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.

Crazytown, Population: us

Dumpster-FireEverything is a colossal shitshow of a dumpster fire, and everyone on all the social medias is pissed off, and, I get it.  I get it all.  Stand up, sit down, do the hokey pokey for all I care, I love you all and will be okay with however you choose to live your life.

Unless you are one of those freaks who posts videos with titles like, “Ramsey the Chihuahua was wandering the streets of Mumbai and was mowed down by 17 cars, WATCH THE ACTUAL FOOTAGE HERE, before we show you some amazeballs foster dog Mom Karen who adopted him while on her own Eat Pray Love excursion and now he’s living a very lovely, albeit prosthetically enhanced life in Idaho, on a ranch, with a chicken best friend.”  Then?  Then, no.  You might as well offer my kids heroin because that’s just criminal, those videos.  I’ll watch slasher movies all day long, but the animals?  DON’T HURT THE ANIMALS.

Goodness, the tangents around here. Anyhoo…

Tomorrow is my birthday, and no I’m not ashamed to admit I’m turning forty freaking two.  Whoever told me turning 40 and beyond would suck really needs their life compass retooled because my 40’s, so far, have rocked.  Of course, now that I say that, that serial pooper lady will somehow find her way into my driveway or even worse, so let’s all collectively knock on wood.  I started my celebration early, today, with a woman I met through work who invited me to join her on a walk.  I only knew a little about her, but while we walked, she shared with me her journey through surviving breast cancer, mourning the loss of a friend who recently took his own life, and a host of other odds and ends.  By the 3.5 mile mark, we’d become friends.  I took a chance and the payoff was a new exercise buddy who made me laugh and think.

The world is crazytown right now, and that’s hard.  For my birthday, I want everyone in my little circle to do something nice.  For someone else, or yourself.  Donate to a cause.  Help folks affected by a hurricane.  Practice some self-care.  Get a coffee at 3pm because you can.  Compliment a stranger.  Compliment your wife.  Put down your goddamned phone, walk outside, let the sunshine hit your face, and take a walk.  If it’s raining, take a walk anyway, because like my Mom used to say, “You’re not gonna melt, you’re not that sweet!”  You guys would love my Mom.

Come on back tomorrow and tell me what you did.  I’m hoping I’ll figure out something fantastic, but I may just settle for less knee jerk horn honking, possibly an earlier bed time, maybe some cake, and call that shit a WIN.