Peeking down a path not taken

Years and years and years ago, I had a modeling agent chase me down in the mall and give me her card. It was during a really low point in my life, and I wasn’t sure my self-esteem could handle me being treated like a piece of meat, so I never followed up with her. But I’ve always wondered if I should have.

This past weekend, I went in to have my wedding makeup trial run. And nearly fainted. Just as I did during my wedding dress fitting (and every single other dress fitting I’ve had), many hair appointments, the hair drug test I took for a previous employer, and even some of my doctor appointments. I have never actually fainted during these events, but I have come dangerously close: Greyed vision, sweating bullets, and the inability to sit up without assistance. This time I passed it off as a hot flash (peri-m does have perks), but it wasn’t. I just get faint when people are up in my face, messing with me. It’s like I can’t get enough oxygen or something.

This kind of thing would be catastrophic for a model. Imagine how many callbacks you’d get if you needed three times as long for hair/makeup/wardrobe because you had to keep taking breaks so you wouldn’t faint.

Interestingly enough, a similar incident occurred towards the end of my engagement photo session, when the photographer was taking photos of us individually. Now, that could have just been the heat combined with low blood sugar; I was getting pretty hungry by that point, and downing a juice box rescued me for a bit. But still. Talk about vasovagal don’t-look-at-me. There could be no greater career killer for a model.

So obviously I made the right choice by remaining a wordslinger. Good to know.

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Typed while nursing…excuse my typos

You thought I wasn’t going to post today, didn’t you? Me too. But Kai unexpectedly insisted upon nursing before we went to lunch, so here I am. Or, rather, here we are.

Loving:

The beautiful cool, crisp, sunny weather. I am wearing my huge fuzzy knee-high slipper/boots out of necessity, and loving every moment of it.

Reading:

Sadly, not much got read last week. I didn’t even do much on social media, much to the shock and awe of my activity trackers.

Watching:

Nothing I want to. I’m behind on all my shows already. Gotta figure out a way to remedy that.

Listening to:

I have been listening to what I lovingly refer to as the college angst playlist Spotify made for me. And rolling my eyes at some of the lyrics. One of the benefits of 40 is that you are no longer subject to much of the inner turmoil that plagues 20. Which makes me wonder what I will think of my current self at 60. What do I consider important now that I will learn is a complete waste of time?

Working on:

Right now, trying to keep my son from picking my nose. Overall, sorting out insurance for next year, planning a wedding menu, and trying to find time to do my writing homework.

Anticipating:

Next weekend. Zoo Boo, corn maze, and a train ride. Should be fun!

Making me happy:

My son’s sudden infatuation with Owlette from PJ Masks. I’m starting to consider her my daughter-in-law.

 

That old October magic

“October is a fine and dangerous season in America. It is dry and cool and the land is wild with red and gold and crimson, and all the lassitudes of August have seeped out of your blood, and you are full of ambition. It is a wonderful time to begin anything at all.”

– Thomas Merton, The Seven Storey Mountain

It is in such a mindset that I find myself this month. Unfortunately, my body is not with me. Ovulation means I’ve been too sore to do much above and beyond the bare minimum. And I’ve been having a lot of pain in my hands, probably from my less-than-ideal work station setup (still at the kitchen table), so I’ve been limited in what I can take on. (No, I’ve not written a thing.) But my sinuses are nearly clear, so I’m hoping that in the coming week I can start exercising again.

Not that I’ve been completely idle. I’ve baked the annual apple dessert (Anya voted for apple crisp, which she then refused to eat even though it’s flipping delicious), and conducted my first wedding food trial run (a pie crust cookie we call Anna Maries, after my maternal grandmother, who used to make something similar for my mom and her brothers). I finished setting up my business bank account, so I can get on with being a one-woman business and weed out some of my lower-paying clients. I did a small clutter purge. I got the house cleanish (and it already needs it again). I stumbled across a recipe modification that makes one of my standby quick dinners healthier and easier on my 43-year-old stomach. I finally (after three attempts) bought the right filter for the fish tank. (PetSmart, your website needs help. Call me.)

This weekend, I’m having my makeup trial run. Next week I’m going to try to get my car’s recalled dashboard fixed and squeeze in the annual corn maze and Zoo Boo trips, plus a family train ride that promises to be quite memorable. If my hands cooperate, I’ll wrap up the wedding decorations. And hopefully find time to write a little.

I’m also going to go back to my daily smoothie habit, schedule some yoga time, resume my ab work, and see if I’m up to running yet. This year’s holiday season promises to be even more hectic than usual, and I want to make sure I’m in the best shape I can be.

But today, I have apple crisp, and a pile of work before me.

Oh, there you are, Peter

I’ve been in reading/writing mode, which is why there was no post Friday. Gearing up for Nano.

Loving:

Anya is making record progress in her reading. The other night, she read four books almost entirely unassisted.

Reading:

I finally finished Tell the Wolves I’m Home. I didn’t love it; I found it incredibly hard to relate to the characters, which is odd considering that I was roughly the same age as the narrator at the time the story was set, and similarly geeky. But as the story concluded I had such a strong emotional reaction that it spun into a sort of anxiety attack; if that’s not good writing, nothing is.

I then plunged into Confessions of a Funeral Director by Caleb Wilde, who I’ve followed on social media for a while now. It’s a quick read, but not an easy one — especially last week, amid all the stories about the Las Vegas shooting. It’s a good read, though, and one I recommend highly.

I’ve since moved on to Outside the Lines, by Amy Hatvany. I had apparently started it once before; a piece of paper bearing the outline of my hand and an unmistakable Anya scribble rested between pages 40 and 41 when I pulled it off the bookshelf. But since I’d forgotten that I’d ever read those first few pages, I’m starting from the very beginning.

Unless I miss my guess, this is the most I’ve ever said in this section. I used to read like this all the time. More, even. It feels weird to have been away from it for so long.

Watching:

I have fallen behind, but I got to catch up on The Good Place the other day. I like that show even more this season.

Listening to:

My Spotify has created the perfect reading playlist, full of instrumental music. I’m picking up tunes to play at the wedding from it as well.

Working on:

This week will bring more wedding work. (More news/pics on that later.) But I’m going to try to also get the bones of my story in line, so that there is a shot in hell that I can get married and finish Nano in the same month.

Anticipating:

I’ve collected a pile of recipes to try, for the wedding and just for dinner. Bring on the food!

Making me happy:

The way that I look at the world when I’m writing. I’m home now.

 giphy

 

On womanhood

I am rusty — REALLY rusty — at poetry writing. But this one came to me nearly fully formed while I was in the shower one evening, and I dashed out to jot it down. I’ve tweaked it a little, but it’s pretty much as I first wrote it. Feel free to skip if poems aren’t your thing.

I shudder to think how close Anya is to all this. I am not ready.

 

I am ready for menopause, because
I have been at war with myself since I was 11.
I tried to conceal my new breasts behind oversized t-shirts,
and my new pimples behind makeup,
and my new insecurity behind sarcasm and disdain.

 

I remember the day I,
still more child than woman,
looked down at my short-clad thighs on the rubber swing seat,
how they melted together into one big blob,
and I felt shame.

I remember dabbing Clearasil on chickenpox blisters
for half an hour
before I realized they weren’t pimples,
and the relief I felt
when I realized it was an illness and not acne.

I remember the shame I felt
in the girls’ locker room
because I wasn’t wearing the same underwear they were,
and again when I was wearing the same underwear
though I lacked the flesh to fill it out.

 

I remember the day I apologized to a boy
for the bulge along the insides of my knees
when I drew them to my chest,
and I remember his bewilderment
that I had apologized for a part of me.

I remember apologizing to a different boy
because my breasts weren’t growing
as quickly as other girls’.
and apologizing to a passing stranger
for my too-thin thighs, which had somehow offended him.

When I was thirteen,
and seventeen,
and twenty-six,
and thirty-eight,
I apologized for the shape of the space I take up.

 

When I was 11, I began to have cramps, but no period came.
All my friends had their periods,
but I just had the pain.
We all wondered what was wrong with me,
though I was secretly pleased, just this once, to be different.

My periods eventually came, of course.
Then I was ashamed of being incapacitated by them,
because I thought other girls suffered as I did,
but worried only about white jeans and swimming,
while I couldn’t sit up without crying.

It was a decade later
before I learned they didn’t —
that there was something wrong with me.
A decade after that,
people still didn’t believe me.

 

I was painted in shame when I was almost raped,
and actually raped,
with touch-up coats for
every boy I let touch me after that,
because there was nothing left to save for marriage.

The paint became watery and murky
after my divorce,
because I thought by then I’d earned the right
to do with my body what I pleased.
But I was wrong, of course.

I struggled to get pregnant,
and then struggled to stay pregnant,
and they didn’t believe that, either.
Some tried to paint me with the shame brush again,
but the pot was long dry.

 

Girls (and women) have looked me up and down,
then in a single breath declared
they wished they, too, were thin,
but not so thin as me,
so I would know that neither of us measured up.

I grew up breathing in dissection
and exhaling scrutiny.
I can still tell you the exact measurements of each of my parts,
and what I wish they were.
I find myself wishing for the body I used to hate.

I don’t care anymore what people think of my body
or what I do with it.
I am only trying to make my own peace with it.
These days self-acceptance is the new 36C,
and I still don’t measure up.

 

Since I was 11, I have been at war with myself
because for thirty-two years
I have been found wanting, and wrong,
and I’m ready to trade my youth and fertility
for the chance to just be me again.

Hello, October

Time to pumpkin all the things!

Loving:

The other day, Anya told me I am her best friend. As she’s applied that label to kids she’s played with once and never saw again (not to mention people she’s never actually met), I take that with a grain of salt…but it feels good all the same.

Reading:

I found a stack of early readers in Anya’s room that we got who knows where, and Anya and I are working on them. She’s doing pretty good!

Watching:

Oh, This Is Us. I have missed you. Even when you make me ugly cry.

Listening to:

Kidz Bop is making me realize just how creepy and wrong young love can be. And how hypocritical Censor Moms can be. But I continue to listen so I can attempt to curate a playlist for Anya that doesn’t piss me off or creep me out. An exercise in futility, I’m sure, but I’ll be damned if I let her grow up thinking stalking is love and “skin” is a bad word.

Working on:

I’m still(!) fighting off a sinus/ear infection, so exercise is a no-go. Instead, I am expanding the list of fruit I can trick myself into consuming through the magic of pureeing. Raspberries are now on the list. I’m working up the courage to try a banana in something. Maybe a pumpkin smoothie…

Anticipating:

My wedding dress fitting. Mom’s birthday. Zoo Boo. Corn maze. Kettle corn. Hay rides. Apple picking. Sweaters and boots. Halloween. October, how I love you.

Making me happy:

Our morning glories have bloomed.

Morning glories and moonflowers.❤

A post shared by Nicole (@nmb1974) on

 

Oh, right…I’m getting married in a month and a half

I’d best be getting on with the preparations, hadn’t I?

All right, I completely forgot to write a post for today, so this is a cop-out pictorial of the things I’ve been working on this week.

First off, I dug out and washed up the glass vases and candle holders I plan to use at the reception. (All battery-operated candles, because kids and fire means nobody can relax and have fun.)

I decorated some pumpkins. I wrapped light strings around the pip garland; it looks really pretty lit up. (And yes, I’m going to take off the tape and hot glue those down. I am just waiting until I have all of my gluing projects together before I dig the gun out.)

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This vase is nice, but we’re going to have black tablecloths on the tables — black metal wouldn’t show up, really. So I painted it. And some leaves, because I’m weird like that. Pics to come.

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Weddding in a box. (Really, almost all of my decorations fit in that box. Including the bouquets, pictured bottom left.)

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Today’s dilemma: I designed the invitations to bleed (print off the edge of the page), but my printer apparently can’t print bleeds on paper this size. So I have to tweak my design. I have some ideas about how to do that without starting from scratch, but I haven’t had the chance to test them out yet.

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I also scheduled the engagement pics (tomorrow), and a dress fitting (next weekend). I’m putting together an Amazon order of food-related things for the reception (cake stand, plates/cups/napkins, etc.), and R and I are looking at recipes. We’re also putting together a group of games for the kids to play with at the reception, because grown-up parties are boring.

It’s coming along. More slowly than I’d like, but we’ll get there!