- Being disgusted
- Being brokenhearted
- Being cute
(I’ve been reading Amy Blair’s newsletter about her own divorce, The D-Train, and feel inspired. Go, Amy. Go, me.)
Do you remember the 2016 election cycle? It was 247 years ago at this point. But there was this moment where poor, uncharismatic Jeb Bush was speaking to a group and at the end, getting no reaction, he prompts them with, “Please clap.” Oh, Jeb. No, Jeb.
I’ve been taking absolute scads of pictures of myself over the past nearly 10 weeks of this ridiculous ordeal—which reminds me, I need a snappy name for it that combines the horror of the pandemic itself with getting left on the first day of it. Up until the week before, I’d been going to the gym between three and SEVEN days a week to get in shape and (hopefully) lose weight. I was super in shape, but hadn’t really been losing weight.
When the Fourth was put on full-time work-from-home duty, as opposed to his traditional two-day WFH schedule, I really adhered to a rigorous diet and could tell I was finally losing. And then when he walked out, I got to experience the blessing and curse of the Divorce Diet, which scrubbed a lot of that extra weight off. I was carrying more than pounds, I was carrying so much resentment for the years of carrying all the responsibilities alone, for swallowing so many feelings, for feeling so alone and frustrated, for not being considered. When this happened, I put it all down.
And suddenly, I remembered that I was kind of … attractive? And I bought clothes that fit properly (I sort of had to, as my jeans literally fell off my body). I dyed my hair for the first time in many years. I started smiling—if only to stop weeping, even from behind the mask. I wore jewelry. I tried, after feeling invisible for years.
Part of it was for the Fourth. I so wanted him to see me, again, looking like I did years ago. So sparkly and so pretty and so alive. I didn’t realize what I’m still coming to realize, that he doesn’t see me at all and hadn’t for a while. And when he sees me now, it’s not as a partner, or even really a person.
But part of it was for myself. Because I simply felt good letting all that go, both physically and emotionally. I’m taking care of myself for the first time in many years of taking care of the children, the pets, the house, the business of life—and the Fourth who, frankly, needed a lot of taking care of. I wear perfume (I smell like the cookies I don’t eat anymore!) and I love my freckles (so did the Fourth, and I get it now) and I love that I see the hourglass shape of me again.
So, back to Jeb Bush. I take these pictures of myself, generally buried among all the pictures that I take of my kids or plants. And I look at them and remember who that lady is in them. This beautiful lady who forgot herself for a while and is remembering again, thanks to this truly terrible, awful, shitty betrayal in the worst, most stressful time in modern history.
I post them on my Facebook page or Twitter account, where for YEARS my only avatar was of the Virgin Mary statue in our backyard or some plant I’d found. And my friends and kind Internet strangers tell me that I’m stunning. My friends, at least, are legally obligated to say that, but I think it’s true. If this is my “please clap” moment, I will take it and thank Jeb for the inspiration, while apologizing that I’m not getting the paltry applause he got, but a standing ovation.
I’m angry at the Fourth for doing this terrible thing to me and the kids. But I’m thankful. Because I look effing great, and he does not, by any angle. That’s his own deal to fix. Please effing clap.