This is my final day…to be 49 anyway. Tomorrow I hit a monumental milestone…the Big Five-0. As I have said repeatedly…I do not feel, act or look my age. Yet I readily admit…this birthday is kicking my ass as no other ever has. The last one that was this bad was twenty-nine…and ironically if you asked how old I feel I would say 29. Why twenty-nine?
I had four children between the ages of four and nine. We lived in the middle of a nasty small town in Texas…right down to the corrupt sheriff. My now ex-husband was a self-righteous Pentecostal preacher…and I had already begun to see through the hypocrisy. And I went back to college…that’s right I STARTED university when I was almost thirty. Oh, and I weighed more than I ever have…from all the emotional baggage of a failing marriage.
I remember sitting in this huge lecture hall. I had done so well on the entrance exam that they gave me credit for English 101 and 102. So this was American Lit: Civil War to the Present. I sat there…not the front row…but the second. I was a size 22 or 24. I was a decade older than anyone else in that room. And I thought…What are you doing here? You don’t belong with all these young, perfect people. I thought I would flunk out after that first summer session. Instead within a week, the class lectures became more a dialogue between me and the professor. My adult daughter tells me that one of her professors says…Does anyone know the answer? Anyone but Mere-Mere? That was me.
But by far that course forced me to read the hardest book of my life…not Shakespeare, not Beowulf (never finished the damn thing), not Pride and Prejudice…what most today would consider a novella by Kate Chopin…The Awakening. It was the story of my life. A wife and mother in a very unhappy marriage…except she was middle class enough to have a whole summer holiday instead of sitting in a classroom full of eighteen year olds. She has an affair and although the ending is not specific it leaves you with the impression that she committed suicide by swimming out to sea to drown. Not a good reminder of what being twenty-nine and in an unhappy marriage can do.
It was another six years before I found the strength to leave that marriage…and then (as always) only for my children’s sake. But the seeds were sown with that book.
So looking back on the twenty-one years since then…that is a long time…what would I say to that woman?
Do NOT settle. Almost everyone in life settles…for the job/career that makes money but they don’t really like. For the friends that are more acquaintances. The car…the house… All of those little compromises, not in the good way either, that eat up our happiness, our soul and our joy. They often kill us…kill our dreams…long before we breathe our last.
But the one that kills us most…NEVER ever settle for the wrong person. Do not trade your body…just sex…for something that is not and never can be what you need. You deserve better. So fucking much better. Hold out…wait…for the right one. Not the perfect one because such a person does not exist. Hell, if they did they would want nothing to do with your imperfect ass. No, not perfect, just horribly flawed in all the right ways for you.
How will you know though? You always know. Your gut instinct will tell you. Learn to listen to that little voice in your head that says…something is not right here. Stop trying to quiet the one voice that is your best friend. Give into it…and find your happiness.
I just realized something…this is not what I would say to my twenty-nine year old self…but my fifty. And all of you… It all goes back to that writing I did on Brand Tara and the ‘central themes’ of my work (glorified porn though it be):
Love is the only thing that makes it worth living…
And if you are fucking lucky enough to have that kind of love…then feed it…your time, your attention, communication, affection…and the kinkiest, most frequent fucking sex your dirty mind can come up with. I have heard it said that the secret to a long, happy marriage is to never go to bed angry. I personally think it is to always…give at least one Happy O each and every day to the person you love…and get one (or a dozen) in return. Nothing says I give a damn about you…like open legs (mouth and yes…on occasion the back door too) and hard cock (or tongue or fingers…or toys…or whatever the fuck you can find).