Hey y’all! It’s been a white-hot minute since I was in the closet. Literally. I have been stressed and busy and out of town and out of mind and all the things. Hoping to get back on track soon. Meanwhile, here is a 10-minute vide about all the important things in my life right now: Bear claws, Duke’s barking, my recent hair cut, the fact that my husband is a wizard, professional wrestler Ric Flair, and the state of Georgia. Enjoy! Also, here is a link to the Sweet Treats in case you are inclined to pay for some: https://www.riverstreetsweets.com/product/classic-gift-box-of-pralines-and-bear-claws/praline-and-bear-claw-combination-gifts
All morning I have been putting my hands on my keyboard in an attempt to will myself to write something, but nothing comes out. This has been happening for about two weeks. I don’t mean with this silly, little blog. I have a million topics for this place. Climbing out of this blue spot I have been in. My recent gastro-intestinal upset. Our house-hunting trip to Atlanta. Jackson’s ongoing obsession with Harry Potter. Those are all easy topics for me to slap down here for our mutual reading pleasure. What I’m having a really hard time with is writing other things. Things I need to be writing. Short stories, and flash fiction, and creative non-fiction. Things that I write to send out for consideration. Things that, you know, a writer should care about.
A couple of weeks ago I started an essay about mental health. It’s morphed into more of a lyric essay. I talk about my penchant for weeding, then I talk about the unnerving condition I was diagnosed with shortly after the loss of my daughter. It’s called trichotillomania, which is a really long, crazy-sounding word that means at times of high stress I pull my hair out. Literally. I subconsciously run my fingers through my hair, often times when I am asleep, and I pull strands of hair out. I do it over and over again, in the same spot, until finally I have a little bald patch on my scalp and I have to part my hair to cover it. It sorta sucks. But also, I guess it sort of helps too.
It doesn’t always happen when I am asleep. Sometimes I am fully-awake, but I am distracted. When I first noticed it I was sitting on the couch with my husband. We were watching tv, toddler Jackson was asleep, and I was actually engrossed in whatever was happening in that episode of, probably, The Office. Before I knew what was happening I had taken my pony tail out and began running my fingers through my hair. At some point my husband looked over at me and asked what was wrong. I told him nothing was wrong. Because nothing was wrong. Weirdo. Then after the episode he looked at the spot next to me and asked again what was wrong. I looked over too, and there was a massive pile of my hair sitting next to me. We didn’t really know what to say. Over the next few weeks it got worse. I was waking up in the middle of the night to clumps of hair all around me, and my hand resting on my head. It was exhausting. So I finally asked the doctor and she explained this all to me. I felt relieved, but you know, not really.
So here I am, reliving all of this to write it out on the page, in hopes that I will actually finish this essay, submit it to a publication, they won’t think I’m too weird, and they will publish it, so that maybe, maybe, someone who pulls their hair out realizes, perhaps for the first time, that it is a mental health problem. Realizes they are not alone. Realizes they need to seek help. But until then, I am stuck, you see. Stuck. Unable to think. Unable to write. Unable to help. Stuck with idle hands, wanting to pull out my hair.
Look it, I like dudes. Some more than others, to be sure. I like my husband a super, duper lot. I like my friends who are part of the male species. I like my son. But I also don’t like a lot of dudes. I won’t name them here but let’s just say, I have grievances. It started, probably, with my deadbeat dad and it has just matured over time. Time and situations. Situations and little moments. I’m turning 38 this year, and I swear to you every year closer I am to 40, the more angry I am. Is this normal? Doesn’t matter.
Today I am angry at some dudes and have decided to write a list of things that have been said to me, by dudes, in my lifetime, in no particular order. Things said to me either in person, over the phone, over text or email, or under their breath when they thought I couldn’t hear. Some were shouted in my general direction when I was with a group of girls, some were directed at me. Some I thought was sweet when they were said because I just didn’t understand at the time, and some made my stomach turn. Some I smiled through and some I turned and said, “What the fuck did you say to me?” Some, most, I simply ignored. This is not an exhaustive list and it does not include any physical abuse or sexual assaults that I have encountered, and I have encountered some. It’s strictly times boys or men have said gross things to me, times that I can remember with some clarity.
It’s gross and demeaning, and a lot sad and I am super fucking sick of it. These are all things said to me, at me. As a child, as a teenager, as a young woman, and as a married mommy. I know some women are harassed much more than me, and for that I am sorry. I am sorry that any of us have to go through this, but here we are.
I implore you girls, and ladies, and women, make your own list and see what creeps up from all the creeps. This helped me realize how jacked up the world treats us and it made me stronger knowing I lived through all this and continue to, and still have the desire to fight and march and smash the patriarchy in their stupid faces. Maybe if you make your own list it will help you too. Much love and solidarity, sisters.
A List of Gross Things Boys or Men Have Said to Me
You are so pretty when you smile
You don’t miss a meal do’ya?
If you won’t suck my dick, I’m leaving
Girls aren’t supposed to do “that” (insert whatever the fuck “that” is)
Women aren’t funny, stop trying to be
Want to see my cock?
Girls can’t run
Someday you will find a guy who likes tubby girls
You HAVE to kiss me
You won’t understand this kind of work
You should’t wear shirts that tight
Are you jealous because you friend is so much prettier?
Girls can’t write about that
Does she have to come too?
Girl sports aren’t real sports
Do you do blowjobs?
I didn’t invite you because I didn’t think you’d fit in the car with us
What size bra do you wear?
Fat girls aren’t sexy
You two should kiss each other and I’ll watch
You’re the queen of pimples
You just don’t fit the “image” we are trying to display
I’m the best you will get
My sister has an eating disorder and she lost weight, maybe you should try that?
She’s the cock-blocker
1st guy: She’s not my type. 2nd guy: She isn’t anyone’s type.
Just because you are a little smart, doesn’t mean you know anything. You’re a girl.
The first time I remember having a panic attack I was 17 years old. I’m almost positive, looking back, that I’d had them before that, but I just didn’t know what to call it. Once, when I was about nine, I was so nervous waiting for my mom to come pick me up from a sleepover, that I had to go sit in my friend’s bathroom, away from all the noise and laughter. I was trembling, and my hands and feet were clammy, and my chest felt very tight. I sat in the bathtub, pulled the curtain closed, and waited for my friend’s mom to open the basement door and call down to tell me that my mom was there. In hindsight, that was probably one of my first panic attacks, but I didn’t know it at the time. I did know, however, that I was different than the other girls.
At seventeen I woke up in the middle of the night. I’ve always struggled with sleep, so I didn’t think much of it. This was back before you kept your cell phone charging next to your head, so I would just lie awake and stare at the ceiling listening for unfamiliar noises and worrying, mainly, about all the things that could go wrong in my life. What if I didn’t pass my next chemistry test? What if my mom found out that I had pot stashed in my dresser drawer? Those sorts of things. This particular night I remember with clarity, because it was the first time I thought about death. I wasn’t suicidal, never have been. Save for that time I was put on a medicine to help with anxiety and it didn’t react well with me. But we will save that for another time. What I mean is, I became hyper-aware for the first time, that one day I would die. That’s the funny thing about this life. It ends the same for everyone. And when you’re a kid or a reckless teenager, you don’t think too much about that. Until the day you do.
Existential dread or angst, I jokingly call it now. Jokingly because it happens to me all the time, I sort of live in this space, and it happens to a lot of us, most of use, from time to time. But when I was seventeen, I didn’t know what the hell it was. I just realized I would die, then wondered how I would die, then ventured into this whole new world of anxiety and worry that was never there before. It struck me so violently that I found myself awake for days, unable to sleep, consumed first and foremost by the idea that I was going to die, I had convinced myself, at any moment.
Of course I did the worst possible thing, I told no one. I went about life as normal as I could, all the while plagued with these constant, OCD thoughts about death. In AP English I’d think about death. In Chemistry, I’d think about death. At lunch, death. Hanging out at my friends’ houses after school, talking about crushes and pretending to care about my make-up and hair, death.
Then one day, months after the first thought, I had a total and complete meltdown. I was still a kid, as much as I thought otherwise, so I had my meltdown in a totally kid way. First, I flipped out at school. I got into a fight with my best friend, on purpose, because I wasn’t happy and she was and that pissed me off. Then I hitched a ride home halfway through the day with another friend (read: we skipped school and got high, then went to Taco Bell). Afterward, she dropped me off at home. I forgot that I don’t normally beat my mom home from work (don’t smoke weed kids, mkay), so she was confused when she got there and I was home. This led to a fight when she accused me of skipping school. I was appalled that she would “accuse” me of such a thing, then I went into my room, and slammed my door. (Ugh, moms are the worst!)
That night my mom went out and she told me not to leave the house, I was “grounded” in as much as she could ground me. So at about 8:00 pm, a friend picked me up and we left to go smoke more weed down at the river. Here’s the thing. The “river” was the cool place to hang, way down by the railroad tracks, because we were totes sad, sordid, teenagers with the weight of the world on our shoulders, oh poor, pitiful us… We were living every single scene from #MySoCalledLife.
The cops came, as they often do, and everyone took off running. Well, I don’t run, ya dig? Even when I think my life is in danger. Like if a bear came at me in the woods I would be the last one there, trying to reason with the bear, all, Listen bear, I’m mostly fat and who likes the fatty parts of the meat? So I just sort of walked away, down the railroad tracks to an old railcar. (Insert the Daria soundtrack). Turns out the cops weren’t too hellbent on arresting a few teens passing a dime bag, so they took off, but there I was alone, at night, a little high, on the train tracks. When, you guessed it, a train came.
Now, I’m not suicidal (see above), so meandering around the live tracks at night, weren’t exactly what I was going for. In fact, I was scared shitless, and I started back to the riverfront park to find my friends, but they had left my ass. That’s about the time the intrusive thoughts started up again. I know it, I told myself, I’m going to die and this is probably the night. I could smell the fire burning from the hobo village (I don’t think that is politically accurate now, but that’s what we called it) under the bridge, the train was approaching, my friends had left me, and there may or may not be cops lurking in the woods waiting to arrest me for being out after curfew. Plus, I was going to die. Maybe not that night, but certainly some day.
I made it down to the park, where there was a large mound of grass, and a well-lit walking trail. I sat down as the train approached, and all the things hit me at once. My chest tightened and I felt like I couldn’t breathe. My hands became clammy, my feet went numb. The train hit the city limits. The thoughts raced through my mind. Things are changing, it won’t always be this way. The lights on the track flashed their warning, the bars lowered. Breathe, Missy, breathe. The bells chimed. The engine gave a loud hiss. I can’t stop time, one day I will be here on this earth, and the next I will not be and the whole wide world will still spin around without me. The sound of the wheels on the wood, louder and faster. I’m going to die. The train wooshed by. All the people I love, we will all be gone. And then, just like that, it was all over.
Jesus, this all sounds dramatic. But it really felt like the end of the world. Of my world, anyway. And sometimes, some days, it still does. I wish to all the universes that this was something that I grew out of, or something that never happened again. Something that goes away every day when I take my pills. But no, it’s always here. And I’ve had about ten or so of the actual, painful, Am-I-having-a-heart-attack panic attacks in my life. I can remember each one of them with a clarity I wish I could have given to my chemistry homework. The time Jerimiah had to hold me in the living room because I couldn’t sit still. The time I had to excuse myself from class because I thought the walls were caving in on me. That time I was driving through Tennessee, my son snuggled up in the backseat, and I had to call my friend just to talk. Thankfully, I have people, and thankfully I know when to reach out.
I wanted to share this today for two reasons: 1. It is coming. I’m headed down a dark, bleak hole, and I know it and I feel it, and there is absolutely nothing I can do about it. The stress is inching up in my neck and in the next few days I will be down for the count. It’s not anything different than it was yesterday, or last year, or 10 years ago. I just know how to read the signs now. How to better equip myself for the fall. Which leads me to number 2. I’m still here. I’m still alive, and this is only temporary. One of my favorite writers likes to remind us that #DepressionLies, and shit yeah it does. But man, it doesn’t feel like it in the moment. It doesn’t feel like it when it’s 2:00 am or 2:00 pm and you are in your bed, covered to your neck in blankets because that is the only way you can get through the day. It doesn’t feel like it when you stop texting friends back, or when you just want to eat chocolate and not make eye contact with your partner or your kid. It feels like you are trapped in this dark place. It feels like you did it all to yourself. It feels like it will never be right again and that you will never be right again. But you will.
People routinely ask me to help them write. Which is really, really kind and humbling, but also kinda dumb. You guys, I have no idea what I am doing here, or there, or over there. There are so many better ways for you to learn how to write, or start the process. Like a quick Google search of: Help me write, might bring up more concrete advice. Because honestly, I can’t tell you anything that hasn’t already been said by a thousand other writers. I can’t really tell you where to start, or how to start, or which genre you should be looking into. And I certainly can’t tell you what to do with your writing life. Because y’all, I have no actual idea what the hell I am doing with my life and I routinely rely on fellow writers, mentors, and friends to tell me what to do. And normally they say, “Have you tried wine?” I have great people.
In all seriousness, writing can be fun, and helpful, and sometimes cathartic. But writing is also tough, and rigorous, and sometimes it just doesn’t happen. A lot of times it doesn’t happen. But sometimes, sometimes when it does, it’s like magic.
In fact, I used to think that there was some sort of mystic connection between the paper and the pen. Like some other-worldly thing was helping me, letting the words flow, I was just the vessel (… that must follow where it goes, trying to learn from what’s behind you, and never knowing what’s in store, makes each day a constant battle, just to stay between the shores…) Sorry for the Garth tangent. This was especially true when I would feel like I didn’t do all that much. I would sit down one morning, with my cup of coffee and my laptop, usually the day before whatever I was writing was due, and I’d pour my heart into a short story, or a personal essay, send it over to my workshop, or a writing instructor, and they would swoon. Like, how is that even possible without some divine assistance?
That was all way before grad school. Way back in my 20s when I thought that all the good things happening in my life, were somehow bestowed upon me. My kid is super smart? Just good genetics. My dog is the coolest ever? All dogs are cool. Then one day in the middle of grad school (where coincidently I learned more about myself than anything else, French philosopher Derrida included) it hit me, I was actually doing all these things. I was actually putting the work in. I was actually responsible for the trajectory of my life, and my writing, I just wasn’t giving myself credit for it.
That’s a really long, humblebrag way to say, you have the ability to write your story, just as easily as you have the ability to live your story, and if you really want to do it, you are probably doing it right now, without even realizing it. You probably lay in bed at night and laugh about this thing that happened to you in college, and you think, I should write that down. You probably think back on your life and try to remember when something happened, and what it was, and what you felt like when it happened, and how it changed you in some way. Maybe you do this on your own accord because you are an arduous thinker, or maybe your therapist gave it to you as homework, either way, you are trying to create a timeline of life, to tell a linear story, and maybe you aren’t writing it down, but when you get it all worked out, you might. And when you do, it might feel like it isn’t that hard. It might feel like the words are just flowing out of you, and trust me, that is a great feeling! It is also not a common one.
Having said all that, let me share some of the bits of wisdom I have stumbled upon in my life, from writers, teachers, books, and friends that might help you pick up the pen to tell your story.
Read. I know this sounds like a duh, but you’d be amazed at how easy it is not to read these days. I think most of us would rather veg out to Netflix on a rainy day, then pick up a book, but honestly, really, if you want to write, you have to read. (Bonus: Blogs count! And so do audiobooks, which is like reading, but not. What doesn’t count is Facebook statuses, anything by Fox News, and the TV guide. Do they still make those?) I myself go in book-reading stages. I will read, read, read, for three months straight, maybe nine books or so, then I won’t for a couple of months (usually because I am stressed out about something and I can’t get my brain to concentrate on the words). But even in those stressful times, I still read, just smaller pieces. I read poetry. I read flash fiction/non-fiction, lyric essays, blogs, magazines, newspapers, and literary journals/reviews. I listen to NPR or a fun podcast. I still try to see and hear the stories out there, because they are so very important.
Leave your house. What? Missy, come one man. That is asking too much. I promise, I know. I get it. Geez, some days I get it more than others. But, leaving your house is SO important. Especially if you are like me and really could spend all day, every day in your own little world, at your desk, or your kitchen table, or your backyard bumbling around. You can’t. You have to go out of your little life. You have to see other people live. I’m to the point where every, single time I leave my house, whether to take Jackson to the library, or grocery shop, or grab a cup of coffee with a friend, I see something that sparks my interest. I might overhear a conversation and think, Oh, that’s a great first line to a short story. I might see a security guard picking up a piece of trash and wonder what he is thinking. Now maybe your brain doesn’t exactly work like mine, I might over-think sometimes, or be more sensitive to this sort of thing, but ultimately it is very helpful at getting the writing juices to stir. Just the other day a firetruck whizzed by me on the street while I was walking Duke, and I realized that I didn’t flinch like I normally do. Which made me remember the reason I used to be afraid of firetrucks (from the night my grandfather died) and I immediately went home and wrote about my grandfather, because that one firetruck brought up all the memories. It can happen just like that, in an instant, but you won’t know if you are always in your safe, quiet space, where nothing much happens.
Seek out like-minded people. This one is Tough with a capital T. Well, maybe it is. Actually, it might not be that tough for you, but it has proven to be very tough for me. After my undergrad I never wrote. I forgot even what I was suppose to do, how to write, the whole thing. I wasn’t in any sort of writing group. I hadn’t made any friends who were out there doing it. That is when I started my first blog to combat that feeling, but with a toddler on my hands, my writing took a backseat. Then over time I started working in Tech writing, where I wanted to bang my head against the wall (it is just too structured for me) and then the move to NC, it took five years before I was like, oh yeah, I was a writer one time. Man, how I wish I could have those years back! In grad school I spent half the time studying a different concentration, Linguistics (what the hell was I thinking?) so honestly I felt like I missed out there too. You have to be proactive though. That I have realized. You have to, again, create your own opportunity. And keep trying. I gave up. Don’t give up! Don’t do as I did, do as I say, damn it! Look for writing groups, clubs, meetings, readings. And go to them! I do not. Ahem, you should. Start slowly by joining online groups if you need to, I did not, you should. Then you can begin to go and meet IRL. I did not, you should. See a trend here? See why you shouldn’t ask me for advice…
Write. I feel like this is a duh, but the number one thing people tell me right after they say that they want to write is that they don’t know where to start. Then I say, it doesn’t matter. Cause it doesn’t matter. Just start writing. Remember that funny college story? Write it down. Remember that security guard at the library? Tell his story, or the one that you fabricated in your head. If you need something more concrete you can start a journal or a blog. Journaling is cool because you can write whatever you want and you won’t run the risk of having an ex-partner or an ex-boss stumble across it at 2 a.m. on a Friday night when they searched your name and the word diarrhea together. A blog, I’m learning, is a real shit-kicker, because it is this sort of public, sort of private space, where you feel brazen enough to write about your explosive diarrhea, then a week later you see an acquaintance at Harris Teeter, and you have coffee in your cart, and they are all, Hey, remember how coffee gives you the poops! Haha! And then you’re all, Oh yeah, thanks Karen, I had forgotten about that… So, there’s that.
So there you are, some tips from me to you. Let me just remind you, that I should not be giving any advice about writing. I am not an expert. Then again, Dave, the guy down at Verizon isn’t a chili cook-off expert, but I did add the extra tamales, and it made a world of difference. So…
I love Instagram! Love it. I mainly love it because it allows me to share pics and jokes, man I love a good joke, without actually logging onto Facebook. I used to love Facebook, until my friends and family lost their ever-loving minds. One day they were fine and normal, sharing recipes and baby photos, then the next day they became political strategists. Then the next day they were physicians, deciding that vaccines were bad and that “late-term abortion” means that a woman gives birth to a healthy child at 40 weeks gestation, and then the doctor shoots the baby in the head, while the mom yells, Do it! and sticks a needle full of that good, Mexican meth that was smuggled into El Paso on foot, into her arm, then has sex with the doctor so she can get pregnant again. #GodsPlan
As great as Instagram is, sometimes it fails me too. Like yesterday. I was scrolling my feed, just a scrolling and scrolling, looking for some funny VD Day memes, when I ran across this super-cute, ultra-hip t-shirt (it was an ad) and it had pretty flowers, and pastel colors, great font, all the basic, basic bitch stuff that I love. My eyes were immediately drawn to it (Facebook really knows how to target ads.) I was like, “OHHHHHH, it’s cute!” Then I read the words.
Here’s the thing. I love good vibes. I mean, who doesn’t? If I could live on a beach with Matthew McConaughey, a sack of some really primo weed, and a pitcher of bottomless margaritas all day, every day, I would. No. I actually wouldn’t, for three reasons. 1. I don’t smoke weed. 2. I can’t handle my tequila and 3. He’s waaaaay too active for me. But I like to think it would be Good Vibes Only, right? Right.
But I know myself. And I know my friends. And I know my family. And I know, for the most part, how people operate, and well, it’s not all good vibes all day, everyday. In fact, some days are made of really shitty vibes. Really sad vibes. Really upset vibes. Crazy-busy, justneedaminutetobreathe vibes. Also, my-kid-just-threw-cereal-on-the-floor, I’m-hiding-in-my-closet, and might-stab-my-boss vibes. I have all those vibes. I give all those vibes. I see and hear and feel, all those vibes, from everywhere, everyday. And while it isn’t awesome, sometimes it is necessary. Because sometimes when I’m Good Vibes Only and my husband or my son or my friend is throwing out some Feeling-Super-Overwhelmed-Today vibes, then maybe I can help. But if I’m all, Nah, dog, Good Vibes Only, then maybe they will be less likely to come to me for help. Am I making sense?
I’m not saying this isn’t great. I’m not saying that we should stop sending out good vibes or accepting good vibes, or even anticipating mostly good vibes. I’m just saying, we can’t always live our lives in a Good Vibes Only way. And we shouldn’t be expected to. And we shouldn’t be frustrated with ourselves, or our people, on the days when good vibes are not possible.
I guess all I’m really saying is, I will take you, I will love you, I will listen to you, I will hug you. I will take all your vibes. The good, the bad, and the stabby. And I hope you will do the same for me.
And listen, if that shirt would just change one letter, I would buy it today!
Sending some good vibes your way, y’all, cause I’ve got some to spare today.
I like to make mad fun of those FB quizzes that people share. Not the BuzzFeed ones that tell you which Disney princess you are, those are legit (Belle here). I mean the ones that you fill out about yourself in order for others to learn more about you. I guess they are more like surveys, either way, I started doing every single one that I saw in my newsfeed in a hipster, ironic sort of way, like haha, I’m filling out this stupid thing. Then I got addicted to them. So, there’s that. It’s like that one time I was making fun of people calling their partners “Boo” so I started to ironically call my husband “Boo” and now that’s his name. He legally changed it. No he didn’t, but I do want him to, so I don’t look foolish.
Anyway, the newest survey that popped up was a relationship one (for V-Day, which we call VD Day ’round here because we suspect a lot of VD is passed around on V-Day. Also not to be mistaken for D-Day or for Hep-B Day, which are also holidays we celebrate. Not because we have Hep-B, we just swear off certain restaurants that day.) Jesus, this is getting off track.
One of the questions was: Which one of you is the “Angry one”? Or something like that. Immediately I was like him, duh. He’s so impatient sometimes. Then I was like, Hey Missy… impatience and anger are two different things. Then I was like, Hey Missy, remember that time you threw French fries at his head? Oh yep.
So here’s the thing. Jerimiah grew up in an abusive home with an alcoholic dad and somewhere along the line decided it was best not to be that sort of guy. So he’s not. And honestly, it is rare that he gets “angry”. In fact, he stays so calm sometimes, when I really want him to be angry, that it makes me angry. Then I act out. The French fry throwing was not any of that. It was though, the first and only time I completely understood the term “Seeing red”.
Let me set the scene. I was about five months pregnant. Throughout the whole first trimester I had been so sick, like vomiting-everything-I-ate sick, that I lost 20 pounds! For real, the quickest weight loss ever! You should try it. No, just kidding, not really, I think, uhh, if you are not pregnant, that is an eating disorder. So you can imagine my delight and surprise when in the second trimester I could go back to eating whatever the hell I wanted. I became, very quickly, addicted to Sonic hamburgers. Yeah. Yep. That Sonic. With the crushed ice. So pretty much every day I stopped by Sonic and got myself a hamburger. No cheese, lettuce and mayo only. Sometimes I got fries.
One particular day off from work I did not want to drive all the way to Sonic, so I asked Jerimiah to pick me up a burger on the way home. He obliged and got home to a STARVING me, about 6:00 pm. Now, Jerimiah has this habit of saying he will be home at a certain time, then not being home at said time, and this was one of those instances. He said he would be home at five and he was not home until six. So things were not going well when he walked in the door.
BUT, he had my burger in hand, along with an order of fries, so I simma’d down, now, and waited patiently for him to hand it over. He asked me if I wanted a plate, of which I said yes. I refuse to eat a burger from a box or a bag or a sack or anything else. I only eat on plates. He walked into the living room, where I had been holed up on the couch all day watching Dr. G, The Medical Examiner (because for some reason when I was pregnant dreaming about death was soothing) and he handed me my burger and fries… on a paper plate.
Hmm. At first I didn’t realize it. He handed me the plate, the styrofoam kind, that sags a little from hot food and the weight of a large Sonic fry, and I immediately tore into my burger as I bobbed my head back and forth trying to keep my eyes on the television as he walked DIRECTLY IN FRONT OF THE DAMN SCREEN.
“Hey, man, have a seat,” I said, taking another bite.
He rolled his eyes and sat down at the desk in the corner to check his email.
Mmm. That eye rolling sorta got to me, but I let it slide. Because, I’m so sweet. Belle. Sweet. You know.
Then I sat up to put the plate onto the coffee table and it banged against the table and sort of crumpled a bit, as styrofoam plates do. And I was like, Hmm, this is not a plate. So I said to my husband, “This is not a plate.” And he turned to me and said, “Yes it is.” And I said, “No. It’s a paper plate.” And he said, “Actually. It’s made of styrofoam.”
And that’s the last thing I remember.
Apparently, and later the details did come back to me with a bit of clarity, I lifted my burger off the styrofoam plate, and launched the plate, full of fries, directly at him. It hit him in the head, because I was a heck of a third basemen, and he sat, stone-faced, while the fries fell onto the floor all around him. Then he turned back to the computer, as the dog ran over to gobble up all the fries.
I continued to eat my burger, in silence, while I watched him not looking at me. Then I said, “Why are you not eating?” To which he said, “I’m not hungry anymore.” To which I said, “You fucking better eat, dude.” And he said, “Nah.” Then he slid his plate to the edge of the desk.
What happened next, I don’t really have an explanation for, except that again, I was pregnant, for the first time, and I guess, hormones? I had never done this before and have never done it since, but I stood up, screamed a bunch of not-nice words toward him and the scared-out-of-her-mind dog, and turned to go to bed, but not before punching the wall, that was literally, for real, made of cinder block.
I sat in the bed for a few minutes, crying and holding my hand to my chest, while I used the good hand to finish my burger. Waste not, want not. Then I fell into a deep, deep sleep and woke up the next day feeling better than ever. Except for the near-broken hand. That’s fun to explain to the doctor, when she really is like, “Did he hit you?” and you are really like, “No, I punched a wall because he served me food on a paper plate. Styrofoam. I’m sorry, it was styrofoam.”
You’ll be happy to know, that four months later, I gave birth to a healthy, happy baby boy who doesn’t, as of yet, exhibit a propensity for Sonic or punching walls. And my husband never left me. He also didn’t eat his burger, he threw it away. And that has always plagued me, because, I would have liked to eat it.
Be nice to your partners, y’all. And to pregnant women.
Below is the actual FB survey that I filled out this morning, that made me remember this little “paper plate” incident, as we like to call it… Enjoy.
Ok couples it’s almost Valentine’s Day!
Who asked who out? Straight up, we got drunk at a house party then made out a little then he was all, “Wanna go on a date.” So… mutual?
Do you have any children together? One living human son. One living non-human son. Two non-living daughters, one human, one non-human, and at least three to four “scares” along the way. One time, no shit, a “psychic” approached me at work and told me I was pregnant with his kid. You guys! I was not. She was wrong.
What about pets? Duke. He’s a shithead and we miss Bentley every day.
Who said I love you first? He did, but it was during sex so I think it was an accident. A “sexident” if you will. Like when you are climaxing and shout out, “I want to marry you!” Never happened to you? No? Weird. Y’all need to have better sex.
Who is most sensitive? If he’s being sensitive, then I’m like buck up, Buttercup! If I am being sensitive he better leave my ass alone. We alternate.
Where do you eat out most as as a couple? Another sex question, ohh, I like it. He eats out a lot. Just realizing now this is not a sex question. La Unica, the Mexican joint down the road. They smile when we come in and say, “Hola friends, we’ve missed you!”
Who’s older? Him. Not going to say any more about that.
Who has the worst temper? I want to say him. But, I once threw a plate of French fries at his head, then slammed my first into a cement wall because he served me my food on a paper plate, not a “real” one. So… In my defense, I was real pregnant at the time.
Who is more social? No.
Who is the neat freak? I am. But I don’t actively make the house neat. So I spend most of my time complaining about how the house needs to be neat, then blaming him for my lack of motivation.
Who is the most stubborn? Him. He once tried to give me a high-five in a restaurant, I refused, and he sat with his hand in the air for fifteen minutes, until I relented because people were looking.
Who wakes up earlier? Him, because: Job. On the weekends, it is me.
Who is the funny one? Smart jokes, him. Fart jokes, me.
Where was your first date? Metropolitan Steakhouse, which sounds waaaaay fancier than it is. The tables were lit by candles, and that is it. Literally could not see each other or our food. Which is probably why I was able to put down a monstrous amount of food without him knowing.
Do you get flowers often? I used to hate flowers as a gift, mainly because of the connotation that the man did something wrong when he brought them home, so he never bought them for me. Then one day I was like, you know what, I want flowers. Mainly because I realized my husband doesn’t do anything wrong. So now I get them on special occasions and not special occasions and I can appreciate them. #Adulting
How long did it take to get serious? Probably about a year. But it took us five years to get married, so, we are both sort of “take your time” kinda people.
Who was interested first? Him. I mean, who wouldn’t be interested in me?! Look at me!
Who picks where you go out to eat? Jackson usually.
Who is the first one to admit when they are wrong? Me, but also him. Depends on who is actually wrong. Either way it doesn’t happen often. I apologize for things that are not my fault and he knows it is best just to say sorry.
Married? For long enough now that I will be granted half his retirement in the divorce. #Goals
More sarcastic? Him. (Eye roll)
Who makes the most mess? Him. (Eye Roll)
Hogs the remote? We throw it at each other because no one wants to pick. Then we end up just turning the tv off and talking.
Better driver? Him (Eye roll)
Spends the most money? The Arabian Sheik that lives in our house. So, me.
Who is smarter? Math? Him English? Me Everything else in the whole world: Jackson
Did you go to the same school? Fo shiz. We met when we both worked on our high school newspaper/yearbook. He was a photographer and I was an editor and he was my workhorse. I could always count on him to get his work and my work done. We didn’t date until we were 20, but I knew by then he’d always take care of me.
Who’s better with a computer? Jackson
Who drives when you are together? Him, unless we need to get somewhere like in a flash. Then I drive and he just closes his eyes and waits to arrive alive.