I Paid To Take Off My Clothes in Front of a Stranger With a Camera, And I Liked It

I decided on the perfect Christmas gift for my boyfriend this year.  

Me.  

Naked.

Well, sort of.  Me, naked in photographic form and by naked, I mean lingerie clad, sporting some heels, red lipstick and bathed in a whole bunch of decent lighting with a generous helping of photoshop.  Also known as Boudoir Photography. Yeowza, right?

This is my first (and sweet buttery Jesus, it better be my only…and LAST) serious, post-divorce relationship. We reached the multiple year mark of our union this summer, and the indulgent gift giving of the holidays remains in full swing.  Not yet in the doldrums of marriage, and the accompanying, inevitable, sad, “gifts for the house”, we happily frolic in the honeymoon stage where women still shave on the regular, the men still pretend to curb their farting, and marking a holiday or occasion with a thoughtful, and slightly extravagant gifting is still a thing.  Truly, a glorious time to be alive.

He’s the kind of guy who buys himself what he wants, so socks (has plenty), a car detail (he has one of those unlimited plans already), golf clubs (could give two shits about golf), clothes (the man owns more outfits than any woman I know, so…nope) and the like don’t qualify as viable options.  What do you get the man who has everything? Boobs. Specifically mine, since they are spectacular.

It’s worth noting, my boyfriend is one of the only men I’ve known, and loved, who truly appreciates my body.  He noted early on in our relationship that I might try wearing clothes that accentuated the shape of my body instead of wearing “tentish” outfits, a statement that both echoes his crass bluntness and his appreciation of my form.  He wasn’t wrong. For years, I hid behind oversized everything from head to toe. His observation did wonders to my fashion sense, even if it was harsh, and propelled me to attempt posing semi-nude for a perfect stranger. Funny where life takes you, no?

During one of my stints in radio, sometime in the early 2000’s, I worked for a cluster of stations in the Southeastern corner of Connecticut.  Not exactly a hotbed of broadcasting activity, where our receptionist doubled as part of our announcing talent and where, since our promotional budget often hovered just above a big fat goose egg, barter was king.  If we couldn’t get it for free, then we’d likely go without. Not unlike most of our audience, middle class folks, anchored by a large military population who lived on a Naval base nearby. Despite popular hope and belief, zero aspects of that job proved glamorous.  Our modest offices and dated equipment served their purpose, and our live events reflected our listening public. We kept it simple. Homey. Fireworks and car dealership openings and rounding out our promotional calendar, perhaps the most popular event of the year…ladies night.

We worked tirelessly planning our annual Ladies Night festivities, securing an event room at the local, knock-off Holiday Inn, the one across from the police station, ironically where people often parked their cars around the back to hide from the repo man.  This particular year, I situated myself into the center square of planning Ladies Night, and on the agenda were the usual stand by’s…mani/pedi’s, vendors from every multilevel marketing company ever incorporated, strippers, giveaways, and, as stated in the copy I wrote for the commercial, MUCH MUCH MORE.

Upon arrival on the evening in question, the ballroom buzzed with staff setting up booths, thumping bass filled the stage while our pre-Magic Mike dancers rehearsed, and I strolled through the aisles that soon would teem with ladies passionately clamoring for some free shit.  Which, sounds negative but this is why we were all here and I couldn’t wait to see the fruits of my labor.

My Marketing Director, a lovely, tiny, mohawked, raspy voiced lesbian who I idolized for exposing me to the Zero Fucks Given lifestyle for the first time ever, accompanied me for a walk through and meet and greet of the folks hawking their wares at our event.  One woman in particular was a friend of hers, a photographer who’d begun a new phase of her business that once focused solely on wedding pictures. Her display captivated me, with black and white images of scantily clad women, poised and posed to perfection, their skin like creamy streams of white chocolate, slightly parted lips.  I stood there for a few seconds, inhaling the essence of these women and thinking, I NEED TO DO THIS. I WANT TO LOOK LIKE THAT. The photographer and I exchanged introductions and I peppered her with questions about the experience, the price, her inspiration, SO MANY QUESTIONS. I left Ladies Night changed forever, both by bearing witness to throngs of women dry humping our hired male dancers, and realizing I’d just added a new item to my bucket list.

As with most want-to’s, life gets in the way.  Boudoir photos aren’t cheap, and they require a certain amount of chutzpah to pull off.  At the time, my twins were barely in preschool. As a new Mom with little extra money to blow on something so self indulgent, not to mention my marriage having more issues than Vogue, money and self-esteem were in short supply. Despite my wanting it, the photos never came to fruition. Then.

But, that was then, and this was now.

I felt good.  Really good, both about myself and my relationship.  I saved a few bucks to pay for the photos. I wanted this both to present my boyfriend with an unforgettable version of his fantasy woman, but also, I wanted the experience and end product for me, almost as much as for him.

My search began with the woman I met so many years before. How cool to regale the story of her inspiring me and now, she would have the privilege of taking the photographs. If this were a podcast, this is the part where some editor would insert a record scratch or sad music indicating bad news was a comin.

No dice. Out of business.

I put my cyber stalking skills to use for good and found an acquaintance’s friend’s neighbor’s profile pic, where she posed in some super fantastically sexy bedroom, decked out in red lingerie, makeup on point, lips slightly parted as if she’d just told her man to “come here” with the perfect exhale punctuating the directive.  As the kids say, YAAAAAAASSSSS. I wanted to look like THAT. Except, not exactly like that, but curvier and come hitherier. By happy circumstance, her photo sported a watermark in the bottom right corner, and to the Google I went.

Phone call?  Check. Consultation.  Check.

The photographer proved to be my people; upbeat, passionate, bubbly, NOT judgmental.  In fact, her stance on women of curves posing for boudoir photos brought tears to my eyes.  She said, “You ARE sexy. You are BEAUTIFUL. You’re amazing, and it’s my job to create images that not just show your physical attributes, but that show your gorgeous soul.”  

Um, yes.  I’ll take five of whatever the hell you just served up.  May I have my hair and makeup done professionally, too?

Sure, she said, and scheduled my session for two weeks later.

Over the next ten days, I studied Pinterest and stocked a private, designated board full of inspirational photos and possible poses.  I shopped for sport and lingerie was the game, even enlisting my co-workers in the hunt for the best pieces possible. Fun fact: I shopped for every piece while on my lunch break, including a trip the local adult novelty store near my office which yielded perhaps my favorite outfit of all, along with a hilarious mishap involving thigh highs.  I moisturized religiously, paying close attention to my under eye area, a constant problem child and point of much self consciousness.

Preparation be damned, a calendar reminder chimed “today is the day!”  as I packed up my unmentionables, which were soon to be shouts from the rooftops, and set off.  

Despite assumptions about my extroverted personality, I secretly HATE being the center of attention.  While I LOVE facilitating others to experience the spotlight, I despise peeps singing happy birthday to me in a restaurant, or surprise parties in my honor, or posing for photos.  As I sat in “the chair”, while two gorgeous ladies transformed me from massive frump to super glam, that lying voice in my head began an all familiar chant, an attempt to derail this experience and foil whatever tracks of self-confidence I’d laid down.

Spoiler alert: I excused myself to the bathroom, in full hair and Victoria’s Secret model makeup, stared at myself in the mirror and said a big FUCK YOU to that voice.  She got the hint.

Before long, I’d sprung into my first outfit, a black and gold babydoll with black heels.  My photographer, bless her heart, kept squealing with delight after each shot. At one point, I laid on my stomach, across a faux fur blanket, looking down, taking a bit of a rest (y’all…modeling is kinda sorta tiring) and she’s all, “DON’T MOVE. STAY RIGHT THERE.” *click* And she showed me the fruits of my labor.  

Holy shit.  Was that ME?  I looked…AMAZING.

View More: http://5diamondphotography.pass.us/gbspWe continued through two other outfits,with Rhianna and Beyonce blaring in the background, incorporating my glasses, a white button down shirt, red thigh highs, and other accessories before we wrapped.  As a lingerie newbie, I required assistance with securing my thigh highs to my garter belt, and Lizz, the artist behind the camera, happily obliged. As she did helping me style my outfits, and throwing out perhaps the most unique compliment I’ve ever received, telling me I had “Megan Foxx eyes”.  She demonstrated the massive difference in looks between a closed mouth and slightly parted lips during an exhale. She had my implicit trust, and I felt a pang of sadness when the process came to an end about 3 hours later.

It was empowering AF.    

About a week later, I returned to the scene of the glorious, sexy crime, and saw the photos.  I started to cry. Challenging myself to fight against the internal tide of negative talk and allowing myself to be photographed, semi-nude, by a perfect stranger, and to enjoy it, seemed like one of those bucket list items never realized.  And, here I was, a rainy, Friday afternoon, on the leather couch of a photographer’s studio, eyeliner streaming down my face because the images staring back at me…were me. Really me. And that me? Looked AMAZING.

And to think, this started as a primo gift idea for my man.

Which, to the shock of NO ONE, he loved.  But, more importantly, I loved myself in those pictures.  I showed them off to friends, family, even a few co-workers who knew of my undertaking, and wanted to show them to the guy who does the oil change on my car, but I imagined my bestie slapping my phone out of my hand, and I refrained. I left all the hangups about my cellulite, my under eye bags, my lumpy belly at the door, and allowed myself to get lost in the fantasy of it all.  I WAS that sexy ass woman who pulled off all those looks. I basically got the fuck out of my own way, and over myself, to see who I really was.

 

 

The Band Jacket Manifesto

It was the spring of 7th grade, I was 12 years old, and my parents let me splurge for a jacket that told the world I WAS IN BAND.  Royal blue satin with “City Hill Music” emblazoned on the back in canary yellow cursive silkscreen.  My name in a matching, equally jolting sunshine on the front right breast.   Snaps.  I coveted those snaps.  The privilege of joining and maintaining a spot in band wasn’t lost on me, as I played piano and was…eh.  Not awful, but not great.  And yet, my teacher still kept me there, present for every concert, jazz show, even marching band occasion.  For parades, this piano player marched with a Casio SK-1, proudly through the streets of my hometown, playing along all the brass and woodwinds.

I found my people and my place.  Band gave me confidence, for the first time, to give no fucks about what anyone else thought of me, my awkward shape, my gigantic hair, my yet-to-be-braced teeth, and adopting my own style of doing just about everything.

For some reason, back then, I used trips to the grocery store as my laboratory…my workshop to try new and, in my tween mind, ingenious experiments.  Ohhh, the makeup, the heavy, blue, Crayola brand make up teamed up with a red, shiny, spandex unitard that began as the foundation of a devil halloween costume, topped off with some crazy oversized t-shirt (I recall one to which I was partial, with 3 bunnies), and always, the band jacket as the cherry on this fucked up crazypants cake.  I literally wore my fearlessness on my sleeve which left no room for self doubt to settle in.

I miss her.

I did an awful lot of living in the age before kids and marriage and divorce and jobs and bills, before Facebook and Instagram, before I let all these other voices drowned out my own.  I traveled.  I loved, and lost, fiercely and without apology.  I spoke my truth without regret.  There’s no question, life is harder now, but not, like, recovering from a terminal illness or rebuilding after a tornado ripped through our neighborhood, hard.  And yet, here I am, living my most careful, censored, reserved life.

12 year old me would NOT be pleased.  She’d snatch that jacket away in a SECOND.  Unacceptable, she’d say, through her many braces and with more sass than her spandex could hold.

As the year turned from old to new, I refused to make resolutions to become something different.  Or changed.  I will never be thin, or totally organized, or quiet, or stop yelling at my kids when they drag ass on the way out of the house, as I will forever be saying COMEEEEEEEEEONNNNNNNNNNNNNN LETS GOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO WE’RE GONNA BE LAAAAAAAAATE, and I accept all of it.  What I resolve to do is be MORE of myself, more genuine, more authentic, more loving, take bigger risks, explore, strut through this fabulous life I’ve created and speak my truth louder and without fear of retribution or judgement.  I’ll call my Mother more and make plans to do manis and pedis with her.  I’ll sing in front of another piano bar crowd in NYC.  I’ll blog more and swear profusely and talk about how much I want Oprah to do whatever the hell she wants, whether it’s run for president or marry Gail.  I won’t care how you think I parent my kids, or date your son, or cook my food, or keep my home.  Or, if I do happen to give a shit about any of that, I’ll say something, or not, and I’ll sleep well at night because I’m me, honestly and completely, and that’s fucking amazing.

Now, don’t think I’ve gone off the deep end, and have given up all sense of decorum.  I’ll still be here, all gushing about unicorn boyfriend and my fabulous kids, and all that.  But expect way more detail and honesty.  And swearing.  And satin and snaps.  And to hear my mumbling on repeat, in a low, monotone voice, “I. Don’t. Give. A. Shit.

Band, y’all.  It teaches us the life lessons that matter.

A Different Kind of Holiday Steamroller

Last night, I sat across the dinner table from my ex-husband, flanked by both kids, and braced myself for the tremendously difficult conversation that followed.

He and I discussed this a long, long time ago, anticipating the sadness sure to accompany this dreaded day.  Our kids, blissfully unaware of what we were about to tell them, would never be the same once we adjourned from our family meeting.  We couldn’t unring the bell.  There was no turning back.  They were nearly teenagers, and deserved to know the truth.  Cringing, and admittedly a bit teary, struggling to find the right words, we could no longer keep up the charade.

“Kids,” my ex began, in that calming, yet matter-of-fact, Canadian way, “you know there’s no such person as Santa, right?”

I.  Thought.  I.  Might.  Die.

I get it, anyone with little kiddos sees this day on the horizon long before it happens, including me.  But, like most things, and in true “us” fashion, we procrastinated the HELL out of this whole Santa business, and leveraged it to our advantage year after year.  The idea of blowing up an integral part of their childhood just seemed…I don’t know, WRONG.  Like, SO wrong.  And mostly because this meant something more than just realizing their presents come from Amazon instead of some cockamamie workshop in the North Pole, which my son always questioned how the heck elves know which circuits to put where in the XBoxes and do they have an electronic assembly clean room there, but this was a sign of our surrender to time and its ever present campaign to steam roll right over us long before we’re ready to accept the new now.

Our kids, who now are closer to the age of high school graduation than they are from their Kindergarten graduation, and holy shit, THAT’S quite the realization to have after only one cup of coffee, who now entertain prospects of their future lives, and college locales, some of which aren’t even in this country, and their passions for music and math and ridiculous puns, are growing and changing and maturing and will someday be on the other side of that graduation curve, marching off to the next chapter of their lives and out of our hands, which we can only clench together and hope that we did our best.

Yeah.  You can say this Santa business sent me reeling.

Max was the first to answer when his Dad asked the pointed question.  “I’ve had doubts for a while,” he said, “but I didn’t want to say anything.”  Sara laughingly denied it, while side eyeing her brother, a sure indicator she knew the jig was up.  We talked about how although the man isn’t real, the magic lives on, and how it’s our job to believe in the message of doing good things without the expectation of anything in return.  They eventually finished dinner, the conversation turned to another, less charged subject, and life went on.

There you have it.  It’s our first Santa-less Christmas, so if you ask me why I’m HEAVING while watching The Polar Express on Christmas Eve, you’ll understand why the only response you’ll get is a projectile dirty tissue and maybe a middle finger.  Happy Holidays!

Five Things I Wish I Knew Before I Went for Sushi That Night

Dating-Meme-dating-in-your-30s-is-like-are-we-doingPicture it.  Connecticut.  2016.  Hot, humid, and holy shit, another first date.  Choosing wedges over flip flops was the most impactful decision laying before me, and my expectations hovered solidly in the cautiously optimistic section of the scale, just above the I have several binge opportunities with Netflix on hold if this goes south line.

Go figure, it seems to have worked out.  Nearly 18 months later, and I haven’t smothered him in his sleep, although I did come close that one time I had to wake up at ungodly o’clock, and he sat straight up at about an hour before my alarm and shouted, “OHMYGODYOU’REGONNABELAAAAAAATE!” Which, in turn, woke me, my dog, the cat, several, local, recently deceased, and although I scavenged for sleep after restarting my heart, letting the dog out, feeding the cat, using the bathroom, and restraining myself from pressing the hose of his CPAP juuuuuuust hard enough, I never found it.  Which, if we were married, is grounds for divorce and I’d get all the things forever, it’s the law, look it up.

At least it SHOULD be.

Over this last year and a half, boy HOWDY have I learned a lot.  Like, did you know there are these crazy little elves that bring you coffee in the morning and it just shows up on your nightstand, exactly how you like it?  (Piping hot, light and sweet, kinda like me.  HEYOOO!)  Those same elves search for a pot or pan and leave every goddamned drawer and cabinet open in the kitchen for me to close, like some demented game of whack a mole.  Balance, I guess.

I survived a marriage for 13 years, and although it ended, I still thought I kinda sorta knew what it took to make a relationship work.  The whole, been there, done that, got the ill fitting t-shirt mentality left me somewhat unprepared for operating within a healthy, long-term relationship.  So, in the spirit of catharsis, and to those of you Ok Cupid-ing, Tindering, Bumbling, and POFishing around the dating scene, inundated with stupid dating advice, here’s some realness you can use to hopefully find, keep, and enjoy a partner for life.

I give you, Five Things I Wish I Knew Before I Went on a Date with the (unbeknownst to me at the time) Love of My Life:

  1. I’m fine.  Just the way I am.  It’s weird that I still sweat about stupid stuff, like my hair being too curly, or too straight, or wearing too much perfume, or being too opinionated, or too loud, or just too much of anything.  Here’s the thing, y’all.  YOU’RE FINE.  Exactly how you are.  One of the things I love most about Unicorn Boyfriend is that he accepts me, mostly.  He’s still not a fan that I leave lights on, or that I threaten to cut all my hair off, which, guys?  I DON’T GET.  What’s the fascination with long hair?  I get that it looks good, but have you ever tried giving yourself a blow out?  It’s EXHAUSTING.  So much reaching and pulling and turning and when you’re like me, and have tiny T-Rex arms, and cascading amounts of thick, crazy, unruly (much like me!) hair, ouch.  Just be you, is my point, and I still have to remind myself of my enoughness, but don’t lose sight of how awesome you really are.
  2. The bright, shiny, fairy tale-ish phase only lasts SO long, and that’s OK.  It took me almost a year, if not longer, to fart in front of UBF.  I was shook the first time it happened.  Now?  Not so much.  Hashtag comfortable AF.
  3. Do NOT care, one ounce, what other people think of your relationship.  Unless there’s some blinding, abusive, red flags, just know that judgy mcjudgertons are gonna judge no matter who and no matter what.  Which is not to diminish the difficulties of a negative Nancy or Norman.  In my experience, I always won over the people in my partner’s periphery.  It was a gift.  Parents dug me, friends were fans.  This time around?  Much tougher crowd.  I’ve made an ally or two, but hurdles still remain.  See #1, by the way, and remember you’re aiiiiight, regardless of what anyone else thinks.
  4. No one will tell you that this person, who you fell in love with, adore, and even don’t mind seeing naked periodically, WILL DRIVE YOU INSANE.  You’ll yell.  You’ll reach a whole new level of anger and just when you thought you’ve reached the pinnacle of angry, a whole new zenith opens up.  Relationships are HARRRRRRRRRD.  In our case, there’s us, jobs, pets (mine), bills, kids (his and mine), family, and more all vying for our attention and we’re tending to all those things as best we can, and also trying to still date.  They say we have the same amount of hours in a day as Beyonce, but can Bey juggle 7th grade homework times 2, walk the dog, cook a delicious meal, load the dishwasher, clean the house, AND still have the energy to ask someone how THEIR day was?  Doubt it.  Bottom line, relationships are work, and it’s totally ok to take a minute to collect yourself before you wreck yourself.  Take naps.  They help, a lot.
  5. Lastly, entertain the idea that, for all his faults, this person is still one of the greatest additions to your life.  Let him be him, as much as he lets you be you.  Appreciate who you are together, and apart.  For a moment, take a step back from the work of improving, and just be.  You may be surprised by what you find.

In Which I Give Thanks to My Water Bottle

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Actual water bottle, coffee cup, and wristless owner of both

Yesterday, during a benign Facebook exchange, I discovered my sister no longer drinks caffeinated coffee.  This, from a woman I recall drinking an ENTIRE POT of coffee all by her lonesome self.  I hadn’t noticed she’d switched, exclusively, to decaf, despite my several personal deliveries of Dunkin which I ordered from a text message that explicitly specified DECAF in her order.

It goes without saying she got the quickness in the family and I can correctly grammartize the word motherfucker in a blog post.  OUR PARENTS ARE SO PROUD.

Typically, I allow myself 2 cups of coffee a day.  Less than that and I fall out of routine, which for me and my self-diagnosed ADHD-ness is what medical professionals lovingly refer to as a NO effing BUENO, SHERRY.  (That’s a quote from my therapist, BTW.  Hi Deb!) More than two cups and my hands shake and my heart races and the only difference between that and a typical anxiety attack is the lacking sense of massive pending horrific doom.

An aside…and revelation I JUST realized.  I’ve dealt with some shit in my life, and if watching that show Intervention taught me anything, it’s that I would’ve been a perfect candidate for a serious drug problem.  But!  That bitch anxiety?  She had my back and actually steered me wayyyy clear of ever trying any illegal substance, out of fear that the presence of even pot would kill me.  Or, propel me into a life of crime.  Or both.  Huh.  Look at me, all finding the bright spot and shit.

Back to coffee.  Today?  It’s not even mid-morning and I’ve had 3 cups.  Because, well, life, and shit is getting realsies up in this tween wrangling piece, and while I don’t think I’m dealing with anything Earth shatteringly new, it’s all uncharted territory for us.  The past few months have brought about lots of change and planning for futures and realizations and Axe Body Spray, and suffice to say, Momma is unprepared.

Hence, the 3rd cup of coffee.

While I watched this hot vessel of what I’ll surely regret in a few hours brew into my mug, I couldn’t remember the last time I’d chugged some water.  Some months ago, I bought a specific shaker cup for my morning smoothies and, while at work, I’d wash it out and use it for water for the day and at the gym.  Immediately, I craved that cup full of clear, liquid gold, and I pulled it out of the Designated Plastic Container Cabinet™.  But, the lid was nowhere.  to.  be.  found.  SHIT.

Now, of course, a normal person, would just take the cup, sans lid, fill that shit, and get her ass to work.  But, you’re not immersed in the blog of a normal woman.  I needed that lid, because what if I spill!  How will I drink at the gym!? It became obvious, in that moment, that I’d clearly failed as a parent, employee, daughter, sister, and human being because I COULD NOT FIND THAT BLESSED LID FOR MY SHAKER CUP.  I should just give up, go back to bed, and let the kids sustain themselves on chocolate chip waffles and Spotify.

Aim high, kids!

Clearly, that 3rd cup of joe transitioned from caffeine crutch to path of destruction.  This is how anxiety gets ya.  She spews irrational commentary that you start to believe, because if you’re told something long enough…you know the rest.  Lately, I’ve become more proficient at recognizing her bullshit, and calling her out on it.  Which, I think, is why I opened the drawer to my left, under the Designated Plastic Container Cabinet™, the perfect home for plastic container accouterments.

Like, lids.

There it was.

And, just like that, in the light of my kitchen, dim from two ceiling fan bulbs having blown out, which is probably a better look for me in flannel pajamas anyway, I smiled to myself because maybe, just maybe, if I can find an appropriate home for all my water bottle lids (they were ALL in there),  maybe I have the foresight to navigate all this craziness after all.

Maybe, but after just one more cup of coffee.

Irrational, but Real

Anxiety lies.

Anxiety tells me things I should know are untrue.

She whispers in a voice inaudible to anyone else, but I hear her.  Clearly, and with vigor nopeand conviction.

She feeds on my self-doubt and worry, like fucked up nourishment for her evil mission.  A veritable mental vulture who preys on the dying.

One particularly weak day, she convinced me my boyfriend sent me away to the grocery store so he could leave me under the cover of darkness, and sneak away.  Much to my surprise, and her chagrin, upon my return, he was there.  Still.  Always, I hope.

She dictates my wardrobe choices, her chatter about my body, and how it should be hidden above all costs, chirps in my brain, as I don another sack or over sized something.

She convinces me I can’t be a writer.  A good mother or productive employee.  A viable candidate for a job.  A strong, beautiful woman.  A caring daughter.  A productive, protective partner.  She casts doubt, that maybe I did deserve that, or was asking for the other thing, or certainly this will be the day something awful will happen.  Maybe it was my fault.  All of it.  Everything.

I never invited her to the party.  I never asked her to stay.  She’s an all too familiar stranger, a squatter in my mind I’d evict the second I knew how.

For now, I fight however I can manage.  Sometimes she disappears with a simple hair flip or some decent music.  Other times, like now, she’s almost impossible to shake, and the voice on repeat telling me all the things I can’t do and he’s never going to marry you and your family still thinks you’re a fuck up and you’re going to get fired and you’re fat and you’re ugly and your house is a wreck and you’re a loser because you haven’t finished your laundry and just wait until you see what tomorrow brings because if you thought today was bad…

So much for sleeping tonight.

Breathe.  I need to breathe.  And acknowledging her awful presence to someone other than me helps, too.  Sometimes I stand in the mirror and smile while I she spews her rhetoric, to help lessen the blow.  Other times I punch a pillow.  Or take a walk.  Or lie down and let the bitch wash over me with all she’s got.  Eventually, she tires out, too.

I’ve been able to outlast her this long.  Here’s to one more day of winning the race.

42

People often tell me I don’t look my age.

Just today, in a conversation with an acquaintance, I said something in reference to my teenage years, and attempted to include him in the conversation with, “at OUR age…”.  He shook his head yes, and I asked, “we’re both the same-ish age, right?  I’m 42.”  He nods, as if to acquiesce our being similar in age, then says, “I wouldn’t have said you’re 42.  I figured we were around the same age…I’m 38…I would’ve pegged you for late 30’s.”  I gave the obligatory thanks and went about my business.

Weirdest.  Compliment.  EVER, the whole “you don’t look your age” business.

Don’t get me wrong, this guy meant well, but THAT’S what we choose to commend women for as they age?  Like, congratulations you old bat!  You’ve out run the most common, outward signs of aging and probably had a decent start with good genes and effective skincare regiment, but here’s a medal anyway for inheriting your grandmother’s clear skin and discovered the benefits of using Oil of Olay twice a day.

Look at me, winning at life, keeping Proctor and Gamble in the black.  GEEEEEEEEENIUS.

Here’s the thing, though, and this may come as a shock since society tells us that, as women, we need to preserve our youth AT ALL COSTS, that once we hit the age of 35, it’s all Botox and eye serum and root touch up and concealer and contour and skirts to *there* and swimdresses, but…I LOVE being my age.  Of all the ages I’ve reached so far, this one?  42?  Is the best one yet, BY FAR.

Sure, I got my license at 16, but that’s when I got super dumped by my then high school boyfriend (Hi Steve!) and 18 was a bust because my college girlfriends and I discovered the only real things you can do on your 18th birthday is vote, legally sign a contract, buy smokes, and rent porn.  We did two of those, and I won’t say which, but suffice to say politics nor putting legal pen to paper were not on our minds then.  21 was a bust, as I spent it in a dive bar, in Boston, drinking something called a “Red Death”, which tasted JUST like Hawaiian Punch with a bonus vomitous hangover.  I got married at 27, and we all know how that turned out.  Had my kids at 30, and while that particular event ranks preeeeetty dang high on my list, it was newborn twin induced blur and don’t remember much, except for the post partum depression and bonus anti-anxiety meds.  I got divorced for my 40th birthday.  At almost 41, I met the love of my life, and that takes us to present, 42, the best age I’ve been thus far.

There’s magic in the number 42, some say it holds the secret of the universe, which, if that means finally mastering the subtle art of disguising my double chin with bronzer, sitting comfortably, alone, in a Starbucks, sipping a coffee and chuckling aloud at a Facebook post where my sister worked in the phrase “dick touchers”, or the excitement of auto payments notifications, then look no further for the answer to life.

All this to say, why not just compliment my ass, instead.  It’s just easier for everyone.