Friends adapting to change

Me: “Elvis Aaron Presley, you get back in that car.”

Her. Spoken: “You said ‘git’, with an ‘I’.”

Her. Unspoken: “You fucking hillbilly.”

Me: “Right? What the fuck happened? I was a country club gal and now I have chicken shit on my boots and I’m talking high school football records with a ditch-digger.”

Her. Spoken: “I went away for just a little bit and came back and this is your life. I missed the process.”

Her. Unspoken: “Maybe I shouldn’t have gone away – I could have stayed here and reined you in.”

Me: “It’s like you going away and coming back a lesbian.”

Her: “Exactly.”

Me: “Thanks for noticing.”

Her: “Right back at ya.”

Huge dilemma

This may not seem so huge to many of my readers, but if you know me at all, you will understand that for me…

Well, let me just explain here.

Again, if you know me at all, you’ve probably figured out that jewelry is significant to my every day well-being. Have you ever seen me out without earrings?

Probably not.

And then there is The Bracelet:

34 years with this baby

And The Ring (9-ish years):

The bracelets are an added bonus

The bracelets are an added bonus

So my right side is all set.

The problem is my left hand. Because of my pain disorder, I can’t sport a bracelet or a watch on that arm, so if I want it adorned (which of course I do – I am me, you know) it has to be rings.

And I know this might sound really trivial, a white girl first world problem, and I get it, it is, but there is a little more to it than you might think, because it directly ties into the whole marriage divorce thing. Let me explain:

When I got engaged, there was a ring, a ring that I adored. When we got married, there was another ring – one that I truly loved, but I was allergic to it.

Red Flag that I ignored.

But I never ever had to think about my left hand – it was all set. Until I got divorced.

I took the wedding band off immediately, but it left a big, soft, white circle around my finger that to me, was a glaring “Your life just fell apart and you failed your children in the process.” I figured if it screamed that to me, then every time the children saw my hand they would also be reminded that their lives had exploded and I didn’t feel like any of us needed that white squishy aide-mémoire.

So I had a “divorce ring” made and I loved it – the ring and the symbolism.IMG_2508

 

Then I moved on and got myself into the most amazingly dysfunctional relationship with a man who claimed “I’m going to replace that divorce ring with a wedding band.”

IMG_2511

It’s called “Crater” and I thought the earthy name would be solid and grounding.

Thank god that didn’t happen. But when that all fell apart it seemed like a good time to once again, eliminate some of the symbols of my past and move forward. So I purchased this one from an artist down in Mexico City:

 

I also came to the conclusion that it was time to quit focusing on the empty finger and celebrate my middle finger (which sees a lot more action anyway.)

Love love loved this one, until…

Another relationship. Time for another ring.

And I will interject here that wanting a new ring with a new relationship had NOTHING to do with wanting the Ring

So I moved on, decided to get something totally different:

This seemed to be the jewel that for which I had been searching…

IMG_2513

…until it broke.

Because I am really hard on my hands and whatever is on them.

So then I went through all of the others that I had picked up over the years, trying, rejecting, and trying again, all while my right hand screamed – get it together, Lady, just put on a ring and forget about it.

There was this one, with the hideous fake turquoise in the middle of the otherwise, stunning piece of artwork:IMG_2507

 

 

 

IMG_2512There’s the fossil ring that my off-the-deep-end cousin made:

He just died so I tried to wear it again, but it’s just really too masculine for me.

I have a few other random ones, but nothing has felt like I want it to be a semi-permanent part of my body, my life, me.

So then I’ve been looking around at rings. I’ve also been looking around at other people’s hands, trying for some inspiration. I got some recently with my friend Dodo who wears 2 silver rings on her left hand. One of which is, of course, her wedding band.

So then I thought, maybe I should look first for something that fits my ring finger – seems novel and maybe I’ve been barking up the wrong tree.

But that is a loaded proposition. To begin sporting a ring on your left finger when you are actually in a serious relationship, sends a mighty big message to people, even when there is no message to be received.

So I have fumbled.

And in my fumbling for a fucking ring – again, I understand that this is not quite as big of an issue as world hunger – I have dredged up all of these other feelings about relationships and marriage and divorce and symbols of all of the above.

And I get stymied because suddenly, it’s not about a little chunk of silver and it’s all about where I am in my life, how I present myself to the world, and what that shiny bit conveys.

When I was single, it seemed like it was less significant if I wore something on my “wedding band” finger, but now it feels like it would be perceived as a statement.

I remember when I first wore my engagement ring – silver with an almost imperceptible diamond – I thought it was the most beautiful thing I had ever seen. I used to stand at work with my hand held out in front of me gazing adoringly at it. I hoped that as I reached to hand someone  something, that they would notice and say “my what a beautiful ring,” and I could then say, “yes, yes it is, isn’t it?”

And then they could say, “Are you engaged?”

And I could squeal, “YES!!!”

I still think it's beautiful. And it still fits. Bummer.

I still think it’s beautiful. And it still fits. Bummer.

I kept my engagement ring – but it’s not like I can actually wear it. And I’m not going to pass it on to one of my children because who wants to propose to a girl with a ring that symbolizes a really wretched marriage?

And I threw the wedding band in the river.

It makes me sad to think of that sweet, hopeful, and stupid young girl. And then it makes me proud to look at the display of rings past and know that each one symbolizes both my pain and my growth over the last few years.

So as I put each chapter behind me and move on to the next, I want to put the symbols of those chapters behind me too.

So maybe this is why I won’t ever find one ring that meets my needs, one semi-permanent fixture on my body – because I am not a semi-permanent fixture – I am still changing and growing and evolving.

And this is a thought that I haven’t had until just now, as I am writing this:

Maybe I should stop looking for forever and start looking for “right now.”

 

 

No, being an introvert is not cool.

Google “being an introvert is cool” and you will get approximately 502,000 hits.

Huffington Post, Near Science, Thought Catalog Weekly, Introverts for Dummies.

Have you seen all of the memes out there? Girl wrapped in blanket on couch with cat and book. Girl not answering her phone. Girl sneaking out of a party without saying goodbye.

It’s almost always a girl.

And she’s usually quite endearing.

And happy.

There are new articles, studies, personal essays and cartoons every single day celebrating the life of an introvert, making good-natured jokes about a person hoping that a party gets cancelled or eating alone in a restaurant.

I even saw on an Introvert Bingo board “Adorably Awkward.”

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The message is definitely YAY for wanting to be alone!

Many of my loved ones find me quirky, silly, eccentric.

But let’s just clear something up right now…

IT’S NOT FUCKING COOL TO HAVE PANIC ATTACKS BEFORE FRIENDS SHOW UP AT YOUR HOUSE.

Sure, I can embrace the lighter side of introversion – I do entertain myself well, I enjoy my own company, I love to read and definitely do not need external attention to feel complete or even good about myself. And yes, because I have relatively high self-esteem, I prefer being a loner than not.

But it can be so very very dark and scary and lonely and it’s not about a goddamn bingo board or hanging out with my cat.

Last night, MCB was at the neighbor’s and when he came home he said that they were coming over for burgers (which he was preparing so it wasn’t about me having to cook.) 2 close friends, super duper casual and easy and fun. They’d been pulling thistle all day and needed to be fed.

All in all a lovely invitation from MCB and had I had notice, I would have probably gotten excited.

But, since it was spur of the moment, I lost my shit. Seriously fell apart. I ended up on the bathroom floor pathetically unable to deal, sobbing.

I couldn’t decide which was worse: telling the friends to not come over and suffer the humiliation of being rude; having them come over and trying to fake my way through the evening while my heart was pounding in my chest and I was fighting back tears and therefore couldn’t be nice, and suffer the humiliation of being a bitch to two really kind people; or letting them come over and hiding in my room pretending to be sick and suffering the humiliation of them knowing that I am a complete basket case.

I had to leave the house and go for a drive. I went to the park where I often go to cry, saw a friend and totally unloaded all of my social anxiety onto his shoulders (bless his heart.) I drove around looking at wildlife wishing I was a fox.

Then, mortified, I called MCB to let him know that I was (slowly) recovering and that yes, they should come over and hopefully I was going to pull it together and be hospitable.

I did. I actually had a good time. Since M and M were here when I finally returned and deserved and explanation I offered up, “I had a breakdown” and left it at that.

What was I going to say,”I completely freaked out because I found out that you two were coming over”?

The dark side of “cool introversion” is about exhaustion and terror and despondency. It’s about crying on the bathroom floor because you just found out that people are unexpectedly coming to your house.

It means not going to the store when you desperately need something because you don’t want to see anyone and have to talk, so doing without things like…dinner.

It’s about not getting your oil changed when it’s WAY overdue even when a mechanic shop is on your property because you get gripped at the thought of having to ask for something even though the mechanic is a good friend and it’s his job.

It’s about not returning movies on time for fear of another person standing in front of the red box.

It’s about losing friends because you are unable to keep in contact since to do so would mean talking on the phone or worse – actually making time for a face to face.

It mean people not liking you because they think you’re stuck up or intimidating.

It’s about arguing with the “more the merrier” friend because she really doesn’t get that for you, more isn’t merrier and you feel so misunderstood and flawed because you’re not able to be with great people all at one time and you’re sick and tired of having to explain that to her.

It’s about feeling deep shame when your best friend does actually get it and asks if it’s okay to invite one more person to go to the movie with the two of you.

It’s about having to offend people when you  lay down the law about drop-ins and not making exceptions even for the closest of friends.

It’s about having to have time to wrap your head around shifting gears, changing plans and being in public. It’s about sometimes being utterly unable to to that.

I live on a working ranch, there is always activity here, there are always people around.

I lie in my bed silently praying that no one decides to knock on the door.

I get resentful that I can’t go collect chicken eggs without risking a conversation. Sometimes I blow off the chickens.

I spent the entirety of today alone, doing laundry, weeding, drying mint, petting my dog. I haven’t been on the phone. I haven’t left the house except to feed the chickens. I thought about watching a movie tonight, but it feels too stimulating.

So sure, there are some really good things about not being a social beast and I am super okay with going to the desert by myself and writing for three days without fear or boredom or FOMO. I am incredibly well-read and getting sent to my room as a kids was a gift, not a punishment.

But folks, let’s not make light of this. Let’s not pretend that it’s all about the cat and the couch.

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Binging

What is it about the word “budget” that makes me want to hit the mall?

At least Amazon and PRANA dot com.

All I want is new shit to wear in my poverty: new things to distract me from my empty stomach. All under the guise of  “If I dress like a writer then I will be a writer and then I will write the Great American Novel and make it onto the New York Times Best Seller List and it will be totally worth the new yoga pants. And, if I don’t get those cute pants, then when it’s time to sit down and write all I will have to wear is distractingly uncomfortable clothing that will not allow my brain the freedom it needs to put words on paper.”

So yeah, I need to shop.

Most of the time, online window shopping works for me. I go to multiple websites, spend hours finding just the right items (including the solar powered rechargeable battery charger for my new wireless mouse that goes with my new desktop computer) fill up my shopping basket, narrow it down, then close the page and leave feeling totally satisfied.

But when I am on this tight of a budget, the kind where I am not allow to spend any money on any thing except living expenses, a few full carts doesn’t make a dent in the need to spend.

Eventually I’ll get into the groove, I will enjoy seeing how much money I can save. Having been extremely successful at denying myself food for several years, I can easily starve my spending habits and gain a little pride with every penny that lands in the piggy bank.

It’s just that getting to the place of sensible self denial takes a lot of tenacity that I’m not really feeling today as much as I am the need to have a new dress to wear on my book tour.

 

Couldn’t have said it better myself

So here’s the interesting thing…I know that I have some anxiety around some things; obvious, run of the mill things, over which I assume everyone has some anxiety: money, children, ex-husband’s abuse. And during some of those times, I’ve been known to need medication.

But I’ve never really considered myself to be someone “with anxiety,” at least never seriously considered it.

And then, I read this and it gets (the overly anxious) ball that is my brain, rolling.

While I felt each one, there were a few that stood out as, “I would have said the exact same thing,” and I think, “Hmmmm, interesting, maybe…”

3. “I’m not just blowing you off. It’s hard to make plans and just as hard to talk on the phone sometimes. It doesn’t mean I don’t desperately want to spend time and talk. I just can’t.” — Marie Abbott Belcher

7. “Even when things are wonderful, I’m always waiting for something horrible to happen.” — Lindsay Ballard

8. “When I’m being quiet, I’m not sad, bored, tired or whatever else they want to fill in the blank with. There’s just so much going on in my mind, sometimes I can’t keep up with what’s going on around me.” — Amanda Jade Briskar

17. “Don’t shut me out. My anxiety may stop me from doing certain things, but just being asked to join in can sometimes make my day.” — Vikki Rose Donaghy

18. “I analyze things constantly because of anxiety. I cannot turn my brain off and it can be exhausting.” — Cailea Hiller

21.I want to first apologize for the hundreds of times I’ve bailed on you. The hundreds of times I had to leave early and you had no clue. The hundreds of times I had to tell you no.” — Mary Kate Donahue

28. “Keep inviting me to group things even though I usually decline. Some days I feel stronger than others, so my answer might surprise you. Be patient.” — Kara Edkins

29. “Don’t take it personally when I don’t want to go out. My comfort zone is my home. It’s my safe place.” — Elizabeth Vasquez

30. “When I say I can’t take on even one more thing, I really need you to understand I really just can’t.” — Christine L Hauck

 

32. “Sometimes I just need to be alone. It’s not personal. I’m not mad. I don’t have some problem. I don’t need to just shake it off and do something fun. I just need to be alone so I can reset myself and breathe a little.” — Stacey Weber

33. “Every time I talk to you, I go over every word of the conversation many times in my head. If I said something I feel I like I shouldn’t have said, even if it’s as simple as incorrect grammar, I will obsess about it for years.” — Chelsea Noelani Gober

Amen.

Roget

roget

I love him.

Backstory: I’ve been in a foul humor lately and trying to figure out some things in my life because I need some changes. Something bigger than the dead friend’s dog. Bigger than finding 8 eggs in the henhouse instead of 2, and bigger than sitting on my ass and not running for the last month.

I know, hard to beat.

So I started picking through all of the things in my life that make me feel bad about myself, of which there are many, and many of them can’t be changed overnight, if ever, and tried to come up with one thing I could do that might bring in a little light.

One particular area which offers many opportunities for self-flagellation is the fact that I am not using my god given gift of writing except to entertain myself every once in a while. I’ve completely fizzled out into the land of writers who have either been blocked or just plain given up.

First step, start some consistency in the journal.  Next step, pick up the pace with the blog. After that, start being regular with my 11-year-old column. Then, find some freelance work. Segue into pushing the comfort zone with submissions.

And yes, this is all feeling good.  It’s kind of the bright spot of my day when I can create a blog post or respond to an editing gig.

And then today, I came home sick, and I actually do feel like shit, but I’m also excited to be at home writing rather than at work doing data entry, which is what I was working on when my head started to hurt, and I sat down to write and I needed a word and instead of going to Dictionary.com, I actually ran upstairs and got my friend Roget, who has been sitting on the shelf, ignored, for over a year now.

And even after all of this time, he is still speaking to me.

And as I grabbed him off the shelf, “The Glamour of Grammar” called out to me in her compelling voice, so she came down to the kitchen with me too, and here the three of us sit, getting reacquainted, and I realize that, in this particular arena of change, by inviting my old friends to sit down at the table, I’m on my way back.

What to wear

I have a wedding to go to in 2 days. I want to wear my red cowboy boots:imgres

But I don’t want to be this gal:

Cow? Horse? Hunh?

Cow? Horse? Hunh?

Or this one:

images-1

 

I want to be her:

ultimate cool

ultimate cool

 

But, here was a conversation that took place, just today:

“What are you wearing to the wedding?”

“I don’t know, seems like every wedding I go to, the standard uniform for the gals is dress, cowboy boots, jean jacket.”

Well, shitdamn, I don’t want to be wearing some “We think we are such cute western girls, even though we’re from Connecticut and have never stepped in actual cow shit,” uniform.

Because, I’m not that girl. Can’t be.

I’m from New Jersey.

And I am just as cool as my girl, Emmylou.

In my head.

I bought this gorgeous dress a while back, thinking it would be perfect for the wedding and it’s green which MCB really likes which makes it even more perfect. I started thinking about what I could wear on my feet that would accommodate all of the needs of the event: standing, dancing, walking on grass, all, for hours on end.

I’ll just throw on my boots – easy. Don’t need to give it another thought.

But now I do because the cliché has been noted; using an out-loud voice.

If I wear the boots and the dress, even without a jean jacket since I don’t own one, I will a) be that gal, just like every other gal there, and b) doing so with everyone knowing that I am fully aware of being the wannabe cowgirl who grew up listening to Bruce Springsteen and Tom Waits, not Ricky Skaggs and Patty Loveless.

So, maybe I could go with these:

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Or these:images-3

I am from Jersey after all.

Or, since I am an “Outdoorsy” type, perhaps these will be better:

images

 

Or my inner athlete could go here:

images-1

 

I have 45 hours to decide.

I refuse to buy anything new.

And I am convinced that whatever I chose to wear, it will steal the spotlight from the bride and in the years to come, people will look back and relive the moment they saw my ill-shoed feet instead of her Vera Wang gown.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Imelda

You know when you decide that you need a certain pair of shoes, you must have them NOW…

So I get prodeals on certain items from certain companies because I am “in the business.”

I picked out a pair of shoes. Realized that with these new shoes, my life would be forever changed (for the better) and my feet would be eternally grateful.

Not only are these shoes functional, but they are (hopefully) super comfortable and they are just the right color green. So yeah, need them immediately.

Getting on with my life isn’t going to happen until they are on my feet.

So I called the company the other day and they told me that I have to “renew my deal.” Seriously, I buy shoes from these guys all the time?

So I reapplied.

And didn’t hear anything.

So I called again today.

“It’s going to take 4-6 weeks for your application to be processed.”

??????

“But I need those shoes yesterday.”

————————————-

“Do you understand that my very happiness depends on this?”

“Four to six weeks.”

“Okay, thanks (read: yeah fuck you and your fucking green shoes.)”

Ebay – here I come. I am tenacious if nothing else.

No. I’m not at work.

Well, maybe I am.

Search: Green Shoes, size 7.

BAM!

There they are, for even less than I could get them prodeal.

Cart. Checkout. Credit card. Complete.

3 days – I can wait 3 days.

I can’t wait 4 – 6 weeks.

The rest of my life begins on Tuesday.

And I will be sporting the Wham! Neon Light’s for the occasion.

Total Overwhelm

I am truly a pinhead when it comes to social networking.

With my last blog and a basic Facebook page, I was able to Write. Publish. Automatically post on FB. View.

It took me about a year and half to figure out all of that. Thing is, I wasn’t trying to keep anything secret, so my friends were my blog audience and faithful readers and I could contact anyone I wanted through the blog or Facebook because there was no masking my identity. My print by-line even gave the web address.

And look at where that got me… Divorce and Custody Court.

It also almost got me fired because I mentioned that talking to a certain client got me wet.

So, there is definitely an upside to anonymity.

The downside all revolves around reaching readers.

At first I thought that if I just built it they would come.

That didn’t happen.

Then I thought that if High Desert Darlin’ had her own Facebook page, that people would stumble across it and congratulate themselves on their discovery.

Didn’t happen either.

Also had to come up with another name because I couldn’t figure out how to get around the fake name filter.

So then someone  suggested a secret group on Facebook through my real Facebook page, which I have created.

I only included a few folks who I can totally totally trust. A couple of them seemed thrilled, others haven’t even acknowledged their special status.

But beyond sending out invitations, I can’t figure out anything else. My biggest struggle is how to get my posts from here to show up for the secret group without showing up for all the world to see.

Part of the problem is that I have terrible ADD and once something gets even the tiniest bit frustrating, I move on.

So, to be quite honest, I have 4 Facebook pages, 3 separate blogs and 2 twitter accounts. I spend a lot of time signing into Facebook as one person so that I can see what shows up on another identity’s public page.  Yesterday I friended and unfriended myself 7 times and logged in and out at least 22 times.

This is fucking ridiculous.

The Bee across the street seems to be able to help – if I can only find the time to get over there.

I want so badly to figure this out and feel like a totally hipster writer. I also want, so badly, to be able to write as just little ol’ me without having to worry about the repercussions.

I really just want to twitch my nose and fix all of this.

Elizabeth-as-Samantha-Bewitched-elizabeth-montgomery-7324100-500-376

 

Whacking

imgres-1

My marriage was horribly abusive – mentally, emotionally, verbally.

And as much as I hate to admit it, I was plenty guilty or dishing it out.

Now, in the current we’re-getting-very-serious-and-moving-in-together, relationship, I want everything to be different. I have absolutely no need to be treated like shit or to treat anyone else that way.

So here’s this great man, with whom I am totally in love, who wants to “Be present,” “Receive (me and my) feelings,” “Hold space,” “Nurture (my) independence,” and “Deal with arising issues with integrity, love and compassion.”

And what do I want to do?

Whack him with a fucking (metaphorical) two-by-four.

We were talking today about something that came up  – he asked me to tell him what was going on for me, listened while looking me in the eyes and then apologized for his piece that had caused me to feel the way that I did.

Perfect, right?

Right, except it takes so much work, so much energy.  It’s so much easier to just say, “You were an asshole and need to apologize.”

Self righteous anger can be very agreeable, after all.

And yes, lashing out is cruel and dishonest and lazy and abusive and pointless and messy, but actually dealing with emotions and trying to listen to someone else share their struggles, especially their struggles with you, can just wear a gal down.

Talk about messy.

At least being nasty is familiar. It really comes quite naturally.

Which, totally sucks.

I’ve never been one to shirk work in a relationship – dear god – I did nothing but work for my entire marriage. But I look this lovely man in the eyes which provide a direct line into his heart and my inclination is to be shallow and self-serving and lazy.

Of course I am not going to be.  I really don’t want to be that person and I certainly don’t want to be that person to him, and most of all, I don’t want to lose him.

Bottom line, I want to be a good person and a good person in a relationship.

But taking the easy way out and being a bitch is awfully tempting sometimes.