I have been a mess all week, and I haven’t stopped crying all morning. Today, my best friend is moving. We have been neighbors, a couple doors away, for five years. Although we’ve known each other for almost 15 years, it wasn’t until we both moved here, at a time when both of us were at the lowest points in our lives, that we connected as adults.
The thing is, we haven’t been connected at the hip all these years. We are both independent and not into the constant spending of time with each other. We haven’t even had much in the way of emergencies or the borrowing of butter or making dinner for each other. We do have talking, and laughing–so much laughing, and sadness, and kindness, and generosity, and changes.
I will miss our impromptu drinks on my patio, never scheduled, not very often, but always right when we both needed it. I will miss long evenings walking around downtown, drunk, everything hilarious (only to us). I will miss seeing her baby a few times a week when her mom is out walking him. I will miss getting lucking and finding her on her patio when I walked the dogs. I will miss pretending we are runners. I will miss the texts “whachu wear? flip flops or heels?” I will miss the comfort of knowing she is there.
I’ve never told her this: when I talk about her, I always say she saved me. Because she did. I really don’t know what would have happened to me if she hadn’t come into my life when she did. For this I am thankful.
I have a temper, but I never really get angry. If I throw a fit, it’s to protect myself, argue a position, or bitch about someone I don’t know, but never do I get angry at someone close to me, even when they hurt me. I question myself, where I went wrong, how I can fix it, again, even if it’s their shit that caused them to emotionally sucker punch me. I’m a dweller, a ruminator, an obsessor. I can’t let things go. And not in a grudge sort of way, just in the “OMGICAN’TBELIEVETHATHAPPENEDHOWCANIFIXITISWEARI’MNOTANASSHOLE” sort of way.
Right now—and for the last four months—I’ve been obsessing about He Who Shall Remain Nameless. We were together for many years. I loved him way more than he loved me. He left me. But all this isn’t the problem. It’s been years since we’ve been together. He’s moved on, has a new wife, has a baby. But we have always stayed in touch and in fact, he promised he would repay me tens of thousands of dollars over a few years to help with bills and my investment in our company that is now closed. And he kept that promise. He gave me money when he could and started a new business that is likely to make a ton of money. He has always been generous, and actually, money was the one thing we never fought about. Until four months ago.
I’m unemployed but wanted to figure out how to start my own business, and I could afford to figure things out with money he gave me around the time I was laid off. He knew this was my plan, he said he’d keep putting money in the account, he helped me edit our old business plan for my new business idea. Then he decided he could make some money day trading with my little nest egg. I let him. I had no reason not to trust him. He made a killing day trading several years ago, he knows what he’s doing, and he knew I needed the money accessible.
It started when I asked him for some of the money. He made excuses about time and too much work but that he would get to it. Then he stopped answering my emails, stopped taking my calls. I knew something bad was going down, but I didn’t want to believe it. Fast forward to the end of the month when the statement came in the mail: Balance $2.97.
So for the first time in 12 years, I am out of touch with the person I wanted to be with forever. And, he stole nearly ten thousand dollars from me. And I’m scared and having anxiety attacks, and sleeping to much or too little, and eating too much, and crying too much. And I even have a little hope (I know, I know!) he’s just trying to get the money together and he will pay me back. But I’m not angry. Why can’t I get angry? I’m hurt, that is all.
I went to San Diego to visit my brother, hike, eat cupcakes, and get energized to come home and finally get my act together. Instead it was far more emotionally challenging than I was prepared for. That is, because I wasn’t prepared for it to be emotionally challenging at all.
I don’t know if my melancholy and sleepiness today is because of this or because I’m back to reality. I do know that I didn’t jump out of bed today with my shit together. In fact, I didn’t jump at all. I haven’t done anything I promised myself I would do, and as the day rolls on, I become more sad, more defeated, more sluggish, more sad. I just walked the dogs sobbing, for chrissakes. I haven’t showered or even put on a bra—yes, this means I’ve walked the dogs three times today without a bra on.
It did not help that I had a dream about visiting my ex. He said “I had no idea you’ve been trying to contact me for FOUR MONTHS, and no, I didn’t steal nearly TEN THOUSAND DOLLARS from you, you just have the account number wrong.” Waking up realizing this dream isn’t going to come true did nothing to start my day off well.
I’ve read blog posts, books about motivation, books about successful women in business, sought out successful women to network with, and still, here I am, weeping and melodramatic.
I need something, something, something. Because I’m really sick of this being stuck bullshit.
I started reading early. My mother says by age two. My favorite babies to carry around with me were neither dolls nor blankies, but books, tablets, pens, books, and more books. In elementary school my mom gave me reading lists because she thought for every contemporary novel I wanted to read, I had to give her one classic. You want to read Judy Blume? Then give me Mark Twain, and a book report. You want to read VC Andrews? Then give me John Steinbeck, then Shakespeare, then Betty Freidan. My book reports were given in the kitchen while dinner was being prepared. Thankfully my mother worked so dinner prep only took about 20 mins. She’d ask me to read a passage and tell her what it meant. I was 10, 11, 12.
I read Tortilla Flats, The Red Pony, East of Eden, and then we went to the Steinbeck House for lunch, toured Cannery Row, found Steinbeck’s grave in the cemetery, and I listened to her explain why it is that we need to read the classics even though they are written by mostly male authors and routinely misogynistic and oftentimes infuriating in their paternalism. (Yes, my mother used the words “misogynistic” and “paternalism” when I was 10 and expected me to know what she meant).
She was furious when she discovered my 8th grade Language Arts text book contained an excerpted version of Great Expectations. Did anyone else’s mother call the teacher and request their kid be required to read the whole novel, because she just couldn’t, in good conscience, allow her child to read an abridged version of any classic literature? Sometimes I was horrified. As much as I loved to read and be smart, I was still a kid. I was embarrassed to tell my friends what I was reading. I was a big enough dork as it was.
But I didn’t stop. Because I was allowed to read grown-up things, too. I remember vividly how special I felt when my mom handed The Color Purple to me after she finished reading it, immediately after it was in bookstores, and how powerful, and adult, and terrifying the story was, and how grown-up I felt that she trusted me with the story, that she trusted me with the content, that she wanted to discuss it with me after. This marked the first time we shared books. The first time I had actually caught up to her. The first time we were equal in our reading.
And it hasn’t stopped. We stumble over each other in conversations about books. It’s the first thing we talk about when we arrive at each other’s homes, immediately going to the current pile and feverishly asking have you read this, or this or this? Do you have such and such yet because I haven’t had time to buy it? And then the joy I get in suggesting things to her, things she’d never read if it wasn’t for my particular interest in international literature, is a feeling of pleasing her, showing her I’m still a smart kid.
We have had problems. She, for instance, has no stomach for sarcasm or the incessant teasing I’m more than thrilled to have inherited from my father. But the books and the smarts? This is something we share, something we do well together, something that means so much to both of us, and is one of few things that connects us. She never knew how to show me about makeup and hair and jewelry and clothes because she didn’t know about those things. She told me about sex, but not about men and relationships and love. It was hard to feel girlie inside but not be able to be girlie on the outside because she didn’t know how to show me girlie things. It was hard to like a boy because she only knew about studying and getting smarter and making sure no one ever made girls feel like they aren’t as smart as boys. So it was probably quite the shock for her to realize how much I liked makeup, clothes, hair, boys, gossiping, playing loud music, giggling until my stomach hurt.
We’re even different with how we handle our books. I leave my books in pristine condition, no one can tell I actually flipped the pages after I’ve finished a book. I have tiny heart attacks when I see books, anyone’s books, turned over to hold a place, bindings bent, and, the worst of all, corners of pages turned in. My mother does all of these things. Unless she’s borrowing one of my books. But when I read one she’s read first, I fret, un-creasing pages and wiping the cover of spilled coffee.
We always had the books. We will forever have the books. The heart-racing, adrenaline rush of buying a new book, finding a new author, telling each other about this one or that one. And if I have a kid, I will do the same thing she did for me. Because the world inside books transcends all that might be different, weird, strange, and painful in the real world, and I think that’s what my mother knew then and she and I quietly still share now.
It was torture. To find a new stylist. Because my last stylist turned out to be a racist. Here’s a small bit of my last time with Old Hair Stylist:
Me: how was your vacay to Mexico?
OHS: oh my god! by day 2, you know? I was sooo over all the Mexicans! you know?
Me: choke, choke, choke
OHS: we went to a shanty town, right? to check out the jewelry, you know? and this one bracelet I wanted, the guy tells me $750. And I was like, what? this is a shanty town! in Mexico, you know? jewelry is supposed to be cheap there, you know?
Me: choke, faint, revive, choke, faint
OHS: and then, on the plane home, oh my god, there were these noisy kids, you know? and the parents didn’t do anything. and you know what? of course the kids were BLACK, you know what I mean? and LOUD, you know? but what was weird was the dad was white and the mom was black, and you KNOW that doesn’t happen! know what I mean?
OHS: so do you want a blow out?
Me: silence, shook head no, wrote my check, ran the fuck out
So I found a new stylist, just in time because my hair was yuck. And now it’s fantastic. And the new girl is very nice.
I just want to know what hints I gave OHS to make her think this kind of talk is acceptable to me? Was it the way I read my book every time I was there, barely uttering a hello? Was it the way I dozed in the chair while she foiled away my roots? Stupid cunt. There’s more. She told more sick stories that I just can’t bear to spend the energy writing out.
So, Tallie at 5 Color Cowboy, you asked my friend where I’ve been? Staying the fuck away from you, you racist jackass.
The new stylist charges way more, too. Apparently a non-racist rant hair appointment is worth more.
it will be totally shocking to learn that I am not a skinny girl. I exercise and try to eat well most days, but I have this….thing that never, ever goes away. It’s what I refer to as my 2nd gut.
Although my mother says “as long as your tits stick out farther than your stomach, you’re fine” it’s just not OK for my 2nd gut to hang out when I’m trying to look all cute and everything in my cupcake t-shirt.
Which is why it’s extra-odd that I do not buy foundation garments, girdles, gut sucker inners, or any other way-too-tight underclothes. I just figure that I have what I have, and all the spandex in the world isn’t going to change that.
And these things aren’t cheap.
Oh, and nothing really works for me anyway. I’ve given up trying these torture devices on, because I sweat and squiggle and finally get it on, only to see there is no noticeable difference in my before and after 2nd gut appearance.
My not-so-surprise 37th birthday party was imminent, and being unemployed and having worked from home for years anyway, and having lost nearly 100 pounds the last couple years, I didn’t really have much in the way of going out clothes. Having read a few times about Yummie Tummie via various women on Twitter, I thought I’d at least look at a tank at Nordstrom (strappy long).
Ummm, this thing is amazing. Not only is the girdle-y part only in the middle, unlike other foundation garments that are lycra up to your boobs and down to your thighs (thanks, but I don’t need lycra to squish out my boobs into my armpits), it ACTUALLY WORKS.
I went into the fitting room skeptical, as you might imagine, but very quickly was more than pleased with the result. Yummie Tummie is not torture to put on, and get this, I noticed at least two inches gone from my 2nd gut (I didn’t even think to check my 1st gut which was probably slimmer, too). I had my bff confirm my 2nd gut was indeed seriously, noticeably sucked in (and she knows, I point to my 2nd gut 442 million times a day and say to her “I wonder when I’m going to give birth to this fucker?”).
If I wasn’t unemployed, and had a proper foundation garment budget, I would have bought a bazillion of these.
Yummie Tummie rules.