Monday, September 24, 2007

Ya Gotta Hang On Til Tomorrow

I'm waiting. Waiting for a sign that I've done the right thing. Waiting to understand this mess of feelings that brews inside me every day. Waiting to feel like my whole self again, whoever that is. Because as much as I'm starting over and really trying to be "brave," and putting on a relatively happy face and spending time with my friends and having all of these little victories, this just sucks. That's not to say that I don't have my good days, or even my great days, but today was not one of them.

I know that in the long run I'm going to be OK. I try to remind myself of that regularly. I keep fighting the good fight and trying to take care of myself. I've been worse than this. Much worse. I wouldn't say I'm depressed, I know what that feels like. I wouldn't even say I have the mean reds. Maybe it's just a touch of the blues. So, I need to stay focused and positive, though both of those things seem impossible right now. I know what my problem is. Classic low self esteem. Things happen that are the equivalent of being punched in the gut and I end up reeling. I get rejected or corrected or neglected and I start to think, "Wow, I thought I was cool, but I guess I'm not." The old thinking kicks in, the fourteen year-old girl shows up and I find myself having to rebuild again. I know I'm not that kid anymore, but I was for a long time and it's hard to let her go and send her to her room so to speak. It's ridiculous, I know. It's irrational to feel this way, because, as the man said "feelings aren't facts." That's true, they aren't. But they are still real.

So, I'll keep my chin up and remember that this feeling won't last. Just because I feel like crap tonight, doesn't mean I'm going to feel like crap forever. I'll take a cue from Katie Scarlett O'Hara Hamilton Kennedy Butler and remember that "Tomorrow is another day." I know tomorrow is also a better day.

Monday, September 17, 2007

Boy Story

You know that line in As Good As It Gets? Helen Hunt says "Why can't I have a normal boyfriend? Just a regular boyfriend, one that doesn't go nuts on me!" and her mom says "Everybody wants that, dear. It doesn't exist. " Women nod and smile when they hear this line because, in a way, it's true. It doesn't exist, except in the movies.

OK, clarification: Plenty of people have normal boyfriends. Lots of my friends have normal boyfriends and husbands. My point is that in the movies, boyfriends/husbands are either wack job serial killers, wisecracking sidekicks or so incredibly perfect that they ruin it for all the perfectly sweet, somewhat normal men out there. You know, the way Halle Berry and Jessica Alba have ruined it for so many of us perfectly nice, somewhat normal women. I've been thinking about this a lot because I spent Saturday night with one of these incredibly perfect men. His name is Lloyd Dobler. Yes, that Lloyd Dobler. Trench coat wearing, kickboxing (sport of the future), boom box blasting Peter Gabriel's In Your Eyes to win back the girl he loves Lloyd Dobler of Say Anything . OK, maybe you don't think Lloyd is perfect. He's a character in a movie, so he's not even real. But think about it for a minute. Think about all the little things he does. He writes her a letter after they make love for the first time and all it says is "Dear Diane. I'll always be there for you. All the love in my heart, Lloyd." Simple. Perfect. The kind of letter we all dream of receiving. And guess what. Even after she gives him the pen, he's still there for her. (If you haven't seen this movie and have no idea what I'm talking about, go watch it right NOW, if only to see Eric Stolz in a chicken suit). Basically, John Cusack in this movie ruins it for every normal guy out there.

You know who ruins it more? Jake Ryan. Fair-Isle sweater vest wearing, Porche driving, undies retrieving Jake Ryan. Jake Ryan who leaves the Carolyn none of us could have ever been in high school for the Samantha we all were and probably still are. How bad do women have it for Jake Ryan? There's a whole Washington Post article about it. Seriously. There's even an "I heart Jake Ryan" t-shirt. I have one. I wear it proudly. But only around the house. Ever since I wore it out once and the kid (OK, he was 25) at the pizza place asked "Who's Jake Ryan?" I haven't had the strength to wear it out.

OK, so while those are probably the top two culprits, there are plenty more where those came from in the movies. It just depends on your taste. Here are some other "ruiners" I could watch all night long (in no particular order).

Don Lockwood (Gene Kelly), Singing in the Rain: We should all be so in love we dance in a downpour.

Paul Varjak (George Peppard), Breakfast at Tiffany's: Another guy who looks great standing in a downpour. Also, he's a writer and he's beautiful.

Atticus Finch (Gregory Peck), To Kill a Mockingbird: A good father, a good lawyer, a great man.

CK Dexter Haven (Cary Grant), The Philadelphia Story: It takes a real man to create an elaborate ruse just to win his girl back.

Macauly "Mike" Conner (Jimmy Stewart), The Philadelphia Story: How did Katharine Hepburn ever choose?

Crash Davis (Kevin Costner), Bull Durham: "I believe in long, slow, deep, soft, wet kisses that last three days." Me too! What a coincidence!

I could go on here. I didn't even mention Day-Lewis and Clooney (if you know my track record, you know it goes without saying). Is it unrealistic? Totally. Do I care? Not so much these days. Nope. You know the song Where the Boys Are? For me, the boys are on Turner Classic Movies, American Movie Classics, and about seven other movie channels. And that's as good as it gets.

Sunday, September 09, 2007

Getting Over Myself

I had an epiphany while I was getting ready to go out last night. I realized that as long as I'm comfortable (in my clothes AND in my skin), I shouldn't overthink what I'm wearing. I'm not (usually) going anyplace fancy, I'm not going on dates and I'm not looking to meet men right now, so why should I feel a need to compete with girls a decade (or more) younger than I am? I'm too old to worry about that sort of thing, right? Believe me, I've been there and did that for years. Some nights it was like a drag show at our apartment, the amount of makeup Cat and I would slap on our faces (although we never went out in the winter without coats...what the hell is that about anyway? Seriously, if I see one more girl shivering in her skimpy top and saying "ohmigod socoldsocold!" I don't know what I'll do. But I digress.) As long as I'm comfortable, neat and smell ok, I'm ok. My summer uniform of a tank and jeans and sandals is more than enough (winter uniform: turtleneck, jeans, boots). I don't need a ton of makeup and jewelery. I can get along fine with mascara, lip gloss and a pair of dangly earrings. Hell, if I'm going dancing, I don't even need a purse, just pockets. As Polly Mellen said to Isaac Mizrahi in Unzipped, "Fussy, FINISHED." I too, am finished with fuss. I don't need it, I don't want it. I'm fine as I am. It's taken me over twenty years to get to this place. Feels good, I think I'll stick around.