Words vs Actions and all that matters

Warning: I'm in a mood.

Why? I can't really tell you. I'm enjoying a rare day off. The summer school office gig ended yesterday and there are a few days before the Back To Life/Back To Reality 2018 tour begins. School secretaries are a good-natured bunch but we do have a reentry process that sometimes involves salty ire.

So yes. I'm in a mood.

And while in this mood, I happened to be looking through a pile of mail that one of my roommates/offspring brought in and left in the living room.

A J Jill catalog (WE MISS YOU JENNY lolol I bet you do, Jill)
A once-in-a-lifetime-offer from Xfinity (maybe once in my lifetime you can offer internet that doesn't blow, xfinity!)(also that doesn't cost a metric shit-ton of cash)
Oh! And what's this?
A letter from the University of Minnesota. Addressed to my ex-husband.

We've been divorced for a long, long time. Almost as long as we were married! And this wasn't an important letter. It was an advertisement, really.

But it was addressed to him. He's never lived here. I don't want to get into all the psychological stuff about moving on and getting over it, but I will say that it does feel good to be able to finally see his name and not feel anything other than annoyance. His presence in my life has gone from scary brain eating zombie to small mosquito and like Kramer going commando, I'm lovin every minute of it.

So no, seeing his name on a piece of paper in my quiet, peaceful and love-filled home didn't push me down a rabbit-hole of sadness and anger like it used to do. It did, however, cause my eyes to roll a tiny bit and for my mouth to open and the following mutterings to tumble out:

why am i still getting that dipshit's mail?

These words were spoken softly and without intention to be shared with any other living being besides my faithful pooch who shadows me on these days off like it's his job.

I didn't realize one of those aforementioned roommates/offspring were awake and within earshot. Oops.

For a second the shrill judge and jury voices of the Greek internet chorus rang through my brain.

omg jenny that's their FATHER you're talking about
never ever ever ever badmouth the other parent it will guarantee that your children will be irreparably damaged and probably become terrible humans
oh honey you gotta love your kids more than you hate your ex
high road high road high road high road infinity

They rang for a sec and then I shooed them outta there.

My kids are all chronologically grown. They are all over 18. I did a good job of holding my tongue for many years.

One dipshit does not equal years of badmouthing. So I let it go. I told those voices to leave and I also told them this...

The fact that someone's sperm found an egg and fertilized it does not make them a saint. Nor does being the owner of that egg and growing a human being. The title of Mom or Dad does not equal Superhero, folks. If it did, we'd not be able to exhale without breathing on one.

I am one hundred percent behind the whole "watch what you say around the kids" sentiment. It's truth. Speaking as a child of divorce, I can testify to it! My own mom, rest her soul, used to say some pretty awful things about my dad. And I can remember every single syllable. So I took that experience and tried my damnedest to not hit "rewind" on history. And I think I did a passable job*.

I am also one hundred percent behind the whole "actions speak louder than words" sentiment. It's truth. Speaking as a child of divorce, I can testify to it! My own dad, who is alive and kicking, never said one bad thing about my mom. Nothing. And if anyone had the right to complain, it was him. He fought for custody and lost, and then saw his ex and her lover ride off into the sunset with two confused kids. He took in one of those confused kids when she got tired of being hit and needed a safe place to live. My dad and I aren't as close as we should be but that's because I'm a messed up human and not because of anything he did or said.

My mom was a good person. I loved her. But she wasn't a saint. My dad had his faults too but he wasn't deserving of the awful things my mom said about him. As I grew up and lived more life I realized these things. Realization came a little late and it will haunt me for the rest of my days. There were years I took my mom's words as the gospel truth. I don't hate her for it. I know she was flawed as we all are.

But now I see those past words and actions and I know better.

*I haven't been perfect. I have made mistakes, some huge ones, many small ones. But I know better and so I try to do better.

There are many of you who are in the beginnings of your divorce story. You will receive lots of advice, whether you want to, or not. Oh you'll get it.

If there's one thing I can add to that avalanche of warnings and proselytizing and inspo, it's this:

Watch your mouth. But watch your actions just as closely.

Both matter. And both will leave an impression.


Lonely Head Seeks Chest

You know how it is when you read something that creates such a vivid mental picture it actually freaks you out a little bit? Like, whoa, where has this jabby shard of melancholia been hiding?

I'm just about done with the first true page-turner I've read this summer, "Final Girls" by Riley Sager, and there is a short passage in it that shook me right to my spinster core. It's a scene where the protagonist is seeking comfort from her almost-fiance:

"I press myself deeper into Jeff's chest, his tie slick on my cheek. He mistakes it for distress, which I suppose it is, and holds me tighter. I let myself be held, turning inward..."

That's all it took to send me into a semi-hypnotic state, momentarily, while my brain traveled back in time. Which time? I'm not sure it was any specific one, it almost felt like a "best of chest resting" collection. All the times I was close enough to someone to feel their heartbeat in my bones, hear the warm comfortable rumble of a deep voice at its wellspring. Maybe it was some sort of throwback to childhood and the memory of my dad picking me up, carrying a sleepy little me from the car to my bed. Or the countless times, over the years, of falling into a blissful slumber accompanied by the cadence of a lover breathing in and out.

Whatever it was, it was so clear and so strong and left me so specifically LONGING. Normally this stuff hits me with a little generalized angst, you know? Like a vague sort of wanting, missing.

It dawned on me that the act of resting my melon on a man's chest is something I really love to do and something I apparently miss. Quite a bit. Reflecting on the spastic attempts I've made to mate over the past few years, it occurred to me that I do sometimes attempt this maneuver but am usually thwarted by a: a reluctant/non-compliant chest (or else we're sitting up which is just kind of awkward) or b: focusing too hard on being quiet (the hazards of cohabitation with adult offspring and one overprotective dog).

It's almost enough to lure me back into the dating scene. Almost. Just the thought of finally having a home plate again, having that security and hearing the vibrato of something that's not running on two AA batteries...but then I remember.

Fun single gal looking for dude with chest

I remember that in Dating Years I am approximately the same age as Gary Oldman in Bram Stoker's Dracula and I remember all of the horror stories about men my age who will not even glance at a woman unless she's barely into her thirties. And the all-too-familiar tale of married guys who are just looking for a piece on the side or the ones who seem like they're all that and the proverbial bag of chips but then end up ghosting you.

I remember all of that and it suddenly seems like so much work for such little reward. Finding someone in my age range who isn't just a player or who isn't married or who isn't an emotionally stunted scaredy cat is akin to finding that perfect pair of jeans: we all know they're out there, dammit. They're just so hard to locate!

There's this old song by the group Cracker, it's called Low and I will admit it to you all, I love it (oh early 90's you were so awesome). It pops up regularly in my ears while working out and I hardly ever skip it. My favorite verse in the song is this one:

A million poppies gonna help me sleep
With just one rose that knows your name
The fruit is rusting on the vine
The fruit is calling from the trees

"The fruit is rusting on the vine", my goodness I don't know if there's ever been a more apt description of what it's like to be a middle aged single woman. Sometimes I wonder if that's just how it's going to be, me hanging here, going from ripe to withered to dead on the vine without being able to share it all with someone (god help me for using this word) special.

It makes me think about our time we have on this planet and how we choose to spend it. Perhaps that temporary longing is something I just have to learn to live with. Or maybe it's something I just have to heed.

Yes, my friends, I got all of this from reading a tiny snippet of words in a book about serial killers.

It is exhausting being me.


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