Sunday, July 31, 2011

Gangs on trains. With bottles of vodka.

I've sort of had it, at this point.
No longer am I dancing happily in the living room, or gleefully proud of myself for each and every accomplishment. Right now, after a solid week of friends being too busy for me, (they do have lives after all, and I realize I sound pathetic that I want every one to drop everything, rush over here with some wine, a People magazine and a pizza- but I do. So there.) I have begun to fade in my resolve a bit. Friends always say: "Call me if you need anything." And I don't have the heart to respond with a teary: "BUT I NEED SO MUCH ALL OF THE TIME." The proper response for me is to say no-thank-you-how- lovely-of-you-but-no worries, when all I really want is a phone call from my front porch as a girlfriend has decided to come and spend the night with me badly painting our nails to an N'Sync album. But alas. I have spent the past week, staring at my walls, being brave.
Ok. Pity party over. Well, almost.
The other day I took a train in to the city and on the way home a group of guys boarded, clutching several 40's and a bottle of strawberry vodka. (I'm pretty sure they were a gang, but I say this timidly because I am aware of how WASP'y it makes me sound. But they were all wearing the same colors. Then again, they could have been coming back from a baseball game.) Anyway, it took them about 5 minutes to notice me and for one of them to yell out: "Hey! White girl!"

Let me just say I am pretty easy to spot on a train. Not because of my overwhelming beauty that is completely irresistible, but because I am usually staring straight at people since I lack basic tact. I cannot ever look away. If you look like a murderer, I will stare at you with wide eyes. If you are muttering to yourself, I will make direct eye contact. When I try to appear aloof, I usually end up doing something very weird that makes my inane plight to be incognito painfully obvious. I stare at the ceiling. I hold a book upside down while STILL STARING with one eye. I am such a creep. So, as I was staring at these very drunk, very imposing men, one noticed and started yelling. I got off of the train at the next stop. They followed. I got off again.
They continued to follow.

In all reality, I am sure they were harmless. They even offered me a swig of the vodka, but it being 2pm AND THEM BEING SCARY STRANGERS I politely declined by ignoring them whilst staring. Even if they were harmless, they were not giving up. I kept thinking that this would never happen if Brett was with me, but I had to shake that off. There was no time to panic. I could panic behind closed blinds later. I'm awfully good at that.

Long story short, I managed to shake them. One of the guys was so drunk he got stuck in the train doors and I was able to make a break for the sanity of a hobo commune above ground. And then, once I shook the hobos by tossing out dollar bills, I got in to my apartment, locked the door, called Brett and told him I was moving to be with him. I believe I said something like, "FUCKTHISPLACEIAMOUTOFHEREANDYOUCAN'TSTOPME!" You know, something really classy like that. He calmed me down to a point where my tears turned in to muffled, half-hearted snorts and I no longer felt so alone in the world. He is magical in that way.

The point of the story is this: life is hard. We can complain about it. Hopefully you have someone on hand to complain to with a People magazine in their hand to dry your tears. But, if you don't leave the drunk guys stuck in the train doors, and you let them attack you with strawberry vodka, it is your own fault.

Don't cry over what is missing. Celebrate the fact that you have someone to call, (even if you swear at them for the first 5 minutes.) We'll all get through this somehow.

It's all about the art of changing trains.

Saturday, July 30, 2011


I brushed my hair for the first time since Brett left. It happened this morning.

I feel like that is a blog post in itself.

Friday, July 29, 2011

Life Is For The Living. So Don't Be The Douche Bag Who Doesn't...Live It.

For some reason this one saying has popped up several times over the past few days, and all by different people. It has been spoken by ones I really love and cherish who are uplifting me during this difficult time; and it was spoken by the creepy serial killer when he saw me come in to class one day with sunglasses and a fist full of aspirin soaking in my Gatorade. Like I was even asking him. (See? So creepy.) Anyway, it made me think. And it made me wonder if I was really utilizing these days in the best possible way. This is my life, after all. Even if I'm not happy with the way it is currently going. It's only up to me to make it the best it can possibly be.

I was thinking about this at 4pm while I was laying on the sofa, still in my mint green snowflake pajamas, and watching "Mad Men" while drinking Diet Coke out of a 2 liter bottle. The shades were drawn, I'm sure the apartment smelled like a truck stop, and I had just decided to cease living. It was then I realized I was being a total prat, and after a phone call with a friend, I opened my shades, put on some freakin' clothing, and went outside. I got about a block before a homeless person started screaming at me, but it felt good to be out in the open, living my life.

I passed another homeless person who was muttering to herself, so I sort of propped myself up against the same building and muttered to myself as I figured out what I wanted to do that day. It's a Friday. Everyone I know was out drinking, carousing, being social and hearty and merry and bright. And all I wanted to do was buy a personal pizza, go home, and rent a movie. I started to chastise myself. I said out loud, "Melissa, FIRST OF ALL NO ONE RENTS MOVIES ANY MORE. And, go out and DO something. Don't stay home AGAIN." But you know what? That is how I was choosing to live. That was what would lift me up and soothe my soul. And I really love pizza, damnit.

I opened an account at a run-down Blockbuster. The boy helping me had a fierce lisp and gave me a 3 page contract to sign. When I made a joke, asking him if it was the DMV he glared at me and asked to see my license. Which only made me giggle from the irony. Then I went home.

I cleaned. I made my personal pan pizza. I put on a movie that I loved, "Under The Tuscan Sun," and settled in to start living.

I had forgotten what a gorgeous movie it was. And I had almost forgotten that I had my honeymoon in Positano, where half of the movie takes place. I squealed with every epic sweep of scenery and delighted in the candy colored houses dotting the cliff sides. It brought back so many wonderful memories of Brett...and I wasn't sad.

AND THEN. The main character had the best line: "What are four walls, anyway? They are what they contain. The house protects the dreamer. Unthinkably good things can happen, even late in the game. It's such a surprise." It dawned on me then that my sad little apartment was starting to feel like home. These four walls held a dreamer- albeit a dreamer who spends most of her time in pajamas eating pizza and breaking things. had become home. I then stood up, (in different pajamas...I changed clothes, I'm not terribly pathetic,) and I LITERALLY danced all around the living room. Whooping, laughing, crying...and then my 19 year old neighbor pounded the wall and I danced quietly. And whooped silently. (Try it, it sounds ridiculous.) I didn't feel like I was lacking tonight. I was living. And celebrating.

I also hadn't broken anything around here in the last 24 hours. And my pizza was so, sooo good.

Thursday, July 28, 2011

4 Days In and I Think I Met A Serial Killer.

In this summer Milton class that I am taking, a very sweet young boy sits behind me and today I realized I am 99% sure he is, or has the capacity to be, a serial killer.

Polite, well groomed, and creepy. These are the best words to describe him. He just started talking to me in class, and I did that awkward thing where I mentioned I was married in random moments during our conversation. For instance, he asked me if I ever watch the football games on campus and I said, "Oh, I'm married and my husband LOVES football!" So, I didn't answer his question, and I lied because Brett hates watching football. Anyway, I don't think he was hitting on me, but it was something I did just to get things straight from the beginning. This makes me come off very ego-tistical. Like, when my Professors ask me to stay after class I usually say something like: "Is-this-about-my-last-paper-I'm-married-by-the-way." To clear everything up, it is ALWAYS about my last paper. I have no Professors trying anything inappropriate with the girl that shows up with wet hair every day and coffee and scotch coming out of her pores.

But I digress.

The serial killer does things like address me always with my full name. As in: "Melissa Cottle, I believe you dropped your pen." And: "Melissa Cottle, could I copy down your notes from yesterday because I was not here. I was busy KILLING PEOPLE." (Well, not really, but you get the point.) The thing is, he makes me want to carry mace around during the day. And I only carry mace around at night. I should not even be carrying mace because it just makes a killer's job easier. I have deployed that baby 4 times, and IT HAS ALWAYS BEEN ON MYSELF. One time in a crowded classroom towards my I look at mace as a favor in a way to the killer. Like, just confuse me and make me panicked and I will turn that on myself. Job done.

This has all made me think about Brett and how safe I feel when he is around.He has been gone for 4 days and I already sense the need to defend myself during the daylight hours. There is this moment in life when you choke on something or you walk down an alley with a can of mace pointed at your eyes and you realize...who is going to be around to protect me? I have to fend for myself now...I can't call Brett and have him escort me from one place to another, (which I am ashamed to admit I have asked him to do in the past.) I've got to be a big girl. And learn how to protect myself. And not carry a loaded can of mace around with the spout facing in.

So, on Monday I will face the serial killer, and when he says my full name in a creepy voice I will turn around, mention once more I am married, and then tell him: "I AM CARRYING MACE IN A PROPER WAY. BACK OFF BUDDY." And I will take the grown up route.

Because grown ups threaten other people.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Day 3: Less wine, more calories, one missing toe.

The whole not being able to sleep thing is still prevailing, and instead of pacifying myself with a glass of wine in bed I tried a healthier alternative and put on some classical music to drown out the sounds of someone breaking in in case it happened.

That was a long sentence.

This is a new fear of mine apparently. I triple lock everything and then play music loudly when I am home alone because if it is going to happen, I don't want to know about it until the last possible second. This is totally logical.

Anyway, because I am going on two days of no sleep I had a moment today when I was looking down at my feet and realized with horror that my BABY TOE was missing. I actually went through this thought process: "Did it come off in the shower? I didn't even FEEL it! Maybe I have an extremely high tolerance for pain! Oh my GOD MY TOE IS GONE AND I DO NOT KNOW WHERE THE LOCAL HOSPITAL IS." At this point I realized my toe was actually still there. I was having a fatigue induced hallucination, a hallucination that I calmly recounted for a friend today. I realized I had made a good choice in her friendship when she just nodded through the story and said between bites of cheese: "God. I hate when that happens."

Fatigue aside I was more social today. I invited said friend over for wine and cheese, but we mainly just ate a block of cheese and ignored the wine. I walked to the grocery store. It took 45 minutes and I had welts on my arms from the heavy shopping bags, but it got me out of the house, took my mind off of my missing toe and forced me to act like an adult. I came home and stared at my fish for only 1 hour, and felt pretty proud of myself that I was not in the fetal position in the closet over my sadness that Brett is gone for awhile. It is so funny how I try to fill my time now. before, it was always stuff with Brett. Now I find myself thinking, "If I walk to the bathroom really slowly AND stop for a glass of water on the way, I will take up about 5 minutes." I was really giddy when I encountered a line at the bathroom on campus because it gave me 10 minutes to smile awkwardly at the girls in front of me and try to make friends. I only succeeded in creeping out every one, but DAMNIT I AM TRYING.

A good friend came over the other day and was walking around the apartment, checking out my little home. She poked her head in to the "bedroom" (really just a twin bed hidden by a screen,) and cooed: " have such a sad and small little bed." I then looked at her and said: "Yes. There are a lot of depressing things about the studio. Want to walk around with me and point them out?" It sounds like this was a mean exchange, but it was funny. We laughed over the bed and then she suggested that to help with my distance-anxiety I should take up a craft hobby involving Popsicle sticks. It was okay to talk about it. We could embrace my sadness and even laugh about it. She was allowing me to wallow and be selfish and talk about Brett every 5 seconds. And then she pointed out my depressing bed...and we could laugh.

As my cheese friend was leaving today and I walked her to the door, we both noticed I had just received a flower delivery. She poked me excitedly. "Oooh! I wonder who these are from! He really loves you!" I smiled and read the card, seeing that my girlfriend in Seattle had sent them with a few words of encouragement. Even though I missed my husband so badly, it was so much better to get these flowers from a friend. Because that is what we need in life, right? A foundation of friends to support you, eat a block of cheese with you with a butter knife, make fun of your sad-assed bed, and sit up with you at night on the phone. My marriage is my biggest blessing in life, but it is enhanced with this gorgeous, colorful, calorie-loaded support system.

I'm a lucky girl.

Monday, July 25, 2011

Here's the story...

I'm an adult...sort of. I married the man of my dreams on September 4th 2010, and things were going perfect. We had separate tubes of tooth-paste (the real secret to a happy marriage. I am a middle squeezer...her has one of those special tools that cleans the tube out bottom to top,) we lived in a comfortable home, I made meatloaf once and was perfect. And then my gorgeous and brilliant husband had to get accepted in to one of the best MBA programs. Across the country. Since I am still finishing my degree in California, we eventually had to part ways. For a year. Now I am living in a studio, learning to do things on my own without him around...and trying to find the good wife/independent woman balance. It's not easy. NOW I KNOW WHAT PEOPLE ARE THINKING. I AM COMPLAINING ABOUT BEING APART FROM MY HUSBAND AND HE IS NOT DEPLOYED/RISKING HIS LIFE. In fact, he is safely ensconced in America's favorite land-locked state. But, I like complaining. And blogs are all about being self-centered and needy. So, I can safely assume that if you are reading this sludge, you are along with me for the selfish ride. Buckle up folks. I changed a light bulb for the first time yesterday...

The first day apart was difficult to say the least. Let me just paint a picture for you: I fell asleep at 6am with a wine glass in my hand watching a Jennifer Aniston movie from 1999. I had shamelessly tried to get some friends to stay the night with me- plying them with thai food and wine. But the inevitable had to happen. I had to get in to my twin bed with my teddy bear from my elementary school days and shut the fuck up and go to sleep. Even though it didn't happen, I still tried. It's amazing how reliant upon people we can get. Every night Brett rubs my back while I thrash and kick myself into peaceful slumber. Without him next to me, I sort of rubbed against my bed until I gave up and netflixed bad 90's movies. I literally NEED him to fall asleep. So, the next year should be fun.

It should also be said that 2 hours after my husband left the state of California I managed to break a door and start bleeding. These instances are actually not connected in any way. The glass sliding door I broke, the bleeding from my wrist happened while I was dilligently cleaning a counter. At this point I opened a beer and sat in the middle of my living-room/bedroom/dining-room and just...cried. Like, sobbed. When I sob you would think there was a camera around. I flail, I throw myself over objects, I shudder...sometimes I check the mirror to make sure the nose is not getting too red. I really commit to it. Anyway, I sobbed and shook and cursed life in general...and then the beer kicked in and I watched 4 episodes of "Glee" and then I was fine. Life is like that in a funny way. Sometimes we just need a little bit of a pacifier and then we can go back to being a functional adult.

So, how is this year going to go? Based on these past 24 hours, I would say I could be committed to a mental hospital by Saturday. However, there have been unexpected triumphs. Like when I changed my first lightbulb. Or cried in front of the Comcast man, but pulled it together enough to sign my name on the contract by the time he left. I also lit up the apartment like a Catholic church with candles and got to play my "Twilight" movie soundtrack on repeat without my husband around to threaten divorce. These are little moments of greatness that remind me that I am not as pathetic as I might think. Or I am just as pathetic as I think, but embracing it slowly. Either way I am on day one of a life changing opportunity that will hopefully make me a better wife to my very deserving husband. That, or I will just fall asleep every night with a merlot firmly grasped in my hand. Hopefully I can get it together. I owe it to me, Brett, and our fish Caper. (Who is seriously ready to punch me in the face right now with how much I am talking to him in baby voices.) No matter what, this is a journey I am ready to take. Blood, wine, and sweat included.

Hopefully you can come along with me. And maybe rub my back for me as I fall asleep. Because rubbing against the bed like a demented bear is just not cutting it for me.