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 –

free to be you and me

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:

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.

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

Comments are love, or some bullshit like that. Either way, they make my heart happy. You should leave (or at least THINK about leaving) a comment and SUBSCRIBE to my RSS feed or I will send my Chicago "friends" after you, yo.

61 Responses to Free To Be You + Me

  • swalumni says:

    I’m so glad you’re purging it out AB. I could tell from being a long-time reader that something was up because your posts werent the same as before. So proud of you, hang in there lady.

    • Your Aunt Becky
      Twitter: mommywantsvodka
      says:

      It was shameful to me, honestly, because really, I KNEW I could do better – and yet I couldn’t. Every way I tried made me feel like I was phoning it in. Which, while I was, I wasn’t.

      I’m really glad to let it out and feel free to be you and me again.

  • Grace says:

    Awww! So much love!

  • MustangGina says:

    Woot! You updated the Amazon list! Cool! You’re going to need sheets and towels unless you’ve got some already. A TV of some description. A blender…..cause….well, HELLO! LOL! Let me recommend the Ninja blender cause that shit will make SNOW in seconds! Just waiting on some jackholes to pay me the money they owe me and I’ll try to help ya out a bit more. Rock on chic!

  • BakingSuit
    Twitter: bakingsuit
    says:

    There’s something I don’t talk about much on my blog but my parents have been divorced since I was about 5. They co-parented us to the best of their abilities (pretty darn well, I think) but they weren’t meant to be married.

    They both think that they were brought together and married to create something wonderful and they look at my brother and I and see that. (PRESSURE TO BE AWESOME MUCH?) Apparently others see it too. Who am I to say?

    They are basically best friends now and admire each other in ways that many can not appreciate.

    If you and Dave were brought together to bring about something wonderful (ahem maybe Amelia and the subsequent Band?) then maybe this bump in the road is worth it.

    Side note: My parents have both gone on to do some pretty great things and find their own happy. I will continue to remind you that you will too.

    (If the above isn’t helpful, please just hit delete and forget you saw it. Sometimes I think I’m helping, but I’m not.)

    • Your Aunt Becky
      Twitter: mommywantsvodka
      says:

      The Band and my daughter are two of my greatest achievements to date. I’m beyond proud. I think this is ALL helpful – Dave and I ARE friends, we’re just not a very good couple.

      • Katherine says:

        I’m going through a divorce right now (husband moved out in January), and I think a lot of people find it hard to understand that we actually get along. We are friends. We have spoken calmly about child access/money etc, and get on a lot better now. The first month was hell trying to see if it work work and whether the children and I could survive alone, but we did, and everything is so much better. I think of my ex as my brother- we argue but really are friends and can rely on each other when needed. However as faux brother and sister we make a crappy couple, lol!
        You are doing the right thing.x

  • Maria says:

    You are going to find YOU! I’m so happy!

    • Your Aunt Becky
      Twitter: mommywantsvodka
      says:

      Thanks, lovie! I have a happy. I feel like as scary as this shit is (and holy fuck it is), I’ve got you guys at my back. With that? I can do anything.

  • Coco Rogers says:

    I know you need more stuff. Add to your list, babe, and let us send you housewarming gifts that you actually need, instead of 167 sets of mismatched dishes and that one Tupperware bowl with no lid.

  • Katrina says:

    I think the Hello Kitty microwave is going to change your life. It just has that kind of vibe.

  • steph gas
    Twitter: stephgas
    says:

    you’re pretty much balls to the wall y’all all the time.

    there were A LOT of ‘all’ stuff in there. right? right.

    so.

  • Joannah K says:

    I remember saying in one of my few comments here that I got the sense you were not okay. I may even have emailed you, I don’t remember. You admitted to feeling a little depressed and thanked me for my concern.

    Here’s the thing, AB, you and I are going through the exact same thing. I’m going through it right now and have been for 2-3 months. I’m not very clear on the timeline for your story, this is only the second post I’ve had a chance to read about it, but just the knowledge that someone else has been here too is invaluable. Nobody talks about this shit.

    • Your Aunt Becky
      Twitter: mommywantsvodka
      says:

      Yeah – I was very depressed. Rock bottom didn’t hit until July 1. Before that, though, I was abjectly miserable. Thank you for your concern – I wished then, like I wish now, that I had some sort of magic wand.

  • Triplezmom
    Twitter: triplezmom
    says:

    I love you.

    And please put “Free to Be You and Me” on your wishlist – record and book. Please. :)

  • Mayor Gia says:

    I love your reflection on your decisions/life. I bet more people going through splits wish they could have that kind of insight.

    • Your Aunt Becky
      Twitter: mommywantsvodka
      says:

      I wish I didn’t always (as my mother says) have to learn the hard way. That said, I’m not going to sit around being a victim. I can’t. I just can’t. This happened, this sucked, it will end.

      Loves you girl.

  • Christina says:

    I have a very lovely Peter Max bandana that my mother made me wear as a kid. I hated it then. I love the shit out of it now. :)

  • Sue J. says:

    AB — hang in there. We are all pulling for you.

  • Sandy says:

    Why do I all of a sudden have the song “Free Bird” in my head?

  • Wombat Central
    Twitter: wombatcentral
    says:

    1. The first CD my husband bought when we had a child was Free to Be You and Me so our kids could watch it endlessly and love it like he did. Yeah, not so much. I don’t think they watched it once.

    2. Hang in there, girl. You’re a phoenix. You’ll do just fine. Hugs.

  • Becca says:

    I am immensely glad that you are feeling free to write again. We could not support you and your path without knowing at least a part of what you’ve gone through. I keep wanting to quote The Help to you, but it seems corny at best. Nevertheless, you are kind, you are smart, you are important!! And you are loved, never forget that last part, it is most important.

    • Your Aunt Becky
      Twitter: mommywantsvodka
      says:

      I love you, girl. Thank you. I hate talking about needing help – but I’m learning that asking for help is braver than standing by the wayside weeping.

  • krlr says:

    You sound… lighter (?)
    Definitely happier. Awesome.
    Not that it won’t be a long road with bumps ‘n such, but I’m happy for you.
    No, that seems weird… Relieved? Hopeful?
    YES – HOPEFUL.
    Rock on.

  • melanie says:

    *Bargains make my vagina happy. <<– that shit should be on a shirt…. just saying

  • alexis
    Twitter: theangelalexistwitter.com
    says:

    I despise mayonnaise almost as much as I despise child molesters. Both are nasty $h!t.

  • Devan says:

    Did you write the breaking your tooth on an almond thing (with Cletus the slack-jaw yolel) before all this shit storm started? Cause that is one of the funniest things I have ever read! I go back to that all the time. I love your stuff and would do anything I could to help you! You are an amazing person! :)

  • Jenee says:

    Always feel free to be you!

    I’m not the commenting type, but I had a tear in my eye after reading this, so I just wanted to come and say hang in there & you will rock this – that girl you talk about is in there :)

  • Marta
    Twitter: marta28
    says:

    Wishing you all the happy that you deserve. xoxo

  • Being all British and stuff, we didn’t really get the whole Marlo Thomas thing until, predictably enough, it was mentioned in Sex & The City and then went through a revival.
    I find you openness really inspiring so I’m glad you’re writing about the divorce, painful a subject as it may be. Thank you xxx

  • Kelly Fox says:

    Gimmee Yo heead with hair! Long beautiful hair! Shinin’ gleamin’…. what??? That’s the song for the musical Hair! I’m such a dork that I know that shit.
    I hope you know that you obviously touch everyone who reads your blog too, or we wouldn’t as much as we do. Divorce sucks. There is no pain like it. But you are tough as Donkey Gristle!

  • Andie says:

    It’ll be okay. Hang in there and keep your chin up.

  • JenniferB says:

    You are amazing. That is all. Lots of thoughts, but no words. You’re just amazing.

  • KYouell says:

    I’ve been gone from here and The Band because life got too busy. I don’t know what inspired me to come by today, and lookie here what I found. I love you bunches and know you can do this. I’ve read about 20 comments and just don’t have time to read the rest, so this may already have been said, but thrift stores are great. They each have their own thing that they are good at and you have to hit them regularly (weekly? monthly? whatever works for you). Some times there’ll be nothing good, but other times JACK.POT. I spent $50 two weeks ago and got 5 shirts, a pair of pants and a skirt, a pair of pants for hubs ($4 for perfect Dockers) and some cute capris for my 5yo. Oh, I also got a slotted spoon for $1 and a pair of speakers for $2 so I can rock out while we ride around on our bike. Anyway, it’s a great place to get all kinds of household goods too. Sure they’ll be mismatched, but CHEAP and funky. I got great chairs at a Deseret store when I first moved out for $20 each. They lasted until a tantrum meant they got the shit kicked out of them.

    You know you can do this and that we have your back, but I’ll say it again. You can do this. We have your back.

  • bekkitae says:

    Okay, so in regards to donating I’m going to ask an awkward question. This is my first time commenting on your blog, Aunt B, and I hate that it’s going this way (well, I did hate it until I remembered that losing your viriginty ALWAYS sucks. So rest assured – the second time will be better for you AND me).

    Preface: I am a cynic who’s a recovering misanthrope. I’d love to be an optimist, and I often pass off my cynicism as ‘realism’. I also have been reading your blog for quite a long time. While I *think* I know a part of you, I am well aware that I don’t actually know you. I won’t ever know you, since we’re a big fat ocean away and I’m about as good at saving for airfares as rabbits are at accounting.

    Question: Because I don’t know you, and I was raised in the fashion of “don’t give a homeless man ten dollars. Buy him a sandwich and a juice instead” – is it possible at all for you to provide details so we can directly pay a week of your rent, or something?

    *Phew* Now that two minutes is over, Ima guna take my panties and sidle home to my liquor cabinet.

    (I really hope this doesn’t affect you in a negative way. Please, please, please, please understand that it’s not a reflection on YOU so much as my cynicism in general and about internet anonymity specifically)

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  • Odie Langley says:

    This was a wonderful post and you certainly are a fabulous writer. I have for a long time been following you on my email but haven’t been to your actual blog. I was so happy that your Saturday edition led me here and to other places that are special to you and will be to me from now on. Thanks for all you do to brighten our days with your style and humor. Have an awesome rest of your weekend.
    Hugs,
    Odie

  • Tracie
    Twitter: fromtracie
    says:

    I love the “free to be (you +) me Becky” – and the freedom shows all over your writing.

    Even in the midst of the hard, and the sucky, and the dark stuff, the freedom is blowing through here like a fresh breeze.

  • Angela says:

    So glad that you are able to write as yourself again! “phoning” in just doesn’t work, cause it is not who you are. Sometimes and I found this to be the scariest part was figuring out who i wanted to be. Not someone’s mother or wife or girlfriend but just me. So you rock on girl, and get to NY!!

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