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avatar NEXT STOP: INCREDIBLE

August 3rd, 2012 — 10:49am

my friend tina is struggling. i caught her in bed yesterday at 3:30 in the afternoon. well, i didn’t ‘catch her’ in bed, she crawled back into bed, and when i called… that was where she was.
another old friend – who i reconnected to just last night – is struggling too. he sent a sweet long email, telling me how thrilled he was that i connected with him. i had to inform him it wasn’t really me who reached out to him, it was a spam email and while I’m generally horrified by all the spam crap, his reaching out was truly wonderful. delightful.

loads of friends are struggling.
some more than others.
some have run out of money, and are trying to eek by.
some have run out of energy, and are trying to rev up.
some have run out of inspiration, and are trying to reinvent themselves.
some have run out of KY Jelly and just don’t give a shit anymore.
some have run out of options, health care, savings, and lovers.

i read all these blogs and posts and essays about being POST 50, and what we can do and need to do to recharge, reinvent, rejuvenate. what we should do, can do, ought do and all that. everything from hair products to exercise to new mascara to flossing to wearing heels to anti-aging products to what length to wear or not wear, what words to use, not use… and all of that is good and positive and kind. it is.

but it isn’t helping my friends.

and part of the reason it’s not helping my friends is because we grew up wanting to be taken care of. we did. it’s true. we wanted the mommy, the daddy, the boyfriend, the girlfriend, the white knight, the boss, the career, the house, the two car garage… we wanted to fit in, to please everyone, to make everyone happy, to bend over backwards, to say yes when god knows we really wanted to say no, to give it all away in hopes we would get it all back in spades.

we wanted to be loved. to be needed. to be liked.
and we were taught that we would be taken care of. which by the way is very different than being cared for. being cared for is filled with love. filled with love and kindness and goodness and teaches us the value of our own life. being taken care of is all about someone else being good to us.

and maybe this wasn’t you. maybe not. maybe this wasn’t your karma, destiny, upbringing, life experience, life schooling. maybe this wasn’t you.

but for many of us… many of us in our 50’s, 60’s… 70’s… getting older isn’t just about being bolder. more courageous. all out ballsy. it’s about coming to terms with the truth, the hard core balls out truth that no one is going to take care of us. no one. they’re all long gone, or long broke. we’re waiting, hoping to be taken care of.

we’re looking to be saved. and as much as i love my husband, and god knows i do, my wanting him to save me isn’t making me a better, bolder woman. it keeps me small. it keeps me from seeing the power of my own life. and it has nothing to do with love. nothing. he loves me. i love him. period. and being loved (and giving love) is much better than being saved.

i don’t know about you, but i was brought up believing that if i took care of others, i would be taken care of.

i think we mighta confused being taken care of with being loved, being worthy, being saved.

when really truly it’s about nurturing our souls. really paying attention to our lives, our needs. our hearts. it’s about letting go of the notion that we are incapable of being good to ourselves without permission.

because being “taken care of” has always been about permission, someone giving you the permission to be huge, to be yourself, to stand tall, to be unique, to be an individual, to walk alone, to love anyone you want, to use your life fully and to grab life by the balls and find your joy.

when i asked tina what she was feeling, she said she felt like no one cared. and i asked her how would it feel if she cared about herself, if she loved herself…

she said she wasn’t good at that. she was much better at taking care of others.
and i said, well fuck that, fuck that right now.

and right then and there we made a pledge, a vow to each other that every single day, for at least a half hour – no matter what – we would chant, pray, meditate, WHATEVER it is we do, or need to do to manifest our greatness. our fortune. OUR BEST. that we would replace the need to be taken care of with the desire to NURTURE OURSELVES, to fill ourselves with goodness, and joy, to stand up for our own lives and god knows, it’s gonna be scary and frightening because when you set out to change your life ever single fucking obstacle stands right in front of you… and screams: NO YOU CAN’T.

but that’s how you know you’re doing it right. when the obstacles and doubts and self-loathing appears.

and you gotta ask yourself: what am i afraid of, what am i afraid is gonna happen if i take care of me? if i save me? will everyone (i thought would take care of me) disappear from my life if i’m good to me?

maybe. but they weren’t gonna save you anyway. they were bandaids.

so go on, go on… GO ON.

save you.

nurture yourself.

next stop: INCREDIBLE.

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avatar my kinda hero

July 27th, 2012 — 11:22am

fuck the cape.
yesterday i met a real live hero.
i did.
i was on my way to samaki smoked fish in port jervis (which is the coolest place in the world if you happen to love smoked fish, and probably not the coolest place in the world if you’re a vegetarian and or don’t like fish or smoked fish for that matter) when my rear tire blew.
it just fucking blew.
for the record i am not a car girl, i am not good in situations that require jacking up a car, lifting up a car, or changing tires.
i’m the kinda girl that would sputter over, pull over, lock the car and then call and/or hail a cab. But being married to ken this is not something i do anymore. i don’t abandon cars, and then get my nails done.
i pulled into (actually, truthfully, sputtered into) turkey hill gas station – which is both a gas station and a convenience store, you know like a seven-11. i called ken, who was extremely sympathetic and on the other line, so he quickly told me to call triple AAA but first find out if maybe, possibly the tire needed air.
fyi, i don’t do air either.
there at the gas pump was a lovely man, minding his own business when i approached him. HELLO! hi there! i asked him if he could possibly, maybe, if he had the time, if he could help me. please, oh god please….help me.
he said sure, no problem.
the cashier – a lovely women in her 30’s – came out and asked if i needed anything.
no, thank you, i said.
kindness, i swear, it’s everywhere.
the nice man came over and examined the tire and said nope, it doesn’t need air, it’s flat. do you have a spare?
uh oh.
a spare?
maybe, i said, feigning intelligence. i bet it’s in the back of the car.
yes, there was a spare.
he lifted the spare, found the jack next to the spare (who the fuck knew?) and proceeded to remove the flat tire and replace it.
i’m gonna spare you (no pun intended) the details of the jacking up and removing and replacing.
here was a guy, filling up his car with gas, when all of a sudden appears a damsel (okay, an older damsel) in distress. it was a hot day yesterday, hot and humid, and a major storm was brewing. i was on my way to the shoe repair place, and samaki smoked fish. i wanted new soles and new heels, and a hunka smoked salmon. simple dreams on a hot sticky day. and the shoe repair man, joe, is just, you know… a craftsman/cobbler. truly, an artist. a show artist. he can take a pair of old shoes, and poufff… make magic.

but then my rear tire blew.
i’m not a very patient person. i’m kind & generous & loving & complicated…but patient, no.

this guy, this man, this person… not only seemed to have all the patience in the world, he seemed to have a huge heart. i asked him what he did, he told me he worked as a correctional officer at the orange county jail. he talked about his ‘beautiful wife, and two kids.’ he talked about just coming off a vacation, a good fun vacation. i told him that he was like a real live hero… but without the cape. he laughed. a good strong hearty laugh.

it was hot and sticky and a storm was brewing. my tire blew, and it could’ve turned into a shitful, oh my fucking god kinda day. but instead i caught a glimpse of generosity and humanity and kindness and goodness and it just filled me to the brim.

i handed him some money and he refused to take it.
he said he tried to do good every single day.
boy oh boy did i get choked up.

his name is chris.

he’s a real live genuine hero kinda guy, and i’m thinking that it’s not that he doesn’t have the cape & tights, it’s just that real heroes, everyday heroes – the magic makers, and life savers, and the miracle workers – are really simply folks like you & i.

we can all be the good in some strangers life.

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avatar goddess in training

July 23rd, 2012 — 12:21pm

i adore women.
okay, well, not all women. some women are foul & cruel & nasty & would steal your man, your woman, your partner – your idea – in a heartbeat. i don’t like those women and chances are those women don’t like me. so, we’re even.
but generally i adore women.
i adore the friendship, the camaraderie, the chit-chatting and profound connection.
i adore women who speak the truth, their truth. not necessarily or always every single small teeny minutiae detail, not every single i told you so, or let me tell you how i feel today kinda truth. i like the truth told just like i like a good meal: put it down in front of me, and let me see if i can swallow it without choking, or getting horribly sick. speaking the truth is very different than sharing every single thought you have about another person with that very person. i.e.: when i say to ken this is all the shit about you that i don’t like, chances are he’s gonna come back with a list as long and alphabetical, and then i wish i had never started the “let me spew all over you today” game in the first place.

but, yes, i adore women who speak their truth.

i adore women who support women without any agenda or bullshit. i prefer generosity when it’s served up with kindness and goodness and love – in other words with a nothing in return expectation.

perfection is overrated.
there is no such thing.
there isn’t one person on this planet who doesn’t have demons, darkness, bad dreams or bad thoughts.
it goes with the territory of being human.
find me a perfect person, and i swear to you, you will find a drawer filled with broken promises, hurt feelings, lost loves, hidden secrets and a stale pack of marlboros or newports.
i told a friend of mine that she was a goddess and she said, oh no, i’m not. and i looked at her, my imperfectly perfect beautiful friend and said, why oh why don’t you think you’re a goddess. and she said, well, amy, i have so many issues and problems and you know… so many bad days.
i grabbed her (gently) by the shoulders and looked her in the eyes and said, oh for god sake, who the fuck doesn’t have bad days and problems and issues, who… who… most everyone is on zoloft or paxil or propranolol (okay you try and pronounce it) and you are a goddess because the definition of goddess is a woman who has problems and pain and suffering and struggles and bad days and awful thoughts and drinks too much on some days and not enough on other days and doesn’t say what she thinks all the time because that would cause too much injury to others and has estranged relationships with family members and didn’t always like her mother and had issues with her father and loved for all the wrong reasons and slept around (a lot) and did quaaludes and smoked hash and loved laura nyro and joni mitchell and whitney houston but never quite understood the appeal of karen carpenter* and wakes up in the middle of night filled with worry and doom and makes the best pancakes and does not, i repeat does not always separate the plastics from the paper in the recycling bin. goddesses eat chocolate and turkey hill vanilla ice cream and sneak cigarettes and say the word fuck often.

a goddess is a woman who gets up every day and says: i’m gonna really, really, really try my best today.

and yes, good goddess yes, somedays just plain suck.

on those days a goddess will slip outta bed, slap on some lipstick, and go and get a mani-pedi with sparkles at any joint that says NAILS OPEN.

* and this is just one Goddess’s opinion… some Goddesses love LOVE LOVE karen carpenter!

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avatar i am necessary

July 1st, 2012 — 10:15am

it’s not just loud words, or bad words, or a slap or a poke.
it’s the nasty.
the withholding.
the taunting.
the unforgiving.
it’s the silence, and the withdrawal.
the pushing and prodding and pulling.
bullying.
it comes in all shapes and sizes, and scares and intimidates and puts the fear of god, or goddess or whoever in you.

a mother.
a father.
a sibling.
a co-worker.
a school friend.
a lover.
a partner.
a girl or boy friend.
a teacher.
a coach.
a priest.
a rabbi.
a leader.
a child who doesn’t know better.

and it’s not just a person ‘out there…’
it’s our own darkness, self-doubt, self-loathing.
our own dislike for ourselves.
our own slander.

we beat ourselves up, and brutalize our own endeavors, and kill our dreams.

yes, yes… it’s true… we do, we bully ourselves.

it makes us cower, hide, runaway.
it keeps us silent. alone. to ourselves. withdrawn. afraid.
it’s unbearable.

bully.
bullied.
being bullied.

nasty words, cruel words. ugly penetrating dirty dark words.
you’re ugly. you’re a faggot. you’re skinny and ugly and i hate you. you’re a nothing. a nothing queer. you’re a nothing queer, and you’re untalented and ugly. you’re fat and ugly and i hate you.

i’m smarter.
i know better.
shhhhhhh. say a word, i’ll hurt you. kill you.

you are nothing.

you. are. queer.
you. are. black. nigger black.
you. are. jewish. ugly jew.
you. are. muslim. fuck you.
you. are. soiled. dirty soiled.

bully.
bullying.

it’s meant to keep us small. hidden. far away. tucked away. away from the world.
it’s meant to keep us away because the bully person – the person who taunts, and gets in your face and makes you feel like shit or worse – that person wants us – you – to feel bad, so, so, so, so god awful bad that they can feel big and powerful and strong because that way they can cover up what they really feel about themselves. the truth of who they are.

they hide the truth.
from themselves, from their friends, their family, their own life.

a bully can not look in a mirror.

they don’t wanna see the truth:

that they’re gay.
that they’re dyslexic.
that they’re scared.
that they’re different.
that they’re YOU.

it’s been pounded into them how awful, god awful it is to be different. to be unique. to be an individual.

Prove to them how extraordinary you are.
how magical you are.
how NECESSARY and INVALUABLE you are.

breathe in
breathe out.

again.

REPEAT: I AM NECESSARY. I AM NECESSARY. I AM. I AM. I AM I AM I AM I AM….

Please, DON’T LET A BULLY WIN.

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avatar He said: I can’t make your mistakes for you…

June 16th, 2012 — 10:30am

(From the anthology, He Said What? Seal Press, 2011)

He said: “I can’t make your mistakes for you.”
I was fifteen, fifteen and a half, maybe, almost sixteen years old, and I was leaving home.
I was all packed and ready.
Trying on my new knapsack … on and off, on and off… resting right there on my back and shoulders so when I hitchhiked from San Francisco to Medford, Oregon, I looked oh, so cool and groovy, and felt oh, so cool and groovy, and not so top heavy. There is nothing worse than wanting desperately to look cool and groovy while hunching over due to excess poundage. There is, I suspect, a lot of bullying and hushed snarky remarks that go along with that particular fashion faux-pas statement. I had packed every single peasant blouse and long Indian skirt and tie-dyed t-shirt I could manage to find. I also tucked deep in the knapsack, hidden away into a corner, my small bottle of Jean Naté perfume, some make-up: powder blush, mascara, an under-eye concealer in a very light shade (I think, but I’m not sure, all were Maybelline), and the pièce de resistance, the one item that would cause me deep, profound shame: the forbidden double-edged Gillette razor.

He drove me to Kennedy Airport, where he would put me on an airplane that would fly me across the country so I could meet up with my friend who would later break my heart in many teeny pieces. Some remaining crushed for years and years. He drove me from our home on Long Island, where my mother stood in our doorframe, never once stepping out from behind the screen door, a cigarette dangling from her lips.
She stood, and for many, many minutes, a word not spoken.
“Okay. Bye, Ma.”
“Shiva. I’m sitting Shiva. You coulda just stabbed me, woulda been easier.”

I had dropped out of high school. Jewish girls from middle class families didn’t drop out of high school. They had nervous breakdowns, or went on all-day shopping sprees at Roosevelt Field, or would cut school and go to the park and make out with various boys, or go to the one movie theater, and watch a movie over and over and over again, because in those days you could. You could sit in a movie theater, stay all day, and you could also smoke cigarettes. I would be swooning over Omar Sharif in Funny Girl. I wanted to be Fanny Brice, married to Nicky Ornstein, and I wanted to be Yiddish, and I wanted more than life itself for a period of about, oh three months, to stand on the bow of a tugboat with a floral arrangement the size of frickin’ Texas, and sing Don’t Rain on My Parade. I know, i know… a big gigantic dream for a very short period of time. And of course, the only hitch was that I had no singing voice, none whatsoever.

Although now that I write and remember this, we did sing show tunes while driving in the car. Any and all car trips consisted of playing a game show, like The Match Game, and singing show tunes. On this particular day – driving to the airport – Fiddler on the Roof was the show my dad chose to sing, the complete score, from our home on Long Island to the airport in Jamaica, Queens. Singing If I Were A Rich Man seemed both somewhat peculiar, and deeply moving as I was embarking on a life-changing experience. Of course, The Grateful Dead or Laura Nyro would have been my choice, but my father was much more of a show-tune aficionado. Every single Sunday morning without fail my father would sit in his favorite recliner in our den, surrounded by shelves filled with books, playing his favorite musicals so loud on our stereo that he would wake our entire family. He was a man who loved art and culture and theater and musicals and gambling and poker and his children and most definitely his wife. And I can tell you right now, as he drove me to that airport on that day, while he didn’t say it, he knew I was making a mistake, and he was not happy with my decision. He was tense and scared and worried, and held my left hand with his right hand while he gripped the bottom of the steering wheel with his left hand.

Making the trip was a decision I blurted out at the dinner table so matter-of-factly it could have gotten lost in normal dinner conversation: “Hey, can you pass the salt? And a little more steak, less rare, more well-done. And hey, by the way, I dropped out of high school, and can I have some more string beans please? Thank you.”

I was at a stage in my fifteen-and-a-half-year life where breathing felt like a chore. I was so miserable, and unhappy, and I felt so alone in the world. I was running with a bad crowd, and stealing dollars, lots and lots of dollars from my dad’s wallet and mom’s purse and drawers – here and there, lots of here and there – and buying hash, and marijuana, and cocaine, and lying about that. I was acting out all sorts of self-loathing behavior. I will spare you the details, but suffice it to say that there was a time in my life where being bad and feeling bad just blended together into plain old BIG BAD BAD.

And so I quit high school, and decided to tag along to a commune with my friend who I made out with in the back seat of the car, where we kissed so long and so hard our lips cracked and bled. But I wasn’t his girlfriend, and he wasn’t my boyfriend.
He said, “I don’t like you in that way. I like you plenty, but you know, not as a girlfriend. I don’t love you, I mean, I’m not, you know, in love with you.” But no other girl was willing or wanted to go with him to Medford, Oregon, and so, I said yes. Yes, I’ll go. I’ll quit high school, and I’ll stop straightening my hair, and stop shaving my legs, and never, ever go to Ohrbachs again, and yes, yes, I’ll hitch hike from San Francisco, and spend a night at a small scary, dirty, creepy motel off the side of the road somewhere between San Francisco and Medford, and yes we’ll have bad, unappealing sex once or maybe it was twice, and yes, I’ll cook macrobiotic foods, and sing songs written by Joan Baez and Pete Seeger. And I’ll tell everyone that I love The Three Stooges when in fact I had secretly wished them all ill will, and yes I will allow myself to be unhappy, and confused, and keep all my feelings wrapped in a little ball and bury them deep. Just like the Jean Naté perfume, the make-up, and the razor.

I can’t make your mistakes for you, he said as he left me at the gate while my knapsack was making its way to the plane by way of the conveyor belt, my peasant skirt dragging on the floor, my hair curly and unruly. He handed me a couple of hundred dollars and said “Please, our secret,” and I smiled and kissed him and hugged him so tight I could feel his heart breaking, “I can’t make your mistakes for you,” he whispered in my ear, and then he turned and walked away. And the mistakes piled up one after another, year after year after year.

There was the pregnancy. The one where I behaved like a needy, desperate young woman, using that pregnancy as a weapon: to try and get the man to love me, to want me. To want me, and the baby.
“Why don’t we abort you, and keep the baby?” He said.
I sat alone in the abortion clinic where another man, a middle-aged, short, heavy-set bespectacled man said, “I will help you. Come with me.” And a half an hour later I was in a room with about ten other girls who had just had abortions and I can tell you right now with complete conviction that none of us felt good about what had just happened, none of us. And I would go so far as to bet none of us ended up with, or stayed with, the guy we had sex with, the one who got us pregnant. Because none of us in that room, on that day, quite understood or believed at that stage in our lives how vital, and necessary it was to love the whole of ourselves, to honor our whole self. I was young and lonely and had absolutely no self-worth whatsoever. Self-esteem was so out of reach for me, I would have fallen down if I tried to grab hold of it. I was desperately searching and hoping for love.

That mistake: the desperation of wanting to be loved, later in life became a deep mission: the desire to become a woman of unlimited self-esteem. Wouldn’t trade that mistake for the world now.

Then there was the boyfriend, the horrible, bad boyfriend. The one who I knew from the get go, from the moment I met him, that he was not right for me. He. Was. Not. Right. For. Me. I knew it, and I didn’t pay attention to my own instincts. There was a voice that said, “Nah, don’t, he’s not good for you, this doesn’t feel right, don’t do this.” I did not pay attention to that voice. Nor did I did pay enough attention to his anger and his mood swings and his need to be right all the time, and his violent streak and the hole that remained punched in the wall, or the way that he humiliated me in public, or the very first time he threatened me, with his big hard hands wrapped around my throat. His hands wrapped so hard he was choking me, “I could kill you” he said in a hushed scary voice.

I sat in my car in bumper-to-bumper traffic. A few of my personal belongings scattered on the back seat, along with a black and blue mark stretching from my jaw-line to my clavicle, as I replayed the entire five years over and over and over and over again wishing more than anything I had paid attention to that voice, my voice, telling me DON’T, don’t do this. Why didn’t I listen? What didn’t I trust about myself, my own voice, why did I constantly turn down the volume?

That mistake: not paying attention to my own voice, my own life, later led me to a deep-rooted passion: the desire for all women to speak up, to speak their truth, to be heard. Oh, no, I wouldn’t trade that mistake for anything.

And then there are the mistakes that bring us shame, the ones that make us weep in the dark, the ones that keep us at arms length. The ones that we marry. The ones that we try desperately to hide, the ones that have prescription numbers, the ones that are hidden away in cartons. The ones that we forgot. The ones that are thrown up in our face over and over and over again. The ones that come back to haunt us. The ones that feel so unbearable we think we’ll die. The ones that get you down on your knees. The ones you die with. The ones that make you feel not worthy, or deserving. The ones that keep us invisible.

A different airport.
A different city.
A different time.

My dad and I were sitting together at the airport in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. Waiting, waiting, waiting at the gate for a plane to arrive from Atlanta, Georgia. We were sitting for hours. We had arrived at the airport very early, and the plane was four hours late. There were delays and headwinds, and storms, and all the god-awful pacing back and forth, back and forth, and checking his watch every five minutes. This was my dad’s all-time favorite past time, worrying, and then finally after circling the airport for another hour, the plane landed. Safely. Finally. Finally. And then my father exhaled, this big gigantic huge exhale. The kind of exhale that makes you wonder, how did he hold that in for so long? And then a few minutes later, along with other weary passengers, his carry-on baggage in one hand, and his “camera” hat in the other, my husband, my sexy, funny, quirky, oh so very kind and loving husband, got off the plane. And as he walked toward us, I remember thinking: What if, what if, my father had never said to me, I can’t make your mistakes for you?

All those mistakes, all those god awful, embarrassing, shameful, secretive mistakes that brought me closer to another person, that I swore I would never ever repeat, the ones that seemed to pop up every which where, the ones I couldn’t seem to live without. The ones with names like Bob, and Robert, and Peter, that kept me waiting for hours in restaurants and hotel lobbies and late-night bars, the ones that never called back, never showed up—all those mistakes led me here.

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avatar Demenopause

June 14th, 2012 — 2:25pm

We find her on the floor.
She is sleeping.
I am scared. She is snoring.
I bend down, “Ma. Ma. Wake up.”
“You’re so tall,” she says as she looks up at me. Her eyes are empty. Blank.
They have been empty, blank for some time now.
She had been diagnosed with moderate stage dementia. For those of you who no nothing about dementia, I tell you, it strips you bare, a destroyer of hope and faith and goodness. If you don’t believe much in God, dementia will certainly push you further away.
“Ma, you’re on the floor. How’d you get there?”
She tries desperately to arrange words so they make some sense, “I. Don’t. Remember.”

There were so many incidents, both large and small. The driving straight into a fire hydrant, the driving into the closed garage doors, the burning of bagels and toast, and the once fresh flowers left in a vase for so long the water evaporated and left a perfect mold-ring and the smell of mildew.

I tuck her in. Ken waits for me in the spare bedroom. I sleep with my mom. She smells old. Frail. Not like the mom I remember who wore Pleasures by Estee Lauder, or Final-net hairspray, which left her thin hair so stiff, and so unlike human hair. She smelled old, and frail. She too, had once been a fresh flower.

But what I remember – the memory that is vivid – is her peeing on the floor. Those other memories I can toss aside, fan away as if an annoying fly buzzing my head. But this moment, memory has stuck with me, and fills me to the point I often feel like my knees are buckling under me. She stood in the hallway. She had replaced her beloved perfume, Pleasures, with 3 to 4 days of not bathing, she had replaced her soft brown eyebrow pencil with a purple sharpie pen, and most of her white garments – sweaters, tee-shirts, blouses – had the forever stain of L’oreal beige #3 makeup on the collar. It was a hot day in New Mexico, where she was now living in an assisted living facility. She had turned up the thermometer to well over 90 degrees in her apartment. I was irritated, and impatient and lacked any generosity in that particular moment. I was in the throws of menopause, and if I tell you that 90 degrees felt like a thousand degrees, I would not be exaggerating. I told her that it was so hot in her apartment that I was getting a fucking sunburn just watching television. She yelled at me, saying angrily that she wasn’t hot. “I have a chill, I’m Goddamn freezing.” she screamed at me, and I proceeded to yell back at her, asking her how the fuck could she possibly have a chill when it was almost 100 degrees in her apartment.
“I don’t feel hot. If you make it colder, I’ll hate you. I’ll hate you. I will never talk to you again,” her voice shrieking.
“Fine, Mom, hate me” I said.
This, by the way, was not unchartered territory, the yelling and the screaming and the chorus of “I’ll never talk to you again and I hate you.” This was not new, or unexpected.

What came next was.

She peed on the floor.
In the hallway between her bedroom and the living room, the pee dripping down her leg soaking into the wall-to-wall carpeting.

She covered her mouth. Mortified. And then she said through a wave of unstoppable tears, “I have no control.”

Had she been much younger, and in therapy, this would be a moment of enlightenment. A revelation.

But this was not that kind of moment. It was terrifying and all and everything became crystal clear.

My mother – my feisty, angry, emotional, strong-willed, gorgeous, sexy mother – was no longer.

This is what I remember: her standing there drenched in her own urine, her fragile hands (hands that once sported perfectly manicured nails) covering her mouth, tears falling from her eyes (eyes that were once green and filled with passion), her body small and slight (a body that was once strong and stunning and oh so, sexy), and that all she had been was completely gone.

When I was a little girl, my greatest and biggest fear was that my mother would leave me and not come back. I think most little girls feel that way. Or maybe just most little girls I knew. That fear of losing your mom penetrates, permeates, and fills your soul until the moment she comes back and you can breathe.

This time my mother wasn’t coming back.
She was gone for good.

I clean up the pee, and I wash her housecoat, and I keep the heat in the apartment to where she felt comfortable – 94 degrees – and I sit with her on the couch and i sweat profusely, and we hold hands, and watch TV. And I close my eyes, and I silently pray to any and all the God’s throughout the universe – any and all that I can remember by name – and I ask that my mother ‘please, oh please, not remember what had just happened,’ because it would fill her with great humiliation and embarrassment and disgrace, and if one or more God’s can just grant me that wish, I promise that I will not forget, because by not forgetting, she could never really ever be gone.

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avatar the WE in WomEn

June 2nd, 2012 — 11:29am

so i get a reading by a woman who yes, is a psychic, and she tells me a bunch of great stuff. good stuff. exciting stuff. contracts & work, and success, and more writing, and cool things about ken, and some stuff about my grandfather that no one would or could ever, ever know unless they knew him and since he’s been gone since 1971…so that sort of freaks me out, but still, and then she says some stuff that’s inspiring and hopeful and then…then… she says, you have a few friends in your life, a few women, maybe… i see 4, 4 women… who are jealous of you, they don’t wish you well… please, stay away from them. they’re toxic. they drain you. i see them talking about you. i can see them. i can’t make them out, they’re in shadow… but yes they are not your friends.

okey. dokey.
well.
it’s like a mystery unraveling.

friends.
women.
women friends.
this is something i have wanted to write about for a long time. i’ve certainly had my share of conversations about women friends, women co-workers, women associates.

women.
if you notice, there is both the word ME and WE in women. and then the word MEN. me, we, men.
oh, just an observation.

true, it’s true, there are women friends who don’t wish you well. they don’t. they may seem like they do. but they’re never really happy for you. they cringe at your success. they’re jealous and petty, and catty and speak ill of you to everyone. behind your back. they leave a trail of text messages….there are friends that yes, wish you well when you’re terminally ill. there are women out there like that.

i know one or two.

true, yes, it’s true, there are women friends who yes will go after the job you want. they will. you’ll tell them about this great wonderful amazing gig, and they smile and tell you to go for it, GO FOR IT! and then they themselves call the editor, or publisher and say, hey… i heard about this gig, i’d be perfect for it. and you do find out. you do. because chances are you’re friends with, or you know the person who your friend in fact called. there are friends out there that want what you have. period. they are not happy for you. when you struggle, they feel powerful. there are women like that.

i know one or two.

true, there are some women friends who will never, ever, ever recommend you for a job. never.
true, there are some women friends who need to keep you small so they can feel big and powerful AND better than you.
true, there are some women friends who will never, not in this lifetime throw you a life-line because you are the one always there for them. they count on YOU to take care of them, to be there for THEM.
true, there are some women friends who do not root you on, lift you up, support your dreams, offer help. they take much more than they care to give.

there are women who are profoundly threatened by, jealous of, and weary of other women.
it’s true. a fact. statistically, i just read, it’s something like 1 out of 3 women.

so, yes, maybe there are a few women in my circle who don’t really wish me well, are jealous. talk bad about me.

yeah, sure.

and when i heard this woman/psychic say that, the first place i went to was: holy shit, who are they? let me go through my entire list of women friends and see which one’s…
and then i stopped.
and i thought of the traits that make women less appealing as friends. and i thought, you know what, instead of trying to mentally track down these no good catty broads… i’m gonna try something different.

when i myself feel a twinge of jealousy toward another woman for having succeeded at something, or accomplished something, instead of running toward the jealousy banner…i’m gonna close my eyes and WISH HER WELL. REALLY WISH HER WELL.
when i feel like being a little bitty catty, or mean-spirited, toward someone who might have hurt me, i will close my eyes and SEND HER LOVE, AND APPRECIATION.
when i feel like i’ve been taken advantage of, or just plain taken…i will close my eyes and wish HER HAPPINESS, THAT HER SUFFERING BE REMOVED AND BE REPLACED BY GRAND JOY.

because truth be told, each of us shares in those feelings, some much more, some much less, but we’re all capable of that jealousy, envy, pettiness, cattiness, gossip, withholding…

because, yes, we can be so very cruel to each other.
we can.

but we can also be generous beyond belief, supportive beyond measure, loving beyond words, kind beyond limitations; we women know how to rally. and my god, we women can change the world, because we women know – truly, deeply know – how to dig in deep and change ourselves.

I love the WE in WomEn.
Let’s wish each other well.

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avatar I AM A WRITER GIRL

May 30th, 2012 — 3:49pm

this is a true story.

okay, so many, many, many years ago – many – like 35 years ago, i was in dire need of some direction, guidance, and yes, encouragement regarding my life, specifically my career. i wanted desperately to be a writer.
that was my dream.
my goal.
my hope.
my wish.
and so… i went to see a woman – an older, wiser, smarter woman than myself. she was recommended by a mutual friend who thought she could help put my life – my young, unwise, street-smart life – on track, or at the very least, show me where the track in fact was, and point me in that direction.

so…

i meet with this older, wiser, smarter woman.
i had become a buddhist, and she was in fact a sorta, kinda spiritual leader – minus the clackers and robes. she seemed soft and kind, calm and unaffected, smiley and well groomed. and apparently she also had an abundance of faith. back then, in the 70’s and early 80’s, loads and loads – boatloads of people – were given the title ‘spiritual leader.’ prior to them being spiritual leaders they were more than likely drug addicts and/or felons. back then everyone was seeking true happiness and inner peace and getting laid. joining a spiritual community brought all three together. “hey wanna come to a buddhist slash spiritual meeting, kneel for two hours, and then, hey we can go for a drink, and you know, have sex. whatdya think?” I think BINGO IS MY NAME-OH. back then it was a time when both enlightenment & parking spots were on the top ten list, side by side.

i wanted to write.
that was my fervent wish.
to use my life and my voice to help others, inspire others. it was what i believed i should do.
my mission.
my passion.
to use my voice so others could use theirs.
so, i went to see this older, smarter, wiser woman, a woman with an abundance of faith, and she asked me a bunch of questions: where did i go to school (i dropped out of high school), how long had i been writing (i dabbled, you know, occasionally), did i know anyone at magazines, or journals or publishers (not a fucking soul), and then she looked at me, grabbed my hand and said:
“Oh my dear, you should become a secretary.”
I looked at her.
She smiled at me.
A smiley face.
She rubbed my arm, and offered me another smile.
I looked at her.
She no longer looked smarter and wiser. She just looked older.
I stood up.
I could not stop the tears from flowing.
And then I did and said something I had never said or done in my entire life, I said:
“You know what, fuck you. That’s right, fuck you. I’m gonna show you what it means to have faith. i’m gonna prove you wrong.”

And i walked out, filled with a strength i never knew i had, a power that felt so very full & palpable, a belief that nothing – absolutely nothing – was impossible.
I WAS GOING TO BE A WRITER.
A WRITER GIRL.
PERIOD.
END OF STORY.

and i wrote.
and wrote.
and wrote.
and wrote…
… movies, and books, and essays and i edited magazines, and wrote more books and another movie, and a TV series, and…

and …
i wrote.
about all things i had/have grand and mighty passion for.
my passion.
my whole full passion.
and i wanna say this: had she told me on that day i could be a writer, had she said, my god you’re fucking amazing and brilliant and holy shit… let me call my (make-believe) agent and get you a writing gig right now… i would have never, ever, ever – not in a million fucking years – written.

no.
no.
no.

it was all because she told me i couldn’t do what i wanted to do that i was going to prove her wrong.
i was gonna show her – and myself – what i was made of.

so, here’s to us.
the one’s who say:
I WILL SHOW YOU WHAT I AM MADE OF.
I WILL PROVE YOU WRONG…
and then go out into this crazy, wacky, messy, glorious & oh so gorgeous world and do just that.

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avatar Psychic Junkie Days

May 28th, 2012 — 1:44am

I’m going to call her Mary.
Mary was not her real name, but she was, for a period of close to two years, my personal psychic slash adviser. A friend of a friend had seen her, had a reading with her, and said she was so spot-on perfect, so unbelievably accurate, that it was downright scary. And…and… she was a psychic to ‘the stars.’ That’s always a big major plus. Not only do you want her doing a reading for you, but you also want to get real buddy-like close, and have her spill all the juicy gossip about all her famous clients. I call her; we set up a ‘in person’ consultation and psychic reading. She comes to my apartment, an apartment I was sharing with a friend on the Upper West Side, and because it was a one bedroom, every month we switched off sleeping arrangements. It was my month to sleep on the pull out sofa in the living room. Mary walks in – she is very short (five-foot, five-foot one maybe), very tough (a tattoo with a dagger on her forearm), no mincing words (fuckin’ this, fuckin’ that), and has a noticeable limp. She looks around the living room, takes in everything, turns to me and says: “You are destined for greatness.” Wow. Oh. Wow. Destined for greatness. I ask her if she is sure she doesn’t mean my roommate? No, You (emphasis on you) are destined for greatness. I wanted to pick up the phone, call the guy who had just broken up with me and scream into his phone machine, “Guess what, you are so fucked, I, me, moi, am destined for greatness and you are such a fucking asshole fool.” But before I could even finish the fantasy, Mary tells me that a man with the first initial B, as in Bob, Brandon… Brian – BINGO was his name-o – was lethal to women, lethal, and was so lethal in fact, so incredibly fucked up, that she could see him, as in a premonition, in prison, serving time for tax evasion, and – and – not only would he cheat on his taxes, but she was pretty sure, had he not broken up with me, he would cheat on me.

Hey, I think, how does she know he broke up with me?

I spend an hour and a half with Mary and I am convinced that she is a genuine true blue intuit. This was before Google, so in fact there was no way she could have possibly known half the shit she knew about me. I ask her how often people consult with psychics; she tells me with an accompanied shrug and facial gesture some of her clients call her weekly, some every few weeks, but most every month. It’s very important to maintain your psychic relationship, and she offers me a special deal. For every visit, I can get a free phone consultation. I agree, and tell her that I will now have to get a full time job so that I can afford to see her and consult with her so she can tell me, because she is a psychic, when to quit the job because my big gigantic break is coming soon. She tells me I will make a lot of money being funny. Being funny, I ask? Yeah, like a comedian, like a funny comedy writer. I ask her how much money. She says a boatload. I ask her how big the boat is, she says big. I leave it at that. Some things you just want to be completely surprised about.

Mary and I see each other frequently, and talk often and when I feel unsure or want to know what’s going to happen, or could happen so I can be well prepared, I call her and she advises me. I now have a jump start on my future. Sometimes our conversations went like this: “Will he call me?” “No.” “No?” “No. Never.” “Why?” “Because he doesn’t like you.” “Why?” “You’re not his type.” “What’s his type?” “Blonde, blue-eyed, big tits.” For a rather small-cupped brunette that was not encouraging, but she saved me from myself enough times, and she liked me enough to keep me on the phone when she could sense I was unsure, or lonely, or feeling vulnerable.

She became a friend.

When my dog got lost, and he was gone for over a week, she knew exactly where he was. When I was let go – okay, fired — from my waitressing job, she knew the restaurant was going to call and re-hire me, when I met another god-awful wrong man who I absolutely believed was Mr. Right, she would tell me with ‘great patience’ that he was so fucking Mr. Wrong even a blind person could see it. When my mom had a minor heart attack, she saw it, she felt it and she called me, telling me she saw my mom’s ‘heart was blocked,’ but I shouldn’t worry because she will be fine. And sometimes she was just utterly and completely wrong, and boy oh boy did she hate being wrong. She hated being told she was wrong, and I was thoroughly convinced that she would put some kind of reverse psychic spell on it so that she could make it right.

I am in Los Angeles for five days. I am here on ‘screenwriting’ business, seeing friends, and it is Valentine’s Day. I am on a date with a guy I met through work, he being a television Producer. He takes me to some fancy-schmancy restaurant up in Malibu Canyon, and I’m on my second glass of wine, having just finished my frisee and pear salad with bleu cheese, when the headache starts up again. Pounding, pounding, pounding – it feels as if my head is going to split open and explode. I have been having horrible blinding headaches for about a month, and they keep getting worse, and here I am experiencing a god awful blinding headache, and this time, at this restaurant, on this first date, it comes back in a fury. I am trying to act normal, until I can’t any longer, and I tell this guy, this guy that I hardly know at all, that I’m awfully sorry, but I think I need to be rushed immediately to a hospital NOW, as in this fucking minute. I stand up, and ask him if he would like to take me to Cedars Sinai, or… or, and I would completely understand if in fact he didn’t want to, I could have the restaurant call me a cab. He offers to take me, but asks if we could just wait a few minutes, so we could get the food we ordered to go. We don’t have the time, I tell him. At this point, I am convinced that I am dying, and I don’t want to dilly-dally. Although, I don’t tell him that, it feels like too much information to share on a first date. He throws down a wad of cash to pay for a meal that is costing an arm and a leg not to mention a piece of my brain, and we make a mad rush out of there. He drives directly to Cedars Sinai in Beverly Hills, and we proceed to push our way up the queue in the Emergency Room line. This being Hollywood, I notice a couple of B slash C movie actors in the waiting room. Now it’s my turn with the emergency room nurse and she asks me what’s wrong. I tell her that I believe I have a brain tumor. My new friend turns absolutely white, “A brain tumor.” he says/asks. Yes I say, a brain tumor. I don’t think he wants to see me anymore. I think he wants to leave, and go back to the restaurant and try to pick up the cute waitress who was flirting with him, who, by the way, appears to have a very long life in front of her. The nurse gets me a semi-private room within the emergency room area, and my friend tags along. We wait for what feels like hours until the attending Emergency Room physician makes his way to see me. Long story short – they take an X-Ray, there’s a small tiny cluster that appears on the X-Ray, and I am now officially unofficially told that I have what appears to be a brain mass, or what is commonly known as a brain tumor. I knew it. I knew it. I knew it.

They put me in a private room, where handwritten on a board directly above my head, it reads, “Brain Tumor.” My friend stays with me, and we get to know each other, because, well, clearly I don’t have much time left. We chat. He’s a Pisces, and loves Opera; I’m a Sagittarius, and I love the Rolling Stones. He loves algebra and calculus, anything and everything mathematical, I like none of that. He loves watercolors and ink drawings, I love sculpture and modern art. He loves Betty White. I don’t even know how or why that came up. I like romantic comedies, thrillers, and 40’s film noir; he likes sci-fi and musicals and loves, with a capital L, game shows. Clearly, this is not a match, not even close. But he stays, and I think he stays because he has no-where else to go, and for that I am grateful, but not grateful enough to engage in any sexual activity as a thank-you. Another attending doctor comes in, a small wisp of a guy, and asks me if there is anyone, a family member or otherwise, I would like to call. The specialist brain tumor doctor will be in first thing in the morning, to take a look at the X-Rays, but in the meantime, they’ll give me some pain medication to ease my pain: Percocet, percodan, and/or codeine. And again, asks me if there is anyone I would like to call. Yes, I say, I want to call Mary. “Your sister?” “No. My psychic.” If I wasn’t convinced enough that my new friend’s eyes glazed over with the brain tumor line, this certainly clinched it. I dial Mary’s number, I’m pretty sure she’s asleep – it is three hours later in New York – but, she answers the phone. I tell her I am in a hospital, I’ve just been diagnosed with a brain tumor, and… and…I knew it… I knew it, I just knew these headaches were life-threatening, and she stops me mid-sentence, interrupting me, telling me point blank, “It is not a brain tumor, whatdya fuckin’ kiddin’ me, who the fuck told you it was a brain tumor, they should have their fuckin’ medical license taken away, you wanna know what you have? You wanna know what’s wrong, you have sinusitis.”

Huh, I say. Really?
Yeah. Sinus headaches. It’s that time of year.
But I never had this before.
I never had a weight problem, but I have one now. You don’t have a fuckin’ tumor.

Well, she’s not always right.

My new friend asks, “So, uh, what did your psychic say?” with enough cynicism that I knew – it was all in his tone – I knew that he wasn’t a believer.
“It’s not good,” I tell him.

I spend the night. The nurses and attending physicians tiptoe around my room, treating me like the terminally ill patient I am, with kindness and the occasional handholding and the big toe grabbing. And then morning comes. My friend has also spent the night, having fallen asleep in the chair. The specialist comes in, a very lovely older gentlemen with a shock of gray hair and a lovely smile, and he introduces himself and says, I hope you didn’t call your parents because that little cluster that the attending emergency room physician read on the X-Ray was in fact the sinus cavity, and it appears that you have what is commonly known as sinusitis.

He then gives me a Claritin, which I can now buy over the counter at any pharmacy or drug store.

My friend asks me if I would mind terribly taking a cab back to my hotel room. Shortly after our date, he left the television and film business, moved back to Vermont, where he owns and operates a “Welcome to Vermont” tchotchkes store.

And according to another psychic, someday I will run into him, and he will avoid me like the plague.

And yes, I have sinusitis every year, right around Valentines Day.
And I still on occasion believe it’s a brain tumor, or brain cancer.

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avatar my wedding day (20 years ago tomorrow)

May 21st, 2012 — 6:38pm

The clock reads 1:47 AM.

I am sitting cross-legged in the middle of my room, in the middle of a throw rug, which by the way has very little, if no meaning, whatsoever to me. It is an old rug, one that should have been thrown away—or given away—many years ago, but I was too lazy, and god knows, lazy breeds more lazy. So it stayed, and I’m cross-legged on it, and I pray that I will not develop some kind of bacterial infection from the possibility of whatever might possibly be lurking inside the weave of this old, frayed cat-pissed-on rug. I am sitting in the middle of the rug, in the middle of the night. Some things you keep, some you throw away. This rug went into the “Ah, let’s keep it.” I am looking at old, old photographs from old albums, and piles of photos I have in various manila envelopes, and all these photos are scattered every which way. I decide, out of complete boredom to rearrange a few photo albums, update my wedding photo album, which I hadn’t seen or looked at in an awfully long time. It is amazing to me that (a) I was so very thin, and (b) that Ken seemed to be—hmmmm, what’s the phrase,“having second thoughts.”

A couple of pertinent bits of information:
Every single couple at our wedding with the exception of Bob and Tony, who are life partners and who have been together for eons, and Panda and Guido (nicknames, not Polar Bears) who have been together forever—oh, and, yes, yes… my brother and sister-in-law — all other couples in fact are no longer together. DIVORCE, DEATH, UNTIMELY TAX EVASION, INFIDELITY, OH . . . BREAK-UPS, BREAKDOWNS, YOU NAME IT—IT IS IN THESE PHOTOS. In almost every single photo, a full table of couples no longer together. Fifty-two people total, and twenty-two couples — finished, gone, over. If you were at my wedding, chances are, you’re either now divorced, or on your way to a divorce. Or dead. We had friends who were cheating on their spouses with other friends with other spouses who were cheating on them with other friends, and all of them — WERE AT OUR WEDDING. I’m guessing we had the only wedding party where the bathroom stalls were locked and/or occupied during the entire wedding. And Ken and I knew none of this, well, because we were oblivious. We were getting married, and what I didn’t know an hour before our wedding and what I know now is that one or both of the “soon to be married couple” is going to have some sort of freak out either before the ceremony, or after the ceremony. And because I am ME, the freak out occurred during the entire wedding ceremony. It is called uncontrollable laughter. It took complete hold of me— like some strange virus, and truly did not leave my system.

The minute the nondenominational minister said, “We are gathered . . . ” First it was the silent laughter, the quick rapid upper body quivers and since there is no noise coming from the mouth, it just appears to be some shaking and jerky upper body movement, then it starts to circulate up to the throat and eyes, the eyes start to burn from the tears that are streaming down your face from the silent laughter, and then it’s sort of like a wild explosion, the jerky body movements, the laughter, the nose running, the certain words that when repeated sound funnier the second and third time. It’s like hysterical laughter tourettes. And it is unstoppable. Ken had never seen this before, had never witnessed my uncontrollable laughter. He was aware that I had this, this . . . infliction. But it only happened under duress—being trapped in an elevator, in front of a judge for traffic court, and while getting a speeding ticket. Nervous, nervous laughter.

But all of this is a blur to me. I had taken a 10mg Valium per my friend’s suggestion. I was nervous. Worried. Should I get married? Did I need to get married? I was happy and content as a single woman, I was thirty-eight, my god, I was working and writing and the thought of telling — sharing with — another person my every single thought frightened me. I was going to be “legally” sharing my life with another person. Did I really need to do this? Was this what I really truly wanted? This was my first marriage. This was Ken’s third marriage. I kept reminding myself that the third time is a charm. I also kept reminding myself that maybe Ken isn’t all that good at being married. THREE TIMES IS A LOT. Two is okay. Everyone I know, pretty much, is either on their second or had a second marriage and decided that two was enough. BUT THREE IS A CURIOSITY. And while I was internalizing all my fearsand worries and questions and applying and reapplying lip- gloss, Ken wasn’t sweating an ounce. Cool as a cucumber. Handsome in his gray suit, he had such a presence. And . . . the kicker, the real kicker . . . I was madly, wild madly in love with him. And more than that, I really liked him.

And as I look at these photos now of us saying and sharing our vows—it is quite apparent that Ken gradually appears more and more uneasy and somewhat frightened also, and as I now realize, boy oh boy, he should have been. The way he is looking at me in these photos is as if he knew he was marrying a crazy woman who had just been released from a loony bin. SERIOUSLY. I was laughing so hard it seemed that I would have a stroke, or worse, a cerebral hemorrhage. Which would have left me in a coma, and since Ken is not the nurturing kind, I mean he’s very loving and very kind and very sweet, oh god, so sweet, but not really a nurturer. He would have left me in a fetal position—right then and there. After seven minutes of my nonstop laughter, truly, the nondenominational minister said: “Okay, let’s wrap this up—we’re getting nowhere here.” And then he looked only at Ken: “Is that okay with you Kenneth?” Ken nodded. I had mascara running straight down my cheeks, There is a photo of my dad looking at me and I know what he’s thinking: “Oh, dear lord, please watch over Ken now—as you can see for yourself, she’s quite a handful.” This from a man who was not at all religious, but I believe god—or a higher being—was searched for that day by many people. But not my Ken, the one religion Ken has and has continued to have since I’ve known him is praying at the altar of the New York Giants.

This was all coming from a place that I never even knew existed. And clearly I was pretty off the charts crazy nuts with laughter. We were pronounced husband and wife, and Ken was told to kiss his new bride— me—and the nondenominational minister wished Ken great luck, and offered me a nod, and a gentle pat on my arm and then, with his wife, bolted out of the room so fast I couldn’t even offer him a sip of the “congratulatory” champagne.

I went and sat in the “bridal” bathroom—a lovely little private powder room, with all its pretty glass figurines and perfume bottles lined up perfectly, and a lovely spray of white orchids. I sat for a good fifteen minutes. After the laughter wore off, along with all my makeup and mascara, I took a deep, deep breath. It wasn’t humiliation I was feeling, I wasn’t embarrassed, I didn’t feel ashamed, I was filled with wonderment—I wondered…

Marriage? What did this all mean? I loved being alone. I loved having my own space, my own little home, my own bed to crawl into. I loved watching TV (unlike now) at all hours of the night—when I actually enjoyed watching old movies late at night, maybe it was because I was single and loved the boy meets girl, boy loses girl, boy finds another girl, girl finds another boy, but that girl isn’t the right girl, and the boy isn’t the right boy, and then the right girl appears and the other girl gets dumped and then the two women concoct some kind of master plan, and I also loved dancing in my living room listening to Aretha Franklin and closing my eyes and dancing to the beat of my own walkman. I loved the QUIET of my own space and the CLUTTER of my own mind. And now I had to share all that. What I loved most about being alone was that I didn’t feel the need to inhibit any single part of me while I was alone. I realized—right then and there in the little powder room—that maybe I had been alone a little too long.

I had always had this strange sinking feeling that after, oh, I don’t know, eight, ten years people just stop having things to say to each other, especially if you’re together a lot of the time. I MEAN REALLY, WHAT CAN BE NEW? How are you? Good. And you? Good. Good. What you doing today? Oh, you know, same old, same old. Yeah. Yeah. I think I was petrified that Ken and I would stop having things to talk about. I was afraid I would become boring. I don’t mind getting older. Not one bit. But I do so deeply mind becoming a bore.

My niece, who I think was seven years old at the time, my gorgeous little flower girl niece came into the bathroom and sat next to me. She offered her hand. We held hands and said nothing.

And in that one moment I knew everything – every single thing – I needed to know about love and life and a long lasting good, happy, marriage.

It’s all about holding hands, and saying nothing.

(Excerpt from Marrying George Clooney, Confessions From A Midlife Crisis, Seal Press)

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