Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Identity Theft

My son stole my identity. No, that’s not entirely true. I willingly gave it to my husband over ten years ago. After years of trying to figure out just who Jennifer Maiden Name was, I stood in front of 100 of my closest friends and family and became Mrs. Jennifer Married Name… and started from scratch.

In college, I got to know myself. I learned the obvious things like I would rather sleep until noon than attend a class that I insisted would have no real impact on my future success. That I preferred bandanas and freckles to oversized sunglasses and Greek letters. That I could have entire conversations with my roommate using only the word “dude” and timed exhalations of cigarette smoke.

I learned much more valuable things like every teenage girl dated “that” guy but none actually married “that” guy, not even the best friend you almost lost because of him. Or that people don’t really care who you were in high school because, chances are, and thankfully so, that will have little to no bearing on the person you eventually become. Things that happen during those awful years between 13 and 17 rarely matter and college students tend to realize this just in time for their first winter break.

I found my confidence at the student newspaper and learned my voice could be clever, witty and insightful. It’s also where I met my future husband, my other half. I believe the term “other half” derived from teenage romances where the people merge into some sort of two headed love beast that survives solely on saliva and gagging noises from onlookers.

My identity soon became that of a blushing bride-to-be, spending more time wearing ribbon-covered hats than sending out resumes and writing samples. Everyone loves a bride but, when you wake up next to your husband the following morning, you’re a wife. My Mom’s a wife. My frigging dentist is a wife.

We moved to New York and I stumbled into my first paid position as a college graduate. Money was scarce but love was a-plenty and, while it took a few years for me to get used to receiving calls for Mrs., I was happy with my new identity. My sister welcomed her first child shortly after my wedding and I dove headfirst into the role of doting aunt. That is, until I wanted a child of my own. Within minutes, my identity became that of an infertile woman. “Sorry, perfectly healthy and happily married 25 year old, rug rats may not be in the cards for you.” Thank you, Jackass, M.D.

Depression ensued.

Given my fondness for turquoise jewelry and my weekend volunteering gig at the animal shelter, I forced myself to embrace my inevitable future: I would be the cool aunt that meditates, practices yoga and gifts visitors with rescued kittens.

I could only fake it for so long. The longing to have my own child continued to grow. After doing my own research and finding out Dr. Jackass was no longer a licensed medical professional, I adopted my new identity – the woman who was trying to conceive. There were a lot of us out there! I met amazing, yet relatively anonymous, women who educated and supported me. They rode shotgun on my road to motherhood.

When I eventually did become pregnant, I expected the happiness, the joy that came from family members and friends. What I didn’t expect was for my unborn child to be referred to as a “blessing” or a “miracle” or for every distant relative to begin their congratulatory speech with “See?” I know YOU knew it would happen, Aunt ThanksgivingandChristmas, it was my uterus that needed some convincing.

Now my identity was not only that of a mother-to-be, but also an infertility success story. As my due date loomed, I had another identity to choose. What kind of mother would I be? I had planned on having a natural birth and breastfeeding but I was hardly an earthy crunchy Mother Earth Mama. Cloth diaper? Sounded great in theory, just not so much in practice. Puree my own baby food? People have trusted Gerber for years, that’s good enough for me. I did have my natural birth and did breastfeed for 13 months but I could hardly be an advocate. My personal motto involves a shrug and a halfhearted “Eh, to each his own.”

A zen “let nature be your guide” Mom? My sanity comes with a $25 copay.

A crafty, DIY, cherish and display every one of my son’s creations Mom? Maybe… if I wasn’t a year behind on his scrapbook.

Maybe I could fake an accent and become a cool British Mom. “Mom. Dave’s Mom.” Aww, forget it; I don’t think anyone wants to drink breast milk shaken or stirred.

Two years into my motherhood tenure and I find myself looking forward to my son’s future sporting events and school fundraisers because maybe I’ll find my identity there. Or maybe I have more time than I think I do to figure it all out. Since 30 is the 20 and all, maybe I’ll start telling people I’m 22 instead of 32… although I do think society would frown on a 22 year old celebrating their tenth wedding anniversary with a two year old on their hip.

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Tuning Out

Considering I am a highly critical analytical person, this is probably just the first in a series of posts crafted to call your attention to the lazy songwriting that America has allowed to slip through its discretionary cracks into mainstream culture.

What has our world become, when Rush Limbaugh can’t call women whores and demand that they have sex for his viewing pleasure, yet we allow lyrics like this to rise to the top of the Top 40 Billboard charts, without consequence?

Song: Jesse’s Girl
Artist: Rick Springfield

You know, I feel so dirty when they start talking cute.
l wanna tell her that I love her but the point is probably moot.

Hmmmmm. Let’s write down all the words that rhyme with “cute.”  I find it very hard to believe that none of your options were better than “moot” but in any case, that’s certainly a list I’d like to see.  I’d also like to take bets on how many hours you spent brainstorming until you broke down and asked your grandmother for help.

Song: All My Life
Artist: K-Ci and JoJo

Close to me you’re like my mother,
Close to me you’re like my father,
Close to me you’re like my sister,
Close to me you’re like my brother.

Alright, alright, alright. Cousin, stepson, drunk Uncle Bobby. We’re close. I get it.

Song: Ni**as in Paris
Artist: Jay-Z & Kanye West

She said, “Ye, can we get married at the mall?”
I said, “Look, you need to crawl before you ball.”

Please give me the name of any one person who considers getting married at the mall “ballin’.” Maybe it’s just me, but the thought of getting married at the mall conjures up some negative imagery. Namely, a wedding dress tarnished by unfortunate brown skid marks left by a rogue piece of burbon chicken from China Wok.

Song: Shut It Down
Artist: Drake

Yeah, baby, you finer than your fine cousin,
And your cousin fine, but she don’t have my heart beatin’ in double time.

WHOA. Whoa. WAY too many words. Your crowded sentence structure lost me completely, so I couldn’t follow your thought process. Also, why don’t you try not mention how hot another girl is, let alone my family member, while you’re trying to pick me up. Major turn-off.  Yes, you’re right, I do Shut It Down, if “It” is you. Date request denied.

Song: Birthday Cake
Artist: Rihanna featuring Chris Brown

Really, the whole song should be destroyed, based solely on the fact that you say cake 90 times. I counted. 90 times. It was excessive around mention #7.

Your obsessive compulsive tendencies aside, my chief concern is the verse:

Oo baby I like it, you’re so excited, don’t try to hide it, ima make you my bitch.
Cake cake cake cake cake cake cake cake cake cake cake cake cake cake cake.
I know you wana bite this, it’s so enticin, nothing else like It, ima make you my bitch.
And it’s not even my birthday.
Bethcha wana put ya name on it,
And it’s not even my birthday .
And he tryna put his name on it.

That doesn’t even make any sense. Listen, I get excited when I see cake, too. There are meetings for that. Or try Weight Watchers – you can eat absolutely anything you want as long as you manage the rest of your day accordingly. But I can assure you that neither OA or WW endorse you making anyone your “bitch” just because they like a little sugar every now and again.

Furthermore, why is he trying to put his name on your cake? Oh, it’s not even your birthday? Well, it’s still not right. It’s your cake. Tell him to get his own cake! Carvel puts names on cakes for free and they don’t check IDs to verify your birth date. Let him know.

At the end of the day, Chris & RiRi, society is going to get tired of the two of you and your endless problems. You’ve gotta walk away now, Rihanna. How much more can one girl take? Let it stop at pre-Grammy beatings and cake thievery.

It’s time to take back the airwaves, America. It’s time for a music revolution! It’s time to storm into DJ booths across the country, and demand Bob Dylan, Leonard Cohen, and U2 (pre-1992) – for the sake of your children, and your children’s children.

It’s time to decide – Are we human? Or are we dancers?

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Retail Rehab

I have an addiction.

Yes, I used to drink. I used to smoke. I used to be a two-bit version of Lindsay Lohan’s two-bit version of Paris Hilton. I can even still occasionally be found in a crouching position behind the washing machine with fudge on my fingers and a full mouthful of Funions. But while my newest destructive habit produces the same mood-altering rush and crash, it’s not dependent on any sort of substance or food. It’s an odd, unexplainable infatuation with spewing out money. Money that I most certainly don't have.  

I am a compulsive shopper.  It’s time for me to admit this. Since I gave up drinking 4 years ago, the compulsion has just grown and quickened like a snowball headed right through the front window of a TJ MAXX and picking up speed, force, and racks of wall d├ęcor on its way. I cannot go a day without spending money. I can't. When I try to budget or to simply not shop for a day, I feel trapped. Confined. Imprisoned. I want to cry. I can’t breathe. I want to punch people. More than usual, I mean. The thought makes me wet my pants.

When my boyfriend asks me to recount my daily spending, I launch into a tirade that would make Russell Crowe and Christian Bale look like cuddly baby bunnies. When my coworkers comment when I return from “lunch” laden with shopping bags, I’m as defensive as Kris Jenner denying her daughters’ misuse of men and mascara.

The holidays are a welcome excuse to go shopping, as it really doesn’t matter WHO I’m buying for, just that I’m participating in an exchange of cash for goods.  It is the feeling of purchasing something that shakes me deep down in my pretty places. 

But here’s the thing – or one of them: I CAN’T AFFORD THIS. Monetarily speaking, that is. 
Emotionally, I could keep up this subconscious endeavor to soothe the wounds of my past with material items; this emotional escape hatch used to avoid unpleasant feelings  yaddayaddablahblah. I’m not all that interested in uncovering the real reason for my behavior, thank you very much. 

But my bank account – that’s where my bad habit is the most obvious. I’m progressively lowering the bar and compromising on my long-standing goals like owning a home, advertising my freelance business, paying for next year’s car insurance. It’s all just slipping away with every area rug and pair of platform pumps I don’t need but buy anyway. 

Pretty soon, I’m gonna have the most nicely decorated cardboard box on the sidewalk.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Productive Afternoon

Why my office is stocked with sleepytime herbal tea, I'll never know. 

Saturday, November 5, 2011

Sorry, I'm Occupied.

OK. So, I’ve lost a few friends on Facebook and sparked a few fights on Twitter since I simply shared my opinion of Occupy Wall Street. That opinion? It’s freaking childish. And while I won’t go so far as to call the people engaging in it stupid, I think it’s accurate enough to say they’re certainly acting like it.

This reminds me all too much of when I was sliding effortlessly into rock bottom: sleeping in a park and blaming everyone else for it.

Let me be clear – I do not support corporate greed. Listen, I think it’s f*cked that there is so much corruption in government, financial institutions, big businesses, what-have-you.  But I haven’t the slightest idea how to fix it because I haven’t read enough about it to fully understand the problem. Neither have you, OWS. And you don’t see me stinking up cities across the US without a shower or a clue.

Plus, I’m aware enough to know that fraud doesn’t stop with big business. It’s running rampant among small businesses, freelancers, artists, too.  It’s human nature – the good and the bad. The dishonesty. The greed. It’s everywhere. Wake up.

But that’s not even the part that irks me so much. What bothers me is the inconsistency, the hypocrisy, and the ever-changing, half-assed cause. What’s that you say? Ohhhhh, you’re protesting phone companies now? Oh wait, wait, this guy over here says lack of affordable healthcare. This stinkazoid with the dreds and the hula hoop says OWS is about protesting Capitalism. Yeah, he showed me an article supporting his statement on his iPhone and everything.

It’s not that I don’t support your cause, OWS. It’s just that I don’t know what it is.

A successful protest starts with a single cause and a demand to fix it. You have to put down the bong long enough to think it through and figure out a plan. It’s a focused campaign, not a sleepover party.

So, until you’ve come up with a single reason to congregate and a suggested solution to that problem, let’s say you stick to the music festivals. Wall Street can’t take the stench.