It Ain't Me

"You will have the most thrilling experience of your life this week. Hint: It will involve an electric pencil sharpener and a once-dull pencil."

This last week, I declared an end to my self-inflicted time out from a certain social networking site. ***SPOILER ALERT: I am NOT referring to the one Justin Timberlake has so graciously signed on with to resurrect it from the dead*** As silly and rather trivial as this decision was, I was only able to arrive at this decision after much consideration. I decided if I had a purpose, it would more easily be justified. The funny thing about all of this: in one of those "the grass isn't always greener" sort of moments, I quickly realized not only why I left in the first place, but that any moment of simple pleasure there was to be gained was fleeting.



There was a bit of a verbal ticker-tape parade welcoming me back and further assigning quite undeserved credit for bringing the entertainment value back to the joint. While unabashedly flattering, it was all still fleeting. The fact is, I offer nothing special. Miss N.K. is not splashing around in a kiddie pool of self-loathing in this statement. Rather, any perceived "wit" or razzle-dazzle-special effect is merely the predictable effects of "putting it out there" so to speak. Many of the strangers I grew to know and adore over the course of the past few years had one thing in common: Lack of inhibition to join the conversation.



I suppose I can actually take credit for something else entirely as I realized I have, in fact, matured over the past handful of months. I've never possessed a particularly competitive nature. My definition of the same ventured more towards slapping myself upside the head when I realized my motivation was waning as compared to those I was surrounded by. I never strived to "beat them" (we're not talking physical violence, here.... otherwise, I plead the 5th) or outdo them. Those motives simply don't register on my radar. Rather, in putting forth an effort to befriend and lift the spirits of others (which, admittedly was a gut reaction to feeling excluded from the REAL world), I achieved some level of popularity and even notoriety. You don't have to look very far to see that my innermost thoughts poured across this page never reached a similar level of infamy. And that's OK. All the gibberish and 20-character-or-less quips splashed this way and that on even the most mundane "updates" are little more than that - gibberish. All of it so far removed from the daily joy or pain Annie experiences.



Please don't misunderstand - my intent is not to take cheap shots at the people or friendships encountered along the way. I suppose if there is an intent in all of this, it is some inner need to climb atop some skyscraper and shout "YOU ALL ARE GIVING ME WAY TOO MUCH GODDAMNED CREDIT!!!!" And at the end of the day, I failed to see WHY. After all, I figured I was no different there than I am in person.



Simply not the case.

I genuinely care about things. I can't always be summed up in a set number of characters and emoticons. Sometimes I have something to say that will not be popular among the masses. Yet it was enticingly simple to cut & paste my personality to suit any miniature rant or quip I felt the need to sprinkle across the ever-refreshing pages. I took a bit of sick delight in always having the last word. I could place the most coveted (yet least prominent) facets of my personality on display- and all of this was perceived as somehow fabulous. At the end of the day, anyone with similar insecurities could pull off the same bullshit.



When I left, there were people I truly wanted to keep in touch with. People I thought I had built meaningful friendships with.  I must say, it was an eye-opening and lonely number of months at first. Sure, it can be inconvenient to open your heart to someone outside those walls. I can be the queen of slackers when it comes to email responses or returned phone calls. Never out of malice, and I don't fault any of those people mentioned for the same. Still. Quite lonely. Out of the loneliness came a new appreciation of myself. I gradually have learned to tolerate my quirks.... even more gradually to LIKE some of them. And I sit before you today pretty damn OK with who I am.

My encore presence has already begun opening the cracks of strife once the Internet connection is terminated. I'm not such a bad creature in person, and to love or appreciate me, one should be realizing the person in the flesh is more important, no?


Details, Details

"You believed being stranded on that desert island put an end to your run of lousy luck, but the natives will soon become strangely inspired and fashion a crude bus to hit you with."

Yesterday, a friend of mine asked what I actually DID this past weekend. This was the third such person to have read my last post and be left as uninformed as he was at the beginning. As such, I thought I'd go ahead and elaborate. What the hell, right? :)

For Anniversary #4, My 'Ol Man and I ventured up to Dillon Reservoir, which is delightfully nestled at the base of a number of ski resorts. I must say all the tourist propaganda looked quite tantalizing and, as it turned out, my good friend and coworker had been there before and recommended the perfect hotel. Everything was, indeed, perfect.... aside from the frozen lake only moments from our front door. No matter, there was plenty of liquor to be consumed at all the area pubs and/or liquor stores - we even found the tiny town's little bowling alley tucked in the basement of a Dawn-Of-The-Dead-Tribute-Mall. This water baby left that little adventure only slightly bummed out.

Fast forward over a year and a half, and my DEAR mother-in-law thought it a lovely idea to reserve two rooms at the same hotel for I.D.S.T., myself, the kiddos, her asshole dog and herself. She clearly had grand illusions about an adventure-packed mountain retreat during the single busiest summer holiday imaginable. She also clearly overlooked how the kids are at that hilariously troublesome age which renders any amount of planning null and any expectations dashed. Simply put, they are miniature terrorists.

Throwing caution and a few hundred bucks to the wind, off we went. The car ride up wasn't as traumatic as anticipated, though considering 3 out of 5 of us are smokers, there was some agitation bubbling to the surface by hour 2 of the drive. While I normally try (my god, how I try) to be polite and pleasant, I'm not a fan of The Helpless... Those so entirely reliant on GPS or Mapquest that common sense of any sort eludes them to no end. After interruptions of a patronizing nature when I calmly suggested we take the route I remembered down to the shape of the crack in the road, I sat back, smirked deviously, and allowed the Wicked Witch of the East to get us lost. Why?  JUST so I could save the day in an "I told you so" manner. Sometimes the smallest things bring such shameless joy to Ninja Kitty :)

We finally reached our destination, and not a moment too soon as The Good Doctor had rather succeeded in wetting his britches, King Van was beginning to weep as his stuffed puppy was thirsty, and the odorific shithead named Baxter was possessed by some sort of feline demon in urgent need of coughing up a hairball (sweet merciful jesus, let me believe it was ONLY a hairball....). 3 out of 5 of us immediately lit up a cigarette, then proceeded to unpack while simultaneously uncapping our assorted alcoholic beverages. For added flair, I'll go ahead and let your imagination determine which 3 I'm referring to at any given moment!

All that drama aside, we were able to relax and put on our swimsuits to carelessly frolic in the lake. And by careless frolic, I do mean that we were reprimanded by the fire chief twice for absent-mindedly allowing our munchkins to cross the well-marked fencing behind which the evening's fireworks were being tested. This frolic also involved our children throwing rocks at each other.... OK, well, Van picked up pebbles and Dax focused on larger boulders.... By this time, the crowds had amassed at a fabulous open air amphitheater between the lake and our hotel. I would have considered my life complete sans the country-cover-band, but the professional orchestra that followed was magnificent! Predictably patriotic tunes carried us into a spectacular dusk spent soaking up the exhilarating mountain air. There were only a handful of knock-down-drag-out-fights between this and when we finally had dinner around 9pm, so that's always a feat in itself.

Despite grounding both terrorists after a french fry fight and 2 meltdowns....As the firework display began, My 'Ol Man and I couldn't help but gather the sleepy little bundles up, wrap them in blankets, and walk only feet from the front door to marvel in the excitement as a family. It was one of those moments that actually caught me off guard. In the rush of everyday madness, I realize I tend to take these sorts of things for granted. The sleepy snuggles of my boys and how truly extraordinary something like a burst of color against a nighttime sky is for a child. A few, intermittent memories vaguely passed through my mind.

Growing up in Utah, there were always two holidays in July to be celebrated with explosives. Although my parents were of the (sane) opinion that there should be some level of responsible adult supervision anytime fire and/or volatile chemical powder is involved, the neighbor's parents had no such reservation. It was also handy to reap the rewards of their annual and oh-so-conveniently-planned family vacation through Evanston, WY sometime during each preceding June. Nothing like good 'ol fashioned criminal activity as a way to celebrate our nation's independence immediately followed by tribute commemorating the arrival of the state's pioneer settlers in 1847. Aside from festivals of dynamite and a specific memory surrounding my oldest brother's 3rd degree burn prompting a late night ER visit, my memories were more tuned to walking barefoot into the mountains near our home. Hiking to some brilliant vantage point and patiently waiting through the kaleidoscopic sunset for the show to begin. If the mountains became too crowded with onlookers, we would hoist rickety lawn chairs up on our heavily sloping roof, settling in with flannel blankets across our laps and Kool-Aid in our plastic cups. It was almost more the preparation of this moment, than the actual moment itself.

I thought about all of this as we gathered the boys in their miniature hoodies, Pixar Cars baseball hats and I snuggled them both on my lap. For over an hour, I almost experienced that same cheesy bliss of being connected to each with the same intensity as being pregnant with them. Luckily, I didn't bloat quite as much nor did I have to pee every time a gentle mist hit me :).

Having had quite his fill of my sentimentalism, Van chose to go have a bed all his own in Nana's room. I curled up with The Good Doctor and Papa got a bed all to himself with the mountains of pillows Dax and I threw at him. The poor child is at that delightful age where he routinely experiences "night terrors" - Gotta love when pediatricians get together and assign names to otherwise normal occurrences (eg. Colic = "I have no idea what in the fuck is wrong with your screaming child...maybe it's gas?"). Anyhoo, these little dreams of his will toss him out of the deepest sleep in a fit of horror. We've grown rather accustomed to this schedule, so we calmly talk him into putting the gun down and he tends to switch his attention to the opposite parent who initially attempted to console him. The only problem with this? Papa's not normally one for cuddling and The Good Doctor fell out of bed right on his wee noggin not a half an hour later. Chaos ensued.

By this time, it was 3am, which is pretty well time to get up for Yours Truly. The rest of the family drifted back into an abyss of sleep so I wandered out in the delicious brisk air for a handful of smokes. All the creatures of the night were having one last hurrah before retreating into the trees. It was absolutely serene and perfect just existing for about half an hour without interruption. That same interruption arrived in the form of a strange older gentleman who was apparently staying on the floor above. I must say it is quite the sight to behold when this eccentric presence suddenly appears through the darkness with an iron man physique, ski poles, and a backpack full of assorted flags. He questioned why on earth I was awake at such an ungodly hour and suggested no less than 3 times that I seek help. I smiled politely in such a fashion as to assert my abilities to kick ass should push come to shove. Luckily FOR HIM, it didn't come to fisticuffs ;). We wished each other a lovely day and parted ways.

The following day seemed to pass without incident. We passed the time with more water adventures and I even got away with retreating for a 2 hour nap avec the munchkins. By that time, the crowds were gathering for another evening concert. Somewhere in between, Nana yelled at us some more and we realized that the majority of the boats at the marina had been reserved some 2 months back. Oops :). Ah well, Customer Service may be dead at the Yacht Club, but they can't take away our joy of tromping around in the fish shit of the lake. It was actually quite something. The more rocks the boys threw at each other (and missed, luckily), the more the water turned this horribly murky maize color. If I had to pick one Crayola Crayon color to despise - that would be the one. It's an icky shade of spooty yuckiness! As we had ready access to a shower back in our room, we cast off the common sense worries of disease and had a blast!

It seemed like the blink of an eye and we arrived at our day for departure. With the aid of persistence and stalker-caliber-talents, we actually got to venture out on a boat that morning for a bit before piling into the SUV from hell for the ride down. All in all, a fabulous weekend! I hope you all had a phenomenal 4th of July and this will teach you to never ask me to elaborate again :)

A Weekend Spent In A Stranger's Skin

As I stumbled through the door to our familiar old house, I was shell shocked and exhausted. Too much time spent curled up like a pretzel in the back of that suffocating car. My cheek still slightly damp from nestling it against the head of my youngest, who had collapsed from all the dramatic shifts in altitude. Three days and two nights spent in vain as I had done everything imaginable to tame my wee beasts and allow moments of enjoyment for the others. Fights and hurt feelings, stress and constant worry.

Tomorrow, a week from now or years from now, none of that shall be indicative of the memories I will revisit in my thoughts. It was somehow magical. Those hiccups of time watching my angels sleep, or the amazement sprinkled upon their adoring faces as seemingly thousands of luminescent fireworks burst out over the dark glass lake below. The cool nighttime breeze dancing recklessly through an open window in protest of the summer heat earlier that day.... Sounds of the open air concert nearby permeate the silence. Moments stolen to keep in touch with those dear to my heart. And oddly, the complete absence of insecurity.

For three wonderful days and two marvelous nights, I forgot myself. Forgot silly cares of covering up or cringing at judgemental glares. I forgot to ensure every hair was in place, or that no skin was exposed. I forgot to tone down my personality or contain my boisterous laughter. I forgot to be a surly mothering creature while frolicking in the water with my boys. I can't compare this to the innocence of childhood as these things did not exist in my own.

From the very second I was self aware at far too young of an age, I worried. About anything and everything imaginable. I winced at thoughts of leaving a solitary confinement of my own design. I felt a deep sense of shame and embarrassment at so much as going to a public swimming pool during daylight hours, or chewing a bite of food in the middle of an imagined audience. I loathed the way I walked, feared mockery at a full run.

A continuously streaming monologue of hatred that has looped over and over again in my brain for more than 3 decades was suddenly silenced. A silence of such magnitude, that all the sounds of the mountains we were nestled between became almost deafeningly wonderful. Splashes of water, and bustling crowds, crickets and music. The fireworks. My god, the fireworks.

Everywhere we ventured, there were mixtures of the elite and the welcoming. The latter would gravitate towards us in all our simple chaos. This was so delightfully and prevalently the case, that I forgot to shy away from the former. There were attitudes, galore, but I didn't care. I simply did not care. Who the hell was I and what the hell was in my drink(s)?

It was foreign, and marvelous on levels I didn't think possible. Surely not for such a person as myself!

As I walked across that threshold in the kitchen I've crossed innumerable times, I had shifted back to "normal". My first thought was to weep. But I didn't. And I haven't. Not yet. Perhaps some lake-dwelling organism burrowed an inch or two deeper than first assumed. Residual glee still coursing through my veins before disease sets in. No matter. As thrilled as I figured I should be to be home, I cannot wait to revisit that life in someone else's skin.

Kitty

Saturday, July 9, 2011

It Ain't Me

"You will have the most thrilling experience of your life this week. Hint: It will involve an electric pencil sharpener and a once-dull pencil."

This last week, I declared an end to my self-inflicted time out from a certain social networking site. ***SPOILER ALERT: I am NOT referring to the one Justin Timberlake has so graciously signed on with to resurrect it from the dead*** As silly and rather trivial as this decision was, I was only able to arrive at this decision after much consideration. I decided if I had a purpose, it would more easily be justified. The funny thing about all of this: in one of those "the grass isn't always greener" sort of moments, I quickly realized not only why I left in the first place, but that any moment of simple pleasure there was to be gained was fleeting.



There was a bit of a verbal ticker-tape parade welcoming me back and further assigning quite undeserved credit for bringing the entertainment value back to the joint. While unabashedly flattering, it was all still fleeting. The fact is, I offer nothing special. Miss N.K. is not splashing around in a kiddie pool of self-loathing in this statement. Rather, any perceived "wit" or razzle-dazzle-special effect is merely the predictable effects of "putting it out there" so to speak. Many of the strangers I grew to know and adore over the course of the past few years had one thing in common: Lack of inhibition to join the conversation.



I suppose I can actually take credit for something else entirely as I realized I have, in fact, matured over the past handful of months. I've never possessed a particularly competitive nature. My definition of the same ventured more towards slapping myself upside the head when I realized my motivation was waning as compared to those I was surrounded by. I never strived to "beat them" (we're not talking physical violence, here.... otherwise, I plead the 5th) or outdo them. Those motives simply don't register on my radar. Rather, in putting forth an effort to befriend and lift the spirits of others (which, admittedly was a gut reaction to feeling excluded from the REAL world), I achieved some level of popularity and even notoriety. You don't have to look very far to see that my innermost thoughts poured across this page never reached a similar level of infamy. And that's OK. All the gibberish and 20-character-or-less quips splashed this way and that on even the most mundane "updates" are little more than that - gibberish. All of it so far removed from the daily joy or pain Annie experiences.



Please don't misunderstand - my intent is not to take cheap shots at the people or friendships encountered along the way. I suppose if there is an intent in all of this, it is some inner need to climb atop some skyscraper and shout "YOU ALL ARE GIVING ME WAY TOO MUCH GODDAMNED CREDIT!!!!" And at the end of the day, I failed to see WHY. After all, I figured I was no different there than I am in person.



Simply not the case.

I genuinely care about things. I can't always be summed up in a set number of characters and emoticons. Sometimes I have something to say that will not be popular among the masses. Yet it was enticingly simple to cut & paste my personality to suit any miniature rant or quip I felt the need to sprinkle across the ever-refreshing pages. I took a bit of sick delight in always having the last word. I could place the most coveted (yet least prominent) facets of my personality on display- and all of this was perceived as somehow fabulous. At the end of the day, anyone with similar insecurities could pull off the same bullshit.



When I left, there were people I truly wanted to keep in touch with. People I thought I had built meaningful friendships with.  I must say, it was an eye-opening and lonely number of months at first. Sure, it can be inconvenient to open your heart to someone outside those walls. I can be the queen of slackers when it comes to email responses or returned phone calls. Never out of malice, and I don't fault any of those people mentioned for the same. Still. Quite lonely. Out of the loneliness came a new appreciation of myself. I gradually have learned to tolerate my quirks.... even more gradually to LIKE some of them. And I sit before you today pretty damn OK with who I am.

My encore presence has already begun opening the cracks of strife once the Internet connection is terminated. I'm not such a bad creature in person, and to love or appreciate me, one should be realizing the person in the flesh is more important, no?


Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Details, Details

"You believed being stranded on that desert island put an end to your run of lousy luck, but the natives will soon become strangely inspired and fashion a crude bus to hit you with."

Yesterday, a friend of mine asked what I actually DID this past weekend. This was the third such person to have read my last post and be left as uninformed as he was at the beginning. As such, I thought I'd go ahead and elaborate. What the hell, right? :)

For Anniversary #4, My 'Ol Man and I ventured up to Dillon Reservoir, which is delightfully nestled at the base of a number of ski resorts. I must say all the tourist propaganda looked quite tantalizing and, as it turned out, my good friend and coworker had been there before and recommended the perfect hotel. Everything was, indeed, perfect.... aside from the frozen lake only moments from our front door. No matter, there was plenty of liquor to be consumed at all the area pubs and/or liquor stores - we even found the tiny town's little bowling alley tucked in the basement of a Dawn-Of-The-Dead-Tribute-Mall. This water baby left that little adventure only slightly bummed out.

Fast forward over a year and a half, and my DEAR mother-in-law thought it a lovely idea to reserve two rooms at the same hotel for I.D.S.T., myself, the kiddos, her asshole dog and herself. She clearly had grand illusions about an adventure-packed mountain retreat during the single busiest summer holiday imaginable. She also clearly overlooked how the kids are at that hilariously troublesome age which renders any amount of planning null and any expectations dashed. Simply put, they are miniature terrorists.

Throwing caution and a few hundred bucks to the wind, off we went. The car ride up wasn't as traumatic as anticipated, though considering 3 out of 5 of us are smokers, there was some agitation bubbling to the surface by hour 2 of the drive. While I normally try (my god, how I try) to be polite and pleasant, I'm not a fan of The Helpless... Those so entirely reliant on GPS or Mapquest that common sense of any sort eludes them to no end. After interruptions of a patronizing nature when I calmly suggested we take the route I remembered down to the shape of the crack in the road, I sat back, smirked deviously, and allowed the Wicked Witch of the East to get us lost. Why?  JUST so I could save the day in an "I told you so" manner. Sometimes the smallest things bring such shameless joy to Ninja Kitty :)

We finally reached our destination, and not a moment too soon as The Good Doctor had rather succeeded in wetting his britches, King Van was beginning to weep as his stuffed puppy was thirsty, and the odorific shithead named Baxter was possessed by some sort of feline demon in urgent need of coughing up a hairball (sweet merciful jesus, let me believe it was ONLY a hairball....). 3 out of 5 of us immediately lit up a cigarette, then proceeded to unpack while simultaneously uncapping our assorted alcoholic beverages. For added flair, I'll go ahead and let your imagination determine which 3 I'm referring to at any given moment!

All that drama aside, we were able to relax and put on our swimsuits to carelessly frolic in the lake. And by careless frolic, I do mean that we were reprimanded by the fire chief twice for absent-mindedly allowing our munchkins to cross the well-marked fencing behind which the evening's fireworks were being tested. This frolic also involved our children throwing rocks at each other.... OK, well, Van picked up pebbles and Dax focused on larger boulders.... By this time, the crowds had amassed at a fabulous open air amphitheater between the lake and our hotel. I would have considered my life complete sans the country-cover-band, but the professional orchestra that followed was magnificent! Predictably patriotic tunes carried us into a spectacular dusk spent soaking up the exhilarating mountain air. There were only a handful of knock-down-drag-out-fights between this and when we finally had dinner around 9pm, so that's always a feat in itself.

Despite grounding both terrorists after a french fry fight and 2 meltdowns....As the firework display began, My 'Ol Man and I couldn't help but gather the sleepy little bundles up, wrap them in blankets, and walk only feet from the front door to marvel in the excitement as a family. It was one of those moments that actually caught me off guard. In the rush of everyday madness, I realize I tend to take these sorts of things for granted. The sleepy snuggles of my boys and how truly extraordinary something like a burst of color against a nighttime sky is for a child. A few, intermittent memories vaguely passed through my mind.

Growing up in Utah, there were always two holidays in July to be celebrated with explosives. Although my parents were of the (sane) opinion that there should be some level of responsible adult supervision anytime fire and/or volatile chemical powder is involved, the neighbor's parents had no such reservation. It was also handy to reap the rewards of their annual and oh-so-conveniently-planned family vacation through Evanston, WY sometime during each preceding June. Nothing like good 'ol fashioned criminal activity as a way to celebrate our nation's independence immediately followed by tribute commemorating the arrival of the state's pioneer settlers in 1847. Aside from festivals of dynamite and a specific memory surrounding my oldest brother's 3rd degree burn prompting a late night ER visit, my memories were more tuned to walking barefoot into the mountains near our home. Hiking to some brilliant vantage point and patiently waiting through the kaleidoscopic sunset for the show to begin. If the mountains became too crowded with onlookers, we would hoist rickety lawn chairs up on our heavily sloping roof, settling in with flannel blankets across our laps and Kool-Aid in our plastic cups. It was almost more the preparation of this moment, than the actual moment itself.

I thought about all of this as we gathered the boys in their miniature hoodies, Pixar Cars baseball hats and I snuggled them both on my lap. For over an hour, I almost experienced that same cheesy bliss of being connected to each with the same intensity as being pregnant with them. Luckily, I didn't bloat quite as much nor did I have to pee every time a gentle mist hit me :).

Having had quite his fill of my sentimentalism, Van chose to go have a bed all his own in Nana's room. I curled up with The Good Doctor and Papa got a bed all to himself with the mountains of pillows Dax and I threw at him. The poor child is at that delightful age where he routinely experiences "night terrors" - Gotta love when pediatricians get together and assign names to otherwise normal occurrences (eg. Colic = "I have no idea what in the fuck is wrong with your screaming child...maybe it's gas?"). Anyhoo, these little dreams of his will toss him out of the deepest sleep in a fit of horror. We've grown rather accustomed to this schedule, so we calmly talk him into putting the gun down and he tends to switch his attention to the opposite parent who initially attempted to console him. The only problem with this? Papa's not normally one for cuddling and The Good Doctor fell out of bed right on his wee noggin not a half an hour later. Chaos ensued.

By this time, it was 3am, which is pretty well time to get up for Yours Truly. The rest of the family drifted back into an abyss of sleep so I wandered out in the delicious brisk air for a handful of smokes. All the creatures of the night were having one last hurrah before retreating into the trees. It was absolutely serene and perfect just existing for about half an hour without interruption. That same interruption arrived in the form of a strange older gentleman who was apparently staying on the floor above. I must say it is quite the sight to behold when this eccentric presence suddenly appears through the darkness with an iron man physique, ski poles, and a backpack full of assorted flags. He questioned why on earth I was awake at such an ungodly hour and suggested no less than 3 times that I seek help. I smiled politely in such a fashion as to assert my abilities to kick ass should push come to shove. Luckily FOR HIM, it didn't come to fisticuffs ;). We wished each other a lovely day and parted ways.

The following day seemed to pass without incident. We passed the time with more water adventures and I even got away with retreating for a 2 hour nap avec the munchkins. By that time, the crowds were gathering for another evening concert. Somewhere in between, Nana yelled at us some more and we realized that the majority of the boats at the marina had been reserved some 2 months back. Oops :). Ah well, Customer Service may be dead at the Yacht Club, but they can't take away our joy of tromping around in the fish shit of the lake. It was actually quite something. The more rocks the boys threw at each other (and missed, luckily), the more the water turned this horribly murky maize color. If I had to pick one Crayola Crayon color to despise - that would be the one. It's an icky shade of spooty yuckiness! As we had ready access to a shower back in our room, we cast off the common sense worries of disease and had a blast!

It seemed like the blink of an eye and we arrived at our day for departure. With the aid of persistence and stalker-caliber-talents, we actually got to venture out on a boat that morning for a bit before piling into the SUV from hell for the ride down. All in all, a fabulous weekend! I hope you all had a phenomenal 4th of July and this will teach you to never ask me to elaborate again :)

Monday, July 4, 2011

A Weekend Spent In A Stranger's Skin

As I stumbled through the door to our familiar old house, I was shell shocked and exhausted. Too much time spent curled up like a pretzel in the back of that suffocating car. My cheek still slightly damp from nestling it against the head of my youngest, who had collapsed from all the dramatic shifts in altitude. Three days and two nights spent in vain as I had done everything imaginable to tame my wee beasts and allow moments of enjoyment for the others. Fights and hurt feelings, stress and constant worry.

Tomorrow, a week from now or years from now, none of that shall be indicative of the memories I will revisit in my thoughts. It was somehow magical. Those hiccups of time watching my angels sleep, or the amazement sprinkled upon their adoring faces as seemingly thousands of luminescent fireworks burst out over the dark glass lake below. The cool nighttime breeze dancing recklessly through an open window in protest of the summer heat earlier that day.... Sounds of the open air concert nearby permeate the silence. Moments stolen to keep in touch with those dear to my heart. And oddly, the complete absence of insecurity.

For three wonderful days and two marvelous nights, I forgot myself. Forgot silly cares of covering up or cringing at judgemental glares. I forgot to ensure every hair was in place, or that no skin was exposed. I forgot to tone down my personality or contain my boisterous laughter. I forgot to be a surly mothering creature while frolicking in the water with my boys. I can't compare this to the innocence of childhood as these things did not exist in my own.

From the very second I was self aware at far too young of an age, I worried. About anything and everything imaginable. I winced at thoughts of leaving a solitary confinement of my own design. I felt a deep sense of shame and embarrassment at so much as going to a public swimming pool during daylight hours, or chewing a bite of food in the middle of an imagined audience. I loathed the way I walked, feared mockery at a full run.

A continuously streaming monologue of hatred that has looped over and over again in my brain for more than 3 decades was suddenly silenced. A silence of such magnitude, that all the sounds of the mountains we were nestled between became almost deafeningly wonderful. Splashes of water, and bustling crowds, crickets and music. The fireworks. My god, the fireworks.

Everywhere we ventured, there were mixtures of the elite and the welcoming. The latter would gravitate towards us in all our simple chaos. This was so delightfully and prevalently the case, that I forgot to shy away from the former. There were attitudes, galore, but I didn't care. I simply did not care. Who the hell was I and what the hell was in my drink(s)?

It was foreign, and marvelous on levels I didn't think possible. Surely not for such a person as myself!

As I walked across that threshold in the kitchen I've crossed innumerable times, I had shifted back to "normal". My first thought was to weep. But I didn't. And I haven't. Not yet. Perhaps some lake-dwelling organism burrowed an inch or two deeper than first assumed. Residual glee still coursing through my veins before disease sets in. No matter. As thrilled as I figured I should be to be home, I cannot wait to revisit that life in someone else's skin.