This weekend, there was a big party that marked a fresh start for me. But before we get into all of that, I thought I would once (and this is it, and this time I mean it) provide some context. Here's the rundown:
In April 1972, I was born. Stop calculating. I'm on the downslope of my 30s.
At some point in 1975, I had my first big crush. His name was Antoine. We called him Twany. His killer afro has a role in many of my preschool memories.
In the fall of 1977, I sat on the circle painted on the floor in my kindergarten class next the boy I assured I would be the stewardess on the plane he was determined to pilot. It's all good -- I was wearing a hot pink Ms. magazine t-shirt.
During the school year of 1983, I went to a sock hop at school. With a boy as my sort of date. We were so nervous, we never did dance together.
In April 1986, I had my first real kiss. He had braces. It was thrilling and sloppy.
In October 1986, I went on my first real date. The boy was 6 good inches shorter than me. Really.
In April 1987, I went on my first date with an older boy. A senior. He spent all of his money on a cab getting to my house since my parents insisted on meeting him before we went out. My dad drove us to Water Tower Place to see a movie and I paid (he should have taken the train) and when I dropped popcorn on my itty bitties, he grabbed it and ate it and laughed. Later he kissed me (much better without braces) and asked me to prom. The prom thing never materialized. I went home both thrilled and mortified.
In November 1988, I went to an all-ages show and met the boy who would become my first real boyfriend. Swoon. I was in love. Big time. I laughed, I sighed, I made mix tapes. It was so good for a moment in time. Until...oh, you know how teen love turns out. [So much more after the jump.]
In October 1990, I called it off for good. All kinds of college crazinessness ensued.
After that, a year living in Wrigleyville in an unhealthy relationship interspersed with being madly in unrequited love with a co-worker who admitted out loud he had an affinity for "the plain girl in the room, the one who doesn't stand out or shine." Thrilling, baffling.
Then there was grad school. Serious boys and surfers and studying and whatnot. It was thrilling and empowering and the dawn of a new feminist day. There was an engineer, a surfer, a bartender/Russian history student, and probably some other blah blah blah no one needs to discuss again ever. Yup.
In July 1997, I got a job at a restaurant and met the man who would one day only be known here as The Ex. He made laugh and even better, I made him laugh. It was the big time, he was The One. At least for that moment in time.
In August 1998, we moved in together. I smoked a bunch of cloves to get through the first month. He gave away his girly mag collection, neon beer signs and three of his four couches. I shared my tools.
In August 1999, we moved across the country to Chicago. We pooled our money. We visited the Corn Palace. We made a home in Chicago together.
In December 2001, we got engaged. Nine months later, we got married. It was so lovely. Perfect, I thought. It was just thrilling. But with in-laws.
In September 2004, we had Lil E. That day was sunshine and pain medication and tears and the centering of the universe. Purely thrilling.
In September 2007, my marriage fell apart in one night that led to five weeks of hell.
In October 2007, I left.With Lil E. I don't think I realized I was packing for good. Or was willing to admit it. I was.
In November 2007, I filed for divorce. I was calmer than I expected I'd be. I was very, very angry. But also surprisingly calm.
In January 2009, after much drama, many tears, way more tense text sessions than one person needs, some negotiations, as much fierceness as I could muster, more peace-seeking and happiness than I expected, being asked to leave a courtroom conference room for yelling, and a salary's worth of attorney fees, my divorce was finalized by a judge. It had been unofficially over for me for almost a year-and-a-half. My dad and lawyer was there. The Ex was not. It was thrilling and relieving. And there were absolutely no regrets.
Last weekend, there was the party to celebrate it all. Officially, it was a divorceabration. But of course, none of it would have happened had I not made all those fractional turns along the way. The celebration was four months after the finalization, but compared to amount of time it took me to get the papers signed, it was really not more than a brief moment away.
I celebrated with amazing women who have been with me during many of the parts of my life listed above. And it was all hosted generously by mom, who has been there through it all. All that I've gone through, put me in this place on the circle.
All of them have stood with me -- from the Ms. t-shirt to the dorm room dramas and dancing and now, divorce -- so it seemed so right to have them there to toast to this new tiny turn, this beginning with me.
It was great. It was thrilling. And I can't wait to tell you about it. I will, I will. But first you needed to know, for the first (I hope?) and last (for sure) time, how it all came to be.