Today we'll be celebrating Independence Day here in the good ol' USA. We'll all gather in various backyards, at lake cabins, at parks. We will barbeque, we will drink cocktails, we will talk about the weather. We'll shoo kids away from hot grills, give them sparklers and watch them play in their red white and blue t-shirts, dresses and rompers. Hopefully we'll all take a few moments out of the day and pay our respects to those who have given us this beautiful independence.
As for me? I'm going to be doing some work, and then heading over to my friend's house for a cookout. The kids have been with Big Daddy since Friday evening. Yes, it's another holiday weekend without my kids, another chance for me to wallow in my loneliness. Another chance for me to dwell on how unfair and sad life can be.
And that's how the weekend started out. Friday night I had an...um..interesting experience with a friend. I'm not going to delve into that right now, but I will say that it left me feeling all sorts of things: awkward, annoyed, confused. It made me think about how ironic it is that the minutiae of female friendships remain unchanged through the decades, and how you can still feel like a dorky, forlorn 17 year old even when you're 44. I took a long walk the next day and in my head, composed what I'm sure was a brilliant blog post about friendships, the rules of friendships and how we obtain and compartmentalize our friends and friendships throughout the years. I promptly forgot 90% of this brilliancy. Note to self: write this shit down when you think of it, or start carrying a dictation thingie.
Anyhoo. That situation kind of pushed me down toward the drain of pity that I usually swirl around on the holidays that I'm "alone". If you know me, or have read this sad diary, you know that I have issues with this particular slice of divorce pie: the holidays. By far the worst side effect of divorce for me; yes, even worse than the financial castration, the social stigma, the emotional trauma caused by infidelity...it's like someone beating you nearly to death, letting you heal up a bit, and then coming back to jab at you periodically over the years. Six days throughout the course of the year when you are hit upside the head with the fact that you're divorced. It's the cruelest part of divorce, I believe. A parent having to spend a holiday, even a psuedo holiday like Labor Day...away from their kids simply because the person they chose to breed with turned out to be an oaf. I hate it. I'll always hate it. That's just how it is.
So. I spent Saturday doing my very best Greta Garbo impersonation until even I got sick of me. I watched a very good, but very sad movie ('Rabbit Hole' with Nicole Kidman and Aaron Eckhart...so good I stopped wondering what the hell Nicole has done to her face within the first 10 minutes). I watched a very stupid, but nice to look at movie ("The Romantics" with Katie Holmes, Josh "Why can't you have a thing for older, squishy divorced chicks" Duhamel and a few other pretty people. Dumb, dumb movie. Dumb.). I ate cheese and crackers for dinner. I made egg salad with green olives and Ling Ling Potstickers from Costco. And yes, my house did smell like major dirty butt for a bit after those last two. I had a Skinny Girl margarita, which I so desperately want to like but just can't. Sorry Bethenny. I may have to start my own line of margaritas. Maybe call them "Fat Girl Margaritas" or "Thick Waisted Margaritas". Whatever.
I let myself feel bad. I even let myself cry in the car while on the way home from getting my favorite McDonald's pairings, the large sugar free vanilla iced coffee alongside the grilled chicken Southwest salad. Yes, I just admitted I eat McDonalds. Do you still like me? I sure hope so.
So I boo-hooed, I vegged out, I ate my feelings. Par for the course. But this time I gave myself a time restraint: one day. I allowed myself just one full day of moping. Because I'm tired of dreading holidays like most people dread root canals. I'm tired of watching other people have fun and being holiday-ish and happy. I know that this is something I'm going to be dealing with, long-term, but obviously the way I'm handling it isn't working.
I have been neglecting my eBay biz for quite some time. During the school year I was working almost full time with my regular paraprofessional duties plus the extra work subbing for special ed., the preschool and kindergarten. Ebay took a backseat. But I still shopped for inventory when I had the chance. Shopping for eBay inventory is almost therapeutic for me. Back when I was married, Big Daddy would let me out now and then. I felt tremendous guilt for wanting to get away, so I appeased that guilt by turning my alone time into inventory shopping time. Most chicks would go out and get their nails done, meet friends for lunch, go to the gym. I crawled the thrift stores, church sales, consignment shops. I'd come home relaxed, smelling a little bit like nursing home, and stockpiled with used clothing I'd turn into income for our family. The whole two-birds-one-stone thing.
So I now I find myself with racks and bins full of clothes ready for eBay (all laundered of course...my bedbug paranoia has made thrifting difficult but not impossible). My office was stuffed with it. Now that school has been out for a month, and my last paycheck from the district has come and gone, it's time to get cracking again.
On Sunday, I cracked. I steamed clothes, I dressed and undressed my mannequins, I took almost 500 pictures of inventory. I worked my ass off for the first time in ages. And guess what?
I stopped feeling sorry for myself. I began to understand people who work a lot, people who talk about these things called "jobs" and put lots of hours into them. Granted, my job is not traditional. There is no big office building, no commuting, no parking garage. I do it in my living room, usually wearing pajama-like clothing, the t.v. playing all the shows I've missed (Louie, Leverage and God help me...Teen Wolf on MTV). It dawned on me, finally, that idle hands, and idle brains, really are the devil's tools.
That night, I joined my kick ass nerd posse for trivia at Friday's. We laughed, we ate, we drank, and we came in First Place. I didn't think about being lonely, I didn't think about what my kids were doing, I didn't think about how everyone in the world but me is living life to the fullest. For the first time in ages, I started to feel free.
This weekend was a good one for me. I allowed myself time to mourn what's missing, but this time I put limits on it. It's my goal to be free of this holiday angst I carry with me. I want to be happy, I want to be productive.
I want to be independent. In so many ways.
Happy Independence Day to you all, and Happy Independent Weekend to me.
Please be safe!