Monday, December 15, 2014

A Beautiful Lie

When I was twelve and in seventh grade, I decided, for really no reason at all, that I liked some kid who I'd kind of met once while waiting in line for lunch. I asked around, found out who he was, and then, because writing is what I do, decided to write him a note and have one of my friends give it to him in the hall. Well, I'm a lunatic with inappropriate written all over me--ask anyone--so it might not come as a huge surprise that by the end of the school day, the last note I sent to him was note number four. Yes, that's right, I said four. I pretty much randomly chose a guy I knew not one little bit and wrote him not one, not two, not three, but four notes professing what amounted to my undying affection for him. It was a crazy long time ago, so who the fuck knows what those notes said? Certainly not me, but for some reason, I feel like I remember something horrific, something mortifying (yes, even more mortifying than my giving some boy I didn't know four notes in one day--when I wasn't even cute!) something along the lines of, Writing to you is the only thing I even want to do anymore.

(My God, can I die?)

Even now, all these years later, I shudder at the memory and feel like hiding in shame. All you sane people out there who know the line between what's acceptable human behavior and what's not probably can't imagine how I feel, so allow me to demonstrate. The best representation of the whole ordeal is this:





It's so painful, I can barely stand to look. It's a good thing, I'll bet you're thinking, I lived that horror so many years in the past.

Well.

You know that tagline on my blog that says I'm an introvert in person and an extrovert in print? It's not a joke.

Give me any writing medium--a note, a text, a blog--and I have no control. Everything inside of me just comes out, appropriate or not.

I know you know what I mean.

Mark Hoppus says the past is only the future with the lights on, and I have to say he's right because don't you know I've been doing the same things repeatedly for my entire life? Sure, the medium's changed, but the action, the inappropriateness, the perceived notion of somethingness that in reality doesn't exist--those things have all remained. But now...something's happened that's made me see. Something much more enlightening than the lights on.

But

I can't talk about it
(I'm learning, see?).

But

I can tell you something.

I know it's hard to believe, but I've had an epiphany. Really.

I hate to go all cliche, but I have no choice because every time I reflect, this stupid-ass saying goes through my head: Reality has hit me like a ton of bricks.

Among my recent realizations, realizations that, unlike realizations in the past, have really affected my behavior and my understanding of myself:

1. I have attachment issues. Like, seriously.
2. I am the worst judge of character in the history of people who have judged people's character.
3. If a person only knows a part of you, that person will never, ever see you as a real person. You will forever be a whisper of who you really are.
4. I am, at times, a caricature of myself.
5. All the passion in the world, and I'm not talking sexual passion, won't sway a person who doesn't want to be swayed.
6. I not only don't know when or where to draw the line, but I sometimes go so far over the line, the idea that there's even a line would be comical if it weren't so sad. To me, the world is sometimes lineless.
7. Wanting something really, really, really badly isn't always enough.
8. I actually bring some things--okay, a lot of things--on myself.
9. I'm not as sad as I like to think.

I know I kind of vagued that whole thing up, but--
epiphany, remember?

Sunday, December 7, 2014

I'll Sing Along

I had a short stay in a private psychiatric facility when I was sixteen (I wish I could say it was my first time, but that would be a lie). I was dramatic and crazy to begin with and my life was dramatic and crazy as well, and a crazy, dramatic life and a crazy, dramatic personality equal more drama and crazy than people are meant to handle. Super long story completely skipped over, I couldn't handle the drama and crazy and needed to kind of disappear from my life for a while. So I did.

Now, I'm not saying I need to disappear from my life the way I did when I was sixteen, and I'd hate to be the kind of girl to bandy about vague, nonscientific terms that don't exactly mean anything, like nervous breakdown, but I will tell you this:

I think I may need to disappear from my life.

Not forever. Not even for a significant period of time.

Maybe just take a little break.

Maybe just for long enough for me to remember how I used to be.

I mean, I'm sure everything is fine, and

the fact that I've suddenly gone from someone who immediately emails or texts people back the second she sees their text or email to someone who's so reluctant to email or text people back that it pains her to even open up texts or emails isn't the biggest deal in the world and the fact that I've gone from someone who used to read every one of the five to ten magazines she subscribes to at any given time to someone who can't even manage to get through a single article probably isn't call for alarm and the fact that I've gone from someone who's loved food, adored food, obsessed over food her entire life to someone who now has practically no interest in putting anything in her mouth doesn't mean very much at all, just like the fact that I've gone from someone who's spent her life on the phone to someone who can't stand to talk to people for a second also likely doesn't mean anything at all.

I'm also sure the fact that I no longer can spell a word doesn't mean anything and all the things I can't remember are pretty unimportant. And does anybody really think not being able to maintain a train of thought for a minute straight means anything at all? I'm sure they don't.

But

the way my judgment's flown leaped hurled itself out the window? That one might actually mean something.

(You want details? Oh, I've got details. Too bad you can't have them.)

Or my being so distracted that when I walked home from my sister's house today I passed the street I've lived on for twelve years and didn't even realize it until I walked about a mile out of my way? I'm thinking that one means something, too.

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Happy Holiday, You Bastard! 2014

Inspired by multiple friends' daily posts about things to be thankful for, a couple of Thanksgivings ago I made a things-that-I'm-thankful-for list of my own and published it in a blog. I'm pretty sure I skipped last year because when things are going good, we--I--tend to take things for granted, but since this year my life is absolutely back to falling apart and I'm once again seriously in need of finding things to be thankful for, I'm making another one. In fact, since I'm all powerful where this blog is concerned, I'm declaring that from here on out, my Happy Holiday, You Bastard! blog will be an annual tradition.

And so:

Things That I'm Thankful For, 2014

1. Bed. Okay, I just checked, and this one is repeated from the previous, but I promise, it's the only one. I've always said that getting in bed is my favorite thing to do and being in bed is my favorite place to be, but right now while I'm alternating between sleeping on the couch during the week and in Griffin's bed on the weekends, I appreciate a good bed like never before. This year, bed has got to be my number one.

2. Griffin. Soul mate, capital S. Nothing more to say, move it along.

3. The times when Keifer and I get along. Is there an opposite of soul mate? Just kidding. Sort of. I sometimes--often--wonder where Keifer and I went wrong. I don't know, maybe I overreact. Maybe Keifer and I get along the way most teenagers get along with their parents but because my relationship with Griffin is so not the typical, it seems worse than it is. All I know is that now and then, every once in a while, things with Kei are good. He comes out of his room, he sits down wherever I am, and he won't leave me alone. He makes me listen to Eminem, he tells me what's going on in his life, he engages in conversation, and he's an-all-around lovely human being. It's for these rare times that I'm grateful.

4. Blink-182.

5. Running. Yeah, I've got bum feet, and yeah, I've got weak ankles, and yeah, I've got arthritis, so no, running isn't always the most pleasurable thing, but the happy it brings me is too significant for me to give it up because a few things hurt. (Um, duh. I'm clearly not the kind of girl who just gives up because something hurts.) Plus, epiphanies come when I run. I may not heed them when I'm finished, but at least they come. Which brings me to

6. Epiphanies. Like I said, I don't usually heed them, but they definitely come, they totally make me think, and they absolutely make me feel strong, capable, and unstoppable for at least as long as it takes to finish the second half of my run.

7. Tattoos. How else would I chronicle the significant people and events in my life?

8. Dye and bleach. Obviously.

9. My really pale skin. Part genetics, part total avoidance of the sun. Altogether lovely.

10. Not being fat. I read some stupid article recently that said something about how after this girl lost weight, she was so happy...for about five minutes until she realized all the problems she had before she lost weight were still there and that losing weight is no remedy for happiness. I've also read other publications akin to that in the past. Well, she's an ass and so are all the other writers who assert the same thing. I'm going through a lot of shit--a lot a lot--and sometimes the only thing that keeps me going is the thought that I'm not fat. When I'm not fat, even the bad is better.

11. Recessive genes. Yay! From my perspective, at least, but not, I'm sure, from Griffin's and Kei's.

12. Musicals. Why can people not break into spontaneous song and dance in real life?

13. Boys. Cute, cute boys.

14. Exterminators. Otherwise, eww.

15. Razors. I don't know if I've mentioned this before, but I'm a fairly hairy person. Not shave-my-arms-and-knuckles hairy like some people I know, but I do shave my toes in addition to other things, and thank the frickin' lord I can. Who wants to be covered in a layer of hair?

16. Friday afternoons. Griffin and I have had a coffee date every Friday afternoon for at least five years. I don't know what I'm going to do when he goes away to school. And please don't jokingly tell me to follow him because I'm already fighting the urge.

17. Having the willpower to mostly give up dairy, grains, and alcohol. Seriously--what a difference it's made in my life. Sure, not drinking is kind of the pits sometimes, but I'd rather not drink than look and feel like crap.

18. Catalysts. Okay, so recently I've had a whole lot of bad happen, and please don't think I'm saying I'm glad for the bad because I'm not, but what I am saying is that if not for all the bad, I'd just status quo it up for the rest of forever. I needed all this bad. Badly.

19. Friends. I'm not exactly swimming in them, but I'm so happy I have the ones I do. I'm not one to live life alone.

20. The thirty-one-year-old guy I met this morning who was shocked when he found out I have a fifteen-year-old son and said he thought I was his age. It's always nice to hear.

21. Smartphones and their built-in cameras. Tailor-made for vain people like me.

22. My sense of humor. Everybody might not think I'm funny, but in my opinion, I'm fucking hysterical.

23. My job--sort of. It's probably not a secret that I'm not the biggest fan of teaching. What I am the biggest fan of, though, is forging relationships, both sustained and temporary, and not just because of the good feelings they give me. Over the years, I've had the opportunity to make a real difference in a lot of lives, and I'm not talking academics. For this, I'm truly grateful.

24. Mermaid. She may be old; she may be cosmetically challenged; she may be less than beautiful on the inside. But what would I do without her? How the hell would I get where I need to go?

25. Hallucinations. Life without my laptop? At this point, I can't even fathom it.

26. Routines. I hate to admit I'm so boring, but I'm a girl of routines. The aforementioned coffee on Friday afternoons, pizza on Friday nights, pancake night on Thursdays, fish on Sundays. My life is so not orderly, I need order wherever I can get it.

27. Mascara.

28. Nail clippers. I freak out when my nails grow a millimeter and keep one with me at all times. Nails that go past the tips of my fingers? No, thank you.

29. Memories. No eternal sunshine here, and I wouldn't want it.

30. The future. My life is pretty crappy right now, but as melodramatic and melancholy as I naturally I am, even I know that won't last forever.

Happy Thanksgiving, everyone! Eat responsibly :)

Sunday, November 23, 2014

I Was Down In It

I've been thinking a lot recently about moving on, not necessarily because I want to think about it, but because my current place in life gives me no choice. Basically, either I choose to move on, or I suffer. Like mad.

While when given the above choices, the obvious one would seem to be the former, it's not so easy. If it were, millions of people wouldn't be stuck in jobs they dislike, bogged down in unhealthy relationships, trapped in painful addictions, or mired in any number of toxic situations. Unfortunately, for most people, including me, the adage about the devil we know being better than the devil we don't is horribly true, and in my opinion, the ability to break out of patterns, even patterns we know to be detrimental to our lives, is almost impossibly difficult.

Almost
impossibly difficult.
But not.

I have no problem admitting that for a long time, in a lot of ways, I've been stuck; in fact, I'll say not just that I've been stuck, but that, in some areas in which I've been stuck, I've kind of liked being stuck, or if not exactly liked it, gotten--energy from it? Purpose? I've actually gone so far as to romanticize some of the areas in which I've been stuck, thinking it proof of my passion, my devotion, my worth.

This "stuckness," it seems, has become a part of my identity. Think Trent Reznor's Pretty Hate Machine and you have a pretty good idea of what I mean (and if you don't know what I'm talking about, you need to find out. For the love of God, educate yourselves!). And I'm not just talking about one specific person for the last X amount of years--I'm seriously talking my entire life. I might have written this before, so forgive me if I have, but when the therapist North Star's parents sent her to when she was thirteen asked her if she was boy crazy, she answered, No. But my friend Kelly is, and her friend Kelly is here to attest to the fact that in the last 26 years, nothing has changed.

But it's got to.

You know, when I first started writing today, when I grabbed my computer and started this blog, I intended to make a grand proclamation of how today is the day I climb out of the quagmire, unstick myself from my stuckness, become a better woman. But, as often happens when I write, I came to a realization--I don't want to. Well, that's actually not true. Except it is.

I should probably explain.

There's a difference between pattern and personality.

As far as the boy craziness goes, the blind devotion, the stupid schoolgirl antics, the melancholy, the longing, the drama--I'm afraid those things are here to stay. Those are the things that make me, me.

As far as the me that revolves around things that are unloving, things that are uncaring, things that are unworthy, things that are undeserving, things that are un-anything positive or good for me in any way, well, can I just say, there's a fat lady somewhere and she's singing my song?

She's hard for me to hear, really hard (especially since I've been to countless concerts, many of them right in the front next to the speakers, and band practices and listen to headphones really loudly and as a result, seriously think I'm kind of deaf), but she's getting louder all the time.

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

I Love Jacques Cousteau/An Open Letter/[Your] Mom's a Whore


Monica: Mom, Dad, Ross smoked pot in college. And, Dad, you know that mailman you got fired? He didn't steal your Playboys. Ross did.

Ross: Yeah, well, Hurricane Gloria didn't break the porch swing, Monica did!

Monica: Ross hasn't worked at the museum for a year!

Ross: Monica and Chandler are living together!

Monica: Ross married Rachael in Vegas and got divorced! Again!

Phoebe: I love Jacques Cousteau!

Rachael: I wasn't supposed to put beef in the trifle!

Joey: I wanna go!

Judy: That's a lot of information to get in thirty seconds.
                                  
      --Friends, The One Where Ross Got High

That's probably my favorite episode of Friends ever, especially the part when Phoebe exclaims that she loves Jacques Cousteau (which I've been known to exclaim from time to time) and Rachael says she wasn't supposed to put beef in the trifle. I have absolutely no idea how many times I've laughed at that episode despite the many times I've watched it.

In real life, though, being barraged with information--it's not so fun.

In real life, if while you're getting ready for work at 6:45 in the morning after only sleeping for about three hours because one, your estranged husband insists on sleeping next to you and it creeps you out so much, you can't fall asleep, and two, your son, who's been harassed by his father and told all sorts of information he shouldn't know woke up at 3:45 after having just about the only nightmare of his life and you got up to see why the light was on in the bathroom at 4 a.m. and ended up staying in his bed with him until your alarm went off at 5:33, your estranged husband were to wake up and stare at you in the bathroom mirror while you put your mascara on and then after words and words and words follow you downstairs and tell you, as you're trying to leave for work, that the guy you didn't imagine would ever betray you has been forwarding the texts you've been sending him to your husband (complete with photos and all) and cite specific information so you're hit with the horrible realization that it's actually true and then continue to tell you, as you're walking toward the door, that he fucked one of your best friends about ten times while you were at work, being barraged with information--it wouldn't be so fun.

If, when you text that friend and asked if it were true, she were to tell you that she's sorry, but yes, she did, in fact, have sex with your husband several times right before we got married, after he and you had been dating for four years and living together for three, and if you were to find out that at least one of the times, one of the times of the fucking, happened right there in your bed, in your bed in your mother and father's house, in the bed you'd had since you were thirteen, in the bed you shared with your boyfriend, your soon-to-be-husband, your soon-to-be-husband with the unusually low libido, the unusually low libido so low it prompted you, after ten years, to ask for an open marriage, a request that he agreed to, only to go insane when you actually acted on it, telling you what a whore you are and taking three-and-a-half fucking years to get over it, bringing it up left and right, holding it over your head, over your marriage, over your life like a filth-splattered umbrella, despite the fact that first of all, you had permission, and second of all, he drove you to it, all the while when he'd been the one with the secret with the poison with the filth, being barraged with information--it wouldn't be so fun.

If you then thought about the time you woke up in the middle of the night and caught him having chat room sex with some girl, some girl who you contacted and she told you it wasn't just on the computer, that he'd come to her house, that he'd kissed her, and you then talked to your sister and she told you that when you were all in Chicago together when your older son was one and you were pregnant with the second and she and your husband, your husband who, unbeknownst to you had fucked one of your best friends repeatedly, at least one time in your bed, went to a club while you stayed, fat and pregnant, at your cousin's house with your son, he tried to stick his tongue down her throat and then when you talked to your mom later and told her about your husband fucking one of your best friends, she told you, without knowing your sister had already confessed, that your husband once hit on your sister, while you were fat and pregnant and caring for your already-born son, being barraged with information--it wouldn't be so fun.

It might even make you wonder just how much you'd actually missed.

***

An Open Letter to an Ex-Lover.

Dear C,

I think to myself that I don't know whether to thank you or to hate you, but since the reason I'd be thanking you is because you've made me hate you, I guess there's really no difference at all.

But, still, hate you or hate you or hate you even more, there are some things I want to say. Since I know you read my blog, this seems as good a place to deliver my message as any.

First, I truly do want to thank you, and not for making me hate you. I want to thank you for the way  you, and only you, ever, have made me feel. I want to thank you for making me realize, over and over and over again, that I'm still the me I used to be, the me I thought I buried, the me that I've mourned. I want to thank you for the magic and passion, the burning, the pain. I want to thank you for the wonky spine. I want to thank you for the dirty. Really, I want to thank you for every part of you you've ever shared, every part of me you've ever touched.

What I'm thanking you for, really, is making me see.

Second, I truly do want to thank you, but this time it's for the awful thing you've done to me. This time it wasn't a text saying something along the lines of, I can't do this anymore, it's too stressful like you sent the last time before you completely disappeared, the text I stupidly forgave you for. No, this time it was much worse.

I can't rationalize it this time. I can't say, well, he won't even be twenty-four until a week from Saturday; he's only a baby. Because technically it's not true. Twenty-three and 354 days is, in regards to age at least, a man. In regards to being so afraid of my soon-to-be ex-husband that you forward all correspondence from me straight to him--well, that's an entirely different truth. Allowing a person to control you in the manner in which you've allowed yourself to be controlled--well, all I can say to that is, Good doggie. Roll over. Sit.

Play dead.

And why, why, why you might wonder, everyone might wonder, I myself wonder, would I thank you for the awful that you've done to me? The betrayal that you've bestowed on somebody who, as you well know, would have done absolutely, positively anything in the world for you, who loved you blindly, stupidly, madly, rabidly? Why would I at all appreciate the feeling, the feeling, the goddamn fucking feeling of sickness and blackness and denial and despair I felt when I found out what you were yesterday? Why would I be happy about that at all?

Why

thank you.

Sunday, October 26, 2014

Bouquet of Clumsy Words

Dignity. Pride. Self-esteem. Self-respect.

If you look up the definition of any of these words, the other three will somewhere appear on the page.

For example:

Self-esteem:
a realistic respect for or favorable impression of oneself; self-respect. 
Pride:
a becoming or dignified sense of what is due to oneself or one's position or character; self-respect; self-esteem.
Dignity:  
a sense of pride in oneself; self-respect. 
Self-respect:
proper esteem or regard for the dignity of one's character. 
Also, if you were to perform a Google search with both the words pride and dignity, even without saying anything about relationships, you'll get results about relationships. People asking if they should "swallow their pride" in relationships, how they can regain their pride and dignity, and other things of that sort.

From the very beginning of our lives, we're taught the importance of these qualities. If we don't respect ourselves, how will anybody else respect us? is the primary question that girls get, most often regarding sex and why we shouldn't have it, but the question, of course, encompasses more. We're taught that we shouldn't lose ourselves for our significant other (what that exactly means, I'm not sure), that we should know our worth and not let people treat us lower than whatever that is (I'm not exactly sure of this one, either. How do we determine our worth? Is it like, I'm worth seventeen dinners and a lunch? Undivided attention every minute of every day? One text for every fifteen I send?). We're taught that above everything else, these things are most important.

It shouldn't shock you that I'm here to disagree. 

I think all the time about this one scene from My Best Friend's Wedding when Julia starts a fight between Michael and Kimmy. Kimmy says something to Michael about his job, Michael gets angry and starts to accuse Kimmy of not being accepting of what he does for a living, and Kimmy, instead of getting defensive and saying that that wasn't what she meant at all (because it wasn't), freaks out and starts crying and says it's all her fault, that she was the one who was wrong, and begs Michael to forgive her. Since I haven't seen the movie in years and can't find this clip on YouTube, I'm paraphrasing a bit, but you get the idea. Kimmy, instead of trying to maintain dignity or pride, completely gives in to Michael. And that, to me, is perfect.

Sure, I think dignity and pride and self-respect and self-esteem are important, but I think being with the person you love or care about and making that person feel happy and loved are more important. I hate the expression don't cut off your nose to spite your face, but in this case, it's the most apropos. Why would I intentionally not do something that I know in the end could make me feel better? To make a person think that I don't care in order to seem stronger than I really am? To act like I'm something I'm not because it's what all the books and experts and parents and people say I should be? To establish who has the power in a relationship? Call me devoid of dignity and pride and self-respect and self-esteem, but I don't want the power in a relationship. I just want to be happy.
The best revenge is living well.  Here's another one we hear all the time. But is revenge really what people should aspire to achieve? I mean, look at what it actually means:

Revenge:
the action of inflicting hurt or harm on someone for an injury or wrong suffered at their hands.
Is this really what we're supposed to want?
Because if it is, boy am I far off from where I'm supposed to be.

In fact, right now I'm right about here:

Self-fulfillment:
the act or fact of fulfilling one's ambitions, desires, etc., through one's own efforts.
And I can't imagine another place I would ever want to be. 

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

What Are You So Scared Of?

While I was talking to my lunch people today at lunch, the subject of open marriage came up. When I mentioned that five years ago I briefly kinda sorta had one, my lunch people had what I could only describe as a minor freakout. What?! What!? Shocked laughter ensued. What?! You don't seem that wild! the fortyish guy said. In the next few minutes, which was only a few minutes because the bell rang and that was all we had, among other things, the man said he wasn't that modern and then added that he could understand having an affair but no way could he understand having an open marriage.

Okay--
wait.

Am I the only one who sees something wrong there?

This man is so conditioned by societal norms and so comfortable with the notion of dishonesty that he thinks it's better to lie to a significant other than be in a relationship that allows for seeing other people. And he thinks that line of thinking is fine, as undoubtedly would the majority of people faced with the same two options.

Now, I'm not saying an open marriage, or relationship, is for everyone. It certainly didn't work for me. What I am saying, though, is that if two adults decide that the best thing for them and their relationship is to not be exclusive, that's perfectly fine. It doesn't mean that they're "wild," having sex with everyone they meet. It might not even mean that they're particularly into sex at all. It just means what works for them is different from what works for the majority.

Really, though, it doesn't matter what it means. I'm not here to argue the merits of an open relationship. I'm here to express my dismay over the idea that having an affair is fine and dandy--okay, maybe he didn't exactly say fine and dandy, but he did say he understands doing that way before having an open marriage--but people deciding to see other people is not. I'm here to express my disquiet over the judgment and ideas these people had both toward and about me as soon as I mentioned the words open marriage.

I guess what I'm actually here to do is say that society, with its rules and its judgment and its stay-in-the-lines attitude, absolutely, positively, totally
sucks.