My kids are all about superheros these days.
Specifically, Batman. Now, when I was a kid (cracks knuckles, grabs cane and tries to figure out how to use cell phone), I had almost zero interest in superheros. I had no imagination, and save for the Wonderwoman training bra I wore religiously — without, I should add, the need for it — I couldn’t care LESS about superheros.
It’s probably because I had no imagination and preferred digging in the dirt, which is shockingly similar to what I’m like these days. Gimmie worms and other creepy crawlers and an old copy of Grey’s Anatomy and I’m golden.
But my kids. No. They’re insistent upon this superhero thing, which is handy because some toy company was all, WE SHOULD BRING BACK BATMAN AND ALLLLL THE SUPERHEROS, which means that the kids are in toy heaven.
It also made Halloween shopping much easier:
Me: “Whatchu wanna be for Halloween, Alex? THE LAND SHARK?”
Me (sighs): “Okay, Mimi, what about you? What do YOU want to be for Halloween?”
Alex: “Mama, what’s your costume going to be?”
Me: “Ummm….”your mom!”” I snickered as I said that, because while it’s true – YOUR MOM.
Alex: “No, that’s what you are EVERY day.”
Me: “Um…Twitter Fail Whale?”
Alex (flatly): “No.”
Me: “Fine, okay, what should I be?”
Alex and Mimi (in unison): “CATWOMAN.”
Okay, I thought, I could work with this shit. Until yesterday morning, when I awoke and realized that I owned almost nothing black (my brother went through a long-lasting black phase and I’ve been scarred ever since).
Hrms, I thought. Had it not been -2726 degrees last night, I’d have worn one of my thousands (okay three – but they were bridesmaids dresses) black dresses and gone all Glamor Shots Catwoman. Instead, after pouring through my closet, I decided that I could go as Cat-Burglar Catwoman. Just needed some black shit and some fucking eye makeup and fuck yeah! Catwoman/Cat-Burglar!
I grabbed a black v-neck shirt, some ugly black yoga pants, and decided that I’d bling the shit out of it after I picked up J from kindergarten. I could hardly wait to see his reaction (and by “hardly wait,” I mean, “I knew he was going to bitch”).
“Check it out, Al,” I showed him as we buckled up on our way from kindergarten to preschool. “I’m Catwoman!”
He looked at me doubtfully.
“No, you’re not,” he said. “You don’t have a tail, ears or ANYTHING. You need a costume.”
When I dropped him off at preschool and showed his sister, she was equally disdainful of my outfit. “Mama,” she said, hands on her hips, “you need to go to The Target Store and get a REAL costume.”
I sighed as I bid them farewell. I’d been hoping to avoid spending money on a costume — but Halloween is once a year and I knew it’d make them SO happy if were able to pull something together. Off to one of those stupid-looking costume boutiques I went, hoping for a fucking miracle. Who the balls goes shopping on HALLOWEEN?
I went inside, and noted that all of the women’s costumes could easily double as hooker apparel – it was like walking into Sluts-r-Us, and if I’d had a kickin’ Halloween party to go to, well, that’d be another story entirely. Instead, I was going out WITH MY CHILDREN.
I found the Catwoman costume right away — it looked like one of those body suits interpretive dancers wear (Now, students, ACT LIKE THE SALAD! BE the salad!).
Next to it, I noted that they had a Robin costume. Okay, I thought. Robin waits in the car anyway, and shit, this is better than looking like I might begin interpretive dancing as a microwave while we tricked and treated.
I scoured the store to see if I could find something more reasonable and/or less slutty, but no. This is the costume I found:
Which is bad enough, but I figured I could de-slut it a bit, considering I was taking my KIDS trick-or-treating and not going to a hooker convention. I decided to show it to a few friends so they could share in the horror, and was aghast to discover this:
Batman “Secret Wishes” Robin Costume? Double gag. Especially since, given my way, I’d have gone as the Land Shark, considering NOT ONE OF MY CHILDREN IS INTO THAT COSTUME IDEA (mostly because they’re boring).
I’d warned Dave that my costume looked like it’d come from Tramps R Us, and showing him the link on Amazon, he just laughed at me. Through clenched fingers, I typed, “I’m ONLY doing this because it’ll make the kids happy.” He laughed harder.
I dressed myself, throwing a pair of pants on under the slut suit, and headed over to Dave’s house, doing the whole walk of shame up to the driveway, hoping my neighbors wouldn’t mistake me for a prostitute.
The kids, upon seeing me, screamed happily, “OH MOM, YOU LOOK AWESOME! LOOK YOU’RE ROBIN AND WE’RE BATMANS! THIS IS SO COOL!”
“Better than the Catwoman outfit, huh?” I asked them, as they tore into the candy Dave’d bought for the trick-or-treaters, knowing that plying them with chocolate is practically a Halloween law, and shit, I didn’t want to get all sued by the Halloween police.
“YES!” They chirped happily. I smiled, still feeling absurd.
I mean, how can you NOT if this is your outfit?
The glee is CLEARLY evident on my face. The very least the manufactures could’ve done is NOT give me the world’s most absurd cape. The thing was like two inches long and seriously, I know Robin waits in the car and shit, but really? Alfred should’ve made the dude a REAL cape.
Luckily, I managed to mostly cover myself up so I didn’t appear as though I, too, was on the prowl for some candy and/or offering a BJ:
Thank the Good Lord Of Butter that Robin waits on the sidewalk.
Shortly after the whole nervous breakdown/divorce/get the nuts out of my house debacle, a friend of mine took my tearful ass out to catch a cup of coffee. Over coffee, he asked me simply: “What do YOU want?”
I sat there stunned, holding two packets of Equal, googling at him as though he’d suddenly grown a head from his shoulders.
“What I want?” I sputtered when I finally could make my vocal cords work again.
“Yeah,” he replied. “Becks, what do YOU want?”
Slowly, I shook my head side-to-side. No one had ever asked me what I wanted, unless they were looking for an answer like, “An Uncrustable,” or “John C. Mayer’s head on a platter so it cannot sing “Your Body Is A Wonderland EVER AGAIN.”
I didn’t answer him; I couldn’t.
Not because I didn’t want to respond to the question, but because I hadn’t thought about what I wanted in many years – that’s part of being a parent, a writer, a wife, the caretaker to many – you don’t have the option of putting yourself first. It’s not a dig at any of those roles, it simply is. How can you possibly nurse a migraine in a dark room with an icepack on your head if it’s going to lead to resentments from your partner or simply impossible – thanks to a gaggle of kids who’d prefer to poke you in the eyes and ask the same question 10382 times? The answer is that you can’t. Not often, anyway, and certainly not without a glistening pile of guilt.
I’ve been living on my own for a full month now. I have enough to pay rent (although that bitch Sandy is going to sorely affect my ability to freelance, considering NYC apparently looks like a zombie apocalypse has swept through it), which makes me beyond proud. I did it. I was terrified that I wouldn’t be able to do it alone, but I was wrong – the fear is a lying liar who lies.
In one month, I’ve spent more time thinking about the future I want to have, The Happyness I need to find, and what happens next than I have in 9 years. I’d put all plans for having my own life on a shelf, just out of reach, once I got married to a workaholic, popped out two more kids, and began blogging as a way to find the community, the friends I so desperately craved.
It was a full life, but it was a lonely one.
That’s not to say I have regrets – I don’t. But I’m left grasping at straws and rediscovering who Becky Sherrick Harks really is, beyond a mother, freelance writer, leader of a non-profit and blogger. Certainly these jobs I cherish, but we all know, Pranksters, that there’s more to be done. I don’t want to be an old woman, sitting on the porch, wishing she’d taken that risk, chased that dream, followed her heart.
So I won’t.
Divorce doesn’t mean that my life is over; that I’ll never find love again, I’ll be stuck in front of the TV night after night watching Dexter reruns, pretending to be married to men from television. Divorce doesn’t mean that I’m suddenly going to become a crazy cat lady or hoarder or a recluse who collects her pee in jars. The things that have changed are those that needed to be changed in order for the next part of my life to begin. It’s time for me to find those dreams left trapped in a jar (clarification: not pee-filled jars) on a shelf somewhere, dust off the cobwebs and figure out what, exactly, I want to do with the next chapter of my life.
This is my life to live. I don’t know what will happen tomorrow or next week. I don’t have any way of knowing if the dreams I once had will have stood the test of time. If they have, I will chase my heart. If they have not, I will find a new dream. Life has a weird way of working out like that.
I can hardly wait to see where it takes me.
It’s been no secret that I’ve been depressed.
I’ve stared at the blinking curser on a blank blog page, all Imma talk about it I don’t know how many times (at least twice), but realize that whatever I say will be all wah, wah, wah, bleeeerrrggg, because I’m not depressed about things that are entirely fixable with anything but time. I’ve done my best to keep my head up through the storms and keep one foot in front of the other – that is, when I’m not too busy falling over kitchen appliances and giving myself minor concussions – and keep on truckin’.
It’s the only thing I can do.
So instead of telling you my laundry list of things that have been depressing and/or heartbreaking, it’s time to take a gander at depression through the ages. That way, when I’m sad, I can stop being sad and start being awesome again.
Depression, Age 10: “Wahhhhhhh, I broke a lace on my new skates and now I have to wear these rental skates and NO ONE will want to slow-skate with me because I’m going to be all stinky-foot on their asses. These skates smell like at least three people vomited inside of them. How does that even happen? I need my mom to buy me a new pair of these kicky shoes – Chuck Taylor’s. That’ll help with this OMFG humiliation of skating in barf skates.”
Depression, Age 15: “Wah-Wah-Wah, I’ve just dumped this guy that I OMG loved so much with all my heart and I just knew we’d be together forever even though we only were “together” for a night or whatever, but he’s SUCH a good kisser and I’m SURE he’s my soulmate. I know we’ll work out*. In the meantime, I need some kicky motherfucking shoes. AND, I need my friend to pee in his mailbox. Clearly. Oh, if only I had a social network thing to quote very, VERY meaningful song lyrics and/or quotes that remind me of my lost looooovvvveee.”
Depression, Age 20: “Holy fuckstick, I got a baby in my belly and he’s all dancing on my bladder and shit and I have to pee two ounces every three seconds, and if he’d just lay off my liver, things would be okay again. Well, that and a simple, “Congrats!” from anyone – kinda sick of these angry looks. I’m twenty years old, not thirteen. I bet a new purse would do wonders to cover up my gigantic ass. Who the shit gets pregnant IN THEIR ASS?”
Depression, Age 25: “Ha! TAKE THAT! I proved those motherfuckers wrong – I raised that baby up, I got married and I graduated at the top of my nursing class. With the whirlwind I’ve been living in, I don’t see AT ALL how I didn’t notice that working as a floor nurse might just make me homicidal. Oh, and autism kinda sucks ass – I thought it would be better once I had real time to devote to the kid. Oh! I know what’ll help – ANOTHER BABY. So why can’t I get fucking pregnant?”
Depression, Age 30: “I got this. I may be miserable, but who the fuck wants to think about that shit? I can totally just push it on back there and be all, “MY LIFE RULEZ. It’s important that it has the “Z” in RULEZ, because obviously. No one needs to know how shitty things are, even IF I do have a social media network to whine on – who wants to read that? I bet a joke about squirrels in diapers would TOTALLY cheer me up. I should tweet that shit.”
Depression, Age 32: “Starting over again, huh? Not the way I thought it would be. I could put up some inspirational shit on my social media networks, but that might make me stab myself in the toe with a blunt fork. Who cares if “tomorrow is a new day” if today, like all the days before it, has sucked ballz. YES, ballz needs a “Z.” Why? Obviously. Being this whiny means I should probably shut my whore mouth until I’m able to say something awesome again. So that’s that – when I get sad now, I’m going to stop being sad and start being awesome.”
*he had a tiny wang – think pretzel rod, Pranksters – and we never did get back together. Thank the Good Lord of Butter. Bullet motherfucking DODGED.
(when you can’t find me here, you can find me here, which has some rad guest posts on it. Why? Because when I get sad, I stop being sad and start being awesome. Duh.)