Saturday, April 11, 2009

Wrong Reason Decisions

Because I hated my home life and was too young to know any better I married the first boy I thought I was in love with. This led to altering my career goals, a beautiful daughter, and a very painful divorce.

I had a very unhappy home life as a child and dreamed of the day I could get away from it. As long as I can remember I immersed myself in school, knowing that education was the ticket out. I never played the dumb female; I was smart and proud of it. My stepmother thought brains were only for girls who had no other options, I listened continuously to remarks like, “no one wants to marry an encyclopedia”, and vowed I didn’t care. An education was still my goal. I studied hard, got good grades, I even got early acceptance into two fairly prestigious colleges. Then I met Larry. He was gorgeous, funny, and a high school jock. Best of all, he thought I was special, and I had been craving that for the last 10 years. So I fancied that this was the love I had waited all 17 years of my life for. I hadn’t forgotten college though. Then Larry asked me to marry him. At the time, it seemed perfect. No college, but the husband from heaven. I could make the trade, it didn’t seem like settling. Marriage would mean that I would have my own home and never have to spend another night in this one I hated so much. After all I had 18 years of wisdom under my belt.

When Larry and I were first married, I thought all my dreams had come true. I was married to a hot high school jock and was out of a home life I had hated for the last 10 years. Larry was offered a job in the southern end of Maine, far away from my despised home. He accepted, we moved, and all we had was each other to depend on. This led us to believe we had a bond that was unbreakable. So at the ripe old age of 20, I gave birth to our daughter. She was a beautiful baby, but a difficult one. She grew to be a rebellious, stubborn, and willful child. She has been the source of much joy and much agony for me. She was certainly not an easy child, or any easier adult, but she is mine, and my love for her is endless. While raising her, much of it alone, I tried not to resent her or what I missed because I had her so young. I would like to think I succeeded in this, but in truth, probably did not.

Inevitably, the time came when Larry and I had nothing in common other than Amanda. We both knew it, but hated to be quitters. (Wonder where Amanda gets her stubbornness from?) Time spent together was not relaxing or cause for enjoyment, anticipation of time away from each other was overwhelming, especially for me. I would sit on the couch and remember the dreams and goals of my teenage years and wonder how it had slipped away. I still loved Larry, but could no longer see myself on the front porch with him rocking our grandchildren to sleep. We dragged our feet until it became unbearable and we knew we were hurting Amanda as much as each other. Neither of us could bear putting her through our misery anymore. So, I left and took Amanda with me. All these years later, I still can feel the pain of that night. Papers were filed and the process of divorce moved forward. The day came to stand before the judge and I could barely get the words out of my mouth agreeing to end my marriage. I wanted to say no then and there, but knew in the bigger scheme of things this was the right thing to do. There was no hate between Larry and I, just a huge sadness of a life started too young and for the wrong reasons to have a fighting chance. I was an old woman of 28 by now.

The effect of having a childhood that was not idyllic made a permanent impression on my life. It led me to the joy of love, the miracle of motherhood, and the pain of love failed. I am stronger and wiser now, but carry those effects with me always.

Sunday, April 5, 2009


I love to shop for clothes. When I do it has three distinct parts for me. The anticipation of the find, the browsing to narrow down, and the final decision from the articles gathered. Each of the parts holds its’ own special fun for me. I could not honestly say that one part is any more fun than the other.

Oh, the anticipation, when I know I am going to get a chance to walk through aisles and aisles of clothes searching for exactly the right thing. I needed a dress for a conference dinner. I could picture what I wanted. It had to be black, with some pink in it. I had many styles in mind, each needing accessories unique to style. This thought process consumes the whole trip to the stores. I imagine a black sheath style dress with small amount of pink abstract design throughout. Or maybe, I’ll get a black spaghetti strap dress, with a pink trimmed v-style neck. Possibly, I will go a little risqué and get a black strapless dress accented by a pink bodice. The possibilities are endless. Even better, no matter what style I buy, each will need its’ own set of accessories. A beaded black shawl will only work with one certain style; another will need silver earrings with 2 inches of dangle, and shoes, (a certain dress will only go with certain shoes). Oh, the anticipation!!

In my opinion, browsing is a unique experience that is only truly enjoyed by a serious shopper. It is truly an art form of its’ own kind. The excitement of being able to walk into a store and see all the possibilities it offers. Ahead of me there are rows and rows of clothes waiting to be explored. Is my black dress in one of the aisles? Off I go to find out, knowing there will be no disappointment if I don’t find it here. All it means is to another store I go. I walk through clothes, eyes pealed for that black dress. I find six dresses that may fit the bill, all the prerequisite black, with pink in them, and off I go to try them on. Now, part of the browsing experience, is dressing appropriately. Slip off shoes, shirts that have no buttons, and pants that I don’t have to fight with to get on and off are the attire of choice for browsing. Off come the street clothes and half a dozen dresses wait to get tried on. Out on front of the mirror I go, for a four sided view, back, front, right, and left. Most people don’t realize the body is a four sided object. Six times I do this, and not one is perfect by itself, but a two of them have possibilities. No panic though, this is serious business, I came into it knowing it would take time. I now have to start thinking of accessories for each of these dresses, just in cast one of them does end up being it. After all, accessories can make a so-so dress a great dress. I go through this process in three more stores. It is amazing how many black dresses with pink in them are available. To the serious shopper, few things can be compared to browsing.

The time has come to make the DECISION. Everything that has been looked at must be weighed for its’ appropriateness. Now, I will narrow it down to three possibilities. That is the rule that keeps me sane. I will not make a decision until there are only three choices. The decision making process has some similarities to browsing, but is really completely a different mind set. The dresses will be tried on again, but now accessories will be added to the outfit. All the while, the end picture is very vivid. The dress, the accessories, and the shoes must flow perfectly. Once all the dresses are tried on again, there is one that can definitely go. Now, I have two black and pink dresses in front of me. Will it be the black chiffon, with spaghetti straps, the pink bodice trim, and gathered v-neck, or will it be the black sleeveless dress, straight cut, and pink flowers on the body of it? After trying both of these dresses on again, with shoes, and all the other accessories, down to the jewelry, the decision is made. I now have the perfect black dress with pink in it to wear to my dinner.

Shopping is an art form to me that is not a complete experience, without all three parts. Having to run in to a store to pick up a shirt is not the same thing as shopping. Shopping involves anticipation that sweet thought process of what lies out there. Then there is the browsing, that chance to walk through all the clothes there are to offer, looking for just the right thing. Finally, the decision is made and out I walk with the perfect find. That is shopping.