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Ex-Wife New Life
by:  Amy Koko
After 27 years of marriage my husband announces he is leaving me for a beautiful Swiss pastry chef. NOW WHAT?
October 24, 2016

Labor and Delivery, Then The Hard Part Begins

HEY! New mothers! Stop showing us pictures of your "Before Kids" and "After Kids" body. It's bad enough that I get on Facebook and see my friends going to GooGoo Dolls concerts, wandering the streets of Amsterdam and scuba diving in the Galapagos after I just got done googling "When will season 6 of Veep be out?" During my morning Facebook session I take an "ARE YOU A CHILD OF THE 70's QUIZ" and pass with flying colors, then continue scrolling down to the Free People ads and then— there you are! And I'm not sure what you are trying to accomplish? Should we feel sorry for you because you have a little stretch mark on your otherwise unblemished tummy? Yes, that is sad, but look on the bright side, YOU HAVE A BABY! A GORGEOUS TINY LIVING BREATHING PERSON! in your life now. So, you know, there's that.

I know, I know. You want to show us your "battle" scars. The thing is I am now in my mid 50's and I have raised four kids and I need to tell you this... YOU HAVE NOT YET BEGUN TO BATTLE. Right now, you're like a kid in high school, standing in front of a recruiting station, thinking maybe he will join the Army and see the world for a few years instead of enrolling in ITT Tech. That's how far away you are from REAL battle right now.

Perhaps an example of a real battle is a 3 hour plane ride with an infant who's GI track just realized "You know what? I don't think organic creamed spinach agrees with us." On my first plane ride with my adorable six month old baby enroute to Orlando to introduce her to Aunt Judy and Uncle Irwin, this fact became abundantly clear to me and my two well dressed seatmates. The three of us were covered in green sludge, spewing from her diaper with such force that I got slightly hysterical. "There's something wrong with my baby!" I shouted to the flight attendant, holding her out arms length in the aisle, like, "Here! Take this!"

"I'm sorry maam, you have to remain seated until the pilot turns off the seatbelt signs," she said and looked disdainfully at my crying daughter and then disgustingly at my white blouse that I was so excited about wearing, literally the first shirt I had worn in 6 months that wasn't made for popping out a boob when someone got hungry. Now it was stuck to my chest with green colored goo. Yes, that was some battle. But we both lived through it. Battle won.

The battles get more intense as the child ages. You may be asked by your child's Kindergarten teacher, as I was, to "Come in for a quick chat." I was not sure what to expect. Perhaps my five year old has shown himself to be THAT special child? The one who goes to college at age 11 and becomes a world reknown oncologist and then wins a Nobel Peace Prize for developing a tiny pill that can cure Ebola, Zika virus and male pattern baldness? Of course it was apparent to me from the very beginning that the child was a genius, but am I ready to release him into the world? And yet, can I really keep him to myself knowing that he may hold the ticket to the end of disease and suffering? A quandry for sure.

I entered the field of battle hopeful, calm, knowing something great was about to befall me. I squeezed myself into a bright red Little Tykes chair, which quite frankly, was a battle in itself. I made the first advance, "So, tell me! What is happening with my son?

Expecting her to say "We think he needs to move up to a middle school level," you can imagine my surprise when she said, "We think J may need to go down to the fours. He's having trouble using his scissors."

Of course I panicked. What do do? Get him tested! Get him examined! Is there something going on at home? Is he perhaps anxious about something? Did he get some weird scissor gene that has to be passed from both parents and is seen in one in a million kids? Maybe he needs medication? Therapy? Does he need some kind of therapy? Help us! Please help our child!

I went home hysterical and told my then husband what I had learned. "What a bunch of horseshit" he said. And this time he was right. That son graduated college last Spring and has a great job writing code and making up apps and doing shit I have no idea what he's talking about. Now yes, I do have to help him wrap gifts at Christmas time, but other than that, he seems to be able to function okay in society. So, I'm saying, battle won.

Eventually, battles will lead to all out wars. A war begins with a phone call at 2 am when you have been pacing around like a caged cheetah and the sound of that ring nearly brings you to your knees. A war will start with, "Mrs. Koko? This is Sergeant Smith of the St. Pete Police Department..." and before he can say another word you will begin screaming, "Is he okay? Is he okay? Please! Please! Tell me he's okay!"And IF you're lucky that phone call will lead to a little weed in his pocket and the loss of driving priviledges until he leaves for college. And if you're not lucky, well..I can't event think about it. It is too hard to even write it.

Then there is the war you wage against yourself. One day you will realize that you are a grown adult who literally hates an 11 year old child. For instance, one Friday when my daughter was in 6th grade, I pulled up to school at pick up time and saw a gaggle of girls standing in a circle, Lisa Frank backpacks at their feet bulging with Limited Too pajamas, fuzzy pink pillows, slippers with bunny ears. I saw my daughter standing at the edge of that circle, half in, half out, trying to be part of the group. A red Volvo pulled up, the group leader, Veronica's mom of course, and they all piled in heading to her Friday night sleep over, leaving my daughter standing there alone as they drove off waving. I will never forget seeing her little skinny legs all alone on that pavement, as she looked down the carpool line for my car. And you know what? I hated Veronica then. HATED. And you know what? I saw her a few years back in the mall with a little baby of her own and you know what? I STILL HATED HER. So, yes, I deal with that, I don't really see that changing, I mean therapy can only do so much.

So, as I said, compared to actually raising your child, pushing him/her into the world is a walk in the park. The one thing I don't need to tell you is that as soon as you heard that first cry, your world is changed forever, no matter how old you get to be. One day you will be 65 and your child will be 40 and you will wake up in the morning like you do everyday and the first thing you will think is WHERE IS MY CHILD? HOW IS MY CHILD? IS MY CHILD HAPPY? IS MY CHILD SUFFERING? And basically if your child is in a bad place or is unhappy in any way, well..your day is shot to hell.

So get ready because as we all know, "War is hell," yet, of course in this case so worth it. So utterly, completely, life alteringly worth it.

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September 21, 2016

Brangelina Solves The Mystery Of Why Men Cheat

Okay. Based on the allegation that Brad was cheating on Angelina, we thank you Brangelina. Now we know with absolute certainty! Your husband does not cheat on you because you are not thin enough, not pretty enough, not talented enough, not caring enough, not smart enough, not attractive to other men, not attractive to other women, not voted World's Most Beautiful Woman. WORLD'S MOST BEAUTIFUL WOMAN! He does it because, you know, it feels good. It's fun. It's exciting. And shoot, he's been such a good husband up til now, he tries to make it home for dinner every night, he reads to the kids, he brings home a paycheck, so he deserves a little fun, right?

Now, I know wives cheat on their husbands, of course I know this. But I was a wife who was cheated on, so I am coming from the wife's point of view. Some of us, upon learning that our husband is having an affair, immediately think, "Of course he is and I KNOW WHY. Look at my saggy boobs after all that breast feeding, the tiny bit of gray showing up in my hair, the laugh lines around my eyes, the 5 pounds of baby weight that never went away even though I do Pilates and spin class when I'd rather be home reading a book during those few precious hours the kids are in school." You know, in between the dry cleaning pick up, the grocery shopping, the trips to the vet, etc.

You may even resort to extreme measures such as a mini facelift, which is excruciatingly painful btw. You will examine yourself from top to bottom and think "What is it that finally pushed him over the edge?" Was I wrong not to jump on the Brazilian wax bandwagon? Would someone ripping the hair off of my vagina have kept him at home? Maybe I shouldn't have dismissed the whole anal bleaching thing so quickly? What could I have done? Anal beads? Lap dances? (ugh I am a terrible dancer, the thought of it...) That jewelry that women poke through their vaginas?

The answer? It's not you. It's him. I have read that a large percentage of men say they cheat because of emotional dissatisfaction in their marriage. Awe, poor you. And yes, of course you have every right to seek refuge, love, hidden romantic weekends, and wild sex because your wife isn't emotionally there for you all the time just like you are for her. ALL THE TIME. Marriage is hard! It take a lot more than date nights and remembering anniversaries to keep it together. And, yes, sometimes you just can't save it. Cheating though? It's not going to help the marriage, it's not going to help your family. It's going to cause a lot of pain in the long run, no matter how good, exciting, dizzyingly delicious it feels right now. It's just not right.

Me? I could never do it. I could never lie in bed next to the person I was married to and think, "I have done something that is going to bring you to your knees in gut wrenching pain. I have done something that even if we are able to move on, will haunt you the rest of your days. I have done something that is going to break your heart so badly, you may never fully recover." But that's just me.

I know the whole "Karma is a bitch" thing. I know Angelina cheated with Brad when he was married to Jennifer. And years ago I would have been, "Yes beeeyaach. Serves you right!" Actually, years ago, my first thought upon hearing the news would have been, "Oh awesome he's up for grabs again," because you know, he was probably going to hop on a plane asap and fly down to St. Pete and take me to Bella Brava, the little neighborhood Italian place I love, where we would sit outside and drink Chianti while we discussed our future plans.

Now, I know better. I feel the pain. I know the shock. The person closest to you has betrayed you in a way that you will never come back from. Tears will be shed. Apologies will be flung around. You may decide to stay the course, move on together and you may be one of the lucky ones who can forgive and forget, but for most of us? It will always be there. Even years later, you may be at a family gathering standing around the bbq grill, or on a plane to a fabulous vacay spot, or at a party surrounded by friends, and you will catch his eye and you will think. "How could you?"

So bottom line? It's not you. It's not your hair. It's not your clothes. It's not your weight. It's not your fault. It's a selfish act by a person who is thinking only of themselves only at this minute.

Angelina made her decision and is moving forward towards divorce. Of course Angelina does not have the financial worries most of us have when deciding whether to stay in the marriage or end it after an affair. So her decision was probably easier for her than it is for most of us. But I can tell you this, even for the most beautiful woman in the world, the pain is real, it is deep and it is something you never forget.

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September 9, 2016

FACE IT. Times Are Changing

Last week, tropical storm Hermine swept through Florida and devastated the homes and lives of thousands. The two people running for the highest political office in the world, were fighting about who is more corrupt, you know, who has lied, cheated and hid the most stuff from the American people. (One of these people is going to be the leader of the free world folks!) The world lost a great comedic talent in Gene Wilder, the best Willy Wonka ever, not to mention a very nice human being. And front page news: Alicia Keys did not wear makeup to the VMA's. Now THAT is something we really need to get to the bottom of.

Okay yes, this is what I want to expand on in this post and I know it is vapid and small of me. But if you want world news, political commentary and sober sends offs, you're in the wrong place. Those things are beyond my understanding, I cannot make sense of what happens in the world. I cannot bear to think of the human suffering. I cannot believe that a few months ago I turned on the news to see there had been another mass shooting and when learning there were two victims dead, said to myself, "Phew! Only two this time." So, if I think too much, delve too deep or try to make sense of today's news, it may result in me doing something weird like binge watching Rugrats for days, trying to remember happy times when my kids were little, or drinking wine and eating cookie dough, and not the ice cream, I mean just plain cookie dough. So please, please, let's just focus on Alicia Keys for now.

Why the big to-do? Some people felt it was disrespectful to the industry. Isn't the industry Kim and Kanye? Is it even possible to disrespect Kanye? And how is not wearing make up disrespectful? Come on, I doubt she was lying in her bed playing Solitaire on her iPad, and looked at the time and said, "Oh shit! I'm supposed to be at the VMA's!" and raced over changing into her dress in the car, arriving just in time to hit the stage. No. She also made sure to tweet that though she doesn't like to wear it, she is NOT anti-makeup. As Alicia says, "DO YOU." To each their own.

In her defense, her face is unlined, glowing, screams health and youth. Why cover it up? And frankly, if she is starting a #nomakeuprevolution, SIGN ME UP. I too am thinking of of joining the cause. I have just now arrived at the point where I will take my sunglasses off in Publix when I am makeup free. Sure, it's because I am trying to see the calorie count on the Skinny Cows but takes bravery. I'm SO getting there!

I remember one day when I was 30. I had just had a baby and my mother and I were taking her to the pediatrician for a check up. I combed my hair, stuck two breast pads to my boobs and headed towards the car. Looking at me my mother said, "I guess that's the difference between 30 and 50. You don't have to wear make up when you go out." Yeah mom. THAT'S the difference. Good one. But now, I see her point.

I want to tell my daughters, FLAUNT YOUR YOUTH! Revel in it. Bask it in. Because, here is Victoria's real secret: what she is screaming to us from the halls of shopping malls all over the world, 'Wear it now! Don't put it off until we run the 3 for 1 thong panties sale. Don't wait for the lacy push up bras to be BOGO." By the time that happens you may be needing the giant bras that hang on the back wall of Macy's lingerie department, with the extra wide panel for back fat. Now is the time!

I admit, I invested in several pairs of thong panties years ago when I was trying to woo back my then husband from the arms of another. Not only did it not work, but for all I know I may still be wearing them. You know, like that tampon you forgot you inserted, JUST IN CASE? I pulled a pair out the other day and thought, "What the hell? Let's give it a try." So, I put them on and ask M, "How do these panties look?" He looks confused as he asks, "What panties?"

So, okay, not a good look.

Anyway, back to Alicia and the whole no make up thing. I think she killed it. I respect her decision. Maybe the hours we spend drawing on eyebrows, lining lips, layering foundation, applying fake eyelashes, contouring, plumping, and air brushing are coming to an end with this next generation? Maybe they will use the time for writing amazing songs, breaking the glass ceiling in the STEM arena, coming up with new cures, medicines, treatment plans to combat dreaded disease, designing amazing homes with green technology to save our planet, running for president. You know, stuff like that.

Yes, Alicia Keys is ON FIRE and I hope she ignites a whole generation.

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August 31, 2016

Anthony and Huma—A Photo Finish!

Here's what I would do if I was Huma Abadein: I would make myself a nice cup of espresso and sit down in my kitchen with the New York Times Style Section, or maybe the Book Review. As I read it cover to cover, I may have a biscotti or something. An almond one, maybe drizzled with a little dark chocolate? I love those.

When I was finished I would rinse my cup in the sink but I wouldn't put it in the dishwasher. Let HIM do it. Let him do SOMETHING around here as he will now have plenty of time to dick around, (excuse the pun) now that the New York Daily News (among others) has given him the heave ho.

Then I would go upstairs to my bedroom and pull down my Louis Vuitton duffel. (She probably has a Louis Vuitton right? I mean I doubt she travels with a ripped Samsonite that she bought at Burlington Coat Factory) I would peruse my closet, pick out a few key pieces, some work clothes and some weekend things, you know, a good pair of jeans and a few t shirts. Definitely need a sweater to throw over the shoulders in the evening. I would place them in the duffel, leaving plenty of room at the top for my skincare products, hair products, and other necessary beautifying paraphernalia.

Then I would go into my little boy's room. From the top of his closet I would take down his little Kids Pottery Barn rolling back pack and fill it with his clothes, his favorite stuffed animals, and of course his blankie. Then, I would pick my little man up from the floor where he is sitting and playing with some educational toy, Baby Einstein or something, kiss his cheek and hold him close to me. And then, clutching him to my chest... I WOULD RUN LIKE A MOTHER FU***R!

Yes, someone once again snitched on Weiner and THIS time, we've really had it. (And by WE, I mean Huma and his various employers. I certainly don't know the man.) Sure we are all thinking, "Huma! What took you so long?" I guess, she figured, you know, a few dick pics, just harmless fun. But throw, your kid in there? GAME OVER.

Now I can't begin to imagine what was going through HIS mind. I mean this is a smart, educated man! How does he NOT know that this shit is going to hit the fan, especially now that the whole Ryan Lochte thing is dying down. More importantly, why does he think we all want to see his penis? I can't speak for everyone know...dude. EW.

Now, obviously, I don't know Huma. I don't get out much. I have had the same two friends since junior high, and by that I mean I have two friends. I'm good with that. I mean, I love the SOUND of meeting new people. I love the SOUND of going to parties where I picture myself holding court, with excitement buzzing through the room, (OMG Who IS that delightful, thin, gorgeous woman over there?) The reality is, when I enter a party I grab a glass of wine and head to a corner. If someone approaches me, I'm like a deer in the headlights. I see them coming closer and I begin to sweat as I prepare to wow them with a stimulating conversation opener. "Hi," I say. "Can you believe they are taking Everybody Loves Raymond off of Netflix?" This usually does the trick as they continue past me to the hummus.

Anyway, back to Huma. Why did she put up with it for so long? I have a theory and again, I am only speaking for myself so don't get all "I am woman hear me roar," on me. She put up with it because 1. She had made a plan for her life and it included being married to and having children with Anthony Weiner and 2. She thought she could change him. Sometimes, we just don't want to see what is right there in front of us, whether it is a big red star on your husband's Day-Timer marking another woman's birthday or, in Huma's case, pictures of his penis on the Internet, that HE PUT THERE. (Not like Jon Hamm who due to no fault of his own has a whole website devoted to his penis, but that's another story.)

First, you try to make sense of it. She's just a friend. Don't we all try to remember our friend's birthdays? Isn't it a nice and thoughtful thing he's doing?

So, Huma thinks, "It's his penis, yes, but there must be a reason for it." A perfectly good reason for your husband to send these pics out into the internet and to young girl's cell phones. There HAS to be a reason other than he is one sick puppy.

And then, there are apologies, there are " I will stop it, I will never do it again," and you work so hard to make sure your life is back on track. Sure, you still check the cell phone now and then, you still try and crack the password on the laptop, and there are days when it's hard, SO hard to keep believing that you have fixed it.

Finally, something happens and you realize, it's done. It's over. ENOUGH. And, my guess is this is where Huma finds herself now. But isn't she like besties with Hillary? I am sure she will have plenty to keep her busy in the upcoming years, plus she's super smart and now has a beautiful little boy. She will be fine. He, I'm guessing, will never live this down. Remember what happened to Pee Wee's Playhouse after Pee Wee was caught doing you know what in that gross movie theater? And that was without viral videos! I'm sure Weiner will regret showing his...well... weiner, for the rest of his life.

Anyway, that's all I have to say about that.

So...can you believe they are taking Everybody Loves Raymond, off Netflix??

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May 12, 2016

Surviving The Pomp Under These Circumstances

This past weekend, my youngest son graduated from college. The youngest of four, he is the only one who took the traditional college route of a four year degree complete with the cap, the gown, the diploma and the 3 hour ceremony in the blinding Florida sun. Luckily for us this was the FIRST year that his small private school decided to hold the event OUTDOORS and I have to say, what a great idea! Florida is lovely this time of year and who doesn't love sitting in the middle of a field, on metal bleachers in your new Kenneth Cole outlet dress as the sun gets ever higher in the sky, the temperature steadily rises, and the possibility of melanoma gets greater with each passing moment.

Seriously, for me this made all the worry, the angst, and even that one late night phone call from the sheriff's office, worth it. My boy graduated college and I was beyond proud. At one point son said to me, "I don't know if I want to walk mom, I can just have them send me the diploma" to which I replied, "Oh, you're walking. YOU ARE WALKING, and if I have to fucking crawl there on my hands and knees I will be there to see it, " know, I set the stage for a fun day.

As excited as I was for this glorious experience, I was concerned about two major issues that the weekend involved. One was the full body Spanx. My ex was hosting a dinner the Friday night before the event at a lovely 5 star restaurant and FINALLY I had the chance to wear that black dress I bought in NYC 3 years ago along with the full body spanx I bought to go with it. Things should be okay, as long as the 3 tiny snaps that hold the thing together at my crotch didn't come apart causing the whole apparatus to fly up and hit me in the face during the soup course. If I walked very slowly, and sat down very gently....should be okay.

Second? This would be the first time since my divorce that my ex, my children and my in-laws whom I miss dearly would all be together in one room, at one table in fact. Add in M and my ex's partner, an elegant, lovely woman with great hair and it could be somewhat awkward. Yet, I was not about to miss it— could we come together as a family to celebrate a moment of complete and utter joy? Could we sit together at a table and enjoy each other's company while celebrating the success of the son we brought into this world? Was there any way I could wear the dress without the full body Spanx? (No, there wasn't.) This was what was going through my mind as we began the three hour drive on Friday afternoon.

After a longer trip than we anticipated due to traffic and a stop at Burger King where I really wanted to try their new grilled hot dogs, (a decision I lived to regret later that evening) M, myself, my two daughters and one boyfriend that I love, arrived at the hotel where we were all staying. We walked in and there they family. There was my mother in law who has known me since I was 16. Who came and stayed with me when my 5 year old daughter had 3rd degree burns on her legs and feet after I dropped a pot of hot chicken soup as she was passing by the stove. Every day she accompanied me to the doctor where she would hold her as they scraped off the burned skin and bandaged her up, as I cried on a chair nearby. We have shared ups, downs and a thousand cups of coffee.

My father in law who taught my kids how to fish and patiently baited hooks for hours as they sat next to him swinging their little feet back and forth. My sister in law, who I grew up with, both of us 16 when we met. Now we are both mothers and have shared the joy and heartbreak that comes with that job. And of course, there was my ex. I haven't seen him in over a year and didn't know what to expect, how I would feel. Our eyes met and I felt happy. I felt proud. We looked at each other and both said, "WE DID IT!" as we high fived each other. It was a moment I will always remember.

That night M and I arrived a few moments late to the dinner as we had to park a few blocks away and I had to walk like a geisha in order to keep the spanx intact. When I arrived, there were two seats left and I took the one next to my ex. I had him on one side and M on the other! You know the weird part? It felt RIGHT. I had the man I now loved on my left, and the man whom I had shared a life with and brought 4 children into the world with on my right. My kids were scattered around the table, talking, laughing, so proud of their little brother, enjoying the moment of seeing their parents together in happy times. There was a time I thought that it would never be possible, but here we were. We all shared stories about the graduate, and though I did get a bit melancholy, I felt truly happy and really blessed.

Not to mention, the Spanx stayed where it was supposed to at least until we got back to the room, where I sat down on the bed and it let loose with a sudden fury as if to say, "PLEASE, NO MAS! NO MAS!" All the worry had been for nothing. The night had been a success and as I drifted off to sleep, I let these words wash over me...WE DID IT.

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A R C H I V E / H I G H L I G H T S

Don't Quit Your Day Job
originally posted: December 15, 2015

Well I did it. I wrote a book. I sold a book. I am a published author. The day my book came out was one of the highlights of my life. My facebook blew up! I had like 22 comments. WOOT! WOOT! I realized this was the beginning of a new life. I knew that by the end of the next week, I would probably have to give my boss the very sad news that I will be resigning. For one thing, it's not fair to be needing so much time off for book tours and television appearances. I mean I suppose I could try and work remotely, but I will be in so many different time zones, LA, New York, Europe (what time zone are they on over there?) that it only seems prudent to begin thinking about who could replace me.

I began to think of what I could do with all the income I would now have coming in. Probably time to put in that pool I've been wanting, but wait, do I really want to go through that messy process, when most likely I will probably have to sell my house soon anyway, when I move to California after I am offered my own talk show? Gosh, so much to figure out and plan, woe is me, the life of a successful and highly in demand author.

By the end of the week, I think I sold 43 books. To put this in perspective my parents bought 24 and I bought 10. I kept checking my phone to see if I had missed any calls with Los Angeles or NYC area codes. I did once but it was GoDaddy wanting me to renew my domain name. Ellen, Tyra, The View...they were not contacting me as I had anticipated. (And anyone who knows me knows that one of my goals in life is to be on the Ellen show...ugh SO CLOSE!)

My publisher kept pushing, "You have to sell, you have to market, you have to PUSH!" I contacted a literary publicist, who wanted 12K to get me into an online magazine. I wrote a blog post and put a link to my book in it. I got comments like "Shameless book promoting, nothing else." Ack! I'm sorry, I'm sorry, they made me do it!

Finally, finally, I was asked to talk on an online radio show. Now we're cookin! I thought. The morning I called in I had my whole speech prepared. I would talk about the devastation of divorce, how debilitating it can be, how to pull yourself up from the depths and reinvent yourself, how good your next phase of life can be. The radio host introduces me and as I get ready to launch into my inspirational monologue she says, "We're gonna play a game! I'm going to read lines from your old blog posts and you complete the sentence!" WHAT? I stumbled, and faux pas'ed my way through it
with a lot of dead air. I could tell she couldn't wait to get rid of me as she introduced her next guest whose subject was "finding cheap flights." Ugh. Never again.

I decided that was it. I wrote a book and had it published. So? My publisher had all but disappeared now. My parents had my book on every shelf and coffee table in the house, it was almost creepy. "You did it" I told myself. Now focus on your REAL job and maybe you will be the recipient of the 5$ Starbucks card for a job well done this week. THIS is your future, your safety net, your income BTW. Move on.

And I did, night I woke up with the best was actually an idea for a fiction novel (my first go at fiction!) and within moments I was at my computer putting it together, watching my protagonist come to life, laughing at all the predicaments she was going to find herself in. That's when I realized, like I'm sure you have many times, I can't stop writing. It's not a job, it's a way of breathing, it's as much a part of me as my thinning hair and my size 9 AAA feet.

Why do we do it? It's not to become rich and famous and have our books made into movies so that we can meet Meryl Streep, my idol. Yes, I know Cheryl Strayed did it, but I'm really beginning to think, you know, it's not the norm. We do it because it's in us and we have to let it out. Recently I had a session with my beloved writing coach and I said "I am 55, and petrified. The time is slipping away and I have so much I want to write and say, I'm afraid I won't get it done." "Use the panic" she said "And write!"

So I have set a new goal for myself, to have my fiction novel done by my birthday this year, which is August 9th. That means writing on weekends on evenings, in the wee hours of the morning to get it done. I'm very proud of my book "There's Been A Change Of Plans" insert shameless book promotion here, and I wonder can I love my new baby as much? Time will tell.

Why do we do it? Because we have to, because we are not whole without it. And because, maybe, just maybe, you know Ellen will friend us on Facebook and see that we wrote a book, and then...

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This Was Not In The "Script"
originally posted: August 19, 2015

So today was my yearly visit with my psychiatrist and yes I have one and please stop judging. OMG, like YOU don't lie awake at night and worry that the email you sent to your sister about how upset you are that Bethenny is back on Real Housewives, accidentally went to your client in LA who has never met you but thinks you're cool because you use the words "In retrospect" a lot and pretend to know what a meme is. Like YOU don't get up to check your computer and once you see that the email did indeed go to your sister, you feel a lot better, but then you see a story about how women who gain weight during menopause should have their thyroid checked and then you have to go to the mirror to drink a glass of water and look for lumps like the article says. Please, like YOU don't go back to bed two hours later bloated from all the water and sure you have a goiter, and finally, FINALLY give in and take your Ambien, which, by the way, you need a prescription for.

Anyway, today I was looking forward to my visit because, A. I get to leave work for an hour and was planning on getting a Chic Filet sandwich with extra pickles, and B. because I notice lately I have been really focusing on health issues, and probably more than normal people do. In my mind every ache or pain is most likely malignant, at the very least will require some type of surgery and recovery period and I'm not really sure how much time off I have accrued in my six months of employment. So it causes me great stress.

So I was all set to delve into it with Dr. today and have her tell me, "Oh you're being silly, you look healthy as a horse," and give me my script and send me on my way. She called me back to her office, as she always does, and I headed for my usual spot, took a seat on the couch where I have lost my shit more than once and looked at the doctor and noticed she was bald. And she was skinny. And she was wrapped in a shawl and it's August in Florida. "Fuck" I thought, "She's sick."

And I wanted to cry. I wanted to lay down on that couch like I did years ago when I went to her because my husband had left me and I wasn't sure I could move, and just cry. And she said, "So how are you?" and I said, "Fine, I have a job now, and I have a book coming out, I'm really fine." And even while I was saying it I was thinking, I don't think I will go into the whole "What if I need surgery" thing.

She began writing out the script and saying how exciting it was about my job and how she couldn't wait to read the book and finally I interrupted her and said, "Doc, what's going on with you?" and she said, "I have cancer, which isn't so bad, but the chemo and radiation are killing me."

"Crap," I answered because what could I say?

Could I say that I know the words coming out of my mouth sound selfish and inane? That she and her colorful long skirts and birkenstocks make several appearances in my next book? That I want her to look at me with that squint she always does and then throw that long frizzy hair of hers behind her neck while she writes out my script? That I love her for caring that I have a stupid job as she pulls the shawl tighter around her shoulders?

We ended the session, eight minutes maybe, and she walked me to the check out desk and handed me my prescriptions. "Look at you," she said, "A book and a job? It's glorious, isn't it?" and I said "Doc, I want you to be well," and she said, "I know, but just in case," and she handed me a list of psychiatrists in the area.

And I left. And I cried all the way to Chic Filet. And then I went back to work, where I wanted to yell at my co-workers who are all under 30, "It won't last forever! You better enjoy every minute! And WTF is a meme!!?"

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Amy Koko is the author of the popular blog Ex-Wife New Life and a blogger for Huffington Post in the Divorce, Women and Comedy sections. Her memoir "There's Been A Change Of Plans" is available on Amazon.