Day 23: What popular notion do you think the world has most wrong?

That all little girls should grow up and get married and if you get divorced you’re a big fat failure.

I was married once. I had the big white dress, the sparkling diamond and even a fancy limousine departure. It was a fun party. I remember waking up the next day in our hotel suite overlooking the lake, seeing my veil on the chair beside the bed and being overwhelmingly sad that it was over. I wore that thing for two more days in protest.

We were WAY too young but we had a 2 year old already and it was the next step in what felt inevitable. I refused to get married until I could legally drink a glass of champagne at my wedding. I was 21 for 22 days before I said I do.

I had no idea how to be a wife? I was an excellent mother and knew my way around the kitchen well enough that his friends called me Betty Crocker. I sewed, cross-stitched and ripped out the front yard in our trailer park so that I could plant some flowers. I didn’t have the foggiest idea how to communicate my needs to my husband, and at 23 he was just as clueless as me.

We played house for 7 years and welcomed another baby a few years after that big party. Sometimes I think we were simply stubborn enough together that we refused to quit, even when we were both unhappy. We celebrated our 7th anniversary and he toasted me with a drink.

H- Just think. We were so young when we got married that we’ll be able to celebrate our fiftieth anniversary someday.

My blood ran a little cold and I felt nauseous. I looked at him and realized that I’d always imagined having my own life someday and I hadn’t considered the fact that he could outlive me and I might never know what that was like. When you’re a wife and mother, and especially one who is a homemaker and/or works from home, your life has everything to do with service and caring for the people you love, it doesn’t really have much to do with your dreams or goals. It’s all diapers and blow jobs.

I love being a mother and my son was the most incredible baby, toddler and little boy. I was hell bent that people who judged us for being too young would eat their words after five minutes with my bright and polite little creation. I taught him to read when he was 4, bought him a microscope when he turned 5, and tirelessly moulded both of my children into patient, well behaved, polite little angels.

I put on a hundred pounds and gave up thinking about what I wanted out of life or hoped to do with mine. It had ceased to be about me the day I lowered the blusher veil and let my dad lead me down the aisle. I was a wife and a mother, there wasn’t any room for Jenni.

Infidelity had been a problem in our marriage and people warned me that the threat of the 7 year itch was a very real thing. I had an affair and it destroyed me. I could no longer close my eyes to the things I wanted and needed in life. I couldn’t pretend anymore that I was what he wanted, either. Trapped in a bloated balloon animal version of myself, I contemplated suicide instead of ruining my family. I started running, mostly to get away from the problems that kept me awake at night and made the food I’d clung to for comfort all these years, taste bad. When I’d lost 50 pounds the real problems started to escalate. He’d loved me completely no matter what size my jeans were, but he was not comfortable with other men noticing and appreciating me.

One morning stands out in my mind because it was the day I decided that my life was important too. I woke up early, it was still dark out and he was asleep next to me. Bless his beautiful heart, he didn’t snore and I haven’t slept as well beside a man since then. He was silent and my heart was so heavy that tears fell quietly until the magenta sheets looked black beside me. I reached my hand out to put it on his chest and he shrugged and rolled over, turning his back to me.

I told him I wanted a divorce that day and life changed forever.

I’ve had the shitiest boyfriends, the biggest gardens and just enough joyful chaos to make me feel like it wasn’t a mistake. I’ve traveled, had different careers, fallen in love too many times to count and regularly make coffee in my panties- something that drove him nuts. He has an amazing wife that has loved my babies like her own and our lives wouldn’t be complete without her.

There are no accidents, and some of us are really quite content to sleep alone in a king sized bed, indefinitely. We got divorced in 2003 and I think people are finally starting to believe me when I say I’m never getting married again.

Because coffee tastes even better when you’re naked. 🙂

coffee2


Day 22: Describe 7 things you’re awful at.

  1. I’m awful at picking a man that won’t lie to me, cheat on me, steal from me or break my heart. I’ve elevated it to an art form and have ruled them out entirely as a result. Heterosexual men are basic creatures. Much like that lump of a human they hand you when you have a baby, you only need to feed, water and love it for things to be agreeable, right? Wrong. I have an innate ability to pick the absolute worst asshole in the room. Eyes closed, heart open… I lose every damn time.
  2. Thinning root vegetables. Seriously.. someone should take my carrot seeds away. There’s honestly no point in me even planting them because I can’t grow them for shit and who needs 4000 pencil sized baby carrots? Nobody.
  3. Kitchener stitch. It’s some sort of modern day needlework witchcraft. I avoid knitting socks for precisely this reason. I loathe not being able to do something though, so I’ll figure it out eventually or die trying.
  4. Seeing the forest for the trees. I see the potential in everyone- and never stop to consider that some people are self motivated and not looking out for me or my best interests. Some folks are just users and I work overtime to see the goodness a little too much. Some of those frogs aren’t princes. Some of those warty little things are just dirty ass reptiles.
  5. Brownies. I can’t bake brownies to save my life. I don’t know why. I’ve given up trying and just buy them. I’m bitter about it though because I’m a damn domestic goddess and hate that I can’t do something.
  6. Sleep. I am the worst insomniac. I am regularly awake between the hours of 1-5 AM and generally give up and get up by 5:30. I’m painfully tired and all things considered could probably use a week of rest, straight. I won’t get it and it won’t stop me from lying awake all night again tonight… so feel free to give me any suggestions you may have.
  7. I’m awful at shaking this Incredicock nightmare. Hearing one thing and seeing another is the worst form of torture and I was crazy to think that touching him again was a good idea. It wasn’t. You can only be casual about someone you don’t care about… just as you can’t make a ho a housewife, it’s absolutely impossible to make a fuckbuddy out of the guy you’re in love with and I should have learned that painful lesson the first time with him.

I wish I had more of my shit together, but fairy godmothers aren’t real and it involves a shit load of work and time to change these things. I’m still determined, still working hard to be better, do more, live positively and strive for happiness.

I have promises to keep. And miles to go before I sleep… -Robert Frost


Day 21: If you could live anywhere, where would it be and why?

Kauai, without question.

I attended a wedding with my ex the dirty boat stealing hippie in Kauai about 12 years ago. I’d never been to Hawaii but regularly traveled to Mexico every winter and knew it was my favorite kind of climate. I prefer summer to winter and could happily retire every last pair of winter boots.

I remember landing at the open air airport and being enveloped by the sweet smelling breeze. I’ve never felt instantly at home, anywhere…. and now I knew what people were talking about when they found where they belonged. I’m shy and nervous in new places and with people I don’t know. That wasn’t the case in Kauai. I felt at ease behind the wheel of the rental car, and made myself at home in our rental house.

I’m a sucker for waxy white tropical flowers, and LORD have mercy was I spoiled everywhere I looked. Hedges made of gardenia and jasmine, tuberose blooming in long spikes filled the air around you with heady perfume. The houseplants in my kitchen were outdoor vegetation in Kauai and fruit lined the highways everywhere you looked. I stopped for all of it. I picked guava and bananas, mangoes and pineapple. I filled my hair with flowers every morning and fell madly in love with Kauai.

The eucalyptus tree tunnel was so spectacular I think I’m still absorbing the magnificence.

tree tunnel

I cried on the flight home because I didn’t want to leave. I can’t believe I haven’t been back yet.

Someday, somehow… I’ll have a little farm on the little island paradise of my dreams. I’ll grow tomatoes year round and life will be perfect. ♥


Day 20: What has been the most difficult thing you have had to forgive?

I have a few “difficult” things I’ve had to forgive, as a result of always wading in just a little too far over my head. My little sister the Unicorn is the same way. We ask for forgiveness, not permission… we roll the dice… we leap before we look. As a result, we’ve both learned a lot of hard lessons in the most challenging ways imaginable. We learn the hard way- it’s inescapable. Consequently, we have both attracted some bad people, made some dumb choices and forever had a fleet of responsible sisters standing there shaking their heads and helping pick up the pieces for the umpteenth time.

The MOST difficult things I’ve had to forgive, have been pretty awful. As a mother I would die a million heartbroken deaths if my babies went through some of the stuff I’ve survived, but it’s also made me annoyingly resilient and pretty damn successful.

I forgive easily. Some people would probably say too easily for my own good. I guess I was raised to know in my heart that forgiveness is a gift you give yourself, because carrying hate around is heavy and you need empty hands to be able to help yourself.

Some people and things have taken me longer though.

  • My rapist. That was a tough one. He ruined things for me that still make me so sad. The Beatles, beards, and leather jackets have always been ruined since then. Incredicock fixed my beard phobia and now I actually like them. I don’t panic when facial hair touches my cheek. I’m not afraid to feel it on my thighs. I love that. The Beatles is a tough one. I have tried to listen to a little here and there, careful to avoid certain songs, but it still turns my stomach and makes me anxious. Same goes for leather.
  • My dad. Oy… this one is still a little ongoing. I hate the daddy issues he gave me, which aside from my face is pretty much the only thing he contributed. He died early as well, so there wasn’t an opportunity to try again. He died at odds with 3 of his 4 children and missed every significant event in all of our lives. He’s tough to forgive. 🙂 He was human though, and I do have really nice cheekbones from him. I treasure the siblings he gave me and wish he’d been able to enjoy the cool people he made.
  • My shitty high school boyfriend who broke up with me the day before Valentine’s day to go out with the girl with the perfect hair who occupied the locker right next to mine. I still don’t like red roses after watching her carry them around that day and I hate that damn holiday. Ok maybe I haven’t entirely forgiven him…..
  • Crazy Virgin Islands. Ugh… another huge challenge. He served me with a cease and desist to get my blog entries regarding him and the trip from hell off my blog. Too many women had found them after searching the internet and I didn’t even care to fight over it. I was the stupid girl that got on the plane and flew 15 hours to date a (SURPRISE!!) married man for a few days, I deserved some bad times after being so stupid and reckless with my safety. I forgive him for being a raging sociopath… not enough to talk to him ever again, but certainly enough to stop cock blocking him. Plus I made 42 new friends who had similar experiences with him AND helped a couple dozen avoid joining our illustrious tribe. All’s well that ends well, right?
  • Myself. The hardest one of all is learning how to let myself off the hook a little for being so reckless sometimes and so damn trusting with too much of my heart. I love loudly and I’ve always hated that about myself. I don’t anymore. Losing Anthony really taught me to say the hard words every day. I tell the people I love every day that I love them. I’m too nice and that’s ok. I’m also a passive aggressive bitch when inspired and I like her too. The last year has changed me in a million ways and I’m much prouder of this new version than I ever was before. That’s a pretty fabulous gift, if I do say so myself.

go


Day 19: What do you most wish you were great at?

1. Thinning the carrots in the garden. I suck at ripping 3/4th of them out, so they’re always crowded, too small, misshapen and weird. I grow horrible carrots and it’s my greatest shame as a farm girl. It’s one of those things that is part of my character. I can’t casually throw away something that I made. I give it the benefit of the doubt and even when it clearly looks stunted and in need of discarding… I keep trying to save them all. It’s not a great trait to possess when you’re growing root vegetables (or dating). Bless all my little beets and carrots- I can’t pick one over the other so they’re all going to have a hard time reaching their full potential.

2. Letting go. I worry about people’s feelings more than I should. I overthink everything. I can’t tell you the horrible paths my mind went down today because even I know I’m imagining the worst things at will. I wish I were great at saying “Cest la vie” with a smile and a tip of my champagne glass… but assuming the worst is more my weakness and I make even slightest hiccup into a heart attack. Death is extremely hard for me and I wish I could find the peace and joy in happy memories… but letting go is tantamount to giving up for me, and I fight it tooth and nail.

3. Hunting. Random, I know… but I want to shoot an elk, gut it and chop it up to fill my freezer. I loved dissection in science and I’m not squeamish. I grow a million things, but at the end of the long day and night of weeding, pruning and staking them… all I want is a steak. I have too tender of a heart to grow a cow to eat, but I could joyfully hunt a wild one down. I’m determined to learn.

4. Fishing. Along those same lines… I really want to catch a pike. I’m seeing my friends post pictures of them lately and I want one. I work for an Alaskan based company and I REALLY want to go fishing for salmon, halibut, cod and the rest of their magical assortment of delicious fish. I’d rather go fishing than to a spa… so perhaps I just need to book a trip and go already. Why wait?

5. Laundry. I’m great at washing and drying it… but folding it is right up there with the gynecologist for me. I’d rather die than fold ten loads of laundry and that’s what I face each Saturday. Yes, I know I should get rid of some sheets. Have less dish towels…. etc. I don’t want to. I have more drawers in my kitchen than you can imagine and plenty of space to encourage me to have seasonal linens. I just wish with my whole heart that I loved to fold them when they were hot out of the dryer.

6. Balancing work and home. I’m so damn exhausted on Saturday that I let my Dumpling veg out in front of the TV or electronics. I let her eat popsicles. I’m THAT mom who overcompensates for the mom guilt of school + daycare that puts a 6 year old into a 40 hour work week. It’s shitty and I feed her more corn dogs than her older siblings got to eat. Little Red sees Twinkies in the cupboard and shakes her head at me.

LR: Where did these come from and WHO are you? We were never allowed to have these.

Me- Eat one, they’re gross. You weren’t missing out on anything. It’s just not a battle worth fighting. It’s a mermaid cupcake, not the end of the world. I’m sorry I was so uptight. I’ll buy you some if you want.

LR- Ew… they are kind of gross.

7. Taking time for myself. I need a break so desperately I could cry. Too much work, too much stress, too much heartache, too much of everything frankly- and I wish I were better at insisting on taking a minute to feel better… even if that means drinking a cup of coffee in silence and going to work a half hour later.

I get a lot done in a day… but it’s always nice to have goals too. ♥