It’s a Purple Dress Day

This is the dress exactly, but mine is very close.

A few years ago I saw a dress that was a vibrant shade of purple. From the moment I saw it I wanted it. But I had to wait. It wasn’t for sale yet. This allowed me to stew about it. Sure enough, I wouldn’t buy anything else because I wanted this dress designed by See By Chloe more. I started checking Saks every day. Finally, the dress went on pre-sale and I ordered it. Never have I spent so much money on a dress, but it was so worth it. I haven’t looked back since. No buyer’s remorse.

Never is it buried in my closet. Each time I wear it, I feel great—stylish, comfortable and happy. Now, whenever I shop I look for clothes that make me smile. Because everything I wear should make me feel like my purple dress does.

It’s a Purple Dress Day

If I Twittered … (The Snarky Version.)

Thank you to restaurants that serve full menu at the bar. Good food, interesting people and sports.

Hmm. Carrot cake or grilled veggie platter for dinner. Carrots are a vegetable, right?

Decided on the grilled veggie platter. Yum!

Come on, Blackhawks. Score! (Unfortunately, they didn’t survive overtime)

I love that we live in a country where Keith Olberman and Rachel Maddow can poke fun at people in the news. When you think about it, public figures are humorous.

Still thinking about the carrot cake.

Man Cow experiences waterboarding and changing his mind about whether it’s torture. Really? He had go through it to decide that?

When did I limit my vocabulary to only 100 words?

(To get more snark, visit my friend Mo at The Daily Snark)

If I Twittered … (The Snarky Version.)

Flying The Solitary Skies

Four hours of uninterrupted air space can be magical. No cell phones. No Internet. Just me crammed into a seat with a couple hundred of my closest strangers flying thousands of feet over the earth. This seat allows me to read a magazine (or even a book!), nap, write or sit and do nothing. All of these things are luxuries—even when they occur on a turbulent, cross-country flight that is accompanied by a boy’s colorful commentary of dead pilots and us going down. Yay.

Despite all of this, I’m surprised how much I enjoyed my flight. As a kid I loved traveling by airplane, but as I grew older and flying changed in the post 9/11 era, my admiration dissolved. This leg of my journey hasn’t made me have a change of heart, but for now, I appreciate that I can sit down and do whatever I choose and not be distracted by all that technology has to offer.

Flying The Solitary Skies

My Daily Reminder

Each time I turn on my computer and Skype launches, it reminds me to breathe. More specifically: Take a deep breath.

There are hours, days and even weeks when this is exactly what I need to do. Because ultimately, no deadline, screaming child, surprise car expense or life-changing moment needs to work me into a frenzy. If I just take a minute to inhale-exhale and only do that, I can continue. I can think. I can breathe.

My Daily Reminder

Desert Rain

A few days ago, Phoenix had the luxury of rain. It isn’t quite monsoon season here, but lightening lit up the sky and water fell from it. When it first began, there was just enough water for everything to soak it up. The only evidence that it has rained was the smell—a wet, earthy one.

I remember it from childhood. I also remember how much I didn’t like it. But now that I’m older, there is something intoxicating about it. Maybe because it symbolizes nature being replenished or the air being washed of pollution. Whatever it is, I miss it. Because since the rain is gone, so is its scent.

Desert Rain

7 Random Things I Can Tell You…

I’m always amazed at the crazy stuff that I can remember, and even more so when I recall it or it becomes useful. Since it is List Day here at Thank You Everything, here are Seven Things  I Can Tell You…But You Probably Don’t Need to Know.

1. Ask me if Muscle & Fitness Hers ran a photo of an exercise or a particular model or did an article on a subject between 2000 and 2003. I will be able to tell you the issue, what the cover looks like and possibly even the title of the article. When it comes to photo requests, I can usually tell you the model, her outfit and the photographer.

2. Identify my friend Cy’s clients by the property they bought or sold and some detail of the transition. This tends to score me serious friend Brownie points and surprises me when I’m able to remember these people I’ve never met.

3.Where most women’s magazine editors worked before they were at the job they are currently holding. Since I was young I was fascinated by the mastheads in magazines and always read them. I still do and in my line of work this has served me well.

4. On that same note, I can remember whether a health & fitness magazine that I read regularly (and there are only a few that I don’t) published a certain kind of workout in the last two years. Again, this has been a professional godsend.

5. Outfits that I have worn to past events, whether they were last week or ten years ago. And it doesn’t matter the significance. I could tell you what I wore to lunch with my husband last week, to the Natural Foods Expo in 2005 or sorority rush in 1989.

6. Speaking of sorority, I can remember all the words to every rush song I ever sang. The scary thing is that I still sing them because they are the only songs that  pop in my head when I need to soothe my son. Who knows if that will have an effect on him later—except that he’ll want to be a Tri-Delta.

7. This next thing isn’t current knowledge, but the fact that I was able to remember this was pretty remarkable in my opinion. When I was a cocktail waitress, I waited on 44 tables in the restaurant I worked in. I always could remember what each person was drinking.

There you have it. The seven random things that I can tell you but you probably don’t care to know. I’m sure there is more that I have forgotten but, I would wager that things will wiggle to the front of my mind sooner or later.

7 Random Things I Can Tell You…

What My Body Knew

Author note: This essay is about an invaluable experience I had five years ago.

I wish I wasn’t here. I wish I wasn’t sitting across from him now eating the number four enchilada combination we always order—his chicken; mine cheese. I’m not hungry. In fact I can’t remember the last time I had an appetite.

My body temperature is rising and my eyes seem to be playing tricks on me. Squiggly lines resembling the Predator lurk in my peripheral vision. Greasy cheese and pickled vegetables sting my nose, making me nauseous. Darkness begins to surround me until I can only see him eating. “I need to go home,” I tell him and then I utter the statement that plagued our marriage: “I’m getting a migraine.”

Today is our sixth wedding anniversary—at least it should be. We separated months ago. While we were married, there was no pattern to my migraine occurrences. It wasn’t until we bought our first home that my body decided to scream at me. Not only did the migraine headaches intensify, I started suffering from panic attacks, manic mood swings and loss of appetite. My body had internalized every frustration that I had, every lonely feeling, and every failed discussion with my husband.

Maybe I should have realized the glimpse into my future when we first moved in together. He would spend entire weekends—staying awake for 24 to 36 hours playing video games with his friends. When he did finally come home, he slept. I rationalized this behavior. Telling my friends that the time he was away allowed me time for myself. But into the third year of marriage, the technology had changed and the all night and day gaming sessions moved into our tiny apartment. Sounds of virtual guns would reverberate through the walls. I became antsy and anxious and felt trapped and suffocated, in my own home. I escaped whenever I could—games or no games.

I started race-walking and decided to do the Los Angeles Marathon. Training kept me busy but after awhile he complained that it was taking time away with us. (The games didn’t do that apparently.) So I changed my habits. I woke up in the pre-dawn hours while he slept so I could go to the gym or train for my latest road race. He complained that my nightly preparations took away from him, which didn’t bother me. He insisted that we watch Fear Factor while we ate dinner. When I decided to talk to him about not watching gross things during dinner, gaming taking away from our time or even household chores, such as cleaning the (read: his) cat’s litter box, I always walked away feeling dejected or guilty. He called me a martyr or accused me of only wanting things done my way (honestly, that part could be true).

In these situations, I tried to communicate but the outcome was never a release so the tension got tighter, except that I didn’t realize it. Instead my body blind-sighted me, hoping that if it knocked me down with migraines enough times I eventually see my marriage clearly. After a while, anxiety struck when we were in the same room or when I was returning home. When we were intimate I felt suffocated, like if he didn’t get away from me I would die. I would be gasping for air and panicking, feeling completely helpless and trapped. I wasn’t happy and there was a part of me who knew it. But instead, I thought that the stress of my job had steeped into our home and affected my ability to be intimate.

To the outside world, we showed a happy existence, but to me, it wasn’t one played out in our home. Instead, his forgone airport pick-ups and drop-offs, all-night video-gaming sessions with his best friend, and undiscussed large purchases ruled. For instance, I made it clear that I didn’t want a handgun in our home. I don’t have too many things that I feel really passionate about but on this issue, I do. One day, we were talking and out of the blue he says, “I’m going to buy another gun.” Excuse me. Another gun? Apparently, his parents bought one for him and brought it on one of their visits. They all agreed to not tell me. I felt betrayed. I didn’t feel respected. I was pissed. But, it didn’t matter. Ultimately, he bought another gun because since we already had one, what was another one? Also, as he put it: he made good money and he should spend it how he liked. This was also the phrase he used when he announced that he was putting a down payment on a Mustang Cobra that hadn’t even been produced yet. So what if we were saving for a house and trying to eliminate debt? He wanted it. There was no discussion.

We did save enough money to buy a townhouse in the San Fernando Valley. Within the first month of us living there, I had to go away on business for a week to Las Vegas. I made this trip each year and though I could bring him, I opted not to because my hectic schedule made it difficult to keep him happy and do my job simultaneously. The week was hard—waking up early, going to bed late—and at its conclusion I couldn’t wait to get home. I had this overwhelming yearning to feel secure and safe. I was hoping that I would find this in his arms when I returned home. But I knew that if I didn’t I would need to talk to him.

I returned home. He hugged me. I felt nothing; except that suffocated feeling and wanted to be set free. I don’t remember the next ten minutes. I only remember him asking me if I loved him.

“No,” I replied. As soon as I uttered the word, I wanted to reach out, grab it and stuff it back in my mouth.

And so here I am, five months after the word “no” escaped me, sitting with him in our usual Mexican restaurant being attacked by my body. Having it scream at me that this meeting shouldn’t be happening and that this attempt at reconciliation will not work. And then it dawns on me: I haven’t suffered from a manic episode or a panic attack since I left him.

What My Body Knew