Tag Archives: longreads

The Great Filth Festering, Part Deux

11 Sep

Guys, remember that time I told you all about how I’m usually a clean freak but my life shifted priorities somehow and I instead gave up on everything and found a bag of rotten mutant potatoes hiding under my bar?

Oh, some of you are new. Hello ducklings. Catch up here: (linky link)

Well anyway, I’ve deteriorated again.

I don’t know that I ever truly recovered, actually. I kind of have gotten into the habit of building a domicile of stench and humiliation until a wire shorts in my head and I remember that I don’t like to be dirty and I clean everything that I touch or touches me until it’s all sparkling and glorious. Even Dave. I guess that’s just how I operate lately. I’m busy and I’ve determined that one of the first things that can go is my sense of cleanliness and dignity.

I think it started when I took on yet another gig a few weeks ago in spite of already having two part time jobs, two side projects, and two blogs (Don’t worry I’m just a contributor there (linky link)). I love you. Don’t leave me.

Apparently I tend to overwork myself in twos. I also have two cats. I’m putting them on the list. They can be little time suckers. Did you know you have to feed them?

At the time I thought I was at max capacity, I was running low on money and high on junk in my house so I decided to have a yard sale. However, not having a yard, I had to call a friend who had one and ask to borrow theirs. I then proceeded to pack up my life belonging’s, sticker them for an embarrassingly low price, drive 20 minutes away from my house, and set them up in someone else’s yard. Afterward I had every intention of taking the unsold items to Goodwill but instead was beat from battling fannypacked hagglers all day and left it all in the car. So in addition to an apartment that was accumulating filth in the midst of my demanding schedule, I now owned a vehicle stuffed to the brim with crap I didn’t even want.

So it naturally follows that I was swimming in my stench pool of an apartment this past weekend when I reached a new low in the land of Jackie: I invested in my first roll of fly tape.

I’m going there. And you’re coming with me. Remember: there’s no judging on The Jackie Blog.

For those of you who’ve never let yourselves get this low, fly tape is a roll of paper with sappy sugary goo all over it that you slowly spiral down and out of the small cardboard prison that contains it and then hang from various places where flies accumulate so that they fly toward it with high hopes and instead are stuck to the glorious goo that feeds them.

I’m not really sure how the fly thing happened, honestly. Though I hunted high and low for the source that fed them, the fact of the matter is that they were there because a film of filth had descended upon my domicile. No crumb sweeping or dish doing would oust the beast I bore into the world. I didn’t have the time to figure out what would, so I bought fly tape and dangled it precariously above my living room sofa.

I almost felt bad about dooming the fools to a sticky, static death by goo tape but I was trying to take a nap between shifts the other day and they proceeded to swirl and flit and then procreate on me. flies

You heard me correctly. I was attempting to nap on my couch and was frequently woken by the slight itch that accompanies two flies landing on your kneecap and fornicating. If you ever need a confirmation that your life is spiraling out of control and you need to get your act together, let flies bumping uglies on you in the festering filth of your stench cocoon seal the deal. For me it didn’t; my parents did.

Yes, it was a bright and shiny Saturday morning when I woke to realize that my parents were a mere 45 minutes outside the city and they were about to confirm that their youngest child was indeed their weakest combination of genes. In case their gut feelings hadn’t yet confirmed it, the fly tape harboring 8 dead flies above her sofa surely would.

I was outside putting the finishing touches on brushing my cat when they casually approached bearing gifts of groceries because of the sense of disarray my voice had in a phone call a few days prior. There were oodles of food bags containing everything from steaks on ice to my favorite home town chips, homemade ice tea, and a bag of baby potatoes.

I told her I couldn’t be trusted with potatoes after what happened last time but she said she had faith in me. She’s a good mom.

Of course if I hadn’t just descended upon my apartment like a hurricane to get rid of surface dirt, immediately noticeable neglect, and the long spiral of fly tape above my couch, she might have reconsidered. Perhaps I ought to schedule a visit with my parents on some sort of regular basis so that my apartment can only dive so deep into the cesspool before I’m forced to remedy it or be shamed out of the family unit. Since their visit, I’ve been fly-free. But my dishes need to be done. And there’s still that car full of yard sale items that have to be put somewhere…

Hey, the good news is the fly tape is gone. And I’m headed out for a Lollipop Tuesday adventure tomorrow night. I’m going to a mentoring workshop. Yeah: this well-adjusted adult is going to influence ripe, young minds.

Maybe if I stick with it long enough, I can talk them into a little light cleaning. 


It’s Time for Me to Start Smoking

28 Aug

There are a lot of situations that make me uncomfortable. Partly because I am innately sensitive to social discomforts and partly because I was raised by a light-hating dungeon hermit and grew up hating everything before I learned to like it. Thus, when I’m out and about in the world, it’s safe to assume I’d rather be home and when people are talking to me, it’s safe to assume I’d rather be on a laptop on my couch, wrestling with my cat as she tries to lie across my keyboard.

Last night for example,  I went to one of Dave’s open mics (with laptop in tow), only to find a private party of fifty people crowding the room and I had to *wince* move through the crowd of people to get to the other side of the bar and some of their arms and shoulders brushed me a little bit and had to have a beer just to come down.

Then I got to the bar, I shit you not, the only available seat was directly beside a grown man in a vampire cape. 

And that’s why I struggle. Because in addition to experiencing regular social inconveniences and anxieties at a more intense level than your average Jane, I also tend to attract grown men in vampire capes.

As it turned out, he was there for the open mic and plays the keyboard. With a house funk beat. With the cape on.

I often get stuck in situations like these. I struggle to maintain casual conversation with the averagest of bears without my stomach squirting high octane nerve juice into my bloodstream. Trapped at the bar where my choices are intimate conversation with an adult Dracula impressionist or a room of fifty tight-collared strangers? Just tranquilize me.

I opted for the vampire, obviously. He was actually pretty nice. When the other side of the bar cleared of the private party, I holed up at my favorite spot in the back where I could hook up my laptop and listen to the open mic. It works out perfectly because no one bothers me but I can also claim that I’m out in the world being social. It’s kind of perfect. 

Except for last night. Last night I attracted a talker.

This is about right.

This is about right.

Usually I’m pretty good at spotting them when they don’t easily identify themselves with capes. At first I thought the table beside my was being used as a gig bag spot; there were backpacks and plastic bags and totes of all shapes and sizes. But then there was a helmet. And a person walking toward it all with a sense of territory. I’d made a terrible mistake. 

But my laptop was already on, my fries and drink already settled; to pack up and move to the other side of the room would perhaps have been even worse than sticking it out.  So I stayed. 

Sometimes my curiosity gets the best of me. I kept my head down, knowing what would happen if I dared to make eye contact for even a moment, but the pull was just too strong and for a second my eyelids flitted up and then it happened: he talked.

I’m actually able to endure a talker for quite a while. I can throw a few general responses in there to keep them going, and I’m pretty good at making up something that sounds fitting in the unexpected lulls where they’re anticipating a genuine response. But I can only do it for about ten minutes before I fear I’ve become visibly uncomfortable. I know I’m like a ticking time bomb in those moments; I can either exit the situation or make it incredibly obvious that I’m overwhelmingly rude and live like Gollum in a cave of carpet and cheese curls at home with my cats and can’t endure human contact for significant periods of time.

Babies have it so easy. I should have taken advantage of this more as a youngin.

Babies have it so easy. I should have taken advantage of this more as a youngin.

Just when I was considering sending Dave the emergency signal (“David, get me out of here or I’ll lose my shit in front of God and all these people”…it’s something like an ear tug or a nose wiggle or scooping my eye out with a soup spoon; I can never remember when I’m all angsty), I was sent an angel in the form of a friend.  Let’s call him Petey.  Petey is a friend with warm, inviting eyes, a hearty handshake and a face that makes you feel comfortable talking if you’re a talker.

So I left him there to rot.

I almost felt bad for a second, but the feeling of release was too euphoric to sense the guilt. I thought long and hard like Pooh Bear about every time I endured a talker as an act of martyrdom for my friends or for blog fodder or because I simply felt bad for the poor bastard.  I figured I’d paid my dues and it was high time I bow out and soak up the win. So I stared at my screen and pretended to be working on something very, very important.

Actually, in the time I observed I learned some new tactics. 

Petey’s survival rate is about six minutes, to my ten. So after five he does this really great thing that I’m going to start giving a go: he responds to everything with a clever exit line until one works. For every new topic the talker introduced, Petey had a line straight from a sitcom. The talker could have been in the middle of detailing his great aunt’s battle with cancer and Petey would boldly attempt, “Well, sometimes cancer gets ya!” as he inches a little closer to the door. 

It’s really impressive.

Ultimately, however, the talker won. Never sensing the “goodbye moment” attached to Petey’s one-liners, he droned on and on, never sticking to one subject, never really eliciting a response – just…talking. And that’s when Petey simply pulled out his pipe, stuffed it with tobacco, mumbled something or other about a smoke, and unapologetic acquainted himself with the exit.

That’s when it hit me: I should take up smoking. 

Honestly, I’ve considered high-tailing it a number of times to the local convenience store to snag myself a pack of all-around-excusers. But there’s no way to guarantee that the talker isn’t also a smoker, in which case all I’ll do is double down and take my situation from being trapped in a bar to being trapped in a somewhat-intimate smoke break wherein I don’t smoke.

Talk about awkward.

So I’m taking suggestions. What are your favorite ways to escape a talker? I know you do it. And you’re going to fork over your secrets or I’m going to take up smoking. You don’t want me to die of cancer, do you?

…Well, then again, sometimes cancer gets ya. 

The Pros and Cons of Half-Jackies

17 Jul

I spent a large portion of last evening weighing the pros and cons of donating my eggs.

I just turned 27. There’s a lot to do.

By “a lot to do”, I mean “shit’s expensive and sometimes I think about donating my eggs”.

Sometimes isn’t a lot. It’s like, three times. Once, when I saw an ad at a bus stop saying I could snag 10 grand for a little potential half-Jackie, once more the other day when I made a joke to Dave about it, and for the third time last night when an excellent friend said she’d been considering it.

Some friends get coffee, some donate eggs together.

We’re both logical beings. Kind of. And after we measured each other’s level of sincerity (mine was at 15%, hers was at 45%), we began to look up everything we could possibly find on the magical interwebz about the pros and cons of donating our eggs.

In case you’re curious, it’s not as easy as just looking good on paper. Sure, it’s pretty standard that people want babies from degree-carrying, attractive egg donors, but there’s a whole lot that goes into the slushie that is my body that I can’t really control. Suddenly, I found myself poring over pages of desirable egg donor qualities, measuring how I stacked up next to what was one of the highest rated potential donors: genius Asians.

If you’re reading this and you’re an genius Asian, get thee to a hospital. They’ll suck your eggs right out of you and slap a check in your hand in no time. I, however, don’t get in so easily. I’m the kind of gal who has done what I can with what was given to me. And what was given to me was a big pile of recessive, sickly, or otherwise degenerative DNA. I got my mother’s creaky knees and migraines, my father’s asthma and allergies, and more teeth than my mouth got the memo for. I’m blonde-haired, blue-eyed, and so pale you can map the blood flow through my veins to most of my major organs. My family is chock full of brown haired, hazel eyed natural tanners so I’m either adopted, or I’m a great underdog story about a mess of genes that lost every war they fought but turned into a fully-functional person in spite of it.

I’m thinking there won’t be a big rush to my egg donor application.


I like to think my eggs look like this. Close, right?

I’m thinking they wouldn’t be too supportive of exchanging a half-Jackie for a cool ten grand, in spite of the fact that it could fix my car, get me a nice deposit on a new place, and get me out of credit card debt. I mean, when you look at it that way, kids are really great.

Of course, the magical interwebz also had a host of horror stories to share, which brought my 15% down to a 5%. I have to admit that it was mostly the part about how you have to inject yourself with hormones and how after you do all that if you’re unable to have the eggs extracted even if it’s through no fault of your own, you only get a couple hundred dollars. You also sometimes have to wait for over a year or two to get matched with someone, even in the event that there really is a mother out there who wants a gawky, toothy, snarky half-Jackie for her own… which is unlikely.

So all that got me thinking… what would I rather do for 10 grand than wait two years, pump myself full of hormones, bring a human being into this world that I can never see, and have someone stab my ovary with a transvaginal needle, resulting in possible complications for which I have no medical insurance coverage?

Lots of things. But mostly probably a 365. After all, I’m half way through mine and it’s about time I start kicking around some ideas for next year. It is possible that I could raise $10,000 in a year by extreme couponing, gigging on the side, and hoarding spare change like Gollum? Maybe I should raise the stakes on myself and if I don’t have $10,000 in my account by the end of the year, I have to apply to be an egg donor.

That’s a fun game. ..all I need is a good name for the journey.

Now taking submissions.

The Great Filth Festering

10 Jul

My apartment turned on me yesterday like milk: all at once and gag-reflex levels of sour.

You see, for the past several weeks I’ve been trying to work on that switch in my brain that goes off without warning and sends me into a frenzy of I CAN’T LIVE IN THIS MESS IT’S DISGUSTING I’M DISGUSTING I HAVE TO FIX IT ALL RIGHT NOW.

Sometimes this will happen when the house is truly messy. Sometimes it will happen because there is a sock on the floor in the kitchen and I can’t explain how or why. The attacks come from nowhere and there’s been little that has proven helpful in confronting it.

Lately, I’ve been working on it by trying to ease into the filth. Not nasty filth, but a general lived-in filth. It’s been difficult, but it’s all part of the trying task of not being a crazy person. The plan was to get comfortable with a shelf undusted, cat litter unscooped, a dish unrinsed. You know, like a well-adjusted human being might do. So as part of training over the course of a week, I had been letting a few things accumulate to which I’m typically quite attentive. Like the garbage. And the dishes. And, well, lots of things.

Remember: there’s no judging on The Jackie Blog.

Anyway, I had decided my training session was over and that I would clean the house thoroughly this past Monday evening after work. Unfortunately, we were faced with a bit of a family emergency that needed tending to and left at 6pm for a five hour drive to address it and then turned around at 4am for a five hour drive back. Which was fine. It was good. The problem was that while we were gone, the house turned.

It appears I had come up right to the brink of disgust. At the time I’d committed to cleaning the place, I had a 24 hour clock counting down to the moment when milk gone undrunk would turn sour, vegetables uneaten would transform from overly ripe to rotten, and all hell would break loose. Dave and I returned from our overnight voyage and went straight to work without returning to the house. All day, my house was left to fester. By the time I got home, I was almost certain I’d need a priest to exorcise the unholy demon of nasty.

There was a plague of fruit flies in my kitchen, feeding off what appeared to be several thick pockets of stench and grossness.

The most obvious culprit was the trash, which had swelled past its max capacity and as I recalled, was a glorious feast for flies since it had scraps of last week’s corn on the cob, watermelon rind, and other epic bits of festery awful. I tended to it and moved to the next cluster, which was gathered around my banana keeper.

Yes, we have a banana keeper. We eat a lot of bananas. We also apparently don’t bother to throw away the top of the bunch from which the bananas hang sometimes. So there, in the awkward half-pieces that were torn from the dislodged fruit, lay nesting several fruit flies. But that still wasn’t the worst part.flies

I realized the dishes needed to be done so I cleaned out the sink and washed the basin thoroughly and remembered that the last time I did that, I promised myself I would rinse my dishes so I would never again have to stare curdled milk in the face. It was chunky. And smelly. But that, too, was not the worst part.

I continued to move about the kitchen, darting from one pocket of air to another, eyes alert for any resettling of tiny black dots outside of my wine glass trap and incense sacrifice. Suddenly, I spotted it.

There, below the banana keeper, I followed a cloud of little black specks to something I tucked away in the far recesses of my brain several months ago: a brand new bag of potatoes.

I remembered it vaguely, the day Dave proudly  told me he was going to “do some rearranging in the kitchen”. For the most part, his changes were upgrades. I was left with more counter space and more room at the bar and was quite pleased.  In the process, however, the potatoes I usually house right on the counter so I remember to use them (a bag of potatoes for 2 people is just unreasonable) were moved to the bottom rack of the bar beside the cookie jar I’ve never once used.

Cookies don’t need jars. They need bellies.

There, beside my unloved bastard of a pastry basin, was a bag of what …used to be potatoes. It had grown and shrank and oozed and leaked its putrid juices into the cracks and crevices of the bar and into the drawer below it, where my once-peaceful collection of teas dwelt.

Apparently I don’t have tea very often either.

Needless to say, I spent last evening whipping the house back into shape. I’m still trying not be crazy about it though  so my bedroom and the living room and the kitchen are squeaky clean, but the 6 square feet that is the bathroom closet leaves something to be desired.

If I clean everything, I won’t learn anything, now will I?

Seriously though. Those potatoes had eyes. *Shudder*

So here I am, staring down the barrel of 27 years old (Friday, to be specific) and still finding myself in situations where things are so absolutely disgusting in my living situation that I can’t recognize a bag of root crops even when a fly swarm leads me to it.

I won’t post again until I’m an entire year older than I am today so I should take this moment to reflect. But I do a lot of reflecting around here so do me a birthday solid instead and join me in finishing these statements at whatever point you find yourself in life. I’d be tickled to read the answers. Also, there are four and it’s fill in the blank and what kind of strangers are we if you can’t write four words for my birthday?

Probably the kind of stranger who stopped reading once they realized the whole post was about the depth of my filth. So a tip of my hat to both those who bowed out early (mad respect) and those who made it this far (troopers, all).

May you all always find the bag of potatoes while it still holds actual potatoes. 


Please leave a comment with whatever answer is appropriate for this time and juncture in your life or for your mood on this particular day. Try to forget about the flies and potatoes. And thanks. Happy Birthday to you too.

Right now I’m trying to be at ease with imperfections

I find myself eating a lot of buttered toast with cinnamon and sugar

I’m kind of hoping to win the lottery for my birthday

I’m feeling pretty good about my mostly clean home

The Path to Crotchety is Paved with Typos

26 Jun


I’m having a hard time taking part in daily life with other humans without their blatant spelling and grammatical errors making me feel all funny inside.

This has been an issue for me for quite some time. I’m a lover of the English language, a relisher of commas, a juggler of prepositional phrases. I need things to be in their proper order.

For those of you unawares, a prepositional phrase is basically anywhere a squirrel can be in relation to a tree. Up a tree, down a tree, around a tree, in a tree, on a tree – squirrels can be lots of things to a tree and most of those things are the beginning of a well-formed prepositional phrase.

Some of you are going to mull over this for a while and come up with some things that squirrels can do in relation to trees that are not, in fact, prepositional phrases. Some of them might even be a little dirty. But you’re going to have to take that up with Mrs. Bennett, my 7th grade English teacher. Besides, this isn’t really an English lesson. Or about squirrels in trees (or inside trees or beyond the trees…) It’s about how I need to stop being so judgy mcjudgy about people who genuinely can’t get a handle on whether you make something plural by just slapping an apostrophe “s” on the end.


I’m sorry.

I’m not sorry.

I’m trying to be more sorry.

I think it all started around 1994. It was during this year that Ace of Base descended upon America with its hit The Sign from the album Happy Nation. My older brother had just spent his hard-earned George Washingtons on one of his very first cassette tapes (if you’re under 15, please click here) in order to listen to its Swedish pop glory any time he wanted.

After a bit of rewinding, of course.

I was giddy with glee at the idea of holing up for the evening to listen to it and had convinced him to let me. I shoved it in my cassette player (again, here) and began to sing along to each song, using the cassette insert to follow along to the lyrics.

That’s when my stomach began to feel funny. There were several…adjustments…that needed to be made for the lyrics to be accurate. Some of them were, I’m sure, Swedish quirkisms and lyrical liberties. But there were without a doubt several typos and oversights that made me feel as if some terrible injustice had taken place and so I set out to correct them. One by one. In pen.

My brother was so ungrateful.

I tried to show him how I’d improved his life; now he could listen and read and not feel funny in his stomach.

As it turned out, he was totally fine going about life as the owner of the inaccurate, typo-ridden lyrics enclosed with Happy Nation. In fact, since I’d marred his previously pristine cassette tape, he washed his hands of it entirely and bequeathed it to me out of what could have only been disgust for grammatical perfection.

The upside is that over the years, my brother continues the practice of bequeathing items to me in favor of better items for himself. The downside is that I’m staring 27 in the face (July) and I’m pretty sure I’m just as much of an asshat now as I was when I white-knuckled that pen in my hands at the dewy age of 8.

I’m plagued by a need for grammatical correctness. I don’t frequent restaurants that don’t demonstrate proper command of the English language on their signs or promotional materials for fear the menu would send me into a tizzy. I can’t enjoy a stroll through a neighborhood without proofreading sandwich boards. Everywhere is an improperly pluralized noun; lurking behind each corner is a homophone misunderstood.

I’ve begun to work out these anxieties in my work life by applying myself as office proofreader wherever possible. Recently, this has escalated to post-it notes on the mistake-containing materials with personal insults directed at the marketing manager and left on his desk for discovery later in the day. In my personal life, however, I’m finding it more difficult to exact vindication.

I have to do everything I can to stop myself from morphing into a crotchety old hermit, and while I’ve put certain safeguards in place to help prevent this (Lollipop Tuesdays, not working from home, my mother calling me at least every 3 days to make sure I’m not playing World of Warcraft again), I’m going to need to wear myself down on the proofreading mania. People will always make mistakes. Lots and lots of eye-burning mistakes.

I’m thinking of conditioning. I can collect menus, mass mailings, and other printed publications that offend me and go through them like flashcards each morning until I’m so numb to typos and spelling errors that I feel nothing. It’s going to be a long, hard journey but in the end, I’ll be able to eat at a slew of ma and pa restaurants I’ve always wanted to try but couldn’t bear the risk of error-ridden menus.

The key to every goal is a food-related motivator; I just have to find it.

Feel free to start my conditioning by writing error-ridden comments.  I know you’re going to anyway because you’re all so clever.

No, but really please don’t. I can’t bear it. I’m not ready. I’M NOT READY.

Heaven help me. Here I come, crotchety. 


My Struggle with Dance

4 Jun

napoleon dance

I wasn’t born a dancer.

I have the long, gangly limbs of an awkward schoolgirl married with the anxieties of a shut-in. Though I’m often mistaken for the kind of person who will get up and dance, it’s one of the pastimes I prefer our culture had never actually developed so that I could never live to be pressured into the misery of participating in it.

I danced once in middle school. I had developed a deep-seated complex about having to shower naked in the open with other girls and so to distract everyone’s attention from my conscientious objection, I stood on one of the benches in the locker room and performed a rousing rendition of “Father Abraham”, which I learned in Christian School.

Father Abraham had many sons, and many sons had Faaaaather Abraham. I am one of them, and so are you. So let’s all praise The Lord! (Right Arm!) Father Abraham… had many sons….

It went on in this hokey-pokey like fashion until all my body parts were involved. It was the dancing highlight of my first decade.

About five years later, I took a real stab at it in college. It was a pact between a friend and me– we were both ungifted with grace and thought taking Modern Dance would be an excellent way to help gain control over our gangly limbs. I remember it taking me several weeks simply to memorize the warmup routine. I also remember slamming my head off the stage during the final performance. Mostly.

A few years after that, I made one final and last-ditch effort to fall in line with society’s demand that I dance. After knocking out my gen eds, I transferred to a performing arts conservatory  with a nationally-lauded dance program. I was in the acting track and thought it would be prudent to dip my toes in the dance water to help not embarrass myself in future auditions that require rudimentary movement.  I signed up for “Dancing for Actors” – a class specifically tailored to actors who want to avoid humiliation. We learned basic steps and combinations and had to choreograph a piece and teach it to the class.

I struggled. There was a lot of stepping on toes and attempting to lead, which apparently isn’t permitted by humans with hoo-has. For my final piece, I choreographed “The Lion Sleeps Tonight” and featured a freestyle section where everyone was commanded to channel their inner jungle animal and move through the space. It was beautiful.  It’s the only assignment on which I got an A.

And also the only assignment for which I didn’t dance.

My least favorite part of being a non-dancing human is weddings. People will always try to get me to dance at weddings. Somewhere along the way, someone told society that if you’re in an environment where other people are dancing and you’re not, you must not be having fun. The reality of the situation is that I’m highly skilled in self-entertainment (as a child I spent a lot of hours sitting in the car alone while my mom ran errands). But because society has been taught that dancing is fun and non-dancers are miserable, it becomes everyone’s personal mission to make non-dancers dance at weddings.

As if it’s not humiliating enough to have to scramble for a bouquet of flowers in front of everyone.

I have made two attempts at dancing in the past several months (a new record). The first was at a wedding where my friends pulled me onto the dance floor against my will and gang-danced me into a circular cage until I had to either move or ruin everyone’s fun. The second was last week.

I was at the wedding of a lovely and fantastic couple and feeling quite safe about the experience because Dave has been very vocal about his distaste for dancing. I remembered that quality being one of the things I checked off my “ideal man” list that I keep in my pocket at all times for cross-referencing. However, at this particular wedding, he was dancing.

This was an entirely new kind of pressure. Dave is a very attractive man, and weddings typically feature moderately attractive women. So added to the weight of ruining a wedding with my sourpuss non-dancing and the pressure of my friends egging me to do so publicly, I now had to consider that if I didn’t get out there and dance with him, some other boobed lady beast would.  So I did what any self-respecting woman would do: I asked the DJ to play “I Believe in a Thing Called Love” by The Darkness and threw caution to the wind. He followed it up with “Brick House” and two things occurred to me: 1) I don’t mind dancing if it’s to amusing music and 2) I don’t mind dancing as much now that I’m not so fat.

That last part is a big one.

For those of you following along at home, I’m halfway through a venture I’ve dubbed Project Fatass 365, wherein I must work out every day all year. There on that dance floor I realized that there was much less jiggle in my jiggy and that I wasn’t nearly as concerned with people’s eyes being on me as I used to. Not just because there is less of me and because I can better control what I have, but because I just care a lot less about what people think. Now that I’ve shed some of the megagut I was using to store my food for winter all year long, I have more energy to be my middle-school self.

I’m still not a dancer. I will probably never be one. I’m living proof that slides, be they of the cha-cha or the electric variety, are not universally demonstrated. But that’s okay because I do one hell of a Father Abraham.

So here’s to a new Jackie – a Jackie who dances not because she’s egged on or pressured or gang-danced to humiliation, but because she hears Brick House and wants to get funky and doesn’t really care what it looks like to everyone else. It’s a shame that I ever lost that spark that got me on the locker room bench in the first place.

But you still can’t make me shower in public.

Father Abraham had many sons, and many sons had Faaaather Abraham. I am one of them, and so are you. So let’s all praise the Lord (LEFT ARM!) Father Abraham….

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