Tit for Tat?

Last weekend, my husband and I decided to fight the deep-seeded urge to stay home growing roots into our couch, and instead join our best guy friend and his girlfriend at her middle school reunion. It was at a casual indoor/outdoor bar called American Social, where they also serve food. How American.

I (and by I, I mean my husband) complained about the name of the place; about missing the exit on the way there because he was complaining about having to be sociable; about the valet having just closed as we pulled up due to rain. There were so many reasons to have just stayed home. We could’ve been on the couch or in bed, by ourselves, out of the rain, watching a movie, or even better… SLEEPING!

GASP! A perfect evening wasted. BUT we pushed on! Damn it, I was determined that we be social!

We got there before our friends did so we pushed our way through the outdoor lounge area to the bar inside. I guess lots of people had the same idea as us because this place was packed. I’d never even heard of it, but then again we don’t stray very far from the house. It’s like we’ve got these little ankle bracelets that will self destruct if we hit a certain distance from home. We do. They are called children. Ha! No, but seriously, we’ll make any excuse to stay home, even when our parents watch the kids for us.

We hadn’t eaten dinner, so I made reservations on the way there through Open Table. There’s an app for everything! We waited about 15 minutes before they sat us at one of the low lounge tables outside; America themed throw pillows and all. By then, I had already had my first drink, and, of course, I had to use the bathroom.

I made my way back inside to look for one. It was a young crowd in general, young as in early to late thirties. HEY! That is still young!

I didn’t pay much attention to the guys; but like most women, I criticized each and every female as I bumped past them on the way to the bathroom. It’s like a defense mechanism; criticize them before they have a chance to criticize you.

Women, we are our own worst enemies.

So what did I see? You women readers are curious, I know. There were several gorditas wearing too-short shorts; a few others wearing knee high boots that made them look like Humpty Dumpty; the typical, slutty girl in the see through top, thong showing every-time she, well just all the time; the drunk dancing queens bumping into people, repeatedly making them spill their drinks; and then, of course, there are always the few girls that actually look good. THOSE are the ones you REALLY attack.

There was this one, GODDESS, if you will, in a short tight skirt and crop top, some Hervé Léger getup, or probably Bebe. She had long brunette hair, flawless skin and makeup, a perfect tan, nice flat stomach, long legs, and curves in all the right places. Perfect, Perfect, Perfect; in my opinion of course. She was the ideal of what I’d like to see in the mirror. So, I did the typical eye roll, almost epileptic, like completely into the back of my head, and grumbled,”Skank.”

I did more damage in that short walk from my table to the bathroom than a tractor trailer on an icy stretch of busy interstate road.

Now, moping and overanalyzing my own outfit and overall look, I practically punched the bathroom door open.

PERFECT, there’s a line of girls to keep me busy. I waited patiently, but ever criticizing, of course. I finally got on with my business, just number one, and washed my hands. As I opened the door I took a deep breath thinking about the path of destruction I must take back to my table, when I encountered the goddess I previously described towering before me.

“I love your hair,” she said, looking in what appeared to be my direction. She passed me into the bathroom and proceeded to adjust her own hair in the mirror.

“Are you talking to me?” I said befuddled, looking around for some amazing hairdo.

“Yea. You’ve got beautiful hair! I love it.”

“Thanks.” I answered in shock. I leaned against the heavy door just enough that it began to push me out as it closed. A second later I turned back and said,”Well, you’ve got great boobs!”

I KNOW! I couldn’t believe I had just said it either. But it was true!

I only realized after it had escaped my mouth how awkward this comment was here in the hall between the ladies and men’s room, with all the other people, women, waiting and judging.

“They’re alright.” She said and grimaced as she squeezed them together as if to say,”These old bags“.

“Yea! I don’t have much going on there. Yours are great.” I insisted smiling kindly, and I turned and left the bathroom.

Tit for tat, I guess you could say. I couldn’t believe that the girl I had considered perfect, and perfectly hateable, had just complimented ME. She saw something in little old me that she wished she had, and she wasn’t too proud to admit it.

Wow! Mind, Blown!

After that I felt all confident like, strutting in my mind to “I flip my hair back and forth.” There were too many people in there for actual strutting, though; and nobody else really cared how my hair looked, so I just excused my way back to the table.

(Cue the “moral of the story music”, something Oprah-ish.)

None of us are perfect, and even those who would seem close to perfect, will point out many flaws about themselves. We are harsh enough on ourselves sometimes; and then even more critical of others.

We, gotta work on that ladies!

Needless to say, the goddess gave me a great confidence boost. And it served to affirm what my husband had already been telling me for years…Curly hair is awesome!

Carpe What?

When I was 5 years old, I didn’t have many aspirations-aside from laying on my back on the living room floor, drinking a bottle of yoo-hoo chocolate milk, while watching the latest Woody Wood Pecker cartoon or Chilly Willy. Seriously, who didn’t love singing, “My name is Chilly Willy. I’m frozen through and through.”

Ah, Youth!

Those. Were. The. Days!

When my biggest concern was missing the clown at the end of the year party in kindergarten, because I had caught the chicken pox from my sister. Mrs. Rodriguez had been talking about the party for weeks. It was a big deal! ::rolls eyes and grumbles:: I can’t believe I missed it.

Can you imagine the impact those last two weeks of school would have had on my life?

**********

Moving on.

I had my first crush in 3rd grade. He was funny and cute… Dumb. As. Rocks, though. He brought his dad’s credit card to school one day. He was so cool! It said his name right there on the card.

He held it up to me gleaming. The plastic coating that made the card shiny, rather than just a dull matte blue, was slightly peeling off one corner. It was just a little bit, but naturally, I pulled on it and a huge piece flaked off. It’s like a scab, and who can resist picking a scab?!?
My eyes opened wide, as did his. His face turned a bright red, and his eyes welled up.

He ignored me for weeks! Okay, so it was just a few days, but it seemed like forever. Our desks were arranged in groups of six, and ours faced each other.

We didn’t have twitter or hashtags back then, but seriously #FirstWorldProblems.

One day, when we were on speaking terms again, he said, “Meet me at the big tree after school.”

Oh my God! He likes me! I thought giddily, but somehow contained my excitement and only let out a mild, “Sure.”

I hesitated on the sidewalk that day—to the left was the field with the big tree, to the right, the pick up line.

Decisions. Decisions.

I was 8.

I pulled nervously on the black straps of my backpack and waited at the pickup line.

It was the last week of school; my last week at that school.

He didn’t say anything about it the next day.

I imagined that he had waited by the tree, and watched me drive off in my uncle’s red Buick Regal.

**********

5th grade

Another crush…

He was older, and a writer…

Stephen King. LOL! I bet you thought this post was taking a dark and twisted turn. But no, I simply fell in love with his writing and with reading in general.

I started writing poems here and there. At school we learned about Haikus. HaiWho? HaiWhat?

First they were senseless,
But with time I did catch on;
I wrote more and more.

My best friend and I would write short stories, mostly murder mysteries. We haven’t published any just yet, but any day now we’re gonna dig through those boxes of journals and notes and yearbooks, and I bet we have some real gems in there!

I also loved Archie’s Digest. My mom would always pick one up for me in the checkout line at Publix.
I always thought my best friend and I were Betty and Veronica. Her name was Veronica, but I wasn’t blonde. Well, neither of us were. Ah the point is they were best friends, and I identified us with them. Das it!
**********
7th grade

This is beginning to read more like one of my journals, and boy did I have tons of them!

Thirteen, and I’ve decided I’m gonna be a lawyer. It’s more like I was pushed into it by my father. I prepared many opening statements, and filed countless motions before him. Unfortunately, I never won any cases. He was the opposing counsel AND the judge, kinda one sided there don’t you think?

So, what do a budding teenager and her old fashioned father argue about you might ask.

For starters, anything that involves being out of the house with other people, aside from school or work, regardless of the time of day. It was harsher than it sounds.

Whether it was just hanging out at my best friend’s house, going to a movie, or roller skating at Hot Wheels, the answer was an affirmative “No!”, and only sometimes a tortured “Yes”, thanks to my mom’s nagging. Oh, and God forbid I mention the beach, or come home from the “mall” with a tan.

I just wanted to hang out with my best friend, listen to Aerosmith, and talk nonsense (but very important, best friend nonsense) over a slice of Papa John’s and some Chips Ahoy cookies.

Imagine if we had done everything we had planned back then?

We might be running a clothing store called ClothesStop. Or was it ClothesTime? It definitely would’ve been a chain of stores by now. #Forever13

**********

9th grade
Life has gotten so much easier! #SaidNoTeenagerEVER

You turn 15 and your dad turns into an even bigger drag!

My inseparable best-friend and I are now separated by way of about 26 blocks between our high schools. Not very far on a map, or driving time, but apart nonetheless….creating a gap that opened ever so slightly each day, like bolts you turn to stretch a bone. A little pain each day, until suddenly you are taller, or in this case more distant.
**********

1997
I met a boy. Well, if you ask my father, he was a man.

He did have a lot of facial hair, and chest hair, and arm hair, and leg hair.

OKAY, he was all hair, and hair meant he was not a boy. O_o

Beware the hair, mommas and poppas!

OF COURSE, I thought he was “the one”.

Father hates him? CHECK!

PERFECT!

That wasn’t really why I thought he was the one. I was young, but I was in love.
And contrary to all of my fathers…”instructions” let’s call them, I was certain that he was right for me.

I was only 15, but I was right.

***********

2003

I hit the big 2-1! I could now drink “legally”! Woohoo!

My high school sweetheart proposed on my 21st birthday, April Fool’s Day. Thankfully, it was not a prank!

But I wasn’t shocked. I did not break down in tears. Somewhere, there is footage on an old video camera that captured the moment. WHERE IS IT? I don’t know, but the important thing is: I. did. not. cry.

Am I heartless or cold-hearted? Some might say yes.

But I wasn’t. I didn’t cry because I wasn’t shocked. I loved him, and I knew he loved me. I wanted to get married eventually, but we had what mattered the most already- love and each other. So I said yes, slipped the ring on my finger, and we went upon our merry way.

We are now 10 years into the marriage and ready for Divorce…

HAHA! Just kidding. We’ve got 4 amazing kids, and I couldn’t be happier. I do cry a lot more these days, though. Once you have kids your hormones and emotions just spiral out of control. Okay, that could just be me… Moms?
My best friend is still that.

Our friendship was like a butterfly that reincarnated back to a larvae, and metamorphosed again after college. (I totally had to look up that word… Metamorphosed, doesn’t really roll off the tongue.)  We both got pregnant with our first child around the same time, and now our little caterpillars are going to grow up together. #Cliches #Metaphors

**********

Life can be exciting, but unpredictable.

My life is not perfect. It’s great; not perfect. But I am happy, nevertheless.

Do I ever question life, the whos, whys and whens? Yes, I’m only human, of course I do.

But I never regret, and I never wish to go back or relive.

You have to live your life forgetting about the “What ifs?” and instead saying, “What NOW?”
CARPE DIEM!

And that DOES NOT mean act like an idiot; live today, who can speak for tomorrow.

For me It means live for today, because yesterday is gone; what have I learned from my choices and experiences, and what can I do with them now for a better tomorrow.

Seize Change!
And while there are things that I wish had not happened in my life, or perhaps, that had just happened differently, I am certainly glad I never went to the big tree that day.