When I was living in Marin, my friend S came over with her daughter T and brought me a mechanized turtle that crawled and sang, “Slow down, you move too fast, you got to make the morning last.” Ha ha ha. Right. Most people associate me with rapid motion but recently someone told me that I move to fast figuratively too and it gave me great pause…barum bum.
I was in Nantucket at the invitation of a friend to come spend the weekend with some of her friends and on the plane ride home the whole thing: my life, my actions, this weekend, all came full circle. My therapist E has been trying to get at the crux of what would make a strong, independent woman be a door-mat in a relationship, particularly a woman who identifies more closely with her father and brothers than her mother and sister. Well, I’ll tell you, but much like this weekend, it’s going to take a minute of digression to get there.
On arrival, it was decided we would all have nicknames and so instead of my first letter I can call everyone by their nickname here and not sacrifice anyone’s privacy. Let me introduce them, but first may I tell you that after learning my divorce was final on Wednesday arriving at a house with my good friend and finding out two of the women were therapists, I was screaming inwardly: I AM BLESSED – Okay, so for the weekend I was Roxy and the others were:
Cookie, an executive in hospitality – she came up with the idea of nicknames. A statuesque Greek goddess with milk chocolate eyes. Several of our favorite lines came from her – “I couldn’t have got through my SATs without a vibrator” was one of the favs. Two days into the weekend she said to me frankly: “Roxy, I just met you two days ago and I think you know who you are and what you want, but you don’t take time to think, you move too fast.” She came up and apologized profusely later for being so direct, but I embraced her and kissed her all over telling her I totally concur (my fast pace is sometimes my friend and sometimes my foe).
Mimi, a therapist – it was her house we stayed at and although my good friend described her as someone who has an uncanny ability to distill everything down to its essence, I was most impressed by her quiet power. When she was in the room she was clearly the axis. Her comment to Roxy among many, but the one which I will take to my grave, “You’re the one I’d want to be with during Katrina.”
Susu, a therapist – she coined the “full circle” from the getgo, and always recognized when we had come to that fine closure on a topic that began on Friday sitting around the breakfast counter, a theme that would weave into many conversations, then suddenly find a resting place by Saturday at cocktail hour. Susu on first approach is seemingly reserved but when the layers start peeling back, the flower grows and grows, like my favorite flower – the peony. She reminds me of someone who would circle the pond several times before jumping in while I’d be the one who ran and plunged and then came up shouting – IT’S COLD IN HERE – she would find the right place to slip in. I lay in bed last night in Boston waiting to fly home this morning and still pictured the way she talked about responding to Crab Rangoon guy as she acted like she was typing the response.
Ali, did I ever find out what she does? Does it matter? She arrived a day later, but with aplomb demonstrated a quick memory for all our details and was able to overcome 24 hours of constant introduction to join the group effortlessly. We all remember most her ability to laugh from way deep down inside. It was Ali who recognized the friend of the birthday trip in the very restaurant we were eating.
Gigi – the best roommate ever – she provides the rare situation where you meet a guy and just adore him, then you meet his wife with him and adore them as a couple, then after many years of talking about going on a girls trip you realize you adore her – it’s like they don’t subtract from each other and they are both people I want to know. Fur-suit is now a new word in my vocabulary and so is BFM and TIB. (Hint – big fat mess (the guy who got in our cab) and talk in bed (what we did a lot).
There were many other characters met along the way – Chip whose third wife was a stripper but not HOT in bed like you would imagine, John Egan’s client who said to his friend about a poor drunk 24 year old woman on his lap “she’s showing me her boobs”, Heff driving by and spotting me and saying “What are you doing on my island?”, the BFM’s wife who went and got me a beer when it was so hot in the Chicken Box I thought I would pass out, the hirsute sweaty guy on the dance floor that was either 30 or 50 – hard to tell, and then there was Carrie – my seat mate on that tiny plane from Nantucket to Boston whose hand I held when she panicked during turbulence – this gamine green-eyed beauty who had just visited her new boyfriend (who moved from NY to Nantucket to get away and started a construction business) (she met him on a blind date set up by mutual friends) – she told me how she had been engaged to a guy she was seeing for three years and she realized that he cared little for her family (who she was close to) and he was selfish and she knew enough about herself to know her family was very important to her so she couldn’t marry him and she broke it off. “God bless you, Carrie, for knowing yourself.”
So I’m riding home on the plane exhausted from my getaway, but in overall bouyant spirits about what lies ahead – next year we are having the girls’ weekend at the LaLa – and it occurs to me that as a young woman I observed my mother’s role and made a mental note to NEVER be like her – she was completely dependent on my autocratic father – and so I studied how to be financially and emotionally independent so I would not ever have to be dependent on a man. And it worked, I have pretty much never put myself in a state of financial dependency. But 47 years later, I realize now I became my mother, or like E would say, I modelled her behavior towards men. So in the words of Susu it all comes full circle. But, the first step in solving a problem, is admitting you have one – so I stand in judgment (of my peers) I have been a door-mat and that has to change.
And I also take note of their slow down message too – I move quickly through everything, making shortwork of whatever task I undertake, which has given me the ability to do the work of two or more people, but I also eat fast, talk fast, respond fast, and those times being a hare is not as good as being a tortoise. So I am going to study intention and take to heart my lessons and work towards becoming the woman I aspire to be.
Cookie asked me if I could be anyone famous who would I be? And I said Carly Fiorina. And she said, whoa, I was talking about an actress. And I said but I admire Carly, she’s bold, she’s beautiful, and I will never get over watching her sit at a table and a line of men in suits winding all the way around the lobby waiting for 10 minutes of her time. It wasn’t that they were men, it was that they were all successful business people who wanted her advice. It harkens back to when I was in graduate school and I said I wanted a job where I was paid to think. Cookie said she wanted to be Meryl Streep. I said okay, not a business person, then I’d be Emmy Lou Harris, because she is beautiful and talented and has experimented with so many music genres and done all of them well and she has triumphed and suffered and has written songs about all those experiences with equal weight.
For someone who moves as fast as I do, it’s amazing to me that I have not done girl trips or trips alone till now. This trip was similar to my elephant sanctuary trip – I was pulled away from my routine for a few days and I came back with more insight about myself and the world I live in.
And as always I came back missing home. I picked up the Bean from the pokey and the woman said, “She doesn’t like storms, does she?” And I looked at her curiously. “She jumped in the groomer’s lap while he was working on another dog on account of the thunder.” I laughed and said, “Well, she’s a little neurotic.” And thought, like mother like daughter.
I want to add as a final note to this entry that I am lucky to be surrounded by strong, independent minded and beautiful women.