April 21, 2008

I’m Still Kickin’….and Fixin’ Myself (and No One Else)

Posted in Uncategorized at 4:21 pm by LG

I have just survived the worst case of strep throat known to the human race. I have no support for this statement, but I believe in it whole heartedly. I hadn’t had it since I was a much littler Little Girl, and – wow – apparently it’s a lot worse as an adult. I woke up Tuesday with a somewhat sore throat, but I just chalked it up to allergies and popped a bunch of vitamin C throughout the day. The aches started to come that night, but I just went to bed early and willed myself to stay healthy. By 2:00 am, however, I was in tears. If someone had told me that, during my sleep, members of Nuestra Familia had broken in, used me as a punching bag, and forced me to put razor blades (that had been marinated in an acidic-salt blend and set on fire) down my throat, I would have believed them. Seriously. I drove myself to the doctor, got that beautiful, beautiful wonder-drug they call penicillin (which costs, like, 90 cents), and nursed myself back to health thanks to friends who dropped by smoothies and ice cream (thank you, thank you). I even tried to take a picture of the back of my throat to submit to Microbes: The good, The bad and The ugly, but it didn’t work.

I’m fully recovered and now just trying to dig my way out of the pile of work that I missed. Turns out, justice doesn’t stop for strep throat (or, as I’ve learned, hangovers, laziness, mental breakdowns, or love affairs).

I didn’t get to see JB (my “analyst”) last week because of my throat, so I used the time off to think about my last post and her reaction to it (I shared it at our last meeting). I’ve hesitated to write about it because (1) it sounds a little pop psych-ish and (2) it has to do with my parents, more so my dad. I guess in some way it also relates to my “inner child”… as much as I’m trying to grow up, Little Girl’s little girl is still there.

I’m sure it’s easy for adults to “blame” their neurosis on their upbringing; after all, we get so much of who we are from those adult people who raise us. But let me make clear right now: I don’t blame my parents for any (well, most) of my, um, abnormalities. Although my parents were in no way perfect, I can honestly say that I could not be more proud to be their daughter and I love them with everything I have.

With that said, I have learned that some of my present behavior can be explained and better understood if I take a *gentle* peek back into my past. And though I’m learning not to dwell on the past, looking back is, quite frankly, necessary for me at times because I’m the kind of person that HAS to understand and be able to explain WHY I do or feel the way I do. I can’t just shrug my shoulders and be “okay” with the fact that this is just me and this is just how I am. I wish I could (I think this journey would be a hell of a lot smoother) but I can’t; I’ve always been an answer-seeker, even when there are none to be found. Until I understand why I am the way I am, I can’t change my behavior at all. So, I search.

Knowing this, JB helps me along the way. I basically say, “JB, listen to what I did; I’m crazy.” She says, “Ok, let’s figure out why.” We do. And by the end I think, “Oh wow, ok, I understand why I’ve done this for 30 years.” And then I pay her a hundred dollars. But it’s totally worth it because the next time I do fill-in-the-blank-crazy-thing, I can remind myself, “silly Little Girl, remember why you did that before; that was simply a defense mechanism (or whatever we learned); you don’t need to do that anymore.” And then I don’t.

So, when I told her about my theory from my last post — that, as messed up as it is, I have purposely “picked” guys who were not living at their potential, so that I can help them reach their potential (and thereby feel special and not have to reach my own) — she told me that she thinks it has to do a lot more with my need to “feel special” than my fear of achieving my own greatness…though she admits that’s a nasty by-product.

You see, when I was a very, very little girl this awful tragedy happen to my family, within my dad’s side of the family. It’s one of those events that’s so unthinkable, that after it, you wonder how the sun can keep rising and setting each day. I wasn’t even two years old, but I still (then and over the next several years) felt the deep emotional effects on my family, and mainly, my dad. But because I was so young, my brain (what would it be, my frontal lobe?) and my heart couldn’t really understand such pain. All I knew is that I wanted my dad to be happy, but for some reason he wasn’t. Of course he put on a happy face for me and did all the normal dad things that a kid could ask for, but there are some emotions that you just can’t mask and perhaps grief is one of them.

So JB and I talked about the idea that maybe my choice in men is due to this need to make right what I couldn’t make right in my childhood; that maybe I want to find someone who “needs help” so that I can feel special and needed and essential to happiness in a way that I could not have possibly been to my dad when he was going through this awful time.

I think there’s some truth to this…at least it’s something to consider next time I fall for someone who could be described (as I believe my dad correctly has done) as “a sorry wounded stray who happens to clean up well.” Then I can say, “It’s ok little LG. I know that seeing someone in need hurt you a long time ago and you desperatley wanted to make things right. But you couldn’t and your dad didn’t love you any less because of it. You don’t need to make up for it now.”

And, again, this “hardship” that I bear (in quotes because it was nothing compared to what my dad went through) has nothing to do with the way my parents raised me: it was simply the unfortunate intersection of a horrific event and my young mind and fragile heart that couldn’t understand.

So now I’m living with the idea that I don’t have to find someone to “fix” and I don’t have to “fix” anyone already in my life. (Mr. B, I can feel your sigh of relief). I’ve learned that this need to be validated by a man — to have him tell me, “no matter what, LG, you make everything ok and with you (and only with you) I can be happy and conquer the world” — isn’t my need at all. It’s Little LG’s need and though I love her she doesn’t get to call the shots anymore. I’m a grown ass woman.

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April 7, 2008

Don’t Waste Your Time (Or Mine) If….

Posted in Uncategorized at 8:53 pm by LG

I’m finishing up Eat, Pray, Love tonight. (BRD, I know I’m a terribly slow reader; I’m sorry – I’ll call you this week to discuss?) I’ve noticed that part of me cringes when I tell people that I’m reading this book: maybe because it seems so cliche (divorcee reading about another divorcee’s journey to self-acceptance, blah blah), or because I pride myself on not being a chick-lit reader, and admittedly, this book is chick-licious. But, I like it (except for the fact that I think the “happy ending” is going to involve a relationship with a man…sigh….) Anyhow, I’m not reviewing the book here, but wanted to reflect upon one passage I read last night – it probably resonated with me more than anything else in the story so far:

I have a history of making decisions very quickly about men. I have always fallen in love fast and without measuring risks. I have a tendency not only to see the best in everyone, but to assume that everyone is emotionally capable of reaching his highest potential. I have fallen in love more times than I care to count with the highest potential of a man, rather than with the man himself, and then I have hung on to the relationship for a long time waiting for the man to ascend to his own greatness. Many times in romance I have been a victim of my own optimism.

Yea, that’s totally me. In my past, have ALWAYS been with men who had captivating personalities (for different reasons) and I truly, though naively, thought they could rule the world…if they just had a little help from me. And that’s when it hit me last night (as I was laying in bed praying that the stray cats weren’t feeling frisky): Maybe I haven’t been a victim of optimism (though I’m sure that’s part of it), so much as I’ve been a victim of laziness and fear. To be sure, I fall in love with the goodness of people and I have a way of finding it in everyone. And I believe in people and their ability to change. But, the darker side of this coin is my role in the “rah-rah” relationship. I think on some really messed up level, I purposely “picked” guys who were not living at their potential. I would come into their lives, sprinkle my Little Girl glitter everywhere, and ta-dah, they would achieve greatness. (this was the goal, anyway) And I would get to pat myself on the back AND (this is the worst part) not have to achieve my own greatness in the meantime. I could occupy my time with cheering my man on through life, and not actually do it for myself. Why? Well, I can only think of laziness and fear right now, but there might be more. I hope this doesn’t come across as arrogant, but I actually think I am capable of great things….but that takes a lot of work (hence, laziness) and what if I fail (hence, fear). So it’s been easier for me to find a man who I could help reach his potential and not have to worry about doing it myself. And by helping him, I could get off believing that that was my life’s purpose…not these other great things that I could do on my own.

Yikes. That’s a really ugly part of me, but I guess I need to see it and own it before I can change it. I need to stop believing in things that aren’t really there and start believing in things that are.

This brings me to my “Don’t Waste Your Time (or Mine) If” List. In an effort to evolve intellectually and emotionally, I’ve decided to be responsible for my own life, and I hope that my Man (whoever he may be) will be responsible for his. Elizabeth Gilbert (eat, pray, love author) concluded that when the patriarchic system involving a father chosing his daughter’s mate was rightfully dismantaled, it wasn’t necessarily replaced by another form of protection. There is no one to ask the challenging questions that family may have asked potential suiters in another age.

So I’m taking responsibility for me and I’ve decided to really think about what I want in my Man/Relationship in the future. And in doing so, I hope to not fall in love with someone’s potential, but to be realistic about who he is right now. I too easily looked over things that were important to me in the past (beleiving that “with a little help from me” he would mature, develop a work ethic, become more worldly, whatever). No longer.

This list list is the absolute bare minimum. And although somewhat tongue in cheek, overall, I’m pretty serious.

Don’t Waste Your Time (or Mine) If….

Your mother does your laundry.
You hate learning.
You drive a Hummer.
Your relationship philosophy is “the more drama, the better.”
You have a significant other. (I wish this could go without saying, but sadly, it cannot).
You use the phrase “women’s work.”
Your main goal is sleeping with me.
You regularly dine at all-you-can-eat buffets.
Your favorite book is actually a magazine.
You hold your fork like a shovel.
You play video games more than 2 hours a day.
You use any of the following phrases to describe your full-time employment (and yes, full-time employment actually does go without saying): “dabble in real estate,” “online poker,” or “adult entertainment.”
You consider farting and/or burping a competitive sport, a hobby, or a skill.
You don’t vote.
You would fit into my clothes. (i know that’s incredibly shallow, but i really can’t date a guy with a smaller thighs than mine…)
You wear multiple necklaces and are excessively tan (really, both of those are unattractive, and both together are simply unacceptable…unless you are Mr. T).
You have cats. (After hearing first hand how cats are conceived, I’m convinced they are the devil’s spawn. I MAY be willing to give a little on this one, but only if your cat does not have reproductive organs, your home does not smell like cat, and you don’t refer to yourself as “daddy” when talking to the cat).

With those out of the way, I’m now concentrating on a more substantive list. I was going to call it my “Don’t Waste ANY MORE of Your Time (or Mine) If” list, but I think I’m going to be more positive and go with my “Relationship Wishlist” list. Coming soon….

Oh, and GO TIGERS!! Dad, I’m wearing your Memphis State PhysEd shirt for good luck – it’s certainly seen better days, but it’s the most comfortable tee in the world!

April 1, 2008

Grown-up Stray Cat Sex

Posted in Uncategorized at 9:03 am by LG

I spoke too soon in my last post. The stray cats in my neighborhood are NOT pleasant creatures.

I should have known something was up when I came home last night and a few of them were slinking around on my porch, eying each other hungrily. This isn’t necessarily abnormal: the woman who lived in my place before me worked for the humane society and fed every living creature within a mile radius and they all still come around from time to time just to see if she’s back.

Now, I’ve always been an animal lover. I used to trip the mousetraps my parents set up and to this day I still carry bugs and spiders outside instead of squashing them (unless it’s one of those super scary things with a million legs; I just can’t handle those). Even though I’ve never been a cat person (I grew up with dogs), I say hello to these strays when I see them in my yard, and I even set a blanket out on my porch, under a chair, during the winter because I couldn’t bare it if I walked out and they were frozen dead in the middle of the sidewalk. I think someone else has taken to feeding them because the regulars are still hanging around and they are fat and sassy as ever.

But last night was like the beginning of a scary movie anyway because my power went out. I thought maybe I blew a fuse because I had just squeezed one more plug into an already jammed-packed power strip, so I took a candle down my steep, grimy basement stairs (forcing myself to keep humming zippidy-doo-da), stood in front of the fuse box and tried not to be too pissed off that I didn’t have a man to help me. Instead, I tried to just be one for a minute: I flipped the switches back and forth, grunted a few times, blurted out some profanities and wished for the best (after all, that’s how things get fixed right?). But no, I was in the dark all night. I called my neighbor who confirmed that his had been off too, but that it was restored a few minutes later. Well, they must just be working on mine still, I thought, so I just went to bed.

Halfway through the night, however, I woke up to the most god-awful, blood-curdling screams I have ever heard in my life. I was so afraid to get out of bed, particularly because my power was still off, and it took me a minute to realize what was going on. The cats were having Grown-up Stray Cat Sex on my porch. One of my friends, seeing the stray cats in my ‘hood and knowing my inexperience with them, warned me that this may happen. But there was nothing I could have done to prepare myself for this. I’m telling you, I am still shaken up from the screams. I thought children were dying.

I think that I am a very opened minded person, and what creatures do in their sex life is no business of mine, but seriously, there is no way these animals can be enjoying themselves. I had this internal debate in my mind: “I need to go help her, I want to look outside….but would that be rude?” Just when I couldn’t take it anymore and I planned to get up, knock on my own door to announce my intrusion, and go outside to chase them away, something happened and hateful hissing ensued. Maybe this had been a secret affair and his girlfriend (or her boyfriend) crept around the corner and saw what was going on; maybe they are old lovers but he somehow implied that she’s put on some weight and naturally she got pissed. Whatever it was, a serious fight broke out and they ran off.

I stayed in bed trembling, tears welling up in my eyes, scared to death. It sounds silly now, but that state of half-sleep, coupled with total darkness, can be pretty scary when you are alone listening to horrendous cries and a subsequent brawl. I swore I would walk outside today to a porch covered in blood and other cat fluids, smelling like death and Grown-up Stray Cat Sex, which in my mind smell exactly the same.

Surprisingly, all looked normal when I left this morning (in the dark…power is still out). I’m now just praying it was a one-night-stand never to be repeated again. I don’t think I can take it.

March 30, 2008

Today, I’m in Love

Posted in Uncategorized at 6:43 pm by LG

It’s bitten me, that little love bug.   

I’m giddy, I’m blissful, I’m sparkling.  I’m noticing tiny blades of grass and remarking on the beauty of their luscious color and the wondrousness of their growth.  I’m smiling (more than usual) and greeting strangers with sunny “hellos.”  All of a sudden, a cup of gas station coffee is the best thing I’ve ever tasted, the stray cats in my neighborhood are pleasant creatures, and traffic…well, traffic’s just an opportunity to notice the sky, the gentle curve in the road, and my highway neighbors. “Hi there, friends!” I think as I drive past.

Oh, and writing the massive check for my income taxes didn’t bring sorrow after all.  Of course I must pay taxes – I live in this wonderful country, and I like having paved streets, being protected by the police, and contributing to government programs that help those in need.  Yes, yes, yes, take it Uncle Sam!  

Yup, I’ve got it bad.  I’ve even caught myself humming Zippidy-Doo-Da, for crying out loud!  And I never thought this would happen to me again.  I never thought the world would be rosy and promising.  I never thought I’d wake up in the morning with an internal happiness that seems to bubble over in my soul.  I never thought I’d go to bed cozy, comfortable, with a safe and love-filled heart.  

But here I am.  In love….with life.

March 23, 2008

Time of Rebirth

Posted in Uncategorized at 8:34 pm by LG

I don’t claim to be religious.  I don’t claim to notbe religious.  I would, however, confidently describe myself as spiritual [(spĭr’ĭ-chōō-əl) of, concerned with, or affecting the soul] and have therefore decided — on this Easter Day — to be born again. 

Now, Dad, take a deep breath: I don’t mean it in the I’m-never-gonna-cuss-or-drink-again-and-I’m-gonna-start-judging-others-who-do “born again” way.  (I know that really scares you). 

No.  What I mean is: This Little Girl is a born-again ADULT.

Let me start by stating what I don’t mean by being a born-again adult.  I don’t mean that I’m no longer Little Girl.  I will always be Little Girl.  After all, I’m only 5’1″ (in heals…after a long yoga session) and can still (and sometimes do) shop in the kids’ department.  (Hey – a white t-shirt in the kids’ department costs half as much as one in the women’s department!)  I can also be pretty silly, I enjoy the occasional cartoon (and secretly love That’s So Raven), and nothing makes me happier than a mug of hot cocoa topped with whipped cream and sprinkles.  None of this is changing. 

What I do mean by being a born-again adult is, quite simply, maintaining an enthusiastic commitment to being a grown-up. 

In other words, my previous “head in the sand” approach to adulthood has conclusively failed and I have to recognize and accept that I’m — gulp — a grown-up.  And I’m getting older.  My dad had his 60th birthday this weekend; I’ll be 30 this summer.  For the first and only time in our lives, I am half his age.  Before this year, I was always less than half his age.  And after this year, I’ll always be more than half his age.  I find this deeply significant for some reason.  

So, instead of pushing away the inevitable (adulthood) I am choosing to embrace it.  I haven’t fully defined this idea, and I’m sure I’ll be learning as I go, but here are a few canons in my born-again philosophy. 

  • I will not throw an emotional temper-tantrum every time the world is unfair or hurtful.
  • I will not let my sweet-tooth race my self-discipline by stuffing as many m&ms in my mouth before I can actually think about how full I already am or how I already had two scoops of ice cream for lunch.
  • I will not fantasize about an unrealistic future, recognizing that this is merely an escape of a sometimes-not-so-pleasant present. 
  • I will not dwell on the past, torturing myself with un-answerable questions.
  • I will not press snooze on my alarm clock.  Instead, I will be realistic about the time I want to get up and, then, I will get up.  
  • I will – dammit – learn to like vegetables. 
  • I will stop being Drama Girl (this requires a separate post…coming soon)
  • I will start being responsible for my own health – physical, mental, and emotional – and not unfairly rely on others for my well-being. 
  • I will stop being responsible for (and believing that I am responsible for) the well-being of others. 
  • Each day, I will offer the world my best, whatever my best may be on any given day.  No more, and no less.  

Hmmmmm…..  I think I’ll call these, if you will (or heck, even if you won’t), my Grown-up Ten Commandments. 

I loved being a child – I had a great childhood.  And, there’s a part of me that will always be young and pure and dreamy about the world and the way it works.  But I’m starting to realize that the only thing “worse” than being an adult is being an almost-30-year-old child, kicking and screaming her way through life.       

And just so this rebirth isn’t completely unrealistic or unduly difficult, I think I’ll add one more Commandment:

  • I will be compassionate and forgiving:  not only toward others, but to myself when I just need to pout or have cake for breakfast.     

March 12, 2008

“Viagra is destroying our government”

Posted in Uncategorized at 8:30 pm by LG

I read that quote today in a NYT articleabout the Eliot Spitzer scandal and how differently men and women commentators have interpreted the event.  In general, males have taken the view that Spitzer’s paying for sex was either (1) awful, but only in light of his self-righteous, moralistic policies or so-call principles or (2) basically irrelevant (eg, Alan Dershowitz: “Big deal, married man goes to prostitute.”)   Women, on the other hand, focused on Poor Mrs. Spitzer and why, oh why, men do these things. 

Joy Behar, a host on the View, summed it up for me:  “Aren’t you sick of men? . . . Viagra is destroying our government.”  Amen Sista. 

I know I’m probably gonna get some comments along the lines of “Oh, Bitter Girl,” (I’m going anonymous now, remember), “not all men are pigs,” or “Come on, Goody-Goody Girl, this is just the way the world works.”  No, no, no, I won’t accept it. 

Ok, I’ll accept the premise that not all men are pigs (an interesting hypothesis that needs more research and experimentation) but I won’t accept that this behavior is “no big deal.”  And, quite frankly, I’m tired of it.

Now this news came on the heals of my weekend trip to Palm Springs and LA.  And I must say, I had a really wonderful time (many thanks to my friend DMM and to her family for hosting).  The moment I heard about Spitzer, I was sitting outside of a pretty upscale coffee shop in Palm Springs, roasting in the sun (I’m worried about my fair skin on the west coast…) and thus far had been somewhat successful in overlooking the massive amounts of plastic and pulled-tight faces in the desert. 

 

After all, who am I to judge? 

But today, having let the news soak in a bit, I’m just fed up.  I’m fed up with seeing women undergo serious procedures to make them feel beautiful in the eyes of men.  I’m fed up with seeing married women raising children, with the inevitable changing body that comes with child bearing, and upon hearing of their cheating husband, having to also hear crazies like Dr. Laura Schlessinger say: “Yes, I hold women accountable for tossing out perfectly good men by not treating them with the love and kindness and respect and attention they need.”  I’m fed up with going to Barnes and Noble and seeing shelves and shelves of books for women like: “How to Be a Super Hot Woman: 339 Tips to Make Every Man Fall in Love with You and Every Woman Envy You,” (see disclaimer below) and “Stop Getting Dumped!:  All You Need to Know to Make Men Fall Madly In Love With you and Marry ‘The One’ In 3 Years or Less” (I swear, I did not make that up.)  Meanwhile, on the men’s shelf (or small corner of a shelf) is “The Complete A** Hole’s Guide to Handling Chicks” and “The Mystery Method: How to Get Beautiful Women into Bed.”  (Again, I did not make these up.)  

But what I’m fed up with the most is that when an affair happens, particularly one in the public eye, what women talk about is why men stray.  What we should be talking about, ladies, is why women stay.     

Again, who am I to judge – and in fact, I can’t honestly say that I would have certainly left my ex had he actually come to me and said, “Hey, I screwed up, I’m sorry.”  After all, we are human and I get that.  But even still, that’s what we should be talking about:  Why would I have stayed?  Why might Mrs. Spitzer stay?  Why did Hilary stay?  (ok, I don’t need comments on that one).  And why have the women who left do so?  I’m not saying at all that leaving is better than staying, or vice versa.  All I’m saying is that when we talk about the Poor Mrs. Spitzers of the World, we shouldn’t discuss whyhe cheated on her.  It’s a wasted effort.  There are a thousand reasons, some which don’t involve men being pigs, and many that do.  Instead, what we should focus on, ladies, is why should the Poor Mrs. Spitzers of the World stay or leave (realizing, of course, it’s an individual decision).  After all, she’s the only person over whom she has control – and hallelujah – she DOES have a choice to maintain that control.  Our discussions should remind The Poor Mrs. Spitzers of the World of that and encourage her to use it.     

** Disclaimer: In the interest of full disclosure, I read this book, in approximately 37 minutes cover to cover.  (shame, shame).  It was TERRIBLE by the way.  I’m not kidding, one of the 339 tips basically said “Be pretty.”  Oh, I never thought of that, thanks so much. And, in the interest of more full disclosure, I’m now reading “Why Men Love Bitches.”  (more shame, shame).  This one is actually pretty good and funny – I’ll blog about it soon.

March 3, 2008

525,600 Minutes

Posted in Uncategorized at 9:57 pm by LG

“525,000 moments so dear.
525,600 minutes;
how do you measure, measure a year?
In daylights, in sunsets, in midnights, in CUPS of coffee….”

Don’t you just love that song?  I always belt out the word “cups” . . . and I always tilt my head to the left and furrow my brow when I sing that word for some reason.  I just watched myself do it in the mirror; it looks painful.  Same look I get when I stub my toe. 

That song’s been in my head today because I started thinking about a year and how it can be measured.  The last few years of my life have been measured by change.  Significant change.  Yesterday marked one year since the dissolution.  One year.  And I got sad (surprise, surprise; it was a Sunday afterall).  I couldn’t figure out if I was more sad because it has already been a year, meaning Dutch has slipped further away, or because it has already been a year and Dutch hasn’t slipped far enough away. 

No word on the annulment yet.  I thought maybe I had gotten it out of “my system” by writing the last blog, but Friday I went to my mailbox and saw a pretty hefty envelope.  It was one of those manila envelopes with the metal fold-down clasps.  Looked like a Catholic envelope, but I couldn’t tell.  My heart stopped suddenly and then just as suddenly it began to race wildly.  And I realized it’s not out of my system and probably won’t be until I deal with it. 

But that’s for another day because this envelope was from the United States Attorney’s Office -my future employer.  

Which leads back to the “year” theme.  The day I got my offer from the USA’s office this past October was exactly one year from the day that Dutch told me he didn’t want to be married anymore.  In one year I went from living in a house in the suburbs of Columbus, married, with plans to move to Chicago together, to living in an apartment downtown, divorced (or “dissolved”), with plans to move to LA, alone, as a federal prosecutor.  Crazy huh?  And this October, I’ll be single, living in LA (god help me), fighting crime (god help all of us).  *wink wink*  

While I’m on the topic, I decided this weekend after talking to my parents (and realizing that I had to make this decision or my mom would never sleep again) to make my blog anonymous before I move to LA.  I had, of course, already decided to never really talk about my job (with the exception of perhaps some broad criminal law theme), but in my mom’s world every gangster will be reading my blog, if they aren’t already, by the time I move to LA.  Therefore, I will soon become simply “Little Girl” and will remove all personal references. ….except, of course, references to my innermost thoughts, fears, and dreams.  Those will stay.  Basically just my name and picture will go at some point 🙂 But you all will know it’s me!   

Here’s a quick, funny insight to my mom and how much she worries.  Last summer, I was clerking for a district court judge and was lucky enough to be assigned to work on a death penalty case (not lucky in the sense that we even have to have these heartbreaking cases, but lucky for the experience; you know what I mean . . . this is how I met my good friend Diane, by the way; she was the kick-booty defense attorney).  Anyhow, just as we got though jury selection, I took a weekend trip to visit a, um, friend  (another story for another day).  On the way home from this weekend trip I met a, um, boy.  We sat next to each other on the flight and kind of hit it off.  Before parting ways, he asked me out.  Now, I’m not yet used to dating NOW and I certainly wasn’t then either, but he was cute and I was, well, NOT ready, but whatever.  Anyhow the point of the story is not to tell you about the date (that is also another story – a crazy, hilarious story – for another day) but to tell you my mom’s worry.  When I told her I met this guy – a seemingly nice guy, in a PhD program, etc – she was worried (read: convinced) that somehow this guy was in cahoots with the defendant from the death penalty case.  That somehowthe defendant had figured out how to get this cute guy on a plane, assigned to a seat next to me, so he could charm me, ask me out, and then convince me to convince twelve jurors not to convict him??  I really can’t even tell you what she was thinking.  But, well, meet my mom. 

So, for her sake, I’ll be going anonymous sometime this summer.  

Oh, and one last thing.  I want to thank everyone who’s reading for your kind thoughts, and many of you for your kind words, in light of my last post on taxes and religious fiction.  This whole annulment thing has been tough.  I wanted to share with everyone the brilliant suggested response from one of my dear “back in the day” friends.    

I wonder what Dutch’s reaction would have been if your reply had been along these lines….
Dutch, I respect the fact that even though there is substantial evidence to the contrary, you have decided to believe that our marriage never existed. I am willing to sign the papers. Once these papers are signed I’ll leave them on my kitchen table. I believe with all my heart that somehow these papers will end up in an envelope, addressed to you, and subsequently be placed in my mailbox. While I know there may be a preponderance of tangible evidence refuting what I believe, and nothing supporting it, I am going to ask you to respect it.

 LOVE it. 

February 24, 2008

Taxes & Religious Fiction

Posted in Uncategorized at 10:20 pm by LG

It’s been a roller coaster of a week, mainly due to Wednesday’s events, and it’s taken me a few days to write about it without running the risk of posting an obscene amount of profanity.

First thing Wednesday morning I get a call from Accountant Girl, the woman who did my taxes this year (thanks to everyone for their suggestions, by the way).  The conversation went a little something like this:

Acct Girl: (in a forced, upbeat tone) Hey LG, I just finished calculating your taxes and called to give you the damage

[Insert my nervous chuckle…thinking, ‘damage,’ what does that mean?]

Acct Girl: Let’s see here, well, you owe the Federal Government…

[Owe??  We’ve never owed any taxes; we’ve always gotten a refund.  …We

Acct Girl: Two thousand five hundred and six.

Me: {Insert spewing of coffee}  Two thousand five hundred and six what?  

(Please say nickles, please say nickles.) 

Acct Girl: Two thousand five hundred and six dollars. 

Me:   Gasp!  (insert lots of wailing, sniveling) Oh my gosh (more wailing), this can’t be right, can it?  (sniveling) Well, maybe i can sell my bike, I don’t really use it, maybe I could open up a new credit card, can I put my taxes on my credit card? (more sniveling), I really need to stop eating out so much, but I just have to treat myself sometimes, you know?  Are you sure this is right? (wailing).   

Acct Girl: (sympathetic, but getting annoyed): Well, you are getting $187 back from the state, so you can put that toward the federal taxes that you owe. 

I continued wailing…ok, not really wailing, but I was completely shocked.  Accountant Girl explained that I had benefited previously from filling jointly and from having the mortgage deduction.  Oh, yea, I’m single now.  In addition, I got hit hard for my fitness instructor checks: the club doesn’t take taxes out and I should be accounting for that throughout the year.  Ooops.  All in all, I’ll be fine.  As my Dad said, it’s only money, I’ll figure it out.  And I will. 

Fast forward three hours later on Wednesday.  Still at work.  Get another call (also on my cell, so I can see the number).  It’s starts with a four, same as Accountant Girl’s.  Oh thank goodness, there was a mistake.  Or maybe Uncle Sam does some sort of pity drawing every year.  Yes, the Pity Program.  Someone in DC puts names in a hat, draws out a few, and excuses those lucky souls from paying taxes; kind of like a financial pardon.  I must have won! 

Me: Hi, this is Little Girl. 

Caller:  Hey…..This is Jason.

My heart sunk to my stomach, which quickly filled with burning acid.  A cool emptiness remained in my chest.  Anger’s grip tightened around my throat.  And sadness seeped in behind my eyes. 

Jason is Dutch.  Dutch is his nickname, but I (along with all of our friends) always called him Dutch.  I met him as Dutch and lived with him as Dutch.  Never had I called him Jason, and never had he called himself Jason to me.   

I won’t go through all of the pathetic details of the conversation.  In sum, he was calling to tell me to expect annulment papers in the mail.  He’s joining the Catholic church.  He says he really “feels at home” at this church, which I find curious seeing as this church is in Columbus and he now lives in Nashville.  It also happens to be the church to which his girlfriend belongs…she is still in Columbus finishing up undergrad

Now, I’ve tried to be really careful about my post-dissolution relationship with Dutch.  I never blame him (publicly, at least) for the failure of our marriage.  I protect this “relationship” so much so that many people actually assume that the dissolution was either my, or at least a joint, decision. 

For the record, it was not.

Although I am admittedly equally responsible for the problems in our relationship, Dutch wanted out of the marriage, and quickly at that.  It was almost over night.  I truly believe that I would have stayed with Dutch forever; my word, after all, is my word.  [In the interest of full disclosure, I now also truly believe that one day I’ll be glad I didn’t have to.]

So, now, on top of of a legal dissolution, Dutch wants a religious annulment, which to my understanding, basically results in a declaration from the Catholic church that our marriage never existed in the first place. 

What?  How can that be?  That isn’t real. 

I looked up the traditional grounds for annulment and I’m still not sure how Dutch can do it.  We’re not related, we did consummate the marriage (ew), we were of legal age, neither of us were under duress, and although my heathen-ness is debatable, I have, in fact, been baptised. 

But, more importantly, how can Dutch even buy into this religious fiction?  Why would he want our marriage to be deemed invalid?  Doesn’t he remember the wedding?  The six-week honeymoon?  And the almost seven years that followed – which, though sometimes filled with bad, were also often filled with lots of good.  We basically grew up together.  We bought our first home together.  We traveled traveled through Europe, to Hawaii, Guatemala, and Australia together.  We cooked out on summer nights -he’d do the burgers, I’d put together the salad.  We watched Scrubs (and though he wouldn’t admit it, Sex and the City) religiously.  We went to countless weddings together and spent all the holidays with our families.  We went on donut runs at 2:00am when we couldn’t sleep because we had been up talking and laughing.  

If there’s been one thing that’s kept me going, it’s knowing that all these years together weren’t wasted.  They certainly weren’t invalid.  They helped shaped who I am today, and though I can’t see it now, who I will become.  And now some Catholic guy is going to say it wasn’t really “real.”  How is this possible? 

I’m not sure how all of this works, but I think I’ll have to sign something, maybe fill out some paperwork.  It never occurred to me not to do it.  I mean, I love Dutch and I want him to be happy; and if I can help get him there, then fine.  But, having talked to others about it, and sitting with the idea a little bit more, I’ve realized how much this religious fiction bothers me and how I want no part of it.  I agreed to sign the dissolution papers.   I left him pretty much everything in the house.  I even agreed to give him back the wedding rings, which I later learned he had turned into earrings for some girl he’s not even with anymore.  Isn’t that enough?  (ok, that last part about the earrings came from a very bitter place . . . i may regret saying that later, but i honestly don’t care right now). 

I think I’m holding on to this idea that Dutch and I can be friends.  And Dutch means so much to me, and I want us to be friends so badly.  I’m still hopefull even when he says things like: “So are you still seeing those a**holes like the one you were dating last summer?….So you’re not on match.com yet?” 

Diane again saved my life through laughter Wednesday night.  We came up with a bunch of “could have, should have” comebacks including: “oh my god no, I only did match.com when we were married.”   Somtimes I really wish I had it in me to say those things. 

At the end of the conversation, I did say, “You know, you really caught me off guard when you said, ‘Hey, this is Jason.'”

He said, “Oh yea, well, I don’t really hang out with anyone anymore who calls me Dutch. I’m pretty much Jason now.” 

That moment was very significant to me.  I think I’ve been holding onto the idea of having Dutch in my life, as a friend.  (I never wanted to let him go in the first place.)  But the fact of the matter is, Dutch, My Friend doesn’t really exist anymore.  Jason, The Catholic has taken over.

I’m not yet sure how this affects my feelings toward the annulment.  Maybe I just sign it because my marriage to Jason, The Catholic never existed anyway.  Maybe I don’t because I remember my marriage to Dutch, My Friend, and it was real. 

I cried a lot that night, but I think it was less about me or the loss of our marriage, and more about the loss of Dutch as a person.   

The rest of the week was a lot better (despite Memphis losing last night!).  Earlier this week JB said she saw a sprout in me.  “The invincible summer even in the depth of winter.”  On that, I am beginning to focus. 

And speaking of summer, I hope it gets here soon.  I’m planning to open a few lemonade stands around town to help me with my taxes. 

(Maggie, You can be in charge of the electric lemonade stand.)    

February 20, 2008

Just be inspired!

Posted in Uncategorized at 8:57 am by LG

On the first snowfall of each year, my 9th Grade English teacher Mrs. Bucy put away her lesson plans, told her students to turn their desks to face the window, and instructed them to “Just be inspired!”  We could write whatever we wanted, think about whatever we wanted, or just sit and watch the flakes fall. 

It’s hardly the first snow of the year, and I’m hardly able to take an hour to stare out the window today at work, but I did give myself 10 minutes to watch.  A haiku popped into my head.  (I’m no writer, particularly of poetry, but every once in a while, it’s fun for me to try). 

Winter

Today snow falls, as
confetti, to celebrate
the summer in me.   

Assorted Snowflake Hanging from China

February 18, 2008

Happy Presidents’ Day

Posted in Uncategorized at 9:52 pm by LG

Appropriately, I spent the weekend in Chicago…though, I forgot to think about ol’ Abe until just now.  *holding head in shame*

Weekend was fun – spent it with some girlfriends, mostly indoors (brrrrr!)  [Thank you for hosting BM!]  Spent lots of time talking and an equal amount of time eating; there’s so much to choose from in Chicago.  We went to a great place Saturday night, and while we were there a guy proposed to his girlfriend.  They ordered champagne for the whole restaurant (which extinguished the small fire of bitterness I shamefully discovered inside).  It was actually very sweet and I felt special to be a part of such a huge moment in their lives. 

I had to fight a lot of “what might have been” thoughts this weekend.  Dutch and I had planned to move to Chicago this year.  Indeed, I even took the Illionis bar exam, which, according to my cacluation turned out to be a total waste of time and money.  I’m sure it added some value to my life, but geez, I just can’t figure out what that might be.  Today, waiting on the Washington/Wells platform for the orange line to Midway, I found myself staring at an empty bench.  I remembered sitting there — that exact bench — with Dutch after we found my apartment for the summer in 2006.  I saw me, sitting on his left, but facing him with my legs draped over his.  I did that a lot.  We talked about how great it would be to start our own adventure outside of Columbus, yet still in the comfort of the midwest.  Less than six months after that visit, he asked for the divorce.  I still have a hard time wrapping my head around it all.  But today, watching that scene…. it was as if I could walk up and touch us, give us both a hug.  And I wanted to do that.  I wanted to hug us both.

Yesterday, the girls and I went to Flirty Girl Fitness– a really, um, unique gym for women only.  Everything is pink.  Hot pink with butterflies.  They offer classes like pole dancing and chair striptease.  I think it’s a great concept; everyone there was having fun, buring calories, and feeling good about themselves.  We took “House Music Honies” where I relived my dream of becoming an In Living Color Fly Girl.  I also think I threw my back out…guess I better stick with this attorney thing.   

I got home this afternoon and went to see the Diving Bell and the Butterfly.  Wow. 

I have lots on my mind, but am too exhausted to write, and need to let some of my thoughts marinate a bit. 

I turned on the tv, hoping to watch something mindless before bed…landed on Girlicous – a reality show dedicated to finding the next hot girl group.  It’s presented by the Pussycat Dolls.  Hmm, ok, I’ll try this one.  Afterall, I did learn some killer dance moves this weekend.  I had to turn it off after the subtitles came on.  Now, the movie I saw today had subtitles too.  I can handle that.  But that movie is in french.  Girlicous is in english, but sometimes it’s just hard to understand the girls.  You have to sift through a lot of “like” and “oh my god.”  And I’m not sure the subtitles work anyway because your eyes are on, well, they aren’t on the words. 

And most of the contestants are from LA. 

Super. 

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