At this very moment I am laying naked on crisp white sheets, fresh out of the shower, enjoying the cool breeze of my fan. It is an absolutely delicious feeling. You may think my motivation for sharing this piece of information is to be titillating or fresh but let me assure you it is not.  I am having one of those moments where I have been given the gift of pure gratitude and grace.  So profound is my recognition of this gift I have been given that I am quite sure my world will never look exactly the same again.

You are probably asking your self, what in god’s name could be so earth shattering about a state of nakedness?  If you are then it is because you are one of the lucky ones to whom this state does not carry with it any particular baggage; but for me, the fact that I walked naked from the shower, through my house and remained unclothed for any length of time, is nothing short of remarkable.  It is proof of a level of healing that I wasn’t even aware had occurred.  And in a strange way, it is evidence that a very old, very deep wound has finally closed, and in turn, it has taken the sting out of a much fresher cut.

I spent twenty years of my life with a man who used words as weapons.  I have carried the things he has said to me every where I go like tattoos on my skin, like scar tissue from a terrible accident. One of his weapons of choice involved my appearance.  I was told on a regular basis how fat and disgusting I was, covered in cellulite, gross to look at.  He would whisper in my ear, “guys may think you are pretty but thats only because they haven’t seen you naked, they dont know about your fat, your scars, your revolting body.” This was said to me so often and with such hatred that I saw the person he described when I looked in the mirror.  No amount of compliments or attention from anyone else could erase the image I saw.

This perception of myself, so firmly implanted in my psyche resulted in an inability to be naked in any place other than the shower.  I spent the bulk of my adult life paralyzed  at the thought of walking without clothing from my bedroom to the bathroom even if the whole house was empty.  I couldn’t look at my own body and the feeling of standing up with nothing on repulsed me.  I needed to be wrapped in a towel, a bathrobe, anything to rid me of the sensation of being exposed.

When my husband and I finally divorced I was rid of a great many demons but the image of my body as disgusting could not be exorcised so easily.  He sensed this and continued to remind me at every opportunity how untouchable I was.  I overcame so many fears and difficulties when I was finally on my own, was incredibly  brave in so many ways and yet I still wrapped a towel around me the second my clothes came off.

Fast forward to almost four years later, I have spent most of this spring and summer nursing a badly broken heart.  The man who I fell deeply in love with after my divorce, the man who I thought was the person I would spend the rest of my life with, had told me that I was not his “happily ever after” and ended our relationship.  The past few months have been filled with a whirlwind of emotions; I have been hurt and angry and sat for far too long on the pity pot.  I have spent many days unable to get out of bed, and an equal amount of time on a dating frenzy hoping to erase him from my heart.

I resented that I had wasted 3 years of my life with this man and I was furious with him for hurting me when I had already been through so much.  I was certain it would have been better if we had never known each other at all.  Some of the cruelest words to ever come out of my mouth were aimed at him during this time and I am ashamed to admit I took some pleasure in his pain.

What does this sad break up have to do with being naked you ask?  The thing is, he is the reason I was able to walk to and from the shower wearing nothing at all, he is the reason I can lay here in that state of undress for any length of time.  It is because of him that I can look at myself and see a perfectly acceptable body, scars cellulite and all.  It didn’t happen right away, I was barely aware that it was happening at all, but in our time together, his kindness and sincere love for me slowly changed the image in my mirror.  He would look at me and tell me how beautiful I was, how desirable, how perfect my body looked just the way it was.  Over time I gradually began to see myself the way he did.  The angry hateful words I wore like shackles began to fall away.

This is a gift he gave to me and no one can take it away.  He has marked my soul in a very permanent, beautiful way.  Knowing this allows me to look at our relationship not as a waste but as an important chapter in my story.  I am still sad that it ended but I am grateful as well for what it gave me.  I am changed, in a very meaningful and powerful manner, and right now that is all I need.


Love and other sappy stuff

Posted: August 30, 2011 in Uncategorized

So my first three blogs have been a little fresh, hopefully
witty, and somewhat irreverent.  It is my plan to continue in this vein, however on today, the day my son begins his final year of high school I feel compelled to share an essay I have written for a competition entitled, ‘When did you first understand the meaning of love?” I hope
you will forgive me the bold face sentimentality and enjoy it.

The answer to the question of when I first understood the meaning of love changed drastically and often during much of my life.  If you asked me that question at six, I may have described a time when I was sick and I laid on my mother’s bed while she stroked my forehead and gently tucked my hair behind my ear.   When I was ten I most likely would have referred to the arrival of a new kitten.  Sadly at thirteen I think the answer most likely involved a particularly fabulous pair of suede cowboy boots.  My reply at fifteen would most certainly be all about my fantastic incredible boyfriend who I would love forever and ever.  In my twenties when I became engaged to the man I thought I would be with until death do us part, I was sure that I finally understood.  Despite my utter conviction at each of these moments that I had discovered the true depth and meaning of love, full comprehension would not take place until July 9th,1994.

On this day my son, Aidan Jamieson McCarthy was born.  At just about 11 pounds, he was too big for me to deliver naturally and
so he made his arrival via c-section or the escape hatch as I call it.  In preparation I was strapped down to the table, arms outstretched in what can only be described as a position resembling Christ on the cross.  This imagery was not lost on me as I gave over my body in order to give birth to my son.  The recognition of my depth of love began at this moment when I realized I did not for a moment care what happened to me aslong as this creature whom I had not even met arrived safely

When they finally put him in my arms a wave of fear passed through my body. With sudden and complete clarity I recognized that I could now be hurt more deeply than ever before in my life. Prior to this moment, the idea of something terrible happening to my parents, my siblings or my partner was the worst pain I could imagine enduring.  I knew the instant I looked into Aidan’s face, inhaled his scent, felt his skin on mine, that any tragedy that could befall me thusfar paled in comparison to the devastation should anything happen to him.

Great love, pure love, carries with it the capacity for great pain, there is no getting around it, it is the balance and order the universe demands.  In that perfect, awe inspiring and terrifying moment, not only did I have an understanding of my own capacity for love, but for the first time I truly understood the extent of my parents love for me.  I believe in my heart that if I could have known before I was pregnant what I would feel in that holiest of moments, I would never have had a child.  I simply would not have been brave enough, could not have believed I was up to the task.

I have learned over the 17 years that have followed, that I am more courageous than I ever could have imagined.  The blessings my two beautiful children bring me and the lessons they teach me continue to humble me on a daily basis.  The gratitude and respect I now have for my own mother’s bravery and sacrifice grows with each new parenting hurdle I clear.  These daily gifts result in a deep in my soul understanding that I am part of something bigger than myself.  This to me is the true meaning of love.

Hello, my name is Deirdre, and I am a female sports fan.  Phew, I’ve admitted it, it’s out there, and like they say in every twelve step program, the truth will set you free.  Let’s be clear here, I am not a fan of female sports, as a matter of fact, I couldn’t find them more boring, (pause here for angry muttering from my fellow feminists) I am a female fan of the least feminine sports there are, football and hockey, with a healthy interest in Baseball as well.

This wasn’t always the case, at the ripe old age of 44 I can only truly claim to have been a fan for two full seasons.  Although what I lack in longevity, I more than make up for in enthusiasm.  Never one to do anything halfway, I have taken to being a sports fan with the same dogged determination and A type personality that has shaped my entire life.  I pride myself in being able to speak intelligently about players, games, drafts, trades, and yes I even tried my luck in a football pool this past fall; consistently placing number one among female participants, not to mention more than half of the men as well. No, I did not choose by uniform color or cutest players, although I would be lying if I did not admit that I have favorites in both those categories (Saints for uniform, Wes Welker for player, sigh, he’s dreamy)

In addition, despite considering myself a rational person, I have dove headfirst into the pool of sports superstitions. You know where you believe that actions taken or not taken by you, single handedly effect the outcome of a game, a championship, perhaps a whole season?  I have many of them but most recently I have become convinced that there is power in my pigtails.  When I wear them, teams win, when I don’t, they lose, simple as that.  By the wayBostonfans, you are welcome for the recent Stanley Cup Win.  My attendance at four playoff games sporting the magic pigtails was the Bruins ace in the hole.  Ok, the pigtails AND Tim Thomas, it was a team effort.

For those who still doubt their power, please take note of this picture of me with four of the Red Sox, the game after this shot was taken, not only did we win, but each player standing with me hit a home run.  In fact it was the beginning of Carl Crawford’s turn around; although his recent injury may require additional pigtail time.

So where did this newly found sports love begin you ask?  How does a Theatre and Communications professor with an over developed sense of feminist outrage climb on the sports bandwagon?  Well, it began innocently enough with the development of my present relationship.  I had a new boyfriend, simple as that, and he had a season ticket to the Patriots.  We were in that giddy beginning stage where you pretended to be interested in each other’s hobbies and past times.  This meant he would attend plays with me, and that I was invited to my very first football game.  This invitation was not without stipulations; however, the coveted Patriots ticket came with a list of do’s and don’ts.  The do’s included; drink beer, burp, swear and bring something yummy to the tailgate.  The don’ts were simple, don’t complain about the weather and don’t ask to leave early.

I showed up on that cold Sunday morning wearing layers, armed with a huge pot of chili, and feeling a little out of my element.  Nothing like a horde of hungry men complimenting my cooking to make me feel right at home; there is nothing on earth that makes me happier than people liking my food. I settled in, tried not to think about the fact that I was drinking a beer at 11 am,(how else was I going to work up a good belch?) and focused on my swearing. My new guy was very helpful, “come on baby, you can do it, say fuck those fuckers!”

By the time we entered the stadium I was feeling good, belching with ease ready to let the f-bombs fly at the first sign of controversy. Going through the gates was like nothing I had ever experienced before; the sheer number of people, the palatable excitement, the shouting and cheering, my heart was literally pounding in my chest.  Going to a play is nothing like this! I felt like I was swimming in a sea of testosterone, and god help me, I kinda liked it.

This was not at all in keeping with my liberal feminist agenda, I should have been disgusted, annoyed, perhaps even a little frightened by this over the top display of male chest pounding. Instead, I was, hmmmm how should I put it, well, I was…….excited.  When the game began and I witnessed up close and personal all those big muscular men in tight pants alternating between displays of athletic grace and shows of brutal strength, the unexpected happened, I got unbelievably horny.  I even found myself thoroughly enjoying the cheerleaders with their skimpy outfits and perky pom poms.  I was swept away by the sheer display of physical beauty and primitive behavior displayed on the field below me.

I became addicted to way I felt when I was a part of this world and my guy became addicted to capping off a great football game with a slightly drunk, unbelievably horny girlfriend.  It really was a win-win situation and it is no surprise that I became a regular fixture at Gillette stadium for the rest of the season.  It was only a matter of time before he introduced me to hockey and I discovered how much I liked the sound of bodies slamming into the boards, and that horn they blow when we score a goal, oh man.  This stuff was better than porn (not that I would know anything about that) How the hell did I miss out on this for all those years?

This does not mean that I have abandoned all my feminist roots.  I still get mad over the glass ceiling and unfair pay scales.  I will always fight to protect woman against domestic violence and sexual assault.  I will teach my daughter to be strong and independent.  But I would be lying if I didn’t say it feels good to occasionally let go of my righteous indignation and be part of something bigger than me.  I like the collective feeling of being a fan, sharing a love of our teams with complete strangers and rooting for the good guys.  Its fun, its exciting, and it appeals to my most basic instincts.  There are some that may call me a fraud, a band wagon fan, a johnny come lately.  My response to that? Fuck those fuckers!

When I attended game four of the Stanley Cup Finals and got to see the Bruins completely spank the Canucks, I thought the evening could not get any better. I was wrong. The frosting on my happy cake was applied in, of all places, the ladies room. As I was washing my hands a lovely young thing who looked to be somewhere in her twenties approached me timidly and said, “I hope you don’t mind me saying this, and please don’t take it the wrong way, but you have one of the nicest chests I have ever seen.”

Don’t get excited boys, this was not a girls gone wild moment errupting into a tickle fight and bathroom make out session. She said it the way she might have complimented my shoes, or my haircut; strictly one female complimenting another female on an aspect of her appearance. So much more meaningful and flattering than the drunk dude two rows in front of me who spent the better part of the game turning around and yelling nice rack while giving me an enthusistic thumbs up.

I thanked her most sincerely and told her that since my chest was no spring chicken, she had really made my night. The look on her face and insistance that I must be fibbing when I told her how old it was made me contemplate why she should be so shocked; what was it about a typical 44 year olds decolltage that made this so difficult to believe.

Let me take a moment to asure you that I am not cosmetically altered, I have had two kids, I am not a genetic anomoly, there is nothing special or unusual about my chest and I definitely do not pass the pencil test. Why then, you ask, would it look good enough for some girl half my age to take the time to comment on it? The simple answer to this question is attention to detail and a really really good bra.

I know you don’t want to believe this guys but the truth is not every great rack is a work of nature or really good plastic surgery.  Many are simply a matter of artful construction.  When you aproach the age where taking off your bra could potentially register on the richter scale then you need to give a little more thought to your undergarments. And ladies, I am taking this opportunity to implore you, for the sake of all us women in our forties and above, do your part to make the world a lovelier place by paying attention to the simple rules of good breast etiquette.

It starts by simply looking in the mirror.  I know this sounds intuitive but how many times have I seen an otherwise attractive woman waltzing through life with her breasts completley out of control?  More than anyone should, thats for sure.  My thought during these unfortunate moments is always, “Where are their friends? Where are their mirrors?”  Many people reading this right now may have suffered from a NoFriends /NoMirror moment.  I myself have occasionally been a perpetrator of a brassiere faux pas.

Okay, so back to the mirror, what exactly should you be  looking for?  First and foremost, you should not be breaking the  elbow rule.  If you are standing with your arms hanging by your side, please check and make sure that your breasts reside ABOVE your elbow crook.  If they are sitting right at the bend or god forbid, below it, then for heavens sake, hike those bad boys up asap!  Don’t tell me you can’t, or that you are simply built that way, I am not buying it.  I know some ladies who have the equivilent of wet gym socks filled with loose change and yet they are sitting high and tight when they go out into the world.  On the flip side I have seen some sweet young things who look like they are sprouting breasts next to their belly buttons.

Secondly you should be evaluating shape. Rounded ladies, rounded is the shape we are looking for.  Not completely round as if inflated beach balls have been attached to your ribs, that is an indicator of a bad boob job.  Cones are NOT acceptable under any circumstances, breasts resembling a triangle or madonna’s chest in the 80’s is a big no-no. If they look like a weapon then frankly no one wants to interact with them for fear of losing an eye.

The third thing to keep in mind is that four breasts are NOT better than two.  If you have what looks like an extra set escaping from your bra cups then you are more likely to attract a litter of puppies than one of your own species. 

This brings me to the fourth and final consideration when evaluating the present state of your ta ta’s.  Cleavage!!!  Mastering this part of breast etiquette is an art form and too many of us are sporting what I call old lady butt crack cleavage.  You know, when the sisters are smooshed together forming a straight line that resembles a plumbers salute.  You should be aiming for about a fingers worth of space between your glorious globes, let them breathe, give them room to heave.  Each side forming its own individual and perfectly rounded ice cream scoop.

Ok, I know, I have laid down a pretty strict code of conduct and you are at this moment thinking about whatever challenge your particular pair presents. How can you possibly rise to the level presented here in this blog.  I say nonsense ladies, we are all capable of taking our own special individual gifts and bringing them to the height of their potential.  Run, don’t walk, to the nearest lingerie department and give yourself an entire afternoon; try on every contraption under the sun until you find the one that rises to the challenge.  Get someone who works at the store and knows what they are doing involved, they will be more honest than any of your friends.  And if at all possible, don’t look at the price tag; great breasts do not always come cheap, but an expensive bra is still less than a set of implants.  I promise you, no matter what you are starting with, there is a bra out there to help. Go! Get thee to a Victoria Secrets and before you know it you too will be putting your best breasts forward.

Why does my pee smell like chicken soup? This is the question I ask myself as I engage in my morning constitution. The most logical guess might be that I had eaten chicken soup recently and my body was at this moment processing it. The fact remains however, that the only animals I eat reside in the ocean and last I checked there is no such thing as an underwater chicken. I am not just talking about a slight whiff of weak broth here either, I am talking about full on super strength jewish grandma chicken soup smell.

Speaking of that, why is it that jewish chicken soup is so much more high octane than my catholic brethens weak ass counterpart? I grew up in a primarily jewish town so as a child I was confronted on a regular basis with the inadequecy of my peoples brew.  I have one particularly vivid memory involving a college classmate from my home town.  I found her sitting on the floor of her dorm room eating straight out of the pot of chicken soup between her legs.  Sick with a cold, she had returned from a visit to her grandmothers with this “jewish penecilin” and wasted no time diving in.  I could smell it out in the hall way and felt compelled to investigate.  It was the most amazing soup I had ever seen, with mysterious green leafy things swimming in it, pools of liquid fat glistening on the surface and entire chicken wings, bone and all.  I think I will remember that soup for as long as I live.

But I digress, back to my mysterious smelling urine.  The issue I wish to address however, is really less about my actual pee and more about my willingness to discuss it with other people in my life.  Or to write a blog about it for that matter.  I have found that I am so puzzled and concerned about this recent change in my bodily fluids that I have taken to bringing it up in conversation with family and friends.  At any time I might be given to asking my companion, “Hey, has your pee ever smelled like chicken soup?  What do you think thats all about?” The lack of helpful responses has not in anyway diminished my search for usable input.

I can’t help but wonder if this is just one more sign in a long list of indicators that I am indeed becoming old.  I may not look my age, I may be active and young at heart but the ugly truth remains; I am willing to discuss bodily functions and possible medical concerns with the public at large.  Heavy sigh.  I would like to discuss this at even greater length in an effort to possibly gain some insight but unfortuanately I must excuse myself; soups on!