Category Archives: deep thoughts

Sleeping With the Enemy…Revisited.

I can’t watch this movie.  I just can’t.

And yet, I do.  And I am.  Right now…as I am typing this post.

It was a long time ago, a world far away that I was a victim of domestic violence.  Yes, I know you are not supposed to say “victim”.  It’ s not empowering enough for most feminists.  It makes you sound weak, pitiful.  Yet, when you are going through it, you ARE a victim.  You can pretty up the words all you like, make them sound less pathetic, but the point is…you are still a victim until the moment…you’re not.  That’s when you can change your moniker from “victim” to “survivor”.

Or, the moment they place you six feet under and you become what your headstone says you were.

When we talk about women who died at the hands of their lovers, we don’t call them survivors.  They didn’t.  They were victims.  They succumb.  I will always consider myself a “victim” of domestic violence in some aspects, despite the fact that I survived, because of movies like “Sleeping with the Enemy”.  Because the scent of “Polo” still makes me significantly ill.  Because being in my home alone, I am still plagued by the inability to sleep peacefully.  Because I still feel my breath catch in my throat when I hear a certain type of gruff male voice.  Because certain songs can still make me break down and cry (I’m looking at you, November Rain).   I can’t wear red lipstick.  It reminds me of bloody mouths and bleeding noses, broken teeth and cracked jaws.

It reminds me of 33 broken bones in just under 3 years.

Yet, when I watch the part of “Sleeping with the Enemy” where Laura “dies”, (This is not a spoiler and that aside, the movie is 23 years old.  If you haven’t seen it by now, well…not my problem) I realize that the funeral scene could have just as well been mine.  The irony of all this is that the release of this movie came the same year as MY release from this relationship that has scarred me for life.  Maybe it’s not irony.  Perhaps coincidence.  I never get those two right and neither does Alanis Morrissette, so I don’t feel too badly.  The ironic part really is who I first saw the movie with.

Yes.  My abuser.  The love of my (then) life and the enemy I slept with.

We saw SWTE in a movie theater in Suffolk County, Long Island, shortly after its release date in February, 1991.  We had a good day that day.  No fighting, no arguing, no yelling, no throwing things.  It was what I would come to call a “safe day”.  I never put a time limit on those days.  The morning could start one way, the afternoon could end another way and the evening could bring us back to the “safe day” status once again.  I lived moment to moment with him.  I counted every breath with him.  Measured.  Careful.  Always concerned about not changing my facial expressions too often.  Never looking left, never looking right.  Straight ahead, always.  That night at the movie was no different.  As I watched Patrick Bergin beat Julia Roberts, I kept the hand to popcorn to mouth ratio well timed.  Counting my breaths…in 2…3…4 out 2…3…4…

I wouldn’t dare give him the clue that inside, I was terrified, watching my life play out on the big screen in front of me.

I felt like everyone in the audience was staring at me.  I felt that familiar hand squeeze from him.  He was putting me in check. His way of saying, “Keep it together, CP. Don’t you dare betray our dirty little secret.” I sat up a little straighter in my seat.  I crossed my legs casually. I leaned my head on his shoulder.  [LOOK AUDIENCE WE ARE A VERY HAPPY LOVING COUPLE THIS WOULD NEVER HAPPEN IN OUR HOUSE YOU BELIEVE US RIGHT]  My body was giving me away.  My breath was giving me away.  My silent count in my head was not working.  I inhaled deeply, the scent of the popcorn nauseating me.  I dared to glance sideways, to see how he would react to this man on the screen beating this beautiful, gentle woman.

He kept eating popcorn as though it didn’t matter at all.  And I suppose, to him, it didn’t.

When we left the theater, I couldn’t gauge his mood.  His affect, as always, a blank canvas.  Over two years into this bloodbath of a relationship and I still could not read him.  We drove home in silence when suddenly he says, “I’ll never understand how a man could hit a woman like that.”  If I wasn’t so exceptionally trained in controlling my facial expressions, I would have given away the “are you fucking kidding me” that filled my mouth, but never left my lips.

“Mmm hmmm,” I said.

“Well, I mean, he basically hit her for no reason.  You know what I mean.”

“Uh huh.”

“You know that when I lose my temper, it’s because you provoked me.”

“Yes, I know,” I replied.

“But I love you.  I always love you.”

I smiled.  He was staring at my side profile looking for that smile.  The smile that says, it’s okay, this thing you are doing to me.  I’m fine with it.  He reached over, squeezed my knee, patted my thigh before stroking it, firmer, higher.  Oh, okay. Right.  Sex.  Got it.  The way you right the wrong.  The way you remind me you are still in control of this thing.  The way you pretend that I’m okay with all of this.  Sure.  We’ll have sex after we get home.  It was his version of the “reboot” button for us.  Anything that happens prior gets erased, thrown in the recycle bin and permanently deleted.  But, it also means I will have at least 5 hours of peace and quiet once you fall asleep…to shower you off my skin.  To brush my mouth clean of your kiss.  To throw up.  To cry.  To take my makeup off and assess the damage from earlier in the day.

And it was also during those moments of sweet repose for you that I would plan my getaways.

Watching the movie “Sleeping with the Enemy” alongside him, I knew my nights of plotting and planning would be forever destroyed.  There would be no more squirreling away of funds.  No more leaving clothes in hiding places.  No more hiding the spare key to the car in the back of the toilet.  He would now be forever aware that women definitely do plot to escape their abusers.  Even though he didn’t see himself in that light, I knew the lesson wasn’t lost on him.

I spent that night in terror.

When he wakes, will he start the scavenger hunt in our home?  Will he find the coins in the kosher salt container (It had that pull up lip that you could slide change and dollars into easily.  Plus, it was made of cardboard, so it wouldn’t rattle like say, a coffee can.  Yes, these were the things you had to think about) or the key in the bathroom?  Would he realize that in our car, where the spare tire used to be, there were spare clothes instead?  Would he look in the bottom of my daughters toy box and find copies of our birth certificates, medical records, anything I would need on the fly for when we fled?  I debated whether to start finding new place for all these things.  No.  No, I won’t.  I will leave everything the way it is.  To start moving things or getting rid of them means I no longer had a safety net.  I needed that safety net.

It’s all I had.

When this movie came on my television screen, just now, 23 years later, I watched only the beginning.  I only paid attention to the fear, not the inevitable victory.  I don’t need to watch that part…her transition from victim to survivor.  I don’t need to watch Julia Roberts get paid millions for a role I lived.  Julia lived happily ever after. (Now, that’s a spoiler, Folks. Sorry.)  But sadly, just like in the movies, sometimes real life comes with alternate endings. This is not the reality for many women and it certainly wasn’t mine.  My story of morphing from “victim” to “survivor” would include hospitals, three months in a bed, a brain now laden with epilepsy, physical and emotional therapy and the inability to remain in safely in New York state.

Still, my outcome is better than those who died at the hands of their abusers.  Now, all these years later, I have a different reality.  I don’t sleep with an enemy, but my best friend.  I am safe in my home.  I am safe in this life I have made for myself 1300 miles away.  And, despite knowing this, I still can’t watch this movie til the end.  I still can’t listen to those songs.  I still get queasy from the scent of Polo cologne.  But, I am alive.  Divinely alive.  Happily alive.

Phrase it any way you’d like, but I will always be a victim who survived.

I can live with that.

2014: A Brand New Year.

If you noticed, I did not blog throughout the entire year of 2013.

Mainly because, 2013 was a pretty horrible year for me personally, professionally and every other way, shape and form.

While there were some definite bright spots, like renewing my vows (twice!) in both Las Vegas and in Mexico,or spending my granddaughter’s 5th birthday in Disney, there were far more dark patches; times that I really didn’t think that I would make it through the remainder of the year without some serious professional intervention.

My personal health was poor throughout this year, and it made matters so much worse.  Anything you go through in your life seems far more trying when your health is not where it should be.  My stellar marriage was put through some incredibly trying times.  Relationships with family members worsened and in some cases, deteriorated altogether.  I feel like I spent most of 2013 in tears.  In short, things were hard.

And on the precipice of this brand new year, they are still…well, hard.

My best course of therapy has always been to turn to my writing.  It’s saved me through some of the most torrid times of my life.  Just to be able to achieve that sweet release of putting thoughts to “paper” has always managed to help me put things into perspective.  But, this year, the strength to even turn to my blog did not come.  A year long case of writers block caused by being in the throes of some of the deepest, darkest depression I have ever experienced.

People do not understand how seemingly happy people can be “depressed”.  If you sorted through my facebook photos from this past year, you would see dozens of “happy” photos of me, smiling brightly for the camera.  But, what you do not see are the seconds before the photo and the hours afterward.  Smiling on command is easy and that is what the camera captures.  But if we had the ability to see what takes place the second before or the seconds after the photo is taken, you would see the smile fall away just as quickly as it appeared.  Again, not saying there were not moments of genuine happiness, but in 2013, they were few and far between.

I think, if I were to be honest, I spent most of 2013 curled up in a fetal position in my bed.  Too exhausted to face the day, too tired to cry.  And when you are just too tired to even cry, that’s when depression is at its worst.  I find a good, hard cry to be cathartic.  It cleanses the soul, erases some of the negativity by releasing the pain and makes room for new, perhaps better emotions to seep into the soul.  But when you just cannot cry, when the pain of life is so overwhelming that you cannot even produce tears…when the thought of crying exhausts you, there is a problem.  Usually a problem that is much bigger than you are.

In 2013, the problem was not only bigger than I was, it hovered over me like a large, black winged bird, casting a shadow upon me.  I went many days without showering.  I would stay in bed for days straight, scarcely exiting my room.  I would stare into the television set, enthralled with nothing; just an empty vessel waiting to be filled with something, anything.  I can’t tell you much about what I did in 2013.  I rely heavily on my Facebook timeline to remind me, but there’s a problem with that.  The problem being, I fooled myself with many statuses on there in order to fool the rest of the world.  I couldn’t have the world knowing how I was struggling with my depression.  The world, my friends en masse, they expect me to be funny, charming, irreverent.  Somehow, I managed to keep up that persona, or rather, facade, on my statuses.  But with every “LMAO” I posted, I assure you, there was very little laughing being done, let alone laughter that would remove my ass from my body.  I would type statuses, replies, comments with the same blank look on my face that I reserved for the television set.  I would appear interested and engaged when in reality, I could not care less about most of what I was writing.

Trying to keep up appearances became exhausting, hurling me into a far darker place than I had previously been, until in mid August, just before my birthday, I melted down altogether.  I wanted out.  Out of my family, out of my friendships, out of my marriage, out of my house, out of my bed, out of my job, out of my life.  Ideally, I just wanted to be left alone to rot.  For anyone who has ever experienced depression, you know that loneliness is the devil at work.

But, this is not where I am heading in 2014.  I am not over the depression.  Not by a long shot.  It’s plagued me all my life and I doubt sincerely, that it will take leave any time soon.  However, I am actively involved in making sure that I don’t spend 2014 with the blankets pulled up over my head.  I am in the process of healing the pain that encompasses me.  I have rid myself of the toxic people in my life who won’t allow me to breathe normally.  For those I cannot rid myself of, I have opted to ration my time carefully, wholly in consideration of my mental health.  You can have 15 minutes of me a week, nothing more.  The pain I experience physically, I am finally putting myself under the knife to heal.

Basically, I am not giving away another year of my precious life to this monster that is seeking to consume me.  I know it will be challenging, but it’s important that I remember 2013 as the year that almost did me in.  I am not a victim.  I will never be a victim.   I don’t want pity, not even empathy.  I just want another opportunity to ensure that I won’t be a statistic. I don’t want to fall prey to my long standing depression.  I don’t want to wallow in those deep waters any longer.  I have plenty to be grateful for.  I have healthy, happy, beautiful children and grandchildren.  I have a husband who truly loves me and wants me to get better and is willing to support me on that journey.  I have friends who are compassionate and caring.  I have a talent that not only earns me a living, but heals me in the process.

There is so much for me to live for and in that instance, I am richer than most.

My excuses have worn thin.  The time for denying my reality has come to a close.  I am not going to be a living dead girl for another year.  I have to be an active participant in making sure that I do not die.  Not a physical death, but rather, an emotional one…which I find to be worse.  A physical death. It’s easy.  Anyone can do that.  Suicide is never an option.  Not for me at least.  It’s too easy to make the choice to check out.  As the great Annie Lennox once opined, “dying is easy, it’s living that scares me to death”.  Living is harder, but the rewards of doing so are far greater.  With every sunrise comes the ability to change the course of your life.

I am not saying that it will come easy, nor am I saying I will be successful at it.  I am positive I will have days where pulling myself from my bed will be a hardship for me.  I am sure that there are days I will fail miserably.  But, I am also positive that, if I push myself, I will be able to rise to the challenge.   Mistakes quickly become regrets, but I will not punish myself for those.  I have been hard enough on myself…harder than any of you could ever be on me.

So, on this, the eve of my surgery, I am making myself the promise to try a little harder.

I give so much of myself to everyone in my life.  Why am I so reticent to do for myself what I do for others?  Am I undeserving?  Am I not valuable enough?  Not worthy?  Of course not.

Here’s my fresh new perspective on the matter:

Inside all of us, there is a child.  We all have that inner child.   It’s the one who laughs at inappropriate times.  The one who looks over at a set of swings while you are in high heels and an evening gown and decides that running over to the playground would be a blast.  The child who starts a food fight in the middle of Denny’s at one o’clock in the morning over pancakes.  The same one who secretly watches old 80’s cartoons on Saturday mornings, cross legged on the floor in pajamas.  But, it’s also the same one who cries when they are hurt.  It’s the same child who desperately needs a hug when they are inconsolable.  It’s that same child who begs for forgiveness when they have done wrong.

And I am the mother of this inner child.  She is me.  I am her.  It is my duty, obligation, desire to take care of her as surely as I would take care of my own children.  I would do anything for my children.  I would die for them.  I would give my last breath for them.  So, why not that inner child?  Why not give my last breath to fight for that little girl within me who is suffering and struggling?  Why not nurture her and love her the way she deserves?  Why would I leave her alone, abandoned, needing and desperately wanting?

She needs me as surely as I need her.

So, for 2014, I promise to be a better mother.  Not only to my children I have given birth to, but to the little girl inside of me.  It is my job to heal her and in turn, heal myself.  I will hold her when she needs to be held.  I will kiss her tears away when she cries.  I will wake her with a gentle hug at the start of her day and lay her down, bundled in warmth and affection when it is time for sleep.  I will rouse her from the nightmares that plague her and remind her, I am here.  Shhhh…I am here.  Nothing is going to happen to you, sweet girl…because I am here.  I will give her daily affirmations of how beautiful she is, how smart she is.  I will feed not just her belly, but her soul.  I will set her free to play, but keep an ever watchful eye on her, keeping her safe from harm, from all the dangers lurking in this world.  I will protect her from the bullies on the playground of life.  I will not abandon her when she needs me most.  I will be the mother to her that I never had in my own life.  

She will be loved.

All I can ask is that she forgive me the first 40+ years that I did not realize I had left her alone.

She is me.  I am her.  And in this knowledge, I am comforted, for I know she is a forgiving soul and will allow me back into her life.

Only this time, I will do things the right way.  And she will flourish.  She will grow.

And someday, under my guidance and with my unrequited love, she will heal.

She deserves that.  We both do.

The End of 2012…Thank God.

This year has been a tough one.  A really tough one.

I could sit here and rehash it all, but I am not going to.  There’s been a lot of loss this year, both in the physical and emotional sense.  It’s been a tough one, I’m not going to lie.  It seems to happen every other year or so, which still makes me more fortunate than most, but definitely not as good as others.

But yes, this was a hard one.  I could barely catch my breath from one tragedy before there was another.  It just seemed to run, non stop, in waves.  My stress and frustration levels were at all time highs for most of this year, especially the latter portion, from July forward til now.

Things aren’t perfect.  They never will be, nor do I expect them to be.  I just want it to slow down some. Allow me to breathe a bit.  Throw the curve balls a bit more slowly this year.  Give me a chance to recover from one thing before you hit me with the next.  I am only human and while my shoulders are broad and my back is strong, there is only so much pain one person can take at a time. 

Yet, I always feel that the new year should not necessarily be a time to reflect back. I am a firm believe that old acquaintance SHOULD be forgotten and never brought to mind.  It’s the past.  There’s nothing you can do about it save to learn from it and move forward.  I am not the same woman I was five years ago, five months ago or even five minutes ago.  We are all works in progress, constantly evolving, growing and changing. 

I was trying to think of what my key word for 2013 would be; the word that I would think to when trying to plan my life course for this year.  Last year, it was “promise”.  I made some promises to myself and for the most part, I kept them.  These are not the same as resolutions, which I feel are silly contracts we make with ourselves and usually, they are preordained to fail.  My key word is just a reminder to hold certain things dear to me.  The promise of happiness.  The promise of extracting the negativity from my life path.  The promise to remember that tomorrow is another day and all the disasters of one day don’t necessarily carry over into the next. 

This years word is “transform”.  There are a few things that I would like to transform about myself, but I would not be so bold as to make myself promises I don’t intend to keep in the form of those horrible resolutions.  The root word of resolution is resolve and let’s face it, sometimes the resolve just isn’t there.  We are stronger some days than others.  It is widely believed that if you make a resolution and then, fall prey to the opposite of whatever it is you resolved to do, you have failed.

I, for one, am not about to set myself up for failure. 

So, transform for me, will be a slow process of change.  Changing the things that I CAN change while knowing that certain things will always be out of my control.  I can transform how I choose to react to things and not feel as though I have failed if my transformation does not immediately become a learned behavior.  I am going to take it easier on myself this year.  I am not going to cause myself hurt, pain or anxiety.  I have had quite enough of those self destructive passages in previous years.  I have extracted most of the people who cause my mind agony from my life.  While a few still litter the wall of my Facebook page, they are not there in copious amounts any longer…and the “delete” button remains a close few inches away from my fingertips should I need it.

What I won’t transform, however, are the things that others may perceive as my flaws. I will NOT transform my personality.  I am brash, crude, sometimes obnoxious, definitely crass…but it walks hand in hand with something else that I am and that is well intentioned.  I don’t mean harm.  And, when I cause it, I am also versed in the art of apology.  I have discovered long ago that a weak person does not apologize.  An even weaker person will not accept them.  This is not to mean that if I accept your apology, that I still choose to associate with you or keep you in my life.  I have only chosen to forgive your transgression.  Be grateful.

In the days of old, most transgressions of others would have landed you with a five knuckled greeting to your jawbone.  I have “evolved”, which I believe was my word of 2008 or so.  Maybe 2009.

In closing, new year, but not necessarily new me.  Just some “transforming” to do.  A little housecleaning in the spiritual sense.   Some adjustments to make as I get closer and closer to the person that I want to be.  Baby steps have gotten me through the first 46 years of my life, so I don’t suppose I will be making any giant leaps any time soon.  Change should come slowly…not like a huge 20 foot wave crashing in on you, but rather, a little trickling of water through the rocks and stones of a constantly running stream.  It should come slowly, gently, softly.  Resolutions, to me, are those 20 foot crashing waves.  Some survive them.  Some don’t. 

I’m not willing to find out the hard way.

Happy New Year to all of you.  May lucky number 2013 bring you all the joy and peace that you could possibly handle…and then some.

And, in keeping with tradition of blog posts gone by, I leave you with this:

Tradition started the first year I blogged, December 2005.  Why stop now?

Peace.

Getting through…

My friend, Robin, pointed out that I wrote a comment  on a blog post regarding the death of my friend, Derek.   The comment was “Why do people come into our lives if it is only their intention to leave?” She said that comment shredded her, as she often feels the same way.  I tried to back my thoughts up to five years ago, in reflection of why I might have said that.   It was a comment made in the midst of grief, but it is a question for the ages.  Why do people come in, allow us to get attached to them and then, suddenly, they are erased from our lives?  Death, estrangement or just a simple case of growing in different directions.  People that you love just sometimes…go away.

I told her, people come into our lives to teach you lessons.  Lessons that are either great or small.  Everyone has an expiration date in the lives of others.  Whether it is due to physical loss or emotional detachment, we all run our course.  There are friends I needed long ago that I just don’t need any longer.  They were there for their reason at the time.  To support me, to love me, to be by my side while I went through something or for me to be there for them.  People I thought would be in my life forever suddenly vanished.  But, when I look back on it…it was a moment in time that bonded us.  Something we shared.  Something that we related to and we needed each other to figure out the equation.  Once the problem was solved…it was time to move on, for both of us…or just one of us.

But when one is not ready for that sudden absentia, it leaves pain in its wake.

And questions.  Lots and lots of questions.

I am no stranger to loss.  I have lost a great number of people in my life from death.  I have lost a parent.  I have lost a child.  I have lost friends who I thought I could never survive without.  I have lost pets who were like children to me and I grieved them more ferociously and vehemently than I have some actual human family members. 

It’s never an easy process.   Ever.

I have become nearly superstitious when it comes to death.  I won’t let any one leave my house without saying “I love you” before they go.  We could be in the middle of a heated fight…and if they leave my home without a hug or a kind word, my stomach always knots up.  I think, I am going to lose them now.  Now that we parted harshly, those words will be the last words we ever speak to each other.  I think this is because my last words to my friend Derek were “I’ll see you tomorrow…” when he asked me to please come out and hang out with him, and then, tomorrow never came for him.  Or, perhaps because the last words I ever said to my father were “I hate your fucking guts.  I never want to speak to you again.”

Guess what?  I didn’t ever get to speak to him again.  He died a week later.

So, it has become a life mission of mine to make sure that I never part harshly with any one.  I don’t think my heart could take another memory of someone leaving this world with the last thing having been said between us being something cold or hateful.  It’s a huge burden to live with and a bigger one to die with.  I find myself apologizing and justifying constantly to people who no longer walk this earth. 

“You know I didn’t mean that, right, Daddy?”

“I should have come out to see you, Derek.  I should have found a baby sitter.  Maybe you would still be here, if I had.”

“I’m sorry I didn’t kiss you goodbye, Snoop.  I’m sorry I was too busy to kiss you goodbye.”

I keep hoping for validation in a situation where I know I will never get any closure.

Of course my Dad knows I didn’t mean that.  I was a teenager.  19 years old.  I was angry with him because I needed help with something and, in form with the lousy father he was, he didn’t come through for me.  I think now…who really owes whom the apology?  Why aren’t YOU sorry that you didn’t do what I needed you to do for me?  Why was I constantly put in the position of begging you to be my father?  Why am I making myself feel perpetually guilty for saying such a terrible thing to you before you died.  I didn’t kill you.  YOU killed you.  YOU chose to get into a car, loaded up on drugs and alcohol, careening into an oncoming truck, potentially robbing the driver of that car of being a good dad to HIS four children.  He was probably a great dad, just out for the day, driving to or from his job so he could get home to his wife and kids that he valued.  YOU, Dad, were the bad guy in this scenario…so why am I feeling guilty?

Because words spoken cannot be unspoken.  Simply put, you can’t un-ring a bell.

And of course, Derek has forgiven me a million times for not having a baby sitter to go out on other nights.  So why is this one eating me up…getting the best of me?  Because this particular night…he killed himself.  How could I have possibly known that your request for my time was to be spent talking you out of ending your life?  You were a drug addict.  You put those drugs in your body.  You chose to take more than your body could handle.  You died.   I have to continue living knowing that if something would have changed that night, it could have altered the course of your life.  You might still be here. 

Then again, you might not.  And, as I always said, you were dying since the day you were born.

Only this time, you took my heart with you.

Why am I angry with myself, when you chose to make me walk in the pain of losing you over what I will only ever believe could have been “fixed” had I just been there.  Why shouldn’t I be mad at you, Derek, for causing me this never ending grief and turmoil over those last moments?

Why?  Because you’re not here.  I am.  And you can’t blame something that no longer exists.

So, how do you get through the guilt?  You don’t.  No matter how many times people say, “don’t blame yourself”, it’s hard not to.  It’s hard to gloss over the obvious…that the last things you said to these people are what you are going to have to live with.  It’s strange.  Most of us don’t even recall on a day to day basis what the last thing someone said to you was.  But, let that person die…and suddenly, you have no recollection of anything else but that.  I can scarcely remember any other words uttered between Derek and I, or my father and I, save for those last words.

Why do I only dwell on the fact that the day my precious dog, Snoop, passed away, I was too busy with work to give him a little pat on the head before he went to the kennel?  We were leaving for vacation that afternoon…and I was so busy playing catch up, I just yelled out, “Bye Snoops!”   I never got up from my desk to give him a hug and a kiss. 

And now, he’s gone too.

I can flip the switch on this, you know.  I can remember my best friend Norman dying.  I held his hand.  I kissed his lips, dry and cracked as they were, as he lay in a hospital bed while the leukemia ravaged his already small, frail body. He knew I loved him desperately and he said to me, “I’m not afraid, you know.”  I said, “I am.”  He said, “Don’t be.  It will be grand.  Gay pride day in Heaven, can you imagine?”  The vision he conjured in my mind of angels in rainbow wings and gold lame loin cloths made me laugh out loud.  He laughed too, and that laughter is what I remember.  That, and my husband leaning in to kiss him goodbye.  I will always remember those moments when I think of Norman. 

Then, there’s my grandmother.  I can remember stroking my grandmothers hair just a mere few months ago, her telling her that she loved me so much and patting my cheek.  I knew at that moment, I would likely never see her again.  She was so sick.  The dementia and the Alzheimers were eating her mind and body away slowly.   But I was there.  I held her.  She knew she was loved…and she was able to let go.  She usually asks me when I leave, “are you coming back soon?” to which I always reply, “Of course I am, silly.  I love you!”  But this time, she didn’t ask me.  She just smiled at me and went back to sleep.  Maybe she knew she was leaving…maybe I did.  I pulled a flower hair clip from my own hair, and put it in hers. 

Maybe that was our goodbye. I don’t know. 

The mind chooses to remember what it chooses to remember.  Sometimes it is terribly cruel.  Other times, it is graciously merciful. It shames me to say, I barely remember my son, those last moments before I had to hand him away.  I barely remember his face.  I don’t remember the smell of his hair or the feel of his fingers wrapped around mine.  There was no time to remember.  No time to ingrain that moment into my memory.  And, ironically, I find that to be both cruel and merciful. 

So, how do you get through the anniversaries of the deaths of those we love?  How do we stop the self fulfilling prophecy of relegating yourself to a life of wallowing in guilt and anguish for the things we did or did not do while that person was still alive? 

The truth is, we don’t. 

We make mountains out of molehills in our minds.  And, on the opposite end of that, we make molehills out of mountains…just so we can cope.  We have to force ourselves to cope in the best ways we know how.  For some, it helps to allow yourself a day of grief.  It almost feels contrived.  I felt great yesterday.  I will feel great again tomorrow.  But, right now?  Right now all I feel is pain, devastation, anxiety and the ever looming fear that I will add something else I said to that list of regretful final words. 

It’s truly a source of anxiety for me.

The other night, on Facebook, my son wrote a status:

“I don’t think I can deal with this.  Please tell me this isn’t happening again.”

I read it at 3 am and immediately, I flew into panic mode.  To hear your teenager say, “I don’t think I can deal with this…” conjures up every news article we have ever read as parents of teens taking their lives over things that would scarcely disrupt the life of an adult.  I knew from that statement, something had happened between him and his girlfriend.  Did she break up with him?  Did she cheat on him?  Hurt him in some way?  Is he REALLY not able to deal with it?  Am I going to go to bed tonight and wake up in the morning to a phone call that he was found hanging in his closet, a note to his girlfriend on his bed and his Facebook page open to a status that says, “goodbye”?  Sleep was done for me at that point.  It wasn’t going to happen.  I was FAR too afraid that if I go to bed, when I wake up in the morning, I will hear those words that no mother ever, ever, EVER wants to hear.

I’ve already heard them once before.  I couldn’t live through it a second time.

Admittedly, I panicked hard.  I called his fathers house, where he was staying, at 3 am and crying into the phone, begged my ex husband to please, go check on him.  Make sure he’s asleep. Please watch him.  Please keep an eye on him. 

Because in my heart, the terror of “last words” looms large.

It is terrible to be a slave to what if’s and what could be’s.  Yet, I still find myself scared to death of those last words before someone leaves the house, hangs up the phone or walks away from me.  It is my own cross to bear, my own personal problem that I have made into a much bigger monster than it honestly is.  But, when you are living a life that includes a lot of loss, you can’t help but feel that way sometimes.  Especially after a fight with someone. 

So, ridiculous as it may be…I make sure that I tell everyone how much I love them.  It’s really something we should practice any way, the fine art of letting the people in your life know how much they mean to you.  It should not take estrangement or death for those words to finally find their way to your mouth.  It should not take fear.  Instead, it should be part of living.  Nothing is more important in this world than the love we take and the love we make.  Nothing.  Mistakes become regrets very quickly and while I know I can’t walk around 24/7 telling everyone what they mean to me, I can make sure that the people who are in my life daily know how well loved they are…so that if their time should come, or mine…we all can remember that our last words were “I love you”.

They say that there are some things that should just go to the grave with you.

“I love you” should always be one of those things.

song inspiration
“it’s only love. it’s only pain.  it’s only fear that runs through my veins…
it‘s all the things you can’t explain, that make us human.

RIP Derek Wollen, the inspiration for this post…and the pain that accompanies it.
August 25, 1980 – November 15, 2007  i miss you so much.  so, so much.

And to Debra Wollen, who left to find her son on November 24th, 2007. 
A mothers love leads to a mothers death.  i pray you both found each other…and peace.

We’re talkin’ panties. No boys allowed…

unless you are a cross dresser, transvestite or drag queen.  Although, I would imagine the latter two would already know these tricks.  For some reason, drag queens know more about undergarments than the average biological woman does.

In that case, this article is for you, Frump a Dump.  We’re talking bras and panties here.  Sit back, take notes and then, go evaluate your lingerie drawer.  There will be a quiz at the end of this lecture, Bitches…so absorb!

Those of you who read regularly or know me “in real life” know I am a pretty fashionable chick.  I love fashion. I live for fashion.  I eat, breathe and sleep fashion. The only thing I don’t do is fuck fashion.  I save that kind of love for the Hotband exclusively.  Though, I do make sure to be fashionable WHILE fucking, if that accounts for any thing.  Bra and panties must not necessarily match…but they must be attractive.  Alluring.  Eye candy.

I am a big advocate that sexy starts from the inside out and that goes for clothes too.  If you start with a base of sexy lingerie, your “feel good” will shine through.  It’s always a sexy start to a great outfit.  When you throw on your basic frump a dump white sports bra and a pair of your big ol’ granny panties, you are starting with a canvas that just screams “I am going to feel shitty for the rest of the day.” If you start with a sweet lacy bra and a cute tanga panty or a flirty pair of boy short panties, you are going to have a sexy secret with you all day long.  Plus, you never know when your partner is going to grab hold of you for a “nooner” or a “quickie”.

Do you really wanna be caught out there in a pair of your oldest “Hanes Her Way”, with the tiny hole that lets two or three pubes escape?  The ones with the saggy, worn out elastic around the crotch?  Or, worse still…the ones that you wear during “that time of the month” that have the dark, shadowy remnants of all the times your pad didn’t do its job appropriately?

Don’t look at me like that. You know what I am talking about.  We all have a pair of those.

You should be ashamed of yourself.  Truly.

Once I had my hysterectomy, I threw out every single pair of underwear that qualified as “dust rags”.  Dumped them all.  Any thing that I purchased that came in a five pack?  Gone.  I figured, I am never going to destroy another pair of underwear ever again, ergo, I am going to invest in some of the prettiest panties I have ever owned.  I have tangas, boy shorts, T backs, bikini’s, high waist, french cut…some lacy, some in cotton, some patterned, some solid…but the one thing they all have in common?

They are all sexy.  All of them.  There will never be a time that I will be caught with my “pants down” (pun blatantly obvious) in the underwear department.  Same thing with the bras.  Girls, dump the bras that have twisted wires, an underwire poking through, the one that you pinned together because it’s your favorite.  Get rid of them.  All you need are two basic white bras, four basic nude bras and about four basic black bras.  Those are your staples.  After that, the rest of your bras should look like a circus threw up in your lingerie drawer.  Colors!  Lots and lots of colors!  Sure, with sheer blouses, these don’t work…but how often do you wear sheer blouses?  That’s where your basic colors come in.

And while we are on the subject of basics…here’s a tip for you, Sugar Tits.  White bras should only be worn under white blouses.  That’s it.  End of story.  Any other sheer blouses you own should have a NUDE bra underneath it.  You can even do a nude bra under a white blouse.  Same thing goes for your panties, doll faces.  Do not wear white panties under white pants.  It shows right through and draws a whole lot of attention to spots you don’t want attention drawn to.  Keep it nude.  Nude bras work under everything.  Don’t try to match your bras to your blouses.  For example…if you are wearing a sheer yellow blouse, don’t think you should wear a yellow bra beneath it.  It looks “udderly” ridiculous.  NUDE bras, girls.  Also, please…be mindful of your nipples.  If you have prominent nipples, do not wear a see through bra under your sheer blouses.  In the dim lighting of your bedroom as you dress in the morning, you won’t necessarily be seeing what all your co-workers will be seeing under the fluorescent lighting of your office.

The nude rule under sheer does not apply to black sheer blouses.  One would think this is common sense, but alas, it is not.  Black sheer needs a black bra.  Let me explain why.  We are living in a digital age, girls.  People are snapping photos all the time.  There is a horrible phenomenon called “headlights” and it is no longer the catchphrase for a pair of hardened nipples.  When a camera flash flashes…suddenly, whatever you are wearing beneath the sheer is going to become blatantly apparent.  Worse than your titties showing through your blouse is your bra being too light for the blouse you are wearing.  It makes these two “round disks” of light where your breasts should be.  This will end up on your friends and co-workers Facebook pages with all sorts of ridicule ranging from “nice high beams” to “look into the liiiiiight, Carolann…walk into the light!”

It is important to pay attention to your skin tone when dressing.  And while I am not normally one to endorse products I have not personally used, THIS website, called “My Skins”, offers you the opportunity to either download (not recommended) their color chart or order one by snail mail.  The reason I don’t suggest downloading the skin color chart is because if your computer does not have the right ink or the correct color settings, you are going to get skewed colors.  This chart will help you find the right color undergarment that best matches your skin tone.  If you choose to buy from this site, I will say, they ARE reasonably priced undergarments.  Their panties run to about a 44 inch hip (the XL is too small for me, but might fit some of you chicks with less endowed asses than mine).  Their bras run to a 38D…again, too small for me, but perfect for all of you who can shop Victoria’s Secret.  (You know what her secret is?  She has nothing in my size, that’s her secret.  Bitch.)  But, even if you don’t shop there…you can still use the color chart (free) to be able to match it to undergarments where you do shop.  I personally wear “Cappucino”…which is perfect for my olive skin tone.  Your skin color may vary. 

However, I have truly digressed.

The staples are the staples.  Every girl should have a base undergarment wardrobe that consists of neutrals that always work under the spring and summer lighter colors.  Where the colors come in are under things like tank tops, summer dresses with spaghetti or narrow straps or loose, flowing tunic tops.  There is nothing tackier than your bra straps hanging out from under any of the aforementioned things.  However, the way to go from tasteless to tactful is by using color.  If you are wearing a tank top with narrow straps and you are not a member of the itty bitty titty committee and can’t get away with a tiny bra, no bra or a strapless bra…you want to put on a bra with color in it!  Fun colors!  Wearing an orange tank?  Throw on a yellow bra so that if the shoulder slides away, you are looking at a pretty pop of color, not a dingy white bra strap.  If you make it look like you MEANT to make that sexy little fashion faux pas, it will be interpreted that way.

And, as everyone knows, perception IS reality.

PS:  The “pop of color” undergarment rule applies to casual wear. If you are wearing a chic little black dress or a formal white dress, keep your black undergarments with the LBD and a nude/white undergarment with the white dressy wear.  Do I need to explain this?  From the looks of what I see out there in the world, apparently, I do.

Wearing a black tank top?  Sure, you can grab your basic black bra.  But, if it slides to one side, everyone now sees that your tank doesn’t fit and you are not fooling any one with the black bra on.  Instead, have a hot pink bra on!  Pop of color!  Fun! Flirty!  A hint of color is sexy.  Trying to conceal a tank that is too big on you or doesn’t fit you correctly with a bra of the same color looks exactly that way.  If you have a tank that isn’t fitting you correctly, the correct remedy is…BUY THE RIGHT SIZE, Dumbass.  But, if you insist on wearing an ill fitting ANY thing…let me let you in on a little secret.

Camisoles.  And no, we ain’t talkin’ about your granmama’s camisole.  Not some lacy, slinky thing from the 40’s.  We’re talking a basic, cotton, thin strapped camisole.  Yes, it means layering your bra, your cami and then your tank…but at least you look appropriately dressed and not like you are trying to fit into something that you bought when you were 20 pounds lighter. Use them.  Have them in every color of the rainbow.  They cost barely more than $10 at Old Navy in all size from size 0 all the way up to a size 28. No excuses, girls.  Get them.  Use them.  Please.

The point is, if you start with a sexy base, you will feel good in what you wear all day long.  There is a lot of truth to the adage that beauty comes from the inside.  That applies to your clothing as well.  If you have a sweet little secret under your clothes, you will have a sly smile on your face all day long.  You will have this gorgeous air of confidence and radiance that will make you look tremendously better the whole day through.  When you feel better about what you are wearing, you will walk with an air of confidence that is immediately apparent to others.

You’ll know you’re doing it right if men ask you for your phone number and bitches talk about you behind your back.  And for those of you who are already happily paired off…if your significant other decides to treat you to a little “afternoon delight”, you will already have the right gear for hittin’ the rear, ya know what I’m sayin’? Hm?

Remember, the right ‘tude will put you in the right mood.

And, remember what you’re mama always told you…you want to have on clean underwear if you are ever in an accident…or want to snag yourself a hot paramedic.  Either one works for me.

Stay sexy, bitches.

CP.