Monday, June 29, 2009

Woe Is Me

It's really exhausting being crazy in our modern age. It's one thing to actually live crazy, get through the drudgeries of daily life with troubling thoughts and feelings chained around my neck like an anchor. But on top of that I have to deal with the fucking quagmire that is the mental healthcare system in this country. Note to mental health professionals: Hi!...I'm insane. How many times do I have to tell you that I'm paralyzed with dread and self-loathing before you'll lift a finger to help me? Why are you making this so fucking hard for me? Does it feel good to fuck with the crazies? No wonder schizophrenic people fall through the cracks, so to speak, in our society. I'm lucid and marginally functional and I can't seem to get the help I need.

Yes, I'm seeing a therapist and that's all well and good. He had this bright idea that I needed to consult with a psychiatrist about possible medication as an adjunct therapy for what he initially thought was clinical depression and has since suggested may be some type of thought disorder. As you know, I have medical insurance through my husband's company. Medical insurance which he pays out a good deal of money for every month. That's fine with me. Our health is well-worth the investment. But it's infuriating to me that upon obtaining the list of in-network psychiatrists and proceeding to call all of them, not a single one of them would see me. Of course, my mind goes to the dark places and I start to have mild paranoid delusions that there is some way these people know that it's ME calling and I are like, "No way, Jose, am I seeing this worthless, poor excuse for a human being."

I let my therapist know about this "trouble" I was having getting anyone to consult with me on my pathetic issues. Despite his sympathetic remarks, I think he was really skeptical and believed that I actually had not called any of them due to fear, stubborness, low self-esteem or whatever. He offered, as he should, to call them for me and see if he couldn't get me an appointment using his figurative weight as a psychologist. Great.

Well, after two weeks of him calling these psychiatrists, he gets zero phone calls back from any of them. NONE. NADA. See? They just know that I'm the one begging like a little bitch for some relief from my incessant mental suffering. I said to him, "Now do you believe me when I tell you these things?" He just gives me that tight smile he always gives me when I say something that's absolutely right even though it should be absolutely crazy. That happens a lot. I know it's killing him that my paranoid delusions are turning out to be not so paranoid after all.

So my therapist gives me the phone number of a psychiatrist that doesn't take my insurance but would hopefully be willing to work something out with me from a financial perspective. So, I called this guy and guess what? His secretary was a total bitch. I explained my situation and she said, "Well his fee is $300 for the consultation and $2oo for any follow up half hour sessions." Three hundred dollars. Three hundred dollars. I hate to be crass but I'm not paying anybody three hundred dollars to spend time with me unless I'm going to get several orgasms out of the deal. Maybe that's what I really need. Orgasm therapy. mmmm....doesn't that sound nice?

Anyway, back to fucking reality which pretty much sucks. I explained that I didn't exactly have $300 just right now. This bitch of a secretary is all "That's the fee and you have to pay it before I can even make you an appointment." That's it. Harsh reality of the world. Give me $300 and I'll talk to you and maybe prescribe a medication that will maybe help you to feel better. Fuck that. Fuck this bitch and her little prickly attitude towards a mental patient with suicidal feelings.

I'm sitting here just floored about the fact that I actually have health insurance and these are the kind of hoops I'm jumping through to try to feel like a normal person who smiles and actually means it. I'm just going to put this out there even though it's going to make me sound like a shitty person. Well a more shitty person. I know a guy who is on public assistance. He sees a psychiatrist every month for free. What is wrong with this picture? Oh yeah, it's me. I'm the thing that's wrong in the picture.

Truthfully, all of this uphill climbing is exhausting. I don't even know if I can do it anymore. I'm ready to give up on this nonsense of wanting to live and just accept that I don't want to live but I just fucking have to or everybody will hate my guts or the memory of them anyway. I would love so much if I could have a soul extraction and just be a type of robot programmed to do the steps of living and maybe some extra stuff also like flying and mind reading and sexual irresistibleness. Is that even a word? I don't care. And if I don't care about words, you know I'm having a fucking problem.

Sunday, June 28, 2009

Apparently I Really Am a Monster

***I have a bad habit of posting something, then taking it down right after because I worry about how it will be received. Also, I don't want to "beat a dead horse" with this issue, or for my readers to feel obligated to comment because I'm having a bit of a time with a person who may or may not be a troll. It's back up now, to stay.***

According to "Anonymous", anyway. I know I probably shouldn't indulge this person, but I feel compelled for some reason.

Ponder this gem of a comment left on my blog yesterday:

I would never, EVER, spank my child. I have to wonder if you and the other
mothers who hit their kids would mind if your husbands smacked you too if they
felt you were out of order. Why is it illegal to smack a spouse, but not a
child? And just because people used to do it in the past means nothing. Slavery
was once the norm too, but should we still be running around now shackling every negro we see? Some things should change. And if you can't control your child
without hitting them, you have very little imagination. I suppose for you and
the other moms on here it's a "do as I say, not as I do" approach as you're all
obviously the lazy and unintellectual lumpen (you may have to look that word
up), but it's completely, totally and utterly illogical and, frankly, now that I
know you spank your kids I will never read your blog again as you disgust me. A
pox upon your house and those of your moronic, hillbilly, white trash

My reply:

Anonymous - Interesting perspective. Truth be told, I wouldn't want a person
who wishes a "pox upon [my] house]" to read my blog anyway. It makes me curious that you should condemn me for a brand of discipline (which I use very rarely), while you feel comfortable wishing a viral disease upon my family and friends. I think it's moronic to compare the enslavement of human beings to a mild smack upon the rear of a recalcitrant child. It seems quite a leap in logic there. I
am not a perfect parent, nor do I claim to be.

Now I'm a pretty open and reasonable individual. I do not mind being challenged or questioned on my belief systems or behaviors. I invite lively debate on important issues. I am very willing to work to change my belief systems and behaviors if I am convinced to do so by a compelling, logical argument. But it is very difficult for me to open my mind to the reasonings of an individual who:

1. Fails to identify him or herself but instead hides under the veil of "Anonymous"
2. Uses a word like "negro", that really has no place in our modern vernacular
3. Compares the actions of a loving (though admittedly imperfect) parent to the brutal enslavement of human beings
4. Creepily wishes a viral disease upon my home at the end of his/her argument.

The opening of the comment was fine and definitely food for thought. It makes no difference to me whether or not "Anonymous" would never, EVER, spank his/her child. I gather he/she feels quite pleased with him/herself about that. Of course, I would not accept a "smack" from my husband. [Well, I would just not in the context of discipline ; )] Using this as an argument against, again mild, corporal punishment of children is nonsensical. I wouldn't accept a time-out or denial of privileges from my husband either, but I would be perfectly comfortable imposing those sanctions on my child as consequences for her misbehavior. I am not a child. I am an adult woman. There are a lot of ways we handle and control children that we wouldn't other adults. There are many restrictions we impose on children that would be considered abuse to impose on other adults and rightly so. Children need loving external discipline and authority from their parents in order to learn how to impose internal discipline when they are grown. I believe Democracy to be the most superior form of government for adults. Is it cruel, then, that my home is not a democracy? Children do not have the same rights and privileges as adults because they are not fully developed and require special protection. A smack we deliver to another adult is not the same thing as a smack we deliver to a child. It means something entirely different.

If my child runs into the street despite my having told her not to, I will attempt to discipline her by way of explaining exactly why her behavior is dangerous. I will explain a consequence if she does it again. If she insists on doing it again, I will carry out the consequence. Some children do not always respond to time-outs. Some children do not always respond to loss of privileges. My daughter is one of those children. Maybe, the commenter is correct in saying I lack imagination. I guess I'm not as perfect and wonderful a parent as he/she is. That is regrettable. But my number 1 goal, at the end of the day, is to keep my child alive, to protect her from all of the things in the world that can hurt her. If the only thing that keeps my daughter from running into the street is a mild smack to her posterior, then I will do that. It is not about laziness. It is not malicious. It is not something I like to do. There are worse things in life than a temporary sting. I don't like to force my child to submit to the painful sting of a needle for her vaccinations, but I do it. The temporary sting of a needle could save her life one day.

I never claimed to be intellectual or imaginative. I am human, with all the weaknesses and failings that come of being so. It does make me cry to think that there is someone out there who thinks I am so contemptible, so "lumpen". Yes, I did have to look that up because I am that unintelligent as to not know the meaning of the word. Here is what it means:

Of or relating to dispossessed, often displaced people who have been cut off from the socioeconomic class with which they would ordinarily be identified: lumpen intellectuals unable to find work in their fields.
Of or relating to the lumpenproletariat.
Vulgar or common; plebeian:

I suppose "Anonymous" is right on the money in referring to me as such. I am common, plebeian, dispossessed, and capable of vulgarities. I take offense, not for myself, but at the implication that my "friends" can, in any way, shape or form, be put into such a category, or called derogatory names like "white-trash, hillbilly, or moronic". You may judge me all you like only leave the people I love and respect out of the blanket condemnation.

I will lay my head upon the pillow tonight, and it will be a million pounds heavier, full of all the guilt and self-loathing that comes of realizing that I have failed my daughter in ways I can't understand. I only know that I love her, with every bone, breath, sinew, and muscle inside of me. I would lay my body on a bed of daggers, I would hurl myself into dark waters full of man-eating creatures, I would burn alive for all eternity fully conscious and writhing in agony, just to keep her her tiny chest rising and falling with living breaths, her fragile heart thudding rhythmically inside of her. Did you know that monsters were capable of loving like that?

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Some Day My Non-Raping Ken Will Come

I just typed an appraisal and the street name on the property was Firethorne. Firethorne. It just sounds like a place I would live. Like a place where only foliage with prickly things would grow. The foliage grows wild and thick and blocks out the sun completely. An insulated world where nothing beautiful could ever exist. But it's not a fairy tale because I'm too grown to imagine such things so don't worry.

My daughter is not too grown for such things and her fairy tales are of a different caliber. She wears her gaudy costumes with beaming pride, her plastic, "high-heeled" shoes, a shiny tiara on her head. She teeters over to me with a makeshift wand in her hand, shakes it and says, "Abracadabra. Make mommy a pretty princess." And I do that thing where you put your hand down and then bring it back up like I'm suddenly changed even though I'm not nor ever will be a princess or pretty in any way.

I wasn't much for the princesses when I was a little girl. I also don't think that the princess concept was shoved down our throats the way it seems to be with girls these days. I'm talking about advertisers and toymakers and the media. Princess, princess, princess. Lord, I was just a fucking little girl with hair that was always a mess and a dirty face and hands from digging in the dirt. Don't get me wrong. I don't think that there's anything wrong with princess dress up play. It's just not something I entirely understand. I just didn't consider myself to be pretty enough to even imagine in that way.

Mostly, I played outside. But I also really enjoyed playing with dolls. The Strawberry Shortcake dolls were my absolute favorite. I had the garden house with these cute red hammocks that never stayed up. I made little families based on the scents (citrus, berries, etc), which was hard because there was only one boy. There were a lot of fatherless children and widows in my collection. It was all very normal play, though. When I started to play with Barbies, got really weird.

I was really confused about a lot of things I think, which should come as no surprise to anyone. What weird things did I do with Barbies? For one, I had a Ken Doll that had crazy long black hair and instead of using him for his original purpose, which was like Midge's boyfriend or something, he was the designated rapist. I'm not even fucking kidding. He'd go around terrorizing all my Barbies, raping them and beating them up. What the fuck was wrong with me? Sometimes I made the dolls have normal sex with each other or whatever I thought that was. Like undress them and just have them lay next to each other. I got the basics down right for never having witnessed any kind of sex. I only had two Ken dolls. One was raping women, the other was fucking them then dumping them right after for the next pretty thing. The Barbies would all fight over the non-raping Ken. I'd dress them all up and do their hair in elaborate styles just to entice non-raping Ken. All of the Barbies wanted to be the lucky girl he picked to fuck after the party. In my world view at the time, when I grew up men were either going to rape me or fuck me. It wasn't so much Some Day My Prince Will Come as it was Some Day My Non-Raping Ken Will Come. Was I entirely wrong? In any case, what the fuck was wrong with me?***

I did a lot of other weird Barbie shit as I got older, some of which involved dressing them up like hookers to go turn tricks. Yes, raping Ken turned into Pimp Ken. He could slap a bitch, I give him that. I was still playing with Barbies at, like, 12 years old. I mean not just me, but some of my friends did too. I think girls of that age now would think that was so childish. Which stands to reason, since I look at modern pre-teen girls and early teenage girls and think that a lot of them look like little girls playing dress up as slutty women. It's creepy, to be frank. I'm not talking about all of them, obviously. I'm talking about the ones I see at the mall, all dead-eyed and skanked up in mini-skirts and fuck me boots with make up glittering all over their baby faces. That's one way of knowing a girl is too young for make-up. If she thinks putting gobs of glitter on her eye lids is a good thing, she shouldn't be allowed to wear fucking make-up. I'm not going to say it's their parents fault. Maybe they left the house wearing khakis with fresh-scrubbed faces. It's certainly possible.

I worked as a counselor at a group home for teenage girls for a few years when I was in my mid-20's. It was basically a step down home for girls that had been in juvie or were unruly in the foster care system. I started working there at 24 and honestly these kids knew more about shit than I did. I had never done a drug or drank a beer. I had never even had sex, any kind, not even oral. I was, like, this total innocent. And I was trying to shepherd these girls who knew more about the ways of the world than I did. Some of them had already been drug addicts, some had been abused, some had been raped. They were all sexually active. These 14 year old girls would talk about having sex with guys like it was nothing. We'd play gin rummy in the living room and they'd tease each other about giving blow jobs, or talk about getting a letter from their 20 year old boyfriend who was in jail but he was going to get out soon and they were going to totally, like, fuck all night long. And I'd just be wide-eyed and tentative. "I don't know about that Dominique. He sounds dangerous." And she'd smile at me all "oh Gwen, you silly little counselor. Aren't you cute?"

Dominique scared the piss out of me. I hated checking her chores or getting a urine sample from her. I just never knew when the pat on the head would turn into a bash to the head, you know? And I wouldn't blame her, not really, because my very presence in her life must have been unsettling. She probably thought, "Fucking sheltered white girl who probably never suffered a day in her whole life is going to tell me what the fuck to do? Going to watch me pee in a cup? Tell me the kitchen floor needs to be redone because it's still dirty? Fuck her."

Sometimes I wanted to bring some Barbies in for them to play with. Weird, right? I mean they were playing all right, just with their own lives, their own self-worth. They were so young and stupid and these...these little girls who didn't even realize how they were being used and abused by all the stupid boys and men in their lives. I wanted to be like, "Here act out all these wicked scenarios, these obsessions with things you do not fully understand, these partial truths, these fears of the opposite gender. Only stop treating your body as if it were a useless piece of bendy plastic." Poor little girls.

***You may be wondering how somehow so young who wasn't even allowed to watch the movie Big because Tom Hanks touched somebody's boob in it, was so savvy regarding all things rape and sex and prostitution. Well, you'd be surprised (or maybe you wouldn't) how much rape and sex and prostitution occurs in that good book known as the Bible.

Saturday, June 20, 2009

Onions are Assholes

I'm so fucking sick of onions ruining food and people just letting them get away with it. Onions give me the creeps, they really do. Nasty tasting, foul smelling, ruining every day of my life. These fuckers are in everything. Everything. I'll order a salad sans onions. I'm very, very allergic to onions, I say. The waitress is skeptical, but fuck her. I'm all alone in the world against an unstoppable force that is inexplicably popular. When I get my salad it's covered, smothered, in circles of white tyranny. I know she did it on purpose, fucking bitch. I'm all alone in the world. So what happens next is I sigh loudly and my table mates say, "Just take them off."

Just take them off? Did you ever notice how even if you take an onion off your sandwich you can still taste it? How is that even normal? You know what other kinds of tastes linger long? Poison. Venom. Gasoline. Not to mention the stench an onion leaves on your fingers long after you touched it. I touched an onion once and my fingers still smelled like it a week later. I kept washing my hands, over and over and over. Nothing would get the disgusting aroma off my fingers. I fucking hate onions so, so much.

The only time it was convenient to hate onions was when I had anorexia. Since everything had onions in it, I had a ready-made excuse to not eat anything. "Oh wow. That chicken salad looks fabulous. It's a shame it has onions in it or I would totally devour a whole bowl of it. Honest." And I'd manage to look really disappointed about this. And then my mom got wise and started making me my own special portions of food. Like, I'd go over there and use my line and she'd say, "Oh Gwen, I made this one especially for you. There aren't any onions in it." Shit. Well played, mom, well played. You know how much pressure it puts on a girl when somebody makes food especially for her? Fresh out of excuses, I'd have to eat it and purge afterward. See how onions ruin lives?
You know what makes we want to just give up on existing? When I make something delicious, like macaroni and cheese, without onions and someone says, "You know what would have been great in this? Onions." I swear to Jesus, there has to have been some kind of Voo Doo brainwashing trickery going on when the taste buds of our human ancestors were forming. Why else would something that actually makes us cry be so fucking insidiously popular? That should throw up a red flag, when our automatic response to a "food" item is tears, don't you think? And how wicked is it that when we take a knife to these monsters, we're the ones that end up weeping? That's pure evil, my friends.

Onions have pulled the wool over everybody's eyes. For some reason, people love them. Chopped raw, fried, in rings, caramelized, bloomed into some kind of mutant flower. But people love a lot of things that I don't understand, that I find to be painful and/or repugnant. Dancing with The Stars. Twilight. Bumper Stickers. Miley Cyrus. Getting fucked in the ass. Spelling words wrong. Square Dancing. Crocs. Desperate Housewives. I'm getting used to hating things that everybody loves. In fact, sometimes I hate something just because everybody loves it. I stand alone. Anyway, onions are assholes. And deep down inside you know I'm right.

Image Credit: Cathlooi
Image Credit: Laura.Bell

Friday, June 19, 2009

Laughing at Lies

"Lie to me, I'll believe. But please, don't leave..." - Sheryl Crowe

I married a wonderful liar. Todd lies so effortlessly and smoothly, it's like he was born to do it. I overhear him on the phone talking his double speak, lies rolling around on his tongue like colorful balls on a pool table. His lies are full of descriptive details that make it unlikely anybody listening will question the veracity of what they are hearing.

"We just got done sailing...yeah, it was great. The wind was just perfect." He said excitedly, without breaking, to his mother over the phone after we had just spent an hour pushing the rusty pedals of a paddle boat in a shallow lake the approximate size of a swimming hole. He continued, adding detail after detail to this fiction. After he hung up he looked over at me with this wacky grin.

"Why do you lie?" I asked him laughing.

"Because it's fun." He shrugged nonchalantly.

He lies so often and unnecessarily that I'm beginning to believe I'm dealing with some sort of pathology. Which is fine. He's entitled to a few neuroses. I wouldn't expect any man that falls in love with me to be normal. What's odd is that he is constantly (and jokingly) accusing me of lying. He has this idea that if I look up and to the left when processing an answer to a question, then I am attempting to access the creative centers of my brain and create a deceptive response. I'm sure he saw this on the Discovery channel once and now he's this total expert. I'm like, "Why don't you just shine a bright light in my eyes and interrogate me properly?" I wouldn't mind a little bad cop/resistant suspect role play here and there.

What happens when you realize your lover is a such a good liar, liar pants on fire? Well, for one you begin to doubt every word that's ever come out of his mouth. "You're pretty." "I'm playing golf." "We just played some black jack and went out for a few beers." "I love you." Really? Could that even be true?

I consider - "Well, he married me, didn't he?" Yes, yes he did. Bought an elegant one-carat solitaire diamond embedded in a platinum band a few days after I told him I was pregnant, got down on bended knee, and said, well, I don't even remember what words he spoke because I was stunned. And suffering from early pregnancy nausea. And, really, a lot stunned. There's a problem with getting knocked up before you're married. You just never know if he would have vowed lifelong commitment if it weren't for your delicate condition. When he asks, "Will you marry me?" he is also saying "I became a man pretty much the second you told me about a little pink plus sign on a stick you pissed on. This is me, manning up, taking responsibility for you and that there little life blooming in your belly." And that's a beautiful thing, it really is. But you just never know because you don't get to look down that other road. So that issue hovers over your relationship like a storm cloud that won't break, not after rain, or in the face of rainbows and rays of sunshine, or in the wake of migrating flocks of birds. I think that deep down underneath the vows and the civility and obligatory fucking he actually hates me. Now, that is something I can sink my teeth into. Hating me is something I can understand.

We're having lunch at Cosi one day last week and here's what goes down (not me, dirty minded people!).

"That girl is totally cute," Todd says, nodding towards the register.

"That one?" I pointed to a girl in her mid-twenties, frizzy hair and definitely not like the stick figures he normally ogles with hungry eyes.

"No, the one in front of her." And he nods towards a thinner, cuter girl.

"Oh. Ok. Is she about my size, would you say?" I knew I was turning down a dangerous road, but I went anyway. Emotional suicide.

"Nah, she's not your size. You're a lot bigger than she is." He says it so coolly with such conviction. He waited a beat for it to sink in and sting. And then he started laughing.

"Asshole." But I was laughing too, so it's OK.

"I know! I am an asshole to you a lot. I say so many mean things to you and I don't know why. You're just such an easy target."

"Well, I like when you're actually being honest..."

"But I'm not. I just said that to be mean, because I knew it would rile you up. You're way smaller than her, actually. I promise."

"I think maybe you hate me," I surmised, quietly over sandwiches.

"I think maybe you're right." He says this likes he's joking but I don't know. I don't fucking know. He leaned over and kissed me on the mouth. On the way home in the car, he said, "You look real pretty with your hair like that, baby."

"You're such a liar. You just feel bad. The compliment is pretty much lost on me at this point." Still laughing.

"Hey! I'm trying. I love you, you know that I do."

I don't know that I do. I'm not sure what love is or what lies are. I don't know where the truth begins or ends or if it's like one of those trick pictures where it can be two different things at the same time. What if he loves me and he hates me? What if he loves what I should be, what I could be and hates what I actually am, what I've become? What if the brokenness in me has led me to a barren place where nothing good can grow? Love can't live here anymore. Storm clouds blocking the sun. I can plant and plant rows of seeds and only deadness comes out of the soil for the harvest. That's what I get for only being sad and laughing at lies.

So, yeah, I'm a Monster

Nobody despises that shrew known as Kate Gosselin more than I do. In fact, I pretty much hate her. But even I feel sorry for her about now. Since when does swatting your kid on the butt for being disobedient make you a child-abusing monster? I know I've covered this in my blog before but, frankly, I'm so confused. Did I miss something? Is spanking illegal in this country? If so, then I know a lot of people who break that law, including myself.

Here's the thing. There is a HUGE difference between spanking a child and beating a child. Just like there's a difference between denying a child a snack as punishment and denying a child nourishment for the entire day as punishment. So Kate smacked her kid. Big fucking deal. I'm more worried about the fact that she allows cameras in her home to film her children in their most vulnerable moments (potty training, etc) for cold, hard cash. But that's a blog for another day. Does anybody really like punishing their children? It is the suckiest part about being a parent. I'm terrible at discipline. But there are days when my daughter is practically begging for it and I must oblige her. Trust me when I say I try to use all methods in my arsenal, time-outs, take away toys, scolding. Sometimes a smack is the only thing that works.

Is it really that out of the realm of normal to swat a child? Is it just me and my friends that practice this form of punishment here and there? I'd really, really like to know that I, myself, am not some sort of child abusing monster for dispensing loving discipline to my daughter when she acts like a defiant brat. Well, maybe I am. Just one more thing for me to feel guilty about.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Def Leppard Saved My Life Today

I was driving down the Turnpike and getting closer and closer to this concrete wall I've had my eye on for a few weeks now. I've been thinking specifically that ramming my car into it at speeds in excess of 90 miles per hour would most likely lead to sweet, sweet instant death. Eternal slumber. I love sleeping, when I can actually manage to do it, and lately I've been praying for the brand you don't wake up from. Obviously, "she died peacefully in her sleep of natural causes" is a way better obituary line than, say, "she bashed her car into a concrete wall and endured massive head trauma which killed her instantly". The former just a poem. The latter gives you way too many nasty images with which to contend. God is stingy with dispensing peaceful deaths it seems. Sometimes, you just have to do the job yourself. And as with all do it yourself projects, death can get pretty messy.

So this wall is just, well, it's perfect for my suicidal purposes. And after laying my eyes upon this gem of a bumper sticker earlier today I was so ready to go not so gentle in that good night.

This world is just crawling with ignorant douchebags, isn't it? My rage had reached it's absolute apex after laying eyes upon this elitist, xenophobic bullshit. Do I like it when people speak English when talking to me? Sure. It's always preferable for me to understand what people are saying. But to put that sentiment on a fucking bumper sticker laden with an eagle and an American flag is something only a true asshole would do. Seriously, this guy is committed to being an asshole. It's, like, his job. What's particularly irksome is that he somehow connects this mind-blowingly narrow outlook to his patriotism, to being American. That's not American, fuckwad. It's the exact opposite of American.

I snapped the picture because I didn't think my words alone could capture the grossness of this...this thing. Plus, I got his license plate in the photo. So if any of my readers are truly devious (or awesome) and could "run the plate" and get an address for me, please do so. I would love to start sending this guy a bunch of crap in different languages. Nothing threatening or anything. I'd just write him letters in like gibberish and fuel his paranoia. It would seriously give me a reason to live. I'm so fucking pathetic.

So after seeing that shitty bumper sticker, my spirits reached a new low. And I thought of my special wall and even started getting a little speed in preparation for the collision. (I need to make it a good one if I don't want to end up in a wheelchair or some locked down psychiatric facility without the capacity or means to kill myself proper). And what should come on the radio but the opening chords of Pour Some Sugar on Me. I know it's totally corny, but I love that fucking song. I had, like, this really big decision to make. I could bash my car into the wall and put myself out of my misery or I could keep on speeding down the Turnpike and sing the shit out of that awesome song. So, sing I did.

Just like I did one hot day in August, 1988. I was a freshly minted teenager, awkward and barren of rebellion. My family was at some church picnic in a public park, which was totally corny but I wasn't even cool enough to know that. It was one of those rare days when my sister didn't find me parasitic and irritating. She let me tag along with her and her pretty friend Angel as they walked around the park with one of those big portable radios. Ok, yes, it was a boom box. Fucking horrible, how big shit used to be. Out of the speakers of the monstrous boom box poured the raucous music of Def Leppard, the Hysteria album on cassette. We thought we were cool. So, so cool. Or maybe rad. Nobody could have convinced us otherwise - not Maddona, not Tiffany, and not that snooty bitch Debbie Gibson. I must have been wearing a pair of Jams and a Hypercolor T-shirt and a god-awful banana clip in my hair. Let me correct that. I must have been wearing a pair of cotton pants I cut to mid-calf to look like Jams and a knock off hypercolor T-shirt from JC Penney and a godawful banana clip in my hair. My bangs were probably teased up so high and stiff that a bird could have perched up there and I wouldn't have even noticed. I had no idea I looked ridiculous. I mean, everybody did.

Nothing important really happened that day. It wasn't some coming of age moment or anything. It was just three teenage girls hanging out at the park, checking out boys, and blaring loud music under a hot sun. And it hits me, as I write this, like a gut punch, that out of the three of us I'm the only one that's still alive. Amy died of cancer. Angel died giving birth to twins a couple of years ago. It's strange to be the sole carrier of memories that used to be shared. I mean not just of that day but of so many other moments between my sister and I. And in some way I feel responsible for them and for her as if it were my job somehow to tell her story. And maybe that's it. That's all it takes to turn a sad girl off a suicidal mission, a cheesy song leading to a chain of thoughts leading to some deeper truth: that I am a memory bearer and story teller. The wall will have to wait.

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Those Lips I've Kissed

In lieu of ice cream after Liv's recital last weekend, we opted for over-priced lattes and ridiculously fattening bakery items from our friendly neighborhood Starbucks. I stood at the counter waiting patiently for our drink order while Todd and Liv stayed in the car. I nibbled disgustingly on my ridiculously fattening bakery item while I bided the time it took my barista to make our drinks. Of course, it is between a mouthful of fattening bakery item that I should lock eyes with an old lover placing his order at the register. Yeah, that one. There he stood with his smoldering hotness erupting like lava all over the cashier. I sympathized. After all, I'd been under the spell of his charms, I was so hypnotized by them that I spread my legs for him. And that was at a time when I spread my legs for no one.

After our eyes met, we both quickly looked away. Neither one of us was willing to commit to the moment, to acknowledge the presence of the other. There's nothing to say. Any dialogue exchanged would be so empty. The nature of our relationship was that he deflowered me one sordid night in January 2001. Sure we had somewhat of a friendship, but underneath that friendship, the only thing it was leading up to, was that beautiful fuck. I thought I loved him. But the truth is that I only made myself believe that because I thought I had to justify my wanton behavior.

Eventually he walked over to where I stood with a little bag of baked goods to wait for his own drink. I looked over at his hands for confirmation that it was him. He had the most distinct hands, rough and dry with oddly bent thumbs. I gasped softly when I saw those hands. Hands that had touched my body in the most intimate way. Hands attached to a man that had shared the most vulnerable moment of my life. He stood two feet away from me but he might as well have been standing on the moon. For a second I thought about saying hello, catching up. Maybe he had the same thoughts. Perhaps he was waiting for me to make the first move, break the ice, let him know it was OK. Or maybe he was glad I didn't try to engage him in conversation. I leaned nonchalantly against the counter and knocked over a little paper sign. I felt like an idiot. I looked like shit. I took my lattes, thanked the barista, took one last look at those lips I've kissed and walked away.

Have any of you had a strange encounter with an ex-boyfriend or lover?

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Stabbing and Stones

My husband has pulled ahead in the kidney stone contest. So basically the score is three to two. Pretty impressive work to form a 5mm stone in just 6 months time. Of course, this meant that I spent a good five hours in the ER yesterday morning. He's my husband. I love him dearly so I really don't mind sitting by his side while he squeezes my hand to keep from screaming at the ripping, nauseating agony of a jagged piece of gravel making it's leisurely way down his ureter. What I do mind is watching him receive delicious IV pain medication without receiving any of my own. That is real torture.

This chipper ER tech evaluated Todd in the Triage room. He was so chipper, in fact, that he whistled as he walked us to our sad, little ER room. I didn't recognize the song, but it was for sure a happy little ditty. Now there may be a time and a place for whistling, but I am pretty sure an ER is not one of those places. People are having a time, possibly the worst day of their miserable lives, with various tubes placed in orifices, perhaps bleeding to death or shitting themselves or going insane or recovering from a gun shut wound. This moron's whistling felt pretty disgusting. It reminded me of all my readers who commented about whistling people giving them the stabby feelings. And suddenly I started getting stabby feelings of my own towards this whistler. Fuck you, fucking whistler. Stop being so fucking happy in a terrible, terrible place.

What makes me feel more stabby is the fact that the stupid ER doctor prescribed my husband only twelve 5 mg percocet with which to continue this torture at home. Umm, 5mg percocet? Really, asshole? Those things are like fucking tic-tacs. While he's in the ER he's treated with the strongest narcotics to control his pain. Then when his pain is under control with the strongest narcotics they send him home with fucking tic-tacs? What the fuck kind of sense does that make?

So now Todd is trying to give birth to his third stone. God bless him. But I tell you what - There's no way I'm losing this contest. I'm working on my 3rd stone as we speak. It's going to be a good one.

Friday, June 5, 2009

Ballerina Girl

Is it sick that I wish I could wear this?
Liv had her dress rehearsal last night. It took all the self-control in my body not to slap the shit out of some Jon Bonet looking mini-bitches. I had to wait two long hours backstage to watch my little flower sway on the stage and do a couple of pirouettes. It was worth the wait, let me assure you.

Thursday, June 4, 2009

Was it Something I Said?

So I noticed a few minutes ago that I went from 43 followers as of yesterday to 42 followers as of this morning. Ruh-roh. I can't figure out who it was that left the fold and it's going to bother me for the rest of my life. I know that's pathetic but it's true. Whoever you are, although you're probably not reading this because you now hate me for some reason, come back! We can work it out. Is it the whining? The cursing? The drug abuse? What is it? At least tell me what I did wrong. We can go to counseling. We can get a dog. We can finally take that trip to Italy you've always talked about. Oh, that was me? Sorry. Well we can go anywhere that you want to go. I'll write better blogs and you will read them and maybe comment here and there. Things can go back to the way they used to be. What do you say? Give a girl one more chance to get it right. I won't let you down.

Ugh. I hate myself for loving you. If you don't want me then I say good riddance. Your loss. Now excuse me while I go cry in my keyboard.


I watch you breathe, your chest rising and falling in perfect rhythym. Your cupie doll mouth slightly open as your sweet breath escapes and fills my air. I love observing your sleep when my own eludes me. I prop up on my elbow and allow the music of your candied breaths to bring the closest sensation of joy that is possible for me right now. Head to toe, you are a symphony, you are a carnival of laughter, you are a rare gemstone dug from a difficult quarry with my bare hands.

When I danced with your daddy on our wedding day, you were snug in my belly. All that day, I felt your quickening, tiny flutters like the flapping of a bumble bee's wings. During our dance, you kicked me hard. Our song played. I want to touch the earth. I want to break it in my hands. I want to grow something wild and unruly. I didn't know then what I know now. You are that something. My wild and unruly creature, nurtured in a garden of mischief and creative endeavors. Every word you say, even the angry ones, make me swell with pride. Even the bad words. Especially the bad words. Your art, which bleeds of rainbows and ghosts and sunny skies over skeletons playing soccer in an apple orchard, makes my eyes fill with proud mommy tears.

I don't know where this road is leading. I don't know if you will love me or hate me when you're grown. I'm not the mother you asked for when you came out into the world red-faced and screaming from my cut womb. I'm just the mother you got. And I've come to this party empty-handed. I have nothing to give you because I'm a black hole. There is a chasm so deep inside of me, it's bottomless and scary and full of dread. Sometimes the emptiness overwhelms me so I can't even smile or laugh. And then I remember the quickening, the way it felt to have you doing your acrobatics inside of me, filling up all those empty, gaping spaces that occupy my soul. You are this miracle and for 10 months you made me a miracle, too. We were miracles together, you and I.

God, I fucking love you. From the hair follicles on the top of your noggin, to the dry skin on the soles of your stinky feet. I love your boogie nose and your sweet, chubby legs. I love your hands that are always dirty. I love the crusties in your eyes. I love that you stand next to the potty so proud of your accomplishment. "Mom! Look what I did!" I love that you're not afraid to tell me that you're angry. I love that you know what songs you like on the radio, and what songs you hate. I love that you laugh at your own jokes. I love you so much that it's not even love anymore. The feeling I have about you more closely resembles pain. The heart that beats in your chest is my heart. It terrifies me to think that one day soon you will go places I can not go, that you will be out of my reach in so many moments of time. Some days I wish I could put you back into my womb, keep you safe and sound. I would do anything to feel that quickening always - tap, swoosh, tap - to know you are okay.

And now I want to curl up next to you. I want to feel your precious, perfect miracle of a body next to me. I want to soothe away bad dreams. I want to hear your sleep talk. I want to synchronize our breaths and heartbeats while I still can.

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

I Scream for Ice Cream

"I gained 4 pounds just over the weekend."

"I really need to get back to the gym. I feel so guilty."

"It's those carbs...they'll put the weight on you."

These are snippets of a conversation I overheard yesterday between two grown men. And neither of the men were overweight. What the fuck is wrong with our culture where that's normal conversational fodder for two men? Or anyone really? I used to obsess over shit like 4 pounds, too. And I had to get psychiatric help because I had a fucking eating disorder. See, whenever I comment negatively about the state of the world in regards to food and dieting obsession, people will say, "Well you obsess about stuff like that, too." Yes, yes I do. But I acknowledge that it's fucked up behavior because I have a brain dysfunction. I'm starting to think there is a national epidemic of EDNOS.

I guess what is so frustrating about the national obsession with dieting for weight loss or maintenance, is that diets have been scientifically proven time and time again to not work. I think that's pretty obvious by the fact that our society is obsessed with dieting and yet more people are overweight than ever. (Although the current definition of what constitues "overweight" based on BMI is highly suspect). How the fuck does that happen? I really, really want to know. I also want to know how bread became the enemy. Haven't people been eating bread (and maintaining healthy weights) for thousands upon thousands of years? And pasta? And beef? And butter? How did these staples of the human diet become demonized in our modern culture? How did they become the culprit in the so-called obesity epidemic?

Why is it called "cheating" if I eat an ice cream cone? We cheat on tests, cheat on our taxes, cheat on our spouses. The word "cheating" has a connotation of betrayal. Who are we cheating on when we eat ice cream? Ourselves? So let me get this straight: I'm betraying myself when I nurture my body with something that tastes good? Got it. Pleasure + Nurturance = Betrayal. Everywhere I go, I see people behaving all fucking guilty about "indulging" in their natural instinct to feed their bodies. I hear people lamenting their lack of willpower. As if the ability to deny ourselves food is some kind of moral victory. Isn't that sick?

I'm so fucking tired of this bullshit. I feel like I'm swimming upstream every day of my life. I tried to talk with my boss about his "diet" yesterday (He is one of the men having that conversation above). I asked him why he was on a diet when he didn't have a weight problem. He insisted that he did have a weight problem. He weighs 175 pounds and he's about 5'11". And he is convinced he is overweight. He's never even weighed more than 190 pounds in his whole life, so it's not like he's ever had a weight problem. He weighs himself twice a day and compulsively keeps track of the foods he eats. If his weight goes up by 1 pound, he cuts back on his food. I think to myself, "This man has an eating disorder." But everyone in his orbit thinks his behavior is completely normal. I think that 30 years ago, his behavior would have been considered quirky, if not worrisome.

I'm a fan of eating intuitively. I am in awe of people who eat when they're hungry, and eat what they want. Sometimes it's a big green salad; Sometimes it's a big bowl of ice cream (full fat). Sometimes it's an apple. Sometimes it's a filet mignon with mashed potatoes and asparagus. I just have a feeling that if we all stopped trying to control our weight and just listened to our own internal cues, we'd be okay*. I think our bodies would reach a natural set point and we wouldn't have to spend so much of our lives worrying about a number on a scale, or the calories in our food. We wouldn't have to spend our whole lives being suspicious of an act as natural as eating. Wouldn't that be lovely?

*I'm referring here to people who are within a normal weight range. I realize that there are people who have legitimate and serious problems with weight. Obviously, these people need medical and possibly psychological interventions. In my opinion, people suffering from obesity should be treated with the same care, concern and compassion that a person suffering from anorexia nervosa normally receives.

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Happy Fucking Birthday

A good name is better than a good ointment, And the day of one's death is better than the day of one's birth. - Ecclesiastes 7:1

I'm thirty four years old today. I want to scream. This birthday is exposing unhealed, fractured grief; I can't even write the words I want to say. Not right, anyway. Everything aches. There is something unnatural about being as old as your big sister. It's simply eerie and wrong. I feel monstrous. Too many years lived. Too many years to go. I don't want to breathe another minute. Using up better people's air.

All weekend long, I felt it coming. I've been like an animal sensing the earthquake, precognitive, ears twitching, the tastes of catastrophe on the wind and on my tongue. I felt like there were all these gaping holes inside me. I couldn't get enough to eat; I behaved like a starving person. It's unusual for me to binge but I didn't know what else to do. Eat. Eat. Vomit. I'm so gross. I'm 34 years old and this is what I am. I can't even look in the mirror without feeling like I need to be sick. I don't want to eat another bite of food. Using up better people's food. Taking up better people's space with this...pathetic, waste of a body.

God got it all wrong. I shouldn't be alive. I keep thinking someone is going to realize there was a mistake; tap, tap, tap at my door. "Excuse me, ma'am, but you're going to have to come with us now. We're terribly sorry to have to tell you this but you're dead. Amy is alive."

I'd tell whoever it was not to be terribly sorry. I'd say, "Finally. I don't have to go on living this lie." I'd gladly give up my spot in this world, that space I so pathetically and pointlessly occupy, so that Amy could have one more minute, one more day dispensing her precious gifts, her bright and numerous smiles, her sweet "hello theres" to passersby, her homemade whipped cream, her corny jokes that made me roll my eyes.

God, she was so fucking beautiful. Look at her.

The pretty sister. I knew that. It was a hard, bitter pill to swallow but I had finally gotten it down. She was beautiful and I was not and I was finally okay with the knowledge of that. And then she got cancer. And then she lost her hair, her long, thick auburn hair. Slowly, ever slowly, her beauty started to fade. And deep down inside me, in those dark and wicked places inside myself, I felt glad to be prettier. See what I am? Terrible.

Some things have a lovely way of dying. Roses come to mind. I have three dying roses hanging from the blinds in my kitchen. As they die, their colors deepen and their skins soften first and then turn crisp. Those roses look better when they're dying than when they were alive. Not people. I hate to think of Amy in those last days on hospice. Completely bald, a pallor of yellow. It felt like everything went yellow about her. Skin, eyes, teeth. And I thought of the way she loved yellow roses and it made me sad beyond what I can name with words. I tried to think of her like that, though: A yellow rose. My memories of her like dried rose petals in a ceramic dish on the coffee table.

A month before she died, Amy had picked out photos of herself for her funeral collage. The pictures were the way she wanted to be remembered. That last week, I must have looked through those pictures a thousand times. I must have showed them to every person who came through the door to say their goodbyes. I was really trying to tell them how to remember her: not as the bald, yellow shell of a person mumbling in the bed but as the vibrant, beautiful woman she was just a few years before. I even made the hospice nurse look at the pictures. I know she was rolling her eyes internally but I didn't care. I wanted her to know what Amy had been. I wanted her to know that she had been beautiful. I don't know why that mattered so much to me. After years of envying her beauty, of hating her for it, it was the suddenly the only thing I wanted people to know about her.

How must it have felt to pick out photos for your own funeral collage? How must it have felt to know that 34 years was all you were going to get? I know my sister wouldn't be looking at her life the way I do mine, with contempt and utter despair. I can read your mind. You are thinking I need to suck it up and get over my shit. I need to appreciate what I've been given and stop being a whiny little bitch about the things I've lost. I wish I could do that.

Since I was raised a Jehovah's Witness, we didn't celebrate birthdays when I was growing up. Your birthday came and it was just like any other day. We didn't have parties or presents or singing or blowing out candles on a cake. When other children celebrated their birthdays at school with cupcakes, I had to sit outside in the hallway until the festivities were over. I remember sitting out in the empty, lonely hallway listening to the sounds of all the kids laughing and eating their treats and enjoying being a part of something. They were a part of somebody's special day. And they knew that one day soon, it would be their turn to be special too. It was so painful for me to be excluded. I always felt like I was being punished for...being alive. I knew my special day would never come. I knew that there would only be more days of sitting alone in an empty hallway, my butt going numb on the hard floor, eavesdropping on other people's joy.

And that's still true for me, for my life. I can never really get in it, feel happy, feel special. It doesn't belong to me. It never has. Happy 34th Birthday to me. It feels hollow and weird. I'm afraid that it always will. I wish I knew how Amy managed to find joy in the life that was handed to her. If she was here, right now, I would ask her to tell me those secrets. I would ask her to give me those instructions on how to smile from ear to ear and actually mean it. I would ask her to tell me how to laugh with abandon from the deepest core of my soul. I would ask her how I will survive being 34 when she didn't. I would ask her if 34 years was enough.