“Denial is not a river in Egypt…”
It all seemed to descend upon me at once. Hubby and I had been invited to a Halloween masquerade thrown together by the ex-pat community of the quaint little island we were living on. The children had also conveniently been invited to a sleepover at a friends house so it appeared that an evening of truly Dionysian debauchery lay ahead of us. To make matters worse it also happened to be my birthday – my 40th birthday – as such it was a relief that somebody else would be providing the margaritas, I was going to want a lot of them before the night was through.
1st Obstacle and 2nd blow (after waking up that morning 40 years old) to my already waning confidence and sense of self worth: WHAT TO WEAR?
Forgotten in the deepest darkest recesses of my closet lurked a few cocktail dresses and evening gowns. I wanted something saucy and sexy, a rebuff in the face of my impending 40s to firmly establish the fact that I was indeed still fabulous. I was thinking Great Gatsby, Gilda, Some Like it Hot, perhaps Madonna so younger guests wouldn’t automatically assume I was an antique.
What on Earth was I thinking?
After a while my husband became concerned and discovered me slumped on the floor in the middle of what looked like the aftermath of a department store clearance sale.
“Nothing fits anymore! If it weren’t so damn chilly out I could put on a pair of your old swim trunks, paint myself green and go as the Incredible Bulk!”
“Honey, don’t you mean the Incredible Hulk?”
My glare actually made him cringe and I hissed through clenched teeth.
“You are not helping!”
“What do you want me to do?”
“I WANT MY BODY BACK!!!”
The bitter truth was sinking in, I was no longer a hot young professional wife. I had joined the ranks of the dowdy overworked and under-groomed. I had gone from low-maintenance to no maintenance and the realization felt like I had just been smacked upside the head with a carnival “fun-house” mirror.
That situation was most definitely not ok! Changes had to be made. I had tried to ignore younger women when they asked me how far along I was, something that was happening with alarming frequency, or I would just laugh it off with a casual remark about IBS then whisper “bitch” under my breath as I walked away.
The painful truth was that I had slipped into apathy and near depression. I was doing a job that could be personally rewarding at times but which was a financial dead end working 70 hours per week as an EFL teacher and earning just over 1000 Euro per month. I was too exhausted to do any writing, and spent my summer breaks on a beach bed in the shade re-reading the classics so as not to forget the beauty of the language while guzzling beer and pistachios. My children were in a school situation which at best left a lot to be desired and at worst was dangerous and damaging. Bottom line: letting myself go to pot was most certainly not going to alleviate any of those problems.
The time had come to get up off my expanding ass and start building the life I wanted to have.
Victoria Andre King is a freelance writer and audiovisual professional her novel The Führer Must Die is available for pre-orders and will be released on November 8th 2016 with Yucca Publications, an imprint of Sky Horse Publishing NYC.