Come Fly with Me

airplane

It is that time again… time for another plane trip and another bout of paranoia.

Do I have anything left to confess?  Oh, my closet is full of so many skeletons I could charge admission during Halloween… but for the simple stuff…

For those of you that do not know, each time I travel by air, I am certain I am going to die and I want to purge myself of little bits about myself so I can be remembered.

***

I do not get mean girls.  If you do not like somebody, simply move on.  Is it that you do not have anywhere else to focus your energy, so you beat up on people you see as weaker?  Or is it just low self-esteem?  Either way, get a hobby.  Honestly.  The mean girl card is so overplayed it is time to leave it behind.  If you are a mean girl, you know who I am talking to; if you are being affected by one, hold your head high and walk on by… they do not get it.

***

Even though I am a super picky eater, when I find something I like to eat, I can eat it day after day and I truly do not mind at all.  I have eaten spaghetti for dinner four nights in a row, and it has not bothered me in the least.

***

I do not think food and sex is erotic are provocative in the least.  In fact, quite the opposite; as soon as I am finished eating, I feel the need to wash my hands and douse myself with body spray so I do not smell like food or have any food smells near me whatsoever.

While I love food, cooking, and eating… mostly; I do not think it belongs in the bedroom or in an erotic setting.

Not judging… just confessing.

***

I drink far too much, especially coming from a long history of alcoholics.  I cannot recall the last time I was drunk, but I drink every day.

***

I feel like I have been a better friend to the people in my life than they have been to me, and it hurts.  I try to let it go, but it is hard.  I feel selfish and small when I dwell on it.

***

I am going to be back in the area where most of my family lives (mother, sister, brother, children) for at least four days, but I will not be seeing any of them.  While my children will not know because they could care less, the rest of my family does.  Still, I will not be seeing any of them.  Knowing that I do not know when I will be back in the area, it does not feel good that nobody has the time to see me; but, I have to “suck it up”.

***

So goes another trip out of town.  I will be returning soon…

Discovering my Family was Different

abuseI remember the day I discovered my family was not like every other family on the block; I was 15 years old.  We had moved around quite a bit when I was younger, by the time I was in the tenth grade I had already lived in five states and had attended my fifteenth school, so to say I had been around the block was an understatement.

My experience with close friends was limited; I had a sort of “love ‘em and leave ‘em” attitude when it came to friendships; why bother getting close to somebody when we would probably be moving in the next few months anyway.  However, by the time I was a sophomore in high school, I was told we were going to “settle down here at least until you kids get out of school.”  Where had I heard that song before?

So, I had a rocky start; my cavalier attitude and propensity for dating other girls’ boyfriends made me an unwelcome and unpopular choice of a friend among my school mates in my new high school.  As the months wore on and I realized we really were staying, my prospects for friends seemed to diminish; until one day, the new girl came from California.

She was different, sort of quirky; she wore cowboy boots, but had a haircut like one of the guys from Duran Duran.  We hit it off instantly; she was the new kid, and so was I.  Where she was shy and somewhat nervous around boys, I was outgoing and could talk to anybody about anything.  She kept me grounded when I was manic and had crazy ideas, like stealing her dad’s Corvette to cruise the strip; and I pulled her out of her shell.

Soon, we spent every weekend together; either she spent the night at my house, or I spent the night at her house.  We watched MTV until the early morning hours, then we would get up and make “Egg McBreads” our version of the Egg McMuffin; egg, cheese, and bacon, on a piece of bread.

She was part of my family and I was part of hers; I had never felt anything like it.  I thought I knew everything about her, and she about me.

One weekend, she was with my family as we spent the day in the foothills of a historic mining town just driving around looking at old mines.  My parents were drinking as they usually did.  They started to banter; they banter turned to fighting; nothing unusual.

By the time we got home it was a full-blown police intervention weekend.  It was about time, it had been a few weeks.

My father had been antagonizing my mother; well, everybody actually, by poking her with his cane.  She was aggravated and asked him to stop.  He would not.  By the time we got home it had escalated to the extent that when he walked into the house she walked up behind him and crashed him over the head with a rock.

He never saw what was coming.

He staggered to the side somewhat, but continued into the duplex, his head bleeding profusely.  By now, my brother-in-law, both sisters, brother, my friend, and me had gathered on the front lawn and were yelling at them to stop.

My mother followed him inside and the fight continued down the hall as evidenced later on by the trail of blood on the walls.  My father walked along a bar of antique glasses and with one fell swoop, wiped them off, crashing them to the floor, breaking them to bits.  This enraged my mother, she took a stick that had been holding up a plant and began beating him across the back.

I do not know who hit whom next or the exact chain of events, but there was quite a bit of blood all over the walls and the household contents were in disarray and destroyed.  I ran in to use the phone to call the police, but the phone had been ripped from the wall.

So, I ran down the street looking for somebody; luckily, we lived in a bad neighborhood and a policeman was driving down the street a few blocks away.  I was able to flag him down and get him to come over to our home.  Upon questioning the family, everyone except for me claimed my father had started the melee.

True, his antagonistic attitude had begun the arguing, but if my mother had just let him walk into the house and go to sleep, it would have ended.  In my eyes, she had started it by cracking him on the head with the rock.  I was outvoted, and my father was arrested and taken to jail.

Of course, back in those days he would only be held for as long as it would take to “sleep it off” and he would be released.  It would not have mattered anyway, as my mother would move earth and sea to bail him out anyway.  The whole matter was an exercise in futility.

We all got back into my sister’s Bronco and headed to Burger King; we ordered our food, and sat down to eat.  It was then that I noticed how stunned my friend looked, she had been so quiet.  My brother-in-law broke the silence as he dipped a fry into the ketchup, “Hey, doesn’t this look like Dad’s blood when mom cracked his skull?”  He was simply trying to lighten the mood, we all accepted it.

My friend stood up, in the middle of Burger King and screamed, “What is wrong with you people? Are you all nuts? What just happened?  You are sick!”  Then she just sat back down in the booth and started crying hysterically.  It was my turn to look at her, stunned.

Later, when we left the restaurant, my mom said, “Okay, I need somebody to volunteer to sleep at the house,” she went on to explain, “When your dad gets out of jail, he is going to be mad and I don’t want him to come home and destroy the place.  I can’t come home until he calms down. You can have a gun.”

I volunteered my friend and me to spend the night; we slept in the living room amongst the broken glass, shadows cast over the bloody walls.  As we sat there, I shoved the gun under my pillow and said, “I don’t get it, your parents must have fought.  They’re divorced.  Isn’t it like this for everybody?”

She looked me straight in the eyes and said, “No, not everybody lives like this.”

That was the first time I knew.

The Paper Doll

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I am flat like a paper doll,

No way to stumble,

No way to fall.

Here I sit in black and white,

Mostly in darkness,

Searching for light.

Sometimes I feel my edges curl,

A second dimension,

Enters my world.

***

Something happens and flattens me out,

Crushing my hopes,

Leaving me… without.

The Best Christmas

(Sorry, I know this one is long… but, it is what it is…)

christmasOne year when I was separated from my now ex-husband, I was staying with my older sister for a few months.  I had previously been staying with my parents after suffering a nervous breakdown and leaving my job at the local community college.  The year had been a difficult one, nervous breakdown, walking away from my four-year job, bitter feud with my parents, eventually becoming a virtual squatter on my sister’s couch.

However, the month before Christmas, things started to improve; I landed a job as a manager at a local family owned business.  Still, I was having a difficult time as my out of control spending habits from my untreated illnesses started to creep into my real life.  Whenever I felt unhappy or alone, as I did on most days, I simply went shopping for things I did not want, did not need, and could ill afford; a classic symptom of borderline personality disorder.

I had cut up my credit cards months before the holiday approached, but I knew I could not afford to spend $10 on either one of the girls I loved so dearly.  Each day I watched as the stack of presents grew underneath my sister’s Christmas tree.  The presents were neatly wrapped in glittery paper, tied with ribbons and adorned with bows, all carefully marked with the name of her son, daughter or husband.

I was happy to have a place to live, but my heart ached at feeling so out-of-place at Christmas time.  My sister and I were not very close, and she made it clear I was in her way daily when she would sigh loudly every time she had to move something of mine that was in her way.  I felt terrible, even though she would profess, “Oh, knock it off, if it was a big deal, I wouldn’t have invited you to stay with us.”  Still, I couldn’t help but feel like I had been a pawn in the big feud between her and our parents.

At night, when everybody would sleep, I would sometimes cry, as silently as I could so I would not disturb them; I would wonder what part I had played in the feud.  My dad was not speaking to my sister over some letter he had written and had given each of us kids a copy of; I am not even certain if I read it.  In turn, we all had to take sides.  I needed a place to live, so I guess I chose hers.  The family became divided in a dispute that lasted until the day he was shot; me and my older sister on one half of a canyon, my mom, dad, brother, and younger sister on the other.

So this is Christmas, I thought, wondering what I could do for my girls as I looked at the presents under the tree.  Well, absolutely nothing.

My girls were coming out and spending Christmas Eve and Christmas day with me, their father did not really care about celebrations and we had maintained a civil separation.  I drove the 45 miles into town and picked them up, happy to see them, but sad that I did not even have the money to give them their traditional Christmas Eve pajamas.

They were excited to come, “Oh, Mommy,” they exclaimed, “We don’t care about presents.  We’re just happy we get to spend the holiday with you.”  I was so warmed to hear those words; but, still, I wanted to give them so much.  I knew their cousins were getting lots of toys; the tree was already buried, and Santa would be bringing even more.

When we arrived at the house, the girls didn’t seem very interested in sticking around and visiting with me; instead, they wanted to go outside with their cousins.  I agreed, wanting desperately for them to enjoy themselves and have a good time.  They disappeared outside in the cold for hours.  I looked outside and didn’t see them.  “Where are they?” I asked my sister as she started cooking their Christmas Eve dinner.

“Oh, I think they are in the trailer,” she said as she looked outside noticing a swinging door open on the tractor-trailer door.  Their yard is reminiscent of a car graveyard, old vehicles lined up, rusting away in the sun; my brother-in-law used to own his own trucking company, so they have two of the box type trailers as well.  The kids would often play in there to get out of the wind and cold.

When they came in late in the afternoon, their cousins settling in for Christmas Eve dinner, I assumed we would be eating as well, “No, Mommy,” they urged, “Put your coat on and come with us.”  I followed them as they led me outside to the trailer.

As soon as I stepped foot inside, my eyes filled with tears; they had transformed the inside of the trailer into a festive Christmas hall, complete with a paper Christmas tree.  There were paper chains, ornaments made of Popsicle sticks, tinsel from the Dollar Store, candles, candy, and presents sitting on floor underneath the construction paper tree.  They had even constructed a fireplace and had hung three stockings over the make-believe fire.

“How did you do this,” I asked them, not believing my eyes, “where did you get the money?”

They explained that their dad had taken them shopping at The Dollar Store and had chipped in some of his own money, wanting us to have a nice day; and their cousins had spent the afternoon helping them set it all up.  I hugged them tighter than I ever had in my life.

They had stacks of sleeping bags, apparently we were to spend the night outside as well; just as well, I thought, I did not want to wake up in the house full of gifts my children couldn’t have.

We spread the sleeping bags out and sat down to a feast of Dollar Store snacks and junk.  Later on that evening as we were singing Christmas songs and telling funny stories, my niece and nephew came out and begged to stay the night with us, claiming it was more fun out there than in their boring house.  They were allowed to stay about an hour until my sister came out and demanded their return.

Christmas morning we awoke to stockings filled with lotion, soap, body spray and candy, Santa had been good to us.  We opened presents they had bought for us and each other; I have never been more delighted with things purchased for under a dollar.

I am teary eyed as I think of that year and the love I know my girls had for me then, and I for them.  I couldn’t give them anything, but I wanted to give them the world.  I can only imagine when they saw how much their cousins had, and how they received nothing, they must have known how much I screwed up.  Yet, I wondered who taught them to love that way…

 

Going out on a Limb

Rarely do I have what I would be to consider “good” or “exciting” news in my life, rarer still that I would feel compelled to share such news with my mother.  However, on Monday, I had just such an experience; I received some thrilling somewhat life-altering information regarding an opportunity I was being offered.  Normally, I have kept such news to myself, if I even recognized it, but I certainly would never share with anybody.  But, in an effort to grow emotionally, I wanted to take a step out on that proverbial limb.

Unknown flower-6

Unknown flower-6 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Often times, I have felt twinges of jealousy when I have met women who have wonderful mother-daughter relationships where they share everything, support each other, and are sometimes best friends.  I do not mean jealousy in that way where I would wish to deny them their feelings, but where I would like to have more of that in my life.  No matter how old I get, I never stop striving for at least a taste of that same bond.

Monday was one of my better days in a long time as I shared the joy of my news with other family members, friends, and my significant other.  I had a few people who were particularly supportive of me, sharing in my happiness and pride.  There are a handful of people who have been particularly encouraging to me; they were especially positive and continually reassuring even as I had a few moments of panic as I worried whether or not I was actually good enough to accept this challenge.

As I went throughout my day and weighed this new opportunity, not only for what I would gain immediately by the experience, but also for my future and what it would mean as it pertains to reaching my lifelong goals.  Monday was a roller coaster of emotions and I was supported by some wonderful people who offered me accolades each time I questioned my abilities and thought I should take a step back.

My biggest supporter has always been my significant other (a term I hate, as I find it very clinical, but he is not yet a husband, not quite a fiancée, and I feel rather old to say “boyfriend”, so… significant other it is), without his support and encouragement, I would never have had the confidence to seek out this prospect to fulfill my dreams to begin with.  I have also been lucky enough to have found a small group of friends who have been very caring, inspiring, and helpful.  They have become a surrogate family to me at a time when I have sincerely been in need of one.

So, on Monday, I was feeling the high of receiving great news and wanting to share it with those that love me and wish me to succeed, those that are proud of me and want to share in my joy.  This was one of those times that I wanted to share with my mother and was hoping that we could share one of those mother-daughter bonding moments that I have heard so much about.

I called her and was excited as I started to talk to her, staying positive and thinking about what I had to say, certain that she was going to be happy for me and that she would want only the best for me.  Her response seemed encouraging at first as she said, “That is really great news,” then, as usual, the other shoe drops, “but you should have done this a long time ago.  Can you imagine how much further along in life you would have been?  How much more independent?”

“Okay, Mom,” I said, “well, I have to go for now.”

I talked about it later with my sister, and she summed it up quite nicely, “That is just Mom.  She gives, then she immediately takes away.”