Tag Archives: ex boyfriend

Tripping with My Ex-Boyfriend’s Daughter

Tripping with my ex-boufriend's daughter

Tripping

Does a stepparent relinquish their title, and the unspoken rights, responsibilities, support, care and concern, (often included in the character description) if the relationship ends in divorce?

And what the hell happens in a Girlfriend Mom situation… I don’t know either.

I no longer wear the sash and crown, but there are certain habits and emotional bonds that were formed during my halcyon days as the reining Girlfriend Mom, that have stayed with me nearly three years after the so-called divorce. The role will forever remain in my heart as the most unexpected, and enlightening that I have had the privaledge of playing. And I played Leper #2 in the musical, Jesus Christ Superstar in theater camp.

It was because of these unique relationships, (that seem to be defined, and then redefined every few months) that I took SN (the daughter) on a road trip last Fall from Portland, Oregon to La Jolla, California for her college graduation gift.

A few family members and friends thought it was strange that I was taking a trip with my ex-boyfriend’s daughter. These were some of the same people who thought that it was weird that I still saw the kids. SN’s mother thought it was a wonderful opportunity for her daughter and thanked me. I didn’t need to be thanked because it was my absolute pleasure and joy.

I wanted to make the trip more than SN. I knew firsthand how life affirming such an experience could be. I made the same excursion when I was her age, after my college graduation. After four years in Manhattan, side-stepping dog poop on the sidewalks on my way to class, knocking into Wall Streeter’s as they hustled to the subway, I  hit the road and drove across the country over the summer.

Ever since I was in high school, I wanted to drive across America. I read Kerouac’s, On The Road, watched both Easy Rider, and Lost in America, and the idea of living moment to moment; no plans or schedule was alluring and sexy.

I imagined driving through towns with populations under a hundred. I fantasized about having to get a waitress job in a honkey tonk (even though I’d never waited tables before) because I ran out of money. Perhaps I’d get hired to wax surf boards in a shop along the California coast, even though I’d never set foot on a board. I romanticized the road because I’d been dodging crack dealers on my way to my dorm. Anything would be better than that.

I’d learn how to ride a motorcycle. I’d pick up hitchhikers bumming for lifts. They’d teach me about the world; sharing their wisdom gleaned from years living according to their chakras and not in the chokehold of societal expectations, norms and conventions. These free spirits would regale me with pearls from the backseat of my car, while chewing tobacco, and using an empty Coke bottle as their spittoon.

To be twenty-two.

I used the money that I’d saved over the years in a giant pink piggy bank that my parent’s had bought me when I was nine years old, to fund my trip.

The bank lived on the bottom shelf of my bookcase in my childhood bedroom. It was so big that I doubted that it would ever be full, but I dropped coins into the slit on its back every chance I got.

My parents told me (although it was couched as a suggestion) to wait until the pig was full before I uncorked its underbelly. They assured me that it would be more exciting and gratifying than if I withdrew money every time I wanted another Bonne Bell 7-Up Lip Smacker, which was often.

What ten-year-old girl is going to understand the concept of saving, patience and restriction? It was friggin’ Bonne Bell. Yes, I dipped into the bank on more than one occasion.

As I got older and more disciplined, it became easier to resist the urge to crack open the swine before she was up to her snout in metal and couldn’t take one more thin dime. She did taunt me, especially when my babysitting jobs dried up in the winter of ’83 but I stayed the course.

By the time I graduated college, the bank had been full for several months. I suspect that my parents dropped a few shekels in while I was away at school.

Soon after graduation, I went into my bedroom, closed the door and pulled the weighty bank off of the shelf. I plucked the stopper, emptied the contents onto my medium pile chocolate brown shag rug, and began the laborious task of rolling the coins into their respective denomination wrappers. This was long before the coin machines in local supermarkets. I rolled until I lost feeling in my fingers.

It was mind-numbing and it required a gross amount of concentration and counting. Anyone who knows me, knows that I find counting mentally exhausting.

As I sat with my legs crossed hunched over mounds of coins (as a Pilates instructor I shudder at the visual) I kept having to remind myself of how many nickels were in a two-dollar wrapper. The whole ordeal made me dizzy.

As the rolls piled high, forming miniature pyramids on my rug, my anticipation increased—How far would the money take me? Would I have to get a job bartending? 

When the wrapping was complete, I went to the bank and cashed out. If memory serves, I had over six hundred dollars in dusty and sticky pennies, nickels, dimes and quarters. I found several half dollars and a handful of silver dollars. I vaguely remember getting those as birthday presents from my grandfather. At the time, I couldn’t get over the fact that a dollar could be a coin.

I also found a peso or two in the mix, which was odd because I hadn’t been to a country where the local currency was a Pesos. Dad?

I had money to make a childhood dream come true and nothing felt sweeter. I was rich!

Once I climbed behind the wheel and was on the road, I tossed my shoes into the backseat of my Honda Accord and crossed over the first of many state lines. I felt as if I’d been infused with a dose of freedom. I hadn’t done a lot of traveling up to that cross country point and I was captivated by the enormity of the country, and awed by the vastness and the quiet. It was eye opening in ways that I had only read about or seen in the movies.

I imagined my foot glued to the gas pedal, never to return to New York. I’d only driven 700 miles from home, but I was convinced that I belonged on the road, and that I would be happy wandering for the rest of my life.

To be twenty-two.

Decades later, I hoped that SN’s experience would be as thrilling as my first time was. I’d play the part of the wise hitchhiker, imparting sage advice, only without the tobacco. I was anxious to see the roads of my youth, and to be seeing them through SN’s youthful eyes.

To be continued…

Leo DiCaprio and I Are Both Revenants

Leonardo Dicaprio Revenant

PhotoCredit:showbiz411.com

If you would have told me that a week before Christmas, I’d be imbibing with my ex-boyfriend’s ex-wife, while sitting on the edge of her bathtub in a bathroom in her townhouse in suburban New Jersey, while watching her apply make-up and do up her hair before meeting her boyfriend, I would have said that there was a better chance of finding out that I was adopted and that my biological parents were Gladys Knight and any one of the Pips.

I sat on the edge of the tub and we chatted about hair products, and the kids. I laughed quietly to myself because I felt like I was eight years old, watching my mom ready herself for a night on the town. I used to hang out with her mainly because I was avoiding going downstairs, knowing that my brother was walking around with his underwear on his head trying to shock the babysitter.

Drinking Pinot Grigio while talking to the ex-wife’s reflection in the mirror was just another surreal moment in a scroll length list of surreal moments that had occurred over the last two years since her ex-husband and I broke up.

Most people can’t get their heads around the fact that I’ve continued to nurture my relationships with the Girlfriend Mom kids but then when I tell them that I’ve rock climbed, and broken bread with their mother, the ex-wife, they’re positively flummoxed and judgy.

I was hesitant reaching out to her years ago. Some of it was out of loyalty to my ex, and some of it was fear. I never had an ex-wife in my life and I wasn’t exactly sure how that dance went; or what to wear.  

Then it slowly occurred to me that I didn’t owe anybody anything, loyalty or otherwise, and I had to do what was right for me and my quest for keeping those that I loved in my life, no matter what the cost, or how scared I was.

This quest was a bit like the one Leo DiCaprio takes in his recent movie, Revenant. Stay with me here.

Leo plays a fur trapper, and when he’s attacked by a bear, he’s left to die by his own hunting team. While I’m no fur trapper (nor was I attacked by a bear and left to rot) a part of me died after my break-up, leaving me alone to find a way to maintain my relationship with my team member’s kids. Leo and I were both explorers as we discovered new land. I was a friggin’ pioneer on my expedition.

Along our journey, Leo and I both found ourselves navigating uncharted territory under harsh conditions. My conditions were more of the emotional variety, while his included swimming in icy rivers and eating raw bison liver. You say tomato, I say tomahto.

He had to cauterize his wounds, which I’m sure was awfully painful. However, my unimaginable grief, and betrayal was no less painful. Thankfully no burning of flesh was necessary.

What kept me going (like Leo) was sheer will. In my case, I also had the love of two kids. It was a question of survival for both Leo and myself, and our determination to thrive. I can’t speak for him, as I haven’t seen the movie, but I sure as hell have thrived.

One of the definitions of a revenant is that of a sentient being returning from the dead with the goal of terrorizing the living. An ex-wife and an ex-girlfriend are talking in a bathroom. That could be terrorizing to some, no? Muahahaha buahahaha.

Thinking Can Lead to Weight Gain

LoganKickingI was going to cancel. I was going to let the past dictate the present, and ultimately the future. I was going to renege on plans. I was going to make up an excuse–something original like, something came up. I’m pretty sure that was a Brady Brunch episode. I didn’t trust that I knew what to do.  

My ex’s kid was involved, and that made all the difference.

Would he have cared, or given it a second thought, if I didn’t show up? I didn’t know and it didn’t matter. It wasn’t the point. I said I was going to be there. Period. Any bullshit remnants from the past  wasn’t coming to the high school football field with me.

Over the last couple of weeks, something shifted. Maybe it was healing, like when a gash (god I love that word) starts to scab. I felt  strong, confident, and grown up. I was also bored of the bullshit. I was exhausted rolling over the questions in my head; was this ok? What does it mean? Is it the right thing? When it came to the kids, nothing happened until I sufficiently contorted myself like a, well, like a contortionist.  

I didn’t cancel. What was unknown driving down to that football field would soon be known. And despite the wrong turn I took, and getting lost in the dark, parking far away from the football field, and having to go to the bathroom something fierce, I made it in time for the singing of the national anthem.

I excitedly watched my ex’s son, wearing bright orange cleats, kick off to the Woodbridge Barrons.

I can’t imagine having missed that.

 

Belly Buster

OneOfAKind_PokerBelly buster isn’t about what to eat, or what not to eat. Nor is it an exercise to combat stubborn belly fat. There is, however, a new and unproven fad product on the market called, Fat Water you might want to look into. If you are combating belly fat, you can do what some do, which is to eat less, exercise more, relax and enjoy your life.

Belly buster is a poker term.

I had some time on my hands this weekend, so I finally got around to unpacking a few boxes that had been sitting untouched, collecting dust, for nearly two years.

The boxes contents were primarily books. As I put the books into cabinets and onto shelves, I came across a memoir about Stuey Ungar, who was some great poker player. I don’t play poker, so I didn’t know, nor did I know why the book was packed in with Pema Chodron, the Great American Songbook and Anne Lamott.

I opened the cover, and leafed through the first few pages and came across an inscription. My inscription. It was inscribed to my ex. I had completely forgotten that I had bought the book for him.

My first thought was, my god I have horrible penmanship. It looks like a drunken third grader had scribbled it. Maybe it’s not such a bad idea that kids aren’t being taught penmanship in schools. Keyboards are definitely the way to go.

As I read my pithy remarks, a wave of sentimentality washed over me, and a smile came to my face. Who was that person so willingly blinded by love and who was all-inI recognized myself in the words but I was split, as if I was straddling the past and the present. Split but no longer stuck. The inscription was both pithy and amusing. Yes, even in book inscriptions, I cannot hide the funny.

I must have grabbed the book by accident when I had folded and cashed out (not at all) and skedaddled out of the house, what now feels like a lifetime agoThere, in those few short sentences, was a summation of our relationship on the river.

My words explained why I bought the book, as I wanted him to see, that it came from my heart, and my intention was well meaning. I wanted him to read more. I threw in a couple of supportive compliments, and then buttoned it up in a kicker punch line.

There was something familiarly sweet about it. It’s just the way that I rap. I’m going to do him a solid, and drop it off at his daughter’s place, so she can return it to him. It’s less than thirty miles away from me, and why should he re-buy the book.

It’s the right thing to do. Besides, I’m not a monster and I’m merely playing the hand that I was dealt.

What are the odds that I would be able to fit in all of those poker terms into this post? 

 

 

How Time Flies… And So Did I

Screen Shot 2014-06-28 at 11.01.30 AMHow time flies… and so did I.

In her autobiography, Good Morning, I’m Joan Lunden, Joan wrote, “4:30am comes around very early.” I couldn’t agreed with her more. A year ago this week, I got up at the butt crack of dawn, to attend my very first Pole fitness competition. I had only been pole-ing for six months, but I say go big, or get off the pole.

I rode my bicycle to the theater, as a feint drizzle fell onto the dark city streets, and onto my freshly flat ironed hair. I wondered if rain was good luck on competition days like it was supposed to be on wedding days.

Since day one, straddling a 45mm in diameter chrome pole had agreed with me. The world outside, with its stresses, noise, and ex-boyfriends, disappeared. My laser focus was on squeezing the bejesus out of a pole between my legs, without falling on my ass, or my head, onto the hard wood floor. My inner thighs were bruised, my knees looked like I had been whacked by the mob, and the tops of my feet were scratched and red. I was in love.

It had been a challenging and sad time, but somehow it motivated me to trot out my ‘to do’ list, which included activities that I had meant to explore but that had not yet found time. Now was the time.

When I started pole-ing, it was impossible for me to climb to the top. I would get frustrated and I couldn’t wait for the class to end. I shrugged off my inability by telling myself that it wasn’t something that I wanted to do anyway, and who cared. I wasn’t in it to become a professional poler, although secretly the thought had crossed my mind.

Some of my predilection for quitting stemmed from fear; most of the time it was fear. Would I be good enough? Couldn’t the first draft be the final draft; metaphorically and literally. The pole wasn’t any different. Why couldn’t I touch the ceiling on my first try? As a Pilates instructor, did I tell my clients who struggled with a particular exercise that they sucked and that they should quit and try Yoga? No. No, I did not. Why would I expect that from myself?

The following week I attempted to climb up the pole again, and after several tries, I made it to the top of the chrome behemoth. That climb was for every karate class, piano lesson, gymnastic team, tennis club, and acting workshop that I had quit.

The over 40 category was called the Master’s group. I thought that was a tad misleading. I wasn’t a master of anything- yet. I waited in line to check in, and I nervously watched women wearing leg warmers, and not much else, stretch, kick, bend and twist, as they warmed up. Was I really going to dance on a pole, half naked, on stage, in front of strangers? Unlike stand-up comedy, where I could hide behind jokes, and self deprecating humor, the pole was too thin to hide behind.

My fellow contestants practiced on the poles on stage, under the lights, taking turns, running through their routines. The space felt a lot bigger than the one around my pole in the middle of my living room in my apartment. When it was my turn, I hummed the music in my head, while I kicked, straddled and threw my body around.

When I finished, I walked back to the end of the line, which moved slowly. I told myself that I didn’t have to run through my routine a second time. The beauty of getting older is knowing your patterns, if you’re paying attention and the lies that you tell yourself. If I did a poor job during the competition, I had an excuse. I could blame it on not having enough practice time. 

Nothing good, or productive, has ever come from that attitude, I know. I’ve tried. I got my booty shorts-wearing- pole-ing ass back on the stage and took another spin.

As sad and disappointing as it, the Pole was not going to be a new career move. Oh, sweet lost potential. A part of the struggle for me was realizing that not everything that I did, or tried, had to have a material, or financial pay off. Doing something for the pure joy of it, was enough. 

I waited in the wings. I stared at the pole. My only job was to have fun, and not fall. I took the stage and danced my Masters heiny off. My body gyrated, and I slithered on the floor, without thinking about the choreography. I may have blacked out—hard to be sure.

I skipped offstage when I was done, adrenalin pumping, and a Master grin on my face. I heard the Stage Manager say, “Keep doing this.” Yes, I think I will.

When I got home and I changed clothes, I noticed that I had been wearing my booty shorts on backwards. I suppose the up side was that they weren’t also inside out. To my humble surprise, I placed second. Maybe I will consider a career move.

I’m Talking to Myself Out Loud Again

Writing

PhotoCredit:kateey.deviantart.com

Je t’aime, moi non plus

L’amour physique est sans issue, Je vais, je vais et je viens, Entre tes reins, Je vais et je viens, Et je me retiens, Non! Maintenant viens!

The song is on my iTunes rotation on my iPhone. I put it there a long time ago. However, when it blared through my earbuds, at 6:30am in the morning, on my way to work, it got my attention. I was on my bike, and so as not to become roadkill on the path, like how so many New York City rodents had met their maker, I was unable to reach my phone and hit fast forward.

I did not especially want to hear the song; not because it’s a bad song, it’s not. It’s romantic, and sex-errific. I didn’t want to hear it because it was our song, one of them anyway. And although there hasn’t been an our for nearly two years— whoa, where did that time go, it was too much to hear before sunup.

Time. The healer. The answer to most questions, problems and teenage acne. While time has passed, and people have moved on, (some actually on to people), a part of me seems to be frozen in time, and I have not, “Let it go.” Please don’t start singing that song, it give me hives.

In a certain, sort of essential way, I’m still in a pseudo- ish- relationship with my ex. Before you judge, or think me pathetic; first of all, do not judge lest ye, or she, be judged, and second, I have a good excuse.

I’m writing a book, The Girlfriend MomHow I Got Sucked into a Life with Children, And How I Learned to Love Every Sucky Part. (working title) It’s a real hoot and a holler, (at least I hope it will be) except when I have to relive the past, which is pretty much the whole time, since it takes place in the past. The point is, I’ve had to live in that world while I write, and it has not always been funsy and neat.

It’s still emotional, and there are connections, but what I’m not entirely sure about is why. Maybe it’s because I am straddling the two worlds; one where everyone, and everything, (relationships, clothes, cars), have remained the same, and one where every goddamn thing has changed, including, but not limited to, bedfellows, friends, family and footwear. Is the connected feeling because there’s still a connection?

To say that I’ve been a bit schizo during this process, would not be saying enough, nor would it paint the entire picture. I have had more imaginary conversations than an actual schizophrenic. No offense to the schizophrenics in the crowd. Perhaps this is the plight of the creative. Perhaps when I type, The End, the voices and the dialogue will stop, and I’ll be able to buy a new pair of jeans.

Only that lady of the night, Time, will tell.