Tag Archives: divorce

Hockey Glasses

It was the last one. In the course of fewer than six months of living together I had destroyed the other three. I felt his resentment mounting. I hadn’t really known the names of any hockey teams when we met. I soon learned that the Penguins, whose logo was imprinted on each of the glasses, were his favorite one. And each of these glasses, with their yellow, black and white painted-on player was a special treasure.

With the first one, he had been understanding. After all, we had just moved in together. We were young and ready to conquer the world, to build our lives together. With glasses two and three he became less patient, and understandably so. He had had them since high school, or college? And in less than a year of knowing me, I had waged what must have seemed to him like an intentional attack.

I didn’t hate the glasses. In fact, I enjoyed using them, their sharp colors offering a respite from the clear glasses I had brought to our combined cupboards. I felt horrible with each inadvertent shattering. Each one mounting evidence that I was this klutz I didn’t want to admit to being or, worse, that I lacked some fundamental characteristic of a caring, concerned girlfriend. If I loved him more, maybe I wouldn’t have broken the glasses.

Tidying our tiny apartment on this gray February day, I felt quite domestic, quite grown-up in all my twenty-five years. I had this life thing figured out. This relationship thing was working. After straightening the living room, I tackled the dishes in the sink, the glass being one of them. I cradled it delicately, as if I were a papa penguin myself (the bird kind). I can hear the sound in my head even now of the glass hitting against the side of the sink ever so gently, almost like a bell — a full-bodied, rich sound. And I saw it there instantly: A hair of a crack running from the thin lip of the glass halfway down it.

I felt panic spread through my gut. I was devastated that it was broken in my hands, and I immediately began to dread the confrontation of it all. The explaining. The apologies. The hurt. And then I decided that it wasn’t broken. I, in mere seconds, convinced myself that perhaps the glass was just fine. After all, it was still intact. Maybe that sound that rang out and reverberated through the sink was just that: a sound, not the end of the set of hockey glasses. Not proof that I was a careless, unloving, klutz.

And this poor intact but scared glass must get cleaned still. I soaped up my sponge and plunged it and my hand into the glass. If I believed it wasn’t broken, it must not be broken. My hand forced its way into the glass in much the same way the idea that it was whole forced its way into my mind. Speed sometimes seems like certainty.

Just like I had refused to belief the brokenness of the glass, I, at first, dismissed the red blood spiraling down the drain, the flap of skin hanging off of my pinky finger, the glass now in two pieces, one the same exact shape as the edge of the skin flapping from my bleeding finger.

Super Bowl Sunday. Hospital. Four stitches. Confession that the Penguins had caved in the face of my offense. Admission, now, twelve years and a failed marriage later, as I stare at the half-smile of a scar still adorning my smallest finger, that if you see a fissure in something that can hurt you, it’s probably better to acknowledge it rather than plunging your hand (or your heart) in full force.


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Getting Over Under-Sharing

I love the NPR show, The Moth.  People share true stories from their lives in front of an audience.  For the past two years, I have been trying to emulate this show in my living room by hosting small groups of friends who share their stories.  Stories are one of my favorite things, and these parties are something I cherish.  I am so grateful for the friends I have made (and the ones I’ve gotten to know better) and the stories they’ve shared.

My most recent “party” happened at the end of December.  There were nineteen of us total including, for the first time, my parents.  I was anxious about the event — inviting my parents into my friend circle caused my sister to say, “What were you thinking??!!”  I was also anxious about the story I planned to tell.  While I usually aim to make my friends laugh, the story I felt compelled to share is not a particularly funny one.

It is a story about closing up, closing off, keeping secrets.  In order to continue my process of being a more open, honest person who shares what is going on in her life, I am posting my story here, too.  Well that, that, and narcism.  Cheers to over-sharing and watching myself do it!

Mosa — December 2012 — Developing an Ending from boobjuice on Vimeo.


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“Pairing” Down

When I was a child, I, like every other child of the eighties, had a massive collection of gummy bracelets (except, I think we called them “goomy” bracelets in my small, private school).  I don’t even remember how these little creatures would find their way into my life.  Perhaps there were some that came home in party favors?  Perhaps I made my dad buy me a few when we went on dates to the mall?  These bracelets were like rabbits — forever multiplying and popping up in the strangest places.

I remember being about seven or eight, and playing for hours with these stretchy plastic bands on my wrists and later, ankles (I am telling you.  Rabbits!)  I made up elaborate plot lines for them.  It started with a nuclear family, and as my collection grew there were step-siblings and cousins and probably visiting dignitaries from “The Europe.” The central theme to all of my bracelet play was that each anthropomorphic rubber band had its own mate — its own special partner.  Never could I add a new bracelet one at a time.  That would lead to lonely leper bracelets, and in my prepubescent world there was nothing worse than being lonely — being the odd bracelet out.

This avoidance of loneliness was not limited to my plastic jewelry collection.  I remember arguing with my mother that I should be allowed to have one more cookie because, after all, it was the last in the package, and it would be terribly lonely if we left it there all by itself in the confines of its dark, foil home where its brothers and sisters had recently fallen victim to my mass genocide of their kind (maybe that’s why Hilter killed so many Jews; he didn’t want to leave anyone lonely.  Thoughtful).

Conversely, my mom still tries to get me to eat the last stick of celery or the last cracker because it is the only one left, and it will suffer unfathomable heartache if it is left to dwell on the otherwise empty plate, not to mention being ground alive by the evil garbage disposal.  Yes, I have eaten things as adult as a result of my mother’s tactics.

All this to say that the task of cleaning out my tupperware drawer this weekend was a more monumental undertaking than you might imagine.  I have been carrying around mismatched lids and bottoms through three moves hoping that someday their missing mates might show up.   Seriously.  Finally, my inability to find anything or close the drawer without the use of excessive force caused me to address the unlikeliness of my Gladeware orphans ever being reunited with their other halves. With brutal resolve, I emptied the entire drawer and set about matching tops to bottoms — no topless bottom or bottomless top was spared.

At the end of my rampage, I had a sizable stack of oddballs, miss-matched plastic relics of formerly useful containers. The weight of waiting for pairs to be reunited was proving to be too much of an impediment.  I could no longer accomplish my day-to-day tasks.  Important activities like finding a sippy cup with a lid for a dehydrated toddler or properly storing leftover shepherds’ pie became loathsome, time-consuming, emotionally draining challenges.

I do feel some remorse in shedding my extra plastic.  There is a vague sense of dread that now that those misfit storage containers have been buried in my recycling bin, their mates will miraculously show up only to take their places in the epic joint suicide scene at the end of this Romeo and Juliette for plastic storage containers.  “Wait, you mean, you weren’t dead?  We could have lived happily together in this freshly organized drawer? Yea, noise? then I’ll be brief. O happy <del>dagger</del>… recycling bin!” In the days since the reorganization, I have actually looked forward to opening the drawer.  There is space, and I can see everything.  I have even entertained the idea of acquiring some new storage containers that are slightly more durable than the former hummus tubs and yogurt cups that currently make up my perfectly matched collection.

I don’t know where my gummy bracelet collection ended up.  I do remember having to take them all off at one point because my socks would no longer stretch comfortably over my brightly-colored, bulging ankles, and I could scarcely write as my wrist failed to make contact with my wide-ruled paper.  Just like with the Tupperware, I reached a point of overpopulation and the need to pare down overcame my strong desire to make pairs.

Oh drat!  If only there were some life lesson I could learn from this…


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Before 7am on the Sunday before Christmas, I showed up at my local grocery store with glitter eyeliner and a ridiculous, off-the-shoulder Christmas tree shirt with a giant red bow on it and large, clanky buttons sewn on as ornaments.  I made it myself for a tacky sweater party last year, and, admittedly (and understandably, no?), I am quite proud of it.

As I walked through the automatic door, I smiled at how silly I must have looked, and fantasized about what sort of story I would have made up for myself if I had seen me walking through the door.  Worse, I began to dread what I would say if the lone checker asked me why I was dressed like that, with candy cane arm-warmers even, at such an ungodly hour on a Sunday morning.

“Oh me?  I am just stopping here to buy cold medicine for my not-really-ex-husband, because I am on my way to a party at his house to celebrate Capitalism Day (a holiday he invented) with him, our toddler daughter and some of my ex’s friends whom I have never really met.  And even though I don’t live there, I will make breakfast when I arrive, and I will prepare and serve a whole turkey to the guests, and at the end of the night (because I will stay there the whole day), I will be thanked by one of the guests for hosting the party.   Oh, and then I will leave and go see my boyfriend.”

Crap!  I am not buying enough groceries to say all of that!  How can I answer honestly and not share my entire bio?  This is a question I have been struggling with a lot of late.  My current bio is way more complicated than I would like for it to be — than I ever imagined it being.  House.  Picket fence.  2.5 kids.  Marriage.  It all sounded so good to me (well, maybe not that poor arm-less child).  I didn’t expect to be in this spot, driving to my legal husband’s house, where my daughter spends the night some of the time, to celebrate holidays platonically with my ex and his friends.

Like asking that arm-less child to pass the salt, I have been pretending everything is normal and nothing is wrong since before my daughter was born. I have signed thank you notes from the three of us, I have referred to my ex as my husband to distant relatives and insurance agents.  It’s been easier than unpacking the whole story, the back-and-forth of it, the up and down of it.  Slowly, over two-and-a-half years, the word has spread — I couldn’t quite conceal moving into a new house alone with my daughter.  I couldn’t hide when  my ex posted on Facebook that he was “single,” and then, “in a relationship” with another woman.

Last night, I went out dancing, and struck up a conversation with another woman — a stranger.  We spoke of our children and bemoaned that it had been a while since either of us had been out dancing.  She asked me what had brought me out again.  “Oh, I got dumped, so I needed to dance.”

“Oh, were you and your daughter’s father having problems?”

“Oh, no!  Not him!  He dumped me ages ago.  This was someone else! Whew-hoo!”

I cheered at the ridiculousness of it, and we both laughed.  When she was whisked away to dance with someone else, I was left feeling that I had exposed too much, that I was a little too naked.  I suppose, like being arm-less, I feel like my current state of in-between-ness is visible to everyone — obvious.

So here I sit, no longer wanting to ignore the obvious: we are separated, I live alone with my daughter, I have a divorce lawyer, I take out the trash, I date other people, and not wanting to dump the obvious on everyone I meet just because I feel like they see it already.

Just writing these words makes me realize how long I have been dancing around these issues, writing ambiguously so as not to reveal my heart, my reality, my soul.  So, even though one of my New Year’s resolutions is to dance more, this is not the dance I want to do.  I need a place to share my soul, to dance my truth.  If you know me and are uncomfortable with the possibility of hearing it, this is your chance to sign off.  My parents both just graciously (at my request) agreed to stop reading my blog for this very reason. (And, Mom, if you are reading this and not telling me, that’s cool, too, and I love you.  So much.)

As I left the supermarket that early Sunday morning (I had managed not to tell the checker the details of my story — she, instead, had told me about some great  Halloween costumes she’d seen in the early morning hours of November 1st), I said aloud to myself, “I’m visiting family!”  That’s what I could have said had she asked.  I am on my way to a family party!  Ha!  So elegantly simple.  So true.  I found myself laughing again.  And then, as I digested how I must have looked in that moment, still with the gaudy outfit, now not just smiling to myself , but laughing and talking to myself, too, I laughed harder.


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