Saturday, September 03, 2005

Labor Day Traffic

It's Labor Day weekend! This means a number of different things to me. It means that my favoritist time of year is coming up-fall. I can already feel the crispness creeping into the mornings. I can't wait for cool breezes, crystal clear sharp blue skies, brilliantly colored leaves filling the CT River Valley (and also my nostrils) with that wonderful earthy fall smell that is present until the first frost. And also sweaters and jackets and corduroy and boots and apple picking and hot cider and the promise of Christmas and good cheer. I love New England!

But, Labor Day also means a last ditch effort to play summer-it's usually the last pool or beach outing, last barbecue get together...and traffic. Lots and lots of traffic.

Today the question was asked: If you were stuck in traffic, who would you want to be stuck with?

My answer was immediate: My sisters.

In the last month or so we've taken more car rides than normal-2 tubing excursions and a trip to see the Spankme's in NY. I've always known that we are silly and fun but it really kind of hit home when someone outside our group mentioned how jealous she was of our relationship that I recognized how special it was.

Here's an example of why I'd like them to accompany me in a traffic jam:

With Middle Sissy while parking a car:
MS: "How am I doin'? Am I gonna hit that car?"
Mags: "No, you're good. You've got lots of room."
MS: "Are you sure?"
Mags: "Yes. I am sure."
MS: "Ok, but if I hit them you are totally paying for the damages."

With Little and Middle Sissy Mags:
LS:(Out of the blue) "I'm the nicest of the sisters..."
Mags and Middle: AHAHAHAHAHA
Mags: "What?! Why do you say that?"
LS: "See, you laugh at me. I wouldn't do that..."
Mags: "Oh whatEVER! You totally would laugh at us! When would you say you are the nicest? "
LS: "In every situation."
Later that day, at Spankme Stadium...
LS: "WTF? That bitch just gave dad a dirty look." (And then proceeded to give the "bitch" a dirty look herself. She may have also called the girl a 'dirty bitch' or a "ho" or something like that too)
Mags: "Ok. That's funny, I thought you were the nicest sister?!"
LS: "I AM! She just gave Dad a dirty look! I'm sticking up for family!"
Mags: "See, I would have just been EXTRA nice to her. Because she's obviously having a bad day."
Laughs all around...

On the way to NY, after seeing a random weird guy walking on the busy highway:
Mags: "You know what I like about that guy specifically?"
Middle: (While giggling) "I have the best sisters. No one else would say anything about a random guy on the highway. And they definitely would not have a favorite thing about him!"

And one of my recent favorites: On the way to tubing while driving by Papa Gino's restaurant...
LS: "PAPA GINOS?!?!! CAN WE EAT THERE?!" (While crying with joy, mind you and almost standing up in the back seat.)
"I used to LOVE Papa Gino's! Oh my GOD, PLEASE? Can we GO?!?"
Middle and Mags: Silence. Because, well, we were stunned she shed a tear for Papa Gino's.

Quirks. We all got 'em, but when you pile them all up in one car, nothin but fun can occur.





Friday, September 02, 2005

Happiness: A Choice?

The uneasiness of life sometimes gets the best of me. It's scary to think that ultimately, I have no control over the things that happen to me. I have no control over whether or not Monkey Lady walks in the door screaming or if Bambi asked me the same question 100 times today. I also can't control whether or not Mr. CM and I stop dating, or if we will end up filling a house with children one day.

But what I can control is how I choose to deal with these things. I remember when I was going through my divorce someone suggested I attend a support group. At first I gawked at the idea. In fact, I actually opted to attend a prayer circle instead. This quickly ended, however, when I was sitting in the dark for 4 hours with complete strangers and they started touching me. Yeah-they all put there hands on my ovary region (men included) and started chanting.

So...the support group it was! I walked in the room and was instantly struck with how out of place I was. I was 26. The others were at least 40 and beyond. It was one of those, "Drop everything, stop talking, don't breath, because the freak of the group just walked in" type moment.

I sank down into a comfortable arm chair and waited for someone to talk to me.

No one did.

Finally the lady I contacted came in and instantly knew who I was. She walked over to me and gave me a warm hug, and thanked me for coming. I cried.

The meeting was broken down into readings and exercises done in groups. I quickly emerged as a leader. I was the person who read the passages out loud for the entire group, as well as helped my individual group finish our work. It was clear to me that several of these women were very, very depressed. And I was too, but looking at the older women somehow made me feel like I didn't have it so bad.

"I am young", I thought. "I have a college degree and a stable job in management. I have more skills than typing and I have the ability to talk to people. I have potential."

The group also saw this and after a few meetings, they started to hate me. I became friendly with 1 other woman, but other than that, I was alienated. I can remember the very instant the group shifted on me.

It was when I told them that I was "choosing to be happy."

One lady, God bless her, said through a mixture of tears and bitter laughter, "It's not the fucking easy little girl".

And she was right. There wasn't a day that went by that I didn't feel like crying. Most days I did, in fact. There wasn't a day that didn't pass in which I simply didn't want to get out of bed, and if I did get out of bed, I didn't want to shower or brush my hair. But I did. Not only because I had to because I had responsibilities, but also because I knew that I could.

I chose to get up. I chose to take a shower and to brush my hair. I chose to go to work and show up for life. And I took the little bits of fuzzy joy that slowly came back to me and tucked them away until I could make a whole sweater. And after a while, it translated into me choosing to be happy.

And it doesn't always work. And it isn't always easy. But it sure as hell beat the alternative: sleeping my life away in a house that I was going to lose and waiting for my life to get better.

I think about the many things I would have missed out on had the choice I made been different. I wouldn't have met so many of the people I hold dear to me now, nor would I have the confidence in myself and feel the freedom I do on a daily basis.

Does my life still suck sometimes? Abosofreakinlutly. But that's when I wrap myself up in my sweater of joy that I made and remind myself of what I do have. And when that doesn't help, I let go and let God.

Happiness doesn't have to be situational. It can be a choice.

5 Year Clarity

Mags: "You know on those CSI shows n stuff when someone's kidnapped and put in a truck and then later they are talking to the CSI people because they are trying to figure out who the kidnappers were and where they drove? And so they have the person listen to tapes of different bridges and railroad tracks to see if it sounds familiar..."

Big Boss: "Yeah..."

Mags: "Do you think people can really do that?"

Big Boss: "Nah. I don't. Especially not if they drove from Schenectady to Rocky Hill or something."

Mags: (Laughing) "Nice. I like the fact that you chose Schenectady."


Pause....

Mags: "I'm surprised no one asked who I was planning on putting in my trunk."

Big Boss: (Without missing a beat) "Well, you know me, always in search of the truth. I got a little time. I think I can fit in your trunk"

Mags: (Huge uninhibited laughs-laughing uncontrollably actually)

No other sounds from the people still left in the office...

Big Boss: ..."I don't think people get us."

Mags: (Sober now) "No. Me neither."

And that would be why I've stuck it out at my company for 5 years.

My boss is a fellow freak.

On Top Of The World

This is how I feel after unloading some baggage I've been carrying around with me unnecessarily. I should have had the courage to do it sooner and should've trusted that it would be received openly.

But either way, if feels like I've just climbed a mountain. (That's good)

8-)

Thursday, September 01, 2005

A Heal?

Isnt' it funny when a saying comes into your head and you have no idea why you've used that saying? I just thought, "Man, I feel like a heal!" I have never in my life said that, nor have I known anyone who said that. Why would I think that all of a sudden?

And what does that mean exactly? Does it mean that I feel like the weight of the world is on me, or does it mean I feel dry and cracked. Maybe it means I feel smelly.

In any case, I have no idea why that phrase popped into my head. I mean, I do know what I was thinking when I thought it, but the actual phrase, well....no clue.

Old People

So I'm about to start volunteering for my town in a couple of weeks and I'm beginning to worry about what they're going to have me do. Yeah-that's right, I don't know what I volunteered for. My town apparently just fills in the blanks when they have them with people who are interested in helping.

Ok. Not a big deal. It's what I want to do, right? Right. I'll do anything they want me to if I can.

Wait. What if I have to help old people? Old people freak me out. They smell too. You know, like pencil shavings. Ugh.

Oh no! They might have long, gross finger nails. What if they're bald!? Long nailed, bald, pencil shaving smelling people are NOT my favorite.

Stop Mags...you are a good person...you want to help...older people have earned your respect...stuff your fears and move on.

Yes, I am fine. I'm great even! I am young and able bodied, and want to help!

Oh fuck. What if I have to touch them? OMG. Remember that freaky story the Biz's sister told you in 7th grade? About the old woman who's skin just peeled right off? Blaaa!

Drool. I can't deal with drool either. What if they drool?! What if their breath smells like rotting teeth? What if I have to HELP them take their teeth OUT?!

What have I done? How can I do this? Are they like dogs? Can they smell my fear?

What am I going to do?

Wednesday, August 31, 2005

The Dating Game...

Um. Can someone shoot me?

Who invented dating? When I find out...they're in trouble...

I've been thinking that I'd fit in in those cultures where arranged marriages exist. The whole-"Is he going to call" "Does he like me" "Is it weird that I licked his face"...I mean who needs it?

The sad fact is, I can't get enough. I mean, let's face it-I'm 29. Time's a tickin'. My family doesn't let me forget this either. Just the other day, in fact, my grandmother asked if I had anyone special. When I replied that I was dating someone but didn't really know where it was going she replied,

"Well....(Pause)...I hope you find the right one soon."

Whatever! I wanted to shove those homemade browines she just baked up her wrinkled old ass! Maybe one of the nuts she insists on putting in them (even though we ALL like them better female) would get lodged up there and make her feel terrible.

I can't get enough of this boy though. Whenever I feel like I just want to scream, he does something spectacular and insanely perfect that I want to throw my arms around him and yell,

"I'M HAVING SO MUCH FUN!"

Well, maybe not that, specifically, but he makes my heart sing. And then...the day after-he's distant. Acts like he's all busy and stuff...'cause he knows how I feel and knows that he's got me. What's that about anyway? "I don't want to break your heart" he whispers to me in the dark.

Well, Mr. Cute Mouth, I think secretly you do. I think that you are having fun playing sleepover, and don't want that to end. I see that you've got game, and I'm impressed. Ok? Now, can we just live instead of playing? That would be nice, thanks.

Whatever.

Let go and let God, right? Have faith and read your horiscope. :)

Tuesday, August 30, 2005

5 Escomptes De Doigt

It deeply saddens me to read that people have begun looting in New Orleans.

This is exactly the type of thing that is dragging our country down: People taking advantage of tragedy for their own personal gains.

An observer:
"To be honest with you, people who are oppressed all their lives, man, it's an opportunity to get back at society," he said.

And to that I say: Bull shit. To be honest with YOU-people who are oppressed all their lives should get back at society by making something of themselves-by rising above what is stereotypically expected of them and to kick some ass. Honestly.

Greed. That's all it is. No one needs cases of soda and chips in a time of need-no one needs 15 pairs of jeans. In fact, jeans are WAY heavy when they get wet-I mean, c'mon people-at least use your brains!

Seriously though, what the fuck? Does this disgust anyone else?

Monday, August 29, 2005

Letting Go

As some of you know, I am a survivor of domestic violence. The man I was involved with was a professional manipulator. He also had a mental illness. From early on I knew that something was wrong, and that I needed to get out, but he used my insecurities to make me stay-he blackmailed me and threatened me, and when that didn't work, he'd hit me.

I often wonder why he picked me to scam-but now I see I was the obvious choice. I was already down-just coming off a divorce, looking for someone to pay attention; to make me feel better. What he saw: someone who was smart, capable and depressed-he'd hook me, be my "savior" and then when I realized what he was doing, I'd already be in love.

The problem was that I started missing life. I started to miss my laughter and my freedom. I missed feeling special and missed being able to look nice or smile without being told how fake my "Disney Smile" was.

I started missing the people who love that smile.

I began thinking about how I could disappear-and I'm not talking about living as though no one could see me. I'm talking, not come home from work one day, disappear. I started making lists in my head, gathering information and thinking about where I'd go. See, he threatened me-told me that if I ever left he'd kill me.

I believed him. He'd threatened before. It was possible.

Then one day he blocked me from leaving the house. I knew something had to happen, otherwise I'd soon be badly broken or dead. The next day I went to work and didn't go home until he was gone.

On that bitter cold day in November, God took me by the hand, and gave me the strength to do what I couldn't the year before-I asked for help.

Ashamed and embarrassed, I looked to a then co-worker for help. She didn't know me very well, and vise versa, but somehow, she knew even before I could tell her my story. And just like that, I wasn't alone. I had Judy.

Today I look back and think about why I couldn't call my family. I know that some of them, particularly my mother, were hurt by the fact that I stayed with friends, especially because it was during Thanksgiving, which, incidentally, was also my father's birthday. But sometimes you need a place to go where the people just aren't related and don't know who you were before the moment in time in which they met you. And also, sometimes God just knows where to put you.

And He did.

I'm not certain why I chose today to write this post, or why I am even sharing this at all. Most of you already know my story-in fact, most of you are even characters in the story. I guess part of what I have learned is that not only does time heal wounds, but so does communication.

About 2 months after all of this happened, I wrote Jamie a letter. Because there was a restraining order, and also because he's nuts, I was not able to say to him all of the things I needed to. The letter never got sent, the words never read by anyone else, the hurt never got handed off to him. And I am glad that I was patient. I am glad that he never read these words...


1.1.05
Things and times I think of you-when I gain 5 lbs, thinking how bad you'd make me feel instead of encouraging me and helping me like I would need you to, or when I lose 5 lbs, knowing that when I'd tell you I wouldn't get a congratulations, I'd get a "Good, now lose another 95 and you'll be all set." When I decide not to put my dishes in the dishwasher or fold my clothes right away-b/c I can, and you aren't here to yell at me and make me feel lazy for working 50 hrs a week to support you AND come home to cook AND clean up the mess you made b/c you were too busy playing a computer game or digging in the dirt like a child. When I buy something to make myself feel better such as a new shirt or pants, b/c I know now I CAN look nice-it's allowed and no, I don't have a date and am not cheating just b/c I want to look nice for work. It feels damn good to be able to look pretty outside the house again. Let's see, oh! Yes, when boxes are strewn all over the floor and presents are filling up the entire room b/c it's Christmas-b/c "We have too much in this small house already!" Or when I want to fix up the house that I BOUGHT me, by myself, the house that I am so very proud of b/c no, I'M NOT SELLING IT IN A YEAR. Or when Lance has been bad and I have to put him in the cage or smack his butt lightly or knowing I won't get yelled at or threatened to get my nose rubbed in pee or shit. Or when I make a meal from a recipe and use salt-and not be accused of trying to kill you or poison you. And especially when I want to have my family over or go down there. Well damn you-these are things you took from me at one point or another and I've taken them back.


WHAT I TAKE FROM YOU-independence. Never allowing anyone to physically or mentally abuse me ever again. Strength-in knowing that I can survive, yet again, and that I am a good person, even though you tried to make me think I wasn't. Faith-a renewed sense of God's presence in my life which has been blessed with the very family and friends that you claimed so many times did not care about me. Courage-to face the things I would rather not. Freedom-from the abusive relationship that you tried so hard to hide from me by keeping me sheltered and mentally beaten down. And I take it back, I am grateful that I met you, b/c fake or not, you did make me laugh, you did show me a different side of life, and you did occasionally make me feel special.


You had a friend in me. I loved you. Know that, keep it. Because THAT is real.

"Be Well" I pray for you....


Thank you for allowing me to finally let this letter go.

Mags

*No one should ever go through the pain of being abused. If you or anyone you know is in an abusive relationship, please have the courage to get help. I am here if you need me.


Sunday, August 28, 2005

Fair Frenzy

Every year my small town has a country fair. It comes complete with horse and tractor pulls as well as barns filled with chickens, goats and cows. There are tents piled high with locally grown flowers and vegetables and cases exploding with creative adaptations of traditional pies and cakes. Basically, it's a run down carnival in an overly artsy town, but it's a tradition, and well, I'm a sucker for traditions.

This year I was lucky enough to attend the fair with my sister and her daughter who is 3. Now, I can say without a doubt, my niece is the person I love the most in this entire world. She's extremely beautiful with big blue eyes and thick eyelashes. She's shockingly smart. Her smile could make the sun rise and her laugh lifts you up so high, you think you've actually reached Heaven.

And, well, she's a freak.

This, I know, comes from growing up with my sisters and I, who, admittedly, are also freaks. And by freaks, I mean we're loud and silly and random and boisterous and basically forget other people are alive when the 3 of us are together. So, naturally, my niece is also...let's call her-expressive.

The minute the car started, she asked for "The Crazy Frog" song to be played. This is funny. Not only because she's 3, but also because she knows the words, and starts singing them in the silly crazy frog voice. She also has dance moves and hand gestures that she is executing, soaking up the laughter that is pouring out of my sister and I.

Silly Ham Bone.

When we arrived at the fair, she began talking about how old she was. She said, "I am 3, but in 30 days I will be 4." My sister corrected her and told her that she'd be 4 in April. She giggled and said, "No, I am going to be 4 soon." and kept walking. Then about 30 seconds later she said, "Am I 4 now?" and laughed.

As we walked past the animals my niece was dancing to the music playing in the background as well as mumbling something to the effect of: "Laa DEE La la lala Ladaladalllllaaa" Her dancing was Bohemian like, waving her hands in the air, looking to the sky and swinging her hips unabashedly. While walking.

And also, I've never seen anyone, whether they are 3 or not, dive into a barrel of stuffed animals with as much conviction as she did. Let me tell you, she was VERY sure she wanted 2 ducks...not a duck and a crazy frog, like we tried to convince her to get-a la Crazy Frog song as mentioned above.

The best, best, BEST though was when we went to see the goats. There were tons of them all in cages and she had no fear whatsoever. She simply walked up to them and pet them, laughing at their ears or their funny hair. But then, out of the blue, it was as if she got an overwhelming surge of love for these goats. She took one of the goat's head and put her hands on either side of it's face, kind of cradling it and started like, massaging it or something, saying "Hi little goat" or something like that. I'm sorry I can't describe it to you better, but my sister and I were on the floor because we were laughing so hard.

Then she kissed it on the mouth and said, "AAAAHAAAHAHAHA! I just kissed the goat Mommy! He loves me!"

Freakazoid*.

Ok. Really though, wouldn't you love to be able to live life again with that much vigor and expression and sense of exploration and no fear? I not sayin' go kiss goat or anything, but it'd be nice to kiss a boy for once and to exclaim, "AAAAHAAAHAHAHA! I just kissed a boy Mommy! He loves me!" and not worry about the looks you'd get...

*And by freakazoid, I mean, "I love you more than I love hot dogs"