Every Saturday night, we’d go out to a nice dinner. There were four of us – the Fantastic Foursome – a group of giggly girls dealing with everything from single parenting to dating abusive assfucks, and there sat, week after week, a different restaurant each week. Sometimes, before we’d go out to eat, we’d watch episodes of Sex in the City, because, well, we were girls of a certain age.

I was the first to dissent. My new boyfriend, The Daver, lived in Chicago, and we, well, we were suburban girls. As much as I planned to bridge the gaps in geography, Daver and I were in the middle of that ever-so-sweet honeymoon stage of our relationship (well before the “I want to claw your eyes out with a hammer as you sleep” stage showed it’s pretty little head), so the very thought of NOT being with him was patently absurd.

I tried to make it back home for those dinners – the highlight of my stressful week – but eventually, the dinners sort of petered out. We’d bring Daver with us sometimes, but it wasn’t the same.

A little after that, Ashley – one of my best friends – met someone too, and for a spell, we’d double date. The only time, I should say, in my life that I’ve done so.

Shortly thereafter, a weekly dinner became a monthly dinner, and those became as unpredictable as my love/hate affair with Christina Aguilera.

Bored one night last January, I decided to, for old time’s sake (back when I had time), pop in my Sex in the City DVD’s. It was there, watching the impossibly irritating lives of those four women, when I realized how far I’d veered. I knew, of course, that having three children, migraines, and a wicked case of PTSD wasn’t exactly as glamorous a life as I’d once (semi) led. I sat there on the couch, mouth in the “catching flies” position, realizing how abjectly miserable I was. And how I needed to regain that part of myself buried under the mounds of bottles, nursing bras and impossibly tiny, yet adorable Playmobil pieces.

It was then when I launched the Bringing (Aunt) Becky Back Project. It was time to pull a Madonna and re-fucking-invent myself.

And I have. Started small. Even though I was still lugging around scads of baby pounds, I bought some clothes that made me feel good about myself. I bought pretty (read: sparkly) earrings and perfume that smelled like roses. I began to get regular pedicures, even though I’ve been certain that those women are talking about my gross feet. I took baths alone and tried to banish the guilt when I decided to dick around on the Internet rather than scrub my floor. Eventually, those pounds fell off and I burned my nursing bra.

I’ve managed to pull that girl back out of the shell she’d been living through a combination of being kinder to myself, scads of therapy, launching Band Back Together and Mushroom Printing, and picking up some freelancing gigs.

The girl who used to have carefree Saturday night dinners with her girlfriends may be long gone, but the person I’ve become knows that hanging out on the couch, wearing happy pants and a stained Purple Should Be A Flavor, Dammit t-shirt while watching reruns of Prison Break (read: documentaries about hot dogs), surrounded by love, well, everyone should be so lucky.

Because I am.

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