Me, Myself & Jenksie Cat

Warning: This post contains a few “oh snap!”s and at least one “oh no she didn’t!!” Proceed at your own risk…

An open letter to every boy who ever broke my heart.
(yes. this is happening.)

Dearest ex-dearest(s):

If you think this post is about you, it probably is. (But also really, really isn’t.)

This letter began as musings that tossed around in my head while I was running tonight. I think about you sometimes when I run…and I’m sorry to admit these thoughts are not always nice. Maybe because running is one of the times in life when I like myself the most…

Still, I got a little sad with each doo-wop song that shuffled on my iPod, and so I started to get a little pissed off. (This pissed-ness aided, no doubt, by the one-two punch that is Beyoncé & The Raconteurs, also on regular earbud rotation.) While jogging along to finger-wagging pop songs about Moving On and Being Okay About It, I thought about how I’ve spent years of my life waiting for some boy to like me back (or like me’front… it’s an old joke. still love it).

And where has all this waiting gotten me? Back to the same old place… just me, myself, and my cat.

It’s been almost two months since the most recent breakup. And tonight was maybe the first night since then that I’ve felt 100% content to be alone. Sure, I’m okay about it most of the time. But tonight — this little night that I spent here all by my lonesome — was a night I wouldn’t trade for time with you or any other boy. (Besides, you know, the standard Jon Hamm / Adam Scott / Gene Kelly fantasy list.)
And I mean that. For once. 100%.

This feeling is kind of a novelty. This “happy to be alone” feeling. And it’s growing on me. Tonight I played piano, cooked super good vegetarian food, went running in perfect weather, watched The Daily Show. Things I enjoy, but often put off when we were together, so that I could spend time with you.

How many nights has my piano sat neglected in the corner, serving as nothing more than a perching-place for the cat? It’s too bad, because when I take the time to practice, I’m actually pretty good. When my hands and mind and heart and ears are all in…we make beautiful music together.
Music makes me feel smart. And creative. And powerful. And happy.

And I am those things. Without you.

So why am I writing all this? Well, mostly for my own good. And for the enjoyment of anyone I know who’s also had their heart stomped on by someone who promised they weren’t going anywhere… (Because remember, this both is and is really, really not about you.)

But it’s also for you. I sincerely hope that you read this.
In fact, there are a lot of things I hope for you…

I do hope that you end up happy.
I hope you learn to love someone else as much as you love yourself.
I hope someday you finally learn the difference between “your” and “you’re.” (And, no, you’re not the only one… But, really. Just. Figure it out.)
I also hope that the next time you find yourself beside whatever leggy 22-year-old you’re currently passing time with, you pause for just a second to think about these legs. (These legs. Remember them?)

doublemint.

These legs have walked in Paris, Rome, your bedroom.
They ran a marathon.
They’ve put toes in the ocean on both sides of the world.
They’ve stood onstage (in heels) while I made hundreds of people laugh.
They still look goooood in them jeans.
And, as of tonight, these legs are no longer afraid to walk away from you.*

*Cue Beyoncé-finger-wag.

So, dearest ex-dearest, as the list of boys who thought I was worth leaving behind keeps getting longer, the list of reasons why you’ll regret it grows, too.

(I might regret writing this in the morning. But probably not. I’ve always thought it’s best to be honest. That’s yet another way in which we’ll have to agree to disagree.)

Have a good night,
sj

first day of school

Well friends, summer is coming to an end, and so is my month-long blog vacation. (I like to imagine the blog on a literal vacation. Went on a little blog cruise, ate way too much blog buffet, then one night at the karaoke bar, met a nice little blog from Phoenix and had itself a fling…so much long-distance commenting now. It’s sweet; they’re trying to make it work…)

There’s no excuse that good. I’ve just been disconnected. And I’ve let this group challenge slip. Hard. But the latest group question (mine, incidentally) feels appropriate for this week:

:::  Since this is the season of bouquets of sharpened pencils (You’ve Got Mail, obv), tell about a favorite school supply memory. This could be “I always loved markers!” or a specific anecdote about a particular item you remember (which, for me, might be my Lisa Frank Trapper Keeper. pink. cats on it. the best.)

There was no question mark involved in there, I know. But…you get it.  :::

So… to answer my own question: I think 4th grade was the year when we were first allowed to have Trapper Keepers. (That’s right, because I once inhabited a universe in which one was not allowed to have a Trapper Keeper. The 90s. A simpler time.) A lot of elementary school is a blur now, but I do remember the excitement of brand new school supplies. Roaming the bright and shiny aisles of Wal-Mart, official supply list in hand, I was free to decide what kind of person I wanted to be that year. I had a lot on my mind: When am I too old for kitten photo folders? Am I still a Tweety Bird person? Or is this more a Magic Eye kind of year?

Big decisions.

But when it came to my first Trapper Keeper, there was no contest y’all. (Ladies, I think you feel me…) It had to be Lisa Frank.

And this Trapper Keeper, you guys. It was everything a nerdy girl could want. Bright pink, happy kitties (of course), and ample space to store all my folders and doodles. Bellissimo.

I still feel like smiling when it’s school supply season in the land of retail. Few things in life hold the simple promise of a brand new 8-count box of Crayola markers…

Yesterday was the first day of school in Springfield. And tomorrow is move-in day at ol’ Drury U. My first day of college was 10 years ago. Let’s digest that for a second.

♥ The first of just so many roomie photos ♥

It was a muggy, rainy August day in Springfield — not unlike today. Perfectly imperfect for hauling boxes of belongings up two flights of stairs in already under-air-conditioned conditions. I had a lot on my mind: What happens if my computer gets wet? Will my hair withstand the humidity? Am I still a Spongebob person?

And I’m pretty sure I had no idea what I was doing. Just none. But at least my cluelessness was carefully organized. Orientation and freshman seminar classes and a campus full of peers all figuring themselves out, too. Sweet, sweet institutions of higher learning…move-in day to graduation, it’s clear where the whole thing is headed. (Even if it isn’t so clear where exactly you are headed…majoring in English and creative writing just because you want to follow your dreams, for example…)

Back to school. August-to-May. That’s how I measured my life for 17 years.

In adult life, beginnings and endings are rarely so clearly defined. And even when they are, nobody gives you a supply list for, say, ending a relationship or starting a new life plan. (But if they did, curiously some items would remain the same: kleenex, snacks, something to write with, and, of course, new shoes.)