Hear ye, hear ye

I’m getting married.

You hear me? Married. MARRIED!

I’m not sure I ever really believed I’d do such a thing.

Once upon a time I was in high school when marriage was entirely abstract and I had dreams about Husbands and Children but in reality I knew I had to go to college and do some other shit first so it was a nice thought but nothing too pressing.

And then some boys told me they loved me but mostly they didn’t mean it. And that’s totally fine.

And then one time I got knocked up and went around telling my family (and myself) that I was going to get married to the man whose child I was having, even though he hadn’t asked me to or ever actually exhibited any interest in doing such a thing. I told my folks that so they wouldn’t freak out so much over the whole unwed mother thing. And to soothe my own aching heart, which wanted so badly to believe that I was intentionally building a cozy family life, starting right there in my uterus and branching out to the people around me.

Didn’t happen. And that’s perfectly fine too.

None of that made any sense until I met the man I was meant to marry.

Love came to me out of nowhere. I had tried to remain open to love after a period of feeling completely deflated and unworthy, in a relationship where we didn’t care much for each other at all and resentments built up and curdled like cups of milk left in the sun. Insanely, wonderfully, I did not even have to wait that long or try that hard to be loved once I freed myself from that toxic relationship. It makes no sense to me. It blows my mind. I’m so grateful. I left the bad shit behind and got out on my own and this lil dude came along right away, all funny and real and sincere and woke and smart and handsome and kind, so insanely kind, and he was over here crooning and playing guitar too. He was perfect in every way for me and instead of making me guess about his heart, he let me in and let me love him. And he loved me back, no reservations. I was guarded at first and tried not to fall too hard but we both got stuck on each other real fast. Hot damn.

I knew early that the thing we had was special. At the time I was trying to sit on it so as to not show all my cards but it did not take long for me to understand that our chemistry was rare. We didn’t have to try too hard; it was just ridiculously easy to love each other in ways big and small. I’ve never had a man look at me and be totally delighted by all the shades of my ridiculousness. His kindness, encouragement, empathy and understanding: I knew six months in that he was the person I wanted to spend the rest of my life with. I’m not sure when he came to that conclusion. I’m honestly not sure how I’ve convinced him to do this crazy thing with me; I sincerely do not feel worthy.

A hundred other dudes would have been weirded out by the fact that I have a 5-year-old. This one made it his mission to build something meaningful with my son. Something not superficial. I watch them together and am awed by how quickly they’ve built a bond. Mom is usually pretty serious but Richard goofs around and wrestles and plays mucsic and buys water guns. When Holden and I FaceTime when he’s at his dad’s house, he always asks where Richard is.

It’s not always easy, the life we are living, but my heart feels swollen and full most of the time.

I am eaten up with gratitude and so crazy excited to make this thing official. I’ve waited a long time to pair up with someone who I feel is an equal partner.

I’m excited to see where this adventure takes us.

Grey areas

grey areas

The thing for ladies to do these days is put shocks of pastel in their hair. You see it everywhere, across race and class lines. Lilacs and pinks and teals and robin egg blues. A sea of bobbing cotton candy, as far as the eye can see.

Not me. It reminds me too much of my high school, where girls would bleach their hair with peroxide and use Kool-Aid paste to color it a rusty red-orange when their mothers wouldn’t buy them real hair dye.

This morning I colored my own mop brown. Just plain old brown, like it used to be, before the grey crept in. It started taking over last year. It’s hard to say if it was circumstantial or if it’s just age. Maybe both.

I remember being so upset with my mom while I was a pre-teen when she openly contemplated coloring her greying hair. I felt like it was a betrayal of who she really was. My mom had this beautiful, lightly salt-and-peppered head of impossibly curly hair. Hugely curly hair. My mom wasn’t the sort of woman who was preoccupied with capturing and holding her youth hostage. My mom was aging beautifully and would never try to fool anyone. That’s what I thought at the time. That hair color was a lie.

I was a kid. I didn’t have any idea that the years would come for me too, some day, before I was ready.

Now, of course, I would tell my mother, “Do whatever you want! Be happy! Be free!” Life’s too short to let a sullen pre-teen make your decisions for you.

Mom never did color her hair. Still never has. Now it’s nearly all grey. Still huge and curly. Beautiful, of course, just like her.

As for me? I’m addicted to the boxed stuff. I battle the creeping grey invasion every few months with a new box, a new set of disposable gloves, a new chemistry set inside. Sometimes I think I’ll just leave myself be and let nature take its course and try to live like one of those fabulously sophisticated women with long, grey locks. But I am not those fabulously sophisticated women. I am still trying to get comfortable in this earthbound body and here it is changing shit up on me.

The grey got to me before I was ready. I’ve got to beat it back, like a fire. I’ve got to live the lie. The lie for me is more true than the grey.

Relevant to my interests

“‘You gotta learn to love the bomb,’ ” he said. “Boy, did I have a bomb when I was 10. That was quite an explosion. And I learned to love it. So that’s why. Maybe, I don’t know. That might be why you don’t see me as someone angry and working out my demons onstage. It’s that I love the thing that I most wish had not happened.”

I love the thing that I most wish had not happened.

I asked him if he could help me understand that better, and he described a letter from Tolkien in response to a priest who had questioned whether Tolkien’s mythos was sufficiently doctrinaire, since it treated death not as a punishment for the sin of the fall but as a gift. “Tolkien says, in a letter back: ‘What punishments of God are not gifts?’ ” Colbert knocked his knuckles on the table. “ ‘What punishments of God are not gifts?’ ” he said again. His eyes were filled with tears. “So it would be ungrateful not to take everything with gratitude. It doesn’t mean you want it. I can hold both of those ideas in my head.”

He was 35, he said, before he could really feel the truth of that. He was walking down the street, and it “stopped me dead. I went, ‘Oh, I’m grateful. Oh, I feel terrible.’ I felt so guilty to be grateful. But I knew it was true.

“It’s not the same thing as wanting it to have happened,” he said. “But you can’t change everything about the world. You certainly can’t change things that have already happened.”

Consider that this is coming from a man who millions of people will soon watch on their televisions every night—if only there were a way to measure the virality of this, which he’ll never say on TV, I imagine, but which, as far as I can tell, he practices every waking minute of his life.

The next thing he said I wrote on a slip of paper in his office and have carried it around with me since. It’s our choice, whether to hate something in our lives or to love every moment of them, even the parts that bring us pain. “At every moment, we are volunteers.”

“The Late, Great Stephen Colbert,” GQ

You only get the one

You know that thing where people write their past selves a letter? Sometimes I think about doing that, and it would be sassy and start off with something like “You think things are going to get less complicated, girly? Well, think again!” Except it would have to end there because Present Me has no real wisdom to impart to Past Me, except maybe try to be nicer, because apparently I am an asshole.

This blog itself, the whole T&G machine, is sort of a reverse of that idea. Letters from Past Me to Present Me or Future Descendants. Cautionary tales and moments of great hubris caught in pixels and immortalized for my child to one day peruse, mortified. Or maybe, worse yet, he will just find it all boring. I can’t even imagine what life’s electronic cookie crumbs will be like by the time he is old enough to dig up dirt on his ol’ Ma. It’s possible that his entire conscience will be so awash in extraneous data that clicking through my midtwenties confessionals will just constitute one more obligatory TL;DR. Or maybe by then it will be old hat for children to have to pick through their parents’ digital detritus to get to the good stuff. Just something you do. I can’t even fathom.

But, Past Me and Future Me — if I can have your attention for just a second. Let’s just do this real quick. Remember this moment. For no other reason than because of its ordinariness and extraordinariness, spooning here together like sleepy, fat cats. This moment when you are sitting on the couch in your little green nightgown that is ill fitting and should not be worn outside (but has frequently been today because you lack shame). You are in need of a shower and you’ve just spent the last three days convalescing thanks to some mystery bug that took you down fast — sore throat, sneezing, aches, fatigue, coughing, and — the kicker — a very low brain tide. You’ve just now begun to feel like yourself again, which is to say you are all over the place in thought and action. You just hand-washed three shirts and cleaned the filthy HVAC intake vent by hand, and you’re breathing gingerly and sipping warm coffee while the young boy naps upstairs and the older boy naps in the bedroom and you entertain this urge to write something down. It’s warm outside and earlier when you went out to hang up those hand-washed shirts, the concrete burned the bottoms of your feet but you liked it, a little bit. Over the past two days, you have just received news of several babies of people close to you being born and several whose impending arrivals were announced, and your heart swells with pride and happiness and then churns with some form of diluted envy (because the thought of a little newborn head in your hands twists up your insides with longing, because you are your ovaries, you monkey). You don’t know if you will ever have another child. You don’t even know how to begin thinking about it, really. Money is tight and all you want to is take your own baby, who is so bright and so happy, to see the ocean. But this isn’t the year. You are not sure if there will ever be a year because you cannot seem to dig out. You are worried. You coast along on a transcontinental railroad of worry and it’s making you grey. Or maybe your DNA is doing that. Or maybe it’s just your age because you’re no spring chicken right now. This is thirty-two. Thirty-two is the age your mother was when you were seven. When you look at pictures of your mother when you were seven, you are jealous. That lady was a fox! You are getting off track. The point is, this moment is ordinary in every way. And in every way it’s not.

Because it is your life, and you only get the one.

Drunk with worry

Some people get drunk with power. The neurotic get drunk with worry. That first little shot of doubt sets the spiral in motion and it builds on every subsequent swig of what if. It happens fast. The worry burns in the veins; you can feel it seeping and spreading. Before you realize what’s happened, you’ve gone from fine to woozy in mere minutes. The worry-drunk mind, stumbling and paranoid, will have entire mental hotel suites trashed and emotional televisions thrown out windows in the span of a half hour while waiting on something as stupid as a text message reply.

I will say this for the Universe

She can be cold and she can make you sweat one hell of an existential sweat, but she will come through at the right time with the right hook to keep you turning the page.

Deep thoughts while hating pants

They call it a wardrobe because every day you just have to get in there and do battle.