Thursday, December 20, 2012

Middle-Aged Retail Employees LOVE It When You Talk To Them About Your Vagina

Sometimes, when you haven't been laid in a while (or when you are only having sex because omg fine, just shut the fuck up about it already), you let some of your grooming habits slide. Eventually though, you get to a point where you realize that your pubes are like 6 inches long and maybe you should do something about that. I had that realization a few weeks ago.

Usually I just shave the lady parts, but I decided I wanted to buy a trimmer. I work in NYC and there are at least 6 drugstores in a 4 block radius, so I expected to find exactly what I wanted rather easily. That was not the case. Apparently, the ladies of this great city prefer their pubic hair trimmers to be fancy, expensive, and much larger than is absolutely necessary (insert dick joke here).

This was clearly not something I needed immediately, so I didn't think much of it. I figured I'd find what I wanted in Jersey one day. Then yesterday I was taking a walk on my lunch break and went outside of my usual 5 block perimeter and came across a CVS I hadn't checked out before. I figured I would see if they had what I wanted.

To my surprise, they did have it. And at just $12, I knew I had finally filled my bush-removing needs. I went to grab it off the hook and realized that I couldn't get it off. The hook had a lock on the end of it.  Have you seen this? I mean, at Walmart in the electronics department, sure. I can understand why they might lock up expensive electronics items. But in CVS? For a $12 pube trimmer? Really?

At that moment, I had to make a choice. I could be embarrassed and refuse to ask for help and walk out. Or I could put on my big girl panties and ask someone to unlock it for me. Because it WAS a CVS, I told myself I would make one loop around the store. In the unlikely event that I found someone who actually worked there, I would ask for help. Right as I completed my loop, as I made my way back to the aisle I started in, an employee appeared before me. In fact, he was in the aisle unlocking a mustache trimmer for some other customer.

I marched up to this middle-aged man and told him I needed him to get something for me. He cheerfully asked "ok, what did you need?". I gestured toward the end of the aisle with the lady products and he followed me there. "This one", I told him. "And thanks for locking up the pube trimmers so I had to ask for help".

He laughed, so I probably only made him a little uncomfortable. On the upside, my pubes aren't 6 inches long anymore.

Friday, December 14, 2012

What the Fuck is Wrong With People?

As I'm sure you have heard, there was a shooting at an elementary school in Connecticut today. Since it just happened a few hours ago, I don't have a lot of the details. Even if I did, I certainly wouldn't want to rehash them here. The truth of the matter is, I want nothing more than to stick my fingers in my ears and repeat "LA-LA-LA-LA I CAN'T HEAR YOU!" any time someone at work (or on my Facebook feed) brings it up.

I'm not trying to minimize the tragedy. I'm not saying I don't care. It's just that this is the sort of thing I can't even being to think about without completely breaking down. My stomach ties itself in knots just reading the headlines for these kinds of stories, let alone the gory details.

The thing is, I lost a child. Obviously I did not lose a Kindergartener who had been the biggest part of my life for years. My loss was much earlier than that, so I won't claim to know how the parents of those children must feel. The thought of their babies, terrified and crying for them in a place they are supposed to be safe... it makes me shake in horror. It makes me want to puke. I can't even imagine how it must make their parents feel, knowing their children lost their lives in such a gruesome, violent manner.

My point is just that things like this hit me differently than they do a lot of other mothers, I think. My Facebook feed is filled with friends, family, and aquaintances talking about how they can't wait to get home and hug their kids. How terrifying it is to think that, even in elementary school, you can't ever be sure that they are safe. The difference for me is that is how I feel all the time.

I feel like it would be absolutely disrespectful to compare my stillborn baby to the children who were tragically gunned down this morning, so I want to be careful to say that I'm really not trying to do that. My point is more the reaction from other parents.

When I lost Nicholas, every drop of "that could never happen to me" left my body. I don't ever doubt how quickly and unexpectedly a tragedy could cross my path. Or Caitlyn's. For the most part, absent of a current, relatable tragedy such as the one that happened today, I think most people fall on the other side of the fence. Most people want to believe statistics. They want to believe that if there is a 98% chance something will never happen, that of course they wouldn't be part of the 2% with the terrible luck.

During my pregnancy with Caitlyn, I had an overlap with both of my sister's pregnancies as well. April was near the end of her pregnancy when I got pregnant, and Samantha had just found out she was a few weeks before I did. My loss was certainly on everyone's mind, because it was just 6 months prior. In fact, April was already a few months pregnant when I lost Nicholas. They never talked to me about their fears for their own children, but my mom told me not too long ago that they were both terrified. "That will never happen to me" just hit a little too close to home.

I wonder though, if now, years after the fact, they still have the same fears I do. I mean, every parent worries for the safety of their child, but i think I do to an excessive degree. I never feel 100% sure that I'll see Caitlyn again. Every time I strap her into her carseat, I kiss her goodbye. Just in case we are in a terrible car accident and she doesn't make it, I want her to know she is loved. Even when she is being difficult and crying and fighting me while I try to strap her in, I give her a kiss and tell her I love her. About half the time in the mornings, I wake up and think to myself "she's sleeping too soundly. Did she suffocate in her sleep?". On the rare occasions when I make plans without her, I always find myself fearing that something will happen to her before I return, and I'll have squandered my last precious hours that could have been spent with her doing selfish, unimportant shit.

Sometimes I have to tell myself that I'm being obsessive, or that she will almost definitely be fine. I have to remind myself that my sanity and my ability to be a good mother to her depends on occasionally giving myself a break. But I never, ever tell myself that something could never happen. Unfortunately, the older she gets, the more there are outside influences in play. I'm surprisingly not a crazy overprotective mom, but I mostly attribute that to the fact that my own mom never stopped me from doing things I wanted to do and always trusted and encouraged me. I know when it comes to decision-making, she will be trusted and trustworthy. It's all the stuff outside of both of our control that utterly terrifies me.

Ironically, Caitlyn had her first taste of preschool today. Our babysitter's son celebrated his 4th birthday today and his preschool allowed Caitlyn to stick around and join in the festivities. It was very nice of them, and I got a bunch of very cute, very big girl schmoozing with the other big kids pictures sent to my phone. It made me a little excited to see her so very ready for the next step that will eventually come, but also a little sad to see her embracing such a big step without me. And then all hell broke loose and I had to breathe and type and try not to cry at my computer.

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

What Do You Mean I Don't Have to Blow Anyone Before I Leave the House?

I've been thinking a lot about my life. It's sort of strange because you would think that in such a transitional period, I would have endless things to write about. Mostly though, I try not to be a huge fucking downer so I don't really enjoy writing about my failed marriage. I realize that makes it sound like I'm all depressed and shit, but mostly I'm really not.

The first few months of my separation were that ambiguous "maybe we will work it out" period. Eventually, though, I realized that I'm not the type to end a relationship that has any possibility of being worked out. I had to come to the harsh reality that my marriage was not going to be salvaged.

You would expect that it was the big changes that made it hard at first. Moving. Uprooting my entire life and separating myself from a person I had been attached to for 8 years. That, though, was the easy part. After being under someone's thumb for that long, being able to break away and do what I wanted to do was like gasping my first breath of air after being under the water for just a little too long. That's right, motherfuckers. I got metaphors up in this bitch.

I found the little things were the hardest to get used to. Even after months of being apart, I would still find myself inclined to call him and ask him to help with something, or for his opinion on another thing. We got to a point, though, where we kept cycling through the same fights over and over again, and about 2 months ago, we both threw in the towel. We haven't had the official "divorce" conversation yet, but we know it's coming. I finally feel like I won't be blindsiding him when it happens.

The weight and the pressure and the stress has lightened considerably since I really, truly gave up on saving my marriage. I don't feel weird when he drops Caitlyn off and leaves without so much as asking how everything is with us. I don't try to push him to take some of the responsibility off of me by doing some of the picking up on days when he doesn't have to be in work until the afternoon. I don't wonder if he's fucking someone else already. I simply exist in my world with Caitlyn and I've finally begun the process of moving on.

Nadine had her annual Christmas party over this past weekend, and it really sunk in how much more peaceful my life is now. The thing is, Rodolfo always hated her. Not for any real reason (besides his declaration during the process of our break up that she was my "puppetmaster"). It was a decision he made primarily because of his own insecurities, the same reason he had problems with anyone I was close to. Because if I loved THEM, how could I save all my love for him? Anyway. I digress.

My point is that the Christmas party was always a point of contention. It was a fight every single year. It would start a few weeks before the party. There would be an argument about whether or not I was taking Caitlyn with me, because Rodolfo certainly did not plan to come but he also did not feel he should be expected to "babysit" so I could go have fun with my friends. I was a mother now. Mothers were not entitled to fun. If I said no, I would get treated like I was abandoning her at a fire station. If I said yes, I would get lectured about keeping her out too late. After that he would remain silent about it until a day or two before the party. That is when the real fighting would start.

I would be making some sort of treat for the party and I'd get reminded that I should be making things for my husband (who, by the way, refused to eat anything I ever made) instead. I would get half a dozen reminders about the "curfew" he had set for me for the night. I would get lectured about drinking too much. The night of the party would come and I'd be getting ready and he would pick a fight. Every. Single. Time. I would have one foot out the door and he would demand sex. I would get threatened that I should expect to come home to a VERY hostile environment because how dare I not blow him 5 minutes before I leave.

I would show up frustrated, annoyed, and utterly spiteful. I would get hammered and hit on my guy friends just because. I would spend the night alternating between being absolutely out-of-control and obsessively looking at the clock, trying to stick to his rules so I didn't get in trouble when I got home. It was never truly enjoyable because all the joy was deliberately and maliciously sucked out of it by my awful marriage.

This year was different. There were no arguments or explanations or spite. I made plans with my babysitter a few weeks in advance to have her keep Caitlyn overnight. I spent the early part of the day of the party making treats. I showered and applied make-up and got dressed and no one asked me blatantly accusatory questions about why I wanted to look nice. I left my house without drama or stress or aggravation. I dropped off Caitlyn and arrived at the party a short time later feeling happy and energized and genuinely looking forward to it. The time passed quickly, though I didn't realize it because I wasn't obsessing about the time. I chatted with friends and drank freely and eventually passed out when I'd had enough. I woke up when I wasn't tired anymore and I went to pick up Caitlyn and the only question I got asked was "did you have fun at your party?". It was beautiful. Such a simple thing, an evening with my good friends, and yet, I hadn't been able to enjoy it in such a long time.

I think every relationship has it's share of (for lack of a better word) "drama". Fights over nothing and stress and bullshit. But for me, freeing myself from my marriage ... it's as if all the unnecessary stress in my life has suddenly evaporated. It's pretty fucking nice, actually.