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Thursday, September 8, 2011

Ugly Truths

This is not a post about happy pink clothing, deep chocolate desserts, orange garden flowers, a Sweet Sixteen party. There are a lot of ugly truths swirling around me. I better catch them, nail them, face them, type them, recognize them, so I can move on and do my work and live my life this busy day. As in, Okay, all of that is terrible, but I still have to keep going. They are ugly giant flies. But I can't accomplish anything if they keep buzzing around my head.
  1. I look really fat in the wedding video I just viewed online. This was the Florida wedding in April. My hair looks bushy, my chin doesn't exist, and basically, I must be in denial if I think I can look good, even in pretty clothing. Cherry on top: At one point, while H. is being filmed, I'm even in the background chewing a bite of dessert. Who am I kidding? I must really not see myself the way the world does. I try to give myself some slack---Dad had been really sick and just died the month before; Figgy was going through serious problems; H. and I were dealing with the accompanying hell. How did I expect to look? Another cherry: Most other women on the tape are slender, slender--as in sculpted slender.
  2. H. and I are a mess. I know, I should just speak for myself. But he's on the way to a very important meeting right now in NYC. His NY Times Magazine article sparked a lot of interest in his writing. And I feel guilty b/c we didn't have the money for him to buy a new sport coat, so he wore his old one. He had to scramble to find his old belt, and hurriedly polished his slightly worn black loafers so they shine a little. His glasses are held together with duct tape; the new pair hasn't arrived on time. [He plans to take them off before the meeting.] His ancient leather briefcase is beaten up, but I think he likes it that way. Fortunately, he does have on the nice, crisp Ralph Lauren shirt I bought him at Bloomingdale's for Father's Day. But we're just a mess. We're down to our last pairs of clean underwear, and have to do the wash. Our house is a mess, our lives are a mess, even our car is a mess. I got a ticket, just like last year, because our registration was due for renewal in July and we are late. Like I said, mess. H. promised to go to DMV weeks ago. 
  3. My beauty is a mess. Hair frizzy, toenails too long, polish all chipped. Like to dress nicely even to work at my desk at home, b/c feel more professional. But yesterday, went through about seven outfits before I found one I felt good in. Oh,and those rejected outfits? In a heap in the bedroom, waiting to be respected and returned to the closet.
  4. And most of all, our finances are a mess. We owe a lot of money and it's scary. It's shameful and embarrassing and dark. We work hard, but we also battle laziness, inertia, fear and depression, and we have to keep up with the IRS, personal loans, health insurance and more. At the moment, my health insurance is cancelled. None of us in this little family has ever been in that situation for more than about two days. But I'm waiting on two checks, and will reinstate soon. H.'s and Fig's policies are paid up to date.
  5. Oh, and some family members told us we're a mess, too. I already named the cherry on top, so this must be the extra rainbow sprinkles. There are some outspoken people who have as much as said so. And that makes me angry and sad.
I can't keep going, can't keep listing. It's just too much. The great irony of it all is that I've been raising money for the soup kitchen in town [via the bike ride and bake sale] and I don't even have bike shorts with padding for that long ride, just my regular skorts. But I emailed Sally, who bikes, and if I can squeeze into them, am going to borrow a pair.

I thank you for being there, for reading this, for caring to read it. I really do.

  1. Showered and put on nice outfit.
  2. Scrawled Chance to change for the better in the good Gratitude journal I bought on Cape Cod two summers ago.


  1. Alice, far be it from me to dole out hard and fast advice. We have been through many many a messy dip in our lives, too. I do find that when I wake up and realize I'm in a mess, circling in the wagons helps. That means NO volunteer work, no extra niceness to anyone but the 3 people who count most--you, H and Fig. It can be hard and sometimes sound mean-spirited, but almost everyone will understand if you say honestly, "We're going through a tough patch now. Everything will be ok in the end, but I need to say no and just focus on my little family's priorities." Best of luck, my friend. I'm pulling for you all. xoxo

  2. Kim, I thank you. I really do. love alice

  3. Ailce, when is the bike ride again? I have a pair of padded bike shorts that will def fit you. let me know. if it's not this weekend, I can pop them in the mail and you'll get it in plenty of time.

  4. As Aibileen said, "You is kind, you is smart, you is important"!!!

  5. Hi, Alice. I read this post yesterday and have been thinking about it. It has been a long, very difficult year for your family. Try not to be so hard on yourself. You look beautiful to me and what’s more, you are beautiful inside. Both you and H. are two of the nicest, smartest, most generous, good-hearted people I have ever met. You are doing the best you can, (Private Benjamin, etc.) As far as your #5, whoever those people are, they have no right to make you feel sad; no one has the right to judge unless they have walked in another’s shoes. (Okay, give me their name and phone numbers.) Plus, you and H. are creative personalities; I can totally get things like putting off the trip to DMV, etc. If I wasn’t married to a practical, organized engineer, I fear that I might be in a similar boat. (I hate paperwork!) I guess God sends us wake up calls when He thinks we need them; if we ignore them, they will grow stronger. Good luck. Will try to call later. Love, your goofy cousin and friend, Linda

  6. Kim, I thank you. We left for ride today. Celia, love that quote! and Lin, you crack me up. thanks for your thoughtful reply. I can just picture you making those phone calls. I know you would. Thank you. love, alice xooxox