Wednesday, November 30, 2011

OCD Should Mean "Of COURSE, Danielle ..."

... because sometimes, it gets me into weird predicaments and makes me have conversations like this:

Me, all excited: I FINALLY bought new pots and pans! And they're RED!

Person who Shall Remain Nameless: Red? Didn't they come in black? Or stainless steel?

Me, puzzled: Well, yeah. But I got red!

Person who Shall Remain Nameless (and who also doesn't seem to know me very well at all, which is both unfortunate and disappointing): Why would you get red pots and pans?

Me, feeling very Spinal Tap-y: Because. (slowly) They. Came. In. Red.

Yeah, that's right, I bought red pots and pans. To match my red toaster. And my red coffee pot. In fact, when I go into my kitchen I regard the microwave with loathing, because it's white and I've come to realize -- it could have been red.

This all started innocently enough, with the purchase of new slotted spoons. They were red and pretty. Then I bought some red and stainless steel storage cannisters, and THEN there was the cool dishtowel that had a lot of red in it and red is so cheerful and now? I'm zooming gleefully down the OCD highway on my way to "Driving Myself Crazyville".

This is what I do.

You should see my Christmas tree. I think Martha Stewart herself would back away from it, slowly, while calling someone who could offer me professional help. Everything is colour coordinated and carefully chosen. Some people find this off putting and weird.

I think it's awesome.

I also think that, in theory, Christmas trees that are decorated with a hodgepodge of ornaments are cool. I just can't HAVE one like that, because it stresses me out. I know that makes no sense -- how could a tree be stressful? -- but that's how it is. Also? I can only have white lights on my tree, and they're not allowed to blink or twinkle because ...

...well, I don't know why. Just because.

And that's the thing, about the ocd. I couldn't tell you why the non-red microwave is out of place, or why my new and fabulous pots and pans needed to be red (disclosure: I only looked for pots and pans that were AVAILABLE in red, because ... well, you know why), or why the thought of twinkly, multi-coloured Christmas lights makes me feel a little twitchy and panic-stricken. I don't KNOW why my brain is wired this way. It just is. Your brain is probably wired differently, but I bet you still have little quirky things that bug you. I just have more of them, and  I'm very specific about them.

 (I'm not going to tell you what they are, as I'm already certain that you think I'm a lunatic.)

So for me, OCD should mean "OF COURSE, Danielle" as in "Of COURSE, Danielle, you needed red pots and pans."

Which, clearly, I did. But I can't be the only one because they're offered in red. So maybe there are more of us out there than I thought. We're a small, well regimented, very colour coordinated army. With red saute pans, cooking up a storm (and then cleaning up the mess in a mildly obsessive way).

Of course.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

So Much For That

I've never known quite what to do on my ex-iversary. (That would be the anniversary of your marriage to someone you are no longer married to. Yes, I made that word up, but I feel justified in doing so.)

My friends and family, I think, would like me to pretend that it doesn't exist. Like it's another day in a series of days that has no signifcance or import.

Which would probably be fine, I think. Except for the fact that it's the day I got married. Except for the fact that it's the day I trusted my heart in the care of someone else.  Which, yes, ultimately turned out to be an error.

But still.

I don't know what to do with this day. I don't know how to mark it, and yet I feel it should be marked, somehow. I can't mark it with a communication with my ex -- we don't do that anymore. And what would I say? Thank you for loving me enough, at least for one day? Thanks for letting me go when you didn't want me anymore?

Thanks for giving me something that I didn't know enough to want on my own?

Because as it turns out, leaving me was the kindest thing my ex ever could have done. And I would thank him, if we were at a place where we spoke with one another.

I would thank him.

But we're not.

But... if we were? Perhaps I would say this: You hurt me, so much. And yet, despite all of that, I owe you, in some strange and undefinable way, for setting me free from a relationship that, at the end, only caused me pain. I should have been stronger, earlier. You should have been kinder, much much sooner. But I learned many many things, and for that I should thank you, though I think you'll forgive me in the end for my failure to do so.

I want you to be happy.

Because, and this is the most magical thing of all: I am happy.

Today? Would be my wedding anniversary. So I'd like to take this time to wish my ex husband nothing but the best. Because, as it turns out, we were both meant for many things, but sadly, we were not meant for each other.

It seems like so little.

And at the same time? So much.

Monday, November 28, 2011

Having Myself A Merry Little Christmas

Yeah, I know that we just pushed through Thanksgiving, and that some of us are already beyond tired of hearing "Rocking Around The Christmas Tree" on the radio.

Not this kid.

Last year, I was not a happy Christmas elf.

But THIS year?


I bought a tree, y'all, and I put it up and decorated it. Presents are purchased and hanging out. Wrapping paper is colour coordinated, festive, and ready to make the gifts all pretty and stuff when I have my wrapping-fest (which has to be carefully planned because of the cat, who likes to, um "help" which mostly consists of eating bows and pouncing on whatever I'm trying to wrap and laying on the paper and making it mashed and wrinkled).

I put out the rest of my decorations, too -- and realized that I don't have very many. I feel MUCH more festive than the number of decorations I have would indicate. I may need to invest in some more Christmas pretties.

What's different? Nothing, really ... same me, same house, same season. But at the same time, I think everything is different, because I am allowing myself to be wrapped in a blanket of happy.

The thing I love about Christmas -- the thing I always loved about this season -- is that it seems like it's the time of year when people allow themselves to be mirrors for love, where we all kind of wear our love for each other -- our families, our friends, people in general -- outside, on our faces, so we can share it. The more we do? The more it grows.

Last year, I missed it. There are a jillion reasons why, but probably the greatest one is this: I had forgotten that you carry your love with you. How foolish, I know, to let proximity dictate how much love you carry, but so it was and because it was, I also forgot to live in the love I have for the people I AM with, who I adore.

What can I say? I was a little bit of a Grinch.

This year? I know that the love I have for everyone, both near and far, is making me overly filled with Christmas cheer. It's a little over the top, I know, but also? It's kind of awesome.

You know what else? I love all of y'all.  So I hope that this holiday season, from the very beginning to the end, fills you with joy as well.

Monday, November 21, 2011

Getting It Wrong

Maybe everyone has someone in their life that they're constantly at odds with, no matter what they do.  They're like the opposing end of magnets -- always pushing away, never wanting quite to touch properly, and the more you try to get close to them, the stronger the force is that pushes you back and to the side.

Maybe everyone has someone like that.

Someone for whom all of your words are wrong. The small ones and the big ones and the stupid ones and the important ones. You don't get them right -- and even if you're usually good with words, even if words are kind of what you do, when you open your mouth all of your good words abandon you and you're left only with the ones that don't work.

And maybe you think you should quit. But you don't quit because you don't know how. Because you think that it's more important to try than to succeed, even though you keep failing. Because sometimes you get so close and you think this time -- THIS time -- you're not going to screw it up. And then you do and you remember again how painful this is, how much it hurts when you rub up against anger and unhappiness, but you also know that you're still not going to quit. Because underneath it all? There should be something awesome.

There could be.

Maybe you're doing the right thing. Maybe the wrong thing would be to abandon the cause. Maybe in the end it will all be worth it. In the meantime, you're going to keep messing up and having fights and bickering and knowing that, even if you get it wrong all of the time?  You haven't given up.

And maybe that's part of getting it right.

Two Things

Two things:

1. I'm in North Carolina, working and chilling with my fam. So the likelihood of regular blog posts this week? Probably not so much.

2. When I hit 10,000 views on this blog? GIVEAWAY TIME. You know you want to win something! Here's how you become eligible:

Become a follower of this blog on Blogger.

The end.

If you are a follower, you are entered into the giveaway. Easy peasy mac n cheesy!

Have a great Thanksgiving, y'all!

Friday, November 18, 2011

I'd Like To Buy The World A Coke*

Oh internets. I want to hug you.

Here's the thing about social media. Mention on Facebook that you are having a hard time locating chestnuts for your family stuffing recipe, and 17 people will immediately suggest where you might be able to buy them.

Write about being a little down in a blog or on your Facebook wall? The number of hands that reach out to hold you up? Too numerous to mention. Too amazing to even discuss rationally. Too precious to try to value.

I feel so LOVED, y'all.

So on Thanksgiving? When I'm with my family and cuddling my nephew? I'll also be giving thanks for you. For being awesome. And for offering me love when I don't feel very lovable, for making me laugh when I don't feel like laughing, and for reminding me that there's more -- SO much more -- light out there than there is darkness.

You have no idea how much you all rock.

*Except for my friend Ed. I'd have to buy him a Pepsi.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Put On Your Red Shoes and Dance the Blues

I am wearing heels.
Red, patent leather, shiny, spike heels. The kind that are terrible for my feet, but make my legs look AWESOME.

Where am I wearing these heels? In my office. Where there's no one to appreciate them but the cat, and to be honest, she doesn't seem all that impressed.

So why am I wearing these heels? And why am I wearing them with a smartly tailored dress and a suit jacket when I have nowhere to go today, not even the grocery store?

I've been in a funk.  Sometimes, the best way to change your mood is to change your surroundings. Sometimes, that means cleaning out a space and removing clutter.  Sometimes, that means relocating.
And sometimes, it just means changing into something that makes you feel special, sassy, and powerful. Like lipstick red heels. And eyeliner.  Because while I don't mind being funky,being down and in the funk is not my preferred location.

As such, while I may not always feel like I know what I'm doing? Today, I LOOK like I know what I'm doing... and that is enough.

That, and David Bowie on heavy rotation, instructing me to dance in my fabulous red shoes.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Someone Needs a Map. Or a Nap. Or Both.

Some days, I feel as though I know what I'm doing. I'm all over it.

Other days, the level of "wooooo, I'm WINGIN' IT!" is simply ridiculous.

I think there's something to be said for winging it on occasion. I'm just not sure if I feel totally comfortable with the amount of "Wheeee! Watch me fake it!" that is occuring in my life right now; I wish I could tell you that it's confined to one area of my life, but this sense of "I don't know what I'm doing right now" has invaded multiple aspects of my existence.


What I'm trying to say is this: Please stand by. I'll be getting my shit together any minute now.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

One More Step

Have you ever had one of those days where the stuff you have to do -- the tasks and the chores and the phone calls and the whatnot -- begins looming over you, like a mountain?

Maybe it started out as a hill. But then you get asked to work on a project and someone else needs something right this minute and the thing you shuffled to the back of the list yesterday needs to be at the top of the list today and the phone is ringing and can you approve this and proofread that and look at this for me please and I need you on a conference call five minutes ago and my goodness, but you look tired and before you know it? It's a mountain. It's Everest. And you're not wearing hiking boots, but a very pretty pair of open toed grey suede heels.

And then you want to cry. Maybe just for a second. But you know you can't because that's frowned upon in an office. So is saying you need help. So is telling anyone you're overwhelmed.

So you breathe. In, out, in. You don't cry, though you can feel that burney, back of the eyes and nose feeling that indicates that crying is very near the surface. Breathe some more.

Make a list. Write EVERYTHING down that you need to do. See how much space it takes and realize -- if it can be encapsulated on paper, it's not as big as the universe. It is finite, specific, can be counted.

Choose an item.


When you're climbing the mountain, you can't focus on all of the steps to get to the top, because you can't TAKE all of the steps at once. You can focus on ONE step, this step right now. And ... one more. And one more. Until you have reached the peak, all you have is a series of single steps that get you to where you need to go.

Taking a single step isn't so hard.

Especially if you're wearing fabulous shoes.

Monday, November 14, 2011

Vampire Stormtroopers

The people who live above me are nocturnal. I might suggest that they are vampires, except that, from what I understand, vampires are graceful and light on their feet.

The people upstairs are many things.

But they are not light on their feet.

They are stormtroopers. Loudly stomping, vampire stormtroopers.

Apartment living is interesting, isn't it? Because I don't know the people upstairs; I couldn't pick them out of a crowd, but I could tell you QUITE a bit about them. I could tell you that the original boyfriend who moved in with the female stormtrooper was a cheating louse and that he was kicked out after a particularly nasty argument. I could tell you that since then, the female stormtrooper auditioned several replacement boyfriends before settling on the one who currently spends evenings tromping about above my head. (This one also seems smarter than the previous one, and doesn't go out on the balcony  to have "private" conversations.) I could tell you that she likes to vacuum the floors at about 4 in the afternoon (which is when, I suspect, she awakens to start her day.)

I can also tell you that the vampire stormtroopers have a big cat. I've actually seen the cat hanging out on their windowsills, and let me tell you, it's a good thing, because otherwise, the thundering and random running/scrabbling noises that occasionally come down through the ceiling would be QUITE alarming. The stormtrooper cat is NOT a vampire (it's an all hours kitty) and  it is ALSO a zoomer -- one of those cats who will be sound asleep, and then suddenly leap up and tear around an apartment/house/whatever at top speed, before simply collapsing somewhere else.

The cat is also not light on its paws.

I often catch my cat staring at the ceiling in amazement. On especially stomp-y and zoom-y evenings, she'll get on top of the fridge, stand with her front paws braced against the wall, and stare at the ceiling. Occasionally, she'll meow at the stormtroopers and try to paw at the ceiling.

It makes me wonder what the people who live below me think -- am I a stormtrooper?

At least they know I'm not a vampire.

Friday, November 11, 2011

Cardigans, Cats, and Miss Jane Austen

My favorite line about love, EVER, is from Pride And Prejudice. Elizabeth Bennet describes her delight with Mr Darcy* as follows:

"I am happier even than Jane; she only smiles, I laugh."

That's what I think of when I think about the process of online dating, which I'm giving up shortly. Not because it's ineffective (although I do think it is a little bit, and also I find it daunting and  a little overwhelming but not in a fun "the sunset was so beautiful I was overwhelmed" but in an "I have 128 potential matches and I can't keep up and none of them really seem to be well suited to me and I don't want to answer another email and ARGGGH" kind of a way), but because ...

... it doesn't make me laugh.

(Okay, it does occasionally elicit nervous, uncomfortable laughter, but that's not the kind I'm looking for.)

The problem that I'm having -- and let's face it, it's not a REAL problem, it's a "first world, I can't believe I'm even taking the time to kvetch about this, but it's my blog so whatever" problem -- is that people take it SOOOOO seriously that it makes me a smidgen uncomfortable. Apparently, I was/am/whatever supposed to salt my profile and communications with a hint of desperation and perfume it with the notion that this is my last resort.

It's not my last resort.

I don't feel desperate.

And I refuse to act as though I do.

Which is why, I think, I'm not laughing. And if I'm not laughing, why bother?

To be fair, it's not been a total bust. I've made a new friend and enjoy exchanging emails with him. I went on an actual date. (He vanished when I got sick later that week -- apparently, respiratory distress, like poetry,  is quite effective at driving away love* and that (she said, with a hearty sigh) was that.)

To go further on in the "as long as I'm being fair" theme, I should also say this: It's not them. It's me. I know it's me because I know that I'm really quite happy with my life as it is. I don't need or want anyone to complete me, I laugh at my own jokes, I like my own cooking, I'm not sad to spend a Saturday night on the couch, in a ratty old sweater, rereading Pride and Prejudice for the 111th time, with my cat curled up in my lap. Perhaps I should be, but I'm not. 

So. Unless something amazing happens in the next week or two, I'm going to give up the online dating. And the thought of doing that makes me both smile AND laugh.

Elizabeth Bennet would be proud

*Oooooh, that Mr Darcy!

** ANOTHER Pride and Prejudice reference? Really??!!

Thursday, November 10, 2011

What's My Age Again?

All of a sudden, I have decided that I'm 36.

This is weird, because I'm not 36. I won't be 36 until the end of December.

For some reason, however, my brain has decided that I'm no longer 35. I am DEFINITELY 36. If you stopped me on the street and asked me how old I am (which, by the way, would be an odd thing to do -- why are you stopping people on the street and randomly asking them how old they are, you cheeky devil?) I would probably say "36 ... no, wait, 35."

I know that I'm not alone in this phenomenon. I have a friend who has been telling people that she's 40 since before she even turned 39. For the record? She still hasn't turned 40. But she's been thinking 40ish thoughts for a couple of years, so 40 it is.

I don't think there's anything significant about being 36. It's not one of those ages that gets a lot of bells and whistles; no one has a "Big Three-Six" party. (Okay, now I'm thinking that I might have one, because it's kind of fun to say Big Three-Six, and it would be quirky and silly.) There are no specialty balloons or products or drinkie poos for turning 36.

So what's my deal?

I don't know. Maybe it's that my early thirties were really difficult -- the kind of difficult that generally, one spends time discussing on a couch in a therapist's office (but I have a blog, hahaha) and I'm eager to see the back of them, to move towards my late thirties and all of the other things that wait for me.

That could be it. That doesn't feel wrong, but it doesn't precisely feel correct either; I don't think of myself as running from the past, though I do see myself as embracing the future in all of its unknown glory.

Maybe it's more this: I know too many people who are saddened about getting older, who view adding a year to their age as a marker of how much closer they are to the end; I LIKE getting older, because each birthday is a marker of how much time I've been here, and how much I still have to look forward to.

So perhaps, at the end of the day, the actual number doesn't matter. Maybe I don't need to remember -- 35? 36? What difference does it make? What is significant is that every day, I laugh and I love and I am happy -- and I have more laughter and love and happiness to look forward to. No matter how old I am.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Well, That Was Unexpected

I like going to the mailbox, because its contents are invariably interesting. Flyers, mail that is for the previous tenant of my apartment, mail that sometimes should have gone to my dad in North Carolina and which is being forwarded to me for no obvious reason, bills, packages, the occasional letter from a friend (yes, I have friends who still write letters the old fashioned way. We roll like that.), and magazines.

Ah, the magazines.

Can we talk about the magazines?

I opened my mailbox Saturday and saw that I had received a copy of ... Working Mother.

I checked the label. It was CLEARLY to me. "Weird," I thought.

I got another copy yesterday.

I subscribe to several magazines voluntarily. A cooking magazine, Rolling Stone, and Real Simple.

Here are the magazines that I receive that I did NOT voluntarily subscribe to:

Reader's Digest

Taste of Home


Working Mother

For a while it was a mystery -- where were these subscriptions coming from? Why was I getting them? And then I decided that it was sort of fun to get them. My grampa LOVED Reader's Digest, so reading through it is like a connection with him. Taste of Home? It's DEFINITELY home cooking, and more accessible than, say, Food and Wine (Not as schmancy, recipes seem doable). Fitness? HAHAHAHAHA but, still, interesting.

Working Mother.

Yeaaaaaaah. I got nothing.

I SUSPECT that this subscription was a gift with purchase that I didn't notice. This happens frequently when shopping online -- you'll get a magazine subscription gifted to you with your purchase. However, Working Mother seems like an arbitrary choice, and one that could potentially be hurtful. Can you imagine if you were a woman who was trying to get pregnant and having fertility issues and suddenly receiving copies of Working Mother? How painful would that be? Or if you had lost a child, and you go to your mailbox and there it is? It just seems to me that this is a periodical that should not be randomly sent, because the term "mother" could be fraught with pitfalls.

(I have some experience with this. When my eating habits were very disordered, and I was at my most ill, I got an envelope that was hand addressed to me and looked like a letter. It wasn't a letter -- it was junk mail, advertising a new way to lose weight. I was DEVASTATED, because some anonymous person thought I was fat, and I already thought I was fat even though I weighted 109 pounds. It was significantly damaging.)

At any rate, Reader's Digest seems a safer bet for the gift subscription, I think.

However, I did find an excellent use for my newest copy of Working Mother. I put it on the floor beside my desk.

My cat sniffed it, walked in a circle around it, then curled up on it and went to sleep. I guess she wants to be near her working "mother".

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Pushing The Envelope (Or, When Adults Act Like Children)

Ever notice that some people hate change? They hate it. So they fight it and push back against it and generally behave with the grace and subtlety of a five year old who has had his favorite toy taken from him.

Personally? I love change. I like the opportunities that change creates. I like working in new and different systems. I like taking things apart and putting them back together and trying to make something wholly new.

I know that routine and structure are comfortable. I also know that there can be great joy in trying something that makes you UNcomfortable -- I think that the moments where you are the farthest from your comfort level can also be the ones where you learn the most about who you are, and what you're capable of.

I know that routine? Can equal rut, as in the one that you're stuck in.

I know that the daily grind can become dull and worn. That the only way to prove yourself is to test yourself.

It's hard.

But having a tantrum when someone asks you to change? Is a waste of energy. Put your efforts in good places. Work with the change; who knows? Maybe the next hand that is pushing the envelope will be yours.

Monday, November 7, 2011

How Novel

As many of you know, I've been writing a novel. For, oh, I don't know, a couple of years.

I took some time to re-read what I've got over the weekend.

And I have something to say about it:

It's not very good.

At first, it was a little disheartening to realize that something I've put a lot of time and effort into is essentially suited only for lining the cat's litter box (which actually might have been too fancy a job for these particular pages, but that's beside the point).

After I got over the, "Oh my, but this is not very good," I realized WHY it's not very good.

It's not good because it tries too hard.

It's not good because it doesn't sound like me.

It's not good because it's not coming from the place that good stories come from.

Listen, I know my strengths -- I'm informal and chatty and I like a good story. The story I wanted to tell was an interesting story and a good idea, but it's not .... how to say it? I didn't own the story.

This should make me sad, but it doesn't. It actually makes me kind of happy. Because it's a chance for me to let go of the thing I was tied to -- this idea of how a novel should work, what it should look like -- and do what I do, what I'm good at, and what I love: sit down with a reader and just tell a story.

I'm starting from scratch -- and I'm thrilled.

Friday, November 4, 2011

Almost (In)Famous

Somebody hates me.

For those of you out there who immediately thought, "Well now, 'hate' is a strong word, isn't it?" let me be clear: this person hates me. She hates the fact that I draw breath, she's sorry she ever met me, she hates my thoughts and how I express them, she hates that I continue to work and play and laugh.

I strongly suspect that she even hates my cat.

How do I know that she hates me?

She blogged about it.

Multiple times.

Apparently, she forgot that, pre-hatred, she had sent me the link to her blog. So, lucky me, I get to see how much I suck at life posted for all of the interwebs to read.

This is what it's like when someone writes entire blog entries about how awful you are:

1. It's sort of like watching bad reality TV. You know you don't want to watch it. You know that by watching it, you're perpetuating it. But you HAVE to watch it, just because you have to see what comes next.

2. I'm not famous, but I think "This is what it's like to be written about in a tabloid" -- because what is being written? Not quite true. However, her readers who don't know me have NO way of knowing that, so their perception is that I'm this completely horrid person who laughs at the misfortune of others, kicks puppies, and generally steals candy from babies. Orphaned babies. Orphaned babies who have cherubic smiles and dispositions.

I could have commented on any number of her blog posts, but I haven't. Why? Because I think she needs her anger. There's something missing in her life, and hating me is filling that void. As such, nothing I could say -- no comment I could make, and honestly, no act I could perform -- will convince her that I'm not who or what she thinks I am. She needs someone to hate. I'm okay with it being me, I think, if doing so in some way makes the rest of her life a little happier (albeit in a kind of weird way).

Also, she's done me a favour and made me realize the kind of person I don't want to be. I don't want to be trashing someone on my blog, or focusing my life and words on how much I hate someone. If there is a place for that -- and perhaps, in the grand scheme of things, there is -- it doesn't have to be THIS place.  This place is for other things.

Maybe someday I can be known for that instead.

Thursday, November 3, 2011

T.G.F.G. (Thank God for Google!)

I remember a time, back in the not-so-distant past, when we didn't have the internet.

(Which, by the way, makes me feel kind of ... old. But that's not the point of this post.)


Back when there wasn't an internet, if you didn't know how to do things, you had some choices:

1. You could take a class in the thing you didn't know how to do, if one was available. I lived in rural Maine, and we had SOME "Hey, you, wanna learn how to do that thing?" classes, but not a ton.

2. You could buy a set of encyclopedias and hope that the thing you wanted to know how to do was covered in the appropriate, alpabetically indexed volume. (We had a huge old set of encyclopedias. They covered a lot but not, you know, everything.)

3. You could go to the library. Again, I'd like to mention that I lived in rural Maine. We had a library, but it was limited because funds were limited... and you had to drive there.

While I still like taking classes and looking things up and going to libraries, I also like that if I want to know something, I can go online and watch and look up and learn (and yes, sometimes take a class) RIGHT THEN. I don't have to wait or hope or drive. I can just do it.

Some people say technology limits actual physical social interactions. This might be true. But it also opens huge possibilities for people to learn beyond what their geography might offer them, and I think that -- and the opportunities that creates -- is a big old deal.

So thank goodness for google, and the internets. Now if you'll excuse me, there are some things I need to learn how to do.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

How Dating is Like Buying Jeans

Part One:

If you're a guy, this is how you buy new jeans: you walk into the store. You look for the proper waist size and length. You buy the jeans.

I shouldn't admit this, but this makes me really angry. Possibly more angry than many other examples of gender inequality, which is shallow, but there it is.

This what I (and I suspect, many other women) face when shopping for jeans:

1. Go into store. Face some sort of evil wall of denim.
2. Consider the rise: medium? low? ultra low?
3. Consider the cut: skinny? trouser? bootleg? boyfriend? flare?
4. Consider the length. Sadly, it's not measured in inches, but in descriptive terms: petite, regular, long. You have no way of knowing what these mean in terms of actual length. Guess.
5. Consider the wash: light? dark? regular? distressed? (At this point, I'm usually pretty distressed. I won't lie.)
6. Sizing. Let's talk about sizing. Sizing is different between every designer, brand, and sometimes, cut. This is not awesome, because it means that a size 0* in one style is a size 6 in another style. If you're conscious about what size you are, this can make a visit to a store to buy pants an exercise in self loathing.

Part Two:

The self loathing bit is how dating can be like buying jeans.

Because if you're measuring your self worth by what size your pants are, you are making an error in judgement. If you think that what is important and lovely about you is the number on the tag of the pants that are currently making the junk in your trunk look fabulous, then you have an issue.

Or, more precisely: if you let a pair of pants make you think there is something wrong with you -- well, there IS something wrong with you. But it's not what you think.

And if you're dating and someone doesn't like you, if you assume that it means that there's something wrong with you -- well, again, you do have an issue. But it's not because person x, who is leaning back in the chair across the restaurant table, doesn't enjoy you.

It's because you don't enjoy you.

It's because you never think: wow, these pants don't look good at all. Too bad more designers don't appreciate how fabulous my curvy tush is, and then go find pants that do love your tush, and which make you love your backside even more. It's because you immediately go to a place where you decide that you are wrong and the pants are right.

And when someone you're interested in isn't interested back, you go to a place where you decide that they are a fabulous, worthy human being and you have done something wrong that makes them not like you.

Part Three:

It's not you. It's THEM.

YOU are right. The pants? Are wrong. So you toss them aside and find new pants.

A date that doesn't like you? Is just a person who doesn't get you. I know being rejected is lousy and can make you feel bad. But a bad date is like bad pants. Some fit. Some don't. So you keep looking until you find what fits, what shows off how fabulous you are, what makes you want to be more fabulous.

Because you are fabulous. You rock those jeans just like you're going to rock your life: Joyously, in the most comfortable and wonderful way.

*Using 0 as a clothing size is the equivalent of Spinal Tap having an amp that goes to 11. Why not just make 2 the smallest? Because this one goes to 0. NOT COOL.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011


I sometimes want to be where I am not.

Lately, I find myself dreaming of North Carolina. Of the morning glories that grow wild in the fall, climbing the cornstalks and fields beside the Hinnant Winery. Of the wisteria that hangs low and fragrant in the springtime. I dream of standing on the banks of the Neuse River, watching a local boy fish, a sprig of grass between his teeth.

I wish for places I can no longer visit. A bungalow on Hicks Street in Portland, Maine, where I drew on the cellar walls with crayon - probably at least one Garfield sketch -- and where my cousins and sister and I invented games and stories, where we were kings and queens of promise, as the song goes. I miss the house I grew up in, the ranch on Quarry Road, where my sister and I learned to ride bikes ( she did it first), and how to parallel park between two sawhorses in the driveway, and where we dreamed of who we would be.

There are days when I feel overwhelmed by geography and the distance between where I am and the places I wish I could be. A bar in Syracuse, New York. A beach in St Lucia. A marina in Clearwater, Florida. A museum in New York.

And yet. If I found myself there, I know that I would long for the places I love now. The pub. The river. Portsmouth and Pirate's Cove. If I was there, I would not be here. I had to lose those places to find this one, and this one is beloved, beautiful, and sweet.