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 na├»ve 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.


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.


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.