We went down to the edge of the water,
You were afraid to go in.
You said there might be sharks out there in the ocean,
And I said I’m only going for a swim

-“No Mermaid”

Sinead Lohan

I awoke Monday morning with something gnawing in my guts. Assuming it wasn’t a tapeworm or other types of parasitic organisms, I rubbed the sleep out of my eyes as I tried to ascertain why, exactly, I was panicking.

Oh right.

It’s Monday.

And while I don’t particularly care for Monday’s one way or another, I remembered it was D-Day. The day in which I would tour the apartment complex I had once lived, many lifetimes ago. Sweetly nestled into the banks of the Fox River, surrounded by trees and flowers, the park within walking distance, I knew that if I was going to move out – to create a sanctuary for myself – it would be to this complex. Having lived in the area since I was five, I knew which apartments were good and which were not. These, it turns out, were the best in the area. A quick 3 minute jump across the river from my house, I knew that this was to be my next step.

However, I was still scared shitless.

Never having lived alone before; knowing that I’d be able to make rent as well as keep up on things like “the phone bill,” well, no one said I was born with great common sense. See also my old phone:

no mermaid

(Enlarged to show the AWESOME)

Visibly shaking like an overgrown Chihuahua, I waited for my appointment at 1:30 to tour the property and see how small this unit truly was (answer: not too shabby). I chattered on like I do when I’m nervous to the lady who was showing me the property, explaining that I was going through a divorce and moving out. I fist-bumped myself when I realized I’d only cried once. It was like some kind of record for me.

Back in the manager’s office, I began the arduous task of filling out a mountain of paperwork. It was then that I realized how lazy I’d gotten – I was so accustomed to TYPING that trying to write by hand with my awesome fireworks blister on my index finger on my right hand made my penmanship look as though I’d filled out the application with my toes.

I was all, “Damn, I’m good at filling out shit. Lookit ME knowing the answers and stuff! I should win an award of AWESOMENESS for my right answers! I bet they’ll give me the apartment just for my awesome answers!”

Until I got to That Page.

The one that asks you about your employment history.

I slumped in my chair.

While I do have my own company and a sparkly shiny name for it, I’ve always operated at a total loss – it’s hard to show paystubs when you’re a freelancer who occasionally gets paid by PayPal.

Before that, I was a stay-at-home parent.

I asked the kind lady with sweet eyes what I should do.

“Hmmmm,” she said, thinking. “Can you get a letter from someone saying they’ll vouch for you and pay your rent if you’re short?”

“Yep,” I said, figuring that I’d be able to ask one or two people to help me out by signing a silly piece of paper. If I came up short on rent, I’d rather take out a Craig’s List “fifty dollars a hand-i-job” listing to make up for any amounts I’d be missing* than ask these people for the money. I’m stubborn and my pride often gets me in trouble – which is why I so rarely ask for help. While I *know* what can happen; the scary shit out there, I am no mermaid. I’ve lived a fearful life a long-ass time, and figured that taking this plunge; this path, would help with other stuff along the way. You know, “if” “then” equations?

I digress.

The two people who I asked to sign a stupid piece of paper – not a cosigner, I should add – didn’t quite feel comfortable doing it. They each had their reasons, most of which boiled down to, “we don’t trust that you’ll make your rent.”




Now, I understand the reasoning and that I can be classified as a risk, but I took their (in)actions to heart – maybe I really wasn’t ready for this. Maybe this was a BAD idea. Maybe I’d not be able to make it on my own. Fear took over and I began the process of doubting everything from my ability to wipe my ass to whether or not I’d forget to pay the electric bill.

Monday was an ugly day.

Tuesday morning, I awoke, dropped off some more stuff at the apartment rental office and headed out to therapy. I’d given it my level best, and if this wasn’t the path I was to take, well, I’d find another way somehow. It was entirely up to me, a both terrifying and awesome feeling.

I explained how I was feeling to my therapist, who promptly asked, “why are you basing your self-worth on those people?”

“I don’t know. Honestly, I don’t,” I replied.

But it reminded me of the girl I used to be – the girl who took risks, said, “fuck it, why not?” and didn’t give a shit about whether or not someone approved of her actions. That’s the girl I was. That’s the girl I will be. That’s the girl I am. I may be scared shitless, but I am still that girl.

I know this because this morning, at ass-early o’clock, I got a phone call from the apartment complex.

I have an apartment.

I can do this. I know I can.

If, for no other reason than I love being able to prove motherfuckers WRONG.


I may be living on the river, but I am no mermaid.

Not when I have my army of Pranksters behind me.




79 thoughts on “No Mermaid

  1. Of COURSE you got the apartment. Cuz you drip awesome sauce and, duh.
    Getting approved for an apartment is HUGE. You are all functional and grown up like and are going to make this space a great place for you to not only heal but also grow. AND its all yours so when Bandies and Pranksters come for a visit you gots plenty of room. YAY BECKS!!
    And i am totally coming over.

  2. YAY! Please send me the address and when you move in so I can mail you REAL mail that’s not a bill.

    I’m so glad you had a good day. It’s just the first of many.

  3. Awesome! Congrats on the new digs!

    I meant to post this on your advice post, but I diddled and procrastinated and looked at pictures of kittens and then I forgot.

    What I do to keep track of the bills is to fold a sheet of notebook paper in half and stick the month’s bills in it as they arrive. I crib off the previous month and make a list of what’s due when. (Due date in the margin, name of bill, and then dollar amount. If I pay a different amount that the amount due, I write that amount beside it. If it’s something like a credit card or a loan, I put the total or the payoff in the right margin.)

    Next month – new sheet of paper, crib off the previous month.

    This *mostly* helps me make sure I know what’s coming due when and get everything paid on time. You could probably use Excel or the Open Office version or something, but I’m old-school. (Plus, the paper folder keeps the bills from wandering and getting lost in the morass of my desk.)

    Keep your chin up, Aunt Becky! You can do this.

    1. Excellent idea! paperclip those bills in that piece of paper and call it your “bill organizer”. Yeah baby!!! ๐Ÿ™‚
      And this list of replies is PROOF that people KNOW you are so worthy just the way you are girl! ?

  4. Party at Aunt Becky’s! BYOB and probably a chair.
    I had a bring your own chair party once. It was the best party ever!

  5. I’m recently single and while the “D Word” wasn’t involved (sadly I’ve been there, done that too) it still stings like a motherfucker. I just wanted to say that reading your blog is inspiring me to finally live life on my own terms. You are truly a wonderful person Aunt Becky and if I lived near Chicago I’d come over and help you decorate your walls with majestic wolf prints. Thank you for being so awesome and congrats on the apartment!

  6. Every step you take closer to your own new life will get a little easier, baby. You can do it, you can make it, you are capable and stronger than you know.

  7. Don’t be scared! Be excited you have your very own place and you will be able to do anything you want at any time, day or night. I think it’s exciting to get your own apartment. I’ve never lived alone either and now I regret that I didn’t. I think this is going to be much better than you think it is!

    You can do this. Look at what you’ve already done!!!

  8. Oh, I remember bills in teh Ahmurrka. (I lived for a year and a half in Rockville, MD)

    I really don’t get that shit – you have to write a *check* (what sorcery is that, anyway), and put it in an envelope with another little piece of paper, and put a frigging *stamp* on it, and remember to put it in the mailbox. (Outgoing, not incoming, right?). I do not envy you that. And they come in at all times of the month.

    I am a bit grateful for my Swedish internet bank, and the electronic bills I get. As long as I check my bank once in a while – from the convenient spot called my couch – I don’t have to worry. What comes in the paper mail, I put in the computer bank, and sign it to be paid on the right day.

    I hope things are less based on tree pulp these days…

  9. Becky, I’m on disability but if I had to try and work to help you make rent, I would. Because sometimes a bitch just deserves a break. I’ve been where you are, and might be walking that path (or hobbling as the case may be) again soon. Men can be such a pain in the ass. But you are fucking awesome just for putting yourself out here everyday to try and help other relate. You have more guts than anyone I know. YOU…WILL…DO…IT!

  10. way to go on getting your apartment it will get better it always does and i know how the hills of life get ya down but ya just have get up over the hills

  11. Here’s what you need to do on the next one if you don’t get this one: LIE or leave it blank. And also remember that your marital status is really none of their business. If you put married (since you still are) it may actually work in your favor because they may see some joint accounts when they pull your credit report. This is not taking a loan out for a house. Give them as little information as possible. It is perfectly acceptable to say you are a freelance writer & not disclose your income. They can run a credit check and size you up in person. Don’t give them any reason to question you! It has taken me most of my life to tell all the people with their forms that I wasn’t going to answer their questionsโ€”and you know what? NOTHING BAD has happened! I was being a good little form filler outer all for nothing!

  12. So proud of you! ๐Ÿ™‚ ๐Ÿ™‚ and you get to look for blue barrels on the river. Isn’t that the same place they think Drew dumped the body in a blue barrel?
    I live on the Rock River though…so dirty you can’t see the bottom.
    PS – You can do this.

  13. Congratulations Aunt Becky!!
    You are on your way!!!
    I miss living in my apartment, by myself, with no one to judge what I do, and what time I do it…………..

  14. That’s so AWESOME!!!!! I can wait to come see it!!! And if you’re not moved by the time I get there, I’ll be more than happy to help! SIXTEEN DAYS!!!!!

  15. I just wanted you to know that your blog is in my Google Reader. When I see a new post, I immediately read it. My thought? How is Becky doing today? There are many of your Bandmates cheering you on. Backing you up. Now go out there and be a bad ass mofo. Hugs.

  16. There’s always time when it may be hard, allow for some crying and some chocolate and/or vodka consumption. Then say we’re done with that, now let’s kick ass! We will all be here to remind you how great you are when you need it.

  17. Just adding my Rah-Rahs to the cheerleading section!!

    I’m not sure if this part is helpful, but I’ll put it out there:

    Two years ago I met a woman who had recently lost her husband to heart disease. She’s a dear, sweet weeble of a woman and at 78 really seemed to need a shoulder to lean on. I was 37 and since I had plenty of strength, offered her mine to draw on.

    Over the years, we’ve grown as close as family. Which is to say we often don’t have any idea what the other is talking about, but we smile and hug and laugh anyway. And this is the bit I think is important: My lovely friend was so close to her husband. Married him at 19. No kids. Doesn’t even remember spending a married night without him beside her until he was in the hospital. The sweet dear (who is quite intelligent and sharp-minded) left so much to her husband, that she had no idea that plugging a phone in required a phone jack…not just an electrical outlet. She had never pumped her own gas into her car. Had never paid a bill and and no idea how to balance a checkbook. Luckily for her, money isn’t much of an issue…but independence that she didn’t really want has been foisted upon her, and she’s learning. She cries a lot, and I try to help where I can, but she’s doing it.

    You, Aunt Becky, have independence and strength by the truckload. You have been on your own before, and you will successfully be on your own again. You’ve earned money to pay your expenses before, and you will again. If a little old lady can manage (though I would never let her hear me call her that) so can you.

    So, hugs to you and keep that chin up. We are all rooting for you.

  18. You definitely are no fucking mermaid, you are a fighter. Obstacles are thrown your way and you just get up, dust yourself off and keep fighting. You may not have set out to but, whether you like it or not, you’re also an inspiration. Keep fighting, we’re all rooting for you!

  19. Congrats on the apartment–you’ll get through this crap. You will.

    Found your blog a little while back through some link, a nod to you from someone else’s blog…who knows exactly. Ended up reading through bunches of old posts and getting sucked in and now I check in dailyish.

    And as if it didn’t feel weird enough to be following the life of a stranger on the internet, I started to recognize places you mentioned in some of your posts–we must have grown up near each other, I thought. But, whoa–you’re from St. Charles? Me too! Sort of…moved there in HS. My family almost lived in (probably) the same riverside complex you’re moving to while our house was being built. I live in Chicago now but my parents are still in STC. We’re about the same age…we must know people in common. Small world.

    In any case, if you find yourself needing any help in the way of stuff (I have boxes of household/kitchen odds and ends living in my parents’ basement that they threaten to sneak into my car everytime I visit) or time or anything not illegal*, I’m nearby.

    *I could even be ok with slightly illegal if chances of getting caught were slim.

  20. Dear Aunt Becky, you need to add more stuffs to your amazon wish list cuz i think everyone bought it all up or you didnt go hogwild like you should have.. cuz when i clicked it i only had 11 things to choose from so i had to use my thinkers and pick something else to go along with what i chose on your wishlist so i hope you like it lol i think you will its appropriate .. also your pranksters need a wide variety to choose from yo!

    your merry prankster.

  21. You Rock the Awesomeness! You certainly can do this, of course you can. Yes, life can be scary but you are strong and fuck what others say, you WILL do it. You will get through this time. Have fun decorating your new apartment (beautiful view, by the way) the way you like it.

  22. i have so many things to say, aunt motherfucking becky. first is that i need your for realz address when you have it because i have things to mail you. second is that you are full of the awesome and of COURSE you can do this. i know that we wake up some days (most days, it seems like) and we feel like we can’t do it. we can’t do anything. we suck. we’re worthless. no one loves us. etc, etc. but you KNOW we’re wrong.

    i woke up hating everything today and wanting to sit around without pants on and eat teddy grahams all day. but i read your post and remembered that i can do this shit. i can ROCK THIS SHIT. so i’m going to get showered and dressed and put on sparkly eye shadow and go to work (i may still eat some of the teddy grahams but i will put pants on, as is required by law when i leave my house.).

    thirdly, i don’t know about your amazon wish list and demand that you tell me how to find it and get things (preferably cheap things because i still haven’t found a job). fourthly, you’re aunt motherfucking becky – you too will ROCK THIS SHIT.

  23. Expect some awesome Amazon wishlist shit from me! Wish I could be there to help ya move. I’d show up with my pickup truck and my Margaritaville Concoction Maker! HA! You can do this. You are fucking awesome.

  24. Life transitions are not easy. I’m in the middle of my own. But they’re essential. Unless you want to be a boring, bitter old woman.

    You’re doing the right thing, and your apartment complex looks ballz to the wall awesome.

  25. AB

    this may sound broken record-ish by now, but HELLZ YEAH, YOU CAN TOTES DO THIS SHIT!
    Also, I’m on the fox river too, just, about 3 hours further up from you…… I am about 3 blocks from the cesspool called lake winnebago.


  26. Why am I always the last one to the party? Anyway, sounds like you’re going to prove those motherfuckers wrong. I would have gladly written you a letter. Geez.

  27. I am so sorry we didn’t get a chance to meet up while I was in town; that said I will be back up there someday. And now you can invite me over n’ stuff. ๐Ÿ™‚
    You’re gonna be okay. It ain’t going to be “one day I woke up and was okay’. It is going to be the moments of feeling normal get longer and the moments of horrifying crippling depression get shorter. Slow but sure darlin’. slow but sure.

  28. You are not alone Hun- goodies (and more mundane boring house gubbings) are in the post… They just might take a few weeks (in coming from England!) ;). You CAN do this.

  29. SO. I don’t actually know you, i’ve just been stalking reading your stuff for a while…… BUT, I would sign that damn paper and mail you monopoly money if needed. (That stuff is legal tender, right?)
    Keep on kicking ass; the internet is behind you.

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