Wednesday, September 28, 2016

Current Status: Overly Dramatic Will Ferrell

Today was not a good day.

Lack of sleep doesn't help.  It makes me more anxious, more certain that I've done something wrong, that I'm not good enough, that there is something inherently wrong with me.  It makes me reconsider every possible dark scenario, reinterpret every conversation, relive every mistake.  It at times makes me want to lash out, cry, or scream until I can somehow flush out the dark pit of emotions that's turning over and over on itself in my stomach, making pointless knots out of other pointless knots.  Or it makes me want to curl up in bed and cry myself to sleep.

It could go either way.  But given my current state of exhaustion, the latter might be the best option.

Honestly, I don't often feel this way anymore, so I haven't built up many coping mechanisms to deal with it when I do.  And when I used to feel this way, I would drink.  Or write confessional poetry.  And that wasn't exactly the best idea ever (the drinking or the poetry, for that matter).  So instead, I now feel a strange mix of adrift and sad and frustrated and am not sure what to do with any of it.

I guess that my new coping mechanism is writing about it in a distinctly non-confessional-poetry way.  But I don't particularly feel like dwelling anymore on how I feel.  I'm too tired, too entrenched in the sadness right now, whether it's even remotely justified or not.  On the other hand, it's all that's on my mind right now.

So.  I appear to be at an impasse. Gandalf is standing in the middle of the road, authoritatively slamming down his staff.  Can't go that way.  Can't go back.

Quite frankly, I miss last week, when I blogged about how on top of things I felt.  (Hell, I miss yesterday, when I only felt slightly neurotic and restless.)  Today is pretty much the opposite.  And I know that's life, and I know that's just the natural ebb and flow of days and emotions and various stupid bullshit.  I know that.  It doesn't make it suck any less.

I definitely think blogging makes me a little more aware of my mental and emotional states than previously, even if it makes me feel a little manic sometimes when comparing one week to the next.  It at least gives me a weekly check-in on what's been going on in my life, for good or ill. The last time I had similar anxiety compounded with sleep-deprivation was a little over a year ago, so that's not too terrible.

Moreover, it makes me at least attempt to confront my overwrought emotions and figure out what the hell is going on and what I can or can't do about it.  Because if I just say that today was shitty, that's not a very interesting blog.

So. Today isn't a good day.  So what?  The world hasn't stopped because I feel bad, or because I barely slept, or because I might start crying if you look at me the wrong way.  It just continues on, like every other day.

What can I do about it?  Besides getting over myself?  Not much.  Get some sleep.  Communicate better.  Post this stupid blog about my stupid feelings, even though I'd rather not admit how emotional I can be.  Ask people to send me pictures of cute dogs.  Look at pictures of cute dogs.  Knit.  Read.  The usual things that settle my mind and emotions.

Oh yeah, and try again tomorrow.

Wednesday, September 21, 2016

If the Shoe Fits

I feel remarkably on top of things this week.  This is possibly because my shoes match my travel tumbler today and it's giving me an unjustifiably inflated sense of having my shit together.  Nothing quite makes me feel so organized as a completely matched outfit, and that probably says something about my priorities.

It's not just that my outfit is completely on point.  I've also been fairly successful at meal planning (and, more importantly, meal making) the past few weeks, I've finished several long-overdue projects, I bought a daily planner, and Mark and I are coming so very close to making the perfect pizza.  I've had some much-needed days with nothing to do (which makes a world of difference) and Mark and I have had a few nights where we actually work on our own creative projects (which never ever happens).

The sense that I have it together is probably nothing more than a beautiful illusion created by the soft baby blue shade of my shoes (and tumbler), but hey, I'll take it.  It's nice to feel calm, albeit briefly, in the midst of busy season, the need to plan a wedding, and all the daily responsibilities of life.  If I can achieve that with a little outfit coordination and attempting to make sense of my life with an organizer, then so be it.  Judge me if you will.

To be fair, this is a far cry from how I felt last week, when I finally succumbed to the meltdown that I had been fighting for a few weeks.  But, I suppose that's just balance.  One week I'm a hot mess sobbing in bed for no reason and the next I'm content just to be color-coordinated.

More than that, I'm content to be in my relationship, in my job, and in my life.  Is it perfect?  No.  None of it is.  After all, I'm not perfect either.  But I'm happy.

I see so much negativity on Facebook and in the world at large that I'm starting to think that being actually happy is a rarity.  I'm not talking about being constantly, obnoxiously bubbly.  I'm not that either.  (Remember the sobbing for no reason that I mentioned earlier?  Remember my entirely dark blog posts about my abusive ex-husband?)  And besides, it would be insane.  So as much as I really, really hate crying and melting down for stupid reasons, it's necessary to balance me out so that I can also be really ridiculously happy for equally stupid reasons.

I just finished reading (well, listening to) Furiously Happy, by Jenny Lawson, and she talks a lot about this.  She suffers from a lot of mental illnesses, including debilitating depression, but she still manages to do her best to enjoy the hell out of her life.  She's hilarious and sad and honest and truly ridiculous, and I loved listening to her narrate her own book.  She knows the value of celebrating the little victories in life, like leaving the house when you'd rather just stay home, and also of staying home in bed when that's really the best possible decision to make.

I like celebrating the little things that make me happy.  And I like not judging other people for the little things that make them happy.  We're all just trying to get through this life, why make it harder?

And so I am unashamed of the things I like, no matter how silly you might thing they are.  I'm not ashamed that I love the city of St. Louis.  I'm not ashamed that I'm ridiculously in love with my fiancĂ©.  I'm not ashamed that I often stay home with my dog and my cross stitching rather than going out.

And today?  I'm not ashamed of how pleased I am to be so color coordinated.  

Not one bit.

Wednesday, September 14, 2016

My Best Friend's Wedding

I have a confession.  Maybe more of a disclaimer.

I've never actually seen My Best Friend's Wedding.

I started to watch it ages ago.  I was at some sleepover, possibly for Girl Scouts, and I can just vaguely remember the opening sequence.  But that's it.  I don't remember who gets the guy or who gets married or doesn't get married or anything.  My strongest memory from the night is dancing around with the other girls there and being told that I "spin too much" when I dance.  (Well, years later, my nickname in pole dance class was The Spin Queen, so take that, bitches.)

Obviously, this post is not going to be about that movie.  Or about spinning.

It is, however, kindof about pole dancing.

Or at least it's about one of my best friends, who I would never have known if it weren't for pole dancing.

I've known Jessica for around seven years now.  I've been friends with her and Sandi since I impulsively decided to take a pole dancing class after seeing Michelle Mynx perform at a burlesque show (which I also went to rather impulsively).  You can read more about pole dancing in this previous post.

We've traveled together, partied together, performed together, and supported each other like friends are supposed to do.

And, last Friday, Jessica got married.

I'm not going to lie, it was the best wedding I've ever been to.

This is not to say that all the other weddings I've been to have sucked.  They haven't.  But this one managed to surpass them all, in spite of the two reception venue changes and all the regularly scheduled wedding stress.

What made it so great?  Well, it wasn't just because I got to hear one of my poems actually read aloud to an actual audience (even though that was truly incredible and I didn't once tackle the officiant to read it myself).  And it wasn't just because I got to go on a tour of The Fox Theatre and be a complete theatre geek and fangirl about being allowed both onstage and backstage. 

And it wasn't just because the bride wore black and a lesbian burlesque performer married them in the lobby of The Fox (though that probably helped some).

Gorgeous photo courtesy of Carrie Meyer at Insomniac Studios.
It wasn't even because she had two photobooths at her reception (or that I ran one).

Instead, it might be because I've rarely seen two people so well-suited to each other.

And it might be because I'm finally coming more fully around again to the idea of love and marriage, particularly of love and marriage between two best friends.  And that's exactly what Chris and Jessica are.  They are best friends as well as lovers.  They cosplay together.  They're crazy cat people together.  They enjoy each other's company, while fully realizing that neither one of them is perfect.  They are geeks and nerds of the highest and most excellent level.  And they have the creepiest bathroom I've ever been in.

(And they let me come over and watch Game of Thrones.)

I may be cynical and judgmental about many things, but I can't be about Chris and Jessica.  They are one of the most genuine couples I know, and I'm so very glad that I got to be a part of their amazing day.

And that I got to be able to make a zombie wedding cross-stitch.  You know, priorities.


To be honest, it's been a long time since I've been able to actually enjoy other people's weddings.  Back when I was unhappily married, I always felt a strange sense of loss when my friends would get married.  I think I subconsciously knew that they were about to experience something I never had, and I was jealous of how happy they looked.  I didn't know how to be a part of that, even though, in theory, we were all part of the same "club."

But Friday?  Friday was different.  I'm not the cynical, unhappy person I once was.  Or, at the very least, not as cynical.  I'm not jealous anymore, not looking for anything missing.  It's a nice feeling, really, to be more fully part of someone else's happiness instead of envious of it.

Mark and I have decided that there's little point in anyone else ever getting married after Chris and Jessica.  There's no real way to top it, in my opinion.  Mark has declared that he's not even bothering to wear a suit for our wedding, just a T-shirt with a tux printed on the front.  (I think we all know that's not actually happening, but I can understand his sentiments.)

So, our wedding won't be like Chris and Jessica's.  And that's fine.  Because it's not a contest for me anymore.  And for that I'm so incredibly grateful.

Wednesday, September 7, 2016

When Pizza Isn't Enough: Making a Love that Lasts

I love pizza.  (Okay, most food.  Practically all food.  Whatever.)  But pizza is up there.  I like it in nearly all its many and various forms.  I'll even tolerate Imo's if I'm in the right mood for really shitty pizza.  And yes, I know those are fighting words for some people.  I make no apologies.

Mark and I have practically made a study in local pizzas over the past few years, both together and separately.  We haven't hit every pizza joint in town, but we've done some damage.  We've bounced around here and there, been obsessed with some places, and been disappointed one too many times by others.  We've tried to find good bad pizza.  We've eaten pizza out of desperation.  We've compromised on toppings.  We've both made our own pizzas, experimenting with crust and sauces and toppings.  I've deemed him the resident pizza expert, due to his past work experience at Pizza Hut.

I've even eaten pizza while drinking champagne with my divorce-maids after wrecking my wedding dress.

Last week, Mark made what is (for now) my new favorite pizza: sausage and cashew.  It's certainly not a combination I would have come up with on my own, but as soon as he told me about it I was intrigued.

And now it's love.

Like most love, it was unexpected.  I can't guarantee it will last, but it definitely seems to be something to build on.

Now obviously, pizza isn't love.  If you love me, you might make me pizza or bring me pizza, but pizza can't be the entire basis for a relationship.

... or can it?

Probably not.

So if pizza isn't enough, what is?

What makes for a strong relationship?  What sets apart that one pizza, er, person from all the others?

And what right do I have to talk about relationships, anyway?  There are plenty of jokes to be made about the divorced woman or man sitting around and giving marital advice.  After all, I'm divorced, which automatically means I failed at being married.  Right?  What would I know about a good relationship?

Well, I don't profess to be an expert, but I at least know what a good relationship isn't.  I know the warning signs.  I know the regret.  I know the unhappiness that comes from staying in something that is, at its very core, so incredibly wrong.  I know that I should have listened to the little voice inside me that kept whispering that I should cut my losses and run before it cost me ten thousand dollars and seven years of of my life.  I know what it's like to struggle almost daily to have a good relationship, to do everything in my power to not fail at being married.

But what about what it takes to have a good relationship is?  How do you build a love that will last longer than my first marriage, or at least longer than a good pizza?

There's so much that goes into it, and much of it subject to personal taste.  For me, a good relationship is being with a man who cares enough about me to consider my needs and to try to make our lives better, who believes in me, and who I believe in.  It's knowing that he has a good heart (in spite of what he sometimes thinks about himself).  It's the fact that everything in my life is better with him than without him.  It's the fact that I want to build a life and a home with him instead of trying to find my fulfillment outside of the relationship.

Mainly, I think it comes down to trust.  No, not crust.  Trust.  You have to trust that person.  And not just trust that they won't cheat or lie or steal (though those are all very important as well), but trust them with your whole self, with your secrets and desires and hopes.  You have to let someone else know you like no one else ever has.  The past three years have been a whole new experience in what intimacy really means.  It's not just sex.  It's emotional, it's mental, it's the whole vulnerable package.

It's a terrifying risk, the ultimate trust fall.  Because if they drop you, what then?

That's simple enough.  You pick yourself up and try again.  Or don't.  Be your own perfect relationship.  Order a delivery pizza and eat it all by yourself.

If there's one thing being divorced does make me an authority on, it's the fact that the end of a relationship is not the end of the world.

We all deserve good relationships, good sex, and good pizza.  While it doesn't hurt to have some bad every now and then, it shouldn't ever be something we settle for because we're hoping it will get better with time.  The good is out there.

Go out and try a little of everything until you find just the right one.