Sunday, December 23, 2007

Sin of the week, 12/23/07, in little pink tights

She's been popping into my head all the time, lately. Sometimes she says "Buy those shoes," or "Change your underwear" or "Get a man, already." Other times she says "She will never be married to him as long a he was married to me." And then she starts snickering, and I admit, I sometimes permit myself the smallest little wisp of a smile, too.

Should I post a picture of her? On my anono-blog?

She would threaten me with a swift kick in the ass and a one way ticket to the orphanage if I hesitated to do so. Then she would call me something colorful, just to drive the point hime. Something like lazy, ignorant slattern or batshit crazy bitch.

Without further delay, my beautiful, sassy, mother:

Someone once asked me what it's like to lose a parent. The best description I could think of was this: "It's like finding out that you don't need your lungs to breathe." Twelve years later, I think that still pretty much covers it. Since I deal with complicated feelings by simply not having them or pretending I don't, I have almost entirely forgotten my mother.

Some things about her, however, are easy to remember. My mother didn't just call it like she saw it. She'd also call it a seven-legged giraffe if, the, you know, emotional coloration of the subject felt seven-legged and giraffey to her. We were talking about a traffic jam? No matter. Don't you see how seven-legged giraffey that is? If you don't, well, I'm sorry (and so is she) that you haven't the emtional and intellectual refinement to "get" that. I'm sorry (and so is she) that you turned out to be a total RETARD.

I remember also that she was adamant that I marry before thirty and have a spring wedding and that I wear make up every day so as not to go about looking like "the preacher's daughter." Also, if I had sex before marriage, I would (obviously) get instantly pregnant with BASTARDS (plural) which wouldn't matter anyway because I was surely die in my sleep and then boil in the rolling oil of hell within the hour, if not from the Lord's disapproval, then certainly from hers.

When delivering these messages, she would add a special delimiter, so that I'd remember the gems of truth she had imparted to me. Bastards? No.... bastards "in little pink tights." Preacher's daughter? No... preacher's daughter "in little pink tights." Slattern=bad. Slattern in little pink tights = slattern to the 3rd power. What can I say? She was unique.

In little pink tights.

There are other things, though. The things I had forgotten that are suddenly coming back, and they hurt like hell. I am remembering the year she sewed a Christmas tree skirt by hand and used our drawings as patterns for the illustrations of Santa and reindeers sewn into the border. I remember her teaching me to knit, I remember her staying up all night watching movies with me, I remember her walking with me every night when we lived in Texas.

I remember how little she cared, ultimately, whether I wore the cute shoes or lipstick or found a man or shamed her by birthing bastards so long as I was happy.

And that, internet, is where I failed her. She and my dad gave me every opportunity of putting together a decent life and being happy, and I have resoundingly failed to do so. A perfectly good upbringing, one which my mother suffered a martyrdom to ensure, and well... I think you all know what I've done with it and... how I have turned out.

I am a middle aged woman with no family of her own, living in a one room apartment, working a dead end job plus two more to make ends meet - with no discernable talent except collecting friends and then alienating them by not returning their phone calls. I am barely functional, most days. I am happy? Sometimes, a little bit. When it snows. Or when there is extra cheese. I guess I do know how to crack jokes about it and make people like me a little bit. But then I am too busy thinking about myself to care about anyone else and, well, being this self-centered and raucously miserable up takes a lot of energy. If you are thinking "how much?" let me assure you... you have no idea.

So thanks, mom, for everything. And also, sorry. I wish I had done better by you, married and had kids, had a successful career, been prettier, been thinner, "nicer", and happier. It's not like I didn't have a chance. I just haven't taken it.

This is where this post should end. But it isn't going to end.

Becauase I made a picture of a giraffe for you.

When I reflect on this, my giraffe, that is to say, my failure to be happy, I like to make lists of excuses for having so skillfully avoided euphoria - I, who should have had no chance of anything but resounding bliss.

Internet, the last few years have SUCKED.

When in 2006 I racked up the loss of FB, the realization that I wouldn't be able to love anyone else after him, and my dad's diagnosis with leukemia, I ended the year by jumping into the ocean and attempting to scrub off the really bad year I had just had - and start over.

I really didn't think it was possible for 2007 to suck worse that 2006.

It sucked about fifteen times more. (See giraffe).

This year I lost a job that sounded the death knell of my career, I found out all my friends were dating the same guy, I lost Lola, I lost 70% of my savings to the IRS and the other 30% to endless leukemia related plane tickets, hotel rooms, rental cars and phone bills, and my dad was told there was nothing more that medical intervention could do.*

As of today, it also shows every promise of being the year my cat dies. He has stopped eating and is behaving very... un Cat-head like. For the first time in years, he slept on the floor instead of next to my head on the pillow. If I try to pet him he puts out a paw and says, "Step off, slattern. Me no likey."

All this is a long way of saying that this year I have something resembling a new years resolution: to be happy, without reference to outside events, especially those not caused by me. At thirty-seven, soon to be thirty-eight, I owe it to the people who spent a lifetime thinking of my happiness first not to waste all that good parenting by nagging the giraffe and pointing at the tights and hating my life. Otherwise what good was all that decent parenting, anyway? I might as well have been reared in a third world orphanage and died a digging a ditch somewhere.

So there you have it, internet. In 2008, regardless of outside influence, I am determined to not be "like this" or "spacefuck crazy" and I won't be posing before the misery camera.** How I am going to do that, I don't know. Yet. But there are eight days left in this year, and I am going to try to work it out.

* I know there are other ways I could have punctuated that sentence. It would have involved a series of semi-colons to separate the items in a series which themselves include commas. But you see, the tone of the sentence would have been all wrong a series of semi-colons. I can't have the sexiness of the semi-colon interfering with a post as serious as all this.

**I have to give credit where credit is due: spacefuck crazy was first written on the internet by Julia at Here be Hippogriffs.

OK, I'll write about stuff that happens and be kind of spacefucky if it's funny. But that I'll do only for you. Because you are so beautfiful, and because I love you, and because love is all that matters. Also, did I say you're beautiful? Because you are. And I can't help myself.


Neil said...

Here's to making 2008 a happy one for you. I think it is time for your luck to change. Just be careful about being too upbeat in your blog posts. People love when you are happy, but they don't necessarily love to read about it. so, throw in some misery once in a while just to amuse us.

Merry Christmas!

Open Grove Claudia said...

Happiness is an oddity. What I don't see in this post is HOW you are going to be happy, which to me, means that you don't know what you want. Decades of happiness research shows that happiness is about knowing exactly what you want and believing you can get it.

You've lost so much. Maybe it's time to define what you want in clear terms and get moving.

We start the new year with an arrow ceremony that's written about in Write it down, make it happen. I think it might help you. (It sounds incredibly stupid, but is oddly powerful) If you're interested send me an email.

Here's to the new year!

LAS said...

When you figure out the secret to this happiness thing - please please share it with me. I'm becomming desperate for a little happiness. I too need 2008 to be different.

The Horny Bitch said...

*Hug* It will be a better year. Let all the rotten luck happen these few days and they will be gone next year..

mohadoha said...

Your mom was beautiful and she still is as she shines in your memory.

Finally, in 2007, all the work and waiting and praying and hoping paid off. And you were there during the long, awful years.

So here's to 2008! May it be the same for you.....


Maggie said...

I am convinced that there is something in the firmament, in the zeitgeist. Life has been crazy and difficult for me and for many folks I know since . . . 2004 or so? (read back archives for tales of cancer, death, car accidents, pneumonia, heartbreak and job turmoil from 2004-2005.)

However, in the most trying times, there is always tasty goodness. You have the best thing ever, your dad is defying all medical predictions of life expectancy, and he's thriving. And you *are* appreciating it, you are thankful and joyful about that. So you are, in a sense, happy. About the really important stuff.

So you don't have a hubby and kids. As others have asked, is that what you want? The expectations of others can't define your happiness.

So you have a few days to figure out what makes YOU happy, and you will, I know it. In the meantime, please know that you (and your lovely grey mitten) have definitely made me happier in 2007!

Now, a few questions, because I feel like I missed some big stuff and am a bad blog reader -- When/how did you lose Lola, and the job?

Kate P said...

Hey, Nina--haven't "known" you that long, but what a rollercoaster of a post. You do what you gotta do--and put pink tights wherever needed!

(My kitty and I send a virtual hug to you and yours, too.)

Persephone said...

Gorgeous mama, Nina.

2007 sucked balls to be sure, but I think you've got enough good karma coming to you to make 2008 less batshit crazystyles.

Big hug to you.

Slick said...

Geeez Nina, a rough year indeed.

I'm sorry.

Let's make that fresh clean start once again for '08. Hopefully things will turn around.

I got ya back, buddy.

nightfly said...

The upper-left-corner of your face is quite as lovely as the entirety of your mom - so you do have that.

My Dad passed away right near Christmastime in 1991, so I can really hear you when you talk about your Mom, and about feeling like you're disappointing her. I still feel that way sometimes and I am married and etc. Sometimes, when it comes to somebody like your folks (or my Dad), it's almost more important to know that you please THEM, before even being happy. Just remember, the thing that does please them best is to see you happy! (And the moreso for your Mom, who is now where all loves are made perfect.) There's no need to put one before the other.

You have a terrific Christmas and a blessed New Year!

country roads said...

good things for you this year...

and, honey, you're nowhere near a failure, because if you are, I'm soooooo lost.

Nina said...

Neil, I am well aware that misery makes better blog reading. Really. Also, I think you can trust my Irish flu to make churn up misery enough for blog fodder.

Claudia, good advice about the writing it down. My focus for "happy" is not to define what I want as much as it is to stop wanting. Wanting has caused me much more misery than anything.

LAS, The new year has to be good for both of us. We're due.

HB, I hope you're right.

Mohadoha, I can't wait to hear what all that paying off stuff is about. I could use some good news. So email me!

Maggie, yes, there is something oogy (your word) in the water. No one I know except Mohadoha had a good year. I don't get it either. But honestly the bar is set pretty low for 2008 - I just don't want anything awful to happen (of course, it will) but also I want to simply reach a place of acceptance. That's it. I'll write about Lola soon. The job thing ain't that interesting, but I'll write about it too because it's ridiculous. I am so grateful to have stumbled onto your blog and found you, Grand Duchess. There will be mittens. Three of them. For you. Because you are so beautiful, and I cannot help myself.

Kate P, thanks for stopping by and thanks for the kitty-human hug. I did post a long weird thing here, I know, but I was just... typing. And that's how it turned out. But I did draw a giraffe wearing tights, so I am ok with it.

Persephone, thanks. And and I can't wait to do mitten drop two. And thanks for noticing the hotness of my mother. She was something else.

Nightfly, thanks for the encouragement and wise words. My mom, just like all parents, just wanted happy kids. That's the irony of it, I guess. Merry Christmas to you, too.

CR, you are not lost except you are never sure where you put your drink. And at least that's funny. Good year for you, too.

All, I can't believe none of you exclaimed loudly over the beauty of that giraffe. I love you and everything, but come on. Praise my giraffe skills, already.