Tag Archives: break-ups

Stiff Nod to 2011. Open Arms to 2012.

(Heeeey- check out the new banner art by Will Manus, my funny, talented friend. It’s me! I’m on a horse. The Lone Rangerette. Let me know what you think.)

2011, you maestro of mania: I will not miss you, but I will take a moment to acknowledge the lessons you taught me (an abbreviated version, inspired by Squeaky Robot), before I move on.

1. Extreme activities are something I was not built for. I know what you’re thinking, 2011, that your predecessors 2005 and ‘10 covered this one, but those were snowboarding accidents. Totally different. Yes- ok, I did face plant and have my legs sail over my back and head in a scorpion move, completely reversing the c-curve in my neck; and then there was the cracking of my tailbone and hyperextension of my arm when I used it as a ski pole (to protect said broken butt bone as I fell), but I still felt confident this year when I signed up for volleyball and when I went indoor kart-racing with a friend. Joke’s on me. Strange sensation when a tendon snapped in my leg at volleyball, I could have sworn someone behind me took a swing at my calf with a baseball bat, but nothing could have prepared me for the special pain explosion when I nailed that wall karting. Ooo-eee bub. Knocked my helmet and neck brace clean off and then slammed my never-before-broken ribs into the metal kart frame with alarming force, changing that break status. I recall the race employee recovering my helmet some 15 feet away and mouthing, “How do you feel?” I replied, “I can’t hear you and my body is numb.” Which made him nod and slap my helmet back on my noggin. Race on.
2. I don’t have the attention span for kickball. Remember last spring, I was so excited to assemble my new portable grill for pre-game tailgates, delighted someone scored matching headbands for the team, and jubilant when I came across a pom pom in our team color, yet I groaned when I had to set down my Solo cup to head out to the field on game days. I’m hanging up my sweatbands for now and focusing my energies on upping the social event planning instead of converting a sporting event into one. Wisdom.
3. To say “no” and not feel badly about it. Also in the spring, 2011, you found me canoodling with an old flame who I’d been over for quite some time. Subtly, you smacked me in my conscience with the reality that he really did absolutely nothing for me, was a bit full of himself, and that I should not be spending time and/or energy on a relationship I cared nothing about. Excellent point, and I’ve taken it to task, also purging my heart and calendar from events or dalliances that leave me unfulfilled, bored, disappointed, or all of the above. Finding myself with loads of free time…
4. If it doesn’t have a sippy lid, I have no business drinking out of it or setting it anywhere near my electronics. I feel as though there may have been a gentler way of teaching me this one, you minx, but if dumping the contents of a 16oz Coke Zero all over the keyboard of my Dell Vostro was how you wanted to go about it, then let me at least thank 2010’s rationale that had me purchase full coverage. I mean, I typically do not drink soda, unless there’s booze in it, and I certainly never leave the cap off and set it next to my livelihood, so props to you, 2011, for seeing that coming and seizing the opportunity to school me. I hate you.
5. Perseverance. This one is a tricky bugger that you really spent most of the year hammering home and it will probably never finish resonating. Not ever. I finished the B-O-O-K the first week of June, which felt amazing for exactly 23 minutes. The sense of satisfaction swelled in a lot of places and I recall feeling capable of just about anything I put my mind to. I could do it, after all. I was a finisher, which I had never thought I could be before (Exibit A: a tattoo with only the outline of what it was originally designed to be; B: countless half-written manuscripts fizzled in my docs folder; C: hair that I keep intending to grow out and then hack off when it’s at the threshold, and D: many words often left unsaid when they shouldn’t be). Finished felt great. But those triumphant and boundless minutes were interrupted by a phone call that would hurt and rent me from my new-found  solidarity. That call would have me immediately on an airplane to the bedside of my best friend as she delivered her baby boy who’s heart had stopped beating. In all the time that followed, I would learn all the more how important it is to keep hanging on and hanging on and hanging on and…teaching yourself and teaching others you love how to start breathing again. How to open your eyes at the start of each day, get crushed all over with the immediate recollection of everything that’s gone wrong, and still will yourself to not only keep moving, but also to make everything you do matter, because it has to. There has to be some tangible impression, some outward sign that goes beyond eyes wasted with grief, to justify and testify that you’ve lost big and that it changes everything, and that you promise to make it count. That he lived. That you loved him. That his brief life changed yours. And in time, I have faith 2011, that the perseverance will pay off.
6. To be grateful.  The really good friends are the ones who will drive a couple hundred miles to wish you happy birthday, leave chocolate, wine, or flowers at your door when they know you’re sad or just want to show some love. They will call/text/come over when you’ve told them to get lost, cuz they know you didn’t mean it and actually need them now more than ever. They will also cook carbs to comfort you, ply you with just the right amount of hooch, threaten to hurt people who’ve disappointed you, and will lend a laptop cuz you’ve just ruined yours. They will sometimes swap tops in a restaurant, cuz you like theirs better and asked nicely. These friends will give you a look when you’ve crossed a line, will let you know when they love something you’ve written, and will say, “Hey, babe- you’ve got a little something clinging to your left canine.”
7. Metabolisms are not forever. And I can’t continue standing on the shoulders of a triathlon I completed 3 years ago. The effects wear off, and slowly but surely, your clothes get uncomfortable. Thanks for the push (out of my jeans) at the end of the year to finally sign up for boot camp. Here’s hoping last year’s injury tally carries over, meaning I’m safe for a spell.
8. Strangers are worth listening to. Remember when we were cornered by a lady at that hotel in Sacramento? Standing in a black velour track suit that fit 20lbs ago, she talked for an hour straight about her husband, her kids, her divorcee nephew that I should date, and her business ventures. And I listened, since there was nothing much better happening at the moment. At one point, while she was gushing about her affection for her husband (even after 27 years of marriage, she had a crush), she interrupted herself to tell me that she had a strong feeling about me. Out of no apparent place, she received a sense and blurted to me that February 2012 was going to be a significant month for me. Life-changing. She couldn’t get specific about whether I should be excited or filled with dread. Despite the several ways you tried to wire me for cynicism, 2011, I choose the former…and now walk brusquely toward whatever is next. Filled with hope.
So, while I would happily punch you in your sensitives for some of the harsher moments of last year, 2011, until you can’t see color, I’ll concede that there were important moments that will likely carry me through the years to come. On the whole, thanks.
Gotta tell you though, I’m pretty psyched that I’m through. Take it personally.
(I love your comments, so fill me in on some of your lessons learned in 2011.)
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Breaking the Rules (now what have I done?)

The end of April has come and gone and spurned May, like a little hellion what with tornadoes and dead terrorists honchos who’s name rhyme with “Obama” (hurrah on that last one). I sat and watched a week’s worth of these reports a bit like Amelie.   In the beginning of the film, Amelie (if for some reason you haven’t seen it, and I don’t think there is a reason not to) is a child who has been given a camera for her birthday instead of a baby brother. At first, she is so excited with the gift. She runs around her neighborhood capturing pictures of everything she loves.

Then one day, she takes a picture and two cars crash in front of her. Some jackass walks up to little Amelie and says, “Now look what you’ve done.” Poor wee thing takes this immediately to heart and runs home to turn on the tv. News story after news story reports various tragedies all over the world, which makes sense to Amelie, because she’s been taking pictures for a while now. She’s sitting on the sofa, huge remote clutched in both tiny hands, eyes enormous with shock and guilt, and shoulders slumped with the weight of what she thinks she’s done.

That’s how badly I was feeling about missing my April 30th book deadline.

I began thinking over all of the OTHER things I did with April, and I began to wonder if those had caused the problem…and if, generally speaking, the reach of inconsistency is broader than we think. The Butterfly Effect, basically.

The same question popped into my mind today as I put 25lbs of organic carrots into my trunk for juicing, and then drove across the street to grab a Rita’s (Ice. Custard. Happiness.) gelati before heading home. Am I toying with some master design when I slap convention and order in the face like that?

To encourage myself, I’m writing out the top five things I DID do with April, which did not include meeting my own deadline. In no particular order, they are:

1. Worked. I mean, it does take time, and this girl has got bills to pay.
2. Wrestled with life and relationship decisions. Since this is essentially what my book is about, I guess I was bound to start thinking about the topic sometime or other. Why not now, just as my deadline is RIGHT there? This ended up involving much brooding, listening to sad cd’s I haven’t seen since high school, and the inevitable late night, wine-infused, teary chats with my pillow.

3.  Juiced. Now, detoxing is a once a year thing for me, but just as the Lord has promised not to flood the entire Earth again, family and friends (especially Stephanie, who has yet to really forgive me for biting her head off for something trivial four years ago) have made me swear never to only juice, so it’s been one meal a day for me, and a second meal of only raw fruit and veggies, which has kept me balanced and from picking fights at random.

4. Started a new business.

5. Painted my toes, which is no minor thing after keeping tootsies corralled in the cave of close-toed shoes for a season. Cramped and with no sunlight, we all know the sort of disrepair that can occur and the undoing of that requires time, tools, and  muscle. I managed, however, and am proud to say I’ve been clomping about in espadrilles for weeks now.

All of this to say, it’s been a productive and distracting month, but I did write. And there are a mere 1,500 words left to be put down, so off I go…

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Dumping the District

I watched Alice in Wonderland last night. I just love watching Johnny Depp freak me out in new ways.  He’s a magnificent weirdo and I am smitten every time. It got me thinking of how I use the term “falling down the rabbit hole” to illustrate wandering into something unexplainable and so far away from where I originally intended to go, but exactly where I belong.

I’m diligently working on my manuscript (and by “diligently, I mean I wrote last week), which is about every guy who has been in my life, for any reason, and how they’ve contributed to my expectations and identity. The range begins with the usual suspects, such as family members and friends, to more complicated individuals who wrote poetry about my feet, proposed marriage in an Irish pub while reeking of sheep poo, and the classic Prince Charming who was and had and promised me everything, but simply vanished one day.

The more I write about the few aforementioned fellows that I had a relationship with, the more apparent it becomes that, things don’t often end the way we had planned (marriage….restraining orders…) and I’m tempted to feel as though it was a waste of time. What was the point? I’m back to square one. Nothing’s changed, when really, everything has.

I’m breaking up with DC this week. The District and I have been together for almost 4 years now, but I’m not the same person anymore. We both seem to want different things.  The 202 has been the facilitator of some my best kept secrets and he’s seen me through many a low time, and also been the one to bring me low once in a while. You know how relationships are. I can say, however, that it has been the most memorable affair of my life. I’m grateful for the good and the bad moments and I have learned so much. Here are some highlights:

I was driving near Logan Circle when I saw this man, clearly on a walkabout. Out of all the things wrong with this picture, I mostly wanted to shout, “Sir! Put some shoes on! I’ve seen people pee on the sidewalks here!” Second would have been to ask him if he could play a didgeridoo.

The Legwarmers at the State Theater. Best 80’s cover band in the land. Best hair. Best costume changes. Best out of shape back-up dancers. Reminding us busy upwardly mobile locals that we do, in fact, want to rock and roll all night…and party every day with copious amounts of Aqua Net in our hair.

(vepublicrelations.com)

Oh, Envirocab. Thank you for not reeking of month-old curry, nor having sticky seats. You are always on time, understand what I am saying, and accept credit cards. My first taxi experience, when I had lived here just 3 months, was trying to get from Adams Morgan to Capitol Hill on a Saturday night. Cabbies would speed away from me while I still clutched the door handle when I mentioned where I needed to go, so I ended up walking 1.3 miles in 3-inch heels and a fur-trimmed coat until an off-duty driver took pity on me and took me home. I thanked him profusely while I pried off my treacherous shoes and wiped my mascara-streaked face with the hem of my dress. He gave me the skinny on how to get a driver to take me anywhere and I gave him all the cash in my bag.

(blogs.mercurynews.com)

I was roofied for the first and only time at a black tie gala at the National Building museum. The theory is that the two crashers there, one in a powder blue tux and the other in a sharp black tux with tails…and no pants, were the culprits. Either way, I learned my lesson and have a healthy mistrust of men in silly dress clothes, unless I want to end up crawling home with my purse around my neck, asking trees for directions.

Even though I spent of my formative years in Great Bridge, a rural town in Chesapeake, VA, my first monster truck rally was in DC. When the trucks come to my hometown, everyone knows who the drivers are and come out to support their favorite while sipping home-stilled moonshine from a concealed flask, but in DC folks buy the $8 Miller Lite and pick the most outlandish fan in the audience to watch and cheer on.

I’ll miss playing softball on the Mall, at the base of the Washington Monument, while Marine One flies overhead and lands on the lawn of the White House. I’ll miss homeless people asking for a buck on my way to the Metro, while simultaneously carrying on a philosophical conversation with the invisible man beside them. I’ll miss the range of culinary experiences to be had, like wine tastings at Cork, greasy what-nots at The Diner, brunch with live jazz at Georgia Browns, 3 a.m. runs to Ben’s Chili Bowl, $7 curries and naan while watching Cricket on the flatscreen, Sweet Green’s yogurt, Cake Love, and Bistro Italiano with their 6 tables, rude staff, and the best Greek pizza anywhere. I’ll miss Eastern Market in the Fall, where they simmer apple cider in pots right on the street. I’ll miss the germy metro. I’ll miss free summer concerts in the Sculpture Garden. I’ll miss the fast and exciting beat of the city.

I’ve learned so much from you, DC, and I’m looking forward to seeing how you’ve changed me as I move back to a slower pace of life to a town where strangers say good morning as you pass by, people are slow to make changes, even for the better, they bring their children out to restaurants, and most acts of kindness are done directly to their neighbor, as opposed to through a charity organization. They also shop at Wal-Mart, on occasion. Thank you for everything. I hope we can still be friends.

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