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Well, I did two loads of laundry at the Bungalow last night without causing a flood or a fire, so I consider that a hopeful sign. Still terrified of the beautiful stove, but then if it’s heard anything of my culinary history, it’s likely terrified of me.
There is still so much to be done before move-in, and, as I just told a friend, while it’s not a money pit, it is certainly making me house-poor. I try so hard not to resent the fact that I completely furnished and accoutremented one house already, but when I suggest taking anything from what is now ex-Pat’s house, I am met with resistance to the point that it’s less costly to go replace whatever it is than to engage in the emotional battle for a pair of pruning shears.
Last night, though, at 11:00, as the laundry was finishing, I lay on the area rug in the living room – the rug so soft that Kelsea and I have named it God’s Cat, and the only thing in the living room besides a lamp and a 5-foot tall spoon – I felt at home. Somehow, I was reminded of my parents’ house – there was something comforting and soothing in the space around me.
Yes, it felt like home.
There will be other homes in warmer places, maybe even on a boat someday, but for now, it will be nice to be home.
I’m very depressed today – meh. It happens. So what does the average girl do when she’s depressed? C’mon, you know….that’s right! She goes SHOPPING!
Won’t you join me on a little spree?
Satan Butter Handmade Soap – what can one say?
Enema Bag pin or earrings – but you can only get the butt as a pin.
Bungee Jumper Man Bird Feeder – would I feel bad as he was consumed?
Gentleman’s Nose Hair Trimmer – could be for ladies as well, I suppose.
The Gravitational Force of Breasts in Physics – or something like that – hey, don’t blame me, I was taught physics by a fiddle-playing ex-nun.
Christopher the Scab with his Bandage Friend – they’re practically inseparable.
I don’t like shoes, and I’m not Jewish, but I couldn’t resist.
Cane Toad Leather Shoulder Bag – this would probably deter purse snatchers.
Hand soap – literally. Pretty creepy, huh?
Fallen Angel – handmade, and she’s actually NOT a doll.
Squishable stress egg – bounces back every time.
Well, that should clean out the coffers for tonight. Thanks for coming along.
Maybe if I spew it all out there, I’ll feel better.
I’ve been able to approach this whole self-employment venture with very little trepidation. I know (rationally) that I have enough to see me through for a while. But yesterday, I got nervous — mostly about money, but also about my abilities.
My first severance check came yesterday – and it was about 1/5 of what I thought it would be and I don’t know why. I expect it was just that I was late getting my paperwork in, but I didn’t realize how much I was mentally counting on the severance money. Now, in my head, I am shaping the concept that I won’t have any severance and will just have to make ends meet without it. I know this is not necessarily reality, and I have to just call the company and find out what’s going on. But just as I am one of those people who likes to set their clocks ahead by ten minutes to fool themselves into being early (or at least close to on time), I also find comfort in setting money aside in some way that I don’t really know it’s there. Kind of a bizarre savings strategy.
So, okay. No severance. I have another small job from my one client. I am starting to feel slightly better, so next week, I will start making calls to contacts. This week, I will spend being creative, getting samples and resume in order, completing profiles on freelancing sites, crafting emails and creating my own brochure. I will also target some publications, draft a few query letters, and work on articles. The money from articles won’t be huge to start, but I need the publishing credits. Local publications may be best to target. And I shall prepare myself for rejection.
I’m sitting in a coffeehouse, taking advantage of their internet and green tea, and looking at the photography for sale on the walls. It’s very good – I don’t think mine is good enough, and that’s unusual for me to be so uncertain in that realm.
I’ve now spent a very pleasant day researching magazine markets and coming up with article ideas. But I haven’t done anything to earn any money today. I hope I can keep myself from that way of thinking – or at least find a “happy place” in which to bucket it.
That song that goes “You and me together, can do anything, anything, baby” is on the sound system in the coffee shop. I like that song.
About time to move on to what used to be Job #2.
As we gear up for one of our most commercial “holidays” (aka, Valentine’s Day), I was thinking about the whole shopping/fashion thing. It helps the thought processes that this is the beginning of New York’s Fashion Week.
I was in New York City for Fashion Week about 14 years ago – it was only a coincidental business trip that took me there, not Fashion Week itself. In fact, I didn’t even know there was such a thing, until the woman with whom I was sharing a cab from LaGuardia asked me if I was “here for the show”. To cut a long story short, by the time I exited the cab, she was under the impression that I sold leather goods of questionable morality. I was very glad to get out of the cab, and I’m still not quite sure what got into me when I answered her.
That same trip, I got up early to go to a meeting, and headed towards Bryant Park, which I always loved to walk through. I discovered it filled with giant white tents, cameras, lights, and terribly skinny women, and realized I’d wandered onto the setting for one of Fashion Week’s many events designed for divas and ladies-who-lunch. I was bemused and interested, but had to keep moving. I wish I could have stayed; my curiosity would have kept me there all day.
While there is not a person alive who would call me stylish, I used to like to think I had my own sense of style. I had kind of an Isadora Duncan thing going in my first two years of college. The second two years of college saw me switch to vintage mode. I was small and slender and the clothes from the ’40s seemed to have been tailor-made for me. They were more affordable than new things, and they were unique. You’d never see another woman wearing the same thing I was.
Once I hit the serious workforce, it was suits all the way. It was the late ’80s, early ’90s, so we were in the “L.A. Law” style of suits and shoulder pads. But I left suits behind when I left my job when Kelsea was 2, and I’ve never gotten back to business style. As I found myself gaining weight in recent years, I’ve lost any sense of style I had. But as I find myself losing weight now, I have a sneaky hankering to find my new style. I just have no idea what it is. And there’s a problem.
I don’t like to shop.
Yes, I know it’s rare among women. But I don’t. It’s kind of boring. It’s overwhelming. It leaves me with an acute awareness of our the conspicuous consumptive nature of our society, our greed, our materialism, and our attachment to things that are meaningless.
I have what I’ve come to call a “shopping allergy” that sometimes kicks in when I try to shop. My stomach will suddenly start cramping and lurching and wanting strongly to expel things out of various orifices. And when that happens, I immediately get in the car and go home.
Even when I do shop now, I prefer the secondhand stores, for the same reasons I did before: I can always be assured of wearing something different, something that no one else will have – and it’s less expensive and less fadish than the stuff in retail stores today. Although I do run the risk of wearing something that someone I meet might recognize as being formerly theirs, that’s a chance I’m willing to take. If I can get back to the small and slender me of my twenties (hmmm), I might go back down the vintage route, but it’s nowhere near as cost-effective as it used to be, and I’ve really got to consider that these days.
If you take a look at the kinds of fashions that are being shown at Fashion Week, you wonder how women can be duped into wearing them. One of the latest uber-expensive trends is called glunge — a combination of glamour and grunge. And for this women pay megabucks.
Why are women so insecure as to have to “follow” fashion? Hemlines are up one season, down the next. One color is “in” only to be “out” the following year. Heels – clunky like special shoes one season, 4-inch platforms the next. And women spend on it. And spend. And spend. Why? I just don’t get it. (And I am definitely not the most secure woman on the planet.)
Researchers at Melbourne University have coined a term for a psychological disorder called oniomania. It’s a compulsive disorder — a shopping addiction. “Victims” of this condition experience the addicts’ high when spending, improving their self-esteem and making them forget their emotional troubles. Once they’re home with purchases in hand, the high wears off, and as with other addictions, the addict must spend more to get their high back.
People who compensated for lack of affection in their childhoods by substituting material things tend to continue this pattern into their adult lives and relationships. They identify themselves by the things they buy, and their self-esteem is centered around acquiring things. They can’t deal with daily problems or emotional issues and repress feelings of sorrow, loss and failure, by buying things. Shopping becomes a form of self-medication. The shopaholic cannot feel, rely on or acknowledge their own identity.
It’s actually kind of sad.
So-called “Retail Therapy” has been portrayed as a very positive thing – a communal activity, a form of creative expression, a way to assert one’s self-worth, a way to improve the environment, an expression of the gatherer (vs. hunter) core persona of women. I say, hogwash. Women (and men) with shopping addictions are just that – addicts. They ignore their finances and live to get that high.
I sound harsh, don’t I? I don’t really mean to judge. Maybe it’s the whole ’child of depression-era parents’ thing coming out again. My Mother always considered the price of something, and had a mental limit as to how much it was reasonable to spend on a pair of jeans. My Father saved until he could pay cash for any big purchase. Credit card debt and expensive clothes are just not in my frame of reference.
Style at any price? Thanks, but no thanks. I’d rather spend my hard-won dollars on this:
Perhaps today is not the best day to try the Elliptical Trainer again. My last times on the Elliptical, my heart rate was so high, I wondered if it was going to explode. I’ve been taking something to control that for about a month now, and thought today might be the day to put it to the test to see if it’s really working. But now, I can feel the shade of a self-induced migraine around my left eye, and it’s not even 10:00 am. So today may not be the day.
Why am I raging? Because I am furious with Pat, who says I am holding him back in his life by not giving him his money. Who says now he needs to go to China to hold the hands of his manufacturers as he gets his project anally perfect. Who says “I love to travel, too,” as if I have kept him from it for the last 25 years. Who says I “owe” him eighty thousand dollars for exiting my marriage, and he wants it in increments, starting now. He’s not saying it cruelly, but his perspective is so….entitled. That’s what infuriates me. That, and the system that says that since I worked for the last three decades, and shared all my money with him, buying houses, cars, motorcycles, vacations, investing in his ideas, that I now OWE him. I owe him. Shouldn’t it be the other way around? I never begrudged him those things, was happy to make his life a good one, and no, I don’t expect to be fawned over with gratitude — I never was before, why now?
I, of course, said my predictable “Well, you can always get a job,” in our argument last night. Which was met with, “I’m so close to being able to do what I want to do with my own business, I’m not going to stop now.” Well, welcome to the club, buddy. Why is it that YOU can do this? I have to work MY ass off so YOU can do it, and I can’t? Because I fucking OWE you? You won’t even clean up the yard and make it nice – leaving it to die as a spiteful gesture to me, because “you made it all nice for me.” And then you tell ME to come over and clean it up, take care of it – “It’s your yard, too”, you said last night. “You’re not working – YOU do it,” – again, my predictable response. It all comes down to work. It’s all work. Everything. Work. Time. Money. Work. I’m so fucking sick of it.
The thing to do is to do exactly what he’s asking. Finish my stupid divorce papers (I told him last night he was welcome to fill them out himself, but no, he won’t do that). And get the hell out. I suppose after it’s all signed, sealed and delivered, I’ll have a greater sense of freedom, along with the loss. I’ll be a lot poorer, but maybe he won’t bug me about money, and we can only interact around Kelsea’s welfare, and do so pleasantly. She hates to see us fight now more than she ever did when we were living together – I guess then it was just was she was accustomed to. A sad statement.
When my contract is over at the end of November, I am going for a bit – somewhere. It is so hard to maintain the forward momentum, that flow that I had a hint of that one day in between lay-off and contract, where I started working on my writing plans. Kathy wants to propose that I stay on in a job-sharing role with her, for 35 hours a week. Of course, it’s tempting because it’s security, but I will never achieve my dreams if I don’t take a risk.
So after Kelsea’s birthday – a couple of weeks somewhere warm, then back for Christmas with Kelsea, maybe, with the New Year as the new starting point for the new life in the new place. Pat can spend my money going to China again while I’m still working to make more of it and still here to take care of everything, as usual.
I sure as hell could use a little encouragement right now. It’s hard to keep yourself up and doing, with a heart for any fate, all the time. Pull myself up by the bootstraps again…man, those bootstraps must be stretched to the size of Jack’s Beanstalk by now.
As I was rushing to cook something halfway healthy last night before I had to go back to pick up Kelsea, because heaven forbid that Pat disturbs himself to bring her to me, I was missing my Mom. If she were still alive, I’d have been talking to her as I cooked, commiserating about our days, mentioning that I need some new flour sack dishtowels, laughing about nothing.
OK, I went off and sat outside, shed a few tears, reminded myself that I’m the only one here now to take care of me, and that I can do a damn fine job of it if I so choose. And I do so choose. That nothing stays the same. That everything will be all right. Platitudes are likely platitudes for a reason.
I will use this fall, which I can feel in the cool of the shade, even though it is still late August, with a month of summer left, to be busy, to wrap up the divorce, to wrap up the Guild, to wrap up my contract, and to look forward with hope and light to the next thing. (Well, that’s how I feel for this 5 minutes, at least.)
Montana is only a couple of weeks off, a lifelong dream realized. Two weeks in the Caribbean in December. Maybe a month in Italy in January/February. Query letters to be composed and sent. My photography site to get up and running. I must get accustomed to the idea of putting my stuff in storage until I land someplace. I have the cottage until June, but I suspect I can negotiate myself out of it if need be. It may be okay just to have a place to come back to for a few months while I travel and figure out next steps. It offers some (albeit somewhat pricey) flexibility.
Later, still — Feeling calmer. Time to post this. More later, perhaps.
Hope you are all having a good day.
Why is money so much more important than love? Than honor? Than self-respect? (For some people, I should say.)
When you are scared, you think money will protect you. When you are sad, you think money will cheer you up. When you are hurt, you think money will make you feel better. When you are angry, you think money will soothe you. When you take money away from someone as a punishment, you think you will have justice. And you’d damn well better try to take all the money while you can. Heaven knows you wouldn’t want to have to raise a finger to earn it.
OK, that’s the attitude of some people, not everyone. But in a divorce, when someone’s back is (theoretically) against a wall, that’s when he or she shows his or her true colors. No matter how many times one party may say they just want to be fair, and no matter how many years one party has spent trying to be (more than) fair to the other to give them a nice life, when faced with the loss of the breadwinner or cash cow, the inner weasel will out. “I trusted you with my life, but I sure as hell don’t trust you to be fair in a divorce.” What does that say about you, former partner? That money, that lifestyle, that your own comfort, in the end, in the long run, is what is most important to YOU and what this marriage was about.
Oh, I’m sure you loved me at one time. And I’m sure you loved me to the best of your ability. And I’m sure I now romanticize how great that love was. But all that is water under the weasel bridge. It’s all about the money now.
What’s love got to do with it?