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The cringey awesomeness and cautionary tale of “Crazy Ex-Girlfriend”

by SweetMidlife

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About a week ago, I discovered this show “Crazy Ex-Girlfriend,” a thing that everyone else already knew about and that has won a lot of awards, on the CW. I posted about it on Facebook and immediately a few friends, including Sister Lynne, responded that they’d enjoyed it but couldn’t commit to it because it, as one said, “hit too close to home.”

Oh, girl you got that right. And that’s why it’s so brilliant.

It’s about Rebecca, a successful but unhappy and apparently selfish and delusional lawyer who, after a chance run-in with the guy who dumped her after one perfect summer camp romance years ago, uproots her life and moves across the country to West Covina, Ca. where he lives, because it’s a big gesture and the kind of things that pays off in movies. Yes, it’s one of those plots that’s all over 80s and 90s teen comedies involving big fat lies that are told that compound to an uncomfortable but comedic degree until veering into some unlikely redemption of the liar where everyone forgets what a great big fat liar they are and forgives them because that’s what the script says. Except for with “Crazy Ex-Girlfriend,” a swirly musical created by star Rachel Bloom, the characters are actual grown adults in their 30s so their lying isn’t cute, and since it’s a television series, there’s no cute cutaway. It’s straight up cringe-worthy and hard to watch, because even with the peppy songs and all the bright colors and sunshine, we’re watching an unhappy and deeply self-centered person immediately shoot herself in the foot because she can’t get over herself long to really see what she’s doing.

You know. Like you’ve done. Well not you. Me. I have. But not you.

(It’s OK. We know you have.)

Last night’s episode saw Rebecca spin herself into a typical sitcom-y situation where she accidentally sends Josh, the clueless object of her affections who really isn’t good enough for her, a text meant for a friend confirming that she did move across the country to pursue him and had concocted a whole lie about it. So she leaves the deposition she’s in (with the support of the judge) and runs to break into Josh’s house to delete the message off his phone. But when he shows up, she piles on the lies that someone tried to break into her house, convincing her friend to throw a rock through her window so that Josh doesn’t find out she’s lying. Still, he realizes that the rock was from a set of decorative rocks from her OWN HOUSE, so of course she’s lying and he doesn’t even want to hear the next lie she will tell to get out of that previous lie and jets. And when Josh’s friend who likes her but is now dating her neighbor stops by and offers to help, he realizes that he’s just being pressed into service to literally clean up another mess that’s about Josh.

Although I swear I have never told that many lies at one time, I have bent myself into embarrassing situations that there is no real explanation for, largely for men who never wanted me in the first place, because I needed the validation of losers to feel good about myself, even though I’m a successful professional with lots of friends who should not need that crap. (I don’t anymore because I married an amazing dude who loved me and got really mad when I said bad things about myself because he was awesome like that.) So I look at Rebecca, who we know now has an overbearing and manipulative mother, and also a best friend who loves her but encourages her romantic delusions because she’s unfulfilled in her own life and wants to believe that true loves exists.

And I don’t want to be her. If you ever see me being her, tell me. Because the only thing worst than not knowing that you are acting crazy is thinking that your girls see you acting crazy and won’t tell you. Friends don’t let friends act crazy and not tell them.


Five Minute Friday: Friend

by SweetMidlife

So, this is Lynne, and this is this week’s Five Minute Friday entry, although this is Saturday. You get a word, and you write on it for 5 minutes, no stopping. I may have stopped. But not for long. This week the word is FRIEND.

GO:

When I was in the 7th grade, it was the thing to have best friend shirts. You would go to the mall and get shirts with your friends’ names on them , then wear them to school in a show of sisterly solidarity, because I don’t remember any guys who did this. It was pretty cool. I never had a best friend t-shirt. My closest friends in 7th grade were always having fights and breaking up with each other and I was always Switzerland, neutral, waiting for them to get back together. That was my superpower, not getting people mad enough to break up with me. I have always been very blessed with friends, and even at the times in my life where I felt bullied or ugly or had a jheri-curl (let your Soul-Glo, y’all), God gifted me with people who took care of my heart. And I don’t need a shirt for that.

 


Be a Better Friend: Don’t Tell Your One Friend What your Other Friend Did

by SweetMidlife

So someone got on your nerves, and cheesed you off.   When you think about it, it still stings a little.  So you are on the phone with a mutual friend, and that thing the other person said or did is still burning a little hole in your gut and you are SOOO thinking of ways to drop in the slight.

Don’t.  If the person you are currently talking to can’t actually help resolve the situation, you getting in jabs will just stoke the fire. And I’m not talking about an honest venting to someone who can help make you feel better. You KNOW the difference between seeking counsel and gossip: if you talk to somebody else and what they say gives you some peace and a way to make it better, that’s counsel. If you feel the delicious taste of self-righteousness as you casually drop in what that person did to you, well, you need to stop.  Plus, honest venting isn’t honest if you have to tell everyone you see just to keep the martyr thing you’ve got going on now going. I know. I’ve been there.  I love me a good personal martyrdom. Telling that story feels good now, but it’s bitter going down. And girl, we are not at the age where we wear bitter well.

 Go to the offending person and tell them what they did.  Hopefully they are sorry. Forgive them.  Then cross that thing off of the list of things you trot out to tell people when they are having “Things people did to me that get on my nerves” contests.

It will make you feel better because you have let that go. You have better things to do. Because you’re better than that.


Run, Bride, Run!!

by SweetMidlife

by Lynne Streeter Childress

So, yesterday, my sister Leslie wrote about “Say Yes to the Dress: Big Bliss”, and she talked briefly about her own wedding dress shopping experience, when she bought a beautiful sample dress at an intimate salon in Maryland. Well, my wedding dress story was a bit different. First of all, I bought my dress before I was officially engaged.

A little back-story…

Last year, my now-husband and I started pre-engagement counseling; this meant that we wanted to get married, but got all of our stuff out on the table before there were rings and down payments and stuff.  After we completed our sessions, AC said that the only thing left was for him to get the ring. This started a period where every time he bent down to tie his shoe or reach into his pocket to get a breath strip, my heart started beating really fast.   Since I couldn’t predict when the actual proposal was coming, I moved onto other matters. See, I knew that Filene’s Basement’s annual Running of the Brides was coming to my area. This is a once a year, one-day event staggered throughout the year and around the country where tons and tons of designer bridal gowns are WAY-discounted, starting at like $249.   It’s so named because, like the running of the bulls in Pamplona, Spain, people sprint wildly through enclosed spaces, dodging danger. Only instead of running away from charging animals, brides, many who have been waiting in line for hours outside the store waiting for the 8am door opening, are running towards racks and racks of beautiful dresses at insane prices.  I love when people complement my earrings and I say, “$4 at Target!!”, and I feel all smart and happy that I could spend the extra $ on those petite vanilla scone things at Starbucks. So spending less money on a wedding dress could mean I could spend what I saved on scones for everybody!! Which is why I asked A.C. if it was appropriate for me to attend such a sale to purchase a dress of such a kind for such an occasion that might be happening since he had already asked for my ring size and for me to send him pictures of what I liked.  And he said yes. So I made some phone calls.

So on July 30 of last year,  5 of my best friends (including the Leslie, who flew in just for me because she rocks) gathered at my house, and we embarked on trip to find me a wedding dress.   I had done some research on the Filene’s website, plus done a mess of Googling, and I came up with a game plan of how the day would go.  It turned out to be an AMAZING, AMAZING day, and here are some of my tips on manuvering the day, if you go to an upcoming Running.

  • Assemble a team of folks whose opinion you trust and make them dress alike.  The friends who helped me look for a dress were all people who know me really well, and want me to be happy, but not to look like a hot mess.  They all have STRONG views, but I knew they would be helpful and supportive.   I also asked them to all wear red, so we would be able to identify each other during the madness, but also because it made us feel like a unified group on a mission. Plus there were dollar store tiaras involved.  Here’s my dear Maria and I getting all Starbucked-up for the journey…

Maria and me, getting all caffeined-up for the trip

  • Go later in the day.  I know that there is an an excitement in standing on line with people for a common purpose, but I also knew that I did not want to fight people and rip dresses and trip and have to bail out my bridal party as “Meeting in the Ladies’ Room” plays on the store speakers (Klymaxx shout-out!!!).  I heard that you could go later in the day and still find good deals. So we went around 11:30. There were still PLENTY of dresses left, but they were now hung back up. And there was still lots of excitement and lots of people, and although we didn’t have to punch people, Maria did have to tell a few other brides to keep moving as they eyed the pile of dresses we gad assembled and were considering.
  • Be a little bold.  The dresses are on long racks in the middle of the store, and brides and their teams grab dresses and bring them to their bride, who has staked out a spot in the main showroom. Because you don’t use dressing rooms.  The Filene’s people advise wearing bathing suits because they cover you up but aren’t bulky. I wore a strapless bra and bike shorts.  Of course I wouldn’t normally shop in that, but again, it kind of added to the whole group feel, because all of the other brides were wearing the same thing.
  • Know what you like, but be willing to change your mind. I had gone through bridal magazines and ripped out pictures of dresses I thought would be good, and I handed them to my friends before we left so they would have an idea of what I was looking for.  Many of them were what Leslie calls “The Voice of Spring” dresses; floaty and romantic.  But I also know from my many hours of “Say Yes to the Dress” watching that brides often choose a dress that’s nothing like what they THOUGHT they wanted. This is why I had my friends pick all of the dresses that they could find in my size, a bridal 14 or 16.  (Another note: My friends brought me a good 15 dresses or more that day, all in larger sizes. This sale is a GREAT place for girls with curves to actually be able to try on dresses that they can actually wear).
  • Go with your gut. So we narrowed it down to 2 dresses. One was a beautiful almost-champagne colored strapless A-line that had no detail but a thin band of jewels under the bust, accented with a small bow. It was a grown-up dress, that made me feel really elegant, and actually made me tear-up a bit when I looked in the mirror, and was the fave of several in our party. The other was also an A-line, but more of the Voice of Spring variety.  It had these crazy embroidered detachable sleeves, beading across the top, and embroidery on the bust. Then there was the train. It was long and flouncy and had more embroidered flowers and when I looked behind myself in the mirror, I felt light and giggly and like I always thought I would feel. And in the end, even though the first dress made me cry in a good way, I went with the one that made me smile. And everyone was happy!!
  • Make a party out of it by including those you love.  In the end, not only did I have an amazing dress to wear on the big day, but I had whole day with some of my favorite people, and we laughed and loved and ran and oohed and ahhed and tried to zip up some things that wouldn’t zip and were all treated to a victory lunch by my roommate, where we texted pictures of the dress to my mom in Arkansas, and called my grandma and described what I got. The dress itself  it was a group-buy, with contributions by myself, my sister, and a dear, dear friend who prefers to stay anonymous but made a really, really, sweet gift towards the purchase of the dress. That’s love.

So, we pulled up to my house at the same time as AC, who was meeting Leslie, her husband and me to go to a party. We made him close his eyes and hide in the kitchen until I got to hide the dress upstairs where he wouldn’t see it. That was Friday.  And 2 days later, after church, and lunch, and a George Clooney movie on DVD,  he pulled out this little box that he actually had had with him on Friday and he opened it, and I couldn’t breathe, and he asked if he could put what was in the box on my left hand, and I said yes, and we kinda stared at at each other, and it was blurry and somewhere in there I said that if there was a question attached to this then the answer was yes and he said that if I wanted to keep it, I had to marry him and I said I could do that.

And 2 months later, I walked down the aisle in the smiley floaty dress, surrounded by my friends and family, feeling as pretty as I ever have.  In the end, though, it’s not about the dress, but about WHY you’re wearing it, and who you are walking down the aisle in it to meet.  And if you got that part right, then you’ve already gotten the best deal ever.


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