Thursday, October 13, 2005

My Ex-Husband's Wife

Some of you might know that I was married for about two seconds in college. Leading up to my twenty thousand dollar Calabasas wedding was an unplanned pregnancy, an unplanned miscarriage, and lots of time spent thinking "I'm only 21. What am I going to do with 12 Waterford crystal champagne glasses? I just became legal two days ago and as of last week, I couldn't even drink due to being knocked up." It was truly romantic.

I suppose I was in a bit of denial regarding my readiness to marry when I was so unexpectedly faint I needed a fold-up chair to say my vows – making this the first Catholic wedding of its kind where everyone except the couple stood, sat and kneeled. I also have the grand distinction of being the only bride in Woodland Hills to stroll into Jerry’s Famous Deli, then called Solley’s, in full bridal gear and hurl in the toilet. My whirlwind marriage lasted nine months – with most of that time spent at home with my parents, in denial that I had a person across the state that wanted me at his side. It really was a crappy situation, not just for me, but for him: he was, and is, a truly nice guy who is currently a film teacher in Austin Texas. Luckily I figured out I was hopelessly immature and cut free early, but not without a lot of misery.

Despite being the most depressed I’d ever been in my life, and not quite knowing how a nice girl like myself could end up hurting not just me but another person in the process, this “bad” situation would be a bad memory if I didn’t learn from it. And I did. I vowed to never drag somebody's heart to the altar unless I was ready, never to get pregant before I'm 30, and definitely be as gracious to my kids’ pitfalls as my folks were to me when I told them the marriage wasn't working. I still remember my father's opinion as we sat in the very same deli I vomited in nine months earlier. We were eating corn beef on pumpernickel, a sandwich he never failed to mention was overpriced, when I broke the news about the Big D. "Well", he said, slurping up some 2 cents plain, "I really liked that Swede." (My husband was from Newport Beach, but he had a Swedish last name. My dad had a way of categorizing everyone. If you were married fifty years, he'd still refer to you as the bride. If you were a third generation American with roots in Hong Kong, you were forever the China man.) He continued with "Your little shin dig cost me twenty grand. But what the hell, it was a great party, and it forced me to make a business deal that I wouldn't have made without it.... And you're buying lunch."

My father is now deceased, and I owe him such a better tribute than this tiny blog entry, but there is a point to this story. My dad taught me to see the positive of a situation and not dwell on the negative. And he should know. He was manic depressive, and did the best he could to deal with this disabling condition through medication, humor and, of course, food.

Using my father's take on the world, I am led back to my ex-husband once again. Or his wife, actually. They had been married already about seven years, and about three years ago he emailed me to tell me she had a blog. I had never heard of a blog at that time, and thought it odd that someone would put their innermost secrets on display like a naked mannequin at a Macy's window. Shocking to me was that her display was not only naked, it was raw. And littering the floor of her display case were prescriptions for severe post pardum depression, as well as every potion under the sun for her rash prone toddler. Most noteworthy: This mannequin had a sound card and could shriek enough blue language to scare a pirate off its booty.

Along with her juicy material was an intensity I hadn’t seen in a female writer in quite some time. As one of her reviewers described it, just when I was ready to delete her blog for its darkness, she’d suck me back in with its desire for a better tomorrow where women would share motherly secrets. And frustrations. And suicidal thoughts. But always, like a rainbow after a storm, hope.

Although I found her writing to be impeccable, her witty referrals to literature and movies sometimes annoyed me. The fact that I was voyeristically peeping in to my ex-husband's life left me with a tinge of shame, too. But, like my addiction to Diet Coke, and the fact that I sometimes keep my McDonald's cup and refill it three days later, I just couldn't help myself and read daily.

A few months back I was complaining about it to my husband. I mentioned I liked her blog, but wondered if it wasn’t just a bit too self-involved. Too pretentious. Too ever so clever.

Jame’s response: “Maybe its not that at all. Maybe you’re frustration lies in the fact that you fear she’s a better writer than you.”

Well, there’s that.

And he was right.

And so, I started my own blog. And I still read hers. And like my dad’s way of turning a situation on its head, I decided to give praise where it was due and keep working on my own voice, for what that is worth.

As it turns out, a publisher just released a book about her journey through post pardum and back. Brooke Shields might have beat her to the punch on this topic, but Brooke doesn’t have the wit, the bite and the real life what-it’s-like-to-not-be-a-movie star going through p.p.d. experience. Here’s a review of it, as well as an excerpt. It belongs on your shelf.

http://www.austinchronicle.com/issues/dispatch/2005-09-30/books_feature.html

As for me, I’m not completely without my own agenda. I’ve already contacted Marrit and am going to do a write up in our local paper for her (a paper that I’m a staff writer on. (www.valleyscenemagazine.com) This paper is fairly homogenous, boring family style stuff, but it will be a jump start for me to then submit more flavorful versions to other magazines to get my freelance career started. September isn’t too far away.

The moral of this boy meets girl, boy knocks up girl, girl loses baby, girl gets married, girl gets divorced, both boy and girl remarry and have kids and are relatively stable story is that it’s never to late to make something good out of something that was at one time, well, not so good. At the end of this wacky journey I am hoping we can all say “And we lived happily ever after.”

Or I’ll just lose my entire readership for being a voyeuristic freak.

Whatever works.

Marrit's blog, definitely worth checking out: http://suite102.com/baldo/

3 comments:

cecelia said...

Well, Marrit (What kind of name is that anyway?) sure knows how to throw around the swear words. And I thought I had a potty mouth!

;-)

Mama P said...

Silly. IT's a good blog, and I think she reads mine, so careful!

cecelia said...

I sense she has a good sense of humor. Right, Marrit? ;-P