Wednesday, April 26, 2017

Spit & Charisma

"Mom, if you could have one power that's not a superpower, what would it be?" little kid asked at the dinner table tonight.

I thought about it for a moment, trying to size up what a non-superpower power would be, when Big Kid confidently answered, "I'd want to be able to spit really far so I could spit on people I don't like without them knowing. They'd never suspect it could be me because I'd be way over there. It would be perfect."

He knew instantly. As if he'd been waiting his entire life for this opportunity to share.

"Hm. Interesting answer. I was gonna go with art or singing but maybe I should think more along the lines of spitting on enemies."

"I'd pick art or I'd level up on charisma," little kid said. He had been waiting to answer -- all of these questions are designed for us to hear his answers. I (mostly) love them.

"Level up on charisma? You have charisma." I told him.

"I got so much charisma. But I need more," he leaned out of his seat into my face, until we were nose to nose. "I like the girls," he hissed in my face, "and the girls like the charisma."

"True, they love that but you already have it," I laughed. "You like girls?" Both of my boys are "young" for their ages -- or so I like to think.

He grinned back at me. "Uh, everyone in fifth grade has their own little crush, mom."

"You too?"

He nodded, looking smug.

"Wow. Who is she? Do I know her? Would I like her? Is she pretty? Wait, wait, is she smart? Funny?"

"You don't know her and you won't know her, but would I have a crush on a girl who isn't all of those things? I got standards, lady." He turned his attention to Big Kid and said, "What I want to know is if bub has a crush."

I turned, fascinated to hear the answer but bracing myself for a fight because this isn't a subject Big Kid likes.

"Honestly, I hate everyone equally," Big Kid said.

"Seriously, dude? You don't like anyone?"

"I mean, I'm guessing there are human beings that exist outside of my school that perhaps I could one day enjoy the company of, but otherwise, no."

"Bro, you got to get you a crush! Get you a nice girl! A cute girl! One who smiles when she sees you!"

"Uh, why can't we just stick to me spitting long distances at my enemies?"

"Yeah, baby, do that. In fact, I'm going with that too, singing is kind of overrated," I agreed.

So, little kid will level up his charisma as Big Kid and I hone our long distance spitting skills, and it all feels really right.

Tuesday, April 18, 2017

Better Because of You

There's a tendency to only turn to you all for the very, very highs and the very, very lows and to become consumed with "real" life in the in between. In doing so, a lot gets lost and entire chapters of the story go untold.

Lately, it seems that I can only catch enough air to utter some form of, "Yeah, hey, I'm probably not dying!" -- too busy focusing on treading water and keeping it from spilling into my mouth as I try to stay afloat to share the rest, and I'm doing us all a great disservice by not telling more of the story.

Because sometimes I do float and, man, is it good. The sun is so bright and it is so quiet and I am so certain that one day I'll reach dry land again, and that I'll end up where I belong. But I don't turn to you all and say, "LOOK AT ME FLOATING!" because I'm busy quietly hoping that it continues for a few minutes.

But I have learned so much while drowning. And not in a cliched "silver lining" kind of way. I have gained insight and wisdom that can only be earned and I am definitely a more developed human being because of it. Although I know who I am no matter what people tell me, I've learned so much about myself from what people have shown me through this. And it's all so good.

I cannot even begin to detail the kindnesses great and small -- near strangers offering loans they'd be crazy to make (and I couldn't take) and friends offering plane tickets and a place to stay, job offers, dinners and drinks and dropped off muffins, secondhand furniture and bouquets of flowers, and messages reminding me of my authenticity, strength, and ability along with patience and acceptance of my emotional and physical distance. From everywhere. Every day. Including from some of you.

I also haven't talked enough about how sweet my little home is and how I have grown to love it.

My love seat came from a couple named Tom and Marian. They were in their 70s and lived in a mobile home he had remodeled beautifully and he glowingly gave her all of the credit. She had just hurt her ankle and he was doting and concerned and clearly in love. They both had cute convertibles in the driveway, with personalized license plates -- hers a VW Bug that said Luv Bug. The love seat was pristine and I sat on it and chatted with them about their house and history and health and lives, and said a silent prayer that one day I'd be that lucky in my old age.

My beautiful bed came from a mansion on the water, and was piled high with fine, white linen. The owner of the house was acting as a buyer while someone else worked the sale, eavesdropping on conversations about her home. I figured that out through my own eavesdropping and loved her for it.

My bedside table came from the home of an elderly man with a workshop full of clock parts who lived a well-traveled and interesting life, according to the contents of his estate sale.

I have an antique mirror that I have loved for longer than I've owned it -- it belonged to a friend who bought it from a vintage store in the U.K. 20 years ago. I couldn't imagine anything more perfect, and I feel like it's a piece of a fairy tale.

My brother's girlfriend lent me a television, my best friend gave me a side table, and I have piles and piles of books that are mine.

It is the epitome of lovely.

I went from attending galas to going to Goodwill and in spite of the struggle, I'm happier than I should be. Maybe because of the struggle. It's like after all of that treading and fighting the current and swallowing sips of salty water, floating and breathing is sweeter than it could ever be without all of that surviving.

I still cry. Unwillingly, even, like sometimes I'm not even thinking of anything particularly sad and suddenly my lungs and ribs tighten and I spend a minute or three sobbing quietly -- almost like an attack of sneezing in its unexpectedness -- before wiping the tears away and continuing on. And that's okay because I laugh twice as often and sometimes just as unintentionally.

The other day a friend said that I would die laughing, as they couldn't imagine my quickness to do so stopping even on my death bed, and I can't imagine a better ending or nicer compliment.

Right now my entire life is made of stories instead of stuff and people instead of property and I hope it stays that way, until I die laughing.

Monday, April 10, 2017

Dear Universe,

Okay. Where do I begin?

Getting real sick of your shit, to be honest.

I mean, I think I do my fair share when it comes to sharing the spotlight with you and trying to work through the chaos you are constantly creating (and it's not me that creates it, it's definitely you) but we are always having this same disagreement so let's get clear on my end.

I am the plucky and adorable heroine of this story.

It seems harsh to call you the villain, and frankly, I'd rather you just write yourself out entirely, but let's say you're the antagonist. Not necessarily the bad guy, just more the problem child of this tale.

(You're the bad guy.)

So YES, there will be struggles. How else will our resourceful and determined heroine save the day and her life?


This shit needs to be readable. There's a certain line when it's just so pitiful people either want to look away or GoFundMe into an institution (which I'm not opposed to, get organized, folks) and we're nearing that point.

For instance, my first weekend in the new place? Having me break a window 17 minutes into being alone was enough -- and I was a good sport about that shit, I even laughed before/during/after I cried. But you took it too far with the stomach flu, and really attention whore-d it up by starting that whole thing with me vomiting all over a CVS bathroom and cleaning it up with one ply toilet paper and ending it with me sleeping in a sweaty, shivering pile on the floor next to my new bed since I was too sick to get up.

Also, let's talk about the wifi situation here. Okay, the divorce, the humiliation, the car transmission, the uncontrollable vomiting, the constant comments about my appearance, missing my kids, the struggles with work, the loneliness -- that's all fine. It's whatever. But the lack of wifi in my new place is some fucked up level of hell and you know it.

It's like you were like, "What is this story missing? Is it Comcast? It's Comcast. This bitch needs some Comcast," and I'll admit that would be funny if it wasn't so very not funny.

You're not the funny one, I am. And I'm not that funny so we're both fucked.

But I called Comcast, motherfucker. I survived the stomach flu alone. I taped that window up with blue painter's tape and IT'S FINE. I even bought curtains this weekend because I am a GODDAMN HUMAN BEING. (Okay, my mom bought me the curtains, but still, I own curtains.) I am hustling with work. I am hanging out with old friends and making new ones, when and if I can put on pants/brush my hair so not a lot but sometimes.

Please stop trying to edit the story. You're the worst editor I've ever had and there's this one guy who is a serious pain in my ass, so that's saying something. I know what I'm doing (I don't. At all) and I don't need your help (I do. But you're not helpful).

So to summarize, I am the brave and determined hero here and you are the sinister but not quite as crafty bad guy who will be defeated by my cleverness.

So calm the fuck down, thanks.