Who Me? Change? Never.

I don’t write parenting posts because having a kid hasn’t changed me.

img_1540

Bahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahaha!

Change, you ask? First, now I wear high-waisted jeans and think they’re the “bomb.” Kill me… no, don’t! Please don’t do that EVER! I have a baby now and I need to be right here for him forever.

Did you just read my light-hearted joke and the fact that I immediately retracted it in fear that someone would read that seriously? Like the Universe might not get that I was joking when I said, “kill me”and just might send in the Grim Reaper??? Did you just read all that? Yeah, that’s new. New panic. Death – in jest or in reality – has me very anxious now.

Also, every time I hear the word “kill” in a children’s movie or cartoon I think, “SERIOUSLY?? I DON’T WANT THAT WORD AROUND MY KID! WHY DOES HE NEED TO HEAR THE WORD “KILL” FROM A DISNEY MOVIE… OR EVER? HE DOES NOT NEED THAT WORD IN HIS LIFE!” I would rather he say the word “fuck” by mistake than the word “kill.” I mean that. But please don’t let him go around saying the word fuck either.

If I wasn’t clear, I’m trying to say I have changed and mostly for the better… (whispers) in my honest opinion.

For example, I don’t put myself down so much anymore, especially about the physical things, like my face…or my body image. Because my son is beautiful and I want him to grow up without insecurity and self-hate. I want him to see himself (and he will see a lot of his mom in him) and know he is perfect the way he is… because he is. So I try harder to feel love for myself so he’ll know how to love himself, too.

And, I don’t care as much about the things I cannot change, instead I concentrate on those things I can

I cannot change the fact that Trump was elected president, but I can be an active participant in making sure our country isn’t devastated by the actions he and his merry band of thieves try to enact.

I cannot change the way some folks see me or feel about me, but I can change the way I feel about it.

I cannot change the fact that I am an aging actress who has not yet met her big break, but I can change the way that sentence reads: I am an actor who has been so lucky to work and continue to pursue work with the same enthusiasm I’ve had from day one.

I have better insight now because I see the world through my son’s eyes, everything is new and shiny, and bright and I don’t want to take that away from him ever.

I’ve changed, yes, becoming a parent has made me a little soft (both physically and emotionally), it has made me brave, and most importantly it has made the important things far more evident than they were.

Just in case you were worried there were only good things, here is a list of the bad things that have changed since becoming a parent:

  1. I have no patience when my husband interrupts my five minutes of alone time (which is also known as Mom’s Shower Time) to brush his teeth, pee-pee, or bring in our toddler to say, “hi.”
  2. I do not have time for stupid people now. They used to be amusing, now they’re just a time-zap.
  3. I eat painfully, horribly, and without structure and it sucks, but we’ll get back there Food, we will.
  4. Dates nights are near non-existent.
  5. My clothing money goes to a constantly growing toddler.
  6. I worry a lot more. Yes, it is possible.
  7. If there’s a poopy odor, it’s usually because there’s poop… on me.
  8. Everybody wants to know when I’m going to have more babies. This is annoying. I do not need to have another child to be a good parent or fulfilled mother and if I do have another child I don’t have to be the one that carries it (I can adopt/foster/or trade) and frankly you either only have one more child than me or have no children so WTF? Step off. Thank you.

Life is good.

As I Ramble On…

I’ve tried writing a blog post so many times this week. Between work, Jack, life, and family visiting it has proven to be nearly impossible. Those are excuses. I know. But it’s also a lot of truth.

A promise is a promise, though and so I shall write a post and in the spirit of multitasking I will also write my grocery list. I need help…

Grocery List:

Healthy Snacks (whatever that means, I’ll know it when I see it)

Fruit, Fruit, Fruit, but nothing that’s not in season because that just gets left for the gnats

Vegetables… what can I buy and let rot in the fridge drawer?

Protein – are we pescadorian? Are we trying for vegetarian? Are we eating meat? Absolutely no pork ever, that’s just not happening.

Milk – Whole for the baby, but are we back on Almond?

Half and Half I need the fat in my coffee, I don’t care if I’m lactose intolerant or not, just get the half & half.

Yogurt – full fat, YOLO!

Cottage Cheese? This is not a substitute for actual cheese.

Cheese – Sliced, Shredded, a wedge of goat’s milk gouda, string for snacking? Is this a lot of dairy?

Hummus – all the hummus.

Lettuce! I know the last bag went bad, but we’re working a lot. I just want to eat salads all day. Every day.

Kidney Beans for salads.

Tuna Fish – unless we have some, make sure to check before we leave (I know we won’t. This is why we have like 12 cans of tuna)

Ice Cream? No.

Cookies – Biscotti is not a cookie, it’s a compliment to my coffee

Pitafor all the hummus… or should we get veggies?

Eggs – I wish we could afford the brown ones they sound more humane

Meals for Jack – what does this mean? I’ll think of it when we’re there. Technically this means meals for all of us, but you know it’s important he eats well rounded and balanced meals.

Chips? Okay, but sweet potato chips, less sodium… and I don’t know… So, Salsa?

Pasta – lots of it. Gluten free, full gluten, stars, let’s just get all the pasta, Jack loves pasta.

**AND make sure no register impulse buys today. Dammit Trader Joes you make checking out impossible.

 

Someone Stole A Towel

3332e5238659a1b6115fe907e33b69a7Someone took a towel.

We’ve all done it before. Taken a towel from a hotel. Most of us out of necessity, but someone took a towel from the AirBnBeeber.

Someone stole a towel.

Writing the word “stole,” sounds a bit savage, premeditated… aggressive even. I actually do not think that it was aggressive. No, this was not an act of malice, I’m positive. And I’m 73% certain that this was an isolated incident by whichever individual took the towel. However:

Someone did pilfer a towel.

Listen, and I’m serious now, you don’t accidentally pack a large, fluffy white bath towel in your overnight luggage from your AirBnBeeber without noticing. No, you take it, snatch it, loot-abscond-with-nab-heist-borrow-it, but you do not accidentally pack it.

Like I said, we’ve all taken a towel from a hotel before. And honestly, for the most part, hotels are big corporations, not people, and do not notice a towel missing here or there. In fact, I’m pretty sure they have it fixed in their quarterly budgets to replace overused and missing towels. Just in case this is a bigger issue for corporations than I am giving credit, for those of you working in Hotel Hospitality, no need to correct me. I’m sure your loss prevention team has made all staff very aware that towel disappearance is your major expenditure and you need to nip it in the bud. But that’s off topic, let’s get back to the little guy and why you should not steal my towels at the AirBnBeeber.

Towels are expensive. Like very. If I didn’t put nice linens, fluffy soft, clean white towels in the unit, you would leave me a low rating, a less than five star review and I would suffer bookings all on account of the fact that I didn’t provide nice towels. So you get nice towels, and I got robbed.

There have been toilet paper thieves, excessive coffee pod thieves, sugar thieves, books and game thieves, and now towel thieves. You guys, seriously, even purchased at Costco towels are EXPENSIVE. Please stop stealing towels.

I have been trying to put myself in the shoes of the abductor, like, did they get take-out and spill some dark sauce and use the towel as a rag to sop it up. Embarrassed by their mistake they took the towel to leave no evidence behind?

Did they wash their underwear in the sink and it didn’t dry before they left so they took the towel to wrap up their damp items?

Or did they decide on a last minute trip to the beach before their flight when it occurred to them that they had nothing packed for a beach stop so they took a towel, but just one to share, out of courtesy as to not steal two towels. Maybe I should thank them.

I don’t know. I don’t know. I don’t know.

If you’re a towel snatcher, hotel robe abductor, extra soaps on the maid’s cart pilfer and feel you’re entitled because it’s there, here is a little sage advice – AirBnB is not for you.

And if you’re a compulsive towel snatcher may I suggest you start traveling with your own towels? Yeah, just pack one from home. Then you won’t feel the need to borrow (never to return) your host’s.

 

Confession of a Bully

In kindergarten I remember a kid I’ll call Marcus. What a jerk that guy was. I mean, sure, he was a 5-year-old jerk, but a jerk’s a jerk, right? Marcus was always throwing his weight around, knocking people’s blocks over, stealing milk and cookies, always climbing up the slide the wrong way so no one could come down…. Okay, I’m a little hazy on the details. I was a 5-year-old too. Point is: I have this memory of a feeling of, That kid’s a mean Jerkface and I don’t like him and I wish I could just beat him up.

So I did.

One day on the playground I walked right up to him and I pushed Marcus as hard as I could and I knocked that little sonofabitch right on his ass. And yeah, all the other kids on the playground saw, and erupted with boisterous reply. And if memory serves, I might have been hoisted on some 5-year-old shoulders and carried around the see-saw for a victory lap as the ticker-tape fell from the sky.

Thing is, what I don’t remember is the why. I mean, sure, Marcus was a big fat Jerkhole, and deserved all of the wrath and fury I could muster. But I don’t actually remember him doing anything to me. Nor do I specifically remember him doing anything to anyone else – not that day, anyway. Nothing that I could point to and say “that is the reason that I did this.” My action sort of stood on it’s own as an independent, isolated, 5-year-old-JERK move.

A bunch of years went by. Meek, skinny, puny years. Not that the years, themselves, were puny – I was just puny during those years. And other kids… weren’t. During that time, a club emerged amongst my peers, and the club had a name: “The Bathroom Beatdown Club.” Not the most imaginative of monikers, as it was a fairly explicit description of the club’s purpose and primary activity. Generally speaking, members of The Club would position themselves – sometimes hidden, sometimes in plain sight – in the lavatory, and wait for a non-member to arrive. Sometimes non-members would enter on their own, with their own agenda, as it were. Other times, they would be… lured. In either case, they quickly realized when the door slammed shut behind them that this would not be the bathroom experience they had anticipated.

Now before you go conjuring images of prison yard shankings and dropped soap fantasies, let me put your imagination at ease. I went to what is considered one of the finest private all-boys schools in New York City, and while we had our bullies, they all still hoped to get into Harvard some day. So while nobody left the bathroom bleeding, there were definitely some hidden bruises, vicious wedgies, and neckties soaked in urinal water.

I guess I was one of the lucky ones. I had my run-ins with The Club, but not often, and was never too badly abused. Over time, I got a little less puny and a little more beefy, and actually did a half-way decent job of fighting back. I actually became friendly with some of The Members. Friendly enough, that at a vital moment I received a Tip.

A new boy (we’ll call him Garrett) was being initiated into The Club. Initiation worked very similarly to active membership, except you had to carry out the Beatdown on your own. Now, Garrett’s worthiness of membership in this very exclusive fraternity was questionable at best. He was athletic, sure; but more of a running track or gymnastics floor routine athlete. So when Garrett was stationed away in the toilet, a Representative of The Club approached me with an invitation to join him in the bathroom for something “really cool.”

I know. Tempting, right? I mean… how often do you get invited to participate in something really cool? And in the bathroom!

I declined.

He insisted.

I resisted.

He persisted.

So I confronted: “Why? You think I want to come to the bathroom so I can get beaten down?”

And he confided: “Look, it’s Garrett in there. Just him. You can take him.”

And you know what? I knew he was right. I took off my sportcoat and hung it on the back of my chair. I unbuttoned my cuffs and rolled up my sleeves as I followed this harbinger to my fate. As we arrived at the door, I exhaled, then filled my lungs, and pushed. It swung open freely, revealing the empty space, and Time took a time-out. The odor of ammonia and pine penetrated my sinuses and lightened my head. The echo of the dripping faucet slapping the porcelain sink reverberated against the beige tiles that spanned the room. The steel stall doors hung ajar, revealing grimy latrines that seemed to wear hungry open-mouthed grins. I exhaled, and crossed the threshold.

The door clapped shut behind me.

The lights went out.

In darkness, two hands clasped my shoulders. Garrett’s hands. And I was ready.

I beat the crap out of Garrett that day. And you know what? It felt damn good. And you may be thinking, ‘that’s not bullying – that’s standing up to a bully.’ And you’d be right, if that’s where the story ended. But stories rarely end when they stop being told.

You see Garrett didn’t get to join The Bathroom Beatdown Club that day. I did. And while I was never quite as active a member as the psychopaths who founded that obscene institution, I was a participant. I was given the option to be a bully, rather than be bullied, and I made the easy choice.

I have a young son now, and while our conversations mostly consist of me pleading with him to take a nap so I can finish writing about my experiences with bullying; before I know it, the time will come to talk about how he should handle bullies, and how he should not bully others. And I’ll be honest here: I’m really not sure how that conversation’s going to go. I hope I’ll steer him in the right direction. I hope he will heed my good advice. But I also hope he will tactfully reject my more foolish ideas, in favor of his own better instincts, whilst skillfully placating my tender ego so I can feel like I did a good job as a dad.

College Dorm Life – Rough

I’m going to die of heat exhaustion. I can’t breathe. Is SADS a thing (Sudden Adult Death Syndrome)?

Those were the most prevalent thoughts I can remember from my freshman year in college. Waking up in my pitch-dark dorm room to the sound of any one of my three female roommates performing fellatio… oral sex… giving head, to a strange (and some-what stinted) male cohort.

With the spine of an ostrich, I would quickly, quietly, pull my comforter up over my head and shallowed (is that a even a verb?) my breathing so as not to draw any attention to the fact that I was awake. I would stay there, sweating through my pajamas in my saturated bedding like a frightened child without bladder control.

My hair (now matted to my forehead and neck) started producing droplets of sweat on it’s own, one drop after another slowly started down my brow and splash, splash, splash they fell into my eyeball one after the other. Why wasn’t I blinking? Were all my reflexes shutting down? Panic consumed me and I would think, I’m going to die.

I thought it so loudly, projected it with all my might that surely one of them would hear me and stop what they were doing. If not from embarrassment, then from knowing they were about to kill me. How did they never hear me thinking!? How did they not hear the loud pounding of my heart, the echoing drips of my brow sweat or the sloshing of the pool created in my bed from said sweat!? Were they deaf? I can still hear my heart pounding like an echo from the past. Loudly.

So, suffocating, wet, and unable to sleep I schemed how I would get back at them for attempted murder.

And just as I’d figure out how I would build my time machine, go back to the beginning of the night to give a strongly worded speech on basic roommate etiquette, I’d pass out.

***********************************************************************

I thought I would love my first college roommates. I thought we would form bonds that would last a lifetime. On move-in day, I walked into our itty-bitty, teeny-weeny dorm room and thought, “this place is huge!” There were four beds, four desks, four dressers, and a bathroom. It was twice the size of my room back home (that I shared with my sisters) and had one bathroom to share between the four of us which were way better odds of ample bathroom time, than the single bathroom I shared for eighteen years with six people.

As my father and I dragged in the second hand, faded black, military duffel bag with it’s duct-taped handle (which until very recently I thought was actually ‘duck tape’ and could never figure out the connection between ducks and adhesive so I finally gave up), we heard three voices heading into my new dorm room.

With self-assured and measured pacing, three women (not girls) appeared. “Your bunk is there. That’s your dresser, your closet, and your desk. We put stickers on our items in the fridge,” said the tall blonde one.

“We have a fridge?” fridge was all I heard. It was mini, brown and the top worked as an extra shelf for what appeared to be a very thin, artsy, glass-vase (which I later found out was a bong).

“Well, we, rented it from the university along with the microwave. If you want to use them, you’ll need to chip in for the rental. Didn’t you read the welcome pack?”

Truth be told, I skimmed it. The welcome pack arrived late – only a day before move in, along with my decision to go to this university, so I was behind on everything. I had, however, memorized the names of my roommates, their interests, their parent’s professions, and of course each of their majors:

Kelly: Played on her high-school field hockey team, fought for the right to try out for the wrestling team, and won, but never played due to no guy ever matching her weight class. She out weighed them all and she wasn’t fat. Kelly’s father was a Waste Management Engineer… I’m still not sure what that means, but I watched Soprano’s and decided it was better not to ask. Kelly’s chosen major, Early Childhood Education.

Amy: Played on her high-school field hockey team (and was Kelly’s teammate). She and Kelly grew-up three houses away from each other and have been friends since birth. Amy’s long-term goals were to teach art at the pre-K level, open an art gallery in her industry-deserted hometown, and travel to the Louvre. Amy’s father was a Human Organ Transporter. Soprano’s, Soprano’s, Soprano’s. Amy’s chosen major, Art History.

And lastly there was Rebecca.

Rebecca: Played on her high-school soccer, volleyball, and girl’s basketball teams. Rebecca turned her life around after being caught using marijuana on her high-school campus 180 times (that’s everyday for an entire school year, people). Realizing the ill affects of her choices, she became a teen mentor to other kids heading down the path of marijuana addiction and was awarded a full scholarship to university for her humanitarian work. Rebecca’s mother was a CPA, a single mom, and grew marijuana for medicinal purposes. Rebecca’s chosen major was accounting.

I picked up the end of my duffle with the duck duct-taped handle and commenced dragging it sluggishly toward the empty bed when Kelly, tall blonde, grabbed the center handle, picked up the bag with minimal effort and tossed it onto my mattress. My father and I stared in awe.

If these were your average college freshman, then I needed a couple rounds of steroids and a few more years of hard living to catch up in stature and confidence. I stood alone next to my bed and as I turned around I saw the three of them, Kelly – tall and blonde, Amy – equally as tall and brunette, and Rebecca – oddly short with the thickest, longest, curly locks I’d ever seen – standing shoulder to shoulder assessing me. They stared me down like an opponent, they were the defensive linemen and I was the quarterback in the end zone missing her team. I immediately labeled them: Ladies-I-Would-Not-Want-To-Meet-In-A-Dark-Alley.

***********************************************************************

As I lay, once again, trapped there in my bed pretending to be asleep for the twenty second time that month, I pulled out a mini Three Musketeer bar from the stash I’d begun keeping in my pillowcase. I quietly, expertly unwrapped what may have very well been the last thing I ever ate, as surely this may have been the night I succumbed to the lack of oxygen in the coffin that was my bed. Then I heard it, for the first time, someone spoke during this nightly ritual, “Open your mouth I need to cum,” strained, impatient, urgent and then silence.

NO MORE. My moment was now. The point of no return, I sat straight up, dripping sweat from my soaked head and I turned on my reading light, opened a book and began to reading. No mouths would open again that night, but a deep cleaning of someone’s bed sheets was in order.

The next day, after my classes, I returned to my dorm room to find my duffle bag packed, less my reading lamp – which lay, purposefully destroyed atop my bag, and a note that read:

“You should find a new place to live.”

Cycling Through That One Relationship

10482455_10152975622434418_2079828188648728613_nIn the current atmosphere of sharing and sisterhood I will tell you a story that is both personal and uncomfortable.

Before I met Jason I was in a brief relationship with someone I referred to as my boyfriend. Our interaction lasted for about eight months. Leading up to our first date he had made several awkward and endearing attempts to flirt with me over the course of about two years, but I was too obtuse to notice.

A friend, that knew us both, had clued me in on the secret and encouraged me to go out on one date. She, at the time, thought very highly of him. And since I thought very highly of her, I agreed to go on one date.

Very quickly, too quickly, one date led to two dates, led to three, and so on. You know how these things go. He was charming, shy, and smart. I am a romantic, open, and very empathetic. He acquired his adjectives through practice and I earned mine because of a deep desire to connect with people. His gave him an advantage; mine got me in trouble.

Like many relationships, the beginning consisted of lots of dinners where there was a lot of wine. After a glass; often two, I was light-headed and giddy and listened with much intent as he poured out his pain in a broody, rugged, very masculine way. He told me about his previous, and only, two relationships. He’d been in love with women that didn’t appreciate him. They didn’t appreciate the amount of time he invested in his future, or his passions. They didn’t appreciate the home he worked so hard on, or his career, or his body. They took for granted the life he was willing to share with them. They had both left him without a word. Vanished, leaving nothing but a Dear John on his mantle. Two Dear John letters, from two different women, to one man.

These were clues and I admit I was guilty of ignoring them. It was easy to ignore the bad things he said because he said them while floating between French and English. And with the most mesmerizing French-Swiss-American accent. I mean, it’s tough to hear words when someone is speaking so beautifully. All I heard was music.

When he drank he would cycle through mood changes quicker than a post partum, first time mom. He was always boisterous at first, then sad, sad turned into anger, and eventually he was tired and cuddly. I thought he was working out some demons that the alcohol was surfacing, but don’t we all have demons? Don’t we all get a little sad or angry when we imbibe? I brushed it off. I didn’t want to see the bigger picture. I just wanted it to be easy. He was, after all, highly respected in his career, held an MBA from a prestigious university, and was almost ten years my senior. I promised myself he was just working through some “stuff” and it was only when he was drinking… and of course at this point there was always drinking involved. So I made a silent pledge: no alcohol on our next date.

I should have recorded myself and played the tape back. I should have listened to me. I should have left then. Right then. But I didn’t, because we had an impromptu trip planned overseas, and a huge hiking weekend coming up, and we had just bought theatre tickets and well, there were so many commitments already made.

I was not desperate to be in a relationship. I loved dating, meeting new people, the adventures. I did not suffer from any relationship co-dependency. I was not in love with him, not yet anyway, not ever that I can remember, though I do think I had love for him. The thing is, I didn’t listen to the warnings because I wasn’t taught to. I was taught to think of the women that dated him before me as crazy. That the behavior his previous girlfriends exhibited was erratic, wrong, bitchy. I was taught not to trust them, but to sympathize with the broken hearted man in front of me. He was too good for them.

Then something happened. Something that forced me to pay attention. We were cycling through the hills. He became competitive, angry, wanted to race up hills, and down long winding paths. I giggled and took my time, thinking it was a game and silly. And when I smiled and laughed at his taunting, he took it as a personal affront. He started screaming at me. Bellowing from somewhere deep, yelling things like, “YOU’LL NEVER LEARN!” And when I didn’t respond after nearly ten minutes of his berating, but instead turned around to leave, he rode his bike straight into mine knocking me down to the ground.

My shins were badly scraped and my knee deeply bruised, but I stood up, picked up my bike, shakily climbed atop, and headed in the direction of my car. I couldn’t hear him yelling; the wind was strangely quiet, and my heart was pumping very hard and fast. I felt his presence behind me, following me, and I thought I could hear him calling out my name; softer now, and caring. I pedaled faster. As I approached my car, which was parked in his driveway, he quickly approached me and swiftly herded me inside the house. I wanted to run, but I didn’t. I also wanted him to be sorry. And for a moment he was.

It was a “mistake,” he said. He’d had a “hard day,” and a bad call with his “troubled mother,” and it came out “wrongly on you,” he said. And then came the remorse, almost rehearsed, articulate, astute: “Please” would I stay and let him “prove” to me that “this isn’t who” he is. “Haven’t I ever been angry and made a mistake?”

Yes, I had, but I’d regretted those mistakes. And my mistakes happened while I was a child, not a fully cooked adult.

We’d been dating for four months now, and he insisted I knew him better than this one action. And I thought maybe I did, maybe this was an isolated occurrence.

What I told myself in that moment was I knew I would never be a woman in an abusive relationship, and no, that’s not what this is, no, no, no. That’s preposterous. No. No. NO. Maybe he didn’t knock me off my bike maybe I stumbled against the curb because he rode too close. Maybe it was an accident. Maybe he was coming over to hug me and I misinterpreted the whole thing. Maybe it was an honest mistake.

And so I stayed. I STAYED. Not because my knee hurt and my shins stung. Not because I was being held captive. I stayed because I felt bad for thinking he was abusive. And if I left after such an ordeal – him unscathed and me bleeding – he would think I didn’t believe him. It was only one mistake, and he wasn’t a bad guy. Would a bad guy be drawing me a bath and putting ointment on my injuries? Everybody thought the world of him, and so I wanted to as well.

Things were normal-ish for a while. We both worked a lot, so our limited time to hang out became fodder for his testy remarks: “You don’t want to be seen with me, you must be ashamed of me.” And, “I’m a much more important person than you, just because you are busy doesn’t make you better than me.” Or my favorite, “If you don’t pay more attention to me I may have to start dating one of the many other girls that like me.”

I was nonplussed by his remarks. They were juvenile and stemming from his insecurity, and I just let him throw his tantrums and then I would coddle him back to happy by showering him with compliments. I would tell him how handsome he was, how dashing. And I would tell him the thing he needed to hear the most, “It gives me such a great sense of pride to be seen with you; such a handsome and accomplished man.”

Gag.

This was the glue that held the relationship together and admittedly I got a rush fixing us. Once we were back to happy I felt myself walking on eggshells trying not to enrage him while he basked in the warm sun of his own ego.

Why didn’t I break up with him? I should have, so many times. I wanted to and he knew it. But I felt trapped…because we worked together. In the same building, for the same company, crossing paths all day long. Which is worse than breaking up with someone you live with. Once you leave someone you live with, that’s it. It’s final, done, unless you want to see each other. Breaking up with a co-worker is difficult, messy, and you spend more time in each other’s space than you do at home.

To my credit, this is why I had purposely remained obtuse to his flirtations for two years. I did not want to be aware of him. I did not want to have a relationship where I worked. Not at all, not ever. It is also the precise reason I made him promise that we wouldn’t announce we were dating to coworkers, or to anyone at work, not until the relationship was serious; not until we’d been together for at least a year. I wanted to keep my personal life segregated from my work life.

Obviously he felt differently. Unbeknownst to me, he had told people all over the building: the receptionist, my clients, V.P.s, the cafeteria staff, his carpool, anyone whose attention he could hold for thirty seconds.

I was not flattered. I was upset. I was embarrassed. I was betrayed. My trust had been violated. However, I carried on at work in the same manner I did before he and I dated and before anyone knew.

His volatile behavior escalated with each passing week. If I did not allow him to steal kisses in elevators, or meet him for coffee breaks when he demanded, or respond to his inter-office messages immediately, he would pull me outside the building and question my loyalty while demanding an apology for not being available at his beck and call. I reminded him I had a job, and a demanding one at that, and the building was filled with my clients. He reminded me that he ranked higher than I did. That if I didn’t stop being a “Bitch” he would make it impossible for me to work on my accounts that he oversaw.

His complete arrogance and the sense of entitlement he felt over me made me feel like a hostage. I felt I had to keep the peace and I prayed he would break-up with me so I wouldn’t lose my job or have to quit.

We went on a trip; a six hour drive up to the mountains. When we arrived at our destination he drank and quickly became upset. There was no one thing I could say correctly to avoid the anger that came as a postrequisite to his drinking. When morning rolled around he was still feeling disappointed, hurt, wronged.

“You’re just like everyone else. You don’t get it. I could be somebody,” he muttered to me, to himself, to the empty room.

I wanted to leave, but instead he left to go ski and I stayed behind, under the guise of writing. I called hotels, no vacancies. I tried busses and trains and car rentals. There was nothing. NOTHING. No escape.

When he got back we went to dinner. He drank some more. He became agitated and loud. I sat silently, waiting out his storm. But the storm didn’t pass. We got back to the condo and he helped himself to another drink, and got angrier. I left the room to separate myself and made a phone call. I would wait out the storm away from him. He came up the stairs. I set the phone down. His face was red from the blood rushing to it, his anger seething. I approached him, gently asking if he was okay, I was legitimately concerned and with one exhale he came toward me, picked me up and threw me clear across the room where I crashed against a wall and then plummeted to the ground.

I was whole, not bleeding, and nothing was broken, so I remained calm. I asked him to leave and he tried to throw my suitcase off the second story balcony into ten feet of snow.

He left the room and I locked the door behind him.

His articulate, astute voice replaced the rage as he tried to get back into the locked bedroom. When it didn’t work, the anger resurfaced. He was on the phone, speaking in French with someone. I understood very little, but recognized the tone of the voice. He was talking to his mother. He came back to the door demanding I open it or as his folle mère advised him to, he’d have to “slap me into submission.”

The door remained locked until morning.

 

I made it home. I broke up with him. I told him to get mental help.

He didn’t acknowledge our break up. He relentlessly made excuses to talk to me. Not because he was sorry; I don’t believe he is capable of empathy. He needed to win. And I’m not sure what winning “looked” like to him, and I didn’t want to find out.

After weeks of his relentless pleas to speak with him, I gave in. It was just easier. He wanted to tell me the following:

  1. He’d seen a therapist at my behest to “win” me back. The therapist diagnosed him as being “of superior mental health.” That he was not a candidate for therapy. And that he should break up with me immediately for suggesting he needed counseling.
  2. Didn’t I see that we were supposed to be together? Couldn’t I see the future, a wedding, a baby?
  3. Everything was my fault. I provoked him to feel a great deal of animosity.
  4. Why did all the “girls” he dated treat him like this?
  5. His mother was right, he should only date very young women that were not pressured by their biological clocks. And that he should have slapped me and thrown me off the balcony.

I could go on, but it would just get really repetitive.

So I gave him what he wanted. I told him what he wanted to hear. I told him he was the best thing that had ever happened to me. I’d learned so much from him. That I wasn’t enough for him and his mother was right: my need to procreate had indeed made me and all other women of menstrual age unbearable. He indeed did deserve better. I told him I thought his “therapist” was correct to suggest he break up with me, and that it was an inevitable conclusion.

And that was it.

One week later I found out he was dating a young woman, almost twenty years younger than him, at the office. She had just graduated… undergrad.

I wanted to warn her. I wanted to tell her. I wanted to give her my number in case she needed help.

When she would see me she’d unashamedly run in the other direction. She refused eye contact. And she glowed with pride when she held his hand around the office building. He frequently strutted her past me with purpose.

It wasn’t her fault she didn’t trust me; she wasn’t taught to listen to the women that came before her, either. Maybe she was riding the same cycle I had. Maybe she still is.

Thankfully I rode in a different direction.

It’s Not Happening If I’m Not Watching, Right?

Because this week has been difficult and I have found too many tears flowing and the rain is relentless and is quite literally breaking my very old house, I have decided to forego a traditional blog post and leave you with my new recipe for happiness.

img_2970

1 Cup of Hot Coffee

1 Scoop of Mint Chocolate Chip Ice Cream

2 Ghirardelli Chocolate Mint Squares

1 Can of Whipped Cream

1 Magical Unicorn Mug named Clark

Pour hot coffee into Clark and stir in the ice cream and then stir in 1 chocolate mint square. Add whipped cream to top. Add 2nd chocolate mint square to top it off… or drizzle with chocolate sauce or sprinkle with chocolate chips – your call.

img_2971

Next, sit down, exhale and enjoy. It’s the small things after all. 

See you next week.