Wednesday, August 29, 2012

I'm Awesome And I Know It, (well, not right now...but soon. I promise. Maybe. I just have to change my pants.)


"Want to go for a run?" Brett asked me early this morning.

"No. Maybe. In a half hour." I mumbled from under his pillow. (His pillow is much more appealing in the morning, and I always reach for it at dawn leaving him pillowless and baffled. But he never reaches for it back, which baffles me.)

EXACTLY a half hour later, Brett jumped up to fling on the lights and started yanking socks on my feet as I kicked away frantically. "You're already wearing running pants AND a sports bra" he surveyed, tossing me my sneakers as I burrowed deeply into the bed. "So, that's convenient. And weird. Let's go."

I looked down and realized I was, in fact wearing work-out clothes. From yesterday. That I didn't work out in. "Oh my God." I whispered to Brett. "Am I letting myself go?"

Brett's eyes widened as he realized he was probably stepping into a minefield at 8 am and was not exactly prepared for it. He pulled me to my feet and said grandly: "You're really pretty."

And we were off.

"I had a dream last night that I was stuck on an island of talking soldier monkeys. The island was haunted, and at night we had to huddle in this circle that protected us from the ghosts. I was a prisoner of the monkey soldiers, obviously, but I started helping them concoct a blessing when you RUDELY WOKE ME UP." I said as we jogged along.

Brett looked over at me and shook his head. "You NEED to be a writer. Or do something creative. Please don't ever get a desk job- your brain is just too...special."

"I'm thinking you mean special in a good way." I retorted as I bent to tie a wayward shoelace that wasn't wayward at all, but saved me from gasping for air in a very unattractive way. (I tie my shoelaces a lot when I run.)

"Of course." He said." I don't even dream at all. And monkey soldiers?! "

As amazingly supportive over my brain as Brett was being, his comments struck a chord in me. I have been looking for jobs. Real people jobs that come after college when you start wanting things like cars without dents and houses and nice bottles of wine. And I was looking for jobs during a time I could not believe in myself less.

I write paragraphs and erase them. I wear workout clothes around the house while not actually...working out. The only thing I accomplished yesterday was a successful nail appointment and a dinner of unburned steak. Brett has been picking up on my subtle cues of depression, (like crying in front of the refrigerator the other day while I ate 6 month old truffles,) and he has handled it gracefully. He peppers the odd compliment into our conversations. (Like last night, he grinned at me and said: "Have I ever told you that you ARE SO GOOD at caramelizing onions?!" I kind of feel like if he had a gold medal in the shape of an onion he would have placed it around my neck in his rapture over said wilted onions.) He has been- in a word- supportive. Supportive over his moody-and-treading-water-half-assedly-wife.

It is not his job to do so, but I appreciate it all the same. And our run this morning reminded me that I could you know...try a little. Like, dress for bed like an adult. Agree that I should have a creative job and GO FOR IT instead of feeling like I'm not good enough, pretty enough, capable, or actually very good at caramelizing onions.

I'll admit I am scared at this new phase in life. I kind of feel out of my element, a hippie Berkeley fish out of water, unsure of the next step or the appropriate outfit required to meet that step. I mean, running pants are awesome- but RUN IN THEM FOR GOD SAKE. Don't sit at the kitchen table in them, working on your resume by adding stupid things to it to amuse yourself. No one cares you know how to make homemade spaghetti sauce. Or can speak Klingon. (And if Brett knew I added weird things like that for about- oh, 3 hours a day, he might not be terribly enthused.) Just- Do It. Live by the Nike slogan. Hitch your wagon to a star. Put it in your pocket. (Same song? No?) Have the eye of the tiger. Get the moves like Jagger.



I'm wearing jeans today, so there's that. I will dress these jeans up for dinner tonight with girlfriends, and tomorrow I will submit a spaghetti-sauce-queen-free resume to the local theaters and prepare myself for change.

And I will meet that change with my Capable Smart Girl pants on. And not my running pants.

Although they are terribly comfortable.

And make me look like I work out, like, ALL the time.

Monday, August 27, 2012

Sometimes Marriage Is Not Super Fun-All-The-Time-Awesome-Unicorns-And-Sparkles. And that is ok.

You know what is interesting?

Having a blog. Over a year. And being able  to look back over that year and see how you have grown/not grown/gotten fatter/ even though you became 98% vegetarian.

Case in point: A year ago I wrote this blog-

This was written ONE YEAR AGO FROM TODAY.

What was today in 2012 like?

Today I woke up next to my husband. I went out for coffee, leaving my new home. I looked for a nail salon. I could not find one close by. I tripped over a bump in the side-walk and was mortified for over an hour. I came home and set out champagne and love notes and chocolate...because 6 years ago on this day Brett asked me to OFFICIALLY be his girlfriend. We don't normally celebrate this day, but we needed some celebrating.

Let me tell you something about marriage: it. is. hard. And sometimes messy. And sticky. And cranky. And low in blood sugar. BUT, ALWAYS WORTH IT. And, when you can celebrate something- anything...celebrate the shit out of it.

Brett and I just got back from a week long road trip from San Francisco to Pittsburgh. We stopped in amazing cities, we drank wine, we ate Tex-Mex, we laughed, we got bites from bed bugs, we met a celebrity, we made out like teen-agers on cheap motel beds, we petted horses on the side of the road, we sang, we giggled, and we listened to the entire unabridged version of "Little Women" on cassette tape. It was basically the stuff dreams are made of. However, anyone that actively knows us is probably perplexed by this. We could NOT be more different. We could NOT argue more than we do. But, stick us in a 90's tin can of a car, slap some literature from the 1800's on us, and suddenly we are having the time of our lives?

Uh. Yes.

As soon as our feet touched hallowed Pittsburgh ground we were at each other. We argued about air conditioners, diet, decor, hard alcohol, friends, t.v. shows, family, makeup, and any other little thing we could conjur up in our foamy craziness. We went out for drinks with friends, only to bicker bitterly the entire walk home over non-existant problems. We got to the point where we could not stand one another and we were in the same one bedroom apartment.

It was refreshing, actually.

Let me tell you why.

We're all drawn to the friends that have the perfect marriages with the perfectly dressed children and the perfectly decorated house a'la Pottery Barn. We pine over details like designer lounge chairs and in-home movie theaters and pool decks and in-law cottages we pray the in laws will never use. It is a life constructed out of perfection that is fed to us- by who?

I admit I fail in this way- in this wanting. One day, in between Texas and somewhere not Texas, Brett looked over at me and said: "Bear?" (his pet name for me. OKAY, NOW YOU ALL KNOW IT.) "Where would you be? If life was just how you wanted it? And money was not an issue?"

I immediately gave him my robotic answer. "House, yard, kids, dog, good career, no wrinkles, lots of traveling." He didn't say anything, but smiled sadly and squeezed my hand.

And it only took until the day I decided to blog to see how stupid I was.

Life is not about that, is it? I mean, YES, IT WOULD BE NICE TO HAVE A HOUSE...but I would rather have a husband to argue with over why Amy March is such a bitch but really is so good for Laurie. (read Little Woman. Right Now.) I would rather have my husband get so mad at me he melodramatically tries to sleep on our all-white-sofa, but knowing it is all white lays a sheet down before begrudgingly returning to our bed, hoping I don't notice out of pride. I'd rather have a life that consits of happy errors, loving mistakes, and stupid fights.

This blog is deeper than usual, but I felt like I had a message to say. GUESS WHAT FRIENDS AND LOVED ONES ABOUT TO GET MARRIED OR NEWLY MARRIED? Sometimes it all sucks. It all sucks ass. But, there are flickers of moments in those sucky ass moments that make you realize the most important thing:

Someone loves you enough to stand beside you. And sleep on your white couch. And roll their eyes at you. And make you coffee in the morning and say: "Hey- you suck sometimes. But I really love you. And I will love you forever. No matter how sucky you can be."

And hopefully they will follow this statement with a pat on the ass.

Because...that is THE BEST part of marriage.


Friday, August 3, 2012

I'm Glad You Were Born. most of the time.

"It's that time of year again." Brett said to me hesitantly over dinner the over night. "Your birthday is coming up. What would you like to do?"

I describe him as asking this question hesitantly, because he totally was. And as he asked it he sort of flinched and leaned back in his chair a bit. And maybe held his breath. I could be imagining all of these things, but I'm pretty sure I am 100% right that that was what was happening.

I pushed my food back and shrugged. "I don't know. Dinner? And I need a new hair straightener since my last one blew up at that haunted chateau in Normandy."

Brett opened his mouth to argue that the chateau was not haunted. (It was. He slept through the haunting. And, even if I imagined it we were staying in a mansion that was approximately 7 billion years old, sleeping on a canopy bed that had portraits of dead children hanging over our heads along with snippets of their powdery hair. AND, OH THE LIGHTS KEPT TURNING OFF AND ON AND THE COUNT RUNNING THE ESTATE WAS LIKE, "OH NO WORRIES. THAT IS JUST MY DEAD MOTHER.") Anyway, before he started his argument he seemed to actually hear what my preferences were for my birthday, and he stopped.

"No cake? Balloons? Surprise parties you ask for? No special champagne? No drawn out birthday week?!" 

"No. And you make me sound very high maintenance. Which makes me want to go out and BUY STUFF. But no... well, maybe some cake."

"I'm worried." He said, practically wringing his hands. "I'm just going to come out and say that I am really worried. Is this a trap? A test? I mean- I know my wife. This is totally a test, right? So you want a big party?" As Brett started trailing off and muttering about how he knew he would be dead meat if he simply handed me a hair straightener over dinner on my birthday, I stopped him.

"Brett- I just...don't feel like celebrating this year. I'm going to be 29. The 20's are almost over. I was just getting good at them, and now they are gone."

"Yeah, I don't think you have to worry about that. I think you'll be a little bit too good at your 30's too."

(He's always incredibly helpful.)

This conversation made me realize two things. One: My poor husband acts like a scared and cornered animal whenever he mentions my birthday, and I may be slightly to blame for it. I'm not a monster (is the thing all monsters say...) But I'm not. Honest. My husband is an only child, and got so much attention as it was, birthdays just...weren't a big deal. In fact, until I came into the picture, I don't think he had celebrated one since he was about 7. And then it took me 6 years of over-the-top celebrations of him to realize he actually isn't a fan of birthdays at all. (Not that it stops me. It slows me a bit, sure. Like- I won't rent the clown for him or anything, but there may still be a jumpy house.) And I come from a massive family. There are too many of us kids to have constant attention. I once RAN AWAY and my mom didn't even notice. Granted, I was sitting in a tree across the road, eating peanut butter sandwiches and watching my house angrily, sure someone was going to run out screaming my name. But no one did. You know why? Because there were nine thousand of us. I don't even think I know all of my sibling's names.

But on your birthday- things were different. I was born at 3:40 am, and for the longest time my mom would creep into my room to kiss me at that exact moment. She would whisper a happy birthday in my ear, and we both relished the thought that she always said the first happy birthday of the day. I was always awake for this private moment, squirming in my bed, knowing any second I would see her silhouette illuminated from the golden light of my nightlight. That stopped eventually, maybe when I became a surly preteen and OHMYGOD MOM THAT IS SO EMBARRASSING. But, I miss it. I want that moment back. I'm sure Brett wouldn't be weirded out at all by my mom joining us at 3:40 am every August 5th.

After the private celebration came the day o'treats. Breakfast in bed, a big, splashy birthday party, dinner picked by the birthday girl, and an entire day where I didn't have to share any toys-at-all-no-way. Even during the lean years, my mom somehow made the entire thing special. We didn't have much, but we had the celebration. It was magic.

And then the next day I went back to being a face among the masses, but not without the lingering glow from the day before.

So, you see the tough act Brett has to follow, but he has taken on the challenge beautifully- year after year blessing me with thoughtful notes and planned trips, and sometimes very quiet and lovely nights at home. It was just about recognizing the fact that I was here, and nudging me on the shoulder over a glass of wine and saying: "Hey. I'm really glad you were born."

So, that brings me to the Second thing I realized about our conversation.

What didn't I want to celebrate, exactly?

Yes, I'm going to be 29. Yes, 30 is looming and I am scared of 30. I feel like I haven't finished my 20's yet. I feel like I'm playing this board game I have only NOW started to get the hang of, and we're switching to yahtzee or something like that. And yahtzee is ridiculously boring. But, you know what is more boring? BEING BORING. Being that person that gripes about being old, being tired, only wanting a hair straightener because what's the point. I don't have to be that person. I can exist outside of numbers- it's really only up to me.

And then I remembered I asked for the hair straightener in a way that wasn't boring at all. How many people fight with their husbands over an evening's events in a HAUNTED CHATEAU IN FRANCE? How many people can say they watched a hair straightener BLOW UP? LITERALLY. BLOW. UP.

And I can.

So, I'll be 29 on Sunday, but that doesn't mean a thing. What matters most is how I spend that day. And the 365 days after. And the 365 days after that.

I'm hoping it involves a lot of explosions. A lot of funny stories. And definitely numerous glasses of wine with the people I love in this life. Where I can look over at them and say:

"Hey. I'm really glad you were born."