Hey Mister! Got Change For Two Cents?

 "While everyone is certainly entitled to their opinion of how you run your life, the bullhorn they've been using does seem a bit much."

The notion that I'm increasingly cranky with age is not lost on me. I'm learning to embrace it and even take delight in it. I'm also noticing that, with each passing day in my current job, I'm increasingly creative when it comes to get-rich-quick schemes. Just about every hair-brained idea to pop into my skull is considered at great length with respect to potential marketability. Let me tell you, this can be vastly entertaining!

Some time back, the trend du jour was "branding" within my company. A consulting firm was promptly hired to fabricate buzz words, design fancy signage and engage the masses with team-building frivilocity. To those few of us with an ounce of common sense, it was a glorious waste of time. Then I happened upon the firm's invoice.........Sweet-mother-of-god........

An idea was born. By George, I would start a sham-seminar business! Lure in unsuspecting fools looking to boost morale with shimmery imagery and nonsensical catch-phrases. Hell, I could do that in my sleep and retire early! Still, it seemed somehow wrong. Unethical or impractical. Sure enough, as the economy rode that Coriolis Effect wave down the toilet, employers no longer gave much a damn about employee morale. It was all about the bottom line and securing golden parachutes for the bottom feeders.

Round two: Opportunity rang the 'ol doorbell in the form of one of those liquor-serving golf-carts... Only, the delicious spin would be in luring borderline alcoholics working in the sprawling business campus on this side of town. No longer would they have to worry about being spotted at the bar abusing the free wireless. They could simply slip out those revolving doors to greet me on my covert little cart of magical wonders. An ice cream truck for lushes! Turns out, you have to have some sort of elaborate, yet sound business plan to procure a liquor license in the first place. Plus the cops around here are no stranger to entrapment.

Naturally I keep abreast of local, national and borderline-black-market lotto and sweepstakes goings on, just to remain well rounded. I also routinely issue stern reminders to Publisher's Clearing House that our friendship is on hold. Still.... just about anything has got to better than this, yes?

So yesterday, as I was lamenting the total lack of interested investors in my frazzled writings it occurred to me that I have opinions. Lots of them. Perhaps thousands. I imagined my talents are most certainly wasted on the likes of my employer as most of the execs are nonplussed to hear my inner-most thoughts. An advice column! That's it! My friend and coworker graciously reminded me I don't generally give out GOOD advice. Hey, I didn't say it was going to be a HELPFUL advice column. Simply an advice column.

You have a problem? I most likely have something to say about it. Seems brilliant enough, no? So far as I can tell, Ann Landers never had any particularly earth-shattering replies for the poor saps who fueled her weekly posts. And look at Andy Rooney! That old grump just yammered angrily at the camera for the better part of his career. I can do that! In fact, I'll see his surliness and raise him some severely derailed trains of thought! BAM! Now, I just need to locate the proper outlet, rant and rave by day and roll about in wads of cash by night. Wait, scratch that last part.... I worked in a bank long enough to recall how bloody filthy cash can be. In lieu of that, I'll print out my bank statements on archive-grade 24lb paper and roll about on that.

You know, I'm pretty damn proud of myself for thinking to write this down. Given my mental issues, I would otherwise be prone to blink and forget all of this. Anyhoo - turns out I'm not just getting more cranky with age, I'm becoming ever more awesome! Just sayin'. *grin*

A Perfectly Valid Excuse

"Your shortness of breath and wild fainting spells will be cured this week, thanks to a series of well-placed commas." 

I grew up in a house on the corner lot of a steeply sloped circle. Nestled against the mountainside and surrounded by aspens and pines. We had a humble little garage that opened onto the street below, but the cars were normally parked in the carport that faced the circle above. It was almost the height of a barn with the angled roof-line and a deep redwood color that would grow even deeper when it rained. The contrast of the wood and the surrounding greenery of all the trees makes my eyes water to even recall. 

I used to love sitting out there on an old rickety aluminum lawn chair during thunderstorms. The rain would come in these extraordinary sheets where it was so easy to believe you were the last one left upon the planet. The darkness of the clouds above weighing down like a heavy quilt of grey. Those summer storms where it feels like night in even the earliest of afternoons. The distant buzzing of electricity deafening your senses before the lightning strikes were yet visible. One-one-thousand-two-one *CRACK*!!!!! The rush of adrenaline racing through every cell in your body as the breeze releases a sudden spray of rain upon bare feet. I could sit there for hours when my parents weren't home. The presence of a "responsible adult" entailed being promptly whisked back indoors where there weren't worries of the silly little girl getting struck.
The smell of rain is one of those emotional triggers that brings so many memories of simpler times. The sound of thunder..... another. I can tie so many of my happiest moments in life to thunderstorms.....To the childlike joy exhibited in response to them. 

My only issue with thunderstorms?

I can't summon up even an ounce of motivation to focus on anything else. In fact, I don't believe I should HAVE TO. After all, they are some magical spectacle of the gods meant to be celebrated with absolutely undivided attention. In my book, anyway. Possibly because I have yet to be struck.... Today's forecast calls for afternoon thunderstorms. So did yesterday's, and I finally resigned to bed last night in a dramatic fit of disappointment. Still, there's hope for today. 

*Glances outside*

Nothing yet. 

...

Now? *glances outside*

Nope.

So clearly no real work is going to be accomplished today and I fully intend on blaming the weather. I probably should have called in "Vaguely Anticipating Greatness", but I had to bring the kids to school, so it seemed this would at least be a legitimate distraction. Makes me curious what sort of season we're in for as if it's one of fabulous thunderstorms... I may need to take an extended leave of absence. 

Happy Wednesday, Pets!


Miller Time

"Like a moth to a flame, you too will be strongly attracted, despite the nearly certain outcome, to a giant flame this week."

Sadly, no, I'm not basking in a 9am happy hour, but a gal can dream, right? I'm referring to, yet another apocalyptic moth invasion. Seems this year's plague is brought to you by the Miller (or "Owl Moth), which is one of 20,000 moth species in the lepidopteran family Noctuidae. See? Stick around long enough and you might actually learn something from this Kitty. For those of you who were already well aware of this fact, might I add:  No one likes a showoff :). 


Up until yesterday evening, I remained blissfully unaware of the impending doom that is the Moth Decennial Spectacular. Sure, I'd seen a few of the insect-world's-answer-to-pigeons flitting about here and there. I was even willing to look the other way, turn the other cheek or only clobber the ones directly in my way with a few sheets of Bounty. Seems that only served to further aggravate the gods.

It was a random peaceful Monday evening when the phone rang. "I locked my keys in the car, how fast can you get here?" What? Not even a "Hello"? No respect, I tells ya. I meandered casually upstairs (What? I didn't want to trip after guffawing in response to my 'Ol Man's misfortune!) and instructed the kiddos to throw on some slippers for the ride. Naturally they were thrilled to get out of the house for a leisurely jaunt across town... Mostly as they know I'll blare some rad disco music for their listening pleasure. I probably wouldn't have noticed it except that my gut reaction was to use the windshield wipers to clear off all the dust forming on the window....

SWEET MERCIFUL JESUS...........



THOUSANDS OF THEM....



Ricocheting off the windshield by the hundreds as I sped....errr.... considerately observed and obeyed a respectably prudent speed limit down the road. The kids were shrieking and squealing.... further hypothesizing why birds weren't eating them. Why indeed? It was a bloody mess. OK, that's an exaggeration, a DUSTY mess. There's something entirely nauseating about the *POOF* sound those little airborne bodies make upon impact with the car.... leaving little more behind than a splotch of dust. Goo.  At each stoplight, these chaotic creatures were slipping into every nook and cranny of the car ahead. Miniature masterminds of some diabolical scheme to hide out in the vents.... waiting for the prime moment to strike....

A man no less than about 200 years old or so off in the distance, about to embark upon the pedestrian crossing up ahead....

WHAT!?!?!? NOOOOOOO!!!!!!! HAVE THEY NO SOULS????!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

*** Note from the Author: It really is a wonder I don't get in more accidents the way my train of thought completely derails during routine errands***

Welp, there goes the neighborhood. The Millers have officially arrived.




Yes, I Need To Cancel My Subscription

"This week, envy rears its ugly head, realizes there's nothing enviable about you, blinks a couple times, and goes back to sleep."

You know what I hate? "No, Annie, please tell me." I appreciate your enthusiasm so I'll tell you:  The feeling of being left behind. Scratch that.... No less than TWO STEPS behind (and even that is a rather generous calculation).

This little gem of self pity can be traced back to the 2nd grade. My best friend in the whole wide world at that time was a certain Tracy G. I'm quite convinced I had no true concept of "friendship" back then, but I'll be damned if it wasn't the closest thing to it. We did everything together. This basically meant our parents would begrudgingly agree to one play-date every two months or so and the rest of the time was spent hanging out at recess. Kindred spirits, right? One day she walks in the door and it's clear she'd been crying (Probably not, but that's how I choose to remember it). She tells me her dad has a new job and they'll be moving to Hawaii the following week.

Naturally, I play through the absurd logistics of all of this. After all, my 7 year old self was well aware of the time required to pack, find a new home, ship all one's belongings/animals and get the entire family flown out there. Why, she would have known about this for WEEKS!!!!!! I can recall sobbing whilst babbling incoherently to my mother about the injustice of it all. Some obligatory "there, there"'s were uttered and beyond that, I was advised I'd probably feel better if I went outside and watered the plants (Suspiciously enough, that was my mother's answer for any and all ailments).

It took a good weekend to get over this trauma. Although my, my, those raspberry bushes certainly appreciated the new-found attention!

Miss Tracy G. was the first friend to abandon me, but she would be anything but the last. Sure, there was always a seemingly legitimate excuse behind it, but this knowledge didn't seem to lessen the sting. Even the sudden and thriving jungle in our backyard did little to soothe the grief. I was surely the common-denominator in the equation and I did not like that one bit! (On a side note, I was beginning to question my parents' clear lack of ambition in securing a work relocation.....)

Now that I'm older and wiser... OK, perhaps just older - one can hardly argue that! HA!.... These abandonment issues have webbed off into a full blown subscription. I peer through the humble window in my cave only to watch the world passing me by with little to no regard for leaving me in the dust. The more fear I exhibit towards progression, the more I cling for dear life to familiarity. I can hardly blame those who throw caution to the wind, know what they want and have something to offer.... wait... sure I can! But I won't. It's no one's issue (or subscription) but my own to tackle. And tackle it, I shall.

Today I received a phone call about a job I applied for but found I couldn't afford to accept. It additionally requires a commute I'm afraid to take on. I'm afraid to be that far away from my boys, from my husband... My comfort zone. The gentleman on the other end of the line insists the job was tailored just for me. I'm the only one he can fathom hiring. As I type, he is negotiating my salary. He is additionally working towards compensating the commute. Let me be clear that I do not have a degree or the "normal" skills required for such a position... Yet here is this stranger who will not allow my fears to prevent me from taking that step. Now what's my excuse?

I come up empty.

I wonder what Tracy G. is doing these days? Seems a waste of perfectly usable time pondering such things when that Greyhound bus destined towards my future is idling on my doorstep, no?










CALM DOWN!!!!!!

"The stars are serious this time: If they ever catch you with those fucking tea leaves again, you can kiss the last 15 years goodbye."

*Deep breath* OK, so I think I've recovered nicely from the angst of yesterday. Sometimes it's entirely refreshing to have a good 'ol fashioned freak-out, no? In the aftermath of most of my rants, I look back only to find I was spewing a truckload of incoherent nonsense in a feeble attempt to simply make sense of it all. You see, I am a terribly anxious and chaotic sort of creature. Most days my emotions are in a state of overdrive and I'm not quite sure what to make of them. It's evident I need an outlet and VOILA, this seems as good a place as any.
Poor guy. I've been there.
I follow a large number of blogs and one theme I've found in a lot of them is anxiety. Seems this is a very rampant and recurring theme. Seems I'm hardly the first to turn to paper (or the screen) for release. One discernible difference is the calm and rational structure others can almost effortlessly summon. My own words just scatter this way and that sans direction and most certainly sans resolution. My most prominent error tends to be in seeking to sort things out with the aid of the stars.
I read no less than 6 variations of my horoscope every day. In fact, I begin consulting each at the ripe hour of 3am every day. Much to my chagrin, most of the sites don't update their garbage until roughly 5:32am. Why do they so hate my freedom? What on earth am I to do with those 152 minutes? Naturally, I frantically hit "refresh" until I get the desired results. This is likely to land me in a position with no phone as I only carry the one issued by work. It seems someone had the audacity to begin monitoring our individual data usage. Somehow I suspect it won't go over well when I argue that this data is OBVIOUSLY being spent scouring for astrological survival tips.
What!? My soda offers advice too!!??!
Yes, yes, I'm well aware that isn't a proper use of company property. But hey, it beats getting slapped on the wrist by I.T. for fading off into oblivion while viewing the live feed of the shark tank through the Monterey Bay Aquarium, right? Right. Who knew such activities were likely to overload the server? Not this gal, that's for damn sure. Plus I feel I provided a service by pointing out the archaic capabilities of said server.
*panic*
I've actually completely forgotten where I was going with all of this.... *reading back through*.... Nope, I still got nothing. Perhaps the point is I've been creatively self-medicating to deal with my aforementioned anxiety issues and it's becoming crystal clear that's no longer a viable option. Where the writers I so adore are able to channel their energy into coping and overcoming, I'm still left in the dust relying on obscure horoscopes to get me through. Seeing as how I need to make some effort towards keeping that paycheck coming in, perhaps it's time to get a grip and seek professional help! Happy Friday!
I couldn't NOT add this - it's too great!





Turns Out, I'm a Complete Asshole!

"You're worried about your upcoming trial because, as an arrogant evil genius, you're not sure what the court considers a "jury of your peers." "

Not much of an excuse, but we are all rather products of our experiences in life. As I was driving into work today (clearly most of my "thinking" is accomplished during this time, which leaves the rest of the day freed up for more important things like Solitaire and staring contests with a computer screen), I was thinking forward 20 or so years to when I may be able to stomach my boys actually dating. I imagined one of them bringing home some plastic pageant queen and that's when it happened... I got angry. I may have even thrown up in my mouth a little. For someone who spends most of her time trying to be this fabulous force of love and acceptance, turns out I'm actually a total jerk.

I have no patience for fraternity boys, sorority girls, cheerleaders, jocks, the arrogant roller derby girls I met at a downtown tattoo shop, pretentious artists, yuppies, "perfect" mothers.... suddenly, the list was growing at an exponential rate. Even more suddenly, a flood of negative flash-backs to high school. Ugh. But that's precisely it. There are people who, to this day, are perfectly happy to define themselves by a singular hobby or group. Sure, we all long to "fit in" at one insecure point in life or another. But what happens when that translates into exclusivity later in life when, by all reasonable accounts, we should have grown out of that bullshit?

I love all things tagged as "retro" or "vintage". However, if I don't look like Bettie Page and consistently sport the latest and greatest "retro" fashion (seems an oxymoron, yes? ), I obviously don't know what I'm talking about and am furthermore not fit to join the ranks of true connoisseurs. Is there some universal reason people must cling to labels to consider success achieved? In the same breath, maybe I'm just as guilty for refusing to throw all my cards in on one interest. It's like rebelling by joining the mass army of rebels. Counterproductive, to be sure. Alas, maybe I just need to leave the house more so there are opportunities to meet nice people who stand a chance in hell of altering my bitchy views. Hmmm....A fleeting thought as I know better than to think I could motivate myself to actually leave the house beyond general necessities of work and the gas station up the road.

You know, I was already well aware I need to make some changes, but hot damn, this sure throws a wrench in things. I could probably begin with forgiving my own brother (who has never had to struggle a day in his life and seems to enjoy showering his judgment upon lower specimens). Then again, he loathes me and my family and insists on sending obligatory greeting cards addressed using my maiden name. Them's fightin' actions.

Do you suppose this is all spurned of some level of jealousy for those who "have it all"? I have a difficult time swallowing that since I define "it all" quite differently. Plus, there must be something to the band-aid phrase "It builds character" when the going gets tough, no? If you've never had things get tough, how much character could you possibly have? The genetic variety? Pssht. That only earns you so much charisma in life.

At the end of the day, or a few hours into the day, as the case may be, perhaps it's best to just let it go. I'm an asshole and frankly, I'm kinda OK with that. It's just one more ingredient in the cake that is Yours Truly. Then again, it would actually be pretty goddamned awesome to be challenged on my views. Keeps things interesting! Happy Thursday, Pets!


P.S. Update: My horoscope offered the following warning....just a bit too little too late: "Try not to overreact today -- though that might be easier said than done! Your emotions are closer to the edge than usual, and that could mean that you need to just remove yourself from the fray."

Serendipitous Spontaneity

"What you'll later choose to describe as a "through the looking glass" moment will actually be more of a "down a set of stairs, through a plate-glass window, and out into heavy traffic" sort of afternoon." 

Some days, I truly dazzle myself with the sudden onset of common sense. Ha! Upon composing that sentence, I toyed with leaving it at that. Alas, I'm feeling gabby, so let's dance, shall we? 

It occurred to me on the quiet ride in* that it's not spontaneity I'm so bloody afraid of... It's lack of control. There is a delightful pleasantness about flying by the seat of one's pants. It's when the future is being decided FOR us with or without our input that I begin to panic. Odd this didn't dawn on me sooner as those handy Choose Your Own Adventure books from my youth illustrate the point perfectly. True, the reader was presented with various choices leading them to the next adventure, but on the other hand, the outcome was already penned. It had been premeditated. 

I'm not a fan of going into great detail when the circumstance doesn't directly involve me, so I'll opt for a bit of vagueness as it DOES directly AFFECT me. For argument's sake, let's say a friend of a friend committed an error in judgment that has unleashed an entire sequence of events. Events which promise straying far off course from the initial path pursued. There are now outside influences in the ultimate outcome. Some things within our control and far too many outside of that. Let's further assume the law is now involved. What's particularly irksome to me is, despite many things in this world having been defined in black & white, many more touch upon fuzzy grey area. Things up for interpretation, if you have the wherewithal to have them interpreted in your favor. If not, your fate could well depend on anything from case law decisions to the emotional state of the D.A.. These statements are bold ones, but ones borne of much personal experience. I have a tough time believing in "justice" when even that isn't all that clearly defined.


But this post isn't about politics or legalities. In broader terms, I had been trying to decipher why I used to be so spontaneous and why not now? In the decisions I personally make, I make them with the knowledge that I am prepared to accept the consequences. The reality is there are a minimum of a thousand external factors that could easily be thrown in the mix at any moment. You read about it all the time: "If I had boarded the bus that day, I wouldn't have walked by the convenience store where I purchased the winning lottery ticket", "If I wore the blue sweater, I wouldn't have been laughed at in that meeting thus causing me to vomit upon myself", "If I hadn't forgotten my keys thereby delaying my departure 5 minutes, that monkey may have thrown fruit at my car after which I would have been involved in that 30-car pileup". Not much of a way to live, right? All the "what ifs" and "if thens"! Every time I walk out of the house, I could easily be hit by wayward asteroid debris, yes? (By the by, I tend to play that card when faced with the possibility of running unsavory errands). There's so much fear in uncertainty and as a result so much anger in response to the fear. Cycles are a constant presence in life, swirling madly out of control. That control. Perhaps it, in itself, a comfort. 
Anxiety runs thickly in my blood. Intermingling with the anxiety, inexplicable gypsy tendencies. Omnipresent chaos.... then again, it could be balance. The yin and the yang. At the end of the day, I still aim to harbor no regrets. In fact, I aim for minimal analyzing as what's done is done and what is accomplished should be toasted! In the end, it's all a matter of perspective. 



* The aforementioned "quiet ride in" was a direct result of dropping my iPod between the seats when I grabbed the wee one's backpack. Had I been listening to music, this post may not have been written :)

Once Upon A Porch

"You'll garner enthusiastic praise from by the world's leading art and design critics when fiendish but brilliant furniture makers fashion you into a tasteful, living Adirondack chair." 

If there is one thing that can "sell" me on a house, it is a fabulous porch structured lovingly around the front door... If there's a second, it would be black & white checkers in a kitchen. The latter landed me in a love-hate relationship with my mortgage. But that's a tale for another day.
*squeal of delight*
A porch. More than some grand architectural element crafted for aesthetic pleasures - so much more than an entryway into a home. It is a masterpiece all its own. An escape akin to some tree-top abode for wee ones. It can have its own personality and presence. Offering shelter and safety disguised as a quiet observer's nest. Then again, sometimes it's not all that quiet, as it can offer welcome sanctuary for boisterous laughter, music, the playful clinking of goblets and endless chatter. My, how I miss that.

Prior to galloping off on that path of marriage, home ownership, spawn and some semblance of responsibility, I lived in a rented Victorian house in the heart of downtown. To one side of the entrance, small portholes of intricate stained glass. The door, an extraordinary deep red adorned with delicate etchings. To the other side, a giant bay window leading whimsically into the living room. And the porch. This spectacular covered wooden porch ripe with an old rickety and charming swing. That porch became more a gathering place for neighbors, friends and loves than any kitchen could ever hope to. By George, it deserved to be named!
Countless Summer nights were spent in pajamas and flip-flops perched upon that swing with a glass (OK, sometimes a plastic cup) of wine in my hand and not a care in the world... not even a care for the ensuing wine stains on my feet as my clumsiness would overtake what remained of inhibition. I would occasionally chat up complete strangers who offered exotic tales of days gone by. Experiences I would never dream of owning, however enchanting. Evenings moving effortlessly into nights almost always set to island music under the ambiance of obnoxiously strung kitschy lights. No concerns of being land-locked or poor. Nothing much matters while swinging mindlessly back and forth. Childlike innocence.... well.....avec boxed wine, that is. I suppose not so innocent after all. Still..... a nice memory.

Funny how such an unassuming setting can represent so much joy. *sigh* Happy Tuesday, Pets.










Blessed.

I posted something very personal and rough yesterday. Somehow, it didn't make me sad to write all of that down. The experience was entirely liberating as I thought I had never wanted to face what had happened on that level ever again. I was taught all growing up, bad things were meant to be bottled up or brushed under a rug. That only serves to keep the cancer inside. When it stays inside, it festers and grows into its own darkness. I was haunted and now I'm free.

I no longer am ashamed of who I am because I overcame it... Or at least I'm working to overcome it. Suicide was an option more than once, but I'm alive to tell my story. There are those who will disown me for that, and that's OK. That's the entire point of free will. I feel mightily blessed at getting through and using that history to help and heal others as that is why they seek me out. I believe that is why I am on this planet.

I am not religious. What I am is deeply spiritual. For those who believe, they tell me god only gives us what we have the power to take on, if we so choose. In that vain, god put me on earth with all that pain so I could fully understand the pain and hurt of others. Often, I find I'm absorbing even more pain with no outlet. But as I age, I learn and experience my mistakes so I can release it safely. There no longer exists "strangers" I seek out to bait. That chapter of my life closed before I met my husband. I feel love on a level I never thought possible, now. I love and feel loved. Everything is not sunshine and unicorn tears as that wouldn't keep things interesting. I'm still under tremendous stress, but I'm learning to cope and overcome that too.

Today is a new spectacular day I was given to live. I'm entirely thankful for that. Today also happens to be Friday the 13th, which is always a celebration in my book. The choices thrown at us in life should be acknowledged as such. Choices. That in and of itself is pretty damn great. Without choices, the darkness washes over us again and we find difficulty in viewing that light at the end of the tunnel as much beyond an oncoming train.




No Sympathy For The Devil

"The darkest hour is right before the dawn. It is painful to work through our pasts, our lives, but we can't go around it, only through it." ~ The much adored and admired Empress. Thank you.

A simple round of apologies for the vagueness of yesterday's tantrum. It seems the times I long to delete the words the most, are the times I need them to remain. This is not going to be an easy post for me to get through. In the same breath, it was only after a long night spent thinking to the tune of a raging thunderstorm I decided that, for me, it has to be done in order to move forward.

Toddler vs. Monster
It is a shameful thing to admit and a more shameful thing to own. I have had a measurable level of sexual drive from my earliest memories as a wee child. This was not something spawned of trauma. I'm not sure it can even be coded in one's DNA. And yet, it coursed through my veins and left me confused, angry and alone. A child. Anything but innocent when everything I knew of this new world tried convincing me otherwise. The thoughts and feelings I had were not "normal" from day one. To this day, I have no idea what normal is.

Child vs. Monster
By the time I was 8, I was overweight. This can, in no way, be attributed to my parents. No fault lies with anyone but myself. Growing up, we weren't allowed sugar cereal, soda, junk food. We didn't get fast food and we weren't presented with poor choices. None of that was allowed in the front door. This lonely, angry, chubby and immensely confused girl walked miles to get her filthy paws on junk. To eat myself into a stupor of what little comfort I perceived. Looking back at pictures, it was not obesity upon that small frame. But I had stretch marks on my thighs and I knew that was wrong. Shameful. Ugly. At the age of 8, I was concerned no one would ever want to have sex with me. I began starving myself and exercising to change that.

Pre-Teen vs. Monster
I got my first period at 11. In my family, embarrassing personal dialogue was not to be uttered. We were taught manners, respect for others, pride by virtue of masking any political incorrectness and ultimately secrecy. I remember being convinced I was dying. So much shame. Disgusting. Filthy. Alone. I was more bothered by dying in an ugly body, than thoughts of death itself. I opened up to a complete stranger for help. She took pity on me and bought me the proper items to cope. I was still obsessing about my image and the weight would go up and down. I began abusing painkillers to aid the hunger pains. Not long after that, Twin Peaks aired on TV. I remember being mesmerized. I felt that my most hidden thoughts were being broadcast for the world to see. I can remember looking nervously at my mother to see if she somehow sensed the connection. Instead, she would turn and smile the kindest smile at me as it was obvious her little girl was a lover of the arts. Perhaps I had just formed my first preference to one director over another. That was it! That little girl, with her crazy imagination, has an attachment to David Lynch! Silly, silly girl. Silly dark, fat, confused little girl. The dark girl with the raging hormones. The unhealthy attachments to men. The one who's only goal in life was to be physically WANTED.

Adolescent vs. Monster
As I made my way through school, it became apparent I had a mind. A level of intellect. All through school I had straight A+'s and every year I could count on being on the equivalent of an honor roll. There was no real level of effort involved there. It all came naturally to me and I didn't see it as a positive. Beneath the surface, a storm was carefully brewing to the surface. I was not a particularly attractive child and I felt I got uglier and uglier as I aged. The only boys who clung to me were the ones hoping to absorb those A's from me. They would taunt me in public, and exhibit disgusting kindness to me in private. Quiet compliments away from prying eyes and ears. Notions that I was unwanted, unloved and unworthy were weaving quite the web of hatred about me.

Eventually I met the boy who would become my first boyfriend. He was kind to me in public, that seemed the only real qualifier. I was smitten. For a time, I even forgot my own self-loathing. I forgot about my sexual deviations. It would be almost a year before he finally told me how he really felt. Not those three sweet little words most gals hope to soak up. "I never really found you attractive, but I love you for what's underneath." That vile creature. No one knows me underneath. Not him, not my family. I felt betrayed. Betrayed and further determined to become an object men craved because I no longer believed in love. It was more than wanting to be wanted. I wanted to do damage. I wanted vengeance.

By the time I was 14, I was sneaking out to clubs, staying out most of the night, sending my parents into routine panic and doing everything imaginable in what I had convinced myself was an effort to find myself. Who I was, what I was and where I fit in the grand scheme of things. I dressed in black, listened to dark music and spent my hours exploring the darkness. It was exhilarating. I learned how to put on make-up, little by little I learned how to dress for my body type and how to style my hair. I thought I was learning to be pretty. More starvation. More exercise. More pills. People were starting to notice me. More starvation. More exercise. More pills. People were beginning to express their attraction to me. More starvation. More exercise. More pills. Borderline kidney failure.

Victim vs. Monster
When I left home just before graduating high school, I felt an extraordinary sense of relief. It wasn't due to so much being out from under the control of my parents as it was I knew they only had to see the side of me I wanted to show them. I knew I had two distinct sides. I knew what my darkness was. I knew I didn't ever want to marry or have children as that would bring people far too close to me. They would eventually see both sides.  There was no such thing as loving both. Being loved completely. I was actually still fairly convinced there was no such thing as love. Those who tried getting close to me would send me retreating quickly back into my shell. I was hollow. Intelligent, fun loving, "adorable", friendly and flirtatious on the outside. A hot mess on the inside.

Then I was raped.

There will forever only be two who know all the terror that happened that night. Only two who know the extent of the physical damage. Only one who will live with the extent of the mental damage for the rest of her days upon this planet.

This unlocked something inside. No. Unleashed. Shortly after the physical recovery, I needed to feel that pain again. I would become quietly enraged when I didn't get my way. People I knew didn't want to hurt me like that. I begged. The answer was always "no". The posing of the question would simultaneously drive them away. The answer, in my mind, was that going forward only strangers would wish to cause me that level of harm. The answer was to lure strangers. To act as bait. To physically do everything in my power to experience that unearthly thrill again. I was broken. I could no longer face the judgement swirling around me. Not knowing where else to possibly turn, I left town in search of a blank slate. As it's known to do, history repeated itself. More spiraling. More damage. More pills.

Every day is a struggle for me. Every day, I must go through very precise motions to function. To be stable, calm and grounded. Today is my 6 year wedding anniversary. I am married to a phenomenally awesome man. I have two beautiful boys and an amazing, if not humble support system of friends. My relationship with each of my family members is a good one that has taken years of effort to rebuild and maintain. I'm still very broken. I'm not sure what it will take to fully heal the sum of my years. I'm not entirely convinced that's even possible. Today, with this post, I take the first step far out of my comfort zone. But today is a new day.







A Room With No View

This isn't a real post. I chuckle when I read that on many of the blogs I adore reading. None of mine ever really are. But in all honesty, this won't be much of a post because it quite simply can't be. I have a lot to say. The sorts of things that should never be committed to paper. The sorts of things that would come back to haunt me. To destroy everything I've accomplished and everything I've run away from. Awful things. I could use a therapist if I possessed even an ounce of trust in such things. I'm quite paranoid. But so much to say. So very much to say. And no trust. No outlet. No getting it out. *sigh* 

Feminist, Fruitcake or Feverish?

"While the smiling old woman isn't lying about her award-winning cupcakes, she is withholding crucial information regarding the depraved and sadistic nature of the local cupcake awards." 

So I've had a cold for 2 weeks and running now. I know right? There should be a prompt outpouring of sympathy, but feel free to reserve that for when I tell you how I almost got in a car accident last night in the midst of a sneezing fit. I suppose that was the entire story. Anyway, I'm not what you'd call a "girly girl" - in fact I once slapped a man for calling me a "Lady" only later to find out he meant it sincerely. The slap was sincere as well so I say we're even. 

Back to aforementioned cold: There I was feeling mightily sorry for myself the other evening while whipping together something for the boys to eat (Yes, let's just go ahead and breeze past the part about touching my kids food with the hands of a sickie). Suddenly my 'Ol Man comes up behind me and said "You, My Lady, need to sit down, relax, and I'll make you some chicken noodle soup!". What a Doll, no? But I wasn't even able to process that part as I was actually floored by the "My Lady" part.  In fact, I do believe I blushed a l'il. 

I struggle with playing the whole "damsel in distress" role. Sure, I'm a total bundle of bedazzled drama, but I really do a damn fine job of keeping that persona contained here. I've been working since I was 14 and prided myself on never having to rely on anyone else. That ventures into fuzzy grey area when I disclose that my 'Ol Man and I even have separate checking accounts after 6 years of marriage. It was only by absolute chance that I ended up with my current job that allows me to pay all the household bills so he can just focus on the exorbitant daycare expenses for Dr. Snicks. So I pay the vast majority of the bills, I file my name first on our taxes and I try to handle every crisis that comes our way. By no means is my Honey unable to do these things. I'm just too much a control freak to let him. 

The Stunning Miss Vesta Vayne of The Cowardly Feminist had a recent and brilliantly penned post discussing, in part, the resurfacing fascination of life in the 40's, 50's and 60's. The Mad Men madness, as it were. The return to simpler times of kept women, closed minds and bullet-proof comfort zones. It was a timely post as I had just been discussing with my friend how lovely the THOUGHT seems. Thoughts of not finding myself in one of those middle-of-night anxiety attacks about the state of the world, the cultural wars surrounding us, world hunger issues, global climate issues or - on a much smaller scale - all the hell I foresee raining down upon me the moment I set foot at work the following morning. Shaking my fists at the sky and having a constant stream of negative information intoxicating my brain 24/7/365 and 366 on leap years. What a trite notion to just live in suburban, middle-class, ignorant doped-up bliss!

My own father often symbolically apologizes to me for the timing I arrived on this planet. He tells tales of the days when a man could work a factory job and still support a family of 5 with change to spare for week-long vacations to the Grand Canyon and keeping the family dog's shots current. Sounds pretty damn sweet, no? My only real "vacations" in the past 6 years were two sets of rushed maternity leave, and even then, I was continually reminded how entirely inconvenienced everyone was in my absence and that I was clearly using my new motherhood as an "excuse".  (I'll go ahead and save the tales of being sent on business travel late in month 8 of the first pregnancy, and running to Home Depot in a stake bed truck to retrieve twelve 200lb storage units in month 8 of the second pregnancy for another day ;) ). Martyrdom, aside, I always did my best not to make said "excuses".  

I'm quite known to go on the defensive when I'm accused of being feminine. But why? Why would I view that as a negative? A weakness? There shouldn't be shame associated with it. Without a doubt, the strongest creatures I've ever known or even read about were women. As a child, I remember thinking it a survival instinct to mask the "girl", never mind basic logic dictating the species wouldn't endure without a few uteri. Perhaps that was the problem? Worries of overpopulation, resulting starvation, slaughter, earth's ultimate destruction... OR perhaps the real problem circles, once again, right back to my own sensitivities: I don't have the answers, but I sure as hell feel the weight of all the problems! Ha! 

Just as I lose myself in the battle of being a flamboyant wallflower, I similarly lose my identity in finding balance between being a strong female and feeling betrayed by the same. And yet, if only for a few fleeting moments, it felt like sheer bliss to hear those simple words from my 'Ol Man. To let down that wall and just be a girl.

TMJ and You!

"What most people don't seem to understand is that normal dentures lack the air of excitement and danger of your prosthetic badger jaw."


Hello, my name is Annie and I have an under bite. More specifically, my jaw is permanently unhinged on both sides. Held in place only by a pair of rowdy tendons... Rather like a snake...
Now lets suppose, for a moment, that I also have a crooked smile. No, no, my teeth are shockingly straight-ish, but when I smile, one corner of my mouth goes up far higher than the other. So a protruding jaw - check. And a wonky grin - check. (I won't even touch upon the other.... shall we say eccentricities upon my face?). One might suspect when I walk down the street (you know, if I left the house much) with a smile on my lips and a spring in my step, people might naturally recoil in horror. Not the case. In fact, not in the least...
I decided to make a bit of a game of it this morning. As I was driving into work, I careened past multiple garbage trucks (my driving skills are normally lacking if not ominous, but today I was able to blame a freak snowstorm) - you know the ones with the gentlemen hanging off the back? So I smiled. Despite work being my ultimate destination on top of having a monumental chest cold, I smiled. A big, toothy smile. Every one of those gentlemen smiled back - one even guffawed and almost fell off the back. *squeal of delight*! Neat! Alright, then! I pulled up to a light next to a gal who was clearly having the worst day of her life. I smiled. Perhaps she guessed I was clinically insane, but there it was - she smiled back! A fabulous smile that could light up a room! "Good girl!", I thought to myself. This would continue at every light, stop-sign, turn and U-Turn (my auto-pilot had no intentions of actually showing up for work today). I'm not sure whether there was any residual value for those I encountered along the way, but these events all collectively made my morning!

I recently penned a note of thanks to the doctor who brought me into this world with a set of unforgiving forceps. I was sure to include additional bits of thanks for my ensuing geniophobia (fear of chins.... weak chins, to be precise). Over the years, I've managed to mask the protruding jaw and even provide some cheap entertainment with all the assorted "pops" and fitting dozens upon dozens of, say,  grapes in my mouth. Let's not get dirty, my antics are purely PG. 
I'll forever be conscious of my jaw, of that odd grin. Yet I wouldn't change it for the world. Oh, there were plenty of offers to break the damn thing back into place. To wire my jaw shut. Momentarily, I had considered the benefits of that last one. But when you look in the mirror each day, there's something familiar about the reflection staring back. Not perfect, not even all that fancy. Still... for all the flaws, it's me. Unique, quirky and that jaw of mine has a life all it's own. Nope. I don't think I'd change a thing. 






Yes... Well... Carry On, Then.

"This sign of the Zodiac will be phased out this week and its duties subsumed by other signs. During this time of change, please assume that you will have a torrid romance with a stranger or be hit by a train."


The events of the past 3 weeks don't feel quite real and the parts I'm CONVINCED are real, truly are better left to the imaginary... Last Thursday, a crock pot full of bubbling angst boiled over in the form of telling the president of our company JUST what I think of him. It was awkward, to say the least. Funny thing is, when it comes to my work persona, there is clearly some sort of gauge preventing a discernible outburst to the naked eye. At home, one can more readily guess my mood based on the foul language, shrieking, wild gestures and throwing of harmless objects about my war-path (I'd throw things that shatter dramatically, but that would result in having to clean it all up while feeling like a supreme delta bravo). But at work? The only witness to my tantrum noted I "didn't smile as much as usual", hence she could sense I was enraged. A modest smirk = full blown outrage. Must be basic survival instinct at play, there. 


Not smiling "as much as usual" that fateful afternoon set the stage into what would become a curious weekend free of the burdens of bottled-up stress. I even avoided visible embarrassment at having accidentally dyed my hair seafoam green (Not entirely what I was going for). Things just seemed altogether more trivial. Whimsical, even. This all seems rooted in worrying less about keeping up appearances and just being who I am. That's a tough thing for someone like me. I have always had a silly little habit of morphing into various versions of myself based on the audience. Almost 34 years into this game, it's a feat getting back to ground zero. Locating the authentic creature first borne of that mold. 


Surely, most everyone does this to an extent... Finds all those compromises along the journey beginning to chip away at the prototype? Or perhaps not. 


I've been struggling to overcome writer's block for awhile now. Struggling to find what drives me or what I feel like discussing in absurd detail. The thing is, this entire collection of ramblings come closest to the naked, uninhibited creature I am. As many "bloggers" out there well know, there becomes an odd pressure to be better, be noticed, be great. For those with the time to do so, an audience is amassed by constantly nurturing their brand into something marketable, profitable, accessible and wonderful. But for some of us, there simply aren't enough hours in the day. Not enough energy, motivation, ambition or need. And perhaps the end we found ourselves drowning in the means to achieve wasn't the desired end after all. 


The more I found myself trying to "put myself out there", the less I had to say. There was an accompanying stage fright in fearing utter failure. I'm not as witty as 99% of the blogs I follow. I don't have an endless stream of hilarious anecdotes or experiences. Those pesky "stats" would fly off the charts when I'd take the bait of some well-known author's prompts, then drop off the radar hastily after. At the end of the day, I don't lead a particularly thrilling life. It's not delightfully mundane or even deliciously mediocre. Just scattered bits of this and that. And that's OK. 


Quite some time back, I mentioned the book my father gave to me as a means of illustrating how to contain my natural impulse of annoying gab. When given the chance, I'm quite prone to drone on and on about anything and everything. I may find it exhilarating as my mind darts from one subject to another. On the receiving end, I can only imagine how segmented and odd it all comes across. I'm learning to tame that. Maybe not so much to tone it down, but at least to find a more productive outlet for it all. This is that outlet. I've been slowly learning to embrace the wit and brilliance of others without watching my own self worth diminish. I've also been learning to release the shame inherent with hiding these words from many of those most dear. You see, my family doesn't know this exists. I needed to find safety for even the most repugnant of thoughts. That's OK too. 


Achieving the ultimate balance between my innermost thoughts and the trust placed with those I know eludes me. I look very forward to the day things just seem to fall into place. It begins with being more honest, both with myself and others. I'm not there yet, but I haven't given up. Today, I slip off my shoes in the first step towards full exposure. 











Kitty

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Hey Mister! Got Change For Two Cents?

 "While everyone is certainly entitled to their opinion of how you run your life, the bullhorn they've been using does seem a bit much."

The notion that I'm increasingly cranky with age is not lost on me. I'm learning to embrace it and even take delight in it. I'm also noticing that, with each passing day in my current job, I'm increasingly creative when it comes to get-rich-quick schemes. Just about every hair-brained idea to pop into my skull is considered at great length with respect to potential marketability. Let me tell you, this can be vastly entertaining!

Some time back, the trend du jour was "branding" within my company. A consulting firm was promptly hired to fabricate buzz words, design fancy signage and engage the masses with team-building frivilocity. To those few of us with an ounce of common sense, it was a glorious waste of time. Then I happened upon the firm's invoice.........Sweet-mother-of-god........

An idea was born. By George, I would start a sham-seminar business! Lure in unsuspecting fools looking to boost morale with shimmery imagery and nonsensical catch-phrases. Hell, I could do that in my sleep and retire early! Still, it seemed somehow wrong. Unethical or impractical. Sure enough, as the economy rode that Coriolis Effect wave down the toilet, employers no longer gave much a damn about employee morale. It was all about the bottom line and securing golden parachutes for the bottom feeders.

Round two: Opportunity rang the 'ol doorbell in the form of one of those liquor-serving golf-carts... Only, the delicious spin would be in luring borderline alcoholics working in the sprawling business campus on this side of town. No longer would they have to worry about being spotted at the bar abusing the free wireless. They could simply slip out those revolving doors to greet me on my covert little cart of magical wonders. An ice cream truck for lushes! Turns out, you have to have some sort of elaborate, yet sound business plan to procure a liquor license in the first place. Plus the cops around here are no stranger to entrapment.

Naturally I keep abreast of local, national and borderline-black-market lotto and sweepstakes goings on, just to remain well rounded. I also routinely issue stern reminders to Publisher's Clearing House that our friendship is on hold. Still.... just about anything has got to better than this, yes?

So yesterday, as I was lamenting the total lack of interested investors in my frazzled writings it occurred to me that I have opinions. Lots of them. Perhaps thousands. I imagined my talents are most certainly wasted on the likes of my employer as most of the execs are nonplussed to hear my inner-most thoughts. An advice column! That's it! My friend and coworker graciously reminded me I don't generally give out GOOD advice. Hey, I didn't say it was going to be a HELPFUL advice column. Simply an advice column.

You have a problem? I most likely have something to say about it. Seems brilliant enough, no? So far as I can tell, Ann Landers never had any particularly earth-shattering replies for the poor saps who fueled her weekly posts. And look at Andy Rooney! That old grump just yammered angrily at the camera for the better part of his career. I can do that! In fact, I'll see his surliness and raise him some severely derailed trains of thought! BAM! Now, I just need to locate the proper outlet, rant and rave by day and roll about in wads of cash by night. Wait, scratch that last part.... I worked in a bank long enough to recall how bloody filthy cash can be. In lieu of that, I'll print out my bank statements on archive-grade 24lb paper and roll about on that.

You know, I'm pretty damn proud of myself for thinking to write this down. Given my mental issues, I would otherwise be prone to blink and forget all of this. Anyhoo - turns out I'm not just getting more cranky with age, I'm becoming ever more awesome! Just sayin'. *grin*

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

A Perfectly Valid Excuse

"Your shortness of breath and wild fainting spells will be cured this week, thanks to a series of well-placed commas." 

I grew up in a house on the corner lot of a steeply sloped circle. Nestled against the mountainside and surrounded by aspens and pines. We had a humble little garage that opened onto the street below, but the cars were normally parked in the carport that faced the circle above. It was almost the height of a barn with the angled roof-line and a deep redwood color that would grow even deeper when it rained. The contrast of the wood and the surrounding greenery of all the trees makes my eyes water to even recall. 

I used to love sitting out there on an old rickety aluminum lawn chair during thunderstorms. The rain would come in these extraordinary sheets where it was so easy to believe you were the last one left upon the planet. The darkness of the clouds above weighing down like a heavy quilt of grey. Those summer storms where it feels like night in even the earliest of afternoons. The distant buzzing of electricity deafening your senses before the lightning strikes were yet visible. One-one-thousand-two-one *CRACK*!!!!! The rush of adrenaline racing through every cell in your body as the breeze releases a sudden spray of rain upon bare feet. I could sit there for hours when my parents weren't home. The presence of a "responsible adult" entailed being promptly whisked back indoors where there weren't worries of the silly little girl getting struck.
The smell of rain is one of those emotional triggers that brings so many memories of simpler times. The sound of thunder..... another. I can tie so many of my happiest moments in life to thunderstorms.....To the childlike joy exhibited in response to them. 

My only issue with thunderstorms?

I can't summon up even an ounce of motivation to focus on anything else. In fact, I don't believe I should HAVE TO. After all, they are some magical spectacle of the gods meant to be celebrated with absolutely undivided attention. In my book, anyway. Possibly because I have yet to be struck.... Today's forecast calls for afternoon thunderstorms. So did yesterday's, and I finally resigned to bed last night in a dramatic fit of disappointment. Still, there's hope for today. 

*Glances outside*

Nothing yet. 

...

Now? *glances outside*

Nope.

So clearly no real work is going to be accomplished today and I fully intend on blaming the weather. I probably should have called in "Vaguely Anticipating Greatness", but I had to bring the kids to school, so it seemed this would at least be a legitimate distraction. Makes me curious what sort of season we're in for as if it's one of fabulous thunderstorms... I may need to take an extended leave of absence. 

Happy Wednesday, Pets!


Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Miller Time

"Like a moth to a flame, you too will be strongly attracted, despite the nearly certain outcome, to a giant flame this week."

Sadly, no, I'm not basking in a 9am happy hour, but a gal can dream, right? I'm referring to, yet another apocalyptic moth invasion. Seems this year's plague is brought to you by the Miller (or "Owl Moth), which is one of 20,000 moth species in the lepidopteran family Noctuidae. See? Stick around long enough and you might actually learn something from this Kitty. For those of you who were already well aware of this fact, might I add:  No one likes a showoff :). 


Up until yesterday evening, I remained blissfully unaware of the impending doom that is the Moth Decennial Spectacular. Sure, I'd seen a few of the insect-world's-answer-to-pigeons flitting about here and there. I was even willing to look the other way, turn the other cheek or only clobber the ones directly in my way with a few sheets of Bounty. Seems that only served to further aggravate the gods.

It was a random peaceful Monday evening when the phone rang. "I locked my keys in the car, how fast can you get here?" What? Not even a "Hello"? No respect, I tells ya. I meandered casually upstairs (What? I didn't want to trip after guffawing in response to my 'Ol Man's misfortune!) and instructed the kiddos to throw on some slippers for the ride. Naturally they were thrilled to get out of the house for a leisurely jaunt across town... Mostly as they know I'll blare some rad disco music for their listening pleasure. I probably wouldn't have noticed it except that my gut reaction was to use the windshield wipers to clear off all the dust forming on the window....

SWEET MERCIFUL JESUS...........



THOUSANDS OF THEM....



Ricocheting off the windshield by the hundreds as I sped....errr.... considerately observed and obeyed a respectably prudent speed limit down the road. The kids were shrieking and squealing.... further hypothesizing why birds weren't eating them. Why indeed? It was a bloody mess. OK, that's an exaggeration, a DUSTY mess. There's something entirely nauseating about the *POOF* sound those little airborne bodies make upon impact with the car.... leaving little more behind than a splotch of dust. Goo.  At each stoplight, these chaotic creatures were slipping into every nook and cranny of the car ahead. Miniature masterminds of some diabolical scheme to hide out in the vents.... waiting for the prime moment to strike....

A man no less than about 200 years old or so off in the distance, about to embark upon the pedestrian crossing up ahead....

WHAT!?!?!? NOOOOOOO!!!!!!! HAVE THEY NO SOULS????!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

*** Note from the Author: It really is a wonder I don't get in more accidents the way my train of thought completely derails during routine errands***

Welp, there goes the neighborhood. The Millers have officially arrived.




Monday, April 23, 2012

Yes, I Need To Cancel My Subscription

"This week, envy rears its ugly head, realizes there's nothing enviable about you, blinks a couple times, and goes back to sleep."

You know what I hate? "No, Annie, please tell me." I appreciate your enthusiasm so I'll tell you:  The feeling of being left behind. Scratch that.... No less than TWO STEPS behind (and even that is a rather generous calculation).

This little gem of self pity can be traced back to the 2nd grade. My best friend in the whole wide world at that time was a certain Tracy G. I'm quite convinced I had no true concept of "friendship" back then, but I'll be damned if it wasn't the closest thing to it. We did everything together. This basically meant our parents would begrudgingly agree to one play-date every two months or so and the rest of the time was spent hanging out at recess. Kindred spirits, right? One day she walks in the door and it's clear she'd been crying (Probably not, but that's how I choose to remember it). She tells me her dad has a new job and they'll be moving to Hawaii the following week.

Naturally, I play through the absurd logistics of all of this. After all, my 7 year old self was well aware of the time required to pack, find a new home, ship all one's belongings/animals and get the entire family flown out there. Why, she would have known about this for WEEKS!!!!!! I can recall sobbing whilst babbling incoherently to my mother about the injustice of it all. Some obligatory "there, there"'s were uttered and beyond that, I was advised I'd probably feel better if I went outside and watered the plants (Suspiciously enough, that was my mother's answer for any and all ailments).

It took a good weekend to get over this trauma. Although my, my, those raspberry bushes certainly appreciated the new-found attention!

Miss Tracy G. was the first friend to abandon me, but she would be anything but the last. Sure, there was always a seemingly legitimate excuse behind it, but this knowledge didn't seem to lessen the sting. Even the sudden and thriving jungle in our backyard did little to soothe the grief. I was surely the common-denominator in the equation and I did not like that one bit! (On a side note, I was beginning to question my parents' clear lack of ambition in securing a work relocation.....)

Now that I'm older and wiser... OK, perhaps just older - one can hardly argue that! HA!.... These abandonment issues have webbed off into a full blown subscription. I peer through the humble window in my cave only to watch the world passing me by with little to no regard for leaving me in the dust. The more fear I exhibit towards progression, the more I cling for dear life to familiarity. I can hardly blame those who throw caution to the wind, know what they want and have something to offer.... wait... sure I can! But I won't. It's no one's issue (or subscription) but my own to tackle. And tackle it, I shall.

Today I received a phone call about a job I applied for but found I couldn't afford to accept. It additionally requires a commute I'm afraid to take on. I'm afraid to be that far away from my boys, from my husband... My comfort zone. The gentleman on the other end of the line insists the job was tailored just for me. I'm the only one he can fathom hiring. As I type, he is negotiating my salary. He is additionally working towards compensating the commute. Let me be clear that I do not have a degree or the "normal" skills required for such a position... Yet here is this stranger who will not allow my fears to prevent me from taking that step. Now what's my excuse?

I come up empty.

I wonder what Tracy G. is doing these days? Seems a waste of perfectly usable time pondering such things when that Greyhound bus destined towards my future is idling on my doorstep, no?










Friday, April 20, 2012

CALM DOWN!!!!!!

"The stars are serious this time: If they ever catch you with those fucking tea leaves again, you can kiss the last 15 years goodbye."

*Deep breath* OK, so I think I've recovered nicely from the angst of yesterday. Sometimes it's entirely refreshing to have a good 'ol fashioned freak-out, no? In the aftermath of most of my rants, I look back only to find I was spewing a truckload of incoherent nonsense in a feeble attempt to simply make sense of it all. You see, I am a terribly anxious and chaotic sort of creature. Most days my emotions are in a state of overdrive and I'm not quite sure what to make of them. It's evident I need an outlet and VOILA, this seems as good a place as any.
Poor guy. I've been there.
I follow a large number of blogs and one theme I've found in a lot of them is anxiety. Seems this is a very rampant and recurring theme. Seems I'm hardly the first to turn to paper (or the screen) for release. One discernible difference is the calm and rational structure others can almost effortlessly summon. My own words just scatter this way and that sans direction and most certainly sans resolution. My most prominent error tends to be in seeking to sort things out with the aid of the stars.
I read no less than 6 variations of my horoscope every day. In fact, I begin consulting each at the ripe hour of 3am every day. Much to my chagrin, most of the sites don't update their garbage until roughly 5:32am. Why do they so hate my freedom? What on earth am I to do with those 152 minutes? Naturally, I frantically hit "refresh" until I get the desired results. This is likely to land me in a position with no phone as I only carry the one issued by work. It seems someone had the audacity to begin monitoring our individual data usage. Somehow I suspect it won't go over well when I argue that this data is OBVIOUSLY being spent scouring for astrological survival tips.
What!? My soda offers advice too!!??!
Yes, yes, I'm well aware that isn't a proper use of company property. But hey, it beats getting slapped on the wrist by I.T. for fading off into oblivion while viewing the live feed of the shark tank through the Monterey Bay Aquarium, right? Right. Who knew such activities were likely to overload the server? Not this gal, that's for damn sure. Plus I feel I provided a service by pointing out the archaic capabilities of said server.
*panic*
I've actually completely forgotten where I was going with all of this.... *reading back through*.... Nope, I still got nothing. Perhaps the point is I've been creatively self-medicating to deal with my aforementioned anxiety issues and it's becoming crystal clear that's no longer a viable option. Where the writers I so adore are able to channel their energy into coping and overcoming, I'm still left in the dust relying on obscure horoscopes to get me through. Seeing as how I need to make some effort towards keeping that paycheck coming in, perhaps it's time to get a grip and seek professional help! Happy Friday!
I couldn't NOT add this - it's too great!





Thursday, April 19, 2012

Turns Out, I'm a Complete Asshole!

"You're worried about your upcoming trial because, as an arrogant evil genius, you're not sure what the court considers a "jury of your peers." "

Not much of an excuse, but we are all rather products of our experiences in life. As I was driving into work today (clearly most of my "thinking" is accomplished during this time, which leaves the rest of the day freed up for more important things like Solitaire and staring contests with a computer screen), I was thinking forward 20 or so years to when I may be able to stomach my boys actually dating. I imagined one of them bringing home some plastic pageant queen and that's when it happened... I got angry. I may have even thrown up in my mouth a little. For someone who spends most of her time trying to be this fabulous force of love and acceptance, turns out I'm actually a total jerk.

I have no patience for fraternity boys, sorority girls, cheerleaders, jocks, the arrogant roller derby girls I met at a downtown tattoo shop, pretentious artists, yuppies, "perfect" mothers.... suddenly, the list was growing at an exponential rate. Even more suddenly, a flood of negative flash-backs to high school. Ugh. But that's precisely it. There are people who, to this day, are perfectly happy to define themselves by a singular hobby or group. Sure, we all long to "fit in" at one insecure point in life or another. But what happens when that translates into exclusivity later in life when, by all reasonable accounts, we should have grown out of that bullshit?

I love all things tagged as "retro" or "vintage". However, if I don't look like Bettie Page and consistently sport the latest and greatest "retro" fashion (seems an oxymoron, yes? ), I obviously don't know what I'm talking about and am furthermore not fit to join the ranks of true connoisseurs. Is there some universal reason people must cling to labels to consider success achieved? In the same breath, maybe I'm just as guilty for refusing to throw all my cards in on one interest. It's like rebelling by joining the mass army of rebels. Counterproductive, to be sure. Alas, maybe I just need to leave the house more so there are opportunities to meet nice people who stand a chance in hell of altering my bitchy views. Hmmm....A fleeting thought as I know better than to think I could motivate myself to actually leave the house beyond general necessities of work and the gas station up the road.

You know, I was already well aware I need to make some changes, but hot damn, this sure throws a wrench in things. I could probably begin with forgiving my own brother (who has never had to struggle a day in his life and seems to enjoy showering his judgment upon lower specimens). Then again, he loathes me and my family and insists on sending obligatory greeting cards addressed using my maiden name. Them's fightin' actions.

Do you suppose this is all spurned of some level of jealousy for those who "have it all"? I have a difficult time swallowing that since I define "it all" quite differently. Plus, there must be something to the band-aid phrase "It builds character" when the going gets tough, no? If you've never had things get tough, how much character could you possibly have? The genetic variety? Pssht. That only earns you so much charisma in life.

At the end of the day, or a few hours into the day, as the case may be, perhaps it's best to just let it go. I'm an asshole and frankly, I'm kinda OK with that. It's just one more ingredient in the cake that is Yours Truly. Then again, it would actually be pretty goddamned awesome to be challenged on my views. Keeps things interesting! Happy Thursday, Pets!


P.S. Update: My horoscope offered the following warning....just a bit too little too late: "Try not to overreact today -- though that might be easier said than done! Your emotions are closer to the edge than usual, and that could mean that you need to just remove yourself from the fray."

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Serendipitous Spontaneity

"What you'll later choose to describe as a "through the looking glass" moment will actually be more of a "down a set of stairs, through a plate-glass window, and out into heavy traffic" sort of afternoon." 

Some days, I truly dazzle myself with the sudden onset of common sense. Ha! Upon composing that sentence, I toyed with leaving it at that. Alas, I'm feeling gabby, so let's dance, shall we? 

It occurred to me on the quiet ride in* that it's not spontaneity I'm so bloody afraid of... It's lack of control. There is a delightful pleasantness about flying by the seat of one's pants. It's when the future is being decided FOR us with or without our input that I begin to panic. Odd this didn't dawn on me sooner as those handy Choose Your Own Adventure books from my youth illustrate the point perfectly. True, the reader was presented with various choices leading them to the next adventure, but on the other hand, the outcome was already penned. It had been premeditated. 

I'm not a fan of going into great detail when the circumstance doesn't directly involve me, so I'll opt for a bit of vagueness as it DOES directly AFFECT me. For argument's sake, let's say a friend of a friend committed an error in judgment that has unleashed an entire sequence of events. Events which promise straying far off course from the initial path pursued. There are now outside influences in the ultimate outcome. Some things within our control and far too many outside of that. Let's further assume the law is now involved. What's particularly irksome to me is, despite many things in this world having been defined in black & white, many more touch upon fuzzy grey area. Things up for interpretation, if you have the wherewithal to have them interpreted in your favor. If not, your fate could well depend on anything from case law decisions to the emotional state of the D.A.. These statements are bold ones, but ones borne of much personal experience. I have a tough time believing in "justice" when even that isn't all that clearly defined.


But this post isn't about politics or legalities. In broader terms, I had been trying to decipher why I used to be so spontaneous and why not now? In the decisions I personally make, I make them with the knowledge that I am prepared to accept the consequences. The reality is there are a minimum of a thousand external factors that could easily be thrown in the mix at any moment. You read about it all the time: "If I had boarded the bus that day, I wouldn't have walked by the convenience store where I purchased the winning lottery ticket", "If I wore the blue sweater, I wouldn't have been laughed at in that meeting thus causing me to vomit upon myself", "If I hadn't forgotten my keys thereby delaying my departure 5 minutes, that monkey may have thrown fruit at my car after which I would have been involved in that 30-car pileup". Not much of a way to live, right? All the "what ifs" and "if thens"! Every time I walk out of the house, I could easily be hit by wayward asteroid debris, yes? (By the by, I tend to play that card when faced with the possibility of running unsavory errands). There's so much fear in uncertainty and as a result so much anger in response to the fear. Cycles are a constant presence in life, swirling madly out of control. That control. Perhaps it, in itself, a comfort. 
Anxiety runs thickly in my blood. Intermingling with the anxiety, inexplicable gypsy tendencies. Omnipresent chaos.... then again, it could be balance. The yin and the yang. At the end of the day, I still aim to harbor no regrets. In fact, I aim for minimal analyzing as what's done is done and what is accomplished should be toasted! In the end, it's all a matter of perspective. 



* The aforementioned "quiet ride in" was a direct result of dropping my iPod between the seats when I grabbed the wee one's backpack. Had I been listening to music, this post may not have been written :)

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Once Upon A Porch

"You'll garner enthusiastic praise from by the world's leading art and design critics when fiendish but brilliant furniture makers fashion you into a tasteful, living Adirondack chair." 

If there is one thing that can "sell" me on a house, it is a fabulous porch structured lovingly around the front door... If there's a second, it would be black & white checkers in a kitchen. The latter landed me in a love-hate relationship with my mortgage. But that's a tale for another day.
*squeal of delight*
A porch. More than some grand architectural element crafted for aesthetic pleasures - so much more than an entryway into a home. It is a masterpiece all its own. An escape akin to some tree-top abode for wee ones. It can have its own personality and presence. Offering shelter and safety disguised as a quiet observer's nest. Then again, sometimes it's not all that quiet, as it can offer welcome sanctuary for boisterous laughter, music, the playful clinking of goblets and endless chatter. My, how I miss that.

Prior to galloping off on that path of marriage, home ownership, spawn and some semblance of responsibility, I lived in a rented Victorian house in the heart of downtown. To one side of the entrance, small portholes of intricate stained glass. The door, an extraordinary deep red adorned with delicate etchings. To the other side, a giant bay window leading whimsically into the living room. And the porch. This spectacular covered wooden porch ripe with an old rickety and charming swing. That porch became more a gathering place for neighbors, friends and loves than any kitchen could ever hope to. By George, it deserved to be named!
Countless Summer nights were spent in pajamas and flip-flops perched upon that swing with a glass (OK, sometimes a plastic cup) of wine in my hand and not a care in the world... not even a care for the ensuing wine stains on my feet as my clumsiness would overtake what remained of inhibition. I would occasionally chat up complete strangers who offered exotic tales of days gone by. Experiences I would never dream of owning, however enchanting. Evenings moving effortlessly into nights almost always set to island music under the ambiance of obnoxiously strung kitschy lights. No concerns of being land-locked or poor. Nothing much matters while swinging mindlessly back and forth. Childlike innocence.... well.....avec boxed wine, that is. I suppose not so innocent after all. Still..... a nice memory.

Funny how such an unassuming setting can represent so much joy. *sigh* Happy Tuesday, Pets.










Friday, April 13, 2012

Blessed.

I posted something very personal and rough yesterday. Somehow, it didn't make me sad to write all of that down. The experience was entirely liberating as I thought I had never wanted to face what had happened on that level ever again. I was taught all growing up, bad things were meant to be bottled up or brushed under a rug. That only serves to keep the cancer inside. When it stays inside, it festers and grows into its own darkness. I was haunted and now I'm free.

I no longer am ashamed of who I am because I overcame it... Or at least I'm working to overcome it. Suicide was an option more than once, but I'm alive to tell my story. There are those who will disown me for that, and that's OK. That's the entire point of free will. I feel mightily blessed at getting through and using that history to help and heal others as that is why they seek me out. I believe that is why I am on this planet.

I am not religious. What I am is deeply spiritual. For those who believe, they tell me god only gives us what we have the power to take on, if we so choose. In that vain, god put me on earth with all that pain so I could fully understand the pain and hurt of others. Often, I find I'm absorbing even more pain with no outlet. But as I age, I learn and experience my mistakes so I can release it safely. There no longer exists "strangers" I seek out to bait. That chapter of my life closed before I met my husband. I feel love on a level I never thought possible, now. I love and feel loved. Everything is not sunshine and unicorn tears as that wouldn't keep things interesting. I'm still under tremendous stress, but I'm learning to cope and overcome that too.

Today is a new spectacular day I was given to live. I'm entirely thankful for that. Today also happens to be Friday the 13th, which is always a celebration in my book. The choices thrown at us in life should be acknowledged as such. Choices. That in and of itself is pretty damn great. Without choices, the darkness washes over us again and we find difficulty in viewing that light at the end of the tunnel as much beyond an oncoming train.




Thursday, April 12, 2012

No Sympathy For The Devil

"The darkest hour is right before the dawn. It is painful to work through our pasts, our lives, but we can't go around it, only through it." ~ The much adored and admired Empress. Thank you.

A simple round of apologies for the vagueness of yesterday's tantrum. It seems the times I long to delete the words the most, are the times I need them to remain. This is not going to be an easy post for me to get through. In the same breath, it was only after a long night spent thinking to the tune of a raging thunderstorm I decided that, for me, it has to be done in order to move forward.

Toddler vs. Monster
It is a shameful thing to admit and a more shameful thing to own. I have had a measurable level of sexual drive from my earliest memories as a wee child. This was not something spawned of trauma. I'm not sure it can even be coded in one's DNA. And yet, it coursed through my veins and left me confused, angry and alone. A child. Anything but innocent when everything I knew of this new world tried convincing me otherwise. The thoughts and feelings I had were not "normal" from day one. To this day, I have no idea what normal is.

Child vs. Monster
By the time I was 8, I was overweight. This can, in no way, be attributed to my parents. No fault lies with anyone but myself. Growing up, we weren't allowed sugar cereal, soda, junk food. We didn't get fast food and we weren't presented with poor choices. None of that was allowed in the front door. This lonely, angry, chubby and immensely confused girl walked miles to get her filthy paws on junk. To eat myself into a stupor of what little comfort I perceived. Looking back at pictures, it was not obesity upon that small frame. But I had stretch marks on my thighs and I knew that was wrong. Shameful. Ugly. At the age of 8, I was concerned no one would ever want to have sex with me. I began starving myself and exercising to change that.

Pre-Teen vs. Monster
I got my first period at 11. In my family, embarrassing personal dialogue was not to be uttered. We were taught manners, respect for others, pride by virtue of masking any political incorrectness and ultimately secrecy. I remember being convinced I was dying. So much shame. Disgusting. Filthy. Alone. I was more bothered by dying in an ugly body, than thoughts of death itself. I opened up to a complete stranger for help. She took pity on me and bought me the proper items to cope. I was still obsessing about my image and the weight would go up and down. I began abusing painkillers to aid the hunger pains. Not long after that, Twin Peaks aired on TV. I remember being mesmerized. I felt that my most hidden thoughts were being broadcast for the world to see. I can remember looking nervously at my mother to see if she somehow sensed the connection. Instead, she would turn and smile the kindest smile at me as it was obvious her little girl was a lover of the arts. Perhaps I had just formed my first preference to one director over another. That was it! That little girl, with her crazy imagination, has an attachment to David Lynch! Silly, silly girl. Silly dark, fat, confused little girl. The dark girl with the raging hormones. The unhealthy attachments to men. The one who's only goal in life was to be physically WANTED.

Adolescent vs. Monster
As I made my way through school, it became apparent I had a mind. A level of intellect. All through school I had straight A+'s and every year I could count on being on the equivalent of an honor roll. There was no real level of effort involved there. It all came naturally to me and I didn't see it as a positive. Beneath the surface, a storm was carefully brewing to the surface. I was not a particularly attractive child and I felt I got uglier and uglier as I aged. The only boys who clung to me were the ones hoping to absorb those A's from me. They would taunt me in public, and exhibit disgusting kindness to me in private. Quiet compliments away from prying eyes and ears. Notions that I was unwanted, unloved and unworthy were weaving quite the web of hatred about me.

Eventually I met the boy who would become my first boyfriend. He was kind to me in public, that seemed the only real qualifier. I was smitten. For a time, I even forgot my own self-loathing. I forgot about my sexual deviations. It would be almost a year before he finally told me how he really felt. Not those three sweet little words most gals hope to soak up. "I never really found you attractive, but I love you for what's underneath." That vile creature. No one knows me underneath. Not him, not my family. I felt betrayed. Betrayed and further determined to become an object men craved because I no longer believed in love. It was more than wanting to be wanted. I wanted to do damage. I wanted vengeance.

By the time I was 14, I was sneaking out to clubs, staying out most of the night, sending my parents into routine panic and doing everything imaginable in what I had convinced myself was an effort to find myself. Who I was, what I was and where I fit in the grand scheme of things. I dressed in black, listened to dark music and spent my hours exploring the darkness. It was exhilarating. I learned how to put on make-up, little by little I learned how to dress for my body type and how to style my hair. I thought I was learning to be pretty. More starvation. More exercise. More pills. People were starting to notice me. More starvation. More exercise. More pills. People were beginning to express their attraction to me. More starvation. More exercise. More pills. Borderline kidney failure.

Victim vs. Monster
When I left home just before graduating high school, I felt an extraordinary sense of relief. It wasn't due to so much being out from under the control of my parents as it was I knew they only had to see the side of me I wanted to show them. I knew I had two distinct sides. I knew what my darkness was. I knew I didn't ever want to marry or have children as that would bring people far too close to me. They would eventually see both sides.  There was no such thing as loving both. Being loved completely. I was actually still fairly convinced there was no such thing as love. Those who tried getting close to me would send me retreating quickly back into my shell. I was hollow. Intelligent, fun loving, "adorable", friendly and flirtatious on the outside. A hot mess on the inside.

Then I was raped.

There will forever only be two who know all the terror that happened that night. Only two who know the extent of the physical damage. Only one who will live with the extent of the mental damage for the rest of her days upon this planet.

This unlocked something inside. No. Unleashed. Shortly after the physical recovery, I needed to feel that pain again. I would become quietly enraged when I didn't get my way. People I knew didn't want to hurt me like that. I begged. The answer was always "no". The posing of the question would simultaneously drive them away. The answer, in my mind, was that going forward only strangers would wish to cause me that level of harm. The answer was to lure strangers. To act as bait. To physically do everything in my power to experience that unearthly thrill again. I was broken. I could no longer face the judgement swirling around me. Not knowing where else to possibly turn, I left town in search of a blank slate. As it's known to do, history repeated itself. More spiraling. More damage. More pills.

Every day is a struggle for me. Every day, I must go through very precise motions to function. To be stable, calm and grounded. Today is my 6 year wedding anniversary. I am married to a phenomenally awesome man. I have two beautiful boys and an amazing, if not humble support system of friends. My relationship with each of my family members is a good one that has taken years of effort to rebuild and maintain. I'm still very broken. I'm not sure what it will take to fully heal the sum of my years. I'm not entirely convinced that's even possible. Today, with this post, I take the first step far out of my comfort zone. But today is a new day.







Wednesday, April 11, 2012

A Room With No View

This isn't a real post. I chuckle when I read that on many of the blogs I adore reading. None of mine ever really are. But in all honesty, this won't be much of a post because it quite simply can't be. I have a lot to say. The sorts of things that should never be committed to paper. The sorts of things that would come back to haunt me. To destroy everything I've accomplished and everything I've run away from. Awful things. I could use a therapist if I possessed even an ounce of trust in such things. I'm quite paranoid. But so much to say. So very much to say. And no trust. No outlet. No getting it out. *sigh* 

Friday, April 6, 2012

Feminist, Fruitcake or Feverish?

"While the smiling old woman isn't lying about her award-winning cupcakes, she is withholding crucial information regarding the depraved and sadistic nature of the local cupcake awards." 

So I've had a cold for 2 weeks and running now. I know right? There should be a prompt outpouring of sympathy, but feel free to reserve that for when I tell you how I almost got in a car accident last night in the midst of a sneezing fit. I suppose that was the entire story. Anyway, I'm not what you'd call a "girly girl" - in fact I once slapped a man for calling me a "Lady" only later to find out he meant it sincerely. The slap was sincere as well so I say we're even. 

Back to aforementioned cold: There I was feeling mightily sorry for myself the other evening while whipping together something for the boys to eat (Yes, let's just go ahead and breeze past the part about touching my kids food with the hands of a sickie). Suddenly my 'Ol Man comes up behind me and said "You, My Lady, need to sit down, relax, and I'll make you some chicken noodle soup!". What a Doll, no? But I wasn't even able to process that part as I was actually floored by the "My Lady" part.  In fact, I do believe I blushed a l'il. 

I struggle with playing the whole "damsel in distress" role. Sure, I'm a total bundle of bedazzled drama, but I really do a damn fine job of keeping that persona contained here. I've been working since I was 14 and prided myself on never having to rely on anyone else. That ventures into fuzzy grey area when I disclose that my 'Ol Man and I even have separate checking accounts after 6 years of marriage. It was only by absolute chance that I ended up with my current job that allows me to pay all the household bills so he can just focus on the exorbitant daycare expenses for Dr. Snicks. So I pay the vast majority of the bills, I file my name first on our taxes and I try to handle every crisis that comes our way. By no means is my Honey unable to do these things. I'm just too much a control freak to let him. 

The Stunning Miss Vesta Vayne of The Cowardly Feminist had a recent and brilliantly penned post discussing, in part, the resurfacing fascination of life in the 40's, 50's and 60's. The Mad Men madness, as it were. The return to simpler times of kept women, closed minds and bullet-proof comfort zones. It was a timely post as I had just been discussing with my friend how lovely the THOUGHT seems. Thoughts of not finding myself in one of those middle-of-night anxiety attacks about the state of the world, the cultural wars surrounding us, world hunger issues, global climate issues or - on a much smaller scale - all the hell I foresee raining down upon me the moment I set foot at work the following morning. Shaking my fists at the sky and having a constant stream of negative information intoxicating my brain 24/7/365 and 366 on leap years. What a trite notion to just live in suburban, middle-class, ignorant doped-up bliss!

My own father often symbolically apologizes to me for the timing I arrived on this planet. He tells tales of the days when a man could work a factory job and still support a family of 5 with change to spare for week-long vacations to the Grand Canyon and keeping the family dog's shots current. Sounds pretty damn sweet, no? My only real "vacations" in the past 6 years were two sets of rushed maternity leave, and even then, I was continually reminded how entirely inconvenienced everyone was in my absence and that I was clearly using my new motherhood as an "excuse".  (I'll go ahead and save the tales of being sent on business travel late in month 8 of the first pregnancy, and running to Home Depot in a stake bed truck to retrieve twelve 200lb storage units in month 8 of the second pregnancy for another day ;) ). Martyrdom, aside, I always did my best not to make said "excuses".  

I'm quite known to go on the defensive when I'm accused of being feminine. But why? Why would I view that as a negative? A weakness? There shouldn't be shame associated with it. Without a doubt, the strongest creatures I've ever known or even read about were women. As a child, I remember thinking it a survival instinct to mask the "girl", never mind basic logic dictating the species wouldn't endure without a few uteri. Perhaps that was the problem? Worries of overpopulation, resulting starvation, slaughter, earth's ultimate destruction... OR perhaps the real problem circles, once again, right back to my own sensitivities: I don't have the answers, but I sure as hell feel the weight of all the problems! Ha! 

Just as I lose myself in the battle of being a flamboyant wallflower, I similarly lose my identity in finding balance between being a strong female and feeling betrayed by the same. And yet, if only for a few fleeting moments, it felt like sheer bliss to hear those simple words from my 'Ol Man. To let down that wall and just be a girl.

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

TMJ and You!

"What most people don't seem to understand is that normal dentures lack the air of excitement and danger of your prosthetic badger jaw."


Hello, my name is Annie and I have an under bite. More specifically, my jaw is permanently unhinged on both sides. Held in place only by a pair of rowdy tendons... Rather like a snake...
Now lets suppose, for a moment, that I also have a crooked smile. No, no, my teeth are shockingly straight-ish, but when I smile, one corner of my mouth goes up far higher than the other. So a protruding jaw - check. And a wonky grin - check. (I won't even touch upon the other.... shall we say eccentricities upon my face?). One might suspect when I walk down the street (you know, if I left the house much) with a smile on my lips and a spring in my step, people might naturally recoil in horror. Not the case. In fact, not in the least...
I decided to make a bit of a game of it this morning. As I was driving into work, I careened past multiple garbage trucks (my driving skills are normally lacking if not ominous, but today I was able to blame a freak snowstorm) - you know the ones with the gentlemen hanging off the back? So I smiled. Despite work being my ultimate destination on top of having a monumental chest cold, I smiled. A big, toothy smile. Every one of those gentlemen smiled back - one even guffawed and almost fell off the back. *squeal of delight*! Neat! Alright, then! I pulled up to a light next to a gal who was clearly having the worst day of her life. I smiled. Perhaps she guessed I was clinically insane, but there it was - she smiled back! A fabulous smile that could light up a room! "Good girl!", I thought to myself. This would continue at every light, stop-sign, turn and U-Turn (my auto-pilot had no intentions of actually showing up for work today). I'm not sure whether there was any residual value for those I encountered along the way, but these events all collectively made my morning!

I recently penned a note of thanks to the doctor who brought me into this world with a set of unforgiving forceps. I was sure to include additional bits of thanks for my ensuing geniophobia (fear of chins.... weak chins, to be precise). Over the years, I've managed to mask the protruding jaw and even provide some cheap entertainment with all the assorted "pops" and fitting dozens upon dozens of, say,  grapes in my mouth. Let's not get dirty, my antics are purely PG. 
I'll forever be conscious of my jaw, of that odd grin. Yet I wouldn't change it for the world. Oh, there were plenty of offers to break the damn thing back into place. To wire my jaw shut. Momentarily, I had considered the benefits of that last one. But when you look in the mirror each day, there's something familiar about the reflection staring back. Not perfect, not even all that fancy. Still... for all the flaws, it's me. Unique, quirky and that jaw of mine has a life all it's own. Nope. I don't think I'd change a thing. 






Monday, April 2, 2012

Yes... Well... Carry On, Then.

"This sign of the Zodiac will be phased out this week and its duties subsumed by other signs. During this time of change, please assume that you will have a torrid romance with a stranger or be hit by a train."


The events of the past 3 weeks don't feel quite real and the parts I'm CONVINCED are real, truly are better left to the imaginary... Last Thursday, a crock pot full of bubbling angst boiled over in the form of telling the president of our company JUST what I think of him. It was awkward, to say the least. Funny thing is, when it comes to my work persona, there is clearly some sort of gauge preventing a discernible outburst to the naked eye. At home, one can more readily guess my mood based on the foul language, shrieking, wild gestures and throwing of harmless objects about my war-path (I'd throw things that shatter dramatically, but that would result in having to clean it all up while feeling like a supreme delta bravo). But at work? The only witness to my tantrum noted I "didn't smile as much as usual", hence she could sense I was enraged. A modest smirk = full blown outrage. Must be basic survival instinct at play, there. 


Not smiling "as much as usual" that fateful afternoon set the stage into what would become a curious weekend free of the burdens of bottled-up stress. I even avoided visible embarrassment at having accidentally dyed my hair seafoam green (Not entirely what I was going for). Things just seemed altogether more trivial. Whimsical, even. This all seems rooted in worrying less about keeping up appearances and just being who I am. That's a tough thing for someone like me. I have always had a silly little habit of morphing into various versions of myself based on the audience. Almost 34 years into this game, it's a feat getting back to ground zero. Locating the authentic creature first borne of that mold. 


Surely, most everyone does this to an extent... Finds all those compromises along the journey beginning to chip away at the prototype? Or perhaps not. 


I've been struggling to overcome writer's block for awhile now. Struggling to find what drives me or what I feel like discussing in absurd detail. The thing is, this entire collection of ramblings come closest to the naked, uninhibited creature I am. As many "bloggers" out there well know, there becomes an odd pressure to be better, be noticed, be great. For those with the time to do so, an audience is amassed by constantly nurturing their brand into something marketable, profitable, accessible and wonderful. But for some of us, there simply aren't enough hours in the day. Not enough energy, motivation, ambition or need. And perhaps the end we found ourselves drowning in the means to achieve wasn't the desired end after all. 


The more I found myself trying to "put myself out there", the less I had to say. There was an accompanying stage fright in fearing utter failure. I'm not as witty as 99% of the blogs I follow. I don't have an endless stream of hilarious anecdotes or experiences. Those pesky "stats" would fly off the charts when I'd take the bait of some well-known author's prompts, then drop off the radar hastily after. At the end of the day, I don't lead a particularly thrilling life. It's not delightfully mundane or even deliciously mediocre. Just scattered bits of this and that. And that's OK. 


Quite some time back, I mentioned the book my father gave to me as a means of illustrating how to contain my natural impulse of annoying gab. When given the chance, I'm quite prone to drone on and on about anything and everything. I may find it exhilarating as my mind darts from one subject to another. On the receiving end, I can only imagine how segmented and odd it all comes across. I'm learning to tame that. Maybe not so much to tone it down, but at least to find a more productive outlet for it all. This is that outlet. I've been slowly learning to embrace the wit and brilliance of others without watching my own self worth diminish. I've also been learning to release the shame inherent with hiding these words from many of those most dear. You see, my family doesn't know this exists. I needed to find safety for even the most repugnant of thoughts. That's OK too. 


Achieving the ultimate balance between my innermost thoughts and the trust placed with those I know eludes me. I look very forward to the day things just seem to fall into place. It begins with being more honest, both with myself and others. I'm not there yet, but I haven't given up. Today, I slip off my shoes in the first step towards full exposure.