Friday, April 10, 2015

the one where I'm in a glass case of emotion

Hi, I'm Wendy and I'm 39 weeks pregnant, having contractions regularly for the past week, and not sleeping more than a couple hours each night.

And I just had a breakdown over a slushie.

It's not to be confused with the time I had a breakdown because Ryan said that a shirt would fit me perfectly now because it's 2XL. 

Or that time I was so exhausted I just sobbed because I had to take the boys to the grocery store with me alone. 

Or that time we watched The Wire, and I realized where exactly Wallace was.

To say that I've been a little emotionally on edge throughout this pregnancy might be an understatement. While I'm sure I was the same way with the boys, I am positive that I absolutely bat-shit insane right now.

I am Ron Burgandy in the middle of his glass case of emotion.



Sunday, March 8, 2015

the one where i woke up

have you ever woken up and can't exactly remember how you got where you were?

...

in a few hours, it'll be the second anniversary of when my (now ex) husband told me that he was leaving our marriage. i spent so many months mourning the loss of that life, a life that now seems so foreign and cold, that today it is hard to understand exactly why i was so heartbroken.

that sounds horrible. the end of a marriage IS something to mourn, regardless of how happy or unhappy it was. disrupting the lives, the normalcy, that our children had because of reasons they will never fully understand...that is something that is worth mourning. having to explain to my five year old son why daddy no longer lives with us, why he has a different house, is a conversation that i have had to have more times than i can bear. that is worth mourning.

...

i was talking to ryan a few days ago, and asked him if he ever thought a year ago that his life would be where it was today. of course his answer was no; who could imagine that within a year of meeting someone you'd not only be engaged to be married, expecting a child, and acting as a step-father to two little boys?

yet he has opened his arms to us so graciously, providing for us without a second thought. he's gone to school events, birthday parties, family gatherings...just because he loves us.

just because he loves us.

...

sometimes we sleepwalk. just going through the motions of life because that is all that we are capable of doing. living in a fog because living any other way is just too much.

then one day we wake up, miles away from where we thought we were going to be.

and it ends up being a better place than you could have ever imagined.

Sunday, January 4, 2015

the one where everything changed.

We took the test together, waiting in the  room while 3-5 minutes passed. I got up prematurely, just to check on it when I saw it.

Pregnant.

Big, fat black letters that were just so blunt.

Pregnant.

I let out a curse word, and by the time he made it to the bathroom door I was weeping. 

Pregnant.

While he'd later admit to being terrified, he held me. He stroked my hair, rubbed my back, and whispered the most beautiful words of reassurance. 

And then he asked me if it was okay that he was scared, but so excited to be a daddy.

...

A year ago, I didn't think I'd find a happy ending. I was in the depths of depression, trying my best to keep a smile on my face and everyone at arms length. 

Then when I met him, I just knew, man. He was it. He was the person I had always looked for. I opened up, and let him in. 

And it was the best decision of my life.

Saturday, August 16, 2014

the one where i'm an athlete

This might come across as shocking, but I've never really considered myself an athlete. I know, I know, my physique would have you guessing otherwise. But in reality, something just never really clicked when it came to speed, strength, or simple coordination.

I mean, I was sort of a badass in rec league softball. But really, I just learned to hit the ball really far so that I wouldn't have to run as fast. And there was that time that my friend Sarah and I took up rollerblading during the summer between middle school and junior high, and I ended up bouncing off the curb because I didn't know how to stop going downhill. And I tried jogging, but I just ended up with sore lungs and spitting a lot.

So why I thought purchasing a bike was a good idea, I DON'T KNOW. I JUST DON'T KNOW, okay? I'm just going to blame the boyfriend, because it seems like the best answer. But I did. I bought a '69 Schwinn Collegiate off of Craigslist, and it really is a thing of beauty. Bells, lights...it's pretty. And let's be honest, I prefer form over function.

Anyway, this bike. I'm not sure what sort of devil possessed me, but I thought it was BRILLIANT to ride our bikes from my house to the local brewery. No biggie, right? Except the brewery is closed on Mondays, and that was fairly disheartening. The boyfriend suggested that we ride our bikes to Dickson street for dinner instead, and because I AM A PLEASER, I cheerfully agreed. Even after he mentioned that "there's this one hill...", I was still 100% on board.

BECAUSE I AM A CYCLIST WITH A BIKE THAT HAS A BELL AND A LIGHT, DAMNIT.

And so we set off on the bike trail, and it was really quite lovely. After we had gone up a moderately inclined, s-curved hill, I remarked that "that one hill..." was a piece of cake! I was so proud of myself, because here I was, Wendy Alexander: Total Athlete. The boyfriend sort of shook his head at me, and pointed up.

Before me was the steepest hill I have ever seen. Do you know that show, Ninja Warrior? Where at the end there's this IMPOSSIBLE warped wall that they're just expected to scale, no issue? Make it steeper and then add a bicycle.

The boyfriend started to gain speed so he could get up the hill, and I started behind him. Except that despite my furious pedaling, I was not moving an inch. And I'm not trying to be all figurative, here. I mean I literally didn't move an inch. I did what any self-respecting person would do, and got off my bike and walked it up the steepest hill on earth.

After meeting back up with him, the rest of the ride was pretty uneventful. It was downhill, which felt like the ice cream you get after bringing home a report card full of As. When we reached our destination, the boyfriend casually asked "So...you how long has your bike been in the highest gear?"

Thursday, July 31, 2014

the one where i'm brave

It’s been unseasonably cool this summer, unlike three years ago when I was 9 months pregnant in the hottest July in any sort of recent history. No, God forbid that it be slightly temperate let alone unseasonably cool while I’m gestating. TOO MUCH TO ASK. Anyway, it’s been chilly. Chilly enough that I grabbed a sweater this morning to layer over my sleeveless dress.  I guess I’ve had this sweater tucked away, unworn, for over a year because I found hairs. Long hairs. My hairs. My old life.

 

And immediately I got all introspective and shit.

 

I had cut my hair, my waist-length hair, a few weeks after John said he was leaving the marriage. Walking into the salon, watching the hair fall

 

fall

 

fall

 

falling to the floor.

 

It was a moment of defiance and freedom. Shedding the long, dark golden hair was a easily one of the bravest things I had ever done. It sounds so silly when I look back on at, that a haircut would be considered brave. But for me, right then, it was. I knew that the marriage couldn’t be salvaged. I knew that my life socially, financially, emotionally felt like it was set in a tailspin. Everything was uncertain. There wasn’t a thing in my life that I felt I had control of. Except for my hair.

 

I walked out of the salon feeling lighter. I know it sounds ridiculous, but my soul felt lighter. Like this burden, this stress that I associated with the weight of my hair was instantly lifted. I felt strong. And while I could see that the coming days and months would be difficult, I could do it. That I was more than capable to achieve whatever I desired.  

 

So I put my sweater on this morning, pulling a long hair from the sleeve.

I remembered what it felt like to be brave.

Friday, June 20, 2014

the one where california terrifies me.

I think I've mentioned before the time when my family went to California to visit family during the summer between 2nd and 3rd grade. While I left without signing a contract, I still managed to enjoy our trip. I mean, Disney's loss is your gain. AMIRIGHT?

Anyway, we did the typical tourist stuff. Disneyland, Magic Kingdom, Universal Studios--if it was available, we did it. One of the most memorable parts of our trip was the Backlot Tour at Universal Studios. It was great! We crossed the parted Red Sea, saw the set from Psycho, had the bridge our tram was on shaken by King Kong; it was so much fun!

Until we started driving on an eerily familiar pier.

I knew I recognized this set, but I couldn't place my finger on it. There was this ominous feeling in the pit of my stomach, but I chalked it up to the Back To The Future ride from earlier that day (spoiler alert, it's a doozy). I can't remember happened first, the sound of that music or the gigantic mechanical shark leaping out of the water, mere feet from my cherub-like face.

But what I do remember is hearing this blood-curdling scream that sounded like it would never stop. And then I realized that this noise, this animalistic, guttural wailing, was coming from the very depths of my soul. Which was followed by a roar of laughter from the other 5 cars on our tram ride.

And a shout out from the tour guide to "the lady with the lungs in car 3".

While I tried to play it cool, the image of those teeth, those ungodly sharp and pointed teeth...well, it was permanently burned into my brain. I was a fairly logical 8 year old, but I was absolutely convinced that while in the state of California, a shark attack was imminent if I was near any sort of body of water.

Including the bathtub.

I spent the rest of the trip bathing in just an inch or two of water because I KNEW. I KNEW IT WAS GOING TO HAPPEN. I would be sitting there, taking a leisurely bath when BOOM. SHARK ATTACK. Luckily, I returned home with little more than a sunburn.

I'm not going to say that California ruined me, but let's just say that I've never been back.  

Sunday, March 9, 2014

the one where a year has passed.

I've always had this uncanny ability to remember numbers. Phone numbers, social security numbers, addresses, birth dates and anniversaries. 

It's like some sort of stupid human trick, rattling off people's driver license numbers after glancing at their ID an hour earlier. And it was a skill that was extremely helpful when I was a history major at the U of A, basically living on the fourth floor of Old Main for three years.

...

A year ago today, my husband came to me and said he wanted a divorce. That there wasn't anything I could do, and while he might attend a counseling session, it would be futile. 

And he was right. He hadn't been happy in years, maybe ever. And in turn, I had been so painfully sad because I was never what he wanted or needed. There were parts of myself that I repressed, trying to be the person that would make him want me. 

He wasn't a bad husband. And I wasn't a bad wife. But we had no business getting married. 

I had so much shame in the beginning. Shame about getting divorced. For failing. For wasting my parents' money on a ceremony that was full of empty promises. For being blind. For trusting someone that I no longer knew.

And while it's been hard, I'm grateful for the divorce.

...

So much has changed in a year. I've changed. My hair is short. My lips are red. I'm slowly learning that I'm not hideous, that this body can be considered beautiful and is capable of incredible things. I'm being fairly mindful of how I treat my body not because I want to make someone happy, but because I want to make myself happy. I'm in the process of being kinder to myself. My zip code is different. So is my bank account. I've written more in the past year, things that I'm proud of. My friends like me because I'm me, not because I'm attached to someone. I'm finally standing up for myself after being a doormat for so long. 

It's been a hard year. But I'm hopeful for the future. My future. And the boys. 

And for that, I'm glad.