Friday, December 16, 2011


I recently asked the children I babysit if they were ready for Santa. The twin 9 year old boys and 11 year old girl all looked at me with a puzzled expression. One of the twins spoke up, saying, "We know he's not real. You don't have to pretend with us." Then I gave him a puzzled expression. Before I could rebut with, "Yes huh he IS real," his twin brother said, "Shut up! She still believes in him!"

It's true... I do. I've believed in the big man since I was a tike sitting on his lap and rambling off my list of Christmas Wishes. When I was around 8 years old, I heard the kids at school talking about how Santa Claus isn't real. Of course I asked my mother about it.

"Of course he's real." She said.

"But the kids at school say that parents are the ones who put the gifts under the tree and eat the cookies and drink the milk."

"The kids at school are wrong."

"But it makes sense. I mean, how can one man get all over the world and visit everybody in one night?"


I will admit that I am quite gullible at times, but even my 8 year old self had a hard time believing this. Especially since all the kids at school were telling me it was a big conspiracy. I decided to save face with my mother and simply pretend to still believe that year. And when I woke up on Christmas morning I made a big production of thanking Santa in order to keep my mother happy. The following year I leveled with her and I told her I knew the truth.

"So, I guess that means you won't be getting as many gifts this year? Santa only brings gifts to children who believe in him."


"Well, it's simple. If you say you don't believe in him, then he doesn't exist. If he doesn't exist then what's the point in presents?"

Well, I never thought about it like that. She had a point. Like any other child I didn't want a Christmas with no new toys to play with. So, once again I put on an even bigger production of believing in Santa. My plan worked and I didn't get a lump of coal in my stocking.

As the years marched on I made it a point not to question Santa's existence. When my younger step-sister learned the same way I did that "If you want presents, you believe," she, too, shut the hell up.

I guess it is a form of bribery, but really, it isn't. With maturity I understood my mother's motives. She wasn't trying to lie or keep me in the dark. She was simply trying to keep the spirit of gift giving alive. To her, Santa is an invisible force... an anonymous donor of good cheer. He reminds us of the people we love and why we go out of our way to show them how we feel during the holiday season. Plus, he's jolly and surprisingly agile.

Santa takes many forms. He's a Marine collecting new unwrapped toys for children. He's ringing a bell for The Salvation Army outside of the mall. He's an anonymous person paying off layaway tabs at K-mart for total strangers. He's the woman working at the Food Pantry on Christmas Eve. He's inside of each and every one of us. When you least expect it he will show up and make you wonder why you ever doubted his existence at all.


I recently asked the children I babysit if they were ready for Santa. The twin 9 year old boys and 11 year old girl all looked at me with a puzzled expression. One of the twins spoke up, saying, "We know he's not real. You don't have to pretend with us." Then I gave him a puzzled expression. Before I could rebut with, "Yes huh he IS real," his twin brother said, "Shut up! She still believes in him!"

It's true... I do. I've believed in the big man since I was a tike sitting on his lap and rambling off my list of Christmas Wishes. When I was around 8 years old, I heard the kids at school talking about how Santa Claus isn't real. Of course I asked my mother about it.

"Of course he's real." She said.

"But the kids at school say that parents are the ones who put the gifts under the tree and eat the cookies and drink the milk."

"The kids at school are wrong."

"But it makes sense. I mean, how can one man get all over the world and visit everybody in one night?"


I will admit that I am quite gullible at times, but even my 8 year old self had a hard time believing this. Especially since all the kids at school were telling me it was a big conspiracy. I decided to save face with my mother and simply pretend to still believe that year. And when I woke up on Christmas morning I made a big production of thanking Santa in order to keep my mother happy. The following year I leveled with her and I told her I knew the truth.

"So, I guess that means you won't be getting as many gifts this year? Santa only brings gifts to children who believe in him."


"Well, it's simple. If you say you don't believe in him, then he doesn't exist. If he doesn't exist then what's the point in presents?"

Well, I never thought about it like that. She had a point. Like any other child I didn't want a Christmas with no new toys to play with. So, once again I put on an even bigger production of believing in Santa. My plan worked and I didn't get a lump of coal in my stocking.

As the years marched on I made it a point not to question Santa's existence. When my younger step-sister learned the same way I did that "If you want presents, you believe," she, too, shut the hell up.

I guess it is a form of bribery, but really, it isn't. With maturity I understood my mother's motives. She wasn't trying to lie or keep me in the dark. She was simply trying to keep the spirit of gift giving alive. To her, Santa is an invisible force... an anonymous donor of good cheer. He reminds us of the people we love and why we go out of our way to show them how we feel during the holiday season. Plus, he's jolly and surprisingly agile.

Santa takes many forms. He's a Marine collecting new unwrapped toys for children. He's ringing a bell for The Salvation Army outside of the mall. He's an anonymous person paying off layaway tabs at K-mart for total strangers. He's the woman working at the Food Pantry on Christmas Eve. He's inside of each and every one of us. When you least expect it he will show up and make you wonder why you ever doubted his existence at all.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Bev and Roz Stalk a Celebrity

From the comfort of their living room and a box of wine in, our favorite old ladies are watching the evening news. They don’t care so much about current events; therefore they gave up watching anything political or local years ago. Now they simply enjoy the trappings of celebrity profiles and hellacious gossip.

Bev is the more constant watcher of these things. The dent in her recliner cushion will agree with that statement. She loves her high definition television and often sits in the dark with only a cloud of cigarette smoke to accompany her.

Roz also likes the gossip shows, but she’s not glued to the television like Bev. She usually spends her evenings tinkering with gadgets or attending secret meetings without Bev’s knowledge. On this particular evening, however, she is propped up against a pillow, enjoying some wine with her good friend as they laugh at the latest celebrity news spewing from the mouth of Ryan Seacrest.

“How cool would it be to actually know a celebrity?” Bev muses as her fuzzy mind gulps down some more White Zinfandel.

“That would be cat’s ass,” Roz replies, “I once met Chevy Chase at a Starbucks, and he hit on me. I didn’t know it was him until after I told him to get lost. Then the Barista informed me that I just turned down a very famous man. His grey hair threw me off.”

“Oh how unfortunate! You could have charmed him into meeting somebody interesting!” Bev replied.

“Oh, yeah? Like who?”

“I don’t know somebody from Saturday Night Live, perhaps?”

“The only good episode of Saturday Night Live from the last twenty years was the one where Betty White hosted the show. You know that. Who would we want to meet from Saturday Night Live?”

“OOOH! Betty WHITE! I LOVE HER! We HAVE to meet her! Roz… seriously… how can we make this happen?”

The wheels in Roz’s head immediately started to turn. Bev could tell her dear friend was thinking hard and felt the need to say, “Think out loud, Roz. I might be able to help.”

“OK. Well let’s start with the internet.”

“That giggle thing?”

“Google, Bev. It’s called Google.”

“Yeah, that thing.”

“Sure, we can start there.” Within a few minutes Roz had her laptop out and was searching feverishly for information about Betty White.

Bev was always amazed at Roz’s ability to comprehend technology. She’s always had her finger on the pulse of what’s new ever since she was an underworld spy and had to use cutting edge technology for her job. Of course, Roz denies being a spy and simply says she’s smarter than the average bear.

It didn’t take any time at all for Roz to locate the name of Betty’s publicist and then hack into the mainframe of said publicist. Bev watched in amazement as Roz furiously scribbled down names, addresses and a schedule of public events at which Betty White would be appearing. Bev started to get excited at the possibility of meeting one of her idols as Roz uncovered more and more information.

By the end of the night, Roz had formed a master plan and at least 5 back up plans of how she and Bev would run into, introduce themselves and eventually befriend the great Betty White. They both slept peacefully in an alcohol induced slumber in front of their television that night.

The first plan of attack would be at a bookstore in LA where Ms. White would be signing copies of “Chicken Soup for the Pet Lover’s Soul” in which she was a contributing author. This required Bev and Roz to fly since they wouldn’t make it across the country in time for the book signing by car. The only hiccup at the airport happened when they inspected Bev’s oxygen tank and found her thermos of wine. When they took it away she screamed at them and Roz had to sweet talk the agents into letting them on the plane.

Once in LA, the ladies rented matching pink scooters (Roz didn’t want to do all that walking, and thought it was unfair for just Bev to have a scooter). They checked into their hotel room and then headed to the book store with a half an hour to spare.

Upon arrival at the book store, they discovered a long line of fans waiting to meet Betty White. They convinced somebody near the front of the line that it was a matter of urgency that they cut. Bev said she forgot her medicine and needed to get back to the hotel in an hour, and they promised they’d be quick. It was a lie, of course, but it worked like a charm.

By the time it was their turn, Bev was beside herself with excitement. Ms. White signed their books and dismissed them as soon as she was done.

“Wait!” Bev said as she was being waved off by security, “I need to talk to her! I need to make her my friend! Wait… BETTY!” But Betty White ignored her pleas as she continued to sign books for other patrons. Bev tried swerving around the security, but to no avail. They both were ushered outside and told not to come back.

“How rude!” Bev exclaimed once they were both outside.

Roz was calmer about the situation and said, “I kind of expected that to happen. It’s time for plan B.”

“What’s plan B?”

“Tomorrow, she’ll be cutting the ribbon at a new animal shelter. We’ll be there for the opening. Let’s hit a liquor store and go back to the hotel for tonight.”

With a resigned sigh, Bev agreed and followed her friend back to the hotel. She set her sights on the following day. Maybe she’d be friends with Betty White yet.

The following day, with filled thermoses and extra packs of ciggs, the ladies buzzed to the event at which they were sure they’d get to meet Betty White for real. This time they got as close as possible to the ribbon and waved fanatically as Betty White walked out with a large pair of scissors.

Ms. White recognized them immediately and whispered to her security guards. Roz was prepared for this and managed to out maneuver them and roll her scooter under the ribbon. She tried to offer Betty some wine, but Betty seemed to be quite scared of her fan’s extra attention. She took off and headed towards her car. The old ladies chased her down and followed her through the crowd of people. Try as they might, their scooters couldn’t keep up with Betty’s car and they lost her far too easily.

Without realizing it Bev and Roz turned onto a street where the Gay Pride Parade was taking place. Pulling out behind the Dykes with Bikes, they swerved into the glittery traffic and were immediately stalled behind slow moving floats.

A couple of young lesbians hopped onto the backs of their scooters, and asked if the old ladies were up for a party. Of course, they were. Bev shared her thermos with the young ladies and when the parade was over they found themselves at a large party in an apartment of a wealthy lesbian. It was there that they discovered how much the gay community loves old ladies. It was also there that Bev discovered pot brownies.

She unknowingly ate two of them before somebody told her to not eat any more. Bev took offense and said, “And why not? One of the great things of being old is overloading on sweets. I’m not worried about calories.”

The polite informant then said, “No… they’re SPECIAL brownies. Two is more than enough to fuck you up.”

Bev soon figured out what the person meant as she was laughing her ass off and helping herself to a huge pile of chips and salsa, “Those brownies are AWESOME! I need the recipe!” Immediately after exclaiming this, a recipe was placed in her hand with a wink from a friendly gay man, “Be careful with this. It’s top secret.” He informed her before walking away.

Bev spent the rest of the evening talking exuberantly about days gone by, and Roz spent the night dancing with gay men and taking off her clothes.

The next day they were both hung-over, but Bev decided she needed those brownies for when she and Betty White became friends. She just knew it would help break the ice between them. She paid a bell boy at the hotel to get her a bag of weed and the needed ingredients to make the brownies. By the afternoon she’d made three different batches of special brownies, and gave one of them to the bell boy for his help.

“Betty will love these tomorrow when we go to her house.”

“If she doesn’t, I think we should stop and get her a bottle of vodka on the way. I read somewhere that she enjoys vodka. No wonder she didn’t want any wine when I offered it to her yesterday.” Roz replied

“Yes, I bet that was the reason, “ Bev said genuinely, “We weren’t prepared with the right gift.”

So, the next day the ladies put on their best dresses and zoomed over to Betty’s house with a bottle of vodka and a batch of special brownies in tow. At home, Betty didn’t worry about having security around because she was convinced that people didn’t know where she lived. Therefore when her doorbell rang she was surprised to see her two most crazed fans waiting on her doorstep.

“Betty!” Bev said as the star stood with a shocked expression, “We brought you gifts!”

Betty White tried closing the door but stopped halfway and said, “Are those… SPECIAL brownies?”

Bev nodded.

“And is that a bottle of vodka?”

Roz nodded.

“Well I’m afraid I have no choice but to let you ladies in.”

Giddy with excitement, Bev and Roz crossed the threshold into the celebrity’s home. They finally did it… they were going to be friends with BETTY WHITE!

She led them to a backyard patio where they all looked out onto a spectacular view of Los Angeles. Betty mixed drinks with the vodka and the ladies enjoyed an afternoon where they were all in stitches and cackling as Betty White regaled them with jokes and funny stories of celebrity run-ins she’s had over the years.

They broke out the special brownies around sunset. The dark night set in, and the ladies laughed wildly as the moon rose over them. Finally, at the end of the night, Betty White showed them to the front door and thanked them for the visit. Bev and Roz felt like they’d made a genuine friend in the comedienne.

Still, the next day, Roz said there was one more event at which they could still run into the celeb. Bev said that she didn’t need to go, because she’d accomplished what she’d come for.

“We’re in LA for one more day. We may as well go and do what we have planned.”

Bev resigned herself to agree, and decided to bring the last batch of brownies since she couldn’t take them on the plane home.

High on brownies and excited about their new friendship, the ladies buzzed their pink scooters to the Los Angeles Zoo where Betty White was scheduled to appear. They enjoyed seeing all the exotic animals and delighted with the children who’d never seen a tiger or a lion before.

Finally they arrived at the spot where Betty White would be making a speech about a grand opening of a new exhibit. They sat in the crowd and waved at their new friend. When Betty White saw them, she didn’t share their enthusiasm.

After her speech she came up to them and said, “Okay. I’ve entertained your crazy ideas that we are actually friends. It’s time for the two of you to leave me alone, please.”

“But, Betty.” Bev and Roz protested simultaneously.

“No buts. I’m serious. If you don’t leave me alone, I’ll be forced to get a restraining order.”

Enraged with anger, Bev revved up her scooter and threatened to run Betty over with it. Roz stopped her and suggested they just go home. Resigned and defeated, Bev agreed. They turned to leave, but Betty had different plans.

She removed a blow-dart gun from her pocket and shot a poisoned dart into Roz’s neck. Roz fell off of her scooter and twitched until she died. Bev’s eyes glared at Betty as she reared her scooter in Betty’s direction. Another poisoned dart landed in Bev’s neck as she obtained the same fate as Roz, falling out of her scooter and twitched on the ground… death fast approaching.

“Nobody stalks Betty White.” Betty said as Bev took her last breath. Betty then leaned over to remove the darts. As she bent over she caught a glimpse of the aluminum foil wrapped brownies in Bev’s bag. She took them and put them (and the recipe which was tucked with them) into her own bag. When the crowd started drawing in, Betty told them that two of her oldest fans were so excited to see her they had simultaneous heart attacks. She yelled for somebody to call 911 with a knowing smile on her face.

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Internet Bullies

With each wave of new technology we find ourselves becoming creatures of comfort with them. Thanks to the internet we can now do our banking from home, have groceries and entire wardrobes shipped to us, and with a few clicks of the mouse we can find out what our old high school friends are up to these days. Yes, the internet is a marvelous thing... but with the good you have to expect the bad.

One thing the internet provides is anonymity. There are so many forums where opinions can be expressed without the hassle of providing your real name. Virtual fists get to flying when people can't be expected to be held responsible for any of the words that spew from their hateful little mouths. Did you know there is a website that exists for the sole purpose of letting people within your town talk about any issues they have with the town (or the people in it) without ever having to reveal who they are (or even sign up for an account)? It's called Look it up... look up your town and enjoy.

And then we have social networking sites like Facebook and MySpace. I haven't checked my Myspace in ages (literally), but I am all over Facebook. The convenience of having all of my friends at my fingertips is indescribable. However, sometimes Facebook is used with more malice intent.

I currently have a handful of people blocked from my page. Several of these people are people I'm actually friends with outside of the internet. We spend a lot of waking hours together, we go out and have drinks, we watch movies, we sit in my back yard and chill. But I cannot allow them access to my Facebook because I can't stand the drama.

There is a certain individual who I've gone round and round with. We all have people like this in our lives, and I'm lucky enough not to have to live in the same state with mine. Because we don't live in the same state, I, honestly, rarely give her any thought. I barely mention her because I barely think about her. She is barely a spec on my radar at any given time.
In fact, the only times I do think about her, or speak of her is when she tries pulling some off the wall crap with me and my friends (and as it turns out, a few of these friends are helping her do this, thus the blockage).

Her latest war with me (or attempted war, because this blog is my first, last and only response to her attempts at garnering my attention) has me penned as the internet bully. She's convinced I'm a gossip monger who is spreading disease about her over the internet and around her home town. She's painted herself as a helpless victim.
She has messaged people in an attempt to get them to confront me on her behalf. She's posted a note about me and tagged several people in it to get them to let me know. She even messaged my mother to vent her issues with me. The only thing she hasn't done is contact me personally. She has my phone number, my email, and (until two minutes before composing this) she wasn't blocked from my Facebook.

She won't contact me, though, because she knows that I haven't said or done anything to her in months. The things she's accusing me of are blatant lies, and I'm not even phased by it anymore. She fails to excite me, rile me up, or get me going. She claims she is going to start ignoring me... well I wish she would already. I've been ignoring her for a long ass time now.

Here's the thing... I'm not an internet bully. I don't harass her, talk about her or post things about her on an anonymous forum. In the past I have had words with her in person about differences between she and I... but when it comes to Facebook I only vent a little and I never name names. When she went to my mother and begged her to "make it stop." I had to laugh. Because, on my end, it's been stopped for a long long time. Me thinks she doesn't want it to stop. She likes the attention and she's confessed to using my words to make herself money... which, as a writer, royally pisses me off. I'm not a fan of plagiarism. And I'm not a fan of internet bullies. Please... you know who you are... leave me alone. This shit is getting old.

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Flowers in the Sky

I'm going to pull a little bit on your heartstrings, if I may.

A few years ago my mother watched a television show which talked about different things you could do with your body once you are dead. Up until then she'd always told me she wanted to be cremated, placed in a beautiful urn, and be displayed in either my home or my brother's. She then went on to say that whoever puts her in a closet first and no longer displays her will be haunted by her ghost. Then that television show put a new idea in her head.

Among the many options they reviewed (sending it into outer space, donating it to science, turning it into jewelry) there was one my mother got the most excited about. Fireworks. This expensive alternative highlighted how one's ashes can be packed into several different large fireworks, and then be shot into the sky in an official send off. She suddenly changed her mind and excitedly told me about it. I was less than thrilled.

I actually gave her a look of horror and then immediately had that overwhelming feeling of bursting into tears. I exclaimed that I'd never be able to watch fireworks ever again if she did that... and she'd be gone forever. My brother, however, says that's what we're doing. No question he thinks we should find a way to make it happen when the day comes. I suppose he's right, but the idea still makes me sad.

As time would find out, a couple of years after my mother's revelation, fireworks would come to remind me of somebody else who's no longer with us. Shanna. I wrote about her in my first post on this blog, but I'll recap quickly for those who may not have read it.

Shanna was the first friend I made in first grade. I was new to town, and, other than Mavis and Danielle (both of whom are also no longer with us), I hadn't made any friends yet. Shanna was the first girl to spend the night at my house, where she formed a crush on my brother. It was short lived. We didn't remain close throughout the rest of our school years, but we remained friendly. I always enjoyed running into her and talking with her.

Two years ago, today, she passed away. I'm not getting into specifics about her death, but I will say that she was taken from us too soon. I honestly believe there will not be a Fourth of July for the rest of my life where I won't remember her. It really sucks losing friends when your young.

Yesterday really did seem like a day of remembrance. The patriotic feel does that to people. We remember to be grateful to past generations. We remember the troops who are not given the day off to be with family and friends. And the civilians tend to remember those they've loved who cannot attend this year's BBQ party. Getting older only means there will be more and more people who only live in your memory.

I was fortunate enough to spend the Fourth at a friend's house. I engaged in a lot of fun conversation, ate way too much great food, and even got a little tipsy with some cocktails. We laughed and made a lot of jokes. We gossiped and broke out some opinions. And we felt our hearts sigh when we spoke of the friends we've lost. After the festivities we gathered up our lawn chairs to see the fireworks.

This year my home town put on a show for the first time in two decades. Luck would have it that this display in the sky could be perfectly viewed from my front lawn. A group of roughly thirty of my family and friends clustered up by my house on the hill to see the show. It was magnificent.

There is something so awe inspiring about watching fireworks. You're sitting there quiet, staring at the heavens, gasping at magical nanoseconds of bright, glittery, booming explosions. I don't know about you, but in this quiet head space I think about Shanna. As each explosion forms these beautiful firey flowers in the sky I think of her beautiful daughter. As another one bursts and leaves an imprint of a chandelier in a drifting cloud of smoke my mind travels to a time of younger innocence. I can't help but feel the pure joy the fireworks exude. They are magic, truly.

Now that I think about it... I could not think of a better burial for my mother. Everybody loves fireworks...

Monday, June 27, 2011

The Fear of Being Fearless

As a child it was easy to admit fear. I was afraid of the corner of my grandparent's basement where no natural light ever seemed to infiltrate. I was afraid of Nola... the claw-less attack cat. I was afraid of falling off of high towering objects. Yet, I always ventured into the basement, I tried relentlessly to get that damn cat to like me and I was always climbing on top of things.

As I grew up, though, I stopped conquering my fears by means of facing them. In fact, I steadfastly avoided them at all costs. When I was in school, and I had a crush, I would avoid that crush and hope to God he didn't find out liked him. When I was afraid that my father would disappoint me I'd mask it with a smile and pretend to not be bothered by it. When I was afraid I wouldn't be able to lose weight, I wouldn't even try.

Now as an adult I've come to realize I'm ruled by fear. And, admitting that is scary business. Admitting fear is admitting weakness. It's leaving myself exposed and vulnerable... and that alone is a huge fear of mine.

So why am I doing it? I recently realized that when I'm afraid of something, it seems to come true.

For instance, a couple of years ago I was afraid that the man I was falling for wouldn't ever return my feelings. That fear came true. Then I was afraid he'd find somebody else. That fear came true. Then I was afraid he'd fall in love with her and take a serious step of commitment with her (like moving in together)... that fear also came true. Now, I fear he'll marry her (something he said he had no interest of ever doing). And, I fear that because I fear it... it will come true as well.

I know logically that just because I'm afraid of something happening doesn't mean it's actually going to happen. But I also wonder if being afraid of it isn't the same as knowing it's going to happen but secretly hoping it doesn't. Am I just really bad at accepting things as they are, or am I really, really unlucky?

For a long long time I was afraid of the number 13. My childhood dog died on a Friday the Thirteenth. My grandfather died on November 13. I took a date to a party once, on June 13 (many years ago), and he had sex with somebody else in the bathroom. On another Friday the Thirteenth, my boyfriend showed up to a girls' night out drunk off his ass and embarrassed the hell out of me. The more and more I was afraid of the number, the more bad things started to happen in and around that number. It was as if my negative energy brought on the negative activities.

So, I faced the fear. For the first time since childhood I took an irrational fear and head butted it. I, Destiny Fritz, got the number 13 tattooed onto my body. There's no escaping it now. I even got the tattoo on FRIDAY THE 13TH! I'm surprised I didn't contract a communicable disease, given my fear of the number. So far, it hasn't brought me bad luck. In fact it feels freeing to say "I had this fear... and now I don't. See? I can't be afraid of something tattooed on me." Because no matter what, that number is in my life every day now.

I want to be fearless. I want to love fearlessly. I want to go through my life knowing there's fear, but saying, "Fear... you don't scare me anymore." Because what kind of life is one ruled by fear? How will I ever accomplish anything if I'm afraid of what people will think, what people will say or how it will look? I've come a long way in being a confident, self assured person... but I still have a long way to go.

I think admitting the fear is the first step. When you say you're afraid of something, then you have it out of the way. You've expelled part of the fear and you now have the opportunity to come up with a solution against it, move past it, and just maybe... conquer it.

So what am I afraid of? So many things. I'm afraid I'll never finish a book. I'm afraid I'll never get that book published. I'm afraid I'll never find somebody to fully love me for who and what I actually am. I'm afraid I'll never lose this weight. I'm afraid I'll always be distracted from accomplishing my goals.

Now that I've said all of that out loud, I'm going to work on ways to solve those fears. I'm going to take them, crush them, and prove them wrong. Who's with me? Who wants to get rid of the fear?

Monday, June 20, 2011

Father's Day

When I was 6 years old my mother and father split up. It happened in the Spring of 89' and my mother found herself acting as both parental roles in my and my brother's life. It makes sense that on Father's Day that year we went to a St. Louis Cardinal's game instead of a cookout where fatherhood is celebrated. It would be the first of many Father's Days to come where I didn't see my father or get to wish him a Happy Father's Day.

Despite my dad's general lack of a presence in my life, I never really went without a father figure. For many years I looked to my grandfather to fill this role. He was a very funny man, and he was gifted with colorful word choices. If I spilled food on my shirt while eating he'd tell me to "eat like I'm riding into the wind." He was a biker, and this phrase was his way of telling me to lean over my dinner plate. If I choked on something or had a coughing fit he'd say, "Block her Henry!" I never quite figured that one out, but it was usually accompanied with a swift blow to my back to help me survive the moment. When he watched the news he called it "Library hour," and when he took a nap he called it "Happy Hour." Both phrases were his way of telling me to pipe down and be quiet for a little while. He also had the uncanny ability to assign outlandish nicknames that stuck for people he was fond of (I was Junior or Rerun). I find myself with his sense of humor inside of me. When I say something witty or give somebody a random nick name I think of him and silently thank him for his genes and his remarkable influence on my life.

When I was 12, my mother met my step-father, Terry. Through the years I've never started calling him Dad, but in a round-about way... he has become exactly that. When I'm talking to friends (or even random people) and I use the term "my parents" I am referring to my mother and my step-father. I've even referred to him as my dad or my father when talking ABOUT him. For some reason, though, I've never felt the need to actually address him as such.

The time when I first felt like he was taking a fatherly role in my life was when I was 13. I came home from a dance at school bawling my eyes out. I can't remember the name of the boy I liked back then, but he had been at the dance with another girl. It devastated me. Terry took me to get ice cream (always a good call) and he told me I was beautiful and that boy was a jerk for not seeing this about me. He said not to worry, there will be more boys. He made me feel better. He took my broken little heart and put a band-aid on it. At the time he and my mom weren't even engaged yet, but I hoped he would stick around forever.

I was there when he proposed. My mother, Terry and I were laying on a blanket in my grandparent's back yard. It was late August and we were watching the meteor showers. Only the crickets made noise as we lay in silence watching the sky. Then, out of nowhere, Terry says to my mother, "You're going to marry me, aren't you?" My mother simply said, "Yes, I am." There was no excitement. There was no ring. He didn't get down on one knee and make a speech. He simply said what was on his mind, and my mother simply replied. It took a moment for me to realize what just happened and I shot up and said, "Did you just propose to Mom?" He said, "Yeah, I think I did."

That was that. Within a year or so they were married. I was the maid of honor, and my brother gave her away. On that day our little family of three grew sizably. Not only did we gain a step-father, but we also gained two step sisters (one of whom had a baby girl) and a step brother.

Through the years Terry has been my rock more times than I'd like to admit. He taught me how to drive. He taught me how to fish. He participated in lengthy discussions about life with me. When I was 16 he helped all of us get through my grandfather's passing. He's fixed my curling irons, my car, and numerous other objects when they broke down. He went with me to the vet's office when I had to put down my childhood pet. And when I got my heart broken as an adult, he was there again with words of encouragement. In all senses of the word, except the biological sense, he has been my dad for a very long time.

In the meantime, my biological father and I had a rather rocky relationship. We had arguments and falling outs. We said things that I'm sure we both regret. We went years without speaking to each other. As of right now I haven't seen him face to face for 14 years. That's half of my life. But, as of last summer, we are communicating again.

As an adult I can look back and see the mistakes I've made with him. I was a child then, and many of them can be excused or explained by age. I also manage to see his mistakes in a clearer light. I've forgiven him completely because I know he didn't realize the monumental mistakes he was making as he made them. And holding onto that anger only makes me an angry person. I can honestly say that I love him... but he's never been a permanent fixture in my life. He's never been who I ran to when my car or my heart was broken.

This year, for the first time in over 20 years, I told him Happy Father's Day. I left it as a message on his Facebook wall. It was posted there right next to another salutation left by a young woman in his new life with his new wife. This young woman, I assume, sees him as a father figure in her life. And even though I have an amazing father in Terry, part of me is insanely jealous that my dad obviously got it right with somebody else. Where was that for me? Am I being selfish to wonder that, and wish for it a little bit? Because, you see, when I was deciding on a picture of my dad to post as my profile pic, I chose one of me and Terry. I'm sure that caused a twinge of jealousy in my father's heart. For that reason, alone, I have no right to be jealous... yet I am.

Buck up, Destiny. I tell myself that, because when I look at Terry I'm amazed at how good of a dad he is. He has excellent relationships with his daughters. He's currently helping one of them out who is coping with her own broken heart. She's like a sister to me, and I love being able to say that. This year on Father's Day he stepped up in a way that no father is required to, and in a way that some fathers never do. The thirteen year old inside of me is beaming because when I wished he'd stick around forever... that wish came true. One day when he's dancing with me at my wedding I'll thank my lucky stars that there are men in this world who are fathers to girls who don't share a shred of DNA with them.

Happy Father's Day... a day late.

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Repeat Offender

Oh how nice it must be to have all that attention from him. He treats you like a goddess doesn't he? He calls and texts you regularly, and he takes you out and shows you a nice time whenever you ask him to. He probably tells you that you're beautiful, and sweet, and funny, and sexy. And I know you love it. What woman wouldn't?

He's not the first, though. He won't be the last. There is something about you that draws men in. They want you. They need you. They have to have you. Normal, upstanding, goodhearted men turn into dumb, ignorant, cavemen around you. You must put out some sort of pheromone to get this attention. I can't figure it out, but you'll never be lacking for the attention of a man.

The downside to always being the recipient of male attention is always being the recipient of negative female attention. Most of the women I know can't stand you. I think part of it is jealousy. They wish they received the validation that you get from men. Or you are receiving the validation from the man they want, or the man they had. That can spark rage inside any woman's heart.

The jealousy turns into disrespect quickly. Women talk, and, before you know it there are rumors about you floating around. Some of them are true. Some of them are not true. Still you hold your head high and you continue your path of destruction. You go from one guy to the next. As long as there is a line of men who are willing to show you the attention you so badly crave, there will be a longer line women ready to discredit your name anytime it's mentioned.

I've found that it's not always women who are quick to bad mouth you, either. You tend to infiltrate groups of guy friends. When one of them doesn't work out for you, you float to another one... and then another one. Before you know it you've made your way through the group of friends, and they all think bad things of you. They tell their friends, who tell their girlfriends. And then half the population of an entire town knows about you without actually knowing you. It's sad really.

It all reads as insecurity. You leave yourself open to this interpretation. It makes sense, though, because what self respecting girl would spread herself around like that? The proof is in the pudding sweetheart. It wouldn't be so negatively put upon you if you seemed to have standards, or morals, or remorse for when you actually hurt people.

You do hurt people, you know. You hurt a lot of women who date these guys. Although, I kind of think you do these women a favor by showing them how much of a dog their man can be. Sure, he can smell the scent you're putting out there, but if he were seriously committed to another woman then he wouldn't fall for your charms. When he does... that other woman should see the light.

But, you also hurt guys. Because not all of these guys who go after you are dogs. Not all of them are previously attached to another girl. Some of them are really good guys at the core. They're hard working. They are genuine. They aren't assholes... not all of them. And you lead them on. You make them believe you are in it to win it. But then somebody else picks up what you throw out there and you can't turn down that attention. You'll either cheat on that good man or toss him aside with the evening trash. And then he's devastated. He never saw it coming.

Well, he might have seen it coming if you had been honest from the get go about the kind of person you are. But you're never honest from the beginning of anything. You pretend. You figure out what it is that they are into... where their passion lies. Then you pretend their passion is your passion. You don't have an opinion of your own (not one you'd actually say during these preliminary periods) and you certainly won't show them anything that's real about you. You only put on this little show, which makes them think they've struck gold. Finally... a woman who is exactly what he wants... only because she makes herself appear that way, fellas.

Eventually those true colors show, though, don't they darling? It's hard as hell and exhausting as fuck to keep all that up. You might wait until you have another man waiting in the wings to let these real facets of your personality shine through, or you find yourself slipping and showing them too early. However it happens, he will start to see he was duped. You're not the girl he thought you were... instead you are an immature drip of a person who can't take responsibility for her own actions. And when he calls you on it, you will call him an asshole and blame him for everything wrong about the pretend relationship the two of you just had.

Never fear, though, sweetheart. There's another man waiting to woo you. And it doesn't matter that you were only thinking of him as a friend just a week ago. He's here now... and he's giving you that attention. He's distracting you from the last guy. He validates your existence... and he starts the process all over again.

The real bitch of it is, you're not a bad person. You actually do have a good personality. You just decide to shelve it and swap it out for whatever it is you think this guy wants you to be. I wish you'd be honest with yourself... for once... you might find somebody you don't have to play games with or be fake with. Then it won't matter what anybody says or what you've done in the past, because you'll finally realize that it's not about them... it's not about pleasing them, getting them to notice you... it's about making you happy and respecting yourself enough to stop this very destructive behavior.

Monday, June 6, 2011


Over the last week I have found myself among some pretty influential company. My dearest friends.

The unfortunate event of a death in the family brought home Rob. He recently moved out east and had been enjoying coastal living when he was informed that his cousin died in a drunk driving accident. He made his way back to Illinois to pay his respects. While he was home I had the pleasure of spending a couple of evenings with him. As usual, these evenings were soaked with alcohol, long conversations, laughter and insight.

He and I have never lacked for conversation, and we've never been afraid to delve into ourselves during these conversations. We will talk about anything from broad topics like religion and politics to more focused points such as personal growth and internal struggles. Through these rather therapeutic discussions I've learned more about myself, and my own capabilities. One of the things he said this week was "Let go of your ego."

I don't consider myself to be terribly egotistical, but, I suppose everybody is to an extent. Letting go of one's ego is probably an entirely impossible task. I'm sure even the most silent monk will still think of himself more than he thinks of others. It's a natural instinct. However, Rob had a point. If I let go of my ego, I will essentially make myself more useful to others. By making myself more useful, I become a better person. When that happens I can think of myself in a better way... therefore boosting my ego. Does that make sense at all?

Rob wasn't the only friend challenging me in my journey called life this last week. My friend, Jessica, unknowingly joined him. She recently obtained her Master's Degree in Social Work, and she's a victim of the economy. She's keeping tabs on how many resume's she has sent out and she's rapidly approaching the number 50. Surely she's also doing a lot of her own soul searching.

I told her I have a new outlook on life. I've decided that no definition can be applied to me. I've observed that people tend to define themselves, each other, and their situations. They say to themselves, "Am I better than he is because I have a better job?" Or they assign definitions to those individuals who they feel threatened by. Through doing this we limit ourselves and our peers. So I've decided I have no definition, and if you want to define me I will defy your definition. I will not fit into your category and you can't make me.

As I explained this to her she played devil's advocate and said to me, "If there were one thing you could change about yourself, what would it be?" I came up with an answer quickly, though I won't share it here. It's private. She said it wasn't society that wants this from me, it's me. And changing myself won't change my definition since I refuse to have one. She's a smart one... and she managed to get me to do even more thinking.

As you may have noticed I've changed the look of my blog. I am no longer mundane and predictable. I'm revising my life and taking power over it. These changes are happening and they will take place. I'm not resistant to them.

Thank you, my friends, for being who you are. You push the limits and dare to ask questions. This is why I love you. Don't stop doing it, because through your bravery and your insight I am propping myself up and moving forward. I love you all so so much.

Monday, May 30, 2011

Bev and Roz Escape the Nursing Home

"This is why I never had kids. They always turn on you." Roz is fuming as she breaks open the tap on a new box of wine. Once her glass is filled and she draws a long sip from it she continues, "Can you believe it Bev? Lily's own children sent her to that... that... that PLACE! Gah! It's so evil I refuse to even mention it!"

"You mean the nursing home?" Bev hands her glass to Roz, who refills it for her, "Yes... THAT place. It's so awful. We HAVE to break her out."

Roz has always had a flair for the dramatic. And when she gets an idea in her head, she rarely lets it go. She sits on the couch and thinks. Bev watches her dear friend. When Roz gets worked up she can't sit still. Her foot twitches and she smokes one cigarette right after the other.

Bev tries to offer her some comfort, "Well, maybe Lily LIKES the nursing home?"

"Don't be naive, Bev. NOBODY likes the nursing home. It's the pound for old people... except nobody wants to adopt Grandma and buy her a chew toy."

Bev thought for a moment, "We could go visit her..."

Roz snapped at her, "And run the risk of those vile people capturing us?" Roz was sure nursing homes were just waiting for the elderly to walk in so they could snatch them up and make them play bingo for hours on end, "Besides they wouldn't let us bring wine to her. I'm sure she could use a drink, too."

"Then what do you propose we do?" Bev lit a cigarette only to have Roz steal it from her chubby fingers. So, Bev lit another one.

"First, we have to do some re-con. We need to figure out the best time to get her out of there, AND we need to get her co-operation."

"What if she doesn't want to escape."

"Bev... stop asking so many questions and just get on board already." Bev laughed, "Okay Roz... let's help somebody escape from a nursing home."

The re-con was easy. All they needed to do was rent a car, sit in the parking lot at night and watch the activities happening around the nursing home. The original plan was to nab her during a smoke break, but it turns out the nursing home no longer lets the residents smoke... not even outside. What a crock!

It was obvious from the beginning that the escape would have to happen after 6 pm and before 9 pm. This seemed to be the time when visitors were still coming and going, the managers and office people were gone for the day, and the doors weren't locked. Also a lot of the group activities happened in the evening hours, and the mass confusion would help their plot.

Roz refused to step inside the facility before the actual plan was underway, but Bev was brave enough to go in and have a meeting of the minds with Lily. She found Lily in her room, sitting in a wheel chair watching the Price is Right.

"Drew Carey is no Bob Barker." Lily turned at the sound of Bev's voice and smiled at her visitor.

"BEV! What a nice surprise!"

"Why are you in a wheel chair?"

"They put everybody in one. It helps them corral us for dinner." Lily stood up, quite easily and on her own. She crossed the room to lean over Bev's large body and hug her old friend.

"You seem capable of independence, why did your kids put you in here?"

Lily sighed and sat on her bed, "They said it would be easier to take care of selling the house and getting everything in order. They act like I'm going to die tomorrow. Ever since Harold died..." Lily's eyes teared up, "They act like I can't take care of myself. They worry."

Bev shook her head, "You don't deserve to be here. You're not sick! You're not even that old!"

Lily laughed, "Sometimes I have to remember that I'm not 30 anymore."

Bev reached into the bag which was tethered to her scooter and produced a thermos, "Want some?"

Lily grinned, "What is it?"

"Does it matter?"
"No!" Bev poured some of the liquid into the lid of the thermos and handed it to Lily. Lily took a sip and said, "mmmm... that's the shit."

"Roz and I want to get you out of here." Bev said as Lily emptied the lid and asked for more.

"Oh, Roz! Where is she? I want to see her. She's so much fun."

"She's refusing to enter until we break you out." Lily grinned and said, "Are the two of you scheming on my behalf?"

"Well, that depends if you're up for a scheme or not."

"Only if you two have a pack of smokes waiting on the other side for me."

"Deal." Bev was glad to see it didn't take much convincing. Over the next hour they went over the details of Lily's escape. By the time Bev left, Lily was nice and liquored up. Bev left her to her soap operas and reported back to Roz, "It's a go. We strike tonight."

At 7 o'clock the bingo started in the main dining room. The nurses and nurse's aides who weren't dealing with the activity were busy giving showers to other residents and/or putting them to bed. Lily told one of the aides she'd like to sit outside. The aide told her no, since there wouldn't be anybody to keep an eye on her. Bev and Roz's plan hinged on Lily being allowed outside, and the sudden change in plan put a large kink in that.

Luckily Roz had a back up plan. She'd been watching each worker enter and leave the building. There were a series of codes that needed to be punched in to work the doors. The front door had a different one than the side and back door. Also, to exit the building there was a different button/code to use on each door.

Bev waited in the car. She was an excellent get-away driver, and it was easier for her to wait and Roz to maneuver. Roz waited until the Bingo game was in full swing and she chose the side door. She punched in the code and entered quietly. Following Bev's instructions she found Lily's room. She dodged a few workers while roaming the large building, but managed to find the room without being seen. Lily was waiting with a duffle bag packed.

Together they went through the hallways deftly and found the side door. Roz punched in the code and they were out. Within seconds they were in the car and Bev took off. They all cackled loudly.

"What a rush!" Lily exclaimed, "I never felt so alive!"

Bev and Roz both knew it was only a matter of time before they were found out, so they decided to live it up while they had time. They hit a club where the doorman almost didn't let them in, until Roz informed the young man that she knew his grandfather, and she also knew several pressure points that would debilitate him in an instant. Somehow, that convinced the guy to let them past the velvet rope. He was either scared, or figured they wouldn't be any harm anyway.
The music was loud and the bartender refused to take Bev's Senior Discount Card, so they left. They found a liquor store, stocked up on wine and cigs and headed back to Bev and Roz's apartment. They partied all night long. They cackled as they all recalled stories which had been long forgotten or retold millions of times.

Lily passed out first and then Bev and Roz continued the party outside on the patio. They each passed out in lawn chairs like a couple of college kids.

The next day Lily's kids were pounding on the front door. When Bev answered it she was blurry eyed and hungover. "Where is our mother?"

Bev played innocent, "Didn't you put her in a nursing home?"

"Yes, and yesterday somebody in a scooter visited her, and then she disappeared. WHERE IS SHE?"

Bev sighed and knew the party was over. She opened the door and allowed Lily's kids in. Lily was in the kitchen making breakfast.

"Come on Mom, we're leaving." Lily's oldest son said as he attempted to grab her arm.

"I'm not going anywhere!" Lily demanded, "I'm making breakfast. And I raised you better than to grab a woman like that. Let go of me right now."

Lily's authoritative tone shocked Bev, and it worked on her son. He let go of her and backed off.

"Why did you run away?"

"Because that place is awful. Would you like a pancake dear?"

"No. I want you to go back to the nursing home."

"Well, that's not happening. What about you, Melissa. Would you like a pancake?" Lily offered breakfast to her daughter who, up until now, hadn't said a word. She politely declined.

"I know Bev wants one, don't you?" Bev nodded. She was starving. Roz stumbled into the room just then and said, "Well hell... the gang's all here."

"I should've known you'd be in on this. You ruined my graduation party." Lily's son started in on Roz but before Roz could bite back at him Lily interrupted, "That's no way to speak to somebody in their home. Besides, your graduation party was lame until Roz spiked the punch and started singing karaoke."

Roz grinned at him as Lily rested a hot pancake on her plate. Both Bev and Roz started eating their breakfast as Lily explained to her children that she would like to stay in this apartment. Bev started to protest that they might not have enough room, but she couldn't speak for some reason. She looked over to Roz and the look on Roz's face mirrored Bev's.

It dawned on both of them that their breakfast had been poisoned. Lily continued to talk to her kids, "I think the apartment will be up for rent soon, and I can afford it on my fixed income." Bev and Roz both struggled to hang on to their lives, but within minutes both of them fell out of their chairs. Lily stood up and asked her children to leave, "If you'll excuse me now... I have to call the Coroner."

Friday, May 27, 2011

Cubic Zirconia in the Rough

As I apply my perfect smoky eye for a Friday Night Karaoke session I jam out to some Pat Benetar and Heart. I'm preparing for a fun night in which I will be a microphone whore and a beer drinking fool. Trust me, I'm a fun time. But I'm not getting ready for a date. No, I'm meeting up with a girlfriend.

A little over a week ago I met a guy. Believe me when I say I had a wonderful time with him. The time flew by like it was nothing and he had me laughing and hanging on his every word. He wasn't particularly charming or even very good looking, but I went with it. I went with it because it's rare for me to find a guy I genuinely enjoy spending time with. Also, it's rare when that guy also thinks I'm beautiful, and a catch, and he can't wait to see me again. Honestly, I felt like I had found something worth exploring.

So why am I not going on a date with him tonight? It's a Friday night... an optimal night for young single twenty-somethings of the opposite sex to mingle in the night life. The opportunity for romance is afoot, is it not?

Well, it seems his interest has waned. Is it embarrassing for me to admit that I didn't manage to hold a guy's interest for longer than a week? Frankly, yes. It is embarrassing for me to admit that. I get told by my friends that I'm beautiful, funny, charismatic, smart, and a really fun time. I know for a fact that I'm not particularly clingy and I like to go with the flow when it comes to guys (something Cosmo tells me guys LOVE).

So here's the break down. This guy texted me a lot right away. Now I'm not a huge phone person. Yes, I have a smart phone and I keep it near my side most of the time, but I don't check it constantly. It's rare that I'll be huddled up in the corner with my face in my phone while I converse with somebody who isn't in the room. I prefer face to face contact. I tend to leave my phone unattended when I'm at home. It will be in my bedroom while I'm vegging out to netflix in the living room. So I have to be honest when I say that I didn't answer every single one of his texts. When I explained this to him, he stopped texting me constantly. I saw this as a good sign, right? He's able to listen and adjust, correct?

No. He went to the complete opposite end of the spectrum and stopped texting unless I texted him first. Okay, fine... I guess I asked for that one. So, I played into his little game. And that's how I viewed it... as a game. Also, in the back of my mind, I saw it as pouting because I wasn't conforming to his need for constant attention.

And that brings me to the next subject. After one date this guy felt the need to make several sexual innuendos towards me. If we were talking late at night on the phone he mentioned having a "kickstand." Which I steadfastly ignored. I'm not a prude, trust me on that, but I do like to take my time before reaching that level with a guy. I've had my phase of going through men like kleenex and I'm done with it. I've also had a friend with benefits in the past. I'm also done with that. Now I'm looking for a guy for the long haul, and call me old fashioned, but I think there are some things that are better left to the imagination until a little ways down the road. Sex can ruin a good thing. And I thought I had a good thing going with him.

After turning down his requests time and time again (these requests consisted of me driving an hour and a half to spend the night with him, send him naughty pictures of myself and so on), he's decided to not return any of my phone calls or texts. He swore up and down he was wanting to get to know me and actually date me. He told me it wasn't only about sex, but that he's a guy and I can't blame him for thinking about it. Yet, here I am high and dry because I wouldn't get down and wet with him. This sudden about face only makes me happier that I didn't give it up to him.

While the whole sex conversation so soon makes me nervous... it also makes me something else: feeling very disrespected. I realize men have urges and they supposedly think about sex more than women do (though crash any girl's night out and you'll hear some pretty raunchy talk going on). But we live in a world full of sexual crime. When a woman is sexually attacked it's very HARD for her to open up sexually to a new man. It takes time and patience and lots of understanding. Guess what? She probably won't clue you in to the fact that this is WHY she wants to take things slow. So as you're jabbering on about your kickstand she's fretting over how it's going to feel when you touch her or kiss her. Will it trigger a bad memory? Will she be able to take it? Men don't think about this... they don't think about how their words and their incessant nagging on the topic is very un-nerving and sometimes... highly inappropriate.

I guess another one bites the dust. Honestly, I'm not too worried about it. I know I'll find my diamond in the rough... if he's meant to be found. And when I do, he'll understand my need to take things slow in order to preserve the good. When things ARE taken slow... it's so much better anyway. But tonight... me and my perfect eye make up are hitting the town and belting some high notes. I just hope I don't make the cats cry with me.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Destination... Nobody Knows.

She walks. And although she's out of breath and her side hurts, she continues to walk. Her rapid pulse thumps in her ears and her sweat drips down her neck. A cool breeze wafts through and it cools the paths of sweat on her face. Her smile shows appreciation to Mother Nature for this simple gift.

She only halts when her path changes. She stops and thinks to herself, "Will I be able to return on this same path when I come back? Will I get lost, or give up? Or will there be no turning back?"

Usually she silences these seeds of self doubt and trudges on in spite of them. If the down slope is steep she simply tells herself she'll work extra hard to climb back up it upon her return... if she ever returns. She's been walking for a while now and hasn't turned around yet.

She glances back to see how far she's come. She can't even see where she started. This makes her smile but it also strikes fear into her heart. She fears that she's truly alone in this. She fears her path was only made for her to trudge through... that nobody else will ever join her.

She fantasizes as she walks. After all it's just her, her heavy breath, her sweat, her pulse, and her thoughts on this journey. Those thoughts are her only companion, though she secretly longs for a real companion. When others ask her about it, she shrugs and says she enjoys her time alone. In reality, she'd enjoy it a lot more if it weren't a solitary trudge but rather a lazy stroll while holding somebody else's hand. The progression of this thought always leads to the same place... thoughts of the one who once did that very thing with her... lazy stroll, hand in hand.

Her thoughts dictate her speed. As she thinks of him she goes faster. She may even break into a light jog as she tries to outpace the memory. She can't out run his memory, though. He steals into her mind whenever he damn well feels like it. His laugh. His quirky sense of humor. His... everything. It all reminds her. And, even though she doesn't think about him all the time, when she does think about him he's all she can think about. Eventually the thoughts turn dark as she recalls how he left. Then she remembers how he stayed gone... and now she has to pretend she's okay with it. She's not. Her sweat blends with her tears as she struggles to keep some composure.

She walks until she’s no longer in the city, the town, the village where she lives. She's on a country road and there isn't a house for miles. She finds a patch of trees and she seeks shelter in their shade. The breeze blows as she sits on a large rock. Finally she's found enough solitude so she can cry. She does. She heaves a heavy sob until her strength is depleted and she can sob no more.

When she's done she stands up, stretches, and decides to keep walking. Where to? Nobody, not even she, herself, knows.

Friday, April 8, 2011

Will You Go To The Prom With Me?

Inhale deeply. Tell me what you smell? Try to sniff past the smell of fresh cut grass and blooming flowers. If you have allergies go ahead and sneeze a few times, but then I want you to concentrate. Close your eyes and focus. Zero in on the corsages, the taffeta, the tiaras and the limousines. Feel the excitement and last minute date scramble. Taste the punch and the hours-de-ourves. Hear the thumping music just before the DJ announces the last slow dance. Now open your eyes and see the balloons, the dance floor, the young people glammed up in tuxedos and formal dresses, and gaze at the sparkling decorations. Have a seat and take in your surroundings... You're at the prom.

The Prom is always the climax of a teen drama. Everything in a teen movie happens at the prom. The unsuspecting girl is named Prom Queen. That high school crush finally makes the transition from fantasy to reality. Virginities are lost. Rivalries cemented. You name it... it can happen at the prom... in Hollywood.

In reality prom is just like any other dance. There are couples slow dancing. There are girls dancing in groups. The decorations and dresses all resemble the same decorations and dresses of the past generations. There are flowers pinned to jackets and strapped around wrists, and at the end of the night your life is still the same as it was at the beginning of the night (with the exception of your feet throbbing and aching from the shoes and the dancing). Chances are, Prom is just another event to remember years down the road where nothing significant happened.

I went to Prom my junior and senior years in high school. I went dateless both years (that shouldn't be surprising since I'm perpetually single and I seem to have more fun that way). My school had Post Prom (which was the school's way of keeping the teens from drinking and having sex). Since I was a goodie two shoes in HS, I spent the entire night after prom in the high school gym playing games and getting attendance prizes. I had fun. I went to prom and I had fun.

A friend of mine (one that I graduated with ten years ago) was asked to Prom this year (seriously). The guy who asked her is 18 years old and, evidently, infatuated with her. While he's not exactly jail bait, I think he'd be better off asking a girl his own age. If you think about it... the last time my friend went to prom, this kid was in the second grade. He was just learning his cursive letters. His biggest academic hurdle was distinguishing his r's from his n's. I told her if she were meant to go to prom with him, she should have done it back then... it would have been cuter than a 27 year old showing up wearing a dress and a corsage. Of course, she declined his flattering offer.

It's got me thinking, though. I want to go to Prom again. Like I said, I had fun at the first two, but I want to go to another one. But I'd like to go to an adult prom. I want a prom with booze. I want to go to prom without the awkward feeling that accompanies adolescence. I want a prom without the chaperons. I want to get all dressed up in a formal dress, get my hair teased, combed, curled and pinned into place secured with an entire bottle of hairspray. I want to dance, and dance, and dance, and then dance some more. I think I still want to go dateless. When I went stag I managed to dance with all the other girls' dates. That's a trend I'll keep from the first time around.

I guess we already have adult versions of Prom. Weddings tend to get us to dress up and dance. I guess the bride and groom are comparable to the king and queen, but the major differences are the dresses. At a wedding the bride is guaranteed to have the best dress in the room. At prom, all the girls are wearing something fabulous. All the girls are well put together. All the guys are wearing tuxedos... not just a select few like you'd have at a wedding. Everybody's dressed to the nines and look their best. You can't really get that at a wedding. There's always some redneck cousin wearing jeans, thereby ruining any sort of dress code in place.

The more affluent adults find themselves at elite parties which would be more comparable to The Prom. Dress codes at certain events, fundraisers, extravaganzas can mimic that of a prom. I suppose if you're rich you can show up to an event like this in a chaffered vehicle. For the economically blessed and the social elite, the invitations to these galas are always coming in. They may even be jaded to this lifestyle and don't find it as glamorous shiny as I would.

Why can't we "salt of the earth" peeps get a big dance? I realize it costs a lot of money to do a big event like that. With the cost of admission, the dress or the tux, the limo, etc the grand total is a hefty one. Because of that, my dream of the adult prom will probably never see fruition. I turn 29 this year... and I'm thinking for my 30th I want something fancy. I want to get all dressed up and I want everybody else to get dressed up, too. The theme? Will be The Prom. It's decided so don't try to talk me out of it.

Saturday, April 2, 2011

You're Going To Miss Me

To know me is to know I am blunt. To be my friend means having a thick skin and the capacity to hear what you need to hear versus what you want to hear. I'm not afraid to throw down the douche card, and let you know when you're doing something you shouldn't be doing. When you've crossed the line, and ask my opinion... be prepared to receive it. Don't worry... you're more than welcome to do the same with me when I come to you for advice.

Gossip and talking behind people's backs is not only allowed, but it's expected. Especially when you live in a small town. But, when you live in a town who's entire population wouldn't fill a large theater, you best believe that the shit you're talking is going to make its way back to the person you're talking shit about. And, if it's about me, then you better be prepared for a confrontation. It will be inevitable, and I pray, for your sake, that when it happens I'm not in a horribly pissed off mood. Because my words can be venomous, and I rarely take them back.

Yes, this happened recently. A person. A friend of mine. An old colleague and sharer of good times. He recently decided to tell me I was a bad friend because I make him feel like shit about himself. Yes, I am guilty of this.

Why? You may ask yourself... Why would I do this? Because my friend turned into an addict before my eyes. He let substance take over his life and run wild with it. He's college educated and smart as whip. He's nice, polite, open minded and is a good listener... when he's sober. When his world revolves around substance abuse, he's mean. He words can cut like a knife and he laughs while you console yourself with the thought that he doesn't really mean it. His smart little brain turns into an organ dedicated only to the drug. It works out plans to get drugs; how to get money for the drugs; where to get transportation to the drugs; who to lie to about the drugs; which lies to use; and defense mechanisms for when he gets caught. He sleeps, eats, works and lives for the drugs.

The consequences? Well, none of them are working so far. Many times I thought he'd hit rock bottom, but it turned out he figured out a way to dig himself even deeper. He's been called out at work. He's stolen from people who love him. He's even been arrested. Even with a looming court date and drug test up ahead... he continues his destructive patterns.

And, through out all of it... I've been his friend. I was one of the only people who told him he was getting himself in too deep. I was the only one who put my foot down and refused to be an enabler for him. This caused a lot of fighting between us, but every time he got mad at me, I told him I was doing this because I care about him. If I didn't care, I would just go ahead and let him destroy his life. He seemed to at least understand my logic.

When I found out he fell off the wagon recently, I threatened to put his ass on blast. I threatened to tell everybody he knows... every small town bar he walks in everybody will know his problem and be advised not to help him out in obtaining drugs. His parents would be clued in. And I would tell the virtual world of social networking, too. I wasn't kidding. He promised it was just a relapse and he'd stop.

Well, I don't know if he stopped. My best guess would be no. I'm sure I'll find out when one of his enablers reads this and they confirm what I truly believe... he's worse off than he's ever been before. Only his enablers really know what's going on.

I, however, have cut off all ties with him. You see... when he accused me of being a bad friend for making him feel like shit about was during an argument in which I confronted him on publicly saying mean things about me. My refusal to accept his drug use ticked him off and spurred him into trying to make me look like an idiot. He laid the final straw on the camel's back. When confronted, he tried turning the tables to make it look like I am the one who is doing this to him... like I am the cause and because I don't condone his actions, I'm a bad person and only contributing to his bad habit. It's classic deflection and diversion. I told him I wouldn't apologize for telling him what nobody else has the guts to say to him. He told me it is what it is... and I said "Yeah. I'm somebody who's cared about you and tried so hard to be a compass for you, and you've turned out to be just a careless asshole. Well... I'm not friends with careless assholes." And I, thereby, ended what little friendship we had left.

It's unfortunate, really. I hate when friendships end, and I often try really hard to keep them going even long after it's clear they're done. I've managed to keep several long term friendships in my life, and I've also managed to grow and be a better friend than I ever have been before. I help support my friends in their business ventures. I will stay at a friend's house after they've been operated on to help them recover. When a friend is experiencing grief I'm there for them with an open ear and open arms. And, when a friend of mine is on the brink of ruining everything they have going for them, I'm there to yank and tug on them in an effort to bring them back to the life they're leaving behind. I will fight for, defend venomously, and stand up for the relationships in my life... until that person proves they're not worthy of my fabulous friendship. Until they show me that they wouldn't have the same respect for me with the cards are down and the chips are stacked against me. And then... well... I have no choice but to walk away and throw a lit match onto the frail bridge that's left in the wake.

Saturday, March 26, 2011

5 Signs You Might Be Behaving Like a Child

1. You present no valid argument, yet you insist you are right.
I could sit here all day and say "yes huh!" for every time you say, "nu-uh!" and get absolutely nowhere with you. You seem to have some sort of messed up logic to which you can't back up with any actual knowledge. Yes, you have a right to your own opinion. Yes, you can, technically, state that opinion every time you feel it's your god given right to do so. But having an opinion doesn't make you special. Also, it sure as hell doesn't give you the right to jam it down my throat with a "I don't give a shit what you have to say about this" attitude. Here's how I interpret your 5 year old style of debate: "I'm a jackhole because I don't know how an actual debate or a legitimate argument between two different minded adults is handled." Also, when somebody opposes your opinion, they are not personally attacking you. They aren't telling you to shut up. They are simply doing the same thing you are doing, which is expressing a thought. Please don't jump the gun and assume they are against YOU and not just your idea. Also... don't throw the first amendment at them. Really? Come on now. Your rights aren't being infringed upon at Applebees. Calm the fuck down. Come back when you learn what civility and open mindedness are.

2. You whine when you don't get your way.

When you find yourself using the bargaining tool of a high pitched, "But I really, really want it," you may as well put yourself in time-out, because nobody wants to deal with that. Face it, sweetheart, compromise is a part of functional life. People who won't bend end up breaking. You don't always get to call the shots. You don't get to control every situation. And throwing a temper tantrum until everybody else gives in is a 2 year old move. You need to learn how to accept the fact that plans change and other people's wants and needs get factored in as well. You have to drift with the tide, the ebb and flow. You get nowhere by standing on the shore and commanding the ocean to obey. Literally... go with the flow.

3. Your budget revolves around paying a subscription to an online role playing game.

I get it... we all have our vices. If you're not a smoker or a drinker, then you may be a gamer. Gaming is cool (in some circles if you're younger than 25). However, if you can't afford your car insurance because you need to level up this month, then maybe you should ask that 13 year old that you're battling with online if his mom has a spare bedroom you can rent for cheap. Seriously, put down the game controller and pay your damn bills already. Also, go outside and watch REAL activities.

4. You get mad when people won't laugh at your jokes.

Face it. You're not funny. Adults will give the obligatory laugh to the same knock-knock joke they've heard a million times... if a child is telling it. When an adult tells old jokes, or just plain not funny jokes, the proper response is an eye roll. Trust me on this. I've done amateur stand up comedy, and if your joke bombs, it's brutal. It takes a mighty blow to your ego when you're standing there and you hear crickets. But that's life. The only way to move on is think of something new and practice your delivery. If it turns out that you're just not a funny person... then leave the joke telling to those who can hack it. And don't get all pissy about it. Just realize that not telling jokes will actually go in your FAVOR.

5. ALL of your significant other's friends hate you.

To be honest, you might not realize this one. Because, where you have no tact, they might. Out of respect for your wife/husband/boyfriend/girlfriend's feelings they just might be holding back how much true hatred they have for you. But if you meet ANY or ALL of the criteria above, trust me... they hate you. They can't stand being around you. They only show up to parties because your partner is there and when you decide to open your mouth, they would rather you shut it. But don't rest on the fact that they hold back. Don't make that your excuse for you bawdy behavior... because they won't bite their tongues forever. One of these days they will say, "To hell with this asshole" and they will fill your ears with a heavy dose of truth which your fragile little ego won't know how to handle. And, because you're a child, you will throw a fit and pout until somebody comforts you. When nobody does... maybe you'll grow up just a little bit.

Friday, March 25, 2011

Sleep Stealing Thoughts

I know in my head that you are not the person I'm supposed to be with. I knew this, for a fact, over two years ago. I came to you with a scared intuition and fear of a very big "what if" and you showed me that you cannot roll with the punches. It turned out I was wrong, but, because of your reaction, I knew in my heart I couldn't end up with you.

So, tell me, why did it take so long for that to really sink in? Because, there are times, when I still forget about that and I only remember what it was like being right next to you. I get lost in that memory because, for a period of time, that was my favorite place to be in the entire world. You created these conflicting emotions within me, and my confused heart just walked right into a maze which seemed to take the longest damn time to find my way out of.

Sometimes, I wish I'd never agreed to that first date. You were so nervous. It was cute. I can remember that white shirt with the silver pinstripe and how it enhanced your already handsome features. You wore your glasses because I mentioned how I love a man in glasses. And when you kissed me later in the night it felt like a click inside my head. How could a girl not fall in love with such a lovely beginning? If it hadn't been so perfect, I might have stood a chance.

I'm over you. I've written about it; I've vented about it; I've thought and thought and thought about it. I've even dreamt about it. Every time I think it through I know it turned out the way it should. And, though this blog might suggest otherwise, I actually don't think about you too often.

It just seems like my life is randomly punctuated with these little flashes of time in which my thoughts are completely consumed by you. Sometimes I'll meet somebody who looks a lot like you and a thought is triggered. I'll be talking with a girlfriend and she'll be going through something I can relate to, because I went through it with you. I guess this is natural... we all carry around memories of our exes... the ones that got away.

I wish I didn't think about you at all, though. I've moved on, and I actually did a great job of it. When I found out about your current love I felt genuinely happy for you. I've not let the fact that you found somebody else before I did shatter me or break me. Because, to be honest, I'm glad you have it in you. Obviously your relationship with her has something ours lacked. She provides something for you I couldn't. And that's okay. Like I said before, it's best that it turned out this way... especially for you. I can't say it enough... I'm happy that you're happy.

That being said... I wish there were a magic pill I could take where my memory of you would be gone. I was blissfully ignorant before I met you. I had nobody to really compare anything significant to. You made a pretty big impact on me. I'm trying to figure out what positive things to take from it, but leftover lingering pain sidetracks me sometimes.

I hate that there are nights when I still lay awake and think about you. I hate that there are times when something reminds me of you and I get lost in the thought or the memory it invokes. I hate remembering how it felt to be with you. I hate that I lost you, but, even worse, I hate that I never had you.

She has you now. Jealousy is an evil monster, but we wouldn't have been happy in the long run. Maybe I'll find somebody again, but maybe I won't. Part of me is okay with that revelation, but there's another part of me that doesn't want to give up hope. I, am, however all out of hope for us. It's plain to see there's nothing left of whatever it was we had. It wasn't nothing. It was something. Now, though, it just is what it is.

I know that I will find more than you. I know that you are not my great love story. You just happen to be the first guy who knew how to make me feel wanted, special, and lovely. Maybe now it's time to make myself feel wanted, special and lovely. Perhaps it's time I found myself.

But at the same time, I think this is part of finding myself. I have to face these emotions and the fact that they will always be within me. I guess my positive take-away is that through you I discovered more of me. I guess you had to be this roadblock I had to work my way through in order to understand more about my own heart and my own love. Perhaps... I owe you a thank you.

It's funny to me... I started this blog with questions in my heart... and somehow I managed to answer them by the time I finished it.