Tuesday I'm pretty sure I experienced the full range of human emotions.
I started the day to the tune of a much-discussed sex alarm (you know what I'm talking about, right? The alarm you set extra early because you know that's going to happen anyway and you might just as well not be late for work?) (Patrick is convinced I'm weird (and awesome) for always setting that alarm, but I feel like it's just pure logic.) When the real alarm interrupted our snugglefest, he made me coffee while I got dressed.
Then I went to the dentist and had my teeth cleaned for the first time in six years. SIX YEARS. I was terrified. It HURT. (TARTAR BUILD UP MUCH?!?!) But it turns out I get to keep all my teeth! Sure I need eight fillings, but not a single root canal. My fear liquefied immediately into relief.
When I got home Patrick was still there and I made all of us omelets. Bacon and cheese for Cynthia; bacon, feta, sweet pepper, red onion and MAGIC for me and Patrick. We shared a bottle of mimosas and then headed back to bed in the middle of the day for a "nap." You'd think we'd be getting sick of each other by now, but you'd be wrong. I wish I had more writerly words for the safe, connected, cared for way he makes me feel, but I really don't. All I can say is that if you've had it, you know I'm not just being cheesy when I say we both feel "cherished." And if you haven't, I only hope you get to feel it some day.
After much laughter, love and cardiovascular shenanigans, I dragged my ass out of bed with a warmed up cup of stumptown and drove over the bridge to pick up the kids. Who were full of it all the way home. We stopped off for milk and apples at New Seasons and I almost had to strangle them for playing karate chop madness in the deli section. "STOP KICKING YOUR SISTER IN THE FACE" is not really something I ever expected to say in a grocery store.
Then the sun went down on our drive home and that's always bitter sweet in the Pacific North West. Because oh sad, the sun went down! But DOOOD, did you see that?! I'm pretty sure that was the sun!
At home I somehow managed to convince both children to immediately finish their homework before we baked chocolate chip cookies together. Then I made them a few boxes of Annie's mac n cheese while summoning up my most favorite of pasta recipes for Patrick and I. We actually toasted Joel with our Pinot Noir because it was his recipe and I will always remember it with a heart (and belly) full of love. (I let my food blog domain expire, but you can find the recipe HERE if you scroll down a bit...)
Then I got an e-mail from the Silver Fox hitting me up for date, which gave Patrick and I a good chance to talk polyamory (which we haven't had much time for since he got back). That always leaves us feeling more connected.
After dinner, I tucked the kids into their rooms and left them home with Cynthia so Patrick and I could head over to Al's Den to hear some friends play a show. Moorea sings like a goddess (you might remember her from American Idol) and Allie has this one song that makes me sob. The first time I heard them together I was snuggling Genoa on a couch in front of a fireplace at a friend's house. After Genoa passed out (it WAS two AM, so yeah), Allie told me the story behind that song and it was so close to my own, I can't hear it ever again without feeling that loss right along with her. Even in public, apparently. Patrick held me while she and Moorea sang it and he said he felt my body temperature rise at least ten degrees. I guess sadness makes me sweaty.
After the show we got home to find kids playing with a rainbow loom HAPPILY. Like, ZERO DRAMA. I have no idea who those children were, but I tucked them in bed, kissed my boyfriend goodbye and stayed up late to sign up for my first comedy open mic (which was last night - it went well!).
Even WITH the dental work, it was a good day. They seem to just keep getting better and better. No complaints here.
Tonight Genoa and I made tortilla pizzas with tomato butter sauce, fresh mozarella and honey-smoked deli ham. And as I was buttering her tortillas to make them crisp before adding the sauce, Patrick snuck into the house and surprised me with a hug. We laughed, we caught one another up on our respective days while Genoa refused to eat the very same pizza she had made for herself and then, while Patrick and I talked happily did her math homework on the kitchen stool Cynthia has had since college. He went home with (a dozen) kiss(es). I'm on my way to bed.
Life is calm. Strangely, absurdly calm. I'm healthy. I have health INSURANCE. (THANKS, OBAMA!) I get to see a dentist on Monday for the first time in over FIVE years. Dave and I always need to make adjustments to the annual schedule in January so we've separated the kids this week, which means I get Genoa alone until Saturday morning, then Alex alone till Monday, which shouldn't be, but is my favorite way to be with my children. Individually. I have NOTHING to complain about. Even when my poor Lola's water pump broke and cost me a fortune in car repairs, I was too happy with the mechanic for saving my favorite car ever that I wasn't phased. And my turn signals work! So everyone on the road can finally stop flipping me off!
Not that I don't have issues, because oh hell yeah, I do. Only this time, they're all mine. I blame no one but myself. I have ONE New Year's Resolution and it's to finally, once and for all, figure out my body/weight/size/dismorphia shit, because it's no fun. No fun at all. I'm a healthy, attractive, average-sized woman who once, for the briefest of magnificent, fleeting, sparkly years, experienced the holy grail of thinness.
Even worse - I understood what it was like to feel beautiful. NOT "you have such a pretty face." (SAY THOSE WORDS TO A FAT GIRL AND PREPARE TO DIE, AMIGO.) But beauty by conventional standards. Stupid, unrelenting, completely media and male-libido-driven standards. THIN standards. Standards that are unfair to my ego. Unfair to my athleticism (which still means I will SO FUCKING KICK YOUR ASS) (and I will be hungry, no let's make that STARVING LIKE A FOX, to maintain your ridiculous standards of beauty). To my daughter (who will no doubt inherit my inherent weakness).
Unfair to myself.
I don't like that the experience of thin privilege (thanks, Sis! I now know EXACTLY the hell of which you once spoke!) has given birth to new standards within myself. Standards I had never understood in other women, but now understand all too well. That last 20 pounds means something different to a fat girl than it does to a woman who has always been thin. I'm frustrated that the misery and anxiety I had due to my life circumstances sucked my hunger for life from me in such a way that I shriveled to an impossible-to-maintain size.
I hate that I LIKED it. Loved it, even. I shouldn't have. It SHOULDN'T MATTER. I'm smart. Beautiful. Capable. Privileged.
And that's my work to do.
I am happy. Truly content. Nothing to complain about! I have so much love. I AM loved. SO fucking loved. I feel ADORED even. And yet... this. All I can feel right now is that my belly (which is still 90% skin from losing so much god damn weight) is hanging over the waistband of my old fleece, kitty-themed pajama pants. No one can see me - I'm alone - and I'm sucking in my gut as I write this. Which makes breathing rather uncomfortable.
Let me say that more clearly - my body issues sometimes make it difficult for me to breathe.
So my only resolution for 2014 is to stop sucking in my motherfucking gut. To tell myself that I am both beautiful AND strong. My imperfections are what make me the woman I have always wanted to be. That I can run hard and fast and long. That I am more than any number ANYWHERE. Not on a scale. Not on a pedometer. Not on a calorie counter. Not on a treadmill. And definitely NOT in the back of my pants.
Happy 2014! Watch out. You are so going to be my bitch.
1. What did you do in 2013 that you’d never done before?
I hugged a tree.
I ran a half marathon. Or three.
I fell in love with a forest.
And a bridge.
And a town.
I wrote and performed a five-minute stand-up routine.
I bought a biodiesel.
I downsized my possessions and upsized my freedom.
2. Did you keep your new year’s resolutions, and will you make more for next year?
I can't remember making any, so no. My only resolution for 2014 is to run. Just... keep running.
3. Did anyone close to you give birth?
My oldest bestest friend had a baby girl on December 6th. Her name is Piper. I have waited to meet her for a very, very long time. Decades. I was honestly a little terrified that my friend wouldn't ever get to be a mom and I can't even express how grateful I am to the universe for making it so. I've never been this excited about a baby that didn't come out of my own vagina. I got to meet her on Christmas day and she is the most beautiful child I've seen since my own. I was the one sobbing like a baby.
4. Did anyone close to you die?
Unfortunately, yes. Oh Fred. It's still strange that I wasn't as close to Fred before he died as I feel like I am now that I'm living in his house. But he is missed daily. (Nobody tell him we're running the furnace this much, mmmkay?!)
5. What countries did you visit?
The People's Republic of Portland. Isweartogodthisistheyearirenewmypassportforfuckssake.
6. What would you like to have in 2014 that you lacked in 2013?
7. What dates from 2013 will remain etched upon your memory, and why?
I feel like I should remember some sad dates, but without looking any of them up, I think of The 4th of July because it was my first real date with Patrick. Alex's birthday is up there too. Our trip to Disneyland was unforgettably awesome.
8. What was your biggest achievement of the year?
I chose my children and my happiness over romantic love. It sucked. Unfortunately there's no epidural for the human heart.
9. What was your biggest failure?
See number eight above.
10. Did you suffer illness or injury?
Healthy as a fucking horse. And not just ANY horse, one of those Budweiser Clydsdales.
11. What was the best thing you bought?
Lola. Best car ever.
12. Whose behavior merited celebration?
Samnterry. Again. I don't call them My People for nothing. (Patrick, who scraped Genoa's barf out of the back seat of my Dad's car on our trip to San Francisco, was a close second.)
13. Whose behavior made you appalled and depressed?
My own. Again. I'm the only one capable of ruining my mental health.
14. Where did most of your money go?
15. What did you get really, really, really excited about?
St. John's. I've never loved a town this much. I'm gonna try to live here for the rest of my life.
16. What song will always remind you of 2012?
Fucking Problems by ASAP Rocky. I did so much awkward twerking to that song, you guys. You have no idea.
17. Compared to this time last year, are you:
18. What do you wish you’d done more of?
19. What do you wish you’d done less of?
20. How did you spend Christmas?
With my kids, my boyrfriend, my oldest friend, her baby and my big extended family. In California. It was rad.
21. Did you fall in love in 2012?
Yup. Even better is that my kids love Patrick as much as I do.
22. What was your favorite TV program?
Same response as last year: what is this "TV" of which you speak?!?
23. Do you hate anyone now that you didn’t hate this time last year?
No. I can't think of ANYONE I hate.
24. What was the best book you read?
The Ethical Slut.
25. What was your greatest musical discovery?
26. What did you want and get?
27. What did you want and not get?
Joel. New year, same shit. Only this time I only miss having him as a friend. He won't speak to me, which is strange because at this point I only want to see how he's doing and pat him on the back for his nerdy Hitchcock writing.
28. What was your favorite film of this year?
Love Actually. TEN years running! It practically took an act of god to get my schedule to allow for it, but Patrick and I watched it right before Christmas. (Right after he showed me It's a Wonderful Life for the first time. We both cried at both movies.)
29. What did you do on your birthday, and how old were you?
I turned 37. I was in California and Joel and I spent the day in San Francisco together.
30. What one thing would have made your year immeasurably more satisfying?
31. How would you describe your personal fashion concept in 2013?
Purple haired Penelope the pussy comic from portland.
32. What kept you sane?
Ramona. (My magical therapist). Always.
33. Which celebrity/public figure did you fancy the most?
Queen Bey. Dayem.
34. What political issue stirred you the most?
35. Who did you miss?
Joel. Although less now than when we were still together.
36. Who was the best new person you met?
One Mr. Patrick Curtain. Sure, it wasn't the first time we met, but still. Keeper.
37. Tell us a valuable life lesson you learned in 2013.
Just. Keep. Running.
38. Quote a song lyric that sums up your year.