Monica Bielanko
That's What She Said
Just A Junk Drawer Dream
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I'm The Prettiest

Guess where I'm going this weekend? Isn't that the fucking worst, by the way? When someone seriously wants you to guess something you have, at best, a mild interest in hearing about and/or no idea what the answer could possibly be? Guess who called me last night? Guess what I just ate? Guess what I just bought? Too bad, though. You will hear about where I'm going this weekend and you will be fascinated. Or mildly interested. But maybe my digressive foray into annoying people traits has served to ratchet your mild curiosity into the fascination realm? We can only hope or the five more minutes it takes for you to read this post will be like trying to orgasm and not quite getting there.

On Friday I'm headed to the greatest city in the world, that's where. God, I love New York City. I spend most of my time strolling purposefully/aimlessly, grinning like a lunatic because the electricity gets all up in my body and shocks me into feeling alive like it just ain't possible to feel while walking anywhere else in the world.

New York City is a looming character in the story of my life. We've had to break up a couple times due to distance, but we never stopped being in desperate love and the happy ending of our relationship involves me dying within its ramshackle embrace. I fully plan to be a drunk, old woman lugging a laundry cart filled with groceries - half of them shoplifted - Gwen Stefani red lipstick smeared onto teeth and bleeding into the deep creases of my face, wild, white hair joyously dancing in the wind whipping off the Hudson River/East River as I talk/curse loudly to myself and anyone within a 30 feet radius and God help any motherfucker who dares mess with a drunk, old lady because I will wield my cane ferociously and should anyone try to call me out on my bullshit I will immediately feign helplessness, tearfully explain I'm lost and need help finding home.

I started this site more than ten years ago when I lived in Brooklyn. Fun fact: didn't own a computer then. I had just married, lived in Williamsburg and could barely afford my rent, let alone a new computer, so I relied on my job at WABC in Manhattan for computer time and when home I'd scribble all my blogs on paper and run up to the Internet cafe on Bedford and type the posts onto the site at an exorbitant per-minute fee - the blogging equivalent of using a rickshaw to commute an hour to work. And even after all that effort only one person was reading back then and no, it wasn't Mom. The one person who was tuning in to read about my life in New York city was and is my most loyal reader and I certainly returned the favor, reading everything she's ever written online and developing a debilitating obsession with her that continues to this moment. So I'm headed to NYC to meet up with Serge's ex-girlfriend from London. After a decade of online shenanigans I am going to meet her in person so we can figure out once and for all who is the prettiest. We've rented out a boxing ring at Chelsea Piers and are filling it with Jell-O so we can finally wrestle. She's screwed. I pull hair, twist nipples, poke eyes, whatever I gotta do. Her refined British sensibilities put her at an immediate disadvantage. For those of you newish to this website you have no clue what I'm talking about and it's hard to explain. A kind of you-had-to-be-there situation. I'd link you to the dozens and dozens of posts we traded back and forth but this site was scrubbed clean of all mention of her and she took down her blog about us years ago. A year ago, after nine years of online awfulness that kept trainwreck blogs chock full of content - including endless debates about who was prettier, we started messaging. The irony of her being the one person I can talk openly to about the failure of my marriage is not lost on me. Crazy how life works, isn't it? A girl who I allowed to be the cause of constant anxiety and frustration for nearly a decade has been one of my biggest sources of comfort this past year. Me neither, Caroline. You'll always be my favorite person to stalk online. It's just the way it is. See you Saturday.

Reader Comments (24)

This is very incredible... Indeed.

October 13, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterKaren

interesting. I read your blog back then. could not figure out who to sure to get pics and order dessert. have fun.

October 13, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterGina

@Gina - Believe both of us! I mean neither of us. I mean both!

October 13, 2014 | Registered CommenterMonica

I was there, and I read it all (on your blog and on hers), so I find your future dinner in NY really fascinating and strange at the same time, can't wait to read about it. Please share some pics so we can comment with you on who's the prettiest, ok? :D I wonder what Serge thinks about this; I guess it's ok for him, but it would be akward for me to know that my husband is meeting my ex somewhere without me, and I don't know if I would be happy!

October 14, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterSerena from Italy

Ok this is so fucking weird, just before I read this entry I watched a clip of a preview of Tori sitting down with Deans first wife to talk about their common history with that asshole!!!! What a coincidence, right???
I have to admit it seems a little weird to me that you're this giddy and excited, like a pre-teen waiting to meet an old fashion pen-pal or blind date, but if you get to enjoy a trip to NYC out of this whole reunion then I guess it's warranted. I remember when you first moved to PA that was one of the big selling points, being close to the city for visits. I always go through a weird emotional roller coaster when I visited places where I used to live (visiting my college town 6 years after leaving was trippy). When I go back to visit LA I literally sit in front of my old "Melrose Place-Type" apartment and just stare. Enjoy!!
P.S. I never got to read her blog about you, now THAT would be pretty interesting :)

October 14, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterBonnie

@Bonnie She's my friend, we've been communicating daily for a year. Serge is THE LAST thing we talk about. So I'm excited to finally meet someone I consider an old friend.

October 14, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterThe Girl Who...

You know, I remember mention of this ex-girlfriend girl-fight on your blog thing. It's something, isn't it, how these things turn out? I'm online friends with the ex-wife of one of my exes, and the ex-girlfriend of another - she's the one he cheated on me with and who he eventually left me for. He and I were never destined to last, he was a cheating asshole as luck would have it (as if I didn't know that going into it). He eventually cheated on her too, in addition to getting her mixed up in a Federal investigation that landed his ass in jail. She's married now, with beautiful twin girls. And she's the smartest, nicest, funniest, kindest person one can know. It's no wonder he fell for her. Lucky for her though, he's out of her life. He was so beneath our fabulousness. She and I have never had an internet fued, hell, she doesn't even have a blog, but we're Facebook friends. That's as close as we've come. I doubt I'll ever meet her in person, but there is a certain level of comfort, or girl bond, or something, knowing that a person out there not only went through something similar (even though there are thousands who deal with these things everyday), but they went through it with the same exact person. Weird. But cool. Have fun in New York. As if the town isn't fabulous enough, it's now going to have you in it!

October 14, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterSalena of The Daily Rant

This is SO cool that you're going to meet Caroline. I totally get why you're excited…and can't wait to read all about it! Have a blast (but don't forget your exit strategy, just in case…)!

October 14, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterHanni

Regardless of how much or when in conversation you talk about Serge these days it can't not suck or at least feel incredibly alienating for him to think of you two being close friends.

October 14, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterE.

@E Caroline and Serge have exchanged messages on Facebook as well and she follows his Facebook page. He has not been excluded and the relationship has been conducted with utmost respect towards him. I promise he doesn't feel "incredibly alienated" or I'd never have continued talking to her. He is glad to reconnect with her and her family who he spent many years with in London and really loved.

October 14, 2014 | Registered CommenterMonica

OK, IMHO you and Serge are not done quite yet. Sure, you two have a connection and always will because you share custody of three kids, so you're gonna be connected in some way or another for the next 18 years --- no, I take that back, for the rest of your lives. Call me crazy but I just don't think you're ready for the big D and I don't think Serge is either. Oh he might go through with it and you'll sign on the dotted line but I think both of you will probably live to regret it. Maybe not immediately, maybe not for a long long time, but I think as you both mature, reflect, and live a part for awhile you'll realize that marriage is a hard gig no matter who you're with. Once you two figure out how to operate alone, figure out who you really are as two grown adults, and work on yourself(s) away from each other, I just think eventually you'll get back together. Lotta history between you two along with three darling kids. Working from home, being together all day long every single day is just not healthy for any two people --- throw three kids into the mix and its a recipe for disaster. Its no wonder you two get a long better these days --- and I get that you both have a strong interest in making this as easy as possible for the kids, but if it were truly over, emotionally you'd both be in better places, I think. Thats my two cents anyway.

And Monica, you're a really good writer. I hope you know that.

October 14, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterDona

No way...can't wait to hear the follow-up. Love it when life turns out unexpectedly in the craziest and best of ways.

October 14, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterChristine from Canada

I don't doubt he's glad to be on good terms with his ex and to reconnect with her family. What I mean more to say is: I just doubt he's super psyched his 'estranged' wife of ten years and former serious gf of however many years before that are now besties. Because, um, no matter what that's some really fraught shit. I'm sure he's supportive--doesn't mean he's psyched. If he is then he's extraordinarily evolved beyond anyone I've ever met. Listen, you guys (you and Serge that is) have chosen to play out large swaths of your personal lives on the internets--I'm a faithful reader of you both and rooter for your family's happiness and peace which I've said and meant here time and again. Sometimes I think you get defensive when a person makes an assumption about one or both of your feelings based on said internet writings.That's understandable-- no one likes people making assumptions about them, but you gotta work with us here. What do you expect?
(that's a genuine not rhetorical question) The readers. You know?

October 14, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterE.

Sooooooooooo, holy shit! Have fun.

October 14, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterRichelle

ps: "play out" sounds bitchy. I don't mean to sound bitchy. You guys write, on an ongoing basis, spanning years and children and life... about vey very personal shit, that's all. It's hard as a reader not to feel invested and think one has some insights about some stuff.

October 14, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterE.

The way you are spreading your upcoming meeting out here, screenshots of your online banter and all, feels plain out immature and narcissistic to me. Then again, that whole online-past of the two of you was, so it's only fitting...

October 14, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterAllie

Allie - Nail on the head. I meant it to sound juvenile. She and I are being silly with each other as a nod to how silly our initial behavior was.

October 14, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterThe Girl Who...

@E. There's nothing "fraught" about it at this point. She and I have been talking for a year and a half. He's very comfortable with it. If I sound defensive it's because I'm attempting to correct your impression that he's in any way bothered by the situation. I've sat with him while messaging her and he relays funny things for me to say to her and we all joke. It's not a big deal at all. Thanks for always reading and commenting.

October 14, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterThe Girl Who...

Haha, fair enough... too bad for me I didn't catch that.

October 14, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterAllie

"The irony of her being the one person I can talk openly to about the failure of my marriage is not lost on me." That's what I mean by fraught. You go on to say she's been your biggest source of comfort over the past year but then tell us Serge is the LAST person you talk about. Maybe it sounds defensive because it is. I get being defensive, trust me, Life is complicated. As are relationships. We can all agree on this. Even when they've morphed or become far less charged. Even when your perspective has radically shifted. Still things are complicated. Since you just wrote about how Serge has been pulling away lately it seems reasonable to think he may not have shared all his feelings about you going to hang out with Caroline. Which feels like a different thing than chatting on fb. But maybe it's not. Or maybe he's joining you. Or seeing her on his own. Or I could be completely wrong about everything. It would not be the first time. Regardless, a fun trip to NYC seems like it always makes you happy and I wish that happiness for you.

October 14, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterE.

I just read your latest post and it kinda broke my heart monica. If that's how he made you feel, I don't think you need to justify why you are ending it beyond "he's a asshole" and stop beating yourself up about it. yeah, people argue and snipe at one each other in marriages, but I think if it gets to where you've stomped all over someone's self-worth and keep pretending not to notice, you've crossed a line in the sand.

And I don't think someone has "changed" in a matter of months in any meaningful way, not that he hasn't or can't change, just that the jury is still out, especially if said someone still tries to control you by making you feel guilty over something you have no reason to feel guilty about (has he been breastfeeding? did his body get hijacked three times in the past five years???) gurl, you and every mom out there deserve a break. it may seem like the longest year ever to you, but in terms of sustainable change (like say, losing weight and keeping it off) it's hardly a wink. besides, men compartmentalize like hell so who knows if he has even let himself truly feel AND ACCEPT that the marriage is over?

keep your head up monica and have a great vacation!!

October 15, 2014 | Unregistered Commenterrose

A friend is someone who you've been communicating online with for over a year but have never met IRL? Is that how you describe all of your friends?

October 15, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterJesus

I understand your wanting to meet Caroline. I was in a similar situation many years ago, only I had never once spoken directly to this other woman until the day I actually met her. The situation was far different as I had only heard about her via my bf at the time. I was very nervous due to the circumstances, but it had to be, or at least I felt it had to be, in order for me to move past the image I had created of her from all of the stories. In the end, I am glad we met. It was actually freaky. The whole event, chilling. I hope you will be safe and that there will be no Jello or mudpies served. Serious. Keep it light and be proud of Serge. Please.

October 16, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterGranny A

Hope all your dreams came true! You are doing so well Monica!

October 19, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterLeah M

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