Wednesday, December 24, 2014

the most wonderful time?

Happiest Holidays to all of you who have read I Guess We’re Through since we launched it last month.  I’m blown away by the support, the sweet comments, the private, heartfelt messages, and the Facebook “likes” and “shares.”

This new venture, a collaboration with my fellow Fashion Police colleage, Raquel Kelley, moved from the back burner to the front after we lost our fearless, fierce, off-the-charts funny, huge-hearted leader, Joan Rivers. Being abruptly unemployed allowed me the time to make this blog happen. It’s the window that opened after the door sadly closed.
I firmly believe that there’s always going to be a window. Sometimes you’ll need to chip off the paint to pry it open, but it’ll be there. Joan knew that all too well and as you can see, she’s up there looking over us as we practice what she preached!

So if the “hap-happiest season of all” seems like the “crap-crappiest season of all,” just know that this too shall pass. Hold your head up high, celebrate what you have, and toast to all the love in your life. That’s what I’ll be doing!

Warm wishes from my family and me for a happy, healthy holiday, filled with lots of love!

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

my rock

What a rock I had! It was absolutely gorgeous, shiny, brilliantly bright and larger than life! I was constantly complimented on it and I could tell some people even envied what I had. My rock made me feel good. All I had to do was glance at it and I knew just how much I was loved. Lest anyone think I’m referring to the dazzling sparkler that once adorned my ring finger, I’m not! My rock was my mother.

Every girl (and probably every guy) needs a rock, regardless of how tough you think you are, or how amicable and smooth you think the divorce process will be. Whether it’s a mother, aunt, sister, or friend, find someone to hold you up when you’re about to plummet... and someone who’ll pick you up when you do.

Here’s what a rock does:

  • She makes you meatloaf, mashed potatoes, and peas and delivers them to your house in time for dinner so you don’t have to lift a finger.
  • She takes your kids for an afternoon or a sleepover so you can have a little break.
  • She goes with you to interview attorneys.
  • She calms your raw nerves while sitting shotgun as you drive to the courthouse.
  • She tells you to meet her at her nail shop and surprises you with a spa pedicure.
  • She bellies up to the bar with you to toast your triumphs or drown your sorrows.

My rock did that and so much more. My victories were hers. My defeats cut her to the core. Divorce hurts, but your rock helps you heal. Mine certainly did.

Today is my mother’s birthday. Under normal circumstances, we’d be eating popovers with strawberry butter, and drinking Champagne at our favorite department store cafe. But things aren’t normal anymore because she’s not here. My mother passed away in July of 2012, one month after my divorce was finally final. She was strong for me and taught me how to be a fighter. Even though she could be as tough as nails, she was no match for breast cancer. I wouldn’t say it got the best of her, because I got the best of her. I got her time. I got her devotion. I got her strength and I got her love, and not even the cancer could take that away.

My best advice is to find a rock! Take it from someone who doesn’t accept help comfortably, you don’t want to go at this alone! Let someone in. Let someone love you, take care of you, feed you, comfort you, hold you, laugh with you, drink with you, and cry with you. If no one’s knocking on your door, go out and knock on theirs! Find your diamond when times are rough, and when you do you will have the most precious gem of all... just like I did! 

Happy Birthday, Mom! I love you more!

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

worth a thousand words

Long before malls were dotted with the Picture People, before families dressed in jeans and white button-down shirts and said “cheese” on the beach, before Tiny Prints, there was the Sharell Family Christmas card.

It all started when I was four. My mom and I were twins, dressed like real-life cameo brooches. Over the years, my brothers donned Mickey Mouse sweaters, and we paid homage to movies like Urban Cowboy, and my all-time favorite, The Breakfast Club. That’s me above, striking Molly Ringwald’s pose from the movie’s poster. Epic!

It was no easy feat. My mother left no rack unturned as she scoured department stores for the perfect outfits. Armed with bottles of hairspray, brushes, makeup, and wardrobe changes, we’d head to Hollywood for our photo shoots. These were arduous sessions that lasted for hours with my mother shouting “big eyes, BIG EYES” so we wouldn’t squint.

It didn’t stop there. Next came the proofs, the graphic design, and finding the perfect saying for inside the card. My mother found it impersonal not to include a note, so she’d be up till all hours writing. Envelopes were addressed by hand and given the right stamp -- the Madonna and Child for our Catholic friends, and a holiday stamp for all others. Finally, they’d be on their way!

Did I want to deal with this massive aggravation, ridiculous stress, the meticulous detail, the expense, and added work when I had a family of my own? HELL YES!!!

My family’s card said we were happy. It showed how much we’d grown, how cute my youngest brother had gotten, and how big we could make our hair! But MY card would pull double duty. It would say Happy Holidays AND “We’re Married,” “There’s a Bun in the Oven,” and “Baby Makes Four!” 

There would be only one card, though, with both my children and their parents. By the time Christmas rolled around the following year, I had already been separated for two months. Though I was in no mood for Christmas, I sent a card with pictures of the kids and signed it from both my soon-to-be ex and me. That bought me time -- time to figure out what was going on in my marriage, time to avoid having anyone speculate or ask. My inner circle was privy to what was going on and that was enough.

The following year, I sent a card with a picture of my kids, but I only signed their names and mine. Tricky, right? That was my subtle way of saying it's over. Only those who paid attention to detail would get it.

Then one year I decided that's it! I was ready to let my world know, loud and clear, that we were a party of three. Full disclosure -- my friend happened to have taken a killer shot of the kids and me at a party! Nonetheless, it was a brave move that said so many things -- it said he’s literally no longer in the picture. It said we had nothing to hide or be ashamed of, that we’re still happy, and that we’re moving on. Did tongues start wagging? You bet your ass, but that happens when split happens, regardless!

These days I Nancy Reagan it and “just say no.” No to the hassle, no to the photo shoots, the design, the special stamps, the post office. It’s freeing, really -- the pressure of creating a card worthy of my family’s legacy is gone. I have too much on my plate right now to worry about what this year’s Christmas card will really be saying, so I’m done. Now, if we happen to take an off-the-charts, super-cute picture… well, that’s another story!

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

got gas?

My ex-husband loved himself a good fire in the fireplace -- the kind that crackles, warms the cockles, and makes the house smell all log-cabiney... the kind that’s a pain in the ass to build and maintain. He always did the dirty work and I appreciated the fruits of his labor. At the same time, I also wanted to be able to walk through the door, flip a switch, and (poof!) have a roaring fire at my fingertips. Gas logs were out of the question… until he moved out. One call to my handyman and I was in business.

It was a home improvement laden with symbolism. Getting gas logs meant I was calling the shots, I was in control and could do with my house what I wanted. It meant that I no longer had to compromise, and that while I was losing many things, I was also gaining a different kind of independence.

On a cool fall night, I poured myself a glass of Cabernet, lit my fake fire, and got out a legal pad of paper. At the top I wrote, “What I Hate About You,” and proceeded to write down all those things that bugged... the stuff I put up with and wouldn’t miss, things like:

  • What your lower lip looks like when it’s stuffed with chewing tobacco
  • How you insisted on buzz cuts when I loved your hair long
  • The Reyn Spooner Hawaiian shirts that you still wear even though 1988 is OVER!
  • How you’re still involved with your fraternity, thought you graduated decades ago 
  • That you sleep naked!  Hello?  What if there's an earthquake?
  • That you own and proudly wear a Speedo… in PUBLIC!
I ripped each item off in strips, rolled it in a ball, thought about how much it annoyed the hell out of me, then tossed it in the fire and watched it burn. That lacked a little of the drama I was going for since I was dealing with a gas fire, but nonetheless, it eventually burned. And with it, a piece of my pent up anger went, as well.

Each time I turn the key to light my fireplace, I feel empowered. “My Way” plays in my head because that’s how I can do things now. Regrets? I’ve had a few, but then again, too few to mention… but mention them I will, because split happens.