Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Lemon Blog Pie


Well, hi there! It’s three in the morning, and I really should be in bed. Unless I’m sleep-typing, and it appears as though I’m not. Insomnia is one of the fun symptoms of depression that I have learned to live with. Have I mentioned I suffer from…wait, fuck that. Have I mentioned that I own clinical depression? (I like to make it sound as though I possess it at my own will, as opposed to being mentally raped by it; which is the reality.)

Although I’m sure all of you are dying to read a weepy ass blog about my mental disease  the mental time share I own, today is not that day. You see, I’m loopy as hell, and really probably most likely definitely do not have any business attempting to write something coherent. And this is exactly why I am! (Writing, that is. Never mind the coherent part.)

Right now, I am on what I call an Up Swing in my depressive cycle depressive voyage. Up Swings are a good time, in which I am more ‘myself’, and functional. The opposite, or my Down Swings, (see the clever word play, there?) are not so fun. Although more productive, I’ve come to notice that the Up Swings have this obnoxious side effect of sleeplessness.

So I’m taking my insomnia lemons, and making some insomnia Lemon Blog Pie. (I could just make insomnia lemonade, but a pie crust sounds really delicious right this instant.)

Lemon Blog Pie Ingredient One: the Lemons-

Ever have one of those sour moments in life where you can actually almost see yourself mid-fail, and you kind of want to die inside? (Yes, this is me on an Up Swing. Just imagine how I’d describe that if I were on a Down Swing.) Twenty minutes ago, I realized that sleep would not be happening for me, and decided to step outside for some fresh air to listen to the babbly brook creek dealy thingee that runs in the woods. (Again, don’t expect some Pulitzer Prize winning descriptions, here. Take what you can get.) I went to perch upon my porch swing, but much to my consternation, it was sopping wet from what I’m assuming was rain. (Unless someone really had to pee. And if they peed on my cushions, a plague upon their house.) I spied a large rock I could sit on, instead. So sit down I did, and began to listen to the dreamy trickle of the creek. (Unless the person who peed on my cushions was peeing nearby, creating a dreamy trickling noise.)

I sighed contently, and went to lean back on the back side of the rock that unfortunately didn’t exist. I felt myself falling backwards slowly, and managed to tighten some sort of emergency ab muscle I didn’t know I had to slow myself as I descended. “Huh.” I thought mid-air, “This is going to suck in second.”
I do love being right, and I sure was. I landed face up in a rock and mud pile, with my legs straight up in the air like a sexy beetle on its back, clad in pink striped pajama pants, and a hoodie. You’d think that I would have leapt up indignantly, but I actually didn’t move for a moment. I stared at my pink stripy pajama legs in the air, and thought, “Huh. Yeah. This sucks.”

I love being right.

I realized that leaping up in mud and rocks wasn't a bright idea, so I rolled over onto my side; and really felt like I was starring in a Shamu the whale National Geographic pictorial. As I lumbered back inside to assess the damage, I noticed my wrist was now sporting one of those irritating epidermis scrapes that peels back the first layer of skin, does not bleed, but still manages to burn like a mo-fo. These really suck, because you cannot complain about them to your friends without sounding like a whiny toddler. Blood and guts are what earns sympathy, not dry superficial scrapes that don’t even require a Dora Band-Aid. 

When you send your get well cards, I accept cash or personal checks.

Now my rear end was a different story. My pink pajama pants were now a flattering shade of mud, and as I de-pants-ed myself in the mirror, I saw the blushing right on my pork butt (Or are those considered ham hocks? Where are hocks located, anyways? A hock sounds disgusting.) of what would eventually be some nice bruises on my ass from the rocks. I felt quite offended, as I can’t garner any sympathy from ass bruises. Showing those off only earns you an indecent exposure charge.



Lemon Blog Pie Ingredient Two: Attention Deficit Disorder-

I think this is the part where I’m supposed to mention a crust, or Cool Whip, or some other Martha Stewart shit like that. But you know what? I’m bored with writing. I’m rocking some sleep deprived dry eyes, scraped up wrist that doesn’t like my keyboard, and a stone traumatized booty.

Lemon Blog Pie Ingredient Three: the Final Touch-

Some things are better left unsaid. And some things are better left undone. Like this blog.

Lemon Blog Pie Final Step:  Formal Presentation To the Famished Guest-

Assuming they don’t strap a strait jacket on me and send me to Hotel Padded Wall Inn, I’ll see you kiddies next time. I’m off to (maybe) sleep.
Bon Apatite! 

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Open Letter To Nineteen Year Old Self


I read in an article that writing a letter to your past self is a great way to bookmark the past, and also reconcile how far you have come since. While that is all great and good, I found it to be a sensational opportunity to make fun of myself, especially since myself at nineteen was pretty unintentionally comical. (as evidenced by this god awful picture of me…yikes!) Fasten your seat belts, ’cause here goes!

 

Dear Nineteen Year Old Self:

Look at you drunk off your ass, telling people’s fortunes in a popcorn bowl having a nice, quiet evening with friends.

Where to start in this piping hot mess?

Let’s begin with the most captain obvious. That hair and you are not a good combo. I know it’s not your fault that it’s so short k.d. lang would even say, “Dayum, girl. That’s butch.” You got a terrible perm (happens to the best of us) that completely fried your hair, and you had no choice but to hack off all of the dead length into this below the ear crop. However, you really shouldn’t have dyed it black. You look like the unfortunate child of the Pillsbury Dough Boy and Elvis. I know in your wildest fantasy, you are a raven haired, porcelain skinned, blue eyed beauty, but your genetic blueprint tends to disagree. I’m not even going to start on the artsy zig-zag hair part you were trying. I’ll just leave it at this. Fail.

I see the three hoops per ear thing you have going on. You’re trying so hard to quietly rebel, and you’re having major issues in reconciling who you are, versus who you wish you were. Right now under this innocuous cable knit sweater, is a fairly fresh tattoo on your mid-back. You lied and told your mother you were going to Pocatello, Idaho to hang out at the mall. Unbeknownst to her, you were actually headed to Token Tom’s Tattoo Emporium to make some of her worst nightmares come true. About three months from now, she will discover your tattoo, and all hell will break loose. A war of words will ensue. You leave the house in tears, and it will be the first time that you and your mother don’t speak for well over a month. Although you are devastated to have let her down, I assure you that this is the beginning of your path in discovering yourself. It is the facilitator to you understanding that you need to live up to your own expectations, not hers, as painful as it is.

At this time, you are driving a crappy red 1991 Nissan named Katiya Jovanovich. This is going to sound odd to you, but this will be your favorite car. Don’t worry, you’re going to have other cars after Katiya, namely Mabel the Honda, Ravi the Toyota, Maggie the blue Nissan, and Alejandro the Jetta, but Katiya will always be your favorite. You will eventually discover that the love for this trashy hunk of tin is based solely on the fact that it is your first key to what you perceive as ultimate freedom. Although you hate the fact that it doesn’t have a functioning air conditioner, someday you will look back fondly on the times that you would drive aimlessly down the highway with all the windows down singing loudly to Prince’s Little Red Corvette. (Except you change the words to Little Red Nissan.) Five years from now, when Katiya finally bites the dust at some 190,000 miles, you will be strangely saddened. You realize later that it’s because there is something about the baby steps into adulthood that this car represented that you’re going to miss someday. Enjoy Katiya in all her tacky bumper stickered, ugly grey cloth interiored, busted out headlight glory.

There are so many things I could tell you about the future, but I wouldn’t want to scare you. I will tell you this, however. Everything you go through will add to your inner strength and character. You won’t always loathe yourself the way you do now. You will find pieces to the puzzle that you couldn’t even fathom existing at this point. Even better, around the age of twenty-five you will stumble upon some strange comfort in your own skin that will reflect on the exterior. Although you’ll never gain the type of beauty that you hold to be ideal, you will end up creating your own that is a triumphant middle finger to the mold you never fit.

Over the next decade, you will lose so much, but gain even more. You will turn thirty, and find yourself using cornball euphemisms in a letter to yourself. In April of 2013, you’ll roll your eyes at the things you find yourself typing, but keep on writing.

Jane, friends and lovers will come and go. Your family will always be there, because they really have no other choice. (Seriously, I’m pretty sure there is a contract that says something like that.) What I want to emphasize is that you need to appreciate your family before they are gone. Again, I won’t get specific here, because it would scare the shit out of you. Just get to know the ones who share your blood, as they will help you understand yourself more than you could fathom. Someday you wish you would have asked more questions, and talked a little less.

I could go on, but you wouldn’t listen anyways. You’re just a punk ass kid.

If you absorb nothing else I say, I want you to walk away with this petite pearl of wisdom I wish to offer to you at the seasoned age of thirty.

Don’t ever to that to your hair ever, ever again.

Fondly,

Yourself, 2013.

 

Thursday, April 4, 2013

Erosion Interrupted


I watch as the last tendrils of sunlight slip over the horizon, and leave a soft grey blue touching the tree-tops out my window. Though my eyes view the present, my mind is very much enveloped in the past.

“Dusk,” he had once said, “Is the loneliest hour.”

Oh, but I had disagreed. I’ve always been a lover of the night, and feel as though the light can be too demanding. The presence of sunshine implies that there are things to be done, places to go, priorities to be made. Darkness, however, is a shroud of rest. It softly hints at possibilities, but only if you chose them. The black canvas is soon decorated with glittering stars, and if you’re lucky you can catch the moon in its brightest phase, the ethereal beauty that is so easy to take for granted when you’re looking at the ground.

I think he was always looking at the ground.

Fear propelled him, drove him blindly, made him it’s captive, and stifled his beauty.

When I was in high school, my competitive speech coach wrote a quote from Nelson Mandela on the board, and told us that it applied to each of us. It said, “Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure.”

I remember sitting at my desk, fourteen years old, and shaking my head cynically. That does not apply to me, I thought. My deepest fear is that I do not measure up, and I never will.

I was not one of those lucky people who are born with a natural confidence. Mine was earned, through experience, trials and tribulations, errors, pain. At fourteen years old, I knew next to none of this. I had no pre-planned path or self-plotted destiny; I more or less stumbled along until I found my way.

My bravery was earned from disaster, when picking up and carrying on was my only option; and it fostered in me a steel core that I had not come naturally equipped with. Yet I was not aware of what was to come in my impending world yet, at only fourteen.

Truth be told, I envy people like him. He was brilliant, wise, talented, charismatic, artistic, and unfortunately a prisoner of his own mind. His limitations were self-imposed. What a pity to possess such  natural gifts, yet through the confines of his inner workings, be robbed of the ability to share them with the world.

I considered myself pretty exceptional when it came to him, that I was able to see how magnificent he really was, when everyone else could not. It was if I had discovered a rare pearl floating on the surface of the ocean, entrenched in fog and hidden to all others.

I scooped the pearl up from the ocean immediately, and did all I could to cultivate it. But you cannot cultivate someone who hates themselves. His hell bent nature on self-destruction made my flirtation with it at times look like child’s play.

However, I loved him furiously and recklessly. It was the sort of breathless abandon of common sense that sustained me only briefly, until I ran out of air.

I gasped at the surface, thinking he would be there with me, but I was alone. Although the air filled my lungs sweetly, my longing for him overshadowed what nourishment I felt from the breaths I gulped greedily.

I was alone. I sank below the waters, and without him I welcomed anything, wanting for nothing; but did not grasp for death willingly. To maintain the life force through repetition alone, I became numb.

And at dusk, there he was again, but this time it was different. I had too much time without him, and had hardened my heart too much to let him in, even if I wanted to.

I floated on the water for a moment, and held the pearl in my grasp. I noticed how my body began to sink with my hands still wrapped around the pearl, the pearl and I were sinking together. Tears blurred its beauty, and I reluctantly pulled my fingers out of the grasp, one by one, until the pearl floated away.

With that, I let him go.

Years later, I ended up finding the rest of the Nelson Mandela quote. Strangely enough, the speech coach had only shared the beginning with us. Mandela’s words reverberated deeply within my soul, and gave me the permission to release him, but this time for good.

 “Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous? Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God. Your playing small does not serve the world. There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won't feel insecure around you. We are all meant to shine, as children do. We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us. It's not just in some of us; it's in everyone. And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.”

A part of me hopes he reads this, another part of me hopes that he doesn’t. I know at this point he would only blame me, hate me, and I would be the pinpoint in the downward spiral of his pain.

I don’t want that.

This is my love song, my farewell, the words that will say to him what my voice cannot.

To liberate him, I liberate myself. I will let my light shine unencumbered, solitary, finally free.

I hope someday he will be free.

Monday, March 25, 2013

Screwed By Symbolism


Have you ever felt like there was some sort of curse upon you?

I have for years in the love department, and I really wish I could make peace with the person who keeps sticking pins in the Jane voo-doo doll.

Okay, that’s a bit of a stretch, but I do have a theory that is entirely plausible as to what has gone wrong for me in the romance department.

You see, I have been the victim of many a sort of love. The only thing they all really have in common (other than me) is the fact that they all end rather briefly under circumstances that I mainly do not comprehend.

The other night, I was methodically contemplating every romantic motion both recent, and long ago. (By methodically contemplating, I mean getting tipsy on wine and listening to sappy music.) Suddenly, it occurred to me where it went wrong, and why it has since.

I was a tender fifteen years old when I dated my first boyfriend. It was one of those all-encompassing passions that involved steamy nights holding hands; and hours of tying up the phone lines after school, much to my parents’ consternation. (Coincidence that I ended up getting my own phone line in my bedroom for my sixteenth birthday, I think not.)

For our very significant one month anniversary, he gave me a promise ring. (That my mother ended up making me return to him. Whatever. I was fifteen and in love. I knew exactly what I was doing.) I gave him a key necklace to my heart necklace.

It ended two months later, and it was one of those breakups that is just so devastating when you have a case of puppy love. It was the sort of breakup that left me crying on my bedroom pale blue carpet, with the cordless phone beside me. My mother came in with a mug of chamomile tea, and rubbed my back. She actually pretended to understand my hysterical sob speak in between sips of chamomile tea. I swore I would never love again. I am one who tends to get caught up in the moment.

Flash forward to three years later, I was an 18 year old, dating a 24 year old. I thought that made me pretty cool. It was my first year in college, and I was the chubby lamb ripe for the slaughter. For years I had no freedom, so when I turned 18 and left home, I was drunk on it, and overdosed. I ended up having to end our relationship, as I was moving back home. (Apparently professors like you to attend class physically while you’re in college. Whatever. I was 18, I knew exactly what I was doing.) It was a very powerful moment when I handed him my journal and tearfully told him that I wanted him to have it to remember me by.

Did I mention I am one who tends to get caught up in the moment?

A month after that moment, I begged him for my journal back. It was a collection of my interpretations of the world as I discovered it. Everything was so new and bright to me, and I had created some of my best stuff during those times. Plus, the journal it’s self was really bitchin’ as the cover was tie dyed with my favorite colors. Naturally, he refused to give it back to me, as he declared that I was a manipulative heartbreaker or something, because I had left. I begged and begged him for it, even offering to pay for the shipping, but it was a no-go. He eventually successfully ignored me into non-existence.

Realizing my journal was most likely in ashes, that marked the exact moment I learned not to give away things at the drop of a dime, or at the beat of my heart.) (Oooh, doesn’t that sounds like a great 80s crappy love song?)

Journal aside, I feel like the main damage was done at fifteen. I gave my very first boyfriend the key to my heart, and never got it back. He and I are actually still friends, I certainly could ask for it back, and he’d probably give it to me. However, that was fifteen years ago. In my romantic mind, the key necklace is most likely in the bottom of the ocean Titanic style. (Nevermind that we lived in a landlocked state, with the nearest ocean several thousands of miles away.) In my practical mind, the key necklace is at the bottom of a landfill, where some grimy kid will discover it in the year 2065 when keys are obsolete, wonder what the hell it is, and then melt it down for scrap metal.

No, I don’t know why a grimy kid would be melting down metal, just shut up. It’s my practical mind space, not yours. Get your own.

Anyways, what do I do? I gave the key to my heart away, and now I’ll never have it back! It’s a teenage stupidity juju curse that will haunt me until my lonely death with 35 cats, 32 of which will start gnawing on my corpse even before I’m cold! (Sorry, that was probably a bit graphic. You know what, so is love.)

 I’m going to be proactive and design my tombstone now. I want it to have a key on it, and say “Jane gave the key to her heart away to a soldier, who died in the war loving her. She loved him and no other until the day she died.”

Although it’s technically not really the truth, it makes a much better tombstone than “Jane died under a juju curse with a dumb necklace, she didn’t accomplish much, but she had lots of cats!”

Maybe I’ll just try to replicate the key to my heart at a Walmart kiosk with a Dale Earnhardt memorial key. Nothing says romantic curse breaker like Nascar.

 

 

 

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Holy Mess


You know what’s great about being a single mom? Not much! But my motto has always been when life hands you lemons, throw them on the ground and stomp them into a slimy, pulpy mess. Will it accomplish anything? No. But you’ll feel a hell of a lot better.

Even before I had Eliza, I knew that I wanted any future children I had to attend a parochial school. (I think part of being a woman means planning your child’s entire life span even before he/she is a zygote, and then spending a lifetime disapproving of your eventual child as they deviate entirely from your plan just to spite you.) I have certain prejudices about public schools in this state that I will keep to myself, because I want to still have friends. Really, it’s a choice everyone must make, and there are pros and cons no matter what you do.  

Con has been the name of the game the last year, as Eliza is edging towards the end of her preschool career, and preparing for her big transition into full time schooling. I’ve found myself faced with the task of conforming to the Catholic code of well, everything.

Last week, I had to attend a mandatory class on child molestation for any adult who intended to participate in any activity that a child would. Yes, you read that right. The idea was to learn what to watch out for when it came to child predators, so that we can all be more diligent in protecting our kids. It’s my personal belief that the class is more or less an attempt at damage control after the media frenzy related to the priest/altar boy scandals. The class it’s self wasn’t a terrible concept, but frankly I could think about eight million other things I’d rather be doing on a Thursday evening than sitting around watching a movie about kiddie touchers.

I found myself in a conference room with about seventy other adults, and the leader explained to us that we would be watching not one, but TWO movies on the subject! (and to think, me there with no popcorn) I was beyond thrilled to learn that this would be eating up at least two hours of my evening.  As the leader droned on, in my head I began to teach the subject. I deduced that I could teach the class in about ten minutes flat, and I would hold up a picture of a white, windowless van with an ‘X’ across it. Then I would hold up a sign of a creeper offering free candy and/or a puppy, with an ‘X’ drawn across him. Class dismissed.

As the movie began, I tried to watch it with an open mind. The first interview was with a preteen boy, and he looked really familiar to me. As the boy went out about how he went to camp, and then his counselor took him aside and horrors ensued, I kept trying to figure out where I knew him from. I watched the other children recount their tales of awfulness, and I couldn’t help but think that despite the documentary style of the movie, it seemed like they were acting. They went back to the camp kid, and suddenly, I knew where I had seen his face before. He was on the show Weeds! It was Silas, the sexy dumb character! However, Silas wasn’t being Sexy Silas, he was being traumatized victim kid. Watching him portray a traumatized victim kid pretty much ruined my crush on the Sexy Silas character.

The only useful part of the two hours came in the form of the two actual incarcerated child molesters, who shared their methods of entrapment. Although I sort of wanted to behead them as they spoke, I did pick up a few things I hadn’t thought of to watch for. After the movies were over, we were expected to participate in a class discussion on the movie. I was hoping for not many questions or comments from my fellow hostages/classmates. However, I had forgotten how stupid and naïve people can really be. A woman in front of me raised her hand, and said, “It just really shocked me how the molesters look just like everybody else!” I felt my eyes roll towards the ceiling. She was the type of person who probably would think all perverts had white windowless vans and trench coats.  

I somehow made it through the class, and earned the right to attend Eliza’s school activities, the first of which will be on Friday, Moms and Muffins! Truth be told, I sort of dread Moms and Muffins. I see it being more like Perfect Stepford Catholic Wives and Deviant Sin-tastic Jane sharing the same space, while the Stepfords ask if there are any low-fat gluten free muffins simultaneously as Jane attempts to demurely cover her mouth crammed full with chocolate chip double chocolate muffin. They will preen their perfect one-length practical Stepford bobs, and smile stiffly when they are caught staring at my teal hair streak. Their S.U.Vs, wedding rings, and bank accounts will all be of matching gigantic proportions. “She’s divorced and has no husband!” I hear one whisper to the other in my head, and then they will both shake their heads in awe of the scandal of it all, gazing at Eliza with pity.

I first learned that the Catholic church has a certain disdain towards divorcees about four years ago. I had to attend a class on baptism, as I was preparing for Eliza’s. It was already sort of embarrassing to be there, as I was the only solo parent. All the other parents were in pairs. It reminded me way too much of childbirth preparation classes the previous year, where I was the only solo attendee. I’d like to say it didn’t hurt looking at all the other cute pregnant mommies and anxious daddies together, but it stung as I was simultaneously lonely, and wondering what they were all thinking of me. In my own mind, I was wearing a scarlet letter of whoredom, even though that was far from the truth. I ended up dropping out of the class because I couldn’t handle the terrible feeling. Still, I stuck the baptism class out. At the end, the deacon met with each of us individually. When he asked about my marital status, I explained what had happened.

After I explained, he looked at me with a troubled expression. “I would never deny a child the holy sacrament of baptism, but if it were my child, I would get your marriage annulled with the church, so that you are right with god.” I stared at him incredulously. “But we didn’t get married in the Catholic church! It was in a non-denominational minister!” He shook his head. “You still need to get it annulled in the church.” I felt my face flush with embarrassment. I left the class with a feeling of shame, and dread. I knew how hard an annulment can be to attain, and moreover, I was aware of all the embarrassing details I would have to share in writing. Although I didn’t feel like I had much to be ashamed of, I still didn’t care to share my sexual exploits with anyone else but a bar full of eager listeners during two dollar pitcher ladies’ nights.

As I drove home, I decided that I would not have the marriage annulled. I had not been married in the church, so in the church’s eyes, I was not married. How in the world can I void something that never was? Moreover, I would not annul my marriage because I had married Eliza’s father out of love. Eliza was created in love. I did not feel as though this was an accident, or something that I should feel shame and/or repent for. I had married out of love, and did not regret the reasoning behind my choice to wed, even though I had sorrow over the outcome of divorce.  I felt a pang, knowing that I would never technically be ‘okay’ with my church again, but I chose to be more okay with myself.

I backed out of the baptism entirely. However, I knew Eliza could not go to Catholic school without a baptism. Four years later, she and I had moved and were in a different parish. Again, I met with a deacon. But this one was different. He barely asked me about the marriage, and focused more on Eliza’s baptism. I breathed a deep sigh of relief that it was a non-issue to him.

You must wonder why I baptized Eliza in the Catholic religion, and why I am sending her to Catholic school. The answer is both simple, and complex. My family is Catholic going back for many generations on my father’s side. I consider continuing the tradition of a Catholic upbringing as a tribute to my dead homies. I agree with most of Christian morals, and values. Although this part is going to sound odd, I want to give Eliza a strong foundation in something, even if I don’t believe in all of it. With that strong foundation, she can build herself up, and then eventually rebel from it to find her own truths. But a firm ground is essential before you grow.

I think humans mar the beauty of religion with their own interpretations and impressions that they try to force upon others. Although I have opposition to so much, I undoubtedly still adore parts of my birth religion: the saints, the stained glass, the holy water, the mysticism, the repetition, the rituals. I collect rosaries, and I still say Hail Marys and Our Fathers when I’m nervous or scared. I guess the girl can remove herself from the religion, but the religion never really entirely removes it’s self from the girl.
In the meantime, I smiled as the priest baptized Eliza with the holy water, and felt joy when I held her in my arms as he anointed her with oil. “And with this holy baptism of Eliza today, all of you renew your baptism promise, and are cleansed once again from sin.”

I grinned mischievously. Well, maybe not entirely cleansed of sin. Possibly a short break from it. There are far too many lemons on the ground just waiting to be stomped on.

Amen.

Bless me, father, for I have sinned.Sooo, can we talk about last night? And, uh, the night before that? I hope you packed a lunch.

 

 

 

 

 

Monday, March 18, 2013

Malicious Moshing


Have you ever wanted to see humanity in its lowest form? (Don’t lie, I know you have.) Go to a concert. Live music takes the best parts of the auditory experience, and injects people into it. For some reason, the combination brings out primal instincts that are feral, at best. Crowds end up raping me of my joy, almost every time. The derelicts I encounter are often on the cusp of throwing their own fecal matter, and that’s giving them credit they’re probably not due.

I damn near had my Lady Gaga concert ruined by such a primate, and it surprisingly brought out my own inner beast.

Gaga is sort of my own personal muse/goddess/icon. Yes, I know how fangirl and lame that makes me sound. But baby, I was born this way. (sorry, couldn’t help it.)

I digress, but by some miracle I won pit tickets to her Born This Way ball last month. My sister-in-law and brother were my guests of honor. Robb was as thrilled as a lumber jack at a tea party to be there, but he put up with it for Jamie and I. We were down in the middle of the pit, eagerly awaiting Gaga’s performance when the shenanigans began.

Naturally, we were all packed in the pit with little elbow room to ourselves. It was bearable, but poor Robb ended up behind a redneck with the social graces of a dodo bird on steroids. The guy, let’s call him Uncle Wasted, was practically in my brother’s lap. It seemed pretty certain that he was high and drunk, and completely oblivious to himself or anything else. Uncle Wasted was obnoxious, and already getting on my nerves about ten minutes into the pre-concert wait. I am a firm believer in a time and place for everything. Uncle Wasted was violating my rules by being high at a Gaga concert. Seriously, we were not seeing the Greatful Dead. At one point, Uncle Wasted leaned way back, and in doing so was close enough to Robb where, as Robb put it, “If I would have stuck my tongue out, it would have been in the fucker’s ear.”


Robb, to his credit, waited a moment for Uncle Wasted to realize his proximity. But Uncle Wasted was on a mission, and he had a one-track mind. Finally, Robb spoke up. “Hey, dude, you’re in my personal space.”

Uncle Wasted did not offer an apology, merely straightened up slowly on wobbly legs, and turned around at my brother, and pointed at his drink.

“I gotta get the cherry out of da bottom!” he slurred. I couldn’t help but think that Uncle Wasted’s drunken logic sounded sort of like something I would say. But Robb was not amused. “I don’t care that you have to get the cherry out of the bottom, you’re in my face…”

The exchange was about to get more heated, but thankfully the lights went down, and out came Gaga riding a horse, with some sort of cage apparatus on her face.

She began to sing her first song Highway Unicorn Road To Love, (my favorite!) and I was thrilled to hear that she sounded even better live than she did on record. I glanced over excitedly at Jamie and Robb, but much to my horror, I discovered that Uncle Wasted had not learned his lesson, and was leaning heavily into Robb again.

Jamie caught my eye, and we exchanged a womanly knowing glance that said, “We need to get Robb away from this guy, before Robb beats the shit out of him, and we get kicked out of here.” So I after some creative movement, we ushered Robb over to where I had been standing, and I took Jamie’s spot, and Jamie ended up behind Uncle Wasted.

Much to my chagrin, I was now standing behind a man who was no shorter than 6’10. I kept dodging around him, but due to the sea of people, I couldn’t view a damn thing. I sighed deeply, and wondered if I could be content just hearing the concert instead of seeing my Gaga.

I looked over at Jamie, and promptly lost my temper. Uncle Wasted was back to his old tricks, but now he was almost lying on Jamie. To make matters worse, Uncle Wasted was on the shorter side, and Jamie is rather tall, so he was essentially reverse face planting her boobs. Jamie stood there, trying to be patient, with a look of mild irritation on her face. 

My anger was as white hot as an exploding star. Here I was at my dream concert, and Uncle Wasted was being Uncle Wasted, and not respecting the music, nor anyone else around him. Even worse, Gaga had begun to sing Bad Romance, (my favorite!) and I was not enjoying it because I was too busy worrying about Uncle Wasted being all up in my family’s Kool-Aid.

I looked Uncle Wasted up and down, and decided that if it came to it, I probably could take a punch from him, for what I was about to do.

I somehow managed to wedge myself between Jamie and Uncle Wasted. I motioned Jamie over to my old spot behind the World’s Tallest Man.

I waited for a moment, to see if Uncle Wasted would have some manners and stay off. Of course he didn’t, and soon I found the weight of him pushing into me. He was so close, I could see the individual hair follicles in his scalp.

Show time.

I took a deep breath from my diaphragm, and began to scream.

“YEAAAAAH WOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!! GAGA! I LOVE YOU! AHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH!”

Uncle Wasted’s ear was right next to my mouth, and he leapt about ten feet in the air. In my periphery, I saw him turn around with an expression shock and annoyance.

I made sure my widened eyes were glued to the stage, as if Gaga was the second coming of Christ, and I couldn’t wait to repent. “AHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH! Gaga! Lady Gaga! Loook at meeeeeeeeee!”

Uncle Wasted, most likely with a punctured ear drum, actually leaned somewhat forward away from me. However, I could still feel his back touching my breasts. That was a no-no.

Remember how Roseanne Arnold screamed the national anthem during a football game in the early 90s? I used her as my inspiration for my Act Two.

Again filling my lungs with air, I began to scream-sing my heart out. “I WANT YOUR LOVE, AND I WANT YOUR REVENGE, I WANT YOUR LOVE, I DON’T WANNA BE FRIENDSSSSSSSS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!”

Two random girls in front of us that I had befriended before the concert, turned and both stared at me, and their facial expressions clearly said, “Where did that calm chick go that we spoke to before the concert, and who is this total freak?” Uncle Wasted turned around again with a full on glare in my direction. I still acted oblivious, and smiled at the stage like Gaga was an ice cream sundae in the middle of a dessert.

Finally, Uncle Wasted was completely off of me, although he was still in front of me. I decided to relent, and enjoy the concert quietly because my own screaming was giving me a headache from hell.

A few songs later, though, the reprieve was ended. Uncle Wasted was back laying on me again. I stood there and took it for a few minutes, formulating my new plan.


Lady Gaga was singing Judas, (my favorite!) and I decided it was the perfect soundtrack for Act Three. I moved slightly to the right of Uncle Wasted, so that he was lying mostly on my left side. I began to dance wildly, as if I was having a seizure in time with the music.

Surprisingly, Uncle Wasted bounced right along with my body without separating from me. It was almost downright sexual, so I then began to add more choreography to my routine. Throwing my arms up to mid abdomen, I turned my elbows out as if I was preparing to do the Funky Chicken.

But instead, I jabbed my elbow right into his kidney. When he still didn’t move, I jabbed my elbow repeatedly into him keeping time with the beat. Uncle Wasted finally leaned back forward, but I kept dancing. He was still too damn close to me.

At that point, I played my last card. First I started with the charming scream-sing, “OH HO HO HO HO , I’M IN LOVE WITH JUDA-AS, JUDA-AS, OHHHHHHHHHHH, I’M IN LOVE WITH JUDA-AS, JUDA-AS!!”

 Next, I threw in some elbow jab dancing, and for my final plan, I began to jump up and down while simultaneously shaking my hips, so that the purse that I had slung across my chest bounced off my left him and banged into Uncle Wasted over and over again.

As I continued bouncing like I was on my own invisible trampoline, I turned to Jamie and screamed, “I JUST CAN’T HELP MYSELF…….I LOVE GAGA SOOO MUCH!”

Jamie smiled at me, as if I was a child with a lollypop, “I know you do.”

My Vera Wang purse wasn’t exactly light, so it didn’t take long before Uncle Wasted was a good fifteen inches away from me, which was all any of us wanted in the first place.

My surprise knew no limits when he turned, and walked to the back of the crowd.

I grinned at Robb and Jamie, and felt like I had just won the lottery.

The rest of the concert went swimmingly, until the encore. Gaga came back out, and began to sing a beautiful acoustic version of Edge of Glory (my favorite!). A lot of the crowd had dispersed, so I decided to get closer to the stage.

As Gaga began to dance, the guitars kicked in, and the crowd began to dance with Gaga.

I found myself behind two pairs of very enthusiastic gay men, and I smiled at them, as their joy was contagious.

“PUT YOUR PAWS UP,” ordered Gaga, and we all did so. But while my arms were in the air, I soon found elbows slamming into my rack, as the adorable gays broke out in disco mode and flailed their limbs into me.

“Yeowch!” I shouted involuntarily, but the boys were somewhere over the rainbow, and they didn’t hear me.

I spent the rest of the Edge of Glory song on the Edge of An Injury, as the two couples danced furiously, and my dodging skills were only so good. It was as though Karma was using them as her instrument to teach me a lesson.

If you take nothing from this blog about nothing today, I would like to make these three points:

One, do not mess with Jane’s family.

Two, do not come to thy holy martyr Gaga’s concert crunked up and ignorant.
And three, if you ever find yourself behind gay guys at a Lady Gaga concert, wear a full suit of armor. It will be your only chance of survival in the wild.

 
 

Me, in all my morning glory, complete with imitation JBF hairstyle, and a Lady Gaga toothbrush.Yes, I own a Lady Gaga toothbrush that sings Bad Romance to me every day.
Told you I was a fangirl. 
 
 

 

 

 

Saturday, January 12, 2013

Cougars, Crows, and Silver Foxes


At the office, one of my doctors recently saw a patient who was somewhere in her 80s. She was diagnosed with a number of visual ailments, the news wasn’t the greatest. I documented the exam, the doctor discussed her treatment options, and the patient began to leave. On her way out of the exam room, she turned to me. In spite of her age, her eyes were vividly blue and alert. She touched my hand.

“Sweetheart, don’t ever get old.”

I sat there for a moment, unsure of what to say. I finally decided to go with one of my departed father’s famous lines.

“It beats the alternative!” I called to her retreating form.

But does it really?

I sure as hell never thought I’d get this old. I was fairly certain I would die before I reached thirty. There’s nothing major medically wrong with me, I just am a morbid person with a vivid imagination. So you can imagine my surprise when thirty snuck up on me like a cat stalking a crippled mouse. I remember the first time I became aware that thirty was a tangible reality when I was getting a new driver’s license. It was summer time, and I was pregnant. The year was 2007, and I was 24, almost 25. Upon examining my new license, I wrinkled my nose at the picture. I was red faced from the heat, and wearing a pink tee-shirt. The two combined made me look like a sunburned flamingo. Lovely, I thought. I’m going to have to use this i.d. for how many years? Then I wrinkled my nose again at the expiration date. 2013! I shook my head in disbelief. By 2013, I thought, the bun in my oven will be five years old, and I will be thirty. THIRTY! I laughed. Perish the thought, I dismissed the notion and continued about my 24 year old day.

You see, as the baby of my immediate family, I was never really that interested in growing up. A huge part of my identity was formed upon the notion that I was the little one, the adorably fallible one, and my efforts at adulthood were cute, not anything to be taken seriously. The second I spawned an Eliza, that all changed. I was still in relative denial, until I hit 29. On my 29th birthday, one of my co-workers came up to me and cheerfully wished me a happy birthday.

On the spot, I morphed into a troll. “Not happy. 29 is the death sentence. 30 is the execution!” I hissed.

She laughed, because she was 23, and things like that are funny when you are 23. I pointed my gnarled claw at her. “You just wait. 30 found me….it will find you, too!” And then I shuffled off to drink my Metamucil, and take a nap.

To quote the late great Aaliyah song, “Age ain’t nuttin’ but a number.”

Yes, that is true, age isn’t anything but a number. But then the next line is, “Throwin’ down ain’t nuttin’ but a thang.” Um, Aaliyah, throwin’ down isn’t just nothing but a thing. Wanna know why? Because throwin’ down leads to the most terrifying sexually transmitted result ever….a case of the babies!

A case of the babies makes you old. Children age your ass faster than a tanning bed set on high.

What I want to know is this….how does one age gracefully?

Years ago, I swore I wouldn’t be one of those older women running from her impending age. Because women like that, I surmised, looked like maniacs attempting to run on a track, flailing their arms about with no control and pathetic to watch. Yet women who aged gracefully seemed to trot like an Olympic sprinter, with grace and ease to the finish line.

Then I saw my first wrinkles.

In the last few months, I kept noticing that my lower eyeliner was always smudged by the end of the day. I thought this odd, since I’ve been using the same eyeliner for the last decade, and it always stayed in place even when everything else in my life didn’t. I got close up in the mirror, and inspected my face.

Much to my horror, my lower eye skin had some tiny lines in it. At first I was furious. Not to sound conceited, but my good skin has always been my saving grace. I feel like I’ve had to fight tooth and nail to be remotely cute in every other aspect and use every product known to man, but my skin always was fairly clear and smooth. And now this. I was becoming a fossil before my time. I’d become the old waitress in the run down café named Doris who greets customers with a cigarette in her mouth and a face like leather, rasping “Whut can I gitchya?”

Frantically, I googled “Causes for early eye wrinkles.” Then I discovered the culprit. I suppose now is the time to divulge that I picked up a nasty little habit last spring. My life was hell, I was fed up with everything, I didn’t give a damn about anyone, let alone myself, so I packed on 20 pounds and started smoking. I had stayed so strong for so long, but a break up finally pushed me over the edge. I chose to not just fall, but catapult myself over the edge. Smoking privately was a form of self destruction that soothed me in a strange way. I suppose I had done the “right” things and received nothing but bad things in return for so long, that now I wanted to taste the other side. Fuck it all, I figured. Now I’m going to do things entirely wrong, and maybe I’ll see some right.  

Early eye wrinkles were my reward for polluting myself. Although I was pretty sure I could reverse the lines by smoking cessation, I needed a quick fix. I ended up in a Walmart aisle staring desperately at anti-aging creams. Then I found a bottle that promised smoother eyes within 3 minutes. Hell, I figured, I’ve got 3 minutes! That night before bed, I tested the serum out. The bottle advised me not to smile or frown for 3 minutes. Okay, I thought, I can remain emotionless for 3 minutes. I smeared on a few drops under each eye. It’s hard not to move your face when you feel as though it’s turning into plaster. Ever wondered what it would feel like to put super glue under your eyes? Buy this stuff! After 3 minutes, I checked out the mirror. Not bad, I thought. Then I smiled. Smiling is a giant no-no. My cheeks moved up with the smile, and the skin below my eyes stayed strangely tight.  The effect produced looked like an extraterrestrial Joan Rivers. “Oh, fuck no!” I screeched and began to scrub the super glue eye serum off. I ended up with raw, red, wrinkly eye skin. My mirror image pouted, as it looked like it now had pink eye. I flipped off the mirror, and went to bed.

Thankfully, by morning my eye skin was back to normal. I was lamenting my eye investment failure, when I began to dry shampoo my hair. At Walmart, I had also picked up a stronger dry shampoo. I realized how well it worked when I looked up nonchalantly in the mirror, and was shocked to see a chick version of Anderson Cooper staring back at me. The dry shampoo had coated my roots in a thick white powder. I was now prematurely grey. The dry shampoo had given me a delightful preview of what I would look like in the next 15-20 years. I brushed the dry shampoo out of my hair so furiously, I broke the hair brush.

Tonight I sat around the living room with the family, attempting to relax. Eliza was happily playing with ‘pixie dust’ (glitter). She generously sprinkled the pixie dust all over my face. Eliza stated that the “Pissy dust” had made me beautiful. Being the mental eight year old I am, I began laughing uproariously at the ‘pissy dust’. My mother stared at me, and I knew she was scrutinizing something. “WHAT?” I finally said.

“Oh, it’s nothing. It’s just that glitter really shows your eye wrinkles. Don’t ever put glitter around your eyes.”

I responded that I had found the cause of my eye wrinkles, and they should be repaired in time.

“No, honey,” she said, “Not those eye wrinkles. Your crow’s feet.”

“CROW’S FEET!” I screamed.

“Uh….uh….”she stammered “They’re not crow’s feet! More like baby birdie steps!”

“My face is not a Disney playground!” I yelled, “There will be no birdies stepping on my face!”

I left the room with arms crossed, and wearing a frown that I was sure was adding wrinkles to my face by the second.

So much for aging gracefully.

Don’t be surprised if you open a celebrity tabloid in the near future, and see a picture of me and Demi Moore partying with men half our age, and looking utterly ridiculous while doing so. (You know it's bad if you're getting down with your bad self, and Lenny Kravitz is trying to pretend he's somewhere else.)

We’re not pathetic, we’re cougars.

And we’ll limp to the finish line like the winners we are.

 

 

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Remains Of the Memphis Rose


It’s New Year’s Eve, and I’m at home in my pajamas, curled up in bed next to a roaring fire (an electrical fireplace, fantastic Christmas present!) and although to the masses I’m sure this sounds pretty sad, it is exactly where I want to be right now.

Although my 2013 New Year’s is the textbook definition of lame, I wouldn’t want to try and top last year’s New Year’s, also known as the most perfect New Year’s in my life, thus far.

It began with a blind date a few months previous, when I met Chad.* We were set up by mutual friends, and it became evident right away that Chad and I were polar opposites. Where I was complex, overly analytical, up tight, and distrusting, he was simple, accepted each moment at face value, relaxed, and warm. (*You know as well as I that Chad is not his real name. Consider yourself warned that if you end up the subject of a blog, you might be assigned a great or awful name, depending on what transpired. I’m like the Taylor Swift of blogs.)

In other words, we had not much in common, but complemented each other nicely. Chad got me to open up and laugh easily, and taught me the beauty of living in the moment, something I had forgotten. Chad had a child from a long term relationship that had ended five months previously, and his little person ended up blending in nicely with Eliza and I. For the first time in a long time, I had a relationship that was fairly normal. Moreover, I had the start of a little family. We spent the majority of our free time together at each other’s domiciles, and some of my favorite evenings were the ones spent where I made all of us dinner, and then we’d all fall asleep on the living room couch watching Roseanne. I found happiness in simplicity, and I realized it was all I had wanted, anyways.

But one thing gnawed at me day in and day out. Although Chad acted entirely like he was my boyfriend, we still had yet to have the ‘big exclusivity talk’, nor had I met any of his family members. Although it might sound trivial, I needed the label. I needed to know after a certain length of dating, that Chad would stick around for a little while. I had learned the hard way not to let people into my life so easily for fear of disruption once they were absent, but I had done just that with Chad and his child. Therefore, I longed for some sort of security blanket from Chad other than just his presence. I needed to hear the words.

I stuck with it as long as I could, and pushed down the doubts that bubbled inside of me every moment we were together. It had gotten to the point where I stopped enjoying him, and I knew that something would have to change either way. Shortly after Christmas, I decided spontaneously to go to Memphis. I had always wanted to go, as I wanted to put a check next to the line item “See Graceland” on my bucket list. Chad offered to go with me, since Memphis can be dangerous. I was thrilled that we were going together.

On New Year’s Eve, we found ourselves on Beale Street. There was excitement in the air, and the night was unusually warm. We roamed Memphis without jackets on, and I watched the crowd bustle around me happily. As he and I meandered, various street vendors roamed the crowd. A man approached us with a bucket of roses. He smiled at Chad, “A rose for your lady?”

Chad looked at him, then me, and grinned. He tossed his thumb in my direction, and faked an embarrassed laugh. “She’s my sister.” The vendor’s face must have been priceless, however, I did not care to look at the vendor, as liquid fire raced through my veins. I glared up at Chad, and tried to disappear into the crowd. I knew what I was doing was dangerous, but I did not care. I was so furious I would rather take my chances amongst strangers than spend another minute with someone who thought so little of me as to make me the butt of a joke.

I heard Chad calling my name, but I pushed on through the crowd, hell bent on running away from him and the pain he had just caused me. He managed to catch me. Chad forced me to sit down on a bench with him. My eyes narrowed, I crossed my arms angrily. My rage was fueled by the alcohol I had consumed, and I suddenly felt the urge to hold nothing back. “I’m your sister? I’m your sister!? Funny, I don’t recall ever fucking my brother.”

Chad sighed deeply. “Look, it was funny. I was just trying to be funny. Obviously I do not think of you as a sister. The fact that I chased after you goes to show that. There would have been a time where I would have just let you go, and continued to have a good evening by myself. I care for you. Really. And I was going to buy you a rose, but on my time. Not because some greasy street vendor was trying to push me into it.”

My fury somewhat diffused, I covered my face with my hands and tried to make sense of it all, which wasn’t easy given my alcohol soaked brain. I dropped my hands into my lap, and turned to Chad. “I suppose the reason that joke hurt me so much, is because of my insecurity in this situation...you and I.”

Chad and I stared at each other for a moment, neither speaking. Suddenly, our stare was interrupted by a voice.

A man stood in front of us, smiling cheerfully. “Look at you two,” he said happily. “Look at you two sitting here on this bench as if no one else was in the world but the two of you.”

I stared up at him, confused and wondering what he wanted. He stared back at me, and smiled more broadly. He turned to Chad. “I bet you fell in love with those eyes of hers.”

Chad half nodded, and replied, “They’re deep.” Chad was not one to hand out compliments freely. I had yet to hear him remark on anything positive about me in our months of dating. The only thing he had ever said even remotely close, was that my eyes were deep. I had heard this before from him, and I could never figure out what he meant by it, exactly. I assumed that Chad was just acknowledging that I (unfortunately) wear my emotions on my face.

The gentleman pointed at a girl walking by. The girl was beautiful, all legs in a mini skirt with long hair cascading down her back in waves. “You see that?” he said “That right there is just something to look at for a spell, something trivial. It doesn’t mean much.”

 He turned back, and pointed at me, while staring at Chad.
“But this one here? She’s something special. She’s the type of girl that you take home, and keep close.”

“Let me tell you something,” he continued, “I lost my wife on Thanksgiving. And she was my best friend, we was together a long time. I wouldn’t have traded ten minutes with her for anything…..not for the world…….Until she was gone, I held her close.”

As the sadness of his words set in, he smiled again at Chad and I. “You two continue to love each other like there is nothing else. Have a happy New Year’s, and a beautiful evening.”

And as quickly as he appeared, he was gone. I stared at his retreating figure, dumbfounded. Chad sharply took a breath in. “Man,” he said, “That was intense. I was waiting for that guy to try and sell us something, but he didn’t.”

I put my hand over my heart, and looked at Chad. “I wish I could have asked him more about his wife,” I said.

Chad shook his head, “Nah. He didn’t want to talk about that. He just wanted to have fun and probably forget. That was probably the first time he’s ventured out since his wife died.”

“No, I think he did, that’s why he brought her up,” I replied. “After my Dad died, it bothered me when people did not acknowledge it. I needed to talk about it, about him to deal with the pain.”

At that moment, a vendor approached us in a three piece suit with a bucket.

“A rose for your girl?” he asked.

My body stiffened, and I waited to hear another joke.

“Yes,” said Chad. “I want a rose for her.”

Chad paid for the rose, and then handed it to me as the vendor left. He put his arm around me. “Where is your Dad buried again?”

I told him the location, and Chad nodded. “That’s what I thought. Tell you what, my family has a cabin up around there, and why don’t you come with me? We can stop and see your Dad, too.”

I felt overwhelmed with joy, as if I might burst. I could have died at that moment, and been entirely happy to do with that as my last moment alive. “I would love that,” I said, and then turned away as tears of happiness filled up in my eyes that I did not want him to see.

He did care about me, and I took this as a sign that we were together. It wasn’t the words, but I knew something between us had shifted for the better.  I threw my arms about him and kissed him, and then cradled the rose in my arm so I could keep it safe.

The night went on, we met up with some friends, and we danced until the ball dropped and it was 2012. Chad and I rode back to the hotel in a taxi, and Chad held me in his arms and played with my hair as I was too drunk to sit up properly. Even in my inebriated state, I felt so alive, as if everything I had been through lead me to this moment, and the moment made it all worth it. I knew I was falling for Chad pretty quickly. I also knew I had fallen in love with Memphis, and the love stemmed from the man who had approached us on the park bench, and had somehow seen my worth lying under my layers of self- doubt and imperfections. To me, Memphis was love, and I couldn’t get enough of it and that feeling.

All good things must come to an end, Memphis did, and Chad and I did. I suppose the details aren’t important now. The next day on the way home from Memphis, we discussed our relationship, and discovered we were in different places as to what we wanted. It’s funny how when a heart breaks, the sound isn’t audible. As the words were spoken, I was driving and trying to keep my focus and my eyes on the horizon. How high I had been the night before, only to plummet back down and invisibly break into pieces, although on the outside all appeared normal. Chad took my hand, something he never did. “What do we do now? I don’t want to lose my Jane.”

Then fight for me, for us, for this! I felt like screaming. But I did not. Ever proud, I told him that I did not know the answer, but I knew that if we kept going the way we were, I would end up hurt. Hell, I was already crumbling slowly, but he could not see it. “We don’t have to do anything rash tonight,” he said, “Stay with me for tonight.”

And I did. But as he slept, I watched him and felt nothing but pain in what I knew could not be, for some internals battles he was having that I did not comprehend. Somehow I muddled through the pain, as I always do, but this time it was far worse. I had let him in, more than the others, and there was a giant gaping hole in not only my life, but Eliza’s, too. Chad slowly faded away, to where I have not spoken with him in almost a year.

It took me a long time to get over him, but I knew ending it was the right thing to do. If I had continued to stay with him, ignoring the wound, it would continue to bleed until I had nothing left. I had to feel the pain in order to heal and go on, as we all do.

(Chad took this pic of my friend and I, mid syringe Jello shot on Beale Street.)

Here I am now, a year ago from my perfect New Year’s Eve, and the hurt is mostly gone. The bitterness has passed, and I am thankful that I was given that night and the chance to feel so alive. I think of him every now and then, and wonder if he found what he was looking for and sorted out his demons. Then I wonder if he ever thinks of me, maybe he is tonight, remembering where he was last year. I will never forget those moments, and the thoughts keep me company on this New Year’s Eve I spend alone. Chad’s rose hangs in my room, now different in appearance, with only the dried up form of its beauty a year ago remains. 

But deep in the entangled memories of my mind, the rose will always be as perfect as that night in Memphis, forever in bloom and waiting for the right person to see its worth, and never let it go.