Monica Bielanko
That's What She Said
Just A Junk Drawer Dream
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Stuck In A Moment

You've got to get yourself together
You've got stuck in a moment
And now you can't get out of it
Don't say that later will be better
Now you're stuck in a moment
And you can't get out of it

Someone emailed me these lyrics today. A stranger. Someone who reads this blog. I like that. Strangers reading, relating and sharing their very personal experiences with me. We're equal that way. It feels better to divulge the sordid details of my very dysfunctional existence when you share yours. The stranger, she told me about how she's stuck in a moment. And I realize, that's how I feel. Stuck in a moment. Only my moment is dragging on and on, kind of like that moment in high school right before the last bell rings. The moment between 2:59 and 3:00 always seemed to last a week, didn't it? Your backback is strapped firmly in place, you're sitting so tensely, coiled so tightly, you may as well be standing. Index finger is idly tracing the JD + ST scarring the top of your desk like an old tattoo, your shoe is tapping the tiled floor matching the staccato rhythm of your heart, your body is angled awkwardly toward the classroom door, ready to blast-off your seat the second the bell chimes buzz through the crackling school intercom.

I feel stuck. At least back in school, while stuck in a moment, I had something to look forward to. Passing the oh-so-beautiful Josh Roberts in the hall, meeting up with friends after school. Now I am stuck and there is nothing on the immediate horizon. I am stuck in a moment and I can't get out of it. Stuck between my girlhood dreams and my womanly desires. Womanly desires. That's funny. No, I don't mean my ongoing desire to fuck Brad Pitt (incidentally, which Brad Pitt would you fuck - Thelma and Louise Brad? Certainly not 12 Monkeys Brad. But what about Seven Years In Tibet Brad? I'll always and forever be a Legends of the Fall Brad babe) I mean those more maternal of urges. I want to have babies. But there is shit I want to do first. Yet, the stuff I want to do, I really have no control over.. Get my book published, that's outta my hands now. I've done my part. Travel everywhere. Can't afford to. If I wait until I travel everywhere to have a kid I'll never give birth.

Ever since my abortion I have promised myself that when I bring a child into this world I will devote myself to being the best mother I possibly can. Which is why I want to tick a few things off my list of things to do before I can focus on motherhood. But like I said, those things aren't really available for the doing. See the rock? The hard place? And me in the middle? At least when I lived in New York, when everything else sucked I could always say, at least I live in New York City and experience that momentary sense of superiority all New Yorkers feel because they live in the greatest fucking city on the planet. I see now that New York was perfect for me, I could sit on my lazy ass and still feel like I was doing something, just by living there. You gotta try harder in Utah.

There is a girl. Here at work. She of the girl crush. She BASE jumps and skydives. Crazy, little, adorable fucker. I watched a video of her jumping off a cliff in Switzerland. And it pissed me off. Set me off balance for the rest of the day. Why? Because it wasn't me! Here this girl is, 24 (and a half, she would chide me) and she's out there slicing off big chunks of life ripe for the taking and gorging herself. You can see the life dribbling down her chin. She's very nearly choking on it. Me? I look forward to that glass of wine or three at the end of the night. I like watering my lawn. Fuck almighty I'm sounding old. I nearly knocked myself out in the bathroom this morning. Falling in the bathroom, that should effectively prove I'm an old fucker. Oh I talk a good game. I want to hike, I want to run a marathon (maybe you should start jogging first you lazy fuck) but mostly I sit around. I've been bitching about what I want for about a decade now.. sure, nice things have happened, but mostly I'm the same asshole who talks about getting in shape but never does.

Who's out there?

Reader Comments (39)

I'm there. It's an awkward place, isn't it? Kind of like a second puberty.

July 10, 2007 | Unregistered CommenterLisa

Wow this is so funny that you post this Monica...maybe it's our age but I am going through the exact thing right now...minus the need to procreate.

I just got off the phone with a guy I have never met that is on the other side of the country from me, in Toronto - to pick his brain about becoming a photographer. Do I have schooling? No. Am I good? I have no fucking idea. Why was I talking to him? Because he is a photographer and I was hoping to get a 'secret photographer pill' in the mail from him and start a whole new exciting career.

I crave that something too you know. Last year Rob and I flew to NYC 6 times....6 TIMES trying to fill and find that something. I always had the next trip to look forward to...and now? Nothing really.

So for right now I think that making some money on the side as a photog will fill it.....

Will it?

Probably not...

July 10, 2007 | Unregistered CommenterRichelle

You know what? One day, you'll look back and see, appreciate, even love this as a precious time in your life, belonging only to you. No matter how high the mud seems to be at the moment, this is your time. I was in a similar place as you, not so long ago. And inch by inch, the space widens to just enjoy. It's inevitable, don't you think?

July 10, 2007 | Unregistered CommenterS

Life is a rollercoaster. One minute I'm feeling happy and positive, the next minute I'm feeling down and unsatisfied. It's the way it goes and it's nice to know others feel that way too or else I'd feel like a maudlin loser.

July 10, 2007 | Unregistered CommenterGemma

Can you have everything....sure...just not all at once. Take it one day at a time. Enjoy what you have, the grass will always be greener. I am sure the girl who is out living the fuck out of life might be jealous that you have an amazing relationship and connection with your husband. I am single....I live an amazing life.... but something is missing....I am 31 and I want to get married and have babies. But you want to know will happen and when it does I will look back at this time and wish I had cherished it I try and cherish it now.
I relate to you....I travel and do fun things, but a girl I work with just got a new job in fucking cool is that. She is picking up her life and her shit and moving half way around the world in 3 weeks....I am jealous. I want to do that, but I don't feel like I really can. I mean of course I can if I *REALLY* wanted to, but I have commitments and I love my life. The grass is always greener. I want to travel more, do more exciting/thrilling things. I get my ass out of bed every morning at 5:30 to go to the gym....but I still have lbs to lose....why because I can't fucking control my ice cream or alcohol intake! But you want to know something....I have a pretty fucking amazing do to! We Americans never *really* get exactly how lucky we are. We wake up every morning with so much more than the majority of the world.....and we don't appreciate 1% of it. Be grateful! Be grateful for your life, your friends and family, your health...there is so much to be grateful for. Live and love life! We really are all very blessed!

July 10, 2007 | Unregistered Commentermap

i miss you too! that just made me cry. Am thinking you need a trip back to nyc around the 15th of me back so we can negotiate,

Really not the same without you. felt like that song my senior year in college. i love you so much.

July 10, 2007 | Unregistered CommenterBanana

Hey, at least you're pretty.

Just kidding.

Am I?

July 10, 2007 | Unregistered Commenterelise

Um, this totally ruins the brevity of what I said above, but what I was "just kidding" about was that being pretty is all that matters, and as such, would be enough to make everything better.

Not "just kidding" about you actually being pretty. Because you are. Pretty. Ok, I'm done.

July 10, 2007 | Unregistered Commenterelise

Excellent post, and posts are "excellent" in my opinion when I fell compelled to comment. Can you have it all, why yes you can; as long as you respect that having it all takes all kinds of extra effort and work.

I have it all, but even I: super-career-mom-wife-artist-runner extraordinaire have limits. My third pregnancy ended in an early chemical abortion. The timing was terrible, money was tight, and we had two kids to feed already, but the timing for my first two kids wasn't good either. I managed to balance them and career, and a third child in the juggling act looked impossible then.

Years later, still wearing the superwoman cape and my underwear over my britches I think that I could have handled a third pregnancy, three kids to feed, a demanding career, and a relationship with my adult, male counterpart, otherwise known as the husband. We both agreed to the abortion. Together. We don't regret our decision now.....but I still think I could do it all - hindsight eh? Yeah.

Superheros have limits too. Patience grasshopper, good things come to those who wait, and to those who don't wait, but they sill have to struggle to find their own balance and happiness with what they have at present.

July 10, 2007 | Unregistered Commenternoone

"Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things you didn't do than by the ones you did. So throw off the bowlines, sail away from the safe harbor, catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover."
~ Mark Twain

You have accomplished much in a short period of time, but it sounds like you need a new challenge or two before starting your family. Spend some quiet time alone, possibly hiking like you mentioned, to consider your passion and where and how you want to direct your energy and talent at this critical juncture of your young life.

That said, there's nothing wrong with taking time to chill and water your lawn. During the summer it is all I can do to motivate myself to go to the office. I'd rather be horizontal on a beach with a trashy novel and an ice cold soda. It's all about what feels balanced to you.

PS Can you please give us an update on Max? We're worried.

July 11, 2007 | Unregistered CommenterSaffoula

I sorta think when you decided to move back to Utah that you sort of sealed your fate. Not in a bad way, but Utah is home. It is where your roots are and where your family is. Where you want to raise your kids. It seems that your future is bright, just reign it in and make it what you want!
Let's hear about the things you don't do WELL? Yea, there doesn't seem to be many! So be happy with that!
Give those Mormons HELL!!

July 11, 2007 | Unregistered CommenterJen

yup, I'm up there. wondering as you do when is the best time to have baby, taking care of my lawn and enjoy it, dreaming of a big adventure with blood pressure. I'll be 30 in September and by now I've stuck in a moment as well(love this fraze) and I enjoy my life now, here. anyway I try it.
yup, I'm a bit jealous of a young twenty-something girls, of her power of positive energy and vigour but who cares:)

July 11, 2007 | Unregistered Commenterana

Oh Monica, I feel you. That was me about 5 years ago, except I was stuck in an unhappy marriage and stuck in a job I didn't like. The key is to find your bliss and follow it, and then everything else will fall into place. And don't think about it too much. What you are supposed to do will come to you. For example, I was unhappy, then my husband and I decided to get divorced (very amicably) and then all these good things started to happen. I moved back to the city (New York) from the suburbs, a wonderful new job fell into my lap and I discovered that I have a real passion for boxing. I box every day and while I have had my share of broken bones and injuries, it makes me so happy I can hardly believe it sometimes. I love challenge and this sport is the greatest challenge ever (for me). So, just be open to the possibilities, and follow each thing that comes to you that you think might be fun. The babies will come in time and everything will work out.

July 11, 2007 | Unregistered CommenterEmily

Oh, and I'm 37. So it's never too late.

July 11, 2007 | Unregistered CommenterEmily

I have a total man-crush on Ewan McGregor ever since I saw a show about him riding his motorcycle around the fucking world. THE WORLD. ON HIS MOTORCYCLE.

July 11, 2007 | Unregistered CommenterPete Dunn

Please just enjoy your extraordinary good fortune--you have a gorgeous and talented husband who adores you, a lovely home in a lovely place with family who adore you, you yourself are talented healthy and very attractive with an excellent job--you are free and loved and healthy--please just cherish all of this to the unbelievable degree you would if you were 99.5 percent of the rest of the world and before you find yourself kicking yourself wishing you had realized how incredible your life really is.

July 11, 2007 | Unregistered CommenterT

Everyone has life dribbling from their chin... you just have to pick your flavor and chew on it.
Mine... well you hate me a little for mine... that time it put your day in a tit of a tail spin.
But You. You picked your restless ass up and moved here, back to your roots. How scary was that? See, there's nothin to it but to do it. You did it. Now, do something like that again.
You know what your flavor is... chew on it for a while and see what dribbles down YOUR chin.

July 11, 2007 | Unregistered CommenterBosom Buddy

Somehow or another you occasionally post a blog that smacks me upside the head. They all affect me in one way or another, whether it gives me a giggle during an otherwise mundane day, or enrages me or makes me think. Actually, I don't believe you have ever enraged me, but anyway... Every now and then there is a post that really makes me reflect on my own life. This is one of those posts.
For the past several months I have been on a roller coaster with my relationship with my boyfriend. It took alot of soul searching and evaluating of my life to decide that the only way to completely move on is to move. I had too many memories and mutual friends here in town to ever let me get over the hurt. I wasn't running away fronm him, but towards the next chapter in my life.
I made plans. I already have begun cleaning my house to sell and polishing up the resume to take with me 1,000 miles away. Things got less and less temultous between he and I and I guess he and I are back together with out the actuall words being said. I thought we were just being friendly and enjoying our time together before I left in 9 months. Yes, 9 months. I need time to move without flying by the seat of my pants.
I wrote a letter because that is what I do when I am emotionally overwhelmed. It wasn't sappy or mean or begging. It was rather indifferent explaining why I needed to move because it is too easy to fall back into us and this ride will never end and he will comtinue to break my heart if I continue to let him. I needed him to know that I would no longer life my life for the "what if's" and "just maybe's" of him. Apparently this hit him rather hard.
I had something to look forward to. I was ready to start the new chapter. He tells me that if I go, it will hurt him. Just last night he approached the subject of me moving in. After 3 fucking years, he realizes he just might lose me forever and he is ready to make a commitment. I haven't gotten the excitement yet. not like I felt when I was still looking forward to moving away. That plan is still there, but moved to the back burner. But, as for now I am stuck in this moment!

July 11, 2007 | Unregistered CommenterLibby

Saw Springsteen on the Tom Joad tour and he said something that's always stuck with me on this subject. This isn't an exact quote but it goes something like... "At some point, you have to stop being the person you're gonna be and start being the person you are."

July 11, 2007 | Unregistered CommenterMusical Justice

I love your blog. I read it before I read the paper and I'm always disappointed when there isn't a new entry. I just wanted to send a good thought your way. Utah is lucky to have you but you seem very New York to me.

July 11, 2007 | Unregistered CommenterJell-O

You know, there is so much I havent' done. I've got the kids, I never went to Europe, I've never base-jumped, I've never been to the Sistine Chapel and I've never taken a burro to the bottom of the Grand Canyon. For some reason, once the boys were born, the BIG PICTURE changed and those things weren't all that important anymore. I haven't skydived (skydiven?) but I don't want to anymore. Having a glass of wine (or three) at the end of the day and watering my home-grown tomatoes mean the world to me.I am now satisfied. I am STILL jealous (sometimes) of where others have been or are going, but for some reason I am more than content to stay here, catching every teeny moment I can, watching my two amazing boys grow. That, to me, is more exciting that Florence or Paris or England or Kenya or Australia. They are my exotic adventure and raising them to be somewhat normal (and not ax murderers) is the best part of my life.
Oh, and Brad Pitt? Would TOTALLY do the Legends of the Fall Brad Pitt, but I wanna, wanna, wanna lick every last bit of peanut butter off the mouth of the Meet Joe Black Brad Pitt. Oh heavens, yes.

July 11, 2007 | Unregistered CommenterThe Domestic Goddess

I get the feeling that motherhood is on the horizon for you. I understand that you want to cross things off your list of "things to do before baby", but being a mom never has to stop you from living your life. The best kind of mom never forgets herself, and her children are better off for it. From what I gather from your writing I think you and Serge will be amazing parents. I think you two have sooo much to offer a child.
---By the way Legends of the Fall or A River Runs Through It Brad Pitt are the a jam I'll take him in Oceans 11, 12 or 13.

July 11, 2007 | Unregistered CommenterTricia

I'm with you. Legends of the Fall Brad. Every time.

July 12, 2007 | Unregistered CommenterEssy

I admire your desire to check things off the list and THEN become a parent. So many people seem to lose sight of the fact that once you have children, it's not about you anymore, you can't be selfish like you used to. Parenting is a full-time job and a difficult one at that. I so hope you can achieve what you'd like.

July 12, 2007 | Unregistered Commenterfancythis

I hope you don't mind my asking a rather direct question, which you certainly aren't obliged to answer. But here it is: Why exactly do you want to have kids?

Other readers, this question is not meant to be hostile, so don't bother getting all up in arms. If Monica wants to answer, she can. If not, no harm done.

July 12, 2007 | Unregistered Commenterlark

All of your blogs are so thought provoking for me. Maybe it's because we are the same age but I'm always right there with you. I think the question "why do you want kids" is such a good question. So many people want kids for the wrong reason. Either because we are raised to believe we have to procreate, because we're egotistical and want to have mini version of ourselves. Now I find myself pondering why do I want kids and I'm not sure of the answer.

July 12, 2007 | Unregistered CommenterMichelle

Sometimes I feel like I haven't accomplished enough. I put my career on the back burner while focusing on the children & I see my colleagues' careers soaring. My house isn't as nice as I’d like it to be, especially compared to my peers. I’m not as good as I should be about keeping in contact with family and friends. I don't focus on myself enough...I focus on myself too much...blah, blah, blah.
I think when I’m feeling insecure about where I am in life it's because I’m comparing myself to others & I feel like I don't measure up. I think the key is to stop comparing myself & focus on where I want to be & what I want to accomplish.
And, it's a toss up between the Thelma & Louise Brad & Fight Club Brad.

July 12, 2007 | Unregistered CommenterChrissy

I can relate to your 'stuck' phase. It's the same phase I've been in since, oh maybe 29 or 29. I always compare it to swimming in the ocean. We've ridden out the last big wave (insert your experience here: last roller-coaster relationship, last painful breakup, last time you partied till 5AM on a thursday, last bartender who knew exactly how much whiskey to put in your jack & diet) and now here we are, treading water in its wake, waiting for the next wave to come. I discovered you, Monica, while nursing my obsession-of-the-week with your hubby's band. You don't know me (probably never will) but I feel I've gotten to know you just a little bit from the pouring out of your soul that is this blog. Your words are beautiful, bare, evocative. Somehow this thread seems to have moved toward the question of whether and when to start having babies. I cut this out of the Philadelphia Inquirer a few months ago and I will share bits of it here. I think the entire article can be found at

What's to stop you from jumping into the baby race right away? Before you succumb to baby fever, read on.
Wrong reason #1: You need something new to obsess over. Now that the wedding planning is over, what will you do with all your free time? Suddenly there's a strong urge to fill it with another big project. Don't mistake boredom for baby cravings. Take up a new hobby instead.
Wrong reason #2: You're freaked out about fertility. Most of us have no idea about a fundamental aspect our our health--our ability to conceive--until we try. This nagging feeling can make us anxious to jump into the baby ring. Take the pressure off and let nature take its course.
Wrong reason #3: Everyone else is having a baby. What's that saying about all your friends jumping off a bridge? This is a decision that will change your lives like no other. Make sure you are both on the same wavelength about the big issues (who's going to stay home? what about money?). Just because Britney did it doesn't mean anything.
Wrong reason #4: You think a baby is a quick fix. Being married isn't easy, but it's easy to think a baby will make your life a fairy tale. Parenthood isn't all romance. Don't make the biggest mistake of all and expect a baby to fill a void in your marriage, or use the idea of starting a family as a band-aid for your relationship.
Wrong reason #5: Pressure from others (Parents, friends). As with everything else your mother tells you, listen patiently and then calmly explain to her how you're still the master of your own destiny.

And I'll add one more reason that I came up with to advise a friend.
Wrong reason #6: Having a baby will take the pressure off whatever problems exist in the marriage. When a baby comes, you two will instantly stop fighting and devote 100% of your energy toward raising this little one. Right? Wrong.

July 12, 2007 | Unregistered Commentertea

Fight Club Brad. Yes! I totally forgot about him.

July 12, 2007 | Unregistered CommenterMichelle

Your blog is getting boring. What happened to the funny stories and the interesting observations?

July 12, 2007 | Unregistered CommenterJib

If you want to dictate the content of someone's blog maybe you should start paying Monica?

Keep up the good work Monica. I'm a daily lurker.

July 12, 2007 | Unregistered CommenterTeena

This is in response to the other post about being turned down. Why not turn the comments on and let your readership support you? There is obviously a lot of love for you out here. Do hang in there. Stick to your story and what matters to you and your book will end up exactly where it needs to be. I am certain of it. Thank you for sharing this with us.

July 12, 2007 | Unregistered CommenterS

Why do you see motherhood and the pursuit of your personal goals as opposed to each other? I know plenty of women who have children, study, climb mountains, have careers, write novels, etc.

On the other hand, if you are not inclined to run a marathon without kids, you certainly aren't going to do it once you have children. However, they can always be a convenient excuse upon which to hang your resentment and frustration for all the things you haven't done.

But then the issue isn't whether nor not you have kids, is it?

July 12, 2007 | Unregistered CommenterMary Lou

Thank you for putting into words what I think every day. I need to move on, I need to figure out grad school, I need to make a decision about whether this relationship is serious or not. I want to travel, I want to write, I want to feel like I'm living. Thanks for letting me know I'm not alone in this.

July 12, 2007 | Unregistered CommenterV

Utah makes most of use feel "stuck." But at least you left for a while. I admire you for that.

July 12, 2007 | Unregistered Commentersarah

Fight Club Brad Pitt.Without a doubt.

July 12, 2007 | Unregistered CommenterJo

Spoiled much?

July 13, 2007 | Unregistered CommenterO

O, I'm not sure I follow? Monica's spoiled because she wants something nice to happen?

July 13, 2007 | Unregistered CommenterMichelle

Oh, please. Ocean's 11 Brad Pitt. Without a doubt.

July 17, 2007 | Unregistered CommenterEDW

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