When I’d first begun dating Dave, he took me to his friend’s house so that I could meet them.
Sweet, I thought to myself, I’ll choose the BEST shirt I own.
The shirt itself, which I’d once picked up at Old Navy for approximately 42 cents* was a sight to behold – it was Peter Max style –
I actually had these bedsheets growing up. AND YOU WONDER WHY I’M LIKE THIS.
and prominently displayed across the boobs, “Free To Be You and Me.”
Me, I just liked the bargain.
But I knew the shirt could be, well, BETTER (and it neither involved vodka OR cowbell, I should note): I could add my NAME to the back of it. But not my REAL name; no. My NICKNAME, which was, at the time, “StinkyButt.” Not because my ass reeked or anything, I simply liked that nickname. I mean, what girl ACTIVELY calls herself “StinkyButt?”
(answer: a very select few).
Over at his friend’s house, his friend Rob goes, “Oh my GOD, I LOVE MARLO THOMAS! I grew UP on that record.”
I stared back – completely confused – was he talking about the musical Hair, which I’d been forced to watch on more than one occasion? Or, uh, was it in reference to the StinkyButt name on the back of my shirt.
“Oh my GOD,” Rob said. “You have NO idea what I’m talking about, do you?”
I shook my head slowly and replied slowly – “noooooooooooooo…..”
He slapped his forehead. “I’m SO fucking OLD!” he cried. “Wait – are you in high school?”
I giggled a little, “Nope, I’m 22.”
Apparently that answer did NOT help and he groaned, “I’m SO old!”
We both burst into gales of laughter.
I don’t remember the last time I felt truly free to be (you +) me.
When I got married, I tried everything I could to be a good wife. Dave’s a great guy – I’m sorry if I’ve ever made it sound on my blog that Dave is anything less than a great person. He doesn’t deserve that – we are, as I’ve said to many, simply two people who went their own ways. It’s sad (hence my crying hour) that it had to happen this way – we certainly hadn’t planned to allow things to get as bad as they had.
I’ve always been the classic overachiever – I can do ANYTHING! BRING IT THE FUCK ON! – which included being a good wife and a loving mother. There’s no doubts that I love my children fiercely – they have brought me redemption and filled my world with colors I didn’t know existed. I’ll never regret marrying Dave – without him, my world would never have become as bright as it is.
That said, I didn’t make a good wife.
I won’t say that I didn’t try, because I approach most everything from a balls to the wall, y’all perspective, but the steps I took weren’t enough; no matter homemade lasagnas you make or how spotless the floor is, two people who see the world in very different ways won’t magically see eye-to-eye just because you love one another.
Don’t get me wrong – I don’t blame myself for the state of our union any more than I blame Dave: we both played our part and we’re both walking away from this to find our own happy. And in my case, I’m going to find that girl who feels free to be whomever she really is, deep down in there. A girl I can be proud of. A girl who makes her own way, no matter how odd, fucked up, or twisted it may be.
It will be there that I can finally feel free to be (you +) me.
Pranksters, I owe you a debt of gratitude I can only repay (at the moment) with words. Without feeling the love you’ve bestowed upon me; without feeling like I have an army supporting me during my good AND bad moments, I do not know that I would get through this transition as well.
Writing has always been my outlet, my free therapy, and the way in which I process the events in my life – both good AND bad. For nearly a year, I lost that freedom, but not because I was told I could only write about:
- John C. Mayer
- My hatred of mayonnaise
- My vagina
No, it was more complicated than that – tell any writer that they cannot write about something fairly big in their lives, and they’ll feel as though their fingers had been chopped off. Suddenly, that’s the only thing I could think to write about and I know that my writing suffered for it. I’d actually considered shutting my blog down because, well, I never had much of value to say.
But in opening up about my marriage and divorce, I suddenly felt as though feeling in my fingers had returned – I’d managed to find the part of me that had been buried for so long. That brings me more joy than I can possibly express.
Knowing that you’re here – that you’ve been here – and that you’ve got my back, there’s no value I can place on that. Every word you’ve written, every email you’ve sent has reminded me that I will, in fact, come through this and be better for it. It all matters.
All of it.
“Thank you,” hardly seems enough, but I’ll say it anyway. Thank you, my friends, my chosen family** for being there for me. It is a debt I will forever owe you.
Thank you for reminding me that it’s okay to be free to be (you +) me.
*Bargains make my vagina happy.
**No, don’t drink the KoolAid