Living Happily Ever After


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The Conditions for Beauty

“No object is so beautiful that, under certain conditions, it will not look ugly.” (Oscar Wilde)
My mom emphasized true beauty, what she called “inner beauty,” and taught me it’s what is on the inside of you that counts. I believed her. And  then my unexpected life hit.
Although it happened five years ago and much of it has become a blur, I’ll never forget what a scary and dark time it was. Overwhelming. All I can say is that I did the best I could given the circumstances. I probably made some mistakes. But one thing I stand by was my intentional refusal to indulge in the vicious hatred and negativity that came my way. (I’d like to say it was a soul perfection that allowed me to take the high road. But the truth is probably closer to the fact that I was so afraid if I allowed myself to indulge in ANY hatred or anger toward anyone who treated me unjustly or betrayed me during those dark days, I might have never been able to rise above it.)
So time passed, I recovered, and I’m still living. I moved on, minus most of the trappings (and some of the friends) who chose to not remain with me. And I’ve become o.k. with all of it. And then earlier this month I had an encounter that reinforced to me, again, that I made the right choice.

One of my biggest losses from my previous spouse’s crimes and Ponzi scheme was the loss of a few friends I’d know even longer than my ex. We weren’t just friends, we were like family. They were some of my heroes–and the first phone call I made when I found out I was married to a criminal and he’d destroyed not just our family, but countless other lives. However in the waning months of my ex-husband’s crimes, their relatives had invested money with him. And he had taken it. So at my greatest time of need (and in all of the years since), they couldn’t be there for me due to the depth of destruction.

And then earlier this month, I unexpectedly ran into one of them. That friend I once knew so well was a literal stranger. In fact, I almost didn’t recognize her. Our encounter was so brief but I was shocked. She looked so different to me. Maybe I just caught her on a bad day…or maybe my mom was right: inner beauty is the only kind of beauty that matters.

It isn’t easy to develop and it certainly isn’t easy to maintain–to rise above the destructive choices of others and the events of life that can be so difficult. But it’s so worth it.

Because in the end, and despite our losses (or perhaps because of them), we will each be truly beautiful.

Proma Drama

“I get letters from all over, all sorts. It’s really cool. I get a lot from inmates, which is kind of scary. But the best was the guy who wanted to send me a plane ticket to fly me to his prom.” (Laura Prepon)

Prom (at our house) is 10 days away and the drama continues. In fact, it has resulted in modifications to the English language: Proma Drama (say it like it rhymes with drama). Although my husband coined the term, if it were in any dictionary you could find it defined as, “anything having to do with the events leading up to the high school ritual known as Prom.” Or something like that.

Date to prom? Check.

As reported earlier, my daughter was asked to prom. A boy she works with and goes to school with asked her. (The invitation itself caused drama, as I’ve mentioned earlier, because the boy asked my daughter and another girl at the school walked around school for days crying in the halls and all of her classes and told everyone it was because the boy she wanted to go to prom with asked my daughter!)

We live in Utah, where “creative dating” is practiced by teens, so the boy didn’t just ask my daughter in person or text or call with his invitation, he did it in a creative way. Late one night our doorbell rang, I opened the door to find no one there, looked down and there sat three goldfish swimming in a container with the message: “If wishes were fishes and I had three, I’d use them to ask, ‘Will you go to prom with me?’” (Cute, huh? They even came with fish food!)

Due to my daughter’s busy school, work and spring track schedule she didn’t have time to answer for a few days. In the meantime, everyone enjoyed the fish. And fed them. Until sadly, I don’t believe any were actually alive by the time the reply was delivered. Oops!

Prom dress? Check.

Believe it or not, we found it online—a far different prom dress shopping experience than mine were in the 1980s. I never actually did find one that was “perfect,” which resulted in my mom designing and sewing me the perfect dress for prom my junior year (she was a fabulous seamstress, as good as any professional anywhere)—and then flying to another state the following year in quest of the perfect prom dress so she wouldn’t have to EVER sew another one!

Referencing prom throughout the days and weeks leading up to it? Check.

For example, my daughter’s birthday came a few weeks after the “fishy” prom invitation. Her birthday incorporated a bit of Proma Drama when her best friend sent her a beautiful bouquet of roses with two wishes: “Happy Birthday! I hope these flowers live longer than the fish did!” (For the record, the flowers are still thriving and looking beautiful.)

And then the moment came when my daughter’s date had to be told what color her dress is so their attire could be coordinated.

Stay tuned.

Oh. And speaking of dresses: “Some women hold up dresses that are so ugly and they always say the same thing: ‘This looks much better on.’ On what? On fire?” (Rita Rudner)