If you are reading this, I don’t want to make assumptions about how old you are. I’d like to think you haven’t stumbled upon my blog before you are a teenager, but the fact that you can read at 5 1/2 and that you constantly play with my iPhone and iPad are not working in my favor.
I am not bragging about the fact that you can read earlier than I thought you would. In fact, it just makes me sweaty, frantic and a whole lot of panicky because I thought I had way more time to clean up my language and to make this blog a place of positivity and light. You being an early reader increases the chances that you might stumble on the place where Mommy genuflects on some of her biggest insecurities and vices.
A few years ago, I wrote a post about how good friends know what to say to each other in tough situations. They know the difference between being painfully truthful and kindly, gently delivering a message. Other times, they might even tell little white lies to help you get the message. Well, I called it lies, but I realize now what I meant was not necessarily lies… more like, omission?
What do you mean? I want someone to tell it to me straight, you might think. Yeah, I say the same thing, but when it comes at me too fast, too hard, I realize I’m not always ready for it. Let’s just walk through a few scenarios and see how this might work.
A lot of my friends don’t remember their childhood. I think that’s strange because I seem to have so many memories of my childhood and I wonder sometimes if my memories are real or just fragmented narrations that I have mentally pieced together through pictures. Birthday cakes, favorite dolls, memories of parties, family and Jordache.
Lots of Jordache.
I think the year that I started to remember with clarity was around 1981. I was five.
That year, my mother took me to India to visit family. It was the first trip that I actually remember, although I had been there before. Going to India was no easy jaunt across the ocean. It was a long flight to New Delhi, with a never ending connection at Heathrow, a bustling place where my mother and I lost our way around for a while. Luckily, my mother was eventually able to steer us to the Duty Free to load up on Dunhill cigarettes for my grandfather during that break, so we got something accomplished before boarding the second leg.
There are these voices in my head. They can be LOUD. They can be annoying. One sounds a lot like my third grade teacher, Mrs. Williams, a woman who could look at me with the same derision I imagine some would reserve for Hitler. Or Judas. Or John Mayer after he’s been caught talking smack about Jennifer Aniston. I am pretty sure Mrs. Buckley, my eighth grade teacher who hated me is in the mix. Another voice kind of sounds like my mother’s. I can even swear I hear a bit of Oprah. But she’s not telling me that I won a car. Or that I can jump on her couch.
And she’s definitely not telling me that my first novel can be in the Oprah book club.
I am almost positive that one of the voices is my own.
A while ago, I saw someone who is broken. Someone I love.
I used to think that you could fix anything. That emotional cuts could heal, that a painful past could be left to reside in its yesterdays. I have learned with time that it’s not so easy to compartmentalize the good and the bad in your life. That old memories have a way of inviting themselves into your life when you least need them. That things you think you are over, that you have tidily found a place for in the farthest corner of your mind, can tip-toe back to the front. Demanding that you acknowledge them and stop throwing them into the back of the attic to be hidden once more.
I used to be good at hiding things away. At applying salve to my emotional wounds and covering my cuts with enough Hello Kitty band-aids that I thought they would only leave some small scars as proof.
Look, if you had, one shot
Or one opportunity, to seize everything you ever wanted
In one moment
Would you capture it, or just let it slip?
I was bold but shy. Inquisitive but reserved. I was going to own that joint even though some days I was too scared to even step into the room.
I was a badass. 5 going on 6.
The thought of going intoxicated me. I wasn’t sure whether I wanted to jump up and down in excitement or crawl in a corner and hide. It was my first shot at independence. My first break at being an individual.
What if they found out I couldn’t tie my laces? The only way I could even remotely pretend to was with those damn rabbit ears and everybody knew that was just a pre-schooler’s way of faking it.
Our Au Pair, Heather, was at an ice cream shop with her friends when she came across this sign.
I love this. I love whoever put it up and I wish I could see all of the other tags that were on it. I don’t know what other things might have been there. Perhaps wisdom? Love? Friendship? Inspiration? Hugs? Chocolate? All good things, I’m sure.
But… you know that song ”You Can’t Always Get What You Want” by The Rolling Stones? Let me sing it for you, because I have an annoying habit of doing that too much.
You can’t always get what you want,
You can’t always get what you want,
But if if you try sometimes,
You just might find
You get what you need.
Sorry, this post is a little later than promised and I know many of you are biting your nails and waiting with baited breath for me to hit publish. Oh, you’re not?
So I started my adventures in “Les Mis” over the holidays, writing in this post about how I had seen it twice in one day. I consider that to be pretty extreme, hard core movie lovin’. Sure, I didn’t sleep in a sleeping bag to get to see the first show – I’m not that pathetic. Especially not on Christmas. I mean, even for people who are crazy about something like “Twilight,” – well I think even those guys would look at me weird, which is pathetic because hello. They are in love with vampires.
It’s about perspective people.
So yes, I saw it that second time. And I walked back into the house twirling and singing and dancing.
Every time I write about my past, about my family, regardless of what I edit out or what I include, I seem to hurt somebody. Which is not hard to understand – families are complex and have many layers.
But when you want to tell your own story, because you are part of a family – just one small part of a larger whole, it’s really hard, really fucking hard to know what part of the story belongs to you and what part of the story is someone else’s. Someone else’s story to tell.
But very few stories just have one character in it. Other than Tom Hanks Castaway, on which he was stuck on a deserted island. Even then, he had a basketball he could talk to. We don’t live on remote islands, we are all very much influencers of each other’s experiences and also influenced by the actions of others.