Thursday, November 15, 2012

Bottles.

I spent an extraordinary amount of time dealing with bottles as a child.

Having a father who was an alcoholic, we spent a lot of time looking for bottles. Finding bottles. Hiding bottles. Emptying bottles. Filling bottles, trying to water them down. Being surprised by the bottles. Learning to expect them, everywhere. Seeing my sister get furious and leave them out, as a 'we caught you' footnote.

I learned to discern between big oversized tumblers of tea that I could sneak sips of and the big oversized tumblers of 'tea' that would make my eyes tear up with their syrupy sting of liquor over ice. I knew what different bottles meant- bottles of beer are a slow, tilting slide; bottles of caramel-colored whiskey are a deep water dive. Bottles, for years, signified hurt and abandonment. Not until I discovered bottles of Boone's Farm did bottles take on a new meaning, one that entertained me through college until I realized I did not want to be my dad. Somehow, I have escaped my history, and a bottle is just a bottle today, nothing more for me personally.

Thirty eight years of living. For years, I veered towards addicts; there is a certain charm about someone who cares about nothing except filling a void. I was a magnet for every kind of addictive personality out there, while managing to avoid being addicted to anything but them. I learned how to deal with an addict for a parent. I learned how to deal with an addict for a partner. I have not, however, learned how to deal with nearer loved ones who are addicts. I know all of the 'speak', the lessons of codependencies. I know the ten commitments, and I lived and breathed al-anon growing up, but somehow they are escaping me as I realize that I am right back to my West Texas hell. Right back to looking for and finding the bottles, figurative though they may be.

I'd really like to go back to bottles just being bottles. I have found, hidden, filled, and emptied more than my share of bottles.

Friday, November 2, 2012

Microbursts

You darlings with all of your 'days of thankfulness'- what is this, November or something?

Oh.

Good lord, thirty days of saying what I am thankful for? EVERY day?

Yeah, like that is going to happen. My little microbursts of gratitude are fast and fleeting- an appreciation for the fiery sunsets or a little happy dance for the perfect dry cappuccino.



But, here, I can list fifteen things right this second that I am thankful for. Timesboy's rendition of Gangham Style when he thinks no one is watching. Steamrolling Superteen at night and hearing her protest and giggle like a little kid. Gingered carrot soup. Kale and pear salad. Funky fake coffee creamers in disgustingly sweet flavors-nomnomnom on the white Chocolate mocha and the pumpkin pie latte ones. My mama-always full of gratitude for my mama, for putting up with me and loving the unloveable me. Down comforters on cool mornings. Badass new running shoes that make sure nothing hurts except muscles after a run. My computer-keys to freedom. Pandora Radio- I can choose anything from Marley to Mumford and Sons. Cafemom- affirming my choice to write every day. Vitamin Water Zero Drive-that stuff is like crack, but with vitamins and caffeine. Pumpkin anything- whether it is pumpkin soup or baked pumpkin or a pumpkin smoothie from Jamba Juice. Freedom to travel-my passport promises adventures. My friends-all of em, for loving me and for being so stinking lovable. My badge from work- a daily reminder of what an amazing company I get to be a part of, even on the days that I want to run away from numbers.  And my rock-teaching me unconditional love through thick and thin, teaching me to love beyond what I thought I was capable of loving. I am better and blessed for ALL of these things and people.

Now, back to snark. My thankfulness bank is paid up through the fifteenth, with two days thrown in, just because. Peace and mushy gushy stuff, y'all!

Thursday, November 1, 2012

Rotten Fruit

Mean Girls.

We all survived them in school, albeit with a few literal and figurative scars. I can think of a lot of mean girl moments but I will NEVER forget Heather Wallin and Crystal Ball chasing me on the playground and pelting me with overripe fruit that squished every time they hit their target.(I predict that Crystal Ball became a stripper without ever having to change her name, if karma exists.)  I always assumed that Mean Girls grow up and became nicer. I thought that age brought wisdom and kindness. Silly me, I thought that age softened the edges a little, rounded out the sharp corners and dulled the jaggedness.

Nope. Mean Girls just grow up into Mean High Schoolers and then into Mean Women. They might get a little better at the Art of Mean, a little savvier at cloaking it in 'caring and concern', but they are still mean. Maybe they learn to keep it under wraps until the mob mentality makes them say things that they will wide-eyed and earnestly apologize for the next day. Maybe they act like they are watching out for you, saying things like "I heard...", when really they are just enjoying seeing that microburst of shock flit across your face before you remember to cover it up with nonchalance.

When they hit you with those figurative pieces of rotten fruit, you suddenly remember how Mean Girls work. You remember how to dance the dance, and remember that vulnerability and expecting the best of people will get you absolutely slaughtered. You remember that being open and transparent when Mean Girls are in the area... Well, you might as well go back to fifth grade, with your thick glasses and baby fat rolls, or  high school in your old hand-me-downs and mismatched shoes in your 1978 Celica. That is what 'open and transparent and trusting' will get you with Mean Girls/Women. Rotten fruit.

So, put your armor on, remember to have thick skin, and ignore them to the best of your ability. Don't get drawn into trying to be their friend, or trying to be more mature. Don't be shocked when they throw out a juicy tidbit of gossip about you that they heard. Don't let the rotten fruit hit you in a soft spot. Don't stoop to their mean ways, because it will kill a piece of your you-ness. Be kind and good and truthful; stay out of the muck. Because, buttercups, we have decades left. Decades to hope that edges will soften and sharp corners will round out a bit. But we should not hold our breath on those things. Chances are, Mean Girls will turn into Mean Teenagers into Mean Women into Mean Old Biddies, the ones who will steal your applesauce, cheat at pinochle, and maybe even pelt you with fruit in the nursing home cafeteria.