Monday, January 21, 2013

The 1001 and the Blessed Silence.

There is only so much you can do when you don't have somewhere to go everyday: a job, a place, a purpose.  After breakfast has been made and eaten, after the coffee has been drunk and the pot has been cleaned, what do you do?  The house is tidy beyond recognition and you've cleaned out every closet - twice, boxes have been packed and labeled, items have been sorted, cataloged or discarded. You've bagged and donated all the clothes that fit you 17 lbs ago.  You canceled your gym membership and allowed your yoga studio contract to expire.  None of the 103 people you've "friended" on Facebook have posted anything in hours; probably because they have jobs and responsibilities. You've already had the same argument about your failing marriage with your Mom that you had the day before.  She still thinks you should move to Ohio so you'll be "nearby". (shudder at the thought).  You've visited all the memorable places from your childhood: the house you grew up in, your high school, Scargo Tower, Nauset Beach, Princess Lake, Nickerson State Park.  You've hiked for hours on the nature trails and run for miles down historic Route 6A.  Your passion for cooking and food, which use to border on obsessive, has been reduced to homemade soups, oatmeal and the occasional inventive sandwich.  You.Are.Bored.

What do you do while fate decides your next step?  Well, I'll tell you I won't be sitting in Starbucks listening to bad jazz and whiny housewives - like I am right now.

Before the apocalypse, (aka - quitting my job, the removal of my soul by my in-laws and the eventual destruction of my marriage), my mother had asked me what I wanted for Christmas.  I always have to think of an item because asking for a gift card to a clothing store is wrong in her book.  You cannot "open" a gift card.  She cannot watch you enjoy a gift card.  So, to appease, I asked for a book I'd been eyeing;  "1001 Books You Must Read Before You Die".  This was something I could accomplish unlike the "1001 Place to Visit."  I am not going to Antarctica. I don't care how cool it would be.  
I've read over 20 books in the past week.  Mostly cheesy romances with a few thrillers thrown in.  I recently donated my entire collection - minus a handful of favorites - to a local library.  Over a thousand titles in mint condition are currently shelved for public pleasure courtesy of yours truly.  How the hell could I pack and move that many books anyway?

The other day, I cracked the spine of 1001 to see what it was all about.  I thumbed by pictures of classics, foreign novels and new age hooey.  I noted the ones I had read in my youth - my grandmother was a teacher so summer reading lists weren't so much "suggested" as they were mandatory. Books have always been my first love.  They were a means of escape, a chance to have different lovers, to visit the unknown and to be someone else if only for a few hours. This past month they have been a sanity saver.  As I work to unravel, pack and put to rest the last 14 years of my life, books have been there to soothe me.  The well known characters have welcomed me into their complicated lives.  I  have been present while they work through their problems - more often than not, these problems are more complicated than mine. After all, I didn't just find out there is a murderer on the loose who is stalking me while I'm trying to figure out the dark and complex past of the mysterious stranger I just met at my new job as a fashion photographer.  And I thought my life was stressful.

The most important part of this literary therapy is the silence.  The calm, cool silence.  During the past few months, I have been overwhelmed with advice from every person I know.  Everyone has an opinion and each person has taken a side.  Everyone knows someone, who knows someone who has been through something similar but not quite the same thing as what I'm going through.  Won't I listen to their advice?  Maybe I should see the same marriage counselor they used.  You know, it really worked for them.  Well, it worked for 6 months and they eventually got a divorce and are married to different people now.  But, you never know, it could work for you.

The characters in the novels never ask me questions.  They never take sides.  They don't want me to move to Ohio. The only advice they offer is their experiences.  They are blissfully silent.  Comfortably silent.  Soothingly silent.

967 to go. I have started with "The Elegance of The Hedgehog" by Muriel Barberry. I come

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Operation: Sweatpants

2 1/2 weeks.  That's 18 days.  Or it's 432 hours.  More seconds than I can figure out with a calculator.  It's a hellava lot of time.  Something close to forever.  That's how long I've been free.

People handle major life changes in numerous ways.  Some curl up in a ball and hide from the world.  Some become so depressed they eat the left side of the McDonalds menu on even days of the month and the right side on odd days.  Many go on drinking binges until their friends cart them off to AA.  Some go about life appearing unmarred until they have a nervous breakdown in the cheese section of the grocery store because they are suddenly out of Jarlsberg. (To the staff and onlookers at at Trader Joes, I'm so sorry...again).

I wear sweatpants.

To be fair, these aren't just any ordinary sweatpants nor are they those ridiculous things from Victoria's Secret with "Love" or "Pink" splashed across my derriere in rhinestones.  Don't pretend those pants are comfortable.  Sitting on a rhinestone barb is not a thing I want my ass to experience.  Those little teeth catch on everything and I don't need to dislodge myself from the afghan every time I need to refill my glass of Merlot.  These sweatpants are years old and perfectly broken in.  Some are stained with red wine, chocolate or some other mystery food that I found myself craving on a dark and stormy night.  My favorite pair has a hole in the crotch and the draw string is missing so I need a safety pin to hold them up.  They were once bright red but have faded beautifully to a soft, rosy pink.  They fall perfectly to my ankles leaving the tiniest amount of skin showing in between the hem and my slippers.  They look smashing when paired with my sisters college roommates sweatshirt. (Honey, you are never getting it back). They have the sex appeal of garlic breath and make my ass look misshapen. Sometimes you need to be comfortable to let your mind do some serious thinking.  The rattier the pair of sweatpants is, the better.  Throw your hair in a ponytail, wear your glasses instead of contacts and don't wear make up.  Allow yourself to cry when you want to, laugh when you feel insane and eat whatever the hell you want.  Healing is hard.

Why sweatpants, you ask?  Well, I might relate it to the episode of Friends where Chandler is in his sweatpants stage.  Here it is if you haven't seen it.

I've been back from my Florida vacation for exactly one week.  Or as I like to call it: Eternity While Babysitting Your Friends' Pet Rabbits and Living in a House You Use to Call Home But Now It Is More Like A Place You Live With a Guy Who You Use To Call Your Husband But Now He's Really Like a Roommate You Avoid Because The Sight of Him Makes You Angrier Than Lindsay Lohan At Last Call.  Yes. That is my current life situation.  At this very moment, sweatpants and wine are a staple and my God given right.

To quote the biggest, whiniest bitch in history: "After all, tomorrow is another day".  It may or may not include sweatpants.

Photo credit:  Who knows.  Found it on the internet when I Googled "depressed woman in sweatpants"
Video credit: