Archive for the ‘family’ Category

i knew this would come

stifled by the space

and darkness

familiar streets

the same old faces haunting the same old haunts

blocks i could circle with my eyes closed

the heaviness

the sadness

the cheese in the acme rat trap

i am not here

though my fingerprints scar the neighborhoods and predictable street signs

i never was here

she was me but i was not her

and here i am

unable to fill her shoes

and unwilling

smothered by the need to drive and “find something to do”

knowing the steps to its funeral march

i am paralyzed by my coordinates

suffocated regrets of never leaving and always returning

i am not her

yet it cleverly calls her name

and the emptiness in my heart

is programmed to respond

Have you ever wondered about the origin of words? We can research their evolution, but not the human element of choice in their inception. Imagine I hand you a fork as a child and teach you that it’s a “gun.” Something so simple would turn tales of family dinners into something unimaginable. And spectacular.

This makes me consider a word that, in its intention seems benign, I believe cannot be taught. Cannot be defined. Cannot mean in adulthood what it meant to us as children. “FAMILY.” This isn’t where I insert my recollections of creepy uncles and dark familial betrayal. I’m instead weighing my vocabulary against my sensibilities.

Your “mother.” In a dictionary we’re told it is a female parent, the woman who birthed us, or raised us. Your “father” is the male counterpart, sans birthing. Your “family” is the coupling of mother, father, their offspring and extended relatives. Sounds simple enough, but it isn’t.

Many times in my life, I’ve felt alien, neglected, misunderstood, abandoned and look upon with incredulous horror by those people. Granted, a majority of my Freudian damage is very First World and influenced by childhood perception, but to me those feelings and memories are real. They sometimes have weight, substance, texture, color, odors and temperature. Under oath, the defendants of my self-indulgence would enter my plea of insanity on my behalf.

My childhood trek and often dastardly adulthood have given cause to these questions and skewed redefinitions. I look back to kind hands of a friends mother when I suffered scrapes more heartfelt than knee-felt. A father of my boyfriend who ALWAYS laughed at my jokes, told me I was beautiful and had endless rolls of film on those days. The coworkers who appreciated my development and constantly reassured me that I was real, valid and worthwhile. The boyfriend’s mother who housed, fed & clothed me in the weeks before beauty school in exchange for pouring her single glass of wine at dinner.

My memory bank is full of far more recollections of my Mom and Dad. Events very often more significant. But in my lowest times, my personal victories, and most importantly, the transitional valleys, there were “others.” These “others” were the glue that kept me together when I felt shattered by “family.” These “others” taught me that I can take all the splintery shards bequeathed to me by “family”, and fashion a mirror that reflects the human being I am. I was. That is the obvious destiny.

In the past I may have lacked gratitude for my family. In the past I neglected to realize my misunderstandings that lead to me abandoning my family like aliens with incredulous horror. In the past, others from outside my family taught me gratitude for them by showing me that regardless of their intentions, my family molded a person who was witty, intelligent, creative, cultured, open minded and open hearted that’s well worth more than “A DAMN.” So as I prodigly return home, time and time again…”Home.” Home. Yes, home. That word has always been accurate.

Studies of our prehistoric ancestors have shown that art, music, religion, dance, and even language itself, was a way to pass down our history, our traditions, our memories. In my lifetime, I remember reel to reel home movies. Slide projectors. Audio recordings. VHS tapes and BetaMax. And 76 pound photo albums. I have learned to do my own shitty attempt at a polka. I have ran my thumbs and index fingers across the patches of quilts made by great great grandmothers. I have slipped into the dress my grandmother wore on her wedding day. I have sat for hours upon hours watching my grandmother patch clothing while she told me stories of her childhood. I have sang and hopped in afternoons full of double dutch. I have prayed to a blue-eyed Jesus, well, in a church that was built before my grandparents were born, gazing at placards of devotion in memorium of people who died from diseases that have since been eradicated. This has spanned less than four decades. A blip in the inhale exhale of man.

As I ironically sit at a laptop typing to invisible eyes, I miss nostalgia. In the day of blogs, facebook, twitter, Pinterest and Instagram, I wonder, who are we compiling these memories for? When scrapbooking came back en vogue, I scoffed at it visibly, ever jealous that I knew I lacked such focus and dedication and follow through. It was time sucking, overly involved and  a cosumerist industry I had no time or desire for. After all, I had to go to work to pay for my wifi so I could spend my work day telling complete strangers what I ate for lunch.

Even at 38 years old, I adore a good scar story. I spend dreamy hours in vintage shops. I prefer clothing worn previously by a friend or stranger. I secretly pine for the day I get my grandmother’s dishes “over my mom’s dead body.” But what do I do with all this information, experience, and memory? Do I sit my niece down and try to explain the discomfort of shoulder pads in the 80s? Do I show her how we used to entertain ourselves…*gasp* OUTSIDE with only rocks, bugs and each other? Do I teach her how to roll biscuits and make frosting from scratch while I teach her the Polish word for “butt”? I’d like to say I do, but more often that not, I log her onto my Facebook. Within an hour of seeing each other, she’ll unfailingly ask if I have any new kitty pictures or videos or to show her my friend’s kids’ pictures ONLINE.

Though I’m not a mother, as an inhabitant of Earth, aren’t I obligated to pass the past the way our ancestors did? Word, written or ideally, spoken. Songs from my grandmother reminiscent of Sweden, my childhood church hyms declaring the joy joy down in my heart, and double dutch marches giving nods to jeans that we couldn’t afford but everybody wanted. My haphazard version of the Polka. My 76 pound photobox.  My ability to make and color play clay from scratch. Are these things still valuable if their not POSTED? Are we LIVING the experiences we share with anonymous masses via social networking? When you finish a collection on Pinterest or Instagram or WordPress, will you print them out and tangibly share them with our little people? Or will we, our collections, memories and existence all fade into the virtual nothingness that calls us “friend” or even worse, “follower?”

To this day, I’ve never known what I’ve wanted to be when I grew up. Sure, I can drop some wonderful answer or answers that make me sound driven and focused, but those answers are just like my mind, dreamy. I have babysat children until they no longer needed supervision. At the movies, I was your ticket girl. Copy, collate, bind, laminate and things of these ilk saw me from Illinois to North Carolina. I’ve convinced you of how great you looked in over priced and under styled clothing. My day was filled with checking yourself and your mistress, dealer, gay lover or lonely soul into hotel rooms, no questions asked. Drink mixer, personal counselor, girl with the rack and bitch for hire blanketed my eyes for a few years from the giving end of the bar. I’ve help children stand straight, walk correctly, recover from injuries and colic as your friendly desk girl at your Chiropractor. None of these things, are who I am.

Before an age even the most egregious sweat shop would hire me, I have written. I have sang. I have crafted. I have loved clothing. I have gazed into distinctive windows of kitschy houses. I have strained my neck grasping for glimpses of the apex of sky scrapers. I have instinctively changed diapers, fed soft milky lips and patted soft spined backs. Is this who I am? My bank account would argue that, “No ma’am all evidence states to the contrary.” It kinda feels like me, left to my own inner thoughts, but does that matter?

Ever since I was a little girl I never understood why I felt directed to be something other than what I felt. I should want dolls, not Han Solos. My toys should reflect a future dictated by television reruns from a past that truly never existed. Likewise, so should my career and self-image. Wouldn’t it be great to be a teacher? Or a nurse? Or a softball player? Or thinner? Or have a bigger ass? Or the girl who makes boys fight for her affections? Or drunk? Or high? Or miserable to the point of being incapacitated for days? Wouldn’t it be grand? Think of the possibilities! And when you find yourself legally adulted, you’ll have no idea who you were, are, and will be. Instead, you’ll have a carpet bag of failures, diagnoses and vertigo. My name is Jennifer, and I am a…an uncertainty.

The funny thing is, if I look back, I can be resentful and angry and enraged that I was passed along from one person’s ideal to another. The momentum started before I realized my voice, opinion or self-knowledge had merit. Yet here I am, fine. Not “fine” in the teeth clenched, white knuckled grip of adult denial, fine like okay. I made it through all that topsy turvy undirected, yet pushed and pulled life. I’m not angry. I’m not sad. I have no regrets. I do have something all that made me aware of. I have a survival instinct that should instill fear in the black soul of my oppressors. Inside of me, there is a voice that will stay quiet as I bumble through life gathering lessons and scars and debt and vices, until it is time to go. And when that time arrives, I am a force of reckoning. There will be no discussion. I will not issue you a receipt. Exit stage left.

Rest, recovery time, reconstruction, reparations will follow, some times quickly, some times slow and laboriously. Then I stand. I resume my universal walk about. Looking back is only to recall the origin of my acute  inconvenient pains and use those memories positively, usually to make you laugh at my jokes or wallow in my poetry. With my constantly evolving and patched up soul, I glide through my days gazing into distinctive windows of kitschy houses, strain my neck grasping for glimpses of the apex of sky scrapers, I  instinctively change diapers, feed soft milky lips and pat soft spined backs. Then I write it all down, in some way shape or form. As only a person who has lived is capable of.

   I’m often told I look about 10 years younger than I am. With the life I’ve experienced, genetics have been my preservative and the bane of my existence. I can offer no explanation for my youthful looks and disposition aside from that reason coupled with insane and inexplicable optimism.

  My non-matching appearance and age, along with the Cougar Phenomenon, have changed the demographics of my dating life. I attract youngsters. To no avail, I disclose my age as a deterrent, yet find myself twisted up with younger guys. The late 30s sex drive, not having children and my high energy level make these matches fairly logical and comfortable. But I’m still floored these guys seem to pursue me harder when they’re informed of my age.

  I have a theory. It’s my opinion, that the Cougar trend comes from these guys being the first generation of men who were raised my mothers who worked full time. “Mommy Issues” are the new “Daddy Issues.” While little Madison has gold poles and red shag carpet waiting with her name on it, little Cody doesn’t. Well, not usually.

  I’ve written a lot of Cougar jokes. “I’m so dedicated to being a Cougar, I only fuck guys with a dead parent and have mastered the chocolate chip cookie.” Funny? Maybe. But, really, these guys need a hug! They go from momma love anorexia to girlfriends and wives who will never ever be enough. In adulthood, they are still maintaining the child’s ignorant hope that mommy will put them on the tit and apologize for all the pumping and formula. Since mothers are people of the guilty cloth, I’ve become certain they don’t really know how neglected their own son felt and feels.

  These are the same mothers perplexed by the mistreatment of their sons in a sad, steady, predictable beat. Doing too much for them in adulthood to make up for childhood conditions these boys are going from affection starvation to being over-loved. So in turn, these poor souls accept their girlfriends being detached, unappreciative, and failing to reciprocate.

   These are the same girls whose mothers left them for work too. Their model is a frustrated, exhausted, either independent or codependent, emotionally tapped woman who is usually doing the best she can or at least thinks she is. They’re also, more often than not, single. The frosting on this cake of disaster is the complete ignorance of a relationship that runs on something other than dysfunction.

   While my boyfriends have been running around serial dating and attempting the Houdini-esque Build a Bear: Family Edition, I was  giving up on finding my dad in others and hopes for any semblance of family, let alone a healthy one. The natural course of action on my part, you’d assume would be to mother my boyfriend. And there in lies the ruinous rub. I’m not going to. Unless it came from my uterus, an expensive purchase of a human or an animal rescue, I’m not raising anything.

  It may seem cold to think such a fragile man, void of maternity and often paternity, is capable of matching me in an adult-like manner, but society dictates my unrealistic expectations. My absentee father was at work or in our basement, not across town with a new family. My mom only worked out of absolute necessity or to busy herself. She was present, involved and supported by a guy whose mom stayed home and raised him.

  The dynamic in my relationships end up being a sort of Frankenstinian hybrid or a mutated abomination. Neither of us know our role. The pendulum swings from societal feminism to societal masculinity, inside of both of us. Oedipus would drop his jaw and wonder the whereabouts of the humanity in the situation.

  The only hope we have as a pair, is to define for ourselves, the meaning of heterosexual coupling. This often means I kill spiders, help switch out an alternator and take my place as big spoon while he listens to Adele, uses cucumber melon bath wash, and runs to the store to get my tampons. My lovely, energetic, chivalrous young man is often the sensitive cherry in my shit sundae day. I am often his grounding point and welcoming bosom.

  I read things online, hear on the news and eaves drop conversations about gay marriage, interracial relationships and divorce rates. Constant debate, stigmas, and busy body government have smashed any hope of the world loving love. If anyone deserves to be jaded, it’s me. If anyone qualifies to judge, it isn’t me. Besides, I’m too busy being in love. Yes he’s younger. Yes we’re both damaged by the destruction of families, Nosey Nellies, and the search for the key to life and loves codex. Yet here we are. Man and woman. Unified. Whatever that means. To US.

There are parents who put their kids in front of the T.V., my parents, mainly my mom, put me in front of the radio. My love for and addiction to music has always existed, without fail, without choice. Though my dad, for all intents and purposes, is a musician, this hunger and appetite comes from the woman who loved him. It is the biggest gift anyone has ever given me.

My mom once said, “I know you’d go crazy without music. That’s why I always made sure you had stereos and radios.” And she did. From transistor walkmen to turntables to boom boxes to shelf units, she’d supply the needle for the vein in my soul that throbbed and begged for the sticky, thick, melodic dope. When I’d stumble out of my self-constructed fortress of musictude, I’d be in the midst of hers.

Cleaning, cooking, driving, showering, sitting. Music was her white noise. I’d see her moving about in the trails of her mundane activities with a look of warm, emotional, vacation. What was she thinking? Who did she miss? Where was she? How did she end up here? Very often, my dad would be simultaneously concocting his own cacophony in compulsed madness just ten feet below us. Though you could hear it, we didn’t. Not really.

Life had dragged her and I over, around and under the country, following his dream. Seedy bars, dirty hotels, Colorado ski resorts, Ohio beach houses. It’s rumored I slept in a mostaccioli box in the back of van. Kentucky commune, faceless roadside motels, lake cabin in Wisconsin, all interspersed with stays at gramma’s, music watched over our souls.

My dad’s dream never came true. Or so I assume. Everyone grew up. We started staying in one place and sleeping in our own bed every night. Music keeping it’s position,  yet now more of a follower than a leader.

I once read that music activates the same brain activity as math. Math being a thing I excelled at without effort, I attributed science to my attraction, just like any other junkie looking for a justification. But that’s a lie. Music is my mother’s milk, my history. It is the home movie chronicling a love story. The story of two teens who fell in love, got pregnant, got married, chased after and ran from each other, leaving their blue eyed, towheaded baby in the care of what brought them together only to tear them apart.

DOB

Posted: April 30, 2012 in brother, destiny, family, golden rule, grass is greener, love, me, rant

Being 38 years old and childless, there is a chasm between myself and mothers. My not being a mother was a choice regarding birth control for health that spanned decades and became a choice regarding my present and my future. Ask me today, I’d still have the 5 kids I wanted at 20, if I could.

I noticed the difference in me with my own mother first. My adulthood marked the beginning of her failing to relate to me. At 17, she was a high school drop out, a mother, and the wife of a 21 year old ginger haired musician. By 20, she lost her own mother. We hit the wall on demographic commonality before I had sex for the first time. But me, I never stopped looking for it. Or craving it. Empathy.

As my friends began having kids, there’s that phase of baby doll dress up, baby daddy drama, and them realizing the golden age of the mythical stay at home mom had ended. They were more tired than I was. Their financial resources went elsewhere. I felt like a braggart with my bars, boyfriends, nights in the city and 12 noon alarm clock setting.

Friends married, produced more spawn, I had a miscarriage. Friends divorced, remarried, more kids. I moved back home, switched jobs, suffered depression and often felt I was just surviving.

My brother married before me. Within a year, almost to the date, he had a daughter, my niece. I’ve never really told anyone in my family, but it took me 6 months to feel connected to her. Even through some testing and a trisomy scare, I was unaffected, apathetic and surprised at my personal coldness. She wasn’t mine in any way. And she surely wasn’t that baby that would’ve been her 8 year old cousin.

As I dated into my 30s,and saw my brother’s world and marriage unravel, I  saw parenthood in a whole new light, a masculine light. I saw my brother, a few boyfriends suffer the absence of their children. It was devastating. Their identity was replaced by their position as appointment keeper and automatic teller machine. Their children would cohabitate with strange, adult men that they didn’t approve. The women they dated, including myself, were judged as over bred harlots, or unequipped lowerings of the survival of the fittest, too flawed to breed.

My mind is now clouded by two decades as a spectator in the world’s failings and successes in parenthood. Yet every child that passes me, catches my eye. Every child I share words with or run my hesitant fingers over in moments of “they’re so cute” burn my heart and the cavity inside me that’s laid dormant for so long. I never made a decision that I didn’t want to be a mother. I never judged you if you did. The only thing that I decided, was that I wouldn’t become a jaded mother or grandmother. That means I’ll make my decision when I have a formidable partner I am looking forward to making that decision with. If that never happens, it wasn’t my life’s plan. I see 20 kids a day I can smile at, be kind to and preserve the Earth for. Don’t pity me. But don’t expect me to pity the plight you may have in being a parent. I won’t be jealous. I’ll just keep doing what I do. The world needs the childless just as much.

Have you ever felt compelled to thank somebody for loving you? A secret, dark part of me always felt that everyone should just DO that love me thing. Yet, somewhere deeper and even darker, I’ve always felt that no one has.

These aren’t the inner pinings of a narcissistic teen, twenty-something or a panicked thirty-something making a last futile attempt at figuring out who she wants to be when she grows up. It’s a desire older than baby teeth and the capability to physically produce the sound of simple phonics.

I can remember the void left “where love goes” far more easily than my first memory or experience of love. The fact remains, as a child, despite my best efforts to turn off the plain, obvious, total envelopment of love my life was, I passed it by or tuned it out like an Autistic Vulcan.

In aging, developing and coming into my own, my life’s trail is paved with the carcasses of self- inflicted denial, rejection and failure in the implementation of love. Like an amoeba, designed to live off as little as possible in the temporal world’s physical chaos, I existed and flapped my arms, at best.

Now here I am, ravaged, compromised, contused and stripped bare, and somebody loves me. Whether or not I was the heiress of a loving culture, family and inner worth, I now am left feeling begat of love, born of love and clueless. There’s another living, breathing, thinking, human being who voluntarily loves me. And, I’m more than okay with that.

My past inclinations to run, sabotage, victimized myself or manipulate have disappeared from my bag of tricks. I don’t even WANT him to love me. I simply have to accept it. Raw, simple, genuine, uncontingent, not even offered, just there for the taking, LOVE. And somehow, I’m functioning, in the stillness of it all.

In the wee hours of the night, I dissect it, carving it into tiny, emotionless, lifeless pieces of things “not-me.” Every morning, I wake to it fully assembled, fully functioning, smiling at me and reminding me it loves me. And, though I think it would look fetching in a straight jacket, it’s there. It’s real. And smiling.

Whether my thirty-something years of loveless childhood are fancied or real doesn’t matter. The reality I live in, this state of lovedom is thick, warm, and as safe as the womb, legend has it, I once escaped from. How in the world am I expected to handle that?! It appears, by just being what I was designed for: love. Much to my scowling chagrin, all the accoutrements of my survival are blessed little attributes. So, I give up. He wins. I guess that means I win too. Hopefully he’ll help me figure it all out, or  remind me I don’t have to.

I often feel bad that I have no idea how to relate to women AT ALL! I am not the one to look to for comfort. There are many situations I can handle “down to the white meat”, but when you become irrational…I’m out. Not to sound sketch…but would so many dudes be cool w me if all I did was look for validation and cry about my pussy aka my feelings?!?! NO!

This is the sane curse I’ve suffered my whole life…I’m Alpha. In all honesty,  I never give a fuck if you are as well, as that is so fleeting, and far between. My claim is not perfection, but I’d be the LAST bitch they would send to a hut every 28 days. I’m the girl that would issue “red wings”.

This is always the shit that kills me, my bitches…Why in the fuck do you decide to hate me for the same reason you love me? A man can at least love and hate me fuck me for the same reason and does not have to say a gatdam word. You think I should entertain a text that could rival a doctoral thesis…”WHY I DO NOT THINK YOU ARE A REAL FRIEND…” SCHNARF SCNARF muthafucka…you’re the reason humanity proposed the most pussified form of Feminism ever know to MAN!

Do me a favor m’kay: Get an education. Get a CAREER. Get a GULLIBLE man. MAKE him love your cat you’ve had since juniour year…Then get an IUD. We don’t need any more of your shenanigans.

Until then, I’m gonna read my comics, play w my new phone, drink beer with witty boys and listen to metal as we watch The Venture Brothers after I baked brownies in a white wife beater…braless.

Is my life chaotic? Like you bitches would know. Sometime you need to lay in the cut and receive and shut. the. fuck. up. Grab a controller…up up down down left right left right B A  start…

im glad that you now feel the responsibility. there are people we affiliate with that are unwell…as if we should speak, but we have the misfortune of outwitting our emotions, at times. i have cleared the shit for anyone who may have gotten victorian and need their moment. i will do it again. i always query why im so burdened, yet the first to be discarded…..sorry i think i wrote a poem there or something. im half buzzy, and now question if im allowed more than 4 hours, in humanities time, to feel joy. i feel each second that surpasses that, one is taken from the next incident. i feel so entitled to a moment of pleasure in anothers comany. sorry…i feel flowery.  could it be im raw and sincere and poetic?!?! if forced to answer, id protest too much. i maintain my relentlessness and integrity. proceed with the crucifixion and martyrdom. i accept. i am defined.