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.