Archive | January, 2013

Entitled!

31 Jan

entitled

I hereby declare that I am entitled to:

security

attention

warmth and closeness

money

success in my career

time to myself

a pat on the back for raising a child on my own

RESPECT from those surrounding me

 

For some reason attaining these things has made me, until today, feel guilty and undeserving.

Security equals boring; attention equals dependent; warmth and closeness equals slut; money equals materialism; success in my career equals show-off; time to myself equals bad mother; a pat on the back equals seeking pity.

And RESPECT, I’m not quite sure why I often don’t feel entitled to that. It seems pretty basic.

 

But things are about to change around here… I think.

 

 

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Are You Listening to Me? I Said V-a-m-p-i-r-e P-o-r-n.

30 Jan

vampire novels

I mentioned in my previous post that I was going on a date with ice-skating-instructor-guy, so I realize that I owe everyone a follow up, and here it is.

My first date since the separation. My first date since, well, basically forever. The last time I was “on the market” was 13 years ago. Also, I’m still technically married, which makes me, technically, not quite on the market, more like on hold, more like may soon be on the market again. And still. I have been pretty much walked out on by a man I used to call my husband, who made a baby with me and then picked up and left the minute things got a little rough. So I don’t think I’m supposed to feel guilty about going out on a date. And I don’t, honestly. The thing I feel guilty about is the fact that I enjoyed it.

We went out to a bar. Following a friend’s advice, I came with my own car, to give myself a sense of control that I might not have had if he’d picked me up. I showed up exactly on time. He was already there waiting for me. I liked that. BD was always late.

At the bar, we chatted away, about books mostly, but then about life and it’s surprising turns.  I’ve got to hand it to this boy, he sure knows how to make a woman feel awesome about herself. There was a lot of complementing going on, the kind that surpasses the superficial/artificial you-have-pretty-eyes thing. He said he liked my attitude towards life. And I liked him for noticing that I had one, because I’m almost sure BD never did in 13 years of togetherness. But maybe that’s a bit harsh. Maybe he did notice, but just never bothered to acknowledge it. Or maybe he just didn’t care for it.

There we were, chatting and laughing, hardly any awkward silences, actually just one. We looked at each other, and he smiled apologetically. I smiled back. Then he finally remembered something he wanted to ask me. Something unimportant, maybe about work. And just as I was beginning to answer him I suddenly found his face very close to mine, and I realized he was going to kiss me, and I also realized that I was very happy to be kissed by him.

After that, on his part, he seemed more relaxed, like for a while he’d been planning his move. He moved his bar stool so that now he was sitting beside me, rather than opposite of me. He had his arm around me. He kissed me again from time to time. He was fun to kiss. It wasn’t so much that the kiss was extraordinarily spectacular. It felt good to be kissed by someone who seemed to really want to kiss me. It made a world of a difference to feel wanted, not just taken.

“I thought I’d have to wait for the end of the evening to get a kiss.” I said.

“I couldn’t wait that long.” He smiled.

On my part, I became more nervous after the kiss, somehow more self-conscious, but not in a bad way, just in an unfamiliar way, or more precisely in a way that has been absent from my life for quite some time. I didn’t really know what to do with all those compliments. My instinct was to negate them, to prove him wrong. Thanks, I’d say, but you know what, I’m really not as intelligent as you seem to think. No, no, no, listen, I don’t only read good books, I also read a lot of trash. Really, just recently I read vampire porn. Are you listening to me? I said v-a-m-p-i-r-e  p-o-r-n. Hey, I know you think I’m good looking, but you just haven’t seen my stomach yet, it’s just not what it used to be.  Trust me, my boobs used to be much perkier.

But I resisted, thank god, and he didn’t think I was demented. He thought I was unique.

We’re meeting again in a few days, and I already know what I’m going to wear, and I have all the scenarios of possible conversations that we’re going to have in my head.

I can also only barely stand the wait until he kisses me again.

Those Who Never Fall Have Never Tried Anything New

25 Jan

 skating

Part 1: Standing Up and Falling Down

Baby has finally figured out how to stand! Well, finally is a slight exaggeration, he’s not even eight months old yet, but he’s been trying really hard for the past two weeks, and I was so proud of him when he managed to do it on his own! And now that he’s learned this new trick it’s literally all he ever wants to do. No crawling, no rolling over, seriously mom, that’s so 2012, he seems to be telling me. So everywhere I put him he grabs onto something and stands, smiling at me with the joy of accomplishment, making his little excited-noises: Heh! Heh! Heh! Often he gets so excited that he loses his balance and falls. I’m usually able to break his fall, and I surround him with pillows as he plays, so that helps, but every so often, I miss, he misses, and he bangs his head and cries.

I felt terrible about this the first time it happened, and the second time, and the third. But then I realized that the only way that I was going to be able to prevent him from banging his head was if I never put him down for a second. I’m still trying to minimize injury, but I accept the fact that head-banging, and I mean that in the literal sense, is a part of growing up. So now, when he falls, I pick him up, give him a hug and say as calmly as I can: That’s OK Baby. You fell. Falling is a part of life. Sometimes mommy falls down too, but the important thing is that she gets back up again.  Those who never fall have never tried anything new. As he calms down I kiss his belly which makes him laugh and forget that he has ever fallen. And within two minutes he’s already squirming around, wanting to get back to it.

Part 2: Ice Skating and LOWLOWLOW Self Esteem

My girlfriends and I have decided that we are sick of movies and coffee shops and we are going to start doing more unconventional things when we go out. So this week we went ice-skating. As we were standing in line to pay for our skates, the ice-instructor-guy started chatting with us, well, with me. He asked if I had read any books by Margaret Atwood, if I read a lot in general, if I liked Haruki Murakami, and finally if he could come skate with me later.

After a few rounds on the ice I began to feel a bit less wobbly and there he was, Mr. instructor guy. Kind of cute, very young, a 25-year-old-kid basically, coming to chat to me, 31-year-old-single-mom. Well, I decided to just go with it. And since I was in a good mood, it worked. We chatted for about an hour, about books mostly, and then a bit about music, travels, cooking. Eventually there came the point where he asked where I lived and if I had roommates, and I told him I lived with my son. But surprisingly he was not totally freaked out (only a bit weirded out maybe) and he still asked for my phone number, and also asked if I’d go out with him, to which I replied that I would.

And then, the following day, there I was at home, thinking back to how much fun I had had skating with a boy, and the LOWLOWLOW thoughts started pushing their way into my head. What does a cute 25-year-old see in me. I’m not that fit. He can get a better looking girl. I’m old. I have a baby. Maybe he just felt bad after I told him I was a single mom so he took my number with no intention of using it. Maybe his friends had put him up to some bet, like getting as many phone numbers from girls as he could that night. STOP IT! GO AWAY! I hate it when I get like this. But it’s hard to shake it off once it starts. It’s the same part of my brain that produces the: “You must have done something to drive BD away”, “Baby must be mad at you for sending him to his grandparents”, “Who’s ever going to want to date you when you’re Divorced+1?” and “A good mother wouldn’t have let her Baby hit his head!”

Part 3: Yo Ho Ho and a Bottle of Vodka

I set up our first divorce-meeting yesterday. We’re going to try working together with the same divorce lawyer and try to come to an agreement without too many battles.  I had to set it up of course because if it’s up to BD he’ll never get around to it. He’s comfortable just being separated, he’d gladly keep things the way they are for a year or two until he figures out what he wants. But it’s a terrible place for me to be. On hold. Waiting for him to wake up and realize what he’s missing. His family. So I’m not waiting. I’m moving on. It’s the only healthy thing that I can do right now.

BUT after having set up the meeting, letting BD know, having him email me back saying thank you for setting it up, then having him come pick Baby up for his night with him, it was all just too much. So I sat on the sofa and stared into space, and then I decided that I needed a drink, or make that two, or make that three, and I basically got wasted and drunk-statused on Facebook. Good thing I don’t have any guy-friends to drunk dial because I would have.

I woke up this morning, still slightly intoxicated, drank a liter of water and thought to myself: Those who never down three vodka-apple-juices, have never tried anything new. Like divorce. And I smiled to myself and hit the shower.

Sicko and the Jeans

19 Jan

jeansSicko is the name and fitting into my pre-pregnancy jeans is the game.

I’ve been sick this week, really violently ill the way only bad food poisoning or a stomach flu can get you. I’m talking puking all over the place and crawling to the bathroom on all fours because you’re too weak to walk.

It started Wednesday night with some nausea, followed by me puking my guts out on Thursday morning, but clever girl that I am, I still went to work, because it’s just a bit of food poisoning right? All along, I was seriously wondering if I could be pregnant again? Hmm, not likely, but it has happened once in history before. Well, Maria and the holy ghost aside, this was not pregnancy nausea, unless I was hosting a vampire baby in my uterus like Bella Swan in Twilight. Shit. Did I just reveal that I’ve seen the movies? I hated them for the record. But had to keep watching. One of those things.

Anyway, I left early, somehow managed to drive home, which was probably not the best idea I’ve ever had. All along I was counting the minutes. Without traffic it takes me exactly 15 minutes to get home and I knew there would be parking in the middle of the day. So I was speaking to myself out loud, which lately I’ve found to have a powerful effect on me: Keep it together. 10 more minutes. Check your rearview mirrors. Good. Red light. Stop. Go. Turn left. Slowly. Now out of the car. Turn the key. Up the stairs.

The sitter opened the door and I thanked god that the sitter was my sister. I gave Baby a pat on the head and the biggest smile I could manage and said: Mommy’s very tired. She has to go to sleep now. Stripped and got into bed and my sister brought a glass of water and some pain killers. That was at noon. The next time I could get out of bed was the following morning. My mother came in to take Baby for the night, and I lay in bed crying that he must be mad at me for sending him away (to his loving grandparents, I know it’s stupid).

That night was one of the worst nights in my life, seriously. And I used the speaking out loud technique again, which actually helped. This time I said to myself: After all you’ve been through these seven months, childbirth, recovery, caring for an infant, being left by your husband, changing jobs, dealing with your past, seriously. This is just a stomach bug. It’s not going to kill you.
The next day was Friday and BD took Baby for the night, and I ate for the first time since Wednesday. Slowly, I gained some strength back and here I am, finally functioning and Baby will be home soon. I just can’t wait to see him! I miss him so very much.

Let me just say, that this was the first time in my life that I’ve been sick and alone, with no one to make me tea or just ask if I need anything. It sucked big time. I realize that I’ve been very spoiled this way, always having someone to care for me. I went straight from my parents home, to “our” home, and now, husbandless, Baby gone for the night, here I was alone with my thoughts, and many hours in bed to contemplate and cry. I’m really glad that’s over.

And this brings me to the Jeans with a capital J. Yes, those Jeans that I had figured would fit about a month back but could barely get the top button closed. Well, there is apparently one very small upside to being so sick. The Jeans fit.

So now that I’m done being sick (hopefully) I think next weekend, Sicko and the Jeans are going dancing.

We Don’t Need No Affirmation (Mmmm, Yeah, We Do.)

13 Jan

toys

Last night the sitter was sick and my plans for the night fell through. I found myself at home doing nothing, again.

I had a few good ideas about stuff I wanted to get done:

1. Fold the enormous pile of clean laundry on my sofa

2. Catch up on my paperwork

3. Decide who to vote for

4. Download some new running music

But instead, I found myself refreshing my Facebook page every 30  seconds, with hopes that one of my male friends would show up online so that I could fish for complements and feel a little better about myself.

Now, since I’ve been in a relationship for 13 years, I have to admit I don’t really have that many male friends anymore. I used ot have quite a few of them when I was younger, but throughout the years my stock has dwindled. Some of them got married and it began to feel somehow inappropriate to be in touch, even though the relationship was platonic. Some stopped being “my friends” and became “our friends”, others, to begin with, I had met through BD, and now with the separation and the splitting of assets would be claimed as his.

Refresh. Refresh. Refresh. Maybe I’ll strike up a conversation with this guy I knew back in the day, whom I have nothing in common with and want nothing of? Yes that sound like a great idea.

What’s the deal with women and affirmation? Why do we feel so worthless unless we’re given male attention? Most of my girlfriends will agree that the biggest mistakes they’ve made with men had to do with seeking affirmation: hooking up with someone you’re not really into, being toyed with and taking it (and asking for more), returning to an asshole ex. Why do we do these things to ourselves, and why can we not trust ourselves and the people who love us to give us all the affirmation that we need? Why does it not count when your best friend tells you you’re amazing and beautiful, but it does count when a stupid douche you met at a bar makes a pass at you?

Refresh. Refresh. Sigh.

I need an affirmation detox diet, I think. And I have a plan. Here it goes.

1. For one month I am going to write down one thing every day that is awesome about myself.

2. I am going to say nice things to myself out loud, like complementing myself on the way I look when I’m getting ready to go out, or on something I cooked when it came out nice, or on being a good mom when I feel that I’m doing well, or anything else. OUT LOUD.

3. I am afraid I am not going to abstain from interacting with boys, but I am going to refrain from interaction with people who do not actually interest me just because I am seeking attention and affirmation.

4. I am going to try in general to be a little less obsessed with FB/messaging/E mail/Whatsapp etc, which has become a bad addiction lately.

Will I make it? Can I take it? I’m not sure, but here goes nothing.

Bubble Bath and Contemplation

12 Jan

bath

My friend B told me I was brave for writing this blog so candidly. I was going to argue with her and say it didn’t count, since I was hiding behind a nickname and an email account that I had set up specifically for the purpose of this blog, but then I remembered that I was trying to stop arguing with people who gave me compliments, so I just said thank you and shut up. Well B, I’m taking things to another level with this one, because the topic of today’s post is my body, and why it rocks.

Once a day, I like to turn the heat up in Baby’s room, take his clothes off and let him play naked in his bed. He LOVES it. He can keep busy for a good 30 minutes, just looking at himself in wonder. He kicks with joy, grabs his foot and puts it in his mouth. He rolls from tummy to back, from back to tummy, examines his hands with pleasure. He loves his body, and why shouldn’t he? It’s perfect. It’s a perfect body because it functions perfectly. It can do stuff. He’s amazed at the movements he’s capable of producing. He’s mesmerized by his toes, watching them twitch as he tries to grab them.

Thirty years from now, I imagine him checking himself out in the mirror after a shower, or maybe having been with a girl, and I wonder if he’ll stand there, looking at his body in awe, thinking to himself – Damn, I’m fine! He is a boy, so that may mean slightly fewer body image issues, and still… As adults, so many of us, men and women, hate our bodies, think that they are inadequate, unattractive, faulty.

Here I was last night, taking a nice long candle lit bubble bath, and I looked at my body, at my curves, at my thighs, which I’ve always despised, my belly, which hasn’t exactly returned to form since the pregnancy, my breasts which, is seems, used to be a little perkier, my feet which I’ve always thought were oversized, and as I was relaxing in the warm soapy water, I suddenly felt uncomfortable, and I covered myself up with suds, because I didn’t really want to have to look at myself.

I closed me eyes, and took a deep breath, and I thought about my body, and what it can do. My body can run, not long distances and not very fast, but it can run, and more than that, it can learn to do things that are difficult for it to do. I couldn’t run 500 meters  a couple of months ago, and the other day I ran 3 kilometers.

What else? My body can work around the house, it can carry groceries and wash dishes. It can drive a car, and go to work, and my face can smile and my mouth can talk and laugh, and my nose can smell a cake baking in the oven, and my eyes can cry when I’m chopping an onion, or when I’m not.

My body can  wrap itself around another body, it can give and receive immense pleasure.

My uterus can conceive a baby and carry it inside me and feed it and take care of all its needs for nine months. My belly can grow and expand to five times its size and then shrink back to (almost) what it used to be. My body can tell when it’s time for the baby to come out, and it can create contractions and push and expand in places I didn’t know could expand and bring a human being into the world, and my breasts, on their own, without consulting me, can start squirting milk all over the place, to feed the little one.

With all these miracles that my body can conjure, how could I possibly not respect it, how could I not be appreciative of it? How could I not love it?

With this in my mind, I wiped the suds off my belly and breasts and examined myself, and I thought to myself: this is nice. A nice, feminine, curvy body, beautiful with its imperfections. A little plump, a little saggy, but proportional, functional, enjoyable.

A Letter, A Kiss, and No Regrets

9 Jan

Still 31Strange and unnerving to see yourself suddenly in a different light. I am sitting on the floor in my bedroom, and my runny nose is the result of a combination of an allergic reaction to old dusty notebooks and the tears that are choking me up. I honestly didn’t remember. I had told the story about Y many times. But I didn’t remember the details. He was a scumbag for leading me on and I was naive for thinking he wanted anything more of me than just my body, but really, that was that. And now, sitting on the floor in my bedroom, surrounded by dozens of notebooks and letters which I’ve collected over the years, I find this letter, written nearly twelve years ago, and the story seems different than the one I’ve been telling. It seems worse. Doesn’t it? Or maybe I’ve just not revisited the scene of the crime for so long?  Maybe I was exaggerating in the letter. Maybe it wasn’t really that bad.

My tragedy is that despite putting on the independent lady charade, I constantly seek affirmation, and I seek it from men. That’s what happened when I was nineteen. That’s what’s happening now. Alone, I just can’t be sure that I’m enough: a kind enough person, a good enough mother, a successful enough career woman, pretty enough, smart enough, funny enough – ENOUGH. But seeing as the men in my life tend to disappoint me – and I know there haven’t been many, but the few that have had a presence in my life were all enormous disappointments – as long as I need their affirmation for my being enough, I will never attain it, I will always be seeking, forever. And I don’t have the energy to seek anymore. I want to stop seeking. I’m exhausted.

New events have been occurring in my life recently, every day is new, every day is a struggle, but also an achievement. A crazy storm is raging outside, and people are staying in, even my therapy session has been postponed due to blocked roads. And with no one to talk to about all this shit that’s been surfacing, I had to talk to myself tonight. And that’s what I did, gave myself my own little therapy session.

A few weeks ago I made out with a boy I didn’t know at a club. I was drunk and angry at BD and I had made up my mind that this was it. I was going to kiss a boy. It was like insurance. I was going to be the first one of us to have something going on with someone else. It might not have been the healthiest reason to have done it, but it was necessary and I have no regrets.

At the club, dancing with the girls, I was showing lots of cleavage and radiating a need for a man. I know it, because I normally do not get looked at so intensely, and there I was, the center of attention, or so it seemed. I knew exactly what I was getting myself into when I left my friends and went to dance alone, in the middle of the crowd. Within seconds, literally, there were hands on my shoulders, but it was not the guy I wanted, so I turned around and saw the one I had my drunken eye on. Tall, very tall, a goatee. He put his arms around my waist as we started to dance together, but I had no patience for this BS, I knew exactly what I wanted. A kiss. So I pulled him to me.

It was a long, wet, kiss. He tasted faintly of cigarettes but I didn’t care. He was a good kisser, deep, intense, nibbling my bottom lip, his hands on my waist, then my back, then in my hair. I broke free of him when I felt that I was starting to overthink it. Then it dawned on me, what I had done, and I was laughing nervously. Just to shut myself up I kissed him again. But it wasn’t that great the second time around, I was too tense. So I smiled at him, and left, fumbling through the crowd, back to my friends. I said goodbye, I’m really tired, I grabbed my stuff and took a taxi home, and didn’t dare to breathe until I was indoors and the door was locked behind me.

At home, I sat on the bed thinking. You’re a married woman! I told myself. You should be ashamed. But I wasn’t ashamed at all. I was proud. I was strong. I was a go-getter. I apparently did not look like the mother of a baby under 1 year old. Nobody gave a fuck, apparently, that I was still carrying some pregnancy weight.

And now, here I am, sitting on the floor in my bedroom. It used to be our bedroom, and now it’s just mine. And a letter from so long ago is unnerving, it’s making me feel like deep inside I’m still that girl, who’s afraid to disappoint or let anybody down, a girl who just wants the cool kids to like her, who’s in love with a bastard and willing to put her wants and needs on hold for just a bit of attention.

Is that where I still stand today? No. I know it isn’t. And maybe this is why I needed this to happen. To show myself, that 19-year-old me is different from 31-year-old me. SHE had said no. But not loudly enough. Not assertively enough. SHE was not heard. SHE went with it, despite not wanting it. I said yes. Loudly. Clearly. Assertively. On my own terms. I got what I wanted. I got out when I’d had enough.

We grow up. We change. Apparently the breakup has not erased these thirteen years of growth and self-improvement, for some reason I was sure that it would. But 31-year-old me, thank god, is still here. And 19-year-old me is in the past, where she belongs.