Thursday, May 31, 2012

Every Tongue Got to Confess

About fifteen years ago, I read in an interview with Drew Barrymore that she despised the phrase "kicking a dead horse." She said something about how she didn't want any part of anything that had to do with a dead animal or the kicking of one. I don't know why I remember that statement, but I do know why I bring it up, and that's because I'm about to do that very thing. Before I do, though, I just want to say two things:

First, you know that don't shoot the messenger quote? Well, consider the messenger me. I know this may sound implausible to you, but I don't pick the Stories I tell--the Stories pick me. Sometimes--like with this one--I even try to resist them, but the Stories, they just won't leave me alone. They accumulate inside of me, getting bigger and heavier until I have no choice but to let them out. And second, unless something absolutely insane occurs, which I absolutely don't foresee happening, this is the last I have to say on this subject. Cross my heart.

Last week I was talking to a woman I'll call Melanie and  mentioned that Glenn and I were staying together. She was, of course, happy for me and even happier for the kids (you know, because that's the normal reaction for a person to have), and in the discussion that followed, she told me the story of a man and woman she knew who had gotten divorced. The man, who was cheating on his wife, was out to dinner with said wife in a restaurant in which the other woman coincidentally was also eating. She spotted them there, came over to the table, and told the wife about the affair. The husband and wife divorced soon after, and the wife felt devastated for years, but, according to Melanie, after a lengthy period of time, she moved on, got remarried, and was eventually able to have a civil relationship with her ex. Melanie then compared divorce to abortion. She said, "It's like if you've ever had an abortion. The memory will always be there, and it will always hurt you, but you'll get over it."

At the time of our conversation, I didn't exactly pause to reflect on that statement, and in the week or so since, I didn't consciously do so, either, but over the past couple of days, that statement has crept into my mind several times.

It just so happens I did have an abortion. Unlike Melanie's assertion that once a person has had one it will always haunt her in some kind of way, though, it hasn't haunted me for one single second. Not only has it not haunted me, but it also didn't haunt me, and what I mean by that is that my decision to have an abortion was not a decision that caused me a great deal of anguish and pain, nor was the impending abortion once I'd decided. I don't mean that I took it lightly in an oh, it's-just-an-abortion, what's-for-dinner? kind of way. I mean only what I said.  It did not cause me anguish and pain. And that's one of the things I've thought about a lot in my last few days' thinking: the lack of anguish and pain my choice to abort/my impending abortion gave me in comparison to the enormous amount of anguish and pain I felt over my once-impending divorce.

Why? I asked myself. Why did my abortion not cause me anguish and pain? Why did the extraction of a potential human being--a potential human being that I made--from my body not cause me anguish and pain? Well, for one, I was only 17 when I got pregnant, which is hardly the age when one should have a child. Two, I had potential. I know this is going to sound bad, but one of the things that went into my decision was the fact that I was in my second year of college and highly intelligent--hardly the kind of person who should throw her life away on a baby. Too much would be wasted. Three, I wasn't in any semblance of a relationship with the father; in fact, I wasn't even entirely sure which of two guys the father was. I know worse situations than mine exist, but mine was pretty damn bad. Too bad to bring a baby into, that's for sure.

That's when I realized--my decision to have an abortion didn't cause me anguish and pain because it was indubitably the right one to make. It was a life-altering, momentous decision, but for me, somebody who can barely make a decision to save her life, it was a fairly easy one. It doesn't take a braniac to see that if somebody isn't ready to have a baby and can't give a baby the type of love and care that s/he needs, that baby should not be brought into this world. And that realization--the realization that little pain comes with the certainty that the right thing is being done-- led me to the next one--the reason my decision to get divorced was so painful was because it was wrong. Whereas my abortion felt right, has always felt right, my divorce just felt wrong. It felt like this stupid cliche my dad sent me in an email once that read "When everything is coming your way, you're in the wrong lane." At least I think that's what it said. Or maybe it was about a fish? Something about swimming against the current maybe? I don't know, but either way, the message was the same:

Signs. Heed the signs. I personally try to ignore them, but it never works out. I just can't make my way through the oncoming traffic. Or all the damn fish.

Thursday, May 24, 2012

The Only Hope for Me Is Me

It's been almost two weeks since Glenn and I decided to stay together, and I have to say, things are going swimmingly. Yes, I understand the brevity of two weeks, but believe me...things have gone wrong in my life in much shorter periods than that.

I suppose I'm probably going to be giving you the idea that I'm a flake when I say this, but in two weeks' time I've been known to completely lose interest in something that consumed me, wholeheartedly change my point of view of something about which I felt strongly, and completely forget about something that plagued me. You know what? If you think I'm a flake, you're probably not wrong.

But my flakiness is not the point. The point is that it's been almost two weeks since Glenn and I became Glenn and Kelly again, and I'm not tired of him. I'm also not at all sorry about my decision, nor do I remotely feel like I made my choice due to feeling that I lacked other choices or that the other choices before me were less than exciting. What I do feel like is that I found my way back to the life where I belong, back to the path that my feet need to travel. I feel comfortable, but not in a "settling" kind of way; I feel comfortable in a "this is my life" kind of way. One of the worst things about my two months adrift was the feeling of disquiet that I constantly felt, a feeling that's been quelled since I turned my feet around.

Okay, maybe my flakiness is the point. Or at least one of them. I'm a flaky person. I get tired of things easily. I change my hair color more often than some people eat green veggies (and I'm willing to bet that's an actual fact); I shave my head when I'm bored; I throw away anything the kids or Glenn weren't fortuitous enough to hide when I'm on a purge-the-house-of-clutter bender; I decide to start specific eating plans, spend hours planning a trip to the grocery store, and lose interest in the idea by the time I get to the pasta aisle; I spend hours-days-weeks researching vacation destinations and then decide I've learned so much about the place there's no reason left for a visit;  I decide my marriage isn't what I want it to be and look for reasons to end it...

Well, no more. What I think I've learned from this experience is that, yes, I get bored, and yes, I get unhappy, and yes--it will pass. And when it does, my feet will still face forward, and I'll be right where I belong.

Monday, May 14, 2012

What Else Should I Be? No Apologies.

In "The Gilded Six-Bits," one of my favorite short stories ever, the main character, Missie May, sets out to leave her husband, Joe, for reasons that I won't go into because they're not important to this blog (but if you're curious as to why--or even if you're not--I highly recommend you read the story. It's just so good!). As she's leaving him, she runs into his mother, who never liked Missie May at all, and because she doesn't want to give her what she's always wanted, she turns around and goes home, thinking that even if she doesn't have the substance of marriage, she'll at least have the outward show. It  may seem like a silly reason to stay with a spouse--out of spite and because of what outside parties think--but Missie May's decision to stay with Joe based on the opinion of someone outside of her marriage ends up being a good thing (for reasons I won't disclose just in case you decide to take my advice and read the story).

Well, Missie May and I couldn't be any less alike. I don't care one iota what people think I should do nor am I interested in any unsolicited advice they have to offer me (unsolicited is the key word here--if I've asked you for advice, this comment does not apply to you); after all, I'm the one who has to live my life, not them, which is why I need to do not what bystanders think is best for me, but what makes me happy. And you know what makes me happy, readers? Glenn.

Yes, that's right, I said Glenn. Glenn makes me happy. It took me a lot of time, a lot of thinking, and a lot of pain to realize it, but I finally did.

Glenn. Makes. Me. Happy.

He might not make me happy every second of every day or even every day of every week, but neither life nor love is a trip to The Wizarding World of Harry Potter, where one is drunk on butterbeer, surrounded by magic, and can't help but be happy all the time--life is life--and love--well, to quote the Pink Spiders, "It's heavy, and it hurts, and it's love."

(In case I didn't give you two and two to put together, Operation Glenn and Kelly? We're all systems a-go.)

Friday, May 11, 2012

If He'd Just Realize What I've Just Realized

I didn't tell you everything yesterday when I posted about how much I missed Glenn; I left something out.

I left out the part where I told him last week that I changed my mind and didn't want to get divorced anymore because I was miserable without him and only felt happy when I was talking to him and the part where he told me that was what he ultimately wanted but that he wasn't sure whether to say yes to me or not because he was afraid I'd change my mind again and he'd get hurt and the part where he met with his therapist to discuss it on Monday and came home and asked me all these questions and told me I had to do certain things and I got defensive and upset because two weeks prior he'd been saying something completely different and I ended up leaving the house and the part where we got in a fight again on Monday night because he told me I needed to let go of the past and I told him I didn't think I could because our past isn't past because it keeps happening and the part where we got in a fight because we're incapable of having a civil conversation. I left all of those things out of my blog, and I'm telling you now because the same thing happened today, over and over and over--we talked and we fought and we talked and we fought and we talked and we fought and I threw a bottle of water at the floor from up on the stairs and I threw a garbage can--a little pink bathroom garbage can, but a garbage can nevertheless--from up on the stairs and I screamed and I yelled and I acted like a lunatic and I realized that no matter how I feel and no matter how Glenn says he feels there's something inside each of us that just won't back down and no matter how intelligent we both are we don't understand one thing that the other says and no matter how well we hear we don't hear one thing the other says and no matter how much we say we love each other it just isn't enough to save us.

After I finished crying for at least the seventh time tonight and listening to my "songs that make me want to kill myself" playlist over and over and over again, I also realized that this is pain, it's real pain, it's visceral pain, it's the kind of pain that gets inside your stomach and wraps around your guts and emanates up to your heart and squeezes your lungs and makes you feel like you have to vomit and can't breathe and I realized all at once that this ridiculous notion about loving C I've been carrying around for the past three years and the lovelorn feeling I've maintained at varying levels over the years is just that...ridiculous. It was a ridiculous notion based on silly schoolgirl feelings and silly schoolgirl pain and the juxtaposition of those feelings and that pain and these feelings and this pain makes me realize how significant he wasn't and how significant Glenn is.

I also realize that, at this point, my realizations don't really mean a thing.

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Canon in Kel

I regret to inform you that I'm no longer able to satisfy your voyeuristic curiosity and my exhibitionist tendencies with the click of the "PUBLISH POST" button. My blog's not going away or anything, but the days of open, minimally censored communication are over--for the time being, at least.

I'm sure it's no surprise to any of you, just like it's no surprise to me, that Glenn reads my blogs--because, hello, who wouldn't read a blog that chronicled every aspect of one part of his or her life?--but I never really thought about exactly what that meant before--I'm guessing because before the (very) immediate past, I didn't really care. But that's kinda sorta different now in a way that I apparently can't explain even when I try, so I won't even bother.

What I can explain is that about a week and a half or two weeks ago, I started feeling bad--really bad. I started getting super mopey, and I started thinking that maybe I was making a mistake--I wasn't sure, though, and not being sure was making me feel even worse. I wasn't sure if I was mopey and thought I was making a mistake because I'd been with Glenn for so long or if I was mopey and thought I was making a mistake because I really, truly was making a mistake. The one thing I knew for sure was that I loved him, but like Patty Smyth and Don Henley told everybody who tuned into easy listening stations back in 1992, Baby, sometimes love just ain't enough.

And that, readers, brings us to the next question that made me miserable. If love isn't enough, then what is? A family that consists of the two of us and a Griffin and a Keifer and a Hudson and a Jazzy? Having somebody who will sit next to me on the couch and eat dinner with me and walk the dog with me and go grocery shopping with me and hold my hand for the next forty eight years (you know, because I'm going to die at 85)? Having somebody to talk to about my day and his day and the kids' days? Family discussions about Harry Potter and Star Wars and the evolution of Blink-182 and Tom DeLonge getting fat and Mark Hoppus looking old and running and '80s movies and Joss Whedon being a sadistic bastard? Watching the kids' plays and dance competitions and recitals together? Ten years' worth of holiday French toast on ten consecutive Christmas mornings? The fact that Glenn was the only person I wanted around when Sandy, the dog I grew up with, got hit by a car and was killed right in front of me? Road trips to Chicago and New Orleans and Charlotte and Colonial Williamsburg and some place so small in North Carolina that the "city" might not have an actual name? An 18 year investment with a combined 36 birthdays between the two of us, 18 Christmases, 17 anniversaries of the day Glenn first told me he loved me, 13--14 tomorrow--wedding anniversaries, and 22 kids' birthdays? The fact that Glenn is cuter than almost anyone I've ever met in my life and for the past two days I've wanted nothing more than for him to be on top of me and experienced more inner conflict than a character in an after school special about whether or not to get into figurative bed with him on his sadly-not-so-figurative couch?

Can somebody please tell me what constitutes "enough"?
Because right now, I feel like I've had it.

Friday, May 4, 2012

Run Like the Devil 'Cause They're Never Gonna Leave Me Alone

I have a bum right hip. It aches constantly, but it's a bearable ache for the most part except when it's not, like when I wake up in the morning and it's so stiff I could barely walk or when I've just finished running or when I try to lie down on my right side and all one-hundred-and-thirty-five pounds of me seems to be concentrated in the exact spot where my leg and torso meet. Ironically, my hip hurts from running, but the only time it doesn't hurt me is when I run.


For my entire life, I've been a little bit too round--a little bit too chubby--a little bit too soft--a little bit too much. When I went to summer camp in Chicago, the camp counselors carried me more than I walked; when I was in fifth grade, my friend Jessica had to pull me when we ran during PE because I couldn't finish the runs on my own; when I was in middle school, I couldn't complete the mile run; and when I was in high school, the only thing I got sweaty for was sex.

The truth is, I've always considered myself pretty much incapable of even doing anything physical, let alone doing it well. Once I decided to get into something resembling shape at 27 and started running, my fitness level got a little better, but I certainly didn't send any letters about my running life home to my mother, something that I can blame on a half-assed effort and an inclination to hang up my running shoes the second I felt any discomfort from the waist down.

But things are different now.

While I won't go so far as to say I've rediscovered running since I never really stopped, what I will say is that I've kinda sorta reinvented my running self. For the first time in my running life, I run consistently, I run at a pace that actually qualifies as running, and I run because I actually want to. For the first time in my running life, I run because I love it.

I love that these legs that used to get tired when walking around the mall can now run miles at a time and that these formerly teeny tiny little lungs can now hold however much air I need. I love that feeling of falling into a rhythm that I get five to ten minutes in and the euphoria that temporarily takes away everything wrong in my world. I love the idea that my body--my too round, too chubby, too soft body that could never do anything--could do what it does now, could go farther and faster with every run.

When I'm bouncing down that sidewalk at night, passing the cars stopped at lights, racing across parking lots and streets, I feel like I have the strength and the power to do anything, and when Tom sings in my ear that he knows that everything, knows that everything, knows that everything, everything's gonna be fine, I actually believe.

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

The Days of My Life

"I'd rather be working to earn a paycheck than waiting to win the lottery."
                                                                                           -Bright Eyes

If you have a stable job, a paycheck is pretty much guaranteed. Is it an easy route to monetary stability? Eh. It depends what you do. Is it a fun route to monetary stability? I'm going to have to go with my aforementioned eh and again say that it depends what you do.

Let's investigate:

No matter what job I've had--and I've had a lot of jobs--should we count them? In order? Oh, let's. I love lists!

CircusPlayhouseFoxmoorQRecordsandTapesRally'sAfterthoughts InternationalPromotionsTacoBellDenny'sAustin'sBennigan'sDenny's
ShuckumsPlanetHollywoodShuckumsCheesecakeFactoryPiperHigh MiramarHigh

--I've had good days, and I've had bad. Since waitressing and teaching are the two things I did/have done the longest, those are the two that I'll talk about.

When I was a waitress, I waited on some super nice, super friendly people, and I waited on some real cretins (I worked at Denny's in the middle of the night; you seriously can't even imagine). I got awesome tips, and I got stiffed. I worked entire shifts that seemed like mere minutes, and I worked mere minutes that felt like days. I can't say I was at all sorry to take the perma-knot out of my tie, relegate my iron to the laundry room, and put my DT pin in a drawer, but I can paradoxically say that waitressing is a part of my life that I really miss.

Teaching is pretty much the same. My first year of teaching was probably the worst year of my professional life. Not only did I have no idea what I was doing, but they stuck me with a bunch of behaviorally-challenged kids who couldn't read, and as if that weren't bad enough, I was pregnant and hormonal. I remember a whole lot of devastating days, a whole lot of crying on my desk after school, and a whole lot of calling in sick. As bad as it was, though, I remember a whole lot of happy every other Friday when I'd get that $981.00 paycheck, which was a considerable improvement over the meager amount I'd been making at Cheesecake giving away as many shifts as I could to whoever wanted to shark them (that's in-the-biz lingo, yo--context clue it). As much as I hated teaching year one at Piper, once I came to Miramar, things totally changed. I can't say that all my days have been filled with truffles and pansies, but I've had some of the most fulfilling days I can remember here along with the disappointing ones. And, again, when I get my paycheck every two weeks (which, thankfully, is considerably more than that $981 that used to knock my socks off), the paycheck that enables me to send my kids to private school, go to The Melting Pot when I feel like I just can't live another day without a green-goddess-stuffed mushroom, and stock up on all the Benefit, Clinique, and various brands of mascara my vanity can accommodate, I'm pretty grateful that I have it. I'm not saying I wouldn't trade it for my very own column in a newspaper or magazine (ahem) or an advance to write a book (ahem ahem), but as much as I complain, it's not really so bad.

It's definitely better than sitting around unemployed, buying lottery tickets every week and hoping for the best.