Summer of Pain (aka Hold on to Your Asses)

24 Jul

I have been teasing (to just about anyone who’ll give me an ear) about my midlife crisis.  It’s coming.  It’s scheduled for June 1, 2015.

I know I know.  You’re not supposed to calendar this shit, but slow your roll.  

This is my midlife crisis and I will run it however I want.

dorothy hamill

On June 1, 2015 my current contract with my university runs out,
and I will no longer eligible to renew it(1);
 I will be unemployed for the first time since I was 18 years old.

But really? The midlife crisis started June 1 of THIS year.  I have been making big decisions, most of them sanctioned by Hubby, and making plans to move on.  We’ve been here for 5 years, and it’s time to go.  And by HERE, I mean in this spot in our lives.  It’s not bad, but it’s not great either.  And it’s grown stagnant, which to us is a version of HELL.  Hell is Hubby in a shitty job, whose glass ceiling he hit two years ago, and me, faced with a dwindling career and a suburban life that sits on me like an ill-fitting sweater.  In June I finished academic commitments that I made all the while making new BETTER commitments, including one to myself NOT to sign on for any more academic commitments.  

I want to be here.  In the blog, writing the book. 

Focusing on the things in life I love and fighting with my editor over whose turn it is to buy the Merlot.


I spent the last four weeks being prepped and then having a massive abdominal surgery in which scar tissue that had essentially moved and hardened (by-products of a cancer surgery 20 years ago) had to be removed. In the first week of pain, I thought of little except breathing.  In the second week, my thoughts kept returning to the time of the surgeries that caused this scarring, when I was young, thin, blonde even.  Remembering the day I got the news that chemo had helped, but had not been the solution, and that surgery was the best way forward.  I was brave.  I had my Queens to support me. 

 I told myself that scars were cool.  I was young.  I got good drugs. I healed quickly. And I never looked back.


LA 3 LA 1 LA 2

These shots were taken of me the day before that surgery, in my apartment in Los Angeles. 

Turning 40 didn’t make me sad.  Having this surgery did.  I still had good drugs, but two weeks of bed rest made me think too much.  Catheters are not fun.  Drainage tubes stayed in longer, mobility returned slowly.  Sitting alone and examining where you WERE and where you ARE and the gaps of missed opportunities and regrets in between is not for the weak.  Neither is abdominal surgery, but I got both in great heaps this summer.

I am not a maudlin person.  Overloads of red wine and pot sometimes get me there, but in general, I am an upbeat kind of gal.  I am not necessarily a NICE person, but I am an UPBEAT person.  People who confuse the two usually arrive with rude awakenings at cocktail parties and then de-friend me on FB.  Pussies.  (2)


I appreciate all the home-cooked meals our friends and family have provided.  I am a Good TBD and I sent thank you notes. Hand written fucking notes, thank you very much. ‘Cause that’s how I roll.  I even sent one to Hurricane, who stayed with us for three days and added at least 4 pounds to our waistlines. But those are in the mail and now I feel like I can’t breathe.

My answer to this cabin fever?  ROAD TRIP.  (3)

Otter is ready.  The car is packed. 

otter with the top down

On Saturday, I Ieave for three weeks of NON BED REST recuperation.

I can handle the pain of surgery.  I can handle my 3 inch scar is now 9 inches long and I look like someone who volunteered for a magician trick gone wrong.  But I can’t handle the stillness that surrounds it.  The emptiness and dissatisfaction of being cooped up, both literally or metaphorically.

So hold on to your asses. 

Here we go.


 (1) If you want to read about the trials and treatment of limited term (i.e. non-tenure faculty) I can recommend a variety of articles and blogs. It’s a national epidemic, and one that, after 18 years of collegiate instruction as my primary job, has made me want to retire for this profession, even though I adore it.

(2) You should never confuse energy with kindness.

(3) Actually, the ROAD TRIP has been my life-long answer to lots of things in my life. Spring break, break-ups, break-ins, beach madness, confusion, general unhappiness or malaise, writer’s block, you name it.  I once drove three states to buy a cigar from a midget in New Mexico.  Not all road trips need AAA maps to get there.


Posted by on July 24, 2014 in BLOG DEPOSITS


3 responses to “Summer of Pain (aka Hold on to Your Asses)

  1. Anne Avera

    July 24, 2014 at 4:46 pm

    Oh, how I love your writing…

  2. shannon

    July 24, 2014 at 5:15 pm

    you are so awesome!!!!!!!!!!!!!! it is a privilege to be your cousin. hey, everybody, this genius is MINE!!!!!!!!!!! aren’t I lucky? do you keep in touch with your queens?

    • tomboydebutante

      July 24, 2014 at 8:10 pm

      Alas, no. I moved away from that culture and my first Hubby was not very understanding. Emails for a while, then Lee, my dearest Queen, died of ARC. I was heart broken for the longest time, but didn’t reach out to the drag community.


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