about on a Sunday, i called my sister on the way to work – she’s like – well, families are broken, things change. We talked about our childhood. Mom was a “there is always room” kinda mom. You could bring anyone home without a pre-plan. You would only get in trouble if there wasn’t enough food. And, there was always enough food. Some families stick to family on holidays. Not my mom – everyone is welcome. We invited anyone who may be a holiday orphan. I thought that is what everyone did. Yeah – not so much. I’ve spent a lot of lonely holidays (see – it wasn’t always like this). Some of our favorite memories from living at home were spending our holidays with whatever family was around and whatever friends were orphaned – at my moms best friend’s house. We reminisced about that and I had a realization.

All of those holidays as a family with friends – began when my moms bestie got divorced – she was the first in their group. About the same time, my grandparents had stopped coming at holidays and older siblings had married and moved. It was simple, if we had out of towners coming, we stayed home and invited anyone. If we didn’t, we hung out with moms best friend and whomever was orphaned at her house.  From that broken family, joyous and love filled holidays ensued.

One of the hardest things about my divorce was breaking up with my holidays and all of my traditions. Some I redesigned. Some are ever changing. One of my closest friends grew up with no family she says (we disagree, but I digress). It was definitely broken. She has done everything she can to instill traditions into her daughter’s life. She is a great mom. Makes me wonder if I am doing the right thing. 

I personally feel freer, happier, and more content. I don’t have a check list of things we must do in order to have a happy holiday. I take it as it comes. Its been a crazy month or so. My kids and I haven’t even discussed an alternate plan for Easter. I am going to go shop the sales for candy tomorrow and they will get their “basket.” And, that may be all. And this is okay.  It wasn’t easy getting here. I just hope I’m not fucking everything up for my kids.

 

 

What a Drag it is Getting Old

My dad had emergency surgery a few weeks ago. He is on the mend now, but it was a hairy few days. I had to fly out of town. I haven’t wanted to write about it because everything is resolved, and because it wasn’t very funny.

I can’t even think of how to make it funny.  I thought my dad was going to die. Truly he has been dying in pieces for years. He no longer sounds like my dad. He is an older, frailer, less dynamic dad than I know. That’s okay, I love him and and thankful for the time he is here. While I am getting used to the idea that he won’t always be here, I don’t really like it. The memory loss and confusion make it more difficult to resolve things or even bring things up – which takes a toll on what has been a very open relationship. While I was getting through my days at the hospital, I had other hurdles I didn’t see coming.

He and his lovely 80 year old wife wanted to whisk him out of the hospital to their lovely home as soon as he got out of surgery. Which I understood, but he needed to spend a week in the hospital and then some time in a rehab facility – not that kind…but, one for occupational and physical therapy. But, no. They thought it would be best to go home and rehab. So, you see the dilemma. Without getting into specifics, lets just say…this is another thing about growing up that sucks.

I had to tell his wife that  if they went home and he went down and took her with him, 2 broken hips and they would never see each other again. That made her cry again. Me too. But, c’mon these people are stubborn. And, I get it. You spend your whole life growing up, doing and not doing things because you have parents, then kids. When you finally get to let loose….well, you may not be able to be on your own anymore. This couldn’t sit well with anyone of any age. I earned my wisdom and the ability to make my decisions. And, because I am not married, I no longer need to get anyone’s approval to do anyfucking thing. (That is delightful, I tell you. I try not to laugh out loud with glee when my married friends say, “I have to check…”)

I would be terribly resentful and angry at anyone who was trying to take that away from me.  And, what makes me think I know anything about it? Well, I don’t. But, I know what it feels like to need to be in control to get through your day. And, when you can’t be in control – major suckage.

And, then in the middle of all of that, while you think you are coping, your parent says something like, “This isn’t worth it.” I get that too. When you have spent most of the last few years in doctor’s offices, with no end or relief in sight, you get tired. And, when you are upwards of 40, you are already always tired. They have lost several friends and family members in the last few years. My dad is the only remaining sibling or spouse in his family of 14. It sucks.

As if this wasn’t difficult enough, all of this reminds me how old I am. How if I sit too long, my hips get stiff. How I don’t really sleep through the night. How I can’t get comfortable and can’t sit, stand, or lay for too long.  I can’t see. I can’t hear – I think it is actually time to go get a hearing aid or two. But, WTF? How did I get here? Hearing aids? Okay, sure, some of the hearing loss is organic and some can be blamed on my propensity to listen to my music very loud. But, I am still going to shows. I laughed when I read about Brian Johnson turning the mic over to Axl because he didn’t want to damage his hearing further. Not very rock-n-roll. But, I get it now.

So, it gets me thinking. My writing career and all that encompasses is the brain exercise I am doing to keep that part working. I get some exercise, but really should hit the yoga mat a few times a week and walk a ton more. A renewed commitment to keeping busy. Less TV, more reading, working, writing. A renewed plan for physical health. I have already upped my diet to be more vegetable/fruit less crap.

The last few years I have been downsizing my things. I have also been downsizing my wasted energy. I don’t want to waste any precious time on dumb stuff. Funk the dumb stuff. And, almost everything is dumb stuff. I left my large pile of shit to do and took my kids to the coast. My heart and soul are renewed.

Suddenly, some things don’t seem to matter anymore. Excellent – more time for the things that do.

 

Divorce: The Gift That Keeps on Giving

I’ve decided that Divorce is the gift that keeps on giving, instead of the thing that cut me off at the knees, leaving a barrage of scars. But getting here was a long haul.

And, I’m not saying that in a snarky or sarcastic tone, really.

Since my divorce, I have learned so many new things and am energized and excited in ways I never thought possible, especially at the beginning.  I have updated my resume (this seems easy until you consider my college roommate. She found her most recent resume on a floppy disc), interviewed for many jobs and am on job three post-divorce. I have made new friends, met new people, and learned new things. During my eight days at job number one, I found my lip gloss soulmate (it’s a thing) and learned how to use two monitors. During job number two,  I found new restaurants, stores, and deeper appreciation for cultural differences. Job number three led to my illustrious writing career and without it, you wouldn’t be reading this.

I used to want to stay home every night and watch tv. I still like doing that (way more than I should) but, looking back on my marriage (dinner, watch favorite shows, costco on saturday) that now feels like waiting for my turn to die. Now, I am writing, hanging with friends, finding new things to do. I used to want us to agree on all of our kid-related decisions. We didn’t. Still don’t. But, now I know that we won’t always agree and there is nothing I can do about it. So, I do my thing and he can do his. I have peace.

We had a lot of money. A lot of money. Now, I don’t have a lot of money. I learned how to do more with less, building better relationships with my kids in the process. And, teaching them you don’t need money to enjoy things and you don’t have to be in the front row to enjoy the show.  I’m not arguing that money doesn’t make things more fun, but fun can be had without. I am not necessarily materialistic, but I loved my home and my really nice car. Now, I am free as a bird, not defined by what I drive or where I live. Plus, I’ve learned to find joy and calm even when things are tight.

Before, I wanted my friends and their husbands to like us and want to hang out with us. We had some like that. But, now I have found that I can choose (and choose, I do) who I hang out with and what I do. Much easier and no stress. What can suck about only spending time with the people you choose?

What used to be a loss of all of my holidays has given me the permission to do different things, to make or break traditions. I spent one Thanksgiving or Christmas at the movies. Not crowded. Especially the chick flicks. The theater was filled with men and kids. Which only served to remind me; you don’t have to do all that work, spend all that money, while the ingrates go to the movies. And, you don’t have to spend time with his relatives, especially the assholey ones. Traditions are important, but we have made it our tradition to be flexible and try new things. Instead of making all of the decisions, we make decisions together. While that is more “friendy” than “parenty,” we all enjoy doing the things that we choose to do together.

While I was married, I was worried about my future for a variety of reasons. Now I have a plan for my future that excites me so, I cannot wait to retire. This divorce has given me the opportunity to live a second chapter, or start a whole new book. It has given me strength I never knew I had. It has given me new friends. It has given me new traditions and happier holidays. It has taught me I am creative and flexible and smart. It has given me freedom and joy. It has taught me a lot about parenting. I don’t know if I am a better parent, but I am a different one. I have always been open minded, but now I am not just open, I am receptive to new things.

The most surprising thing, though, is how this experience has enriched my children’s relationships with their parents. In my home, we spend almost all of our time together. If we watch television, we do it together. If we go to the movies, shopping, out to eat, we do it together. We take short road trips and go on local “adventures.” I try not to make other plans, waste time online, or talk on the phone when my kids are home and we are together. While divorce may make it easier to “play” us, it also makes it more difficult to have a favorite parent. I am not sure if this better, but I know if we were married, the relationship would be primary.

While all of these things are true, they are not reasons to divorce. I think it is way better for families to stay together. When that isn’t possible, you need to go through it. It sucks a lot of the time, but some moments of joy seep through. Everyday, I find reasons why divorce keeps giving me presents. And, I am thankful. It wasn’t easy and I had to choose happiness – something that is more difficult than it sounds.

The best thing…divorce has turned me into a perfect girlfriend; I don’t ever want to get married again and I don’t care about money.

I am totally free.

I Saw My X on the Jumbotron

I saw my X on the Jumbotron at the Nickelback (don’t hate) show I recently attended.  I saw him from 5 miles away on the lawn, where my seats were.  Yes. Yes. Yes, folks, here comes the “Inequality of Divorce” blog.  Well, it is that and so much more. A few nights ago, as I sat under a beautiful full moon and was cooled by our “delta breeze”, with 3 other divorced women, I looked up to see the unpleasantly charming face of my X on the gigantic screen, indicating to me that he was in the 2nd or 3rd row from the stage. Wow!  I was looking for my son, who won the toss and got to sit with dad during the show.  Sister was hanging in the cheap seats on a blanket with 4 old ladies. (It is okay, she rocked her little heart out!).

Some of you may be wondering how we all ended up at the same show.  Well, this is the first time that has happened in the many years since we split. I got tickets because kids were with their dad that night and it was a school night. I didn’t figure I would run into any of them there.  And, then kids asked to stay with me because dad was going to the show. And, then I gave dad a hard time about ditching his kids to attend his son’s favorite band’s show. And, then dad didn’t want to look like a douche, so he ponied up some lawn seats for the kids, so they could sit with me. I offered to take his good tickets (I had no idea how good they were at the time) so he could sit with his kids, he declined (yes, I try to be funny – all of the time). He also couldn’t get a date (even with great seats) and so “the toss” for the good seat.

I would like to start of by saying I am not bitter. Really. I am better. Way better.  I will abbreviate for you, after 7 miserable years, 10 + court days and tens of thousands of dollars, the court set us “even.”  We still are, according to the courts.  I will spare you so many ridiculous details and sum up our differences this way, how is it that he can afford 2nd row seats and I feel “lucky” to be able to afford the $20 lawn seats? This is really the best way to show our divide.  We are not even financially.  We never will be. Every single one of my divorced friends is in a worse place financially since her divorce.  All but one of these friends is in a worse place financially than her husband.  And, the one? She is in the worst place, she pays him support – spousal and child while he works under the table for cash.  She is a school teacher. He and his live-in gf have a new baby (really, Karma has already visited him) and live in her former 4000 sq foot home.  She lives in a 1400 sq ft rental.

I was lucky. I had fantastic family and friends for financial and emotional support. So many women don’t.  I know two are better than one and can leave cheaper together than individually but, in that case both should take a hit when the marriage is over.  And, maybe both do.  I mean, I could be biased.  But, we are still not “even.” To be fair, I am leaps ahead of him in the categories that matter to me anyway, peace, happiness, and love. I enjoyed that money when I was with him. But, I enjoy so much more now. Because he isn’t there.  It just pisses me off 8 ways from Sunday that women are the bigger “financial” losers in divorce situations.  And, I don’t know how to fix it.

Do men and women cope differently? I was taking huge financial hits when I was losing everything else in my life: family, holidays, blah, blah. I had to recreate a whole new me. It just seems to be more difficult to deal with adversity when you are an emotional mess and have no idea how you are going to pay all of your bills this month. All a guy has to do is sleep with someone else and he is good…..

My Childhood is a Liar

My childhood was a lie. A big fat lie. Like a lot of kids, I couldn’t wait to grow up. I couldn’t wait to get away from my parents. I couldn’t wait to make all of my own decisions. What happened to the “doing what I want when I want how I want and where I want” adulthood I couldn’t wait to get to?  What happened to that? My childhood was a big fat liar.

I’ve gone on and on about a lot of things that are surprising as we age. Well, I was surprised, anyway.  If last year was the year of children related horrors, this year is shaping up to have a completely different focus.

One of my best friends and favorite people lost her mom last week. She held her hand and loved her until she slowly slipped away. I kept her company with daily texts and support as she was there for me when my mom died. She also remembers the tiny shit show that happened after. We were going to get together at my favorite wine bar a few days ago and raise a glass to our parents and share memories. She had to bail as she had funeral arrangements to handle. I called another friend. When she arrived, she announced she had just come from her Stepdad’s funeral. We spent the evening discussing her trials. Then this morning, another close friend has lost a parent.

This is another ugly chapter in adulthood. While I can usually find the silver lining, it kind of sucks. You spend all this time growing up, getting a job, getting married, building a family, getting a divorce, building a new life and you are just about to enjoy your adulthood, when all hell breaks loose.  I was making plans for a fun retirement, and I may be caught up in a few things that will impede that fun. And, chances are, by the time I am done with all of that…I will be ready to attend the funeral I have already picked the music for. Yes, I have really chosen the music for my memorial/party, whatever. Have you heard some of the crap that plays at funerals?  If I hear Bette sing about being a bird again, I might lose it. And, while some of the other traditional songs are beautiful, they are just not my style. Besides, why on earth would I want the same songs from everybody else’s funeral?

My dad’s health is failing and his memory is going, going, almost gone. He has lost his will, I think and that is the hardest thing for me. Who can blame him, he has no siblings left and most of his friends are gone? His closest relative is his cousin and both are in such poor health, it is unlikely they will see each other again. He is in constant pain and spends many hours “doctoring.” He no longer resembles that Dad I had, physically or mentally. I’ve been grieving him a little bit for a long time. I’m completely okay with his decisions and plans. And, if he is ready to go, I must let him. He has taught me so many things in life, I guess now he is teaching me to die. Even though some of the best lessons he taught me are how to live.

I know this is a normal occurrence. I do. Your parents should die first. I am lucky to have had my dad for so long. But, now is the ugly stuff: dying, death, funerals, wills, estate settling, and a long (hopefully) future without any parents. I have never been “Daddy’s little girl.” I wasn’t spoiled like that. But, we have spent most of my adulthood very close. Who will I call when I don’t know what to do? The tears just started…so, done with this line of thought.

So many things have turned out be be lies. Next, I suppose, you will tell me that my face won’t freeze that way and I can get sick from not wearing a coat. 

I have started 20 blogs about the last few weeks. But, I can’t seem to get everything organised. So, I’m just going to throw out there where I am. And, oh yeah, I need an assistant.

You Have Arrived!

Today, I found my answer to the question, “What do you do?”  My answer now is: “I use Google Maps everywhere I go because when I reach my destination, Google maps says, ‘you have arrived””

I love that! I have arrived. I love hearing it and it makes my day. Simple girl, I know.

And it solves my issue of whether or not to respond with my boring job or my exciting, fun erotica job.  I mean, really, why should anyone get all the good stuff in the first few minutes? They should have to work for that shit.  

When I thought of that last line, it amused me, so I left it. But, now that I think about it, I have changed some things in my experienced years. I no longer treat each new person I meet as a friend. I treat them like a potential friend. While this may be second nature for some, it is a new skill for me. I really pay attention to who is asking me questions, what types of questions they are asking, and how they respond to my answers.  I have learned a ton. 

A few weeks ago, I was in one of my local haunts when the bouncer (younger, hot, studly) approached me to compliment me on my outfit. I have known him for years, he is always pleasant and calm.  We have never exchanged names or numbers, but we have said hello.  And, the one time Jamie (partner in crime) decided to bring her own alcohol, he was very nice.  She had it in an opaque water bottle. She, like me, hates being invisible and waiting to get served. If I’m going to take my own alcohol, though, I would drink it in the bathroom. Or in the car.  Not Jamie. It was hot. And she thought we could stand 3 feet to the right of the door and that would be okay. I was trying to subtly tell her this was not okay when Younger, Hot, Stud walks over and says, “Ladies. C’mon. Really?”  She acted dumb and I just stood there wishing I had a beer.  He gave her a little lesson about where to drink her alcohol and never one time said anything like, “at your age…” And, you should know, Jamie is no fool. She finished her drink while he was being polite.

I was shocked at the compliment, though, as he had never done this before. Even my PIC looked up from her phone. I thanked him and he got called to duty. You know, drunk people aren’t the most responsible group.

About 10 minutes go by and he circles back. And, he says to me, “I’m sorry. I got called away while you were answering me. What were you saying?”

What? I can honestly say I cannot remember anyone ever doing that to me before. I sure noticed. I am looking forward to our next trip to that place and hope to raise a little cain while I am there. (wink, wink, Jamie)

I am used to being ignored. But, not only was I not invisible in this instance, I was center stage.  My “Invisible” blog generated a slew of emotions in my readers. So many who feel like me.  Invisible.

It seems like the universe has been telling me for a long time……why you gotta make things so difficult?  So, I’m not. Just like I have said before. After today I am through running after things. The ice cream man can go fuck himself.  Okay. I didn’t say it originally. But, it’s funny. Really, though. I’m done.  I’m done being sad I don’t get to hang out with my friends as much as I would like, so I’m making new friends. I’m done worrying about my teenagers hating me – they are supposed to and, to be fair, sometimes the feeling is mutual. I’m done talking to people who don’t listen. I could go on and on…but, do you get my point?  I am going to be interested in the people who are interested in me. I am going to do the things that I love with people who love it too. I quit caring what people think years ago. Now, I choose to do what is easy.

So, not only did I let go of something else, I moved forward in another direction. Not only is it easy, it doesn’t rob me of any joy. So, happy marches on. And, I don’t feel invisible anymore. If you don’t see me, I will find more who will.